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 ...

Sunday, August 06, 2006

The independence of Thought

Many things have been written about thought that I feel my own words are only regurgitation of some persons thoughts put in some manual script or some where else. But to write is what I do and that is all that matters.

What is thought? I have browsed through many books. I tried to put the question into my own mind and the results that I got were amazing. Thought is that which makes you read, that which makes me write, that which makes us eat; thought is the drive for all our activities; thought is the result of all our activities; thought makes us think, thought makes us not to think; thought makes us dream. Thought is the only thing that exists in our mind. But mind itself is too abstract to conjure.

I said thought is responsive. Then how can thought be independent? Well, for that first I will have to talk about the fallacy called "my thought". "My thought" never exists, because I nor any person can own a thought. It is the nature of thought to flow through us. If I were to take parallels then I think I have to take the case of neurtinos that pass through the earth. The neutrinoes, when they pass through, do contribute their weight to us. The earth's mass does include the neutrinoes mass that pass through it as well. But then try fixing the neutrinoes to earth alone, and then one becomes incapable. At an instant the neutrino is part of the earth, but then it never looses its individuality and the moment it comes out of the other side, it is free from earth.

We think. Our thoughts do become part of us. But they are only part of us, as long as we are following the thought. Once the thought is lost, we don't follow it. Now we can train our selves to follow the same thought again and again. That s possible. But the ownership of the thought will still be with it, not with us.

WE have seen a lot of abstract things. But then to add some more things to it, let us pose the question, "what exactly is thought?". (Too difficult if this was part of my exam papers, I would have left the question.) To put it with some physical perspective, I must explore it as a group of chemicals in my nervous system playing rock music. Our brain brain consists of a lot of nerve cells(neurons). They are connected among themselves at places called synapses. In a synapse, there is a lot of chemicals flying across from one cell to another. There are also chemicals floating around in the vicinity of the synapses themselves. Then the neurons nucleus has also to make a decision whether it must "fire" the synapse or not. All this chemical pout puree with the neurons influence together generate a small flow in our brain. Lots of such flows combine together to create an imprint on our mind that a thought has come.

even the very act of me typing is way too complex. There are fingers moving and hitting keys. These actions have to be coordinated. I have to look at the screen. Parallelaly I have to check whether I am making any typos. I have to follow a sequence of complex signals to generate the thoughts that I am having. And all these things the "I" doesn't do. It is just a sequence of chemical reactions inside my brain. [The question of "who am I", I have not answered and I don think anyone can 'answer' that. So I am lavishly using 'I' even in places I shouldn't be.] all these seemingly complex tasks are nothing but a stream of thoughts. I wont call "algorithmic" because I don't want to feel like a robot myself. But the fact is these are simple set of operations that is inherently taking place inside us all the time.

The nature of the thought purely depends on the input to this massive computer, called as "body". [Why did I say body, and not brain?]

Now will there not be an argument that from what I have said, a thought is specific to an individual body. Well.. Let me try to explain it this way. WE have got thousands of cars plying around. Each one of them has its own petrol internal combustion engines. Now engine is individual, the petrol flowing in different vehicles must also be inherently individual (not same). Then how does all the engines when working, turn the crank shafts the same way. Though the actual bodies may be different, thoughts are like the motion of crank shaft. Crank shaft will move in the exact same direction whenever the engine is running. The mechanisms of the engine force the crank shaft to work in a particular way. I could actually use a generic term "crank shaft" and not bother about specific cars or trucks, simply because the inherent nature of the mechanism is known and it is known to be the same in all instances. The same action will occur in the synapses if the inner conditions and the surrounding area conditions are same. The probability for Murali to throw THE one rupee coin in air to THE exact height and catch the coin in THE exact height catch it in THE particular way in an exact environment condition and get a heads is also is going to be 1. Of the parameters are fully explored and set, then probability will degrade to totality/fallacy, never in between.

Using the same logic, if a person as inside his brains an almost exact replica of brain patterns an another, then both of them will have similar thoughts. The funniest parts of neurons is that they can do the same operation in an umpteen number of ways. So essentially, two people need not have all the parameters exactly same to have the thoughts matching. They can just have 'Equivalent' neuron mappings and related chemical environment to have the same thoughts repeated.

If the same thought can appear in two persons simultaneously, then who will be the owner of the thought? This is a fairly logical question that will follow and the only answer striking me is that thoughts cannot be 'own'ed by a person. If it is to be owned, then it must be under the control of one person alone, and can never be under two persons.

[I am not against IPR] If thoughts are independent, then ideas must be independent as well. Ideas are nothing but a collection of mutually coherent thoughts. Since thoughts in an idea like company - I mean the thoughts that are part of an idea want some exact thoughts to follow them to make them logically cohesive - we have no other option other than to accept that ideas are also independent.

The thoughts need not want a person to conceive, because it already had existed. Just like we don't need to conceive all the atoms in a steel beam manufactured in a factory. The factories processes themselves will eventually bring the sequence of atoms in place. The parameters that fix the thoughts to a person at a point of time manifest themselves to generate the thought. Once the thought has been expressed, the parameters don't continue to be same. And hence they thought drifts. All the thoughts are fixed by their corresponding parameters. The moment a set of parameters repeat anywhere, the thoughts will come back to life just for the fraction of time needed to manifest itself, and then disappear back into the place from where it came from.

||Chintaneeyam chintamanyam chintanam, chintayeraiva chinthayath||



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