Tag Archives: How thoughts are connected

Understanding

“Papa, Anna Hazare is arrested”. My daughter was getting ready to go to school and abruptly told me this as I walked in to the room.

 “Who is Anna Hazare”, I asked, curious to know what she knew

 “He is a disciple of Gandhiji”

 “Why is he arrested?” I am more curious now.

 “After Gandhiji died, he started collecting money and gold. And cheated people. So people wanted to beat him. But the police did not allow that, they arrested him”

 I burst in to laughing. But she didn’t seem to care, probably because it didn’t matter to her whether that statement was true or not.

 But the logic is interesting. I think the word ‘arrest’ had a negative connotation in her mind and logically if Anna Hazare was arrested, he must have done something wrong. That he was a disciple of Gandhiji was probably inferred from how he looks. And she cooked up a seemingly logical story why he would be arrested, that fitted the context.

 What is interesting really is the order in which we form associations tend to influence the way we form opinions. If the original news was something like ‘Anna Hazare was garlanded’, I am sure the story would have been something different and positive.

 Look at the amount of opinions and stories we form about people and situations around us. Probably at the deepest level, there is a ‘first’ association we formed that has influenced the whole story. The first association definitely is influenced by memory. But why do we need to form that first association? I think the mind has a compulsive need to understand things; need to label, judge, analyze, categorize and compare.

 If the need to ‘understand’ drops, will all the stories drop? If they all drop, what would life be left with?

 Ignorance is bliss.

Map of the Mind

To understand the thinking better, I set out to create a 3D map of the mind. I picked the word ‘elephant’ and tried to represent all the thoughts that have come in my mind in the recent past with elephant as the starting point. I put this all in to the below representation. It looks interesting, though it can hardly represent the real complexity of the mind.

All the bubbles represent thoughts and the lines represent connections between thoughts. I have just started this, further I am going use this as the base to illustrate thinking, influencing factors, sense making etc.