Why I love Vibration, Flow & Wear?

As I cross the threshold of the new year 2011 I look back at the 30 odd years of my professional engineering career behind me with a certain tinge of pride and an ample dose of satisfaction. I am grateful to many who made this rather long journey quite pleasant and exciting. Few of them were my Dad, Mom and my Grandma, Mr Hicks, Mr. Torrick, Mr. Sanat Kar, Dr. Chowdhury, Mr. S Lahiri, Prof Ashok Sen, Prof Paul and Prof Tim Henry. I deeply admire and respect them. Without them I would not have been where I am today. In Newton's words I stand on their shoulders to see the world around me a little better and a bit more clearly. Surely I made a good and meaningful living — living with a purpose. But what I loved most of all was the added bonus of constant learning that accompanied all these years as a daily dose of understanding on steroids.

In these three exciting decades two things I really fell in love were

a) Study of Vibration, Flow and Wear
b) Solving problems of various types and hues — equipment, reliability, industrial, performance, organizational, learning, etc..

On reflection I find that these weren't two subjects but actually one since one constantly fed into the other and sort of reinforced both in an exponential manner.

But that wasn't the reason for my love of these subjects.

I loved them since through it I could study Nature in its various forms and beauty. The beauty was so enticing, bewitching and captivating that at times I was confused as to what view offered me the best picture of those beautiful patterns. 

This is simply because the whole of Nature can be expressed by Vibration (tendency to operate far away from equilibrium at the edge of chaos and complexity in an interdependent manner – mechanical, electrical, electronics, metallurgical), Flow (driving gradients, fluids, heat, energy, electrons, quarks, people, goods..) and Wear (force, energy, entropy, surface phenomenon) and three fundamental shapes of anything 'live' (the tree network, round cross section and watermelon slice) and a few simple mathematical principles (iteration, probability, distribution, series, transforms, interactions & relationships). Nothing more was needed or perhaps would be needed to appreciate the ever lasting beauty of Nature.

Luck was in my favor since I was observing the untold beauty of Nature through supposedly inanimate objects like machines, flows, gradients. But that clearly offered me a great advantage. The advantage of seeing things happen just as they were. I was observing Nature so to say in 'uncolored' and 'unspoiled' states. Such patient observations gave me the chance to reflect and understand the underlying principles and secretly admire the awesomeness of the whole thing. It taught me to see the whole and the parts at the same time without neglecting either. It gave me the chance to crack the paradox of stability and change happening at the same time. It taught me the interconnectedness and interdependence of the whole thing happening at the same time. It taught me that all that we see and feel is not the whole that is there. And there were thousands of other things. It is good to feel that the learning hasn't stopped and thankfully would continue for many more years helping me to remain sane, active and agile hopefully staving off imbecility and old age.

By constantly learning about these principles the doors to effective problem solving was thrown wide open. To my surprise I found that the same principles that help me to solve tough and complex engineering problems also help me to effectively solve organizational problems and social problems within organizations. The underlying principles were always the same. Without this support I think I could never have made a name for myself as a troubleshooter, problem solver, design thinker and coach.

The other great thing that it did was to make my mind supple and open. Soon I was soaking up like a sponge the principles involved in other supposedly difficult subjects like Design Thinking, System Thinking, Chaos, Complexity, Adaptive Systems (Panarchy). That was a boon. All these frontier subjects were based on the same principles of Vibration, Flow and Wear. So far there had been no deviations.

I realize that all subjects in its truest form is always a rich mix of arts and science. One is not without the other. While Science helps me build up my Scientific temperament, inclination to Technology, love of Engineering and deep respect for Mathematics Arts lends me my love for Ideas, propensity for Design, understanding Emotions and developing empathy and great admiration for Arts and Actions.

That is why my heart still vibrates, my breath still flows and my joints continue to wear out as I continue to live with awareness and concentration.


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