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Archive for September, 2006

Thoughts on Thoughts

Disclaimer: All “he”/”him”/”his”/”man” in the below text represent “she”/”her”/”hers”/”woman” as well.

Intelligence – the mother of all stupid thoughts, and the father of ego… and, a killer, of course! It is the one thing that does not let you live in peace, even when you have everything that the next door person has. And boy, ain’t he living in peace? Well, as a matter of fact, you never know! If one was indeed living in peace – or at least claiming to live in peace – on the basis of the fact that he has all the basic needs of life fulfilled, I wonder, how come he does not want anything else, something more, and more, and more!

Now, don’t get me wrong here. I am not talking about greed, at all. At least, not greed in the “bad” sense – not in the sense of wealth for wealth’s sake. This is a blog about minds and thoughts. And I be only talking about those things in here. I be talking about intellectual demands when I speak of need.

It is obvious that he should need “more”… we all need more than what we got/get. Our mind cannot stop – cannot be content. Great minds want great things – and small minds want small stuff. Someone, after seeing a nice movie may want to see another one, and someone may want to direct one similar, or better! Someone, after learning theory of quantum mechanics may want to go back to something easier (like management, or, badminton), and someone may jump ahead towards quantum electrodynamics and string theories. If we keep our judgemental cap aside for sometime, and try to generalise these examples, can’t we see that what is happening underneath these silly events is that men are restless and they cannot help it. Their minds cannot let them be at rest. It has to move. Be it from noble thoughts to arousing thoughts, be it from dreaming at night to dreaming during work, be it anywhere, anytime, about anything, the mind has to move. It has to constantly churn out newer chemical reactions inside the brain, and is constantly in search for meaning within those reactions. A body in sound shape, sometime, is able to bring it into control – to tame it for some time – when the brain goes into a non-REM mode of sleep; but it fights back within a few hours at the most. It turns out impossible for the body to control those “active levels” of serotonin and dopamine for more than a trice. Mind has to control you and your body. Well, mind is you! It has been made that way – it exists because of that very reason. The reason of giving meaning to the Universe. After all, what is this Existence if there is no one to feel It! And unfortunately, since the Universe couldn’t help being so big and so intricate, our mind has to try and strive constantly to get a good pie of it before the chemical reactions of its body run out.

Thinking about what was that in the last few lines? What I just claimed – in simple terms – was that our mind is actually trying to comprehend this Universe while it is constantly running around with thoughts. I understand why you have a problem with this notion. Yes, indeed there are imaginary things, weird things, past things, future possibilities, and whatnot that we think of. Are all these things part of reality? And if these are not, then what the hell the mind is doing in the name of enjoying the Universe?

What is Universe? Why do we define it as the collection of stuff that we can see, touch, hear, smell, and taste? Yes, we go down into optical microscopes, electron microscopes, and even superconducting supercollidors to investigate that what is small – and we go up to optical telescopes, radio telescopes, background microwave radiation sensing satellites, and even Voyager spacecrafts to investigate what is big and far. But after all, our expectation is almost always limited by our senses. But let’s think about it a little more. Our thoughts – what is it finally when we go down into molecules? A series of chemical reactions? So indeed it is real stuff. It is part of this Universe.

If we can establish that “thought” as an event is indeed part of the Universe, all that is left to establish to prove my point is that “what we think” is also part of this Universe. Let’s try to look at it a little differently then. You are reading this text on the screen of your computer. The computer is a set of electronic devices, running on electrical power (one of the 4 basic forces of nature). The monitor is made of plastic and metal stuff. It is lighted by electrical power, and light is coming out of it (photons / electromagnetic waves). All of these are “real” stuff – parts of the Universe. So the “text” that you are seeing also is. It is a real thing that is being created on the monitor’s screen and you are perceiving (seeing) it as really as you are seeing the computer itself. Right?

Wrong! Yes, you are seeing some photons. But the text is being forming not on the computer screen – it is being created inside your mind. This is a black text – i.e., along the lines of this text, the computer is not projecting any light. The computer is just projecting white light around the letter-figures. You are creating texts out of blackness – out of nothingness.

And I agree with you, that the texts are real. These texts are your thoughts. And they are real as real your daydreams are. I am still thinking how to prove my point mathematically – in the meanwhile, I’ll re-articulate what I just said there. All that I am saying is: Our thoughts are not things that exist outside this Universe. Yes, these are stuff that our five vigilant senses cannot “feel”, but these are as much part of reality as those things which our senses can. The thoughts are churned out of real stuff. And I doubt if unreal stuff can be created out of real ones! After all, Sir Stephen Hawking has shown the world that even imaginary particles are real – they exist and generate Hawking Radiation out of the Event Horizons of Black Holes.

Enough! Let’s backtrack this journey now and find out where we sidestepped from the main flow. We have seen that our minds are restless, and thoughts are abundant, and our mind works on chemical reactions inside the brain. We have also claimed that our mind runs all the time because it wants to experience the Universe as much as possible, even when it is thinking unlikely thoughts. All that is OK, but was that what this blog was started for?

No.

But these were my thoughts on the spot for today. Until we meet again, be safe, read some good books, make people around you happy, and keep smiling.

Love,
IC (G)

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