Archive for March, 2014

Waves don’t drown the boat

March 23, 2014

I started writing this post four months back. But in between, I was stopped by an existential question associated with both the contents of this post and the act of posting it O_o. While the process of overcoming this hurdle was a struggle, it also generated content for many future blog posts :P. To begin the way I intended:

“As our boat was rowed between the two islands in the ocean, huge waves appeared to engulf it. While we screamed in fear, the locals in the boat were smiling(and laughed at us silently). The waves were much higher than our boat, but, they didn’t engulf us. They lifted the boat higher up than themselves, while they passed underneath. It was a common part of a boat ride. The boat is after all, on the water.”

This is a tourist’s(not me) experience, at the Andaman and Nicobar islands. I don’t remember who was it, but his description was crisp enough to leave a permanent picture of the waves lifting up the boat as they approached. I remember even the exact words he used to describe it. And I am able to use this picture to understand something totally unrelated to the boat and the waves. 😛

One ingredient of intelligence is, a deep understanding of the world(or equivalently, the mind 😀 ). By deep understanding, I mean a knowledge of how different elements of the world, both physical elements and nonphysical, but thinkable elements are inter connected. The world includes three things: the bare physical world(without people), the people in it, and finally all nonphysical thinkable objects in it. An Understanding of the world would include observations on how two people interact, how many people come together to form a society, and how two societies interact. These are indeed observations on the fundamental properties of the human mind. Understanding the bare world is actually, observing how our mind reacts to it. Finally, the non physical thinkable objects form the biggest part of our world. They include all mathematical objects, games, stories, music etc. Such objects are constructed out of a language of communication between people. So much so, that they can be regarded as a part of the language. They are created out of the mind and hence bear fingerprints of the mind. In effect, exploring them is exploring the mind. So the question I want to ask is, on the whole, how does one develop such an understanding?

It is natural to assume that a man, privileged from childhood, has better opportunities to attain a deep understanding of the world. But sometimes, I felt that privilege leaves little to explore, so it is more advantageous not to be privileged. Now, I have concluded that, the deepest insights about the world are attained, neither by the one who was born privileged, nor by the one who was born in destitution, but it is the one who traveled between the two ends(either of the ways 😉 ). Traveling the socioeconomic spectrum(not as a tourist!) provides the deepest insights.

Problems are like waves in the ocean; they can do both: drown a boat or rise it high up. A new insight is gained out of the experience of overcoming the problem. All non trivial insights are gained through solving a non trivial problem. There are two questions to be answered here: One, is there any value to the insight that is developed in this process? or, is the insight useful only to solve that particular problem? In that case, it would be redundant; However, a very deep insight is also very general in its applicability. It contributes significantly in enhancing the overall understanding of the world.

Secondly, what determines whether the wave drowns the boat or rises it up? This is a hard question. At this moment, I don’t have an answer more precise than saying that it depends on how many unintended observations we made in the past. Naturally, all the way, we make a lot of random irrelevant observations without intending to do so. Such observations made in the past are put together in overcoming the problem.

Obviously, one cannot intentionally make unintended observations :D. Any conscious attempt to make irrelevant observations would result the set of observation being one-sided, since they are powered by an intention. Moreover, the mind tries to put together all conscious observations to make a ‘conclusion’, and there after it systematically remembers the conclusion with most clarity.

Though this was a simple post, the process of writing it, strangely, was one such boat ride over a wave :P. I believe I went over the wave, and that, at least, generated more posts to come :D.


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