Sequence

Every­thing in nature fol­lows a sequence. From cater­pil­lar to but­ter­fly, from seed to tree, from stars to black holes. Enter humans and the sequence is bro­ken. In com­mu­ni­ca­tion, in behav­ior, in action.

When humans break a nat­ur­al sequence, order turns to chaos.

Some con­text before we pro­ceed.

It all start­ed with my first meet­ing with a new friend bum bum bhole on Twit­ter:

A series of sequen­tial tweets from me had the fol­low­ing response:

My dear friend Gaiz­abonts shared his love of playlists:

When bum bum bhole respond­ed

I said

My mean­ing explic­it:

This was then inter­pret­ed as my being against playlists, to which Gaiz­abonts rose In Defence of Playlists.

A series of tweets from me was my sequence of thought, expressed through a medi­um restrict­ed to 140 char­ac­ters at a time. It led to whether that was “cheat­ing tweet­ing”.

The max­i­mum length of a tweet is 140 char, of a Face­book post 63,206. The max­i­mum length of time you can talk to your friend is unlim­it­ed.

How well can online social net­works like Face­book, Twit­ter or LinkedIn han­dle the sequence of our thoughts, emo­tions, careers, and lives? Are we now liv­ing in a world where a person’s sequence of thoughts, expressed through what­ev­er medi­um of com­mu­ni­ca­tion is being employed at that moment, con­sid­ered “cheat­ing” for not adher­ing to that spe­cif­ic medium’s restric­tions?

If you text me using 115 char­ac­ters, in two SMS mes­sages, are you “cheat­ing”? No, that is ridicu­lous.

The con­cept of “playlist” came into being with the era of dig­i­tal music from the days of WinAmp. There were no playlists when I grew up. There were no playlists when Kumar Gand­har­va or Kishorib­ai sang. There were no playlists when Mozart or Beethoven had their music per­formed.

Yet, there was a sequence to their music. Music, by def­i­n­i­tion, has sequence. With­out sequence, it is not music.

Most of West­ern Clas­si­cal or Hin­dus­tani Music CDs we get today have “assort­ed mix­es” with­out sequence. It is not music.

Each of my music cas­settes, whether West­ern or Indi­an, had painstak­ing hours of sequenc­ing behind them. Every friend of mine whom I’ve gift­ed such care­ful­ly craft­ed cas­settes remem­bers me not just for the songs, but for the sequence in which I arranged it. Some sen­si­tive audio­philes also appre­ci­at­ed the dif­fer­ence between how many sec­onds of gap I’d kept between each song and why.

Can you imag­ine how Mozart’s 41st sym­pho­ny finale would sound with­out the first three move­ments? It would be like arriv­ing to watch an action movie’s final cli­max scene with­out know­ing who the char­ac­ters are and what they’re doing.

Every post on this blog is a con­tin­u­a­tion of a sequence. Every move­ment in a sym­pho­ny or a con­cer­to is in a sequence. Every­thing our friend is say­ing is in a sequence. We break that sequence when we inter­rupt and don’t lis­ten.

Rela­tion­ships have a sequence. In romance as well as in friend­ship, all rela­tion­ships have a sequence, and when we try to fight the sequence, there is fric­tion.

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