Sunday, August 31, 2008

Mind and the Soul Conflict

The wonder of the human mind led me to the research on Psychology. I started with the term ”psycho” itself. I always knew psychology as the ”study of the mind” until I found this interesting twist. I was quite surprised to read what the term “ psychology” actually means. “Psycho” means “soul” in Latin and not the mind. So in a way, it was the study of the soul initially, and over the years the meaning got altered. The term psychology changed to the study of the mind from soul. The aim of this study was to find reasons behind human beings acting in a certain way. Initially when the existence of the ”mind” wasn’t known to people, they purely thought that the soul is responsible for the personality of a human. Over the years, soul was associated with only the spiritual world, whereas the mind looked like more biological and real. People tend to explain a man’s personality and behaviour with the mind and not the soul. This was because the mind and its exploits could be explained by medical science. On the other hand, the soul and its exploits were too difficult to explain in black and white theories. No one knew the source of souls and many don’t even believe in its existence.

Behaviourist John Watson concluded -

No one has ever touched a soul, or seen one in a test tube, or has in any way come into relationship with it as he has with the other objects of his daily experience ....

Why don't we make what we can observe the real field of psychology? Let us limit ourselves to things that can be observed, and formulate laws concerning only those things. Now what can we observe? We can observe behavior - what the organism does or says. And let us point out at once: that saying is doing - that is, behaving. .

The mind was still in a way trapped in researches and thesis by men, but the soul still remains elusive. It belongs to an unknown and mysterious world!!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Human Mind - the wonder

life, death, life after death, life, technology, life is short, afterlife, human mind"The music in my heart I bore,
Long after it was heard no more."

These are the last two lines from William Wordsworth’s “The Solitary Reaper”. Wordsworth was so enchanted by a Scottish Reaper singing in the field- he could even hear the song when he moved far enough physically from the Reaper. I am sure he dint record the song in his voice recorder but rather in his mind. Wordsworth puts it as “The music in my heart” though and not the mind. Wordsworth belonged to the Romantic Age. It was much later in the modern age after Freud, that the possibilities of the human mind were discovered and recognized.

The human mind is designed to be a true masterpiece. It works as an Ipod by simply replaying your favorite song in your mind whenever you want to, it works as a camera retrieving images of those moments you spend with that special someone. It also enables you to see videos of your favorite song, when you recall them The human mind is a wonder, its power we often take for granted and overlook the tasks that it is able to perform. All the kool gizmo gadgets that men make, fail to match upto its brilliance. These gadgets also are the brainchild or do we say brainchildren of the human mind, after all. The ideas that the mind produces are translated into these gadgets.

Robot Vs Human

, life, death, life after death, robots, technology, life is short, afterlifeMy curiosity with Robotics made me hunt down some more information on them and I came across two interesting terms - Cyborg and Android. Cyborg originated from cyber organism or cybernetic organism- a human with both natural and artificial organs or systems in him. This concept makes a person with a pacemaker or an artificial kidney or those hearing implants are Cyborgs too!!! My grandpa had those hearing implants when he was on earth- so according to the definition he was a Cyborg too. Did I live with a Cyborg(my Grandpa). As far as I remember him, before he passed away, he was a human being with a very lovely spirit. I somehow cannot relate to him as a Cyborg. Specially, with the images of Cyborg I found – Never. They look scary!!

Androids, I found are robots who resemble humans in appearance and behavior. Andrew, the robot in the “Bicentennial Man” and also the TV show “Small Wonder” had Vicki who are examples of Android.

This interchange of characteristics in human and robots is increasing each day. Humans turn more robot like and robots more human like. Is this the indication of creation of a common plane where both meet – a new species, which is neither human nor robot????? Only time will tell.

But, this would mean human race losing its identity. Humans are supposed to be perishable, supposed to go through the wear and tear of time. As they grow old, along with their wrinkle they gain wisdom. That’s how they are designed by the divine engineer. Humans are the only species who enjoy the privilege of wisdom and insight.

Robots can store data into their memory which some may call knowledge, but can they possess wisdom? What is wisdom? Wisdom is processing knowledge and gaining an insight into life and beyond. Robots or machines, at the end of the day, can never gain insight or wisdom. This is because insight and wisdom is not of this world, the source of both is unknown and unseen.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Robotic humans or humane robots?

life, death, life after death, meaning of life, life is short, life, death
The thought of fighting death by making Robots (and artificial organs) haunted me the last two days. I also got reminded of a brilliant movie I saw - “The Bicentennial Man”, where the protagonist was a Robot. Robin Williams played the character of the Robot named Andrew.

The story is about Andrew – an NDR-series robot with positronic brain. He is owned by the Martin family which treats him more than just a Robot – he is also a friend and a member of the Family. He displays human qualities like emotion, creativity and self-awareness.

He remains unaffected by time and age, humans around him don’t. Andrew, the Robot witnesses the death of two generations of the Martin Family – including his own Master’s. Eventually, he falls in love with his Master’s grandchild. Death claims her too one day, and she is also at her deathbed. Love makes Andrew allow his positronic brain to "decay". He petitions the World Congress to recognize him as human, which would allow him to be legally married to his love before death. This turns to be an international news. This event takes place on the two-hundredth anniversary of his creation, hence the title of the movie. Finally they die together hand –in- hand.

Its quite amazing how a Robot tried to be a human being all his life – 200 years of his “lifetime”. The reverse also seems to be true. Human beings do not try to be a robot, but they turn robotic without even realising. In Albert Camus words,
“Rising, streetcar, four hours in the office or the factory, meal, streetcar, four hours of work, meal, sleep, and Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday and Saturday according to the same rhythm.”

We often live a life robotic and mechanical enough, without knowing. With time, life loses its purpose and emotions die. Tears don’t come easily as we grow old. Adults have better things to do; they have a mechanical life to live.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Can death be fought?

death,life after death, life is short, life is too short, dead, afterlife, death, life, deathI used to have a guitar teacher two years back. He discontinued teaching me as he had to move to London. He is doing a PHD on Robotics out there.Yesterday, he told me how he got interested into Robotics. I was quite taken aback to know what made him delve into Robotics. It was death!!!

As a child, when his grandparents or someone in the family died, he hated the feeling. (Most of us do hate it when death claims our loved ones). He wanted to have human beings forever beside him. And that gave his young mind an idea- he wondered can't there be an artificial heart, an artificial mind in the human body that would make them live longer or forever? Human body is perishable, but machines in their body would last longer,much longer. This thought led onto the interest in Robots - a body made of all artificial components. That was the connection between Robotics and death in his life.

That was an innocent child’s mind trying to find ways to fight death- but is fighting death possible? No. Death cannot be fought with even the most powerful Technology. But,the good news is that death is not the end. Loved ones whom we lose are somewhere experiencing life after death. What? Where? and how are they? Thats the mystery.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Music – the vibrations

music, vibrations, life, life after death, death, life, meaning of life, true meaning of life, music, lifeMy Physics teacher taught that any sound is a result of a series of vibration. I always have these feeling that music is a magical vibration that possesses the power to move the heart and create vibrations in the soul.

Music also has the power to make people reach a state of trance, for example the Sufi singers seems to be in a perpetual trance. But yes only good music does that. Not the non sense that few call music nowadays. I am SORRY, if I hurt few musicians! I am ready to change my mind if I am explained the meaning of songs like ” Who let the dogs out?”. Anyway.

During the 16th Century, intellects even believed that the motions of the planets create a particular music which is unheard by the human ear.

"The heavenly motions... are nothing but a continuous song for several voices, perceived not by the ear but by the intellect,
a figured music which sets landmarks
in the immeasurable flow of time.
Johaanes Kepler, a 16th century scholar

Vibrations not only produce music, but they also signify Life. Something vibrating is something moving, something moving is something alive, and something alive is Life, itself.

Where do I begin? Where do I end?

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I have already introduced myself and my blog now. And I was wondering where do I begin? What do I begin with? Life, death or across?!!? People tend to relate “life” with things that are practical, with “death” they relate pessimism and with “across” it's spirituality. I wonder what's my mood now?What do I blog on?

Well as Life comes first and then the rest. I choose Life. It is the beginning of death and across.

What is Life? So many songs and so many poems have been written on what’s life all about? I am sure you have heard, at least, one such song. These songs often sound somewhat like this -
Life is a song, Life is a challenge, and Life is a quest and so on.

I think, Life can be compared to a classroom where we all learn stuff, sometimes unlearn what we learnt before and then learn things anew, believe in new things. With all its trials and uncertainties, Life does provide loads of stuff that makes us taste heaven (if u believe in it at all). No matter how much we abuse life and slang Life, how much pain it is to live – we all want to live. No one wants death.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Solitary Blogger and the Blog

life, death, life after death, meaning of life, life is short, life death, life, deathTo begin with, let me explain the significance of the name of my blog- Life, death and across (Sorry – Life, death and beyond was taken). As the name explains itself, I will be writing about the uncertainty of life, the certainty of death and about my speculations on life beyond death. At times, when I feel courageous, I might also discuss life before birth. Am I confusing you? Don’t be. If you are not comfortable with death and beyond, lets talk of Life.

I am sure you will be able to identify with my thoughts regarding Life- the absurdity of people, of relations, of technology, knowledge. Life also includes the pleasures of this world –music, books, literature, movies, and love (the ideal one that’s always in your dreams and the real one in your arms). Let’s see what else strikes me as I make the journey. In short, my blog is going to be my monologues recorded. All suggestions and comments are welcome.

Genesis- the beginning of my writing

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Like most writers, I don’t write since I was a little child or since I was one day old (sorry for the exaggeration). I thank my loneliness for making me write. Yes! My loneliness compelled me to pen down my thoughts, my views, and translate my tears and smiles into words. Thanks Solitude! Thanks a tonne. All the times, when I had no one to talk to, no one with just a patient ear, no friend to share a joke, I found a friend in my diary and pen. Writing, I swear, is therapeutic- at least for me. Today, I write not for therapy alone but to live. I mean, I earn my bread through writing – I am a content writer by profession and a creative writer by passion.

Technology came a long way, and the simple diary I used to have is replaced by Microsoft word and lately my blog. That’s how I turned a writer turned blogger.