Friday, June 16, 2017

Entropy – Story of the Monkeys and the Hat-Seller

I love telling stories to put across a point

Do you wonder why the younger generation is always smarter than the older generation...?

Why are your kids always smarter than you...?

It has all go to do with the concept of ENTROPY

What is Entropy...?

Well  I will not delve into the complicated depths of Information Theory – or Thermodynamics  to try and explain the meaning of Entropy

Long ago – I taught Electronics and Communication Engineering and Information Technology at the Post-Graduate Level – and – in order to explain the concept of Entropy – I narrated this simple story about a Hat-Seller and his encounter with some Monkeys

A Teaching Story
Retold By

Once upon a time there was a young hat seller who used to roam around the country from town to town selling hats for a living.

Yes – he was a hat-seller – and  he sold hats for a living.

On one summer afternoon 
 while travelling from one town to another  he felt very exhausted. 

He was so tired that he decided to take a nap in the forest.

He found a mango tree 
– with lots of branches  and cool shade. 

Placing his bag of hats beside him 
 the hat seller went to sleep.

When he woke up after a refreshing nap 
– he found that there were no hats in his bag.

 he exclaimed to himself: 

“What bad luck. Of all the people  why did the thieves have to rob me...?”

Suddenly he looked up 
– and – he noticed that the mango tree was full of monkeys  wearing all his colourful hats.

He could not believe his eyes. 

Yes  all the monkeys were wearing his hats.

He yelled at the monkeys.

The monkeys screamed back at him.

He made faces at the monkeys.

In response  the monkeys made the same funny faces back at him.

He threw a stone at the monkeys.

In response – the monkeys showered him with raw mangoes.

“Oh my God 
 how do I get my hats back...?” the hat seller wondered.

He pondered for some time  but he could not find a solution to his predicament.

Finding no answer  he got so frustrated – that he took off his own hat – and he threw the hat on the ground.

To his surprise 
 all the monkeys also threw their hats to the ground.

The hat seller did not waste a second. 

He hurriedly collected all the hats – and he went on his way to the next town.

50 years later 
 the grandson of the same hat-seller was passing through the same jungle. 

The grandson had continued the family business of selling hats.  

After walking all afternoon 
 he was very fatigued and tired.

He found a nice mango tree with lots of branches and cool shade.

So  he decided to rest a while  and soon was fast asleep.

A few hours later 
 when he woke up  he realized that all the hats from his bag had vanished.

He started searching for the missing hats.

Then he looked up.

To his surprise he found some monkeys sitting on the mango tree wearing his hats. 

Yes – the monkeys were wearing all his colourful hats.

At first 
– he was confused.

He was at a loss not knowing what to do. 

 he remembered the story his grandfather used to tell him  about the monkeys and the hats.

“I know how to fool these monkeys...” he said to himself, “I will make them imitate me 
– and very soon  I will get all my hats back.”

He waved at the monkeys 
 and the monkeys waved back at him.

He blew his nose 
– and the monkeys blew their noses.

He started dancing 
– and the monkeys also danced.

He pulled his ears 
– and the monkeys pulled their ears.

He raised his hands 
– and the monkeys raised their hands.

 he threw his hat on the ground – expecting all the monkeys to do likewise. 

Yes – he exepected the monkeys to imitate him and throw the hats on the ground (like his grandfather had told him)

But instead 
 one monkey jumped down from the mango tree. 

The monkey walked up to him. 

 looking into the young man’s eyes  the monkey said: 

Do you think that only you had a grandfather...?” 


Had a laugh...? 

Liked the story...?

Now – Dear Reader  you please tell me: 

What is the meaning of Entropy...?

Still clueless...?

Read the story once more.

In fact  keep reading the story again and again  till comprehension dawns on you.

It is simple.

This story emphasizes the importance of continual learning.

Unless you keep continuously learning  you will soon become obsolescent  and soon  you will be rendered obsolete

This is especially important for senior citizens like me – who have to keep learning new things – especially with the advent of information technology, internet, online processing, social media etc – and as and when new gadgets are introduced like PCs, laptops, tablets, smartphones etc. 

Just imagine – if we “Old Fogeys had stopped learning – if we had not kept abreast of the latest technologies/techniques – we would have become antiquated relics”  as the world would have moved ahead at a rapid pace

The only way to defeat entropy is to keep learning.

Entropy is a measure of uncertainty  of ignorance  and if you don't keep learning  your entropy will keep increasing – and you will become more and more clueless – relative to your outside world.

That is what a law of thermodynamics says  isnt it: 


 Dear Reader  remember the story of the Monkeys and the Hat-Seller – and keep learning  and have a nice entropy-free life. 

Copyright © Vikram Karve 
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© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

1. This story is a fictional spoof, satire, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
2. All Stories in this Blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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