In the last issue of this magazine I have tried to tell you and make you understand in particular that the very purpose of your education till graduation and post graduation is to develop a right, practical and deep analytical capacity. I have confidence that the article in the last issue must have inspired you to think seriously about the education you have received till date and you would have pondered over it. This could turn out to be the first step towards developing the analytical ability inside you.
Why Analytical ability?
As you already know and if you have seen the papers of the main examination, there shouldn’t be any doubt left in your mind that without this ability it’s not possible to get past the obstacle of the examination. Some of the students get very excited after looking at the papers, while the others get disheartened and are forced to think “why is it so”. They think that if in the past examinations they have worked with the given information, then why those tactics seem to fail here. They wish that this was not the case. But they are committing a mistake here.
The mistake is that they are ignorant of the fact that if their information-based knowledge would have worked in the civil service examinations, the examination would still be tough and their success doubtful. The proof for it is already with them, but they are not able to catch hold of it, because they only have informative ability, not analytical.
Else they would have used their analytical ability to reason that “If it was the right approach then I would have stood first in all the examinations before graduation. This hasn’t happened so the reason behind it is that I was not able to perform well in information-based examinations also. When I could not do it there, what is the guarantee that I will be able to perform here. ”
It is certain that if the civil services question papers are based on information, it would probably not benefit an average student much, but it would definitely harm good students because they won’t get a chance to show their talent and capabilities. And you would also agree that the country’s top level of bureaucracy needs top talent, because this concerns the entire nation, not a particular individual. Analytical ability is the criterion which evaluates this talent.
It should be understood that the aim of true knowledge is not to fill one’s mind with information. By doing so, we in a way, make our mind a junkyard, which can be awe inspiring due to the presence of different things, but cannot be impressive. The cemetery of information is like that magic due to which there is no progress in one’s life. Yes, for a while they become happy by getting lost in the miracles of magic. But that doesn’t mean that information is totally meaningless. I have already discussed about it.
In fact, the main aim of education is to make a person intellectual, so that he can come to useful conclusions by mixing information and incidents. According to Indian mythology, all the things were already present in the sea, but the ocean had to be churned to get them out. To analyze means to churn.
Whichever student or person gets into the habit of brainstorming he reaches the next level of knowledge and that is the level is being visionary and becoming far sighted. Brainstorming helps us understand the reason behind the occurrence of various incidents. It makes us understand which elements were the reasons for an event to occur and to what extent were they responsible. Far-sightedness creates a foresight in us, rendering us capable of predicting what is going to happen next. We can tell which events are likely to take place in future. How far in the future one can predict depends on the depth of the person’s brainstorming. It varies from a day to a decade or a century. This is the second level of education.
The third level of knowledge makes the person a thinker. You shouldn’t limit the word thinker to just “philosopher” here. Thinker means a person who uses his thoughts to seek and do new things. For me, Newton was also a thinker because after seeing an apple fall down from a tree he started thinking about why it happened. Thinking is the first step to reach this level. There is no such method which would make a person jump to this level. This state of thinking is the state of originality, a state of a creator, in which a person creates something new.
Now I have a small but very important question for you. The question is how do you see the role of a civil servant, especially such top level civil servant, with regards to the society and country? Is he required to just follow the orders he gets from higher authorities, forward them to his subordinates and sit quietly? If you think this way then you have touched the level of information. Do you think that a civil servant should think about the given order and then he should enforce it according to the requirement of the society? This is the level of intellectuality. Do you think he should even decide how to enforce an order and when so that he can get good results in the future? This is the level of far sightedness.
The last question I want to ask is if you think that a high level civil servant is just a dry machine whose only job is to make sure the orders given to him by his superiors are implemented? Or do you think he is something more than that? You may know that when it comes to the policies and laws made by our Parliament and Legislative assemblies, and the laws which are passed to implement them, the biggest contribution is that of these high-ranking experienced civil servants. If you agree with me that any law affects the near future and society, obviously you will also agree to the fact that a bureaucrat has to be far-sighted as well as a thinker. He should be original and this originality will be his true contribution towards the society and country.
Friends, I could have kept my talk brief. But since I am not doing it, it is because I have a well thought strategy. The strategy is that I want you to develop an analytical ability that will help you not just in the civil service examination, but in life as well. This is the ability that will make your personality shine through. To be a civil servant you have to face the interview and after becoming one you have to face higher authorities and general public too. It is your personality that will help you face these situations in life.
I am scared that after reading about the long process of developing analytical ability you must be panicking. This might happen initially, but believe me you will be over it soon. Once your brain starts analyzing things, it will become so addicted to it that without analyzing anything it won’t rest. So don’t worry at all. Every new thing can be a bit of a trouble in the beginning. this thing, which I am about to tell you, is not totally new for you. So, let’s see what it actually is.
Information can be seen. It is present in front of us in the form of alphabets. Our eyes can see it. The mind reads and understands it. The work is then done. This does not require any special effort because everything is in front of us and can be seen.
The biggest problem with analytical ability is that it cannot be seen. Something which cannot be seen is very difficult to be trusted, because it may or may not be there. That’s why it seems risky and people are not ready to take risks. We work hard and struggle to bring out that which we cannot see but whose existence we are aware of. People are not ready to work hard and struggle. They just want someone to serve them cooked food on a platter and all they have to do is eat and fill their tummies. This is the first psychological hurdle which keeps us from becoming analytical.
I want to ask you where do you find butter, clarified butter or buttermilk? The answer is the same for all three things – they are present in milk. Now the question arises that if these three are present in milk, then why can’t we see them? The answer will be that these are so deeply mixed with milk that their existence is not known, but they are present in it.
Now the question is how to get them? The answer is simple that we need to churn the milk in order to make them. While churning, the butter will float above and the buttermilk will be left below. Now if we boil the butter and the foam is removed it will give us clarified butter. How many liters of milk would be needed to get a kilogram of clarified butter? Let’s not calculate that.
But it’s clear why clarified butter is so costly. Is it not so? After churning so much information we can only arrive at a partial conclusion. However, this conclusion is precious just like clarified butter. If we remove the conclusion from information than its value will reduce to that of buttermilk. But clarified butter can only be made when there is milk. It’s clear that whatever conclusion we arrive at thanks to our analytical ability, it is derived from information and knowledge of events. The conclusion is just hiding in the vast amount of information, we have to catch it. This method of catching is what is known as analytical ability.
The student who believes in the analytical ability should keep in mind that all the branches of knowledge are science, whether it is sociology or history. That is why it is known as social science. Until and unless this concept is clear in your mind, you won’t be able to think about analyzing it. The meaning of analysis is that you are not taking the information and events exactly as they are. You are not taking them for granted. You think that there are things beyond what is visible. When an average thinking person hears about an event, without even thinking twice he reacts the way his mind is set. More than 99 percent of the people do that. To help you understand this fact I would like to highlight an event related to spiritual leader Rajneesh’s life. Maybe, then you will be able to understand clearly.
Rajneesh (Osho) was among thinkers who tore pretensions and hypocrisy into pieces. Once when he was addressing his followers, a youngster stood up and with a lot of passion and fervor said to Osho, “You are against hypocrisy, but you yourself are the biggest hypocrite.” Rajneesh calmly asked the youth, “Why are you saying this?” He replied, “You have grown your mustache. If this mustache is not hypocrisy then what is?” Osho, like always, smiled softly and said, “My child, I haven’t grown my mustache, but you have removed it.” Silence fell over the gathering. I won’t explain it. I would like you to interpret it and get to know yourself. It will be beneficial to you and fun too.
So, basically analytical ability is the mental ability to see things beyond what is easily visible. It is different from the thought-process of average people. This ability also proves how strong your hold on the matter is, how well do you understand it and whether you can plunge into its depth and come up with the right conclusion. This is all I have to say on the matter.
Two types of Analysis
Before I start writing about this topic, I would like to make it clear that whatever I am telling you about the topic, it’s not very academic. These talks are not exclusively the subject of psychology, nor do they belong to the science of education. This is not an intellectual discussion either. It is not even limited to the reasoning of philosophy. In fact, the entire structure of the topic is based on practicalities. Whatever I have experienced about it, used and learned about it, I am compiling all of it and telling you that. That’s why if you try to look at my talks with regard to a certain subject you will be disappointed. It will be better if you implement this in your behavior and I have complete faith that if you do so you won’t be disappointed.
I have a bit of knowledge in almost all the subjects of Human Science. I keep on hearing about them and because for me the whole universe is a science, that’s why whenever I get a chance I look and read about it. On the basis of my overall knowledge, I think that analysis is mainly of two types. The first level is creativity and the second is reviewing. Let us understand these two because they both share an important role in the civil service examinations, but it can be said that the contribution of reviewing is slightly more than creative when compared.
- Creative Analysis: – As it is quite clear from the name, the contribution of knowledge is not as much as that of creativity here. When our analysis does not depend on information, or depends only partly on it, then our analysis starts bordering on the creative. In this level of reviewing our imagination and experiences get more importance. But it doesn’t mean that we should only take under consideration our creativeness and experience when evaluating the test. Our experience and imagination are not evident like information and incidents which is why it is possible that people may doubt their authenticity. Thus, the impact of such a review is comparatively less. But if the person, who is reviewing has a high-ranking personality and trustworthiness then certainly such review will have an impact.
You can take the example of the civil service examination’s essay paper. You are asked to write an essay on some topics. But as a student you should know the difference between essay and general studies. When you write an essay, you are expected to be creative. But when you solve the general studies paper of the same topic, then this method won’t be able to help you much. For example, the topic for an essay is “Words are sharper than a double- edged sword”. It has very less to do with facts. Here your experiences and thoughts will play an important role. Keep in mind that here also you have to use your analytical ability because you have to prove that words are sharper than a double-edged sword.
- Critical Method: – This method of analysis is mostly based on facts, information and statistics; it is based on statements and proof. Certainly the contribution of knowledge is most here. Here the importance of our experiences and thoughts is very less. Whatever we have to say, it is already known to people as information and we give our conclusion after careful consideration of the known facts. You can think of this type of analysis as a kind of scientific method and this method is more trustworthy, in terms of convincing others and also in terms of coming to a conclusion. 75 percent of the questions in civil service examination require this ability. I don’t have to explain this with an example. You are already aware of the afore-mentioned pleasant challenge.
NOTE: This article by Dr. Vijay Agrawal was first published in ‘Civil Services Chronicle’.