Posts Tagged ‘Metaphor’

Action and Expression

June 23, 2014

Why should I be rational?- Part III

<< Part-I, << Part -II

Imagine, there is table in front of you. You placed sugar at one end of the table, honey at the other end and an ant at the center. The ant can make its personal choice of whether to go for sugar or for honey.

Suppose, in addition, the ant has moods- three possible moods- happy, sad and neutral. It’s mood changes randomly between these three at irregular intervals. Like we have an urge to express our feelings, let us assume that this ant too has an urge to express its mood. It has no means of verbal communication to do so; but there is still a way: It is walking towards its choice, honey/sugar. When it feels happy, it stops where ever it is, and takes a few steps towards the honey. When it feels sad, it stops and takes a few steps towards the sugar. When it is neutral, it has nothing to express; it continues walking towards its choice. This is a way to using the walking as a channel of communication to express its mood- just because it has an urge to do so.

Now, as an observer, you don’t know the ants choice- sugar or honey. Neither do you know of its changing moods. There no way to find out the ant’s choice or its mood just by watching it. If at some point, the ant is moving towards the honey, it could either be an action: i.e., it has chosen to get the honey or, it could be an expression of its mood.

So far we have assumed that the ant itself knows which of its movement is an action and which is expression. If it didn’t consciously know, and it tried to judge from its own motion, it would be impossible to do so. The ant doesn’t know what it wants!.
This is an analogy I used to define action and expression. We too use every available channel to express what we feel. And, like the ant, sometimes we ourselves are unable to identify an expression or an action.

This urge to express is one reason behind non trivialities in a language- figures of speech. Many metaphors are born because the mind uses multiple channels to express itself. Abusive terminologies(that claim the untrue 😛 ) are an expression of anger.

However, all these are instances where we consciously know that it is an expression. There are examples where we are unaware of this. A day before every exam, we “decide” to be better prepared next time. But this “decision” never gets acted. :D. This is an instance where the mind uses the process of deciding, as a channel to express that it is repenting. This is often a case where we don’t consciously know that it was an expression and not an action. An action too, is quite common. A decision to turn left while driving, for instance, is an action. It gets enacted without any hassle.

Many of our decisions are mere expressions. Being unable to identify actions and expressions is quite common. While both action and expression are essential, it is important to know which is an action and which is an expression. Before, this, we need to understand all the differences between them.

An action is a thought that is born in the mind and flows out through the body. It can’t be stopped in between, by a purely internal force. The thought is not complete until it is acted. It is a single piece- it can’t be broken in to thinking part, and enacting part. Action belongs to the deterministic part* of the future. Like all other deterministic parts of the future, it already exists in the present as a thought, but is invisible. It becomes visible in the future. Therefore, action is a part of reality. Therefore, questioning an action or an inaction is questioning the existence/non existence of a part of reality- it is an existential question.

An expression is always preceded by a strong emotion, which is to be expressed. It is not a part of reality. So, an obvious way to distinguish between action and expression: if a chain logical deductions leads to visibly absurdity, it is an expression. Expression is itself absurd, but its absurdity is usually invisible. So,, many times, we don’t identify expressions as expressions(like the confused ant). This is a state of illusion. The illusion is broken by a chain of logical deductions starting from it, that reaches an absurdity. We are a part of reality, and everything that we want to call reality must be deducible from it. Expression/ surreal objects can’t replace the reality.

* “the sun will rise up tomorrow” is a deterministic part of the future to our present knowledge

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