Personal Musings

This blog is intended to be just a jumble of thoughts that hit me and need not necessarily mean anything.

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Location: Kerala, India

Water flows ...

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Behaviour - Part I

Crazy as it may sound, I have finally taken it to road. The unconcious urge to understand the subconcious has resulted in the resurgence of the sublime spirit. If you didnt understand what that means, its ok. Even I didnt understand it. But who cares?!!!

I am very much prone to the think that the mind is a direct result of the hardware called our body. Programming of mind makes sense to me. I mean, look at almost all of our deault behaviour in a new circumstance. If it is a new event in our life, we almost always do wht our genes tell us to do. i.e, Our simplistic behaviour is governed entirely by our genes.

Then there is the unconcious self programming. We are all apes. Apeing is our birth right, our innate behaviour; and our prime duty to our society. Society likes apes. People who seemingly copy the actions of someone else in the society. The transactional rituals are inherently copies of some behaviour performed by others. The only difference between ape and us is the human hipocracy of glorifying our own dropings, while ridiculing all the nice things that drop down from heavens.

The level of self programming that we do deserves much comment. Do we really do self programming? The question is simple. The answer is an even simpler 'Yes'. But to realize it, some effort is needed to understand our own working. Given a new situation, our brain first checks and confirms that the sitation is new. Then it searches for similar experiences. The big advantage of having neurons in our heads is that they easily approximate. Neurons inherently give the closest computation that it has recently successfully completed and used. This is the nurture part of our character. But if there is no comparable experience then it wil just follow the results of the native mappings in our brain. This native mapping is that provided by nature. That is our actions correspond to how we are nurtured to respond, or we may choose how we as per our nature.

Lets take the simple example of our behaviour when we meet another of our species. When a person is born, he doesnt know the rather complex ritual of "Hi","Hi" and "How are you?","I am fine". This complex action is not in our genes. But gestures like twitching of eyes and lip muscels, is something we innately do. This is the reason why people acting to be blind have to train a very blatant face. The sight of anything simply triggers all our natuaral mechanisms and if not checked they will give away the disguise easily. What the actor is doing is training himself to go around the natural behaviour.

Nurture is all about doing the training to alter the natural flow of action. It defines the desired action. In the "Hi" - "Hi" scenario, the person is to be trained to say the "Hi" and wait for the response "Hi". Everything additional branch from this scenario is learned by supervision or learned by action. Learning by supervision is basically the apeing part of us. We ape what our supervisor does, training our neurons to perform the action. In training by action, we have no reference point to ape. So we simply do what we think the supervisor will do. i.e, we perform a virtual apeing.

More on this on a later day.



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