Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Brain Slow-down

I was lying down staring at the ceiling fan. The fan had a circular metal piece at the center and it had the radii with ridges.  When the fan is on, I can't see the ridges, but all of us a sudden I felt I'm able to see the ridges for a fraction of a second.  I realized I could see the ridges when I was blinking my eyes.  I wasn't sure whether the vision of ridges precedes the act of blinking or the other way around.

The theory behind the persistence of vision is still being debated or debunked.  Instead of banking on a theory, I have my own explanation.

As the fan center rotates at more than 24 cycles a second, the ridges are not visible.  We can compare this to the movie watching experience where 72 or more still images are produced per second to create an illusion of motion.  When I blink, as the last image captured by the eye is processed by the brain, it doesn't have a succeeding image to perceive a rotating circle.  So, the last image is experienced by the brain as it exists - with the ridges.  When the act of blinking ends, images of the rotating circle reach the brain continuously.  So, the static image is experienced by the brain for just a fraction of a second.

I think there is some amount of slow-down in the way my brain processes the signals.  I had more such experiences.  In one instance, I could sense the experience of sound through my left ear was delayed by a fraction a second after I experienced the sound through my right ear.

I wish I could work with a neurosurgeon to understand the signal processing of the brain with such experiences.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Morality & Mr. G

From an email I sent to my brother:

Dear Bro,

We started talking about moral correctness coming in the way when you want to worship.  Let me start from the childhood and work my way through on this topic.  Don't expect smart one-liners or punch dialogs.  This is logic.

Have you ever wondered on whether a 2-3 year old kid cares about God, deity etc.  Ignore the knowledge thrust upon them.  They really do not have an opinion about God.  In fact, they do not need an opinion about God.  Because their consciousness hasn't evolved fully and there is no "I".  Their consciousness isn't limited to their physical body.  

What adults think of consciousness is often their own identity.  Everything you think you experience is through this identity.  But what is this identity made of?  In the beginning it just starts with a name - your name.  Then you start identifying with your family, village, city, region, country etc.  There are ideologies associated with this.  Religion and Society play a big role in establishing ideologies. There are more teachings thrust upon us and learnings we get from the surroundings.  Being morally right is one such teaching.  Someone taught you that you should be kind, be fair etc.  

As you know already, morality is a very fluid aspect in our lives, society.  From time to time, this has changed.  There are various levels of morality - starting from "thou shalt not ogle at other's wives" to "be kind to the old and infirm".  Some change more frequently and there are conditions and contradictions all over.  

By letting your actions controlled by these ideas result in conflicts.  For example, worshipping is considered to be a good act and so is being fair to the old and poor.  If you have to skip worshipping because of helping a poor it might cause guilty consciousness.  That's a terrible thing for anyone.

Visualize these ideas as a wall between you and God.  The strength of these ideas is directly proportional to the thickness of this wall.  It doesn't matter on what your ideas are - image about yourself, your knowledge, your caste, religion, language.  There are a few weak spots in the wall - they are your vulnerable area, your weaknesses, failures, helplessness etc. Through these vulnerable points, you can pierce a hole in the wall and feel the God on the other side.  Being morally right is one strong area in this wall, hard to pierce.  At some point, you start identifying yourself with these ideas.  Real God doesn't have anything to do with this morality or ideas.  He/She/It is far too simple to handle this stuff.

So, if you think you are fair, remember that this doesn't help in your relationship with God.  It can help you fit in a society better.  That's about it.

Let me come to the practical problem that we started with.  Is it fair to spend more money to have a dharshan of your favorite deity? It depends on your relationship with your deity.  If you can lose yourself in front of the deity, it doesn't matter what you do to get there.  At that stage, your identity disappears and just consciousness exists there. 

On the other hand, if you are cutting the line, you maintaing your strong identity and your relationship with your God is not worth a mention, there is bad "karma" on all counts.