Sunday, May 01, 2011

IngSoc and AmeriCap

NOTE TO READER: If you have not yet read Orwell’s 1984, go to a bookstore, read it and come back here. Seriously. 

Now that I sit back and look at it, I am having a revelation. There’s an awfully strong correlation between a B-Schooler’s world and Winston’s world in 1984. Consider the following:
Firstly, you can’t disregard that IngSoc and AmeriCap are, in their own ways, solely about accumulation and perpetuation; of power and wealth respectively. Like Newspeak in 1984, we have our own lingua franca, the BSpeak. And although dialects vary across different B-Schools (vis-a-vis the 3 super-states of 1984), the jargon is quite familiar to the CNBC-TV18 or NDTV Profit watchers among you. In case you did not get it, the American version of capitalism that is practised worldwide is known as AmeriCap in BSpeak. 
Like the Ministry of Peace forever engaged in war, you have the Ministry of Student Affairs or MiniStuff, fighting for lower attendance requirements, bigger festival hoardings, faster internet speeds and sloshier parties. Like the fickle Goldstein, their enemy takes various faces of the administration, professors and even students. But the war remains perpetual. BSchools too actively encourage the ritual ‘15 minutes of hate’, where the symbol of all selfless deeds and environmentally conscious actions is hated, cursed and spit upon. In BSpeak, it’s just called the Business Ethics class.
Like the Ministry of Plenty that elevates the general quality of life by cutting food and rations, the Ministry of Professors or MiniProf, with their ever growing supply of assignments and case studies, strives tirelessly to reduce free time and destroy social life of all forms in a misguided effort to raise our standard of thinking. 
Our version of Ministry of Love, the Admin’s Lair (also called MiniLair in BSpeak parlance) is usually enveloped in cobwebs & silence as the ancient staff there stay in deep meditation year after year undisturbed by the ongoing activities of the MiniStuff, the MiniPlace (explained below) or even the powerful MiniProf. At times, inspired by inner revelations no doubt, they devise and implement new regulations that add a thicker bureaucratic layer to all the Ministries. I am convinced this is to train us in the finer nuances of AmeriCap and slow down the hectic pace we live in. The MiniLair also classifies offenders of various sorts who are often summoned to their offices and threatened and/or tortured for their own good.
And like the Ministry of Truth, we too have labyrinthine offices underground where dedicated number-cooking members work 24x7 on the B-School’s year-on-year records and inflate starting salaries to ever greater heights irrespective of U, V, W, X or even J shaped economic growth. In BSpeak, we call it the Ministry of Placements or MiniPlace. In most BSchools, responsible MiniPlaces with the aid of corporate interface depts like Ministry of Miscommunications or MiniMisCom have also been known to revise historical records to match the false claims of other ministries, no doubt for a greater goal we can never fathom. 
Like the art of doublethink, we are all practitioners of something called BoviThink in BSchools. This means doing exactly what others are doing without succumbing to your own thoughts. Two of the commandments are (1) to ignore reality and (2) to think like bovine animals. True masters of BoviThink don’t think at all (inside, outside, underneath or even on top of the box). A well known fact is that a BoviThinker’s greatest excitement comes when the MiniLair declares that his love for BigBrother is greater than his neighbours’.
Big Brother too, is common to the world of 1984 and BSchools. Everything and everyone reminds you that Big Brother is watching. Our friends & foes during those 2 years as well as our future beyond the BSchool are all decided by Him. Love Him more and be elevated to the Outer Party or even the Inner Party where you learn an arcane dialect filled with words like M&As, Brand Extensions and Synergy. Love Him less and you are claimed by the back benched Proles with their incessant gaming and free-riding. Although ONLY the abundantly generous MiniProf and infinitely wise MiniLair can truly quantify your Love for BigBrother, a visible indicator is your Thought Police record (also called Class Participation or CP in BSpeak). As any BSchooler will tell you, what truly matters in the BSchool world is the depth of your love for Big Brother or in BSpeak terms, the Cumulative Grade Point Average.
In fact, 500 assignments, 300 PPTs, 150 corporate interaction sessions, 40 management books, 15 grade docks, 10 parties, 5 committee memberships, 2 disco sessions and innumerable levitating circles later, it comes home to you, like it does to the 1984-stuck Winston. That the solar system defined 24 hours can accommodate 9 hours of classes, 5 hours of committee meetings, 3 hours of assignments, 2 hours of industry leader talks, 1 hour of project work and of course 4 hours of sleep. That Albert was wrong and George was right. Time isn't relative, it's elastic.

Ok.. maybe the revelation part at the beginning was overkill, but it's still a bloody strong correlation to warrant a post from a BSchooled author who is currently stuck in the afore-mentioned eternally elastic time with none of the above to do.


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  2. Awesome analogy maadi! :) Loved it!