Squeezing Through

This article isn’t for the bored. And if you feel terribly positive right now – you probably won’t after you’re done. There. Now that that’s done…

It feels so good to make overarching statements about life and the universe – makes you feel powerful and all-knowing, when you so obviously aren’t. This isn’t an article like that. This one’s , for once , very simple. I just want to talk.

I’m not sure what’s bothering me really – the lack of belief that plagues everything I do or the idea that I haven’t found my passion in life yet. Though I actually think I have. I tend to like reading about psychology, I enjoy studying it, I enjoy understanding it’s effects and results and conclusions. That must mean something right? It should hopefully mean that that’s what I should do the rest of my life – I plan to anyway. But if it’s destined to not get anywhere why bother? Such absolute pessimism dogs many of my thoughts and decisions and remains firmly out of my control.

Imagine being able to control your emotions – an iron fist around the tiny bean sized amygdala in the brain – do YOU think you’d be a better person? Or would it turn you into an automaton? Would a lack of feelings fundamentally make us zombies? Without actually considering the definition of zombies. It’s an interesting thought – like the notion of what not feeling pain would turn us into. Are we good as humans(pick whatever definition of being human that you will – I don’t care)? Do we deserve to exist in the first place? What right do I have to ask that question anyway? I can’t represent even a minor percentage of the population. But society makes me want to try.

I wonder if being completely solitary would’ve affected me in some drastic way – would I have named coconuts so that I have friends(Cast Away – pretty good movie in retrospect)? I wouldn’t know what friends are so why bother trying to have them? I wouldn’t know the very existence of society or the norms or anything else that I am forced to comply with now. It sounds like a very carefree existence – one that would be filled with eternal doubt over my continued presence on the world and what purpose it serves.

Recently I saw a documentary that commented on how we can use our ability to classify things to do great harm to each other. As we learn more about our own minds would you say that the possibility of mind control only increases? Would it be bad if it was invented? How much worse off would you be? The mind control might even make you a hell of a lot happier than you are now. My life would be bliss I’m sure. The people in control couldn’t possibly have any other plans for me. And after I die I wouldn’t care if I was going to heaven or hell , I wouldn’t even care that I was going to die. When we’re so sure we’re going to die anyway why spend so much time worrying  about it? It should just serve as motivation to get on with life – to actually do something rather than just laze around and mooch off someone. I feel great motivation when I think of the idea that I could prove the non-existence of God for sure. I actually treasure the thought that people would try to lynch me for it. It’d be so satisfying to know that I’d fundamentally altered the societal fabric – I’d’ve ripped and torn it apart with that actually.

(Edit: I watched Life of Pi and realised that God deserves to exist even if I don’t believe in Him, so that path for tearing apart the social fabric doesn’t exist anymore.)

When I get up every morning I always feel like having tea. Nothing else. Like, if I know that I’ll get some tea in the morning it gives me inspiration to wake up – something about the semi-sweet generally brown liquid tempts me greatly. And I love satiating that temptation. Addictions must feel like that. Like you’d be happy to do something if you could get your next dose or shot or whatever other weird metaphor is applied to pushing chemicals into your body to mess with what millions of years of evolution has nearly perfected.

You have a memory which is less that one-fourth the size of your hard disk and it can store terabytes and terabytes(petabytes?) of information. Not just that. It can also get you the information really really quickly and see the transitions from one state to the other – like some sort of graph where you know the transitive closure. I hate talking like I know about all this – like I can try to educate you about it when in reality my understanding is as superficial as it can be. I just have the desire to scoop up that top layer of water and throw it in your face.
I’ve always wanted to write something as rambling as this was. This is how I think – how my mind transitions from one things to another so rapidly that my concentration dwindles within a second. I don’t exactly know why that is, but my doctor – this guy who lives on the web diagnosed it as some form of ADD and I was surprised and satisfied to belong to some category. In retrospect I still don’t get why there’s such a desperate need to belong. Back to the point on solidarity – I’m sure I wouldn’t have cared about ADD had I lived that life.

Well I was definitely hoping to reach 1000 words with this article but this is as close as I’m getting I think so I’ll finish this off by saying that learning new languages makes people smarter. I was thinking about it last night thanks to a friend and I like how we believe that and the belief of it tends to add to the already documented effect. A self-serving bias, albeit a positive one for once.

I hope I made you think.

2 thoughts on “Squeezing Through

  1. First of all, I was about to sleep and now I’m wide awake. This made me think and i’m slightly pissed because of it.

    What follows are just opinions:

    *Our memory – isn’t it more like a non-deterministic machine? I couldn’t ever understand the tera/peta figure. How does one quantify our memory when it can have multiple selectively altered versions (and all of which are true)?

    *Mind control:
    Okay, two possibilities here:
    We controlling our own minds — hell of a difficult job, wish I could do this. There are methods, but being lazy doesn’t help. Let me explain what I mean here. When I say control, I mean being in complete control of your conscious thoughts and being unfazed to external stimulus (maybe a lack of emotional response, i don’t know). Wish I could do what Feynman did; dose of LSD in a specially made chamber for out of body experience… experiencing yourself in the third person basically.

    Some external agency controlling ours — Happens all the time. But a conscious external agency, that’s conspiracy theory stuff.

    *Need to belong:
    Maybe some evolutionary tribal instinct. I sometimes wonder why tigers are solitary and what it must feel like to just go into a cave for years? Very few can survive without naming rocks, I think. Okay, interesting experiment – take two of a predominantly social species(wish it could be humans), put one in solitary(complete solitary) and the other one in a healthy social environment. What do you think would be the difference in their brains after a year perhaps? What abnormalities do you think will be there?

    I wish we could selectively paralyze(temporary of course) parts of our brains. Would be fun, no?
    Day 1 – Broca’s area (language gg)
    Day 2 – Hippocampus (or hypothalamus.. whichever forms new memories)
    Day 3/4/5 – Amygdala (only selectively). So, no emotions at all for day 3, no empathy for day 4, no pain for day 5
    Day 6 – The entire cortex (just for the sake of the real animal like existence)

    I’m sad

  2. @Fallor:
    First of all, even though I knew it was possible that this would make people sad, I still feel bad that it did, so I’m sorry. After all I’m only human.
    As for memory – I completely agree with you on that, hate using terms like that when I really don’t have a feel for it myself but then it’s a lack of a way to express it more than anything else that led to me doing that. I wasn’t sure how to get the point across. Maybe once quantum computing becomes a norm I can really explain what memory is in terms of qubits(they can be in several states at any moment of time you know 🙂 ). As for it being very non-determistic – not very sure where to go with that idea even if it feels nice.
    Ah as for mind control I meant it in terms of using specific inputs to generate specific understood outputs ( like making something expensive, putting it on discount so that people are more ready to buy it because they think that it’s better since it USED to be expensive). So your former idea and not the latter really. Or maybe a bit of the latter too since I’m not sure how you meant the first idea in the first place.
    Belonging definitely feels like an evolutionary instinct. I really wanna do the Feynman thing too! Though I remember him saying he rarely felt anything close to enlightenment or stuff on those lines.
    Taking people ad isolating them – it’s happened already hasn’t it? At some point people must’ve been stranded on an island and eventually been rescued, in the past at least if not now when we need to use every island we have. So that might help in understanding how that’d affect people, but since an fMRI scan on the dead really doesn’t tell you much we probably need to artificially induce this one. A kidnapping for a research experiment? Sounds really like it’s for the greater good to me.
    Abnormalities? Hmmmm. No idea. Sounds REALLY interesting though, honestly 🙂
    The last part would be DAMN fun. I wanna see what it would be like. Though the day 1 has been extensively researched thanks to all those people who get an atrophy in that area or some other such deformity there – it generally yields the ability to still write because that is somehow evolutionarily earlier in development, so I can keep writing such blog posts.
    Hippocampus itself me thinks – but who can trust their memory? And remember “H”, the guy who forgot you within an hour simply because his hippocampus was damaged? It seems like it’d be absolutely brilliant if suppose I ate a chocolate cake an hour back and then forgot so I enjoyed eating another one just as much as I did the first time or suppose there was sometihng I’d ALWAYS wanted like a ticket to something(concert/conference/whatever itches you), but never got it and I got it now, I could feel happy about it repeatedly, so long as someone knew that it made me happy and were nice enough to do that for me. That seems rather satisfying.
    Day 3 to 6 are the most interesting for me since I’ve always wanted to know what it’d be like to be a psychopath(the no-empathy part) and the no-pain part too since I’ve read about it several times.
    The animal like existence – drink a TON. I have a feeling your thinking part slowly shuts down, so you have some some idea of how it’d be. Though your system 1(instincts/emotion) will still be active even if working on slightly dulled senses.
    Finally, thank you, you made my day by giving me stuff to think about. I hope you get some sleep soon.

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