Sunday, January 3, 2010

HUMAN PSYCHOLOGY

STATUTORY WARNING : This article is not meant for those with short attention span cause this spans a lot of issues some so deep in the article that I myself have lost count. So all the best for the few readers who shall read this article.

WARNING (part II) : This was written as when thoughts surfaced so please ignore the randomness of the various parts and paragraphs.

Yesterday I had a four hour long chat with a long lost friend; I don’t exactly know why I mention this but something in that discussion led to a chain of thoughts that is the foundation of this article.

Last year, in April, I sat for the most important exam of my life, JEE. Eventually, I landed up in this institute IIT Guwahati with my dream subject, COMPUTER SCIENCE. Sitting outside, preparing day and night to come to this institute, I had thought a lot about how this place would look like from the inside. I had always imagined it to be a place rarely found, a place where the thinkers reside, a place where there’s no restriction on thinking, a place that, in short, stimulates dead neurons to life and create miracles. I thought it as a place where everything was secondary to learning. But I sit here disappointed. Were my expectations too much to ask for? But is this the real question????

Confused.....so am I! Let me try to be clearer. These days all my thoughts about IIT-G and course structure revolves around my concern over my grades. So should this one. When I arrived here, I had it all planned up. How I would learn all there’s is to computers and try something new in due course of time. But my ideas and plans were all vaporised once I spent a few weeks here. Completely deviated from my path, I forgot my long term goal and even though I could do better, ruined my grades. I blame my seniors for this. For teaching me to ignore studies, teaching me to disrespect the value of learning, disrespecting my own vision.
But now comes the true question.... Are they really to be blamed? Yes, I do remember being woken up at odd times to do some of their stupid tasks; I remember being abused at for not doing their work properly; I remember myself planning excuses lest shall encounter someone on my way. But now as the haze lifts off from the unclear past, I ask myself: was it not me who wasted time sleeping 10 hours when he could have studied? Was it not me who spent hours discussing with friends what assholes are our seniors? Was it not me thinking over how I would like to kill the seniors who had just abused me and thinking over it until I had spent hours on it?
So are they really to be blamed? Next is the adaptation issue... or is it? Did the pathetic food in mess and memories of home actually hinder my studies? Or was it just another excuse?
This brings me to my concern: We all at some phases of life hold someone else responsible for ruining how we had planned it, but in this effort to save our ego, we create a hypothetical memory of the incident ourselves. We remember else’s fault more clearly than our own. We cover up our faults in our narration to others. And that’s precisely what I did until a few days ago. Now I take up the responsibility, not of my future (as atheists are generally expected to say), but of my past. I accept that it was more of my fault than theirs. I accept that I could have countered each of their moves and kept myself on the track. I could have out-spoken them and still not created a hostile environment.
But why do we do this? In my opinion, brain is nothing but a super-advanced computer. Nature, in the form of brain laughs at us as it shows that it is ages ahead (not behind-as we would want to think) of us. Brain is a living computer with electric signals being transmitted by neurons, where sodium and potassium play the role of silicon and copper wires. Still not convinced? Let’s see, what’s the basic purpose of computers? To solve problems and so is that of brain. Each thing in life is a set of problems, from the point of getting up from bed to going back to walking to speaking to learning to thinking. All these can eventually be broken into some basic problems, and eventually the brain has programs to solve them (we just don’t know the algorithm completely otherwise Artificial Intelligence wouldn’t have been a distant vision).
Why would a computer try to excuse itself? Why would it try to not accept its mistake? How does that actually help? Psychology says that it’s our nature to protect our ego, but I ask why? At what loss are we if we do accept that we too can commit mistakes, mistakes so grand that we might have to regret them all our life? These questions trouble me. Why can’t I sit and write this very article happily despite knowing I was the one responsible for what I’ve ruined? Why does this realisation have to be such a burden, such a pain? Why?
Consider a computer.... never commits a calculation error, does it? None. So many would now be happy to claim that brain is not a computer after all. I disagree again. In life, there’s no perfect answer. Brain does some calculation on the basis of its inputs and prior knowledge and decides a step which it seems best (which probably is based on probability). So why does it go wrong (wrong here doesn’t imply incorrect but a decision which is not actually the best)? I probably think it is based on incorrect inputs or pool of incorrect knowledge.
This possibly explains some of my mistakes. The pool of knowledge, in case of living entity, should also include its own behaviour (which in itself is a huge topic to discuss). And here I fail desperately. I’m probably the most gullible person on this earth. And that could be the basis of all this trouble I’m facing now....
I guess I’ve eaten up a lot of my readers’ head without much productive coming out of this article. So I shall conclude.

PS : in the line where i blame my credulity, I’ve again made an attempt to cover some of my flaws, though not intentionally. This brain is a tough thing to understand.

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