Tag Archives: Logical mind

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.

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How we become superstitious?

A cat crossing your path is considered a bad omen in India, more so if the cat is black ( I think this belief also exists in many other cultures too). Not sure why, but my take is that this must have come from the times when human beings lived in close proximity to jungles. A cat is endowed with very good instincts that helps it to sense danger earlier than humans. For someone walking on a jungle path, a cat running would have meant that there is some danger close by; perhaps a wild animal.

But it is interesting to see how wide-spread this superstition is and how it has managed to survive for such a long time. Our logical minds will definitely refuse to accept superstitions, but there are always some incidents that shake our logic. Let me narrate my experience.

Last week I was driving my father to the hospital from my hometown. All of a sudden, a black cat crossed the road right in front of my car. Instinctively, I pulled off and parked the car on the road side. (This reaction was based on a very old experience. Few years back I was driving with a friend of mine when a cat crossed our path. I ignored it and continued further and sometime later had a very close encounter with an elephant. Then my friend advised me that the right thing to do when the cat crosses your path is to just stop for few moments; it has got something to do with time)

As I stopped and picked up a bottle of water to drink, I was glancing at the rear view mirror. In a second or two, a bike that was coming in the opposite direction collided with a bicycle right behind my car. All the people fell on the road and in a flash I was out of my car running to help them.

 Nobody was seriously injured.  But as I continued to drive further, I was thinking about the cat. Did it really sense that there was something bad going to happen.

One thing I am sure, the next time I have a cat crossing my path, I am going to stop for a while. Hell with the logical mind!

A Nonsense story and Creativity in Children

 “Papa, I have something interesting for you”. My daughter said and I could see that mischievous twinkle in her eyes.

“I will ask you some questions first”, she said

Do I have a choice?.

“Who is your favorite actor?”

“Amir Khan”

“Who is your favorite actress?”

“Kareena Kapoor”

“Choose a number between 0 and 10”

“3”

“Which your favorite pet”

“Dog”

After a short pause, she tell me the following story. “One day, Amir Khan and Kareena Kapoor comes to your home. You ask them how many children they have. They say three. Then you ask them how do they look. And they tell you that they look like dogs”

The way she told me this, she was thoroughly enjoying and looked quite satisfied. Though it looked too silly (and nonsense), I had to pretend that I enjoyed it.

Later as I think of this, it conveys something profound. There has been several studies done on creativity in children. But what prevents us (grown-ups) from being creative like them? In this world we are taught to make sense in what we say and do. Things need to be logical and needs to convey something etc. We are concerned about what others think of what we do or say. And it is this ‘need to make sense’ that doesn’t allow us to be creative..

If we just stop making sense (at least for sometime), perhaps we can get a glimpse of what a creative state is. But that may not be easy. Just try cooking up a story that absolutely makes no sense and telling it to someone, you will be surprised to see how tough that is.

Purposelessness

There is a person I respect a lot; someone living in knowledge. We will call him V, to protect his identity. I first heard of him through a friend who narrated the following incident to me. Once V had been to the US Consulate in Chennai for a visa interview. The place was crowded as usual, and people were impatiently and nervously waiting for their turn. The US Consulate had the reputation of declining Visa without giving any reason. And it was an ordeal for most till they finished the ‘interview’.

There was a coffee shop around where people drank coffee and left the empty cups on the side walls and tables. Then V began to do something strange. He started picking up those cups and deposited them in to the dustbins. No word spoken. More people came and left more cups around. And V continued this till he was called in for the interview. He went inside with not a trace of nervousness.

 This story was the main motivation for me to meet V about 8 years back.

This incident came to mind recently when ‘purposelessness’ came in to a conversation. As the logical mind becomes stronger, it becomes extremely difficult to do something that does not make sense. ‘Let me understand’ is our common reaction especially to new things. And we discard many things in life because they make no sense.

But actually doing something that is ‘purposeless’ can be a profound experience. There is a joy concealed behind them. Ability to do something ‘purposeless’ is a sign of wisdom. This can help someone step out of the logical mind. But it is extremely difficult to do it as the mind will do everything to talk you out of this.

 Here is a simple exercise. When you meet someone either in the office corridor or on the street, just tell them a sentence (for e.g “it is better to be a vegetarian”). Nothing more, nothing less. No introduction, no waiting for a response. Just move on and may be tell the next person too…

Have fun!

A world so full of life..

This is a picture I found in a 6 year old’s note-book.

It’s a simple picture; but what caught my attention is the conversation between the flower and the butterfly. The flower says “hi” and the Butterfly says ‘wow’.

For children, the whole world is so full of life.

As adults we see customers, managers, colleagues, husbands, friends, enemies etcetc.., but do we ever see human beings? Or we see concepts in to which we force-fit everyone?

Spontaneity in Children

My daughter’s school opens next week. The bus will pick her up at 6.50AM, and to make it she will need to rise by 6.00AM.  My wife is extremely tensed about this because she thinks this is impossible and also because she will need to rise by 5.30 or so.

We were discussing this last week over dinner when I suggested to my wife – why don’t we practice getting up early for next few days so that we can get accustomed?

It was my daughter who responded – why should we practice? can’t we just get up when we want?

I had no answer. It left me again thinking about the complex adult mind. As our logical minds become more and more dominant, we tend to do any thing twice. First in the mind and if that goes well then externally. The problem here is that at the mind level there are numerous reasons why something should be / can be / cannot be done, depending upon how complex one’s thinking is. Where as in reality, there may be very few options: for e.g something is done or not done.

More logical we are, the more we are caught up in the process of analysis, judging, processing, rehearsing etc. But for children it;s really simple. They do something or don’t do something. And for either, that might not have a reason. And more importantly they do not create an issue out of it.

Someone said, when a bird flies from one branch of a tree to another, it does not go though a thinking process evaluating different options. It simply flies, because it is part of it’s being.