Monday, May 02, 2011

"The idea of you"

Lets do some basic definitions first. Lets define the mind, keep it simple.. it is something which has acquired certain qualities based on prior experiences and you 'see' the world through it. On a very plain note, it is mostly like a look-up table, where in, if it sees something it has previously seen, it looks it up, matches with the already existing data and returns a 'match found' signal if it finds a match, else a returns a 'no match found'- pigeonholing- as they call it technically. i.e., say it (mind) sees a dog. It has learnt from childhood days how a dog looks like and as soon as it sees it, the mind finds a match with its look-up table and identifies it. Knowledge flashes on it and you call this 'perception' or 'recognition'.

Say, you come across a strange animal which you havent seen before.
The mind still does the search, cannot recognise it, so it is confused. It has no prior information and what it will most probably do is to try to find out what the thing was.. may be the first act is to ask someone and then try to google it out, to confirm (because these days we rely more on internet than what people say. Unless google or wiki says something, I dont trust it kind of a thing!). It then adds this new entry to its look-up table, so that the next time you see the same thing, it is no longer new, and you immediately recognize it, without any delay. So, we have in some crude sense, defined 'recognition' or 'perception' and lets call our first look-up table as a "table of objects".

Now, we come to the more complex 'interpretation'. I am mostly referring to interpretations you do when you deal with sentient (conscious) beings than with insentient things (like objects), so to put it in plain words, when you deal with living beings. You come into this world with your mind. The way you 'interpret' a thing might be completely different from the way I interpret it, which could inturn be totally different from what it actually is. So, when you are reading people's faces, unless you have the art to read their mind, I feel, it is very hard to interpret them right. The reason is this: when you are recognising an object, it is very easy to do it. It is just a look-up table like I said, and if you see a lion, you map it to a lion and you see a monkey, you map it to a monkey, because some ancestor of us has defined that an animal which looks like 'xyz' should be called a monkey. So, everyone started calling it monkey and it became an universally accepted name. You learnt it in your school and you defined an element in your look-up table as monkey and map it to it. The logic circuit for recognising such things, is very simple.

But when it comes to 'recognising' other's minds, which means, you are trying to interpret an act or a behavior or in short, call it "interpreting people", there need to be so many combinations in your table. First of all, there are so many tendencies in people, so very different kinds of nature. Each mind has its own conditioning and ways of looking at things. There are so many emotions/feelings- happiness, sadness,anger, hatred, love, friendship, shyness,guilt,deception,trust,disbelief, humor and so on. There's a saying that the face is the index of your mind. I think you can make out some basic things from people's faces. Like, for example, if somebody is happy, you can make out from their face and you map it in your mind to one of these feelings and recognise that the expression on their face maps to happiness and hence you know that they are happy. So, here we form our second look-up table- a "table of emotions". Similarly, when some incident has happened to someone, which makes him angry, you can make out almost with complete certainty from his face that the person is angry, especially because you know some history behind what has caused him anger. But you can never be totally sure what is the extent of anger, or how much the anger has taken over him, unless he goes wild like a mad person or shouts or something. He might show anger on you but could still have complete control on himself and might not be affected by it. This thing which happens in his mind, you can never know for sure.

Some people are good in pretending. Like for example, if my friend has achieved something great, I am ideally supposed to feel very happy for her. But because I am not perfect and am a human, I might actually feel some jealousy for her. On the outset, I might wish and congratulate her happily, but how happy am I really for her, nobody knows. If lets say a person dies, and his son is crying and all. You never know if the person is really feeling sad, or just pretending because he IS supposed to cry. He might have always wanted his dad's property and might have been waiting for him to die! You never know. So, it is a tough thing firstly to form an idea of a person and also interpret him/her perfectly.

Also, it is hard to judge people by just meeting them or hearing to them for a few minutes. You might get sufficient idea about them, a rough sketch- like the person is
A- smart/dumb,
B- ok to approach/not,
C- friendly/not,
D- shy/open,
E- talkative/silent/reserved,
F- jovial/serious,
such kinds of things. So, thats your first impression and you start making an idea or a picture of the person as a combination of one or more things. So, that means, your mind is trying to create a new entry in its new (third so far) "look-up table of impressions" with a logic circuit of these or more items. Say for example- you have met an open/smart/friendly person- so our logic circuit is D2-A1-C1. Now the next time you meet the person, you mind maps him/her to this logic and the more you talk, you add your impressions to this logic. You start building more impressions as you get to know the person better. Now, this is where your logic might get complicated or even broken. As you get to know better, you start to 'interpret' the person. And you interpret based on the impressions you have already formed in your mind, which is completely dependent on the way your mind has been trained to interpret. When you get to be friends, you get more connected and build a more complicated logic circuit in interpreting one's actions, get  involved in emotions or whatever. You started with a simple logic expression of first impression (which can be said as almost always right- atleat wrt to the items I have described above), and now you end up being emotionally connected.

This calls for a lot of things. Firstly, you would be interpreted for every act of yours, and you would be expected to behave in a certain way so that the other person would not interpret you in a wrong manner. Till now, we have been talking about the involvement of just 2 people. Now, you are not living in a world that's closed. You meet a lot of people everyday who have a lot of tendencies of their own. If you have to reason out everytime on how to act or respond to a certain person in a certain scenario, and if you have to do this with all the people, life gets too complicated. I can, at best act true to my conscience. The moment I know I am doing or behaving in a wrong way, my conscience warns me, and I dont perform the act. Or to be honest, most of the times, I perform the act and then get warned that I did something wrong! But I cannot keep reasoning out before every act of mine, keeping in mind how the other person or even the world would interpret me, because it is simply impossible for me to even think how others might interpret me. It would get into some deadlock kind of a situation- me trying to interpret the other is simply impossible and me waiting to act based on that interpretation would put me in a never-ending 'wait' statement'. So, to evaluate the 'wait' statement, I need to use a condition, which might again be different each time I evaluate it. So, this whole sequential logic of behaviors and interpretations and dealing with people, breaks down at some point. At this point, I give up, I just dont interpret. I just act, and leave it at that.

Thus, each one has his own image of the world, or the 'idea of the world' and thats essentially the 'pattern' of the world set in his mind or as 'seen' through his mind. We are all living in our own universes- parallel universes as I often call it. I am in your universe and I have so many more people in my universe who inturn have their own, so I call them nested parallel universes. And what are these universes formed of? They are formed of ideas. "It is not about you, it is the idea of you" a friend told me, and the moment I heard it, I was excited about this statement. "It is not about you, it is the idea of you!" I get excited to write a whole book on this sentence, if I probably read this sentence 10 times a day, I can get inspired enough! I like it!

So, the ideas form this universe of mine and I live in it. I get attached to these ideas, find it difficult to imagine myself in any other world of ideas. But when I find a new world of ideas or rather create a new world of ideas, the old one would drop off on its own or gets transformed into the new one, thus the new one takes over. We thus move from one creation to another.


Anonymous said...

well there's a ancient telugu saying and when translated the saying is "THE ATTITUDE (GOOD OR BAD) YOU GOT BY BIRTH WILL PERISH ONLY WITH FIREWOOD DURING FUNERAL".its like people basics will remain till the end without much change.

people follow you on social netwoking site for 3 reasons,one is when they like you,2nd is when they hate you,3rd is to read your mind before writing in one's blog.we can read people even from blog writings but a networking site gives more clarity.

well many people believe protecting ego makes them successful.but what's EGO?ego is defined by wise as stubbornness to protect ignorance at any cost.a wise person has only two qualities to become successful,one is self-respect and another is confidence that comes from flawless life.

people believe there is no such thing called perfection and idealism.idealism or perfection is not out of world concept.idealism or perfection is defined as not believing in two principles "TO ERR IS HUMAN" and "SURVIVAL OF FITTEST". anyone who doesn't follow these principles is ideal and perfect.people can't chase or act idealism cuz it comes with blood and brought up from the way you have led life from childhood.well i was born to honest government official who never took bribe in his life,if someone says am chasing idealism then its ignorant cuz its in my blood which will never change.

people feel there is no need of such high ideals in day to day life.well when a bomb blast happens in india ,people will be ready to light candles instead lighting their minds and they save another pack of candles for next blast cuz of irrational rise in inflation.what keeps society safe,prosperous and happy is high ideals.

when we don't bother idealism,why do we write about beggars near temples,why are we concerned about deaths.we should not care for any of these.

let me define educated.being educated means having awareness what righteous life is.being educated is not having degree from harvard or iim.its very simple, if you can't apply your school textbook lessons to society then running after gods,temples,grieving for blast deaths,poverty,malice is ignorance and silly.

we have lot of psuedo-intellectuals who never speak truth to save their psuedo-holiness.for example infosys narayanamurthy,a p j abdul kalam etc who make statements about contemporary political scenario on news channels .gandhi and his followers too belong to this category.these people like the crowd to live in ignorance and worship them as demi-gods.

you don't get wisdom with age,people become wise from the amount of flawless life they have led from childhood.



Nanditha said...

Thank you!