Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Free Will, Or Free Won't...

Q: Do you Think before you act or do you act and then think Oh! My God what have you done???

Hmm if some study has to be believed, you dont need to harp about it so much. Much as people wonder about the anatomy of our consicous & subconcious mind, more complex it proves to be...

I was just awestruck by this remarkable study about the timing of human conscious awareness, by some Benjamin Libet, an American Scientist in 1970's. He carried out several experiments & one corollary of it was that our responsive time (or say the reaction time) shud be less than about half a second in any case, if it assumed that we "Think", or are consciously aware before we act.

That may seem true, for a 500 ms reaction time would mean u simply can't drive a Michael Schumacher...or wield the willow against Brett Lee...like Sachin's hook short for a six.

Precisely, Libet found out the latency involved during an electric signal issued by the brain to perform an action, followed by the person becoming actaully aware of his action - a good 500 millisec. He then propounded that the mind subconcioulsy processes information and takes decisions before we can rationaly become aware of the same. Bingo.

That brings Free Will into picture...about which a great many chimerical accounts have been given.
In Blink, Malcolm Gladwell aptly argues about the distinctive patterns that experts can discern, on the basis of their umpteen experiences, and hence are comfortable to take snappy decisions within the blink of an eye.
Stephen Hawking paints the picture of Determinism...and raises the Question 'Is Everything Pre Destined'...and concludes smartly with a wisecrack: Yes...But It might not well be...because we could never know what we have determined.

Anyway...i guess free-will could just be the delusion of being in control of what we do, or maybe Spirituality may let us know about our subconscious decision maker. Let's figure it out!

Monday, January 8, 2007


"Don't Worry, That's How Life Goes..." - I think it serves as a good solace. I m using it today.
And also the Coldplay Number - A Message, serves good:

...And I'm not gonna stand and wait
Not gonna leave it until its much too late
On a platform I'm gonna stand and sing...

No if's & but's, no restlessness please.

Normally I hate pithy platitudes or cliche-ridden stuff...like "Everything Will Be Alright", because they are highly contextual and carry with them various assumptions when they were carved out at the first place...However as they evolved, their purpose evolved and are no more used to state Facts per se...we have given them more subjective meaning.

But somebody was right stating cliches encapsulate the "purest form of truth and wisdom"...and you have to chisel that out from the time-worn-dull-meant covering, so as to absorb it in truer sense...

Maybe some experience needed sometimes...but not necessarily.
So next time when you chance upon a chinese proverb or listen to your grandma slurred voice: "Son, dont worry your time will come...", dont be ignoramus & shrug it off...better would be to visualize urself in such a place and see how you react to it.

For me today's cliche would be what
Swami Vivekanand said: Keep No Expectations From Anyone...Live An Independent Life.
But why does it turns out to be idealistic-but-impracticle quixotic kinda thing???
Looking for Answer...Still.

Only one regret today...I didn't "Keep Smiling" enough. Yet another cliche.