Excerpts from Google Books listing of the book.
Staff: Your theory about human perceptions is fascinating and highly original. Can you give us an example of how someone could be mislead or abused by false perceptions?
George Padanilam: We always react to the opinion we form about a situation. The situation is always neutral. We give color and content to each situation and respond to what we make of it. Imagine that Bin Laden is caught or killed by the US Forces. Half of the Arab world may protest the incident and pledge revenge. The anti-terrorist-minded people all over the world would probably celebrate it. It is not the incident itself that triggers the response, but our interpretation or opinion of the meaning behind the incident. Our perception causes the happiness or misery we experience.
Staff: When did you begin to formulate the concept behind The Fig Leaf Conspiracy? Were you inspired by a particular incident or reaction?
GP: I achieved several goals in my lifetime, each time thinking that they would make me happy for the rest of my life. But each turned out to be a mirage. I met people in different walks of life, from various parts of the world. I have not come across anyone who has “lived happily ever after” once they achieved what they worked hard for. I thought that there might be a common cause that robs people of the state of mind that they long to enjoy. The insight I got at the circus, that I allude to in Chapter III of the book, inspired me.
Staff: I know that the title refers to Adam and Eve’s perception of their nakedness, but what exactly does the term “conspiracy” refer to in the title? Who is conspiring against whom?
GP: The society at large is conspiring to convince you that you are notperfect. Once you are convinced of your inadequacy, it educates you on how to overcome that deficiency. Regardless of the discipline, the subtle message through all the teachings of the world is, “You are not perfect the way you are; eat this apple and you will be perfect.” Eat this vitamin, you will be healthy; make this much money, you will be happy. Religion teaches; You are born as a sinner; follow these rules and you will be saved. The world forces you to accept a self-image of inadequacy and commands you to make it better.
Staff: From reading your work, I get the feeling that you were greatly influenced by your formative years as a child in India. What was your childhood like, and how do you think it has influenced your writing?
GP: I was greatly influenced by the Catholic Church and several of my teachers in school in my formative years in India. The teachers used to teach us moral principles through fables. One of the many lessons I learned from one of my teachers was, “Any fool can argue and proclaim that ‘I am right’ and fight for it. It takes a lot of courage and intelligence to recognize and admit that ‘I was wrong and I am sorry.”‘ All the conflict in the world is because of the passion to prove that, “We Are Right” –WAR.
Staff: If you had but one piece of advice for your readers to help them improve the quality of their lives, what would you say to them?
GP: What we believe we are is what controls our behavior. Belief begets behavior. We waste a lot of time and energy to change our behavior, hoping to change what we believe about us. It only reinforces the belief. You eat a low-carb diet or low-fat diet or all-protein diet because you believe you are nothealthy. None of them are successful because you believe that, unless you stick to that particular diet all the time, faithfully, you will not stay healthy. It is not your eating that you need to change; it is your belief, or thoughts, that you need to change. You need to think you are healthy. Once you believe fully that you are healthy, you will eat only a healthy diet.