Posts Tagged ‘language’

We are Incomplete

June 23, 2014

Why Should I Be rational?- Part II

<< Part-I

Can man survive all by himself without even the knowledge of the existence of others somewhere? It seems, he can. He can look for food himself. He can fight for his life against predators himself. Our body has a process to fight every challenge to its survival. And such a process has a closed end within the body- it does not involve any other member of the species. In this sense, such processes are complete. We can therefore say we are individuals.

However, there are some processes that are not complete. E.g weeping. Tears are not like a digestive juice, which is produced as a part a complete process- digestion. Another example is screaming.

When a man meets with an accident, and is wounded badly, he screams uncontrollably. This screaming is an involuntary reaction to pain. It does not contribute to healing of the wound. A complete process to heal the wound is initiated separately. It may take days, or may not succeed at all. But screaming is not a part of it. It is an open ended process and not a part of a complete process. It is incomplete.

Incomplete processes are a call for help, to other members of the species who could be around. The human mind is equipped to initiate incomplete processes, which means, it knows that it is not alone. Also, we are tuned to respond, on hearing a call for help from another member of the species. The incomplete process is then completed by a second individual, who receives it. So such a process initiated in us is to be completed by others. Therefore, we are incomplete individuals.

What is the mechanism of the response? I believe, an incomplete process produces the same emotion in the second individual as that of the first, in a much weaker form. For instance, when a man dries in pain, the cry produces the same emotion- pain in a very weak form, in the listener and prompts him to attend for help. When a musician plays on stage, people enjoy by resonating with what he expresses through his music. Thinking is also a sequence of well controlled emotions. When someone lectures a proof in mathematics, he is expressing this sequence. Anyone who understands it essentially resonates with it.

Incomplete processes form a weak link between people. In short, we are wired to both seek empathy from others and to show empathy to others. Resonating with others’ emotion is the most fundamental form of communication. It is the reason why we developed languages, common beliefs, common hope, religion, and finally, civilizations. It is the origin of all surreal objects.

An incomplete process is an expression of one’s feeling to others. I have carefully chosen the term expression here. It is chosen in opposition to action, where in we execute a decision. Expression is born from the urge to communicate what we feel, and ends with communicating it. Following this urge, the human mind attempts to use every available channel of communication as a mode of expression. There are several channels of communication, other than verbal. Two people playing chess, for instance, are intensely communicating with each other through the chess board, even though they don’t speak to or even look at each other. Making a decision can also be used as a channel to communicate. Our mind, by nature, attempts to utilize every such channel to express what it feels.

Part-III >>

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‘Sneak’ into the Gaps

September 3, 2011

While walking on the roads of the campus, if someone casually asked me ‘where are you going?’ I would reply ‘Nowhere..I am just moving parallel to the road’ 😀 😀 I always believed that most of our path is decided by the road, we just move along the road!; It’s only at the turnings where we get to make our choice. Yet, we get complete freedom to choose our final destination!. I was always amused at it. Probably because, I used time/length as a measure of domination. When I say we always walk along the road, and make a choice only once in while, I mean, our walk is dominated by instances where the road decides the path. Invariably I am comparing the chosen part of the travel and the predetermined part of the travel in terms of the time spent or the distance travelled. This is clearly an incorrect measure to quantify and compare how much do we get to choose and how much is predetermined.

Recently I came across a formal study of similar properties in a language. A language has got some rules in the form grammar etc.. As in, once I start writing, I don’t have complete freedom to decide the next character. There are restrictions to it. There are choices left to us and, in between the restrictions, we make use of the choices to give the meaning at our will. This is beautifully captured in what is known as redundancy of a language. This is a number between 0 and 1. A completely random language has zero redundancy; any character can appear after any character. It is completely up to our choice. A language where the user gets no chance to choose is a completely redundant language; every character is uniquely decided by its previous character. Anything in between these two extremes is assigned a number between 0 and 1(there are more beautiful results; the redundancy of a language is related to existence of arbitrary infinite n-dimensional cross word puzzles!). I was so fascinated that, in fact I started using the word ‘redundancy’ almost whenever I feel like! 😀 😀

Rules might seem like they are restrictions on our freedom. However, even in a very general abstract system, rules are very much necessary. I started comparing the rules and the freedom in a system to those of a game. There is no game without rules; also, there is no game with the moves completely determined by the rules. It’s a proper combination of freedom and redundancy which makes the game interesting. There are rules to be followed while playing a game. However, the real playing happens in the free region; If I am spending all his energy to merely be religious in following the rules, and doing nothing with the freedom, I am not playing at all! To play is to find gaps in between the rules and sneak into them!

So to play a game is to sneak in to the gaps between rules to get our job done. We might expect it to be easier to do so with lesser rules. But it is just the opposite!. The reason is, rules just give us a platform to work on; we are actually working in the free region. So, larger the free region, difficult it is. This is quite the reason why simplifying assumptions are made to begin with a new theory. We just don’t know how to work with very few constraints!. The extra assumptions give us the guidelines to work. That seems to be the purpose of rules. This post is abstract..probably because, the thoughts are so 😀 😀


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