Making friends in the park

The other day ,as I entered the park  gate for my morning walk I suddenly noticed that I had unconsciously turned left to make the usual rounds in the track .I wondered why I unconsciously chose to walk clockwise in the oval shaped jogging track.I found everybody else did the same thing. I therefore made a conscious decision that I would change my routine for a day and walk counterclockwise.

The result was interesting. Till now I had never seen the faces of my fellow-walkers .I was merely walking along with them barely conscious of the footsteps of the other walkers behind me. I was amazed to find at least 10 to 15 people with whom I could make eye contact . Eye contacts mean that so many people have come out of anonymity to join the circle of people who could turn out to be my acquaintances.

Anyway the point is not about making friends in the park .A change of habit or moving away from the way you are hard-wired to behave may bring unexpected dividends or open up vistas of new knowledge .I often feel that I am not carrying within  myself a running awareness of my activities which enables me to pause and take a look at the alternative possibilities .If I carry such an awareness within me as I go about my daily business I can explore the alternative possibilities which enrich my life. One way to ensure that you always carry the awareness is to be constantly making a running commentary within yourself on everything that you think and do so that you have the opportunity to evaluate the various options available to you on an ongoing basis.


Solitude on the internet


An interesting question that comes to me again and again is whether I am practicing solitude with the internet. I spend 10 hours of time on it and I am still not social ? No, Sir. I am merely practicing aloneness on it. Of course if I am doing web surfing ,am I not interacting with people’s minds? Yes ,with static minds not with minds that are moving dynamically from Point A to Point B. Do you get what I am trying to say? Let me explain.

For example , in this piece of monologue ,obviously I am not being social. In a poem I write I am essentially alone. In a poem I read I am also being alone because as the poem progresses I am mapping out my own thinking touching  just the fringe of the poet’s mind. I am only looking for the keywords that would set my own thinking going..

But when I read a website I have a potential to be social. But here again I merely touch the fringes of others’ minds and go off on my own as quickly as I enter them. I am only looking for keywords that will get my own mind going. If on the other hand I am physically social with somebody I can hear and sense his mind’s working. I touch his inner workings ,progress along with them ,ride the waves of his thinking and reach somewhere,that may not be the place where he himself has reached but a different place that has a strange geography mapped by the working of both minds .

But then ,even in physical interactions does such a social experience take place? It does because the mind physically opposite to yours is progressing along its own logical course as the interaction takes place. If you are attentive enough your own mind crosses it in its path somewhere where a transformation takes place in the logical positions taken by both the minds. But we are not taking of megalomaniacs or people with no patience for others’ thinking.In such cases obviously no social experiences take place as the minds are decided to be alone all the time.

Of course we look at myriad possibilities as we course along the outlines of other minds but barely manage to penetrate them. We explore other minds merely as a starting point to set off our own thinking.Only the extent of our touching the other minds differs. The richness and the complexity of the interactions resulting may differ from person to person.In my case I hardly ever try to stay till the end to hear what shape the other mind is taking and what positional shift has occurred at the end.

Becoming aware of thoughts

Once you dig into thoughts , they well up like ground water , which means you have to do the digging thing.

We are not very sure if thoughts are already there ,or they appear when we start the process of becoming aware of them. For example, these thoughts about thoughts being already there or appearing when we think of them -were these already there in a latent form ?

If thoughts are mere electrical impulses happening at the time they are happening, then there is a pattern to it or there is supposed to be a pattern .Does that mean there is something predictable about what thoughts follow the current thought .Which means whatever thought is currently in the mind , will necessarily have to lead to the same succession of thoughts all the time.

But this does not seem to be happening because when I look back I find the thoughts were different the last time around. It follows that the train of thoughts is different each time I start the thinking process.Which means there is no particular pattern to the way a thought leads to the next thought.

Again the word “lead ” presupposes that there is something in the current thought which predisposes what follows it. For example , in this train it is words which seem to carry forward thought.The word “lead” -started the process of thinking how one thought is followed by another ,flowing out of the first thought. Some times it is a word or combination of words which takes the sequence of thoughts in a different direction .Does that mean the word drops from the blue / or that the word happens as part of the natural thought formation?

There seems to be something called a natural word formation : much like water welling up in a dug well.One never is sure if the word “lead” in the earlier thought came to me because the underlying thought about one thought naturally brings forth another in an unfailing manner and that is exactly the way it will work out when this thought occurs anytime.

Skepticism: This has happened just now to me .I suddenly started to think I had come to too many and too much unwarranted conclusions and too quickly.

Poetry and photography

Poetry is not about fantasy all the time .It is sometimes about unreal situations,the unreality arising out of the fantastic combination of things and events which do not exist in real life.This does not mean that it is entirely unreal and is not reflective of life . What happens is the strange set-up of things and events which do not occur in the same combination in real life but happen nevertheless as a possibility which is captured by a change of perspective. The change of perspective adds to the beauty of the situation which is unreal but nevertheless exists in visual perception. Photography is so much like poetry in this regard.

The strange mixture of things  makes for a new reality.The wind rustles in the leaves and the leaves fall to the ground .The fantastic reality of the tree and the falling leaves mixes with the blue sky and whiteness of cloud and as I stare through the sky-spaces another world is born,another sky comes into existence. I travel to the office in the white heat of April Summer alongside bright-red bougainvillea my world is not the same world as it has been all the time.The white-and -red bougainvillea are entirely different as the April sun falls on them , their luminescence strangely different from what they were this very morning.This is the new reality which a photograph captures and if you look backwards you can recognize the wistfulness present in the unique spatial situation captured by the photo by recollecting all the elements of the picture as an ensemble or at least the motif of the picture if it had one at the time it captured the situation

What is truth?

If we have to arrive at some definition of truth we may look at it as a commonly agreed perception of reality. The definition has its own weaknesses :firstly ,common agreement could be in limited space, limited time and could turn into disagreement in another space,another time. Secondly we are talking about perception which even if common could be misleading and for arriving at correct perception individual and group biases will need to be recognized and eliminated .Thirdly even if we are agreed on the perception of the reality both in our time and in the past (i.e. we and our ancestors have looked at the reality as the same) we do not know what the perception will be like in future and will tally with perceptions of the present time and the past .

I wonder whether we should pursue this inquiry any further .Isn’t it fruitless? The truth keeps changing now and then and our definition will depend upon the changing context and the changing values.

Time is a mere successon of one’s ideas

The philosopher Berkeley views time as a mere succession of ideas-a puzzling thought.

It may be this way :When we view Time we are not thinking about how individually we perceive the way Time is measured by the movement of the clock but about the passage of Time which is independent of the physical ticking of the clock which only measures the passage of time but is not the passage of time itself.

On the other hand it is ideas that flit through one’s mind which make for the passage of time for you and me .This is because it is succession of ideas that governs our perception of the world irrespective of the “objective reality” and it is the perception which marks our time ,not the clock.

Questions about the length of the rulers and their possible answers

If there is a 10 CM ruler and someone ask you how long is that. The answer should be 10CM. If there is a 5 CM ruler and someone ask you how long is that. The answer should be 5CM. Now, If there isn’t any ruler and someone ask you how long is that. I should answer 0 or “N/A”? In this case, does 0 and “N/A” have the same meaning?

The question asked about what the length of the ruler is when there is no ruler cannot be answered . Only when there is ruler and that is the one being referred to can the answer be made to this question. There is an assumption behind the question that we are specific about the ruler and it is not any ruler but the ruler and since there is no ruler it is safe to assume that the question has no answer.

More accurately we can say that the question does not arise. It is assumed that the questioner is clear about what ruler he is referring to and the answerer with a reasonable application of mind can decipher what ruler the questioner is referring to .The question will then arise and the answer can be expected.

One ambiguity can arise in answering the question. The questioner can say the ruler can exist with a “zero” length and if the question is about the length of the ruler it is correct to answer “zero”. N/A can also be used if instead of answering the question we say that the question does not beg an answer. Both of course are not the same as N/A would imply the answerer is challenging the correctness of the question itself while in the case of “zero” reply a technically correct answer is being given.