Saturday, 2 February 2013

The Magic of Perception

"It's all in the mind" - George Harrison (The Beatles)

WYSIWYG. Is anyone familiar with this acronym? To those who are not, it stands for : What You See Is What You Get. It is generally used in context of text editors and is more commonly known to people who are related to computers.
We'll not discuss about computers here. We'll ponder upon something more marvelous than the computers, something so intriguing that it can't actually have a map legend - the human mind. To the human mind I ask - what do you see? And to the same human mind I question again - what do you make out of it? It's all in the mind. What appears beautiful to someone, might be perceived as ugly to someone else. What seems natural to someone, might be perceived as artificial to someone else. And who's the puppeteer? The human mind.

We all meet so many different people in our daily life. And each individual has a mind so different, so impenetrable to the other individual that often we yield to the illusion that we know what the other person is thinking. Meanwhile, let us hear a joke. I'll share it in parts.

' Man goes to doctor. Says he's depressed. Says life seems harsh and cruel. Says he feels all alone in a threatening world where what lies ahead is vague and uncertain. Doctor says "Treatment is simple. Great clown Pagliacci is in town tonight. Go and see him. That should pick you up." '

If I put a glass filled with water in front of 10 people, what does each one think? Someone might think of drinking the water, someone might think of offering it to the other person, someone might not even notice it, or someone might just feel like spilling it. One simple object, in front of different minds, and what does each mind see? Everything around us is a marvel - an intricately structured jewel that humans insist on viewing one edge at a time, when the whole design is visible in every facet. And that whole design, is never consistent in each mind. There might be a certain degree of similarity, but nonetheless, never exactly identical.

See the following images.

I shall not ask what do you see. And I shall not ask what do you make out of it.

The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”  - W B Yeats

Actually, the world is not full of magic things. It is full of simple things, yet our minds choose to see them in so many different ways that we never are able to keep them simple anymore.

People meet people. Thoughts meet thougts. Minds meet minds. And the story unfolds. But, never the same to everyone.

The magic of perception is awesome, yet dreadful. You never know what one gesture, beautiful to you, might mean to the other person.

To conclude the joke :
'Man bursts into tears. Says "But, doctor...I am Pagliacci." Good joke. Everybody laugh. Roll on snare drum. Curtains. Fade to black.'

-Unless you win the game or solve the puzzle, you are nothing but a loser.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

The Purpose of Reason

"And I am allowed no explanation? In that case, what is the purpose of reason?
Is it no more than to shine at practicalities - the getting of food,clothing and shelter?
Why can't reason give greater answers?
Why can we throw a question further than we can pull in an answer?
Why such a vast net if there's so little fish to catch?"

We ,in the dwindling rare events of our life,often stumble upon the question - what is the purpose of reason? To that we are thrown in a very tactful statement - "everything happens for a (good) reason and the reason shouldn't always be known or understood". The above quoted lines were picked from the novel - Life of Pi by Yann Martel and these lines held me spell bound for the reason that it justified "reason".

It's mind-wobbling that an idle human brain can weave a net of questions of such enormous proportions that it can engulf any humongous object that you can think of. But the whimsical part of this is that no idle or active human brain can come up with an ocean populated enough to relieve this net with the fishes it desires. And now enters "Karma". What can't be answered is blamed or credited to "Karma". As you sow, so you reap. But does that quench the thirst of reason? No.

More often than not, good times are just allowed to pass by. It's the bad incidents that actually trigger the weaver in us, and we end up with our own nets of questions. When we were kids, we never cared for explanations - because they were imparted onto us by our parents, and we surrendered to their wisdom. But as we grew, the hunger for explanation increased, and usually, we ended up staying hungry.(I wish "Karma" could offer something to eat).

And with time as the healer, the sore wounds of incidents whose reasons were zealously sought after are slowly cured and the net we weaved is dumped in a corner(or perhaps lost with the tides of time).

In this journey of life, all of us, at certain moments, wish we had someone to feed us when reason left us hungry. The spiritual bend of life often leaves us at the doors of God, and most of us succumb to the unknown. The ball we carried finally found a hole, and we cherish it. But the others seek for something more logical. Science? We all wish science had something to do with reason. Alas, it doesn't. Facts always don't hold answers, do they?

So we come back to the same place we started from - "what is the purpose of reason?" . I wish I knew the answer. I wish anyone in this whole world knew the answer. But we are left at the mercy of the same brain,that weaved the net, to find the fish. And whatever it comes up with, is somehow visualized as a fish. Or we go back to the journey of life as a gloomy fisherman.

-Unless you win the game or solve the puzzle, you are nothing but a loser.