A large part of the conversation was highlighted by a cultural difference between Eric and Balaji. I think Balaji, for all is progressive and future focused ideas, at the end is conservative in his mannerisms. He might in all probability appreciate and even align with ideas arising out of disagreeableness but on the face of it he seemed to find it hard to sound like a disagreeable person. I think this was evident when he talks about alternatives to existing rot in systems, rather than talk about the ways to fix the system or analyze the problems head-on. A disagreeable person would take the actors in the existing system to task and head butt with them about issues. All this would be done in a hope that they (the people head butting and having a difficult conversation) would come up with fixes for the existing system. Balaji is smart enough to think of alternative systems and completely by-pass the conversation about what is wrong with the current system. Maybe he doesn’t want to offend the system or the actors in it who have benefited him personally and allowed him to succeed in his life. Not from a perspective of being maliciously aligned but out of a contorted sense of respecting the work that has been put in to build the system. That is not to say that he doesn’t agree with the problems, he just doesn’t want to face them head-on.
Then there was another argument that Balaji was winding in his answers. That comment addresses the problem with what we as a society now need. Instant answers, on target, on time, every time. Unfortunately in most nuanced situations where one is building a logical conversation you are thinking out aloud at best and playing with the thoughts based on who you’re conversing with at the time rather than their digestibility by the audience. I think Balaji was being flexible and, yes at times might have even seemed to deviate, but only to give the larger context of his argument and lay ground for the direction of his claims.
No, the conversation was not an easy one and I think both the host and the guest were battling out their ideas in a very contrasting approach. One decide to fly high with ideas of disruption the other tried to become more pragmatic, even though he was known for his outlandish ideas. As a result some might come away from the conversation left a bit jaded. If what the audience wanted was an agreement in exultation, that’s not what happens in the podcast. It’s like a book that takes effort to get through but little by little you start building the character of characters involved in the story. You start imagining you have visited the protagonist’s house and even feel familiar with the layout of the rooms. However, to get there you have to go through the book, page by page, paragraph by paragraph.
This conversation might not be meandering and eventually might even return you to where it all started, but the ideas explored in it are important and exhibit the frustration, the potential, the fears of what could go wrong. Perhaps I might even say cautiously that it even presents options for how things could be set right among all this noise on the internet and in real life.