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Sometime back I was watching this movie – “Waking Life”. It is a wonderful movie about a guy who cannot differentiate between reality and dream. So he sets out to solve the mystery and meets people in the process who talk and explain to him about reality, sub-reality and life. One person asks him this question - “The human values have remained the same in the past 2000 years - as they were in the days of Socrates and Co.. What then is the trait that stops us the most from achieving our true potential – fear or laziness?”
This question, though random as it may seem, set my mind on the course it is best at – philosophizing. Since then I have been thinking a lot of random ideas and though what I propose here does not give an exact answer to the question, it tries to give another reason why we have not achieved our true potential and why have the human virtues stayed the same?
This, I believe can be explained on the lines of evolution. Humans have evolved into this highly intelligent specie (intelligent only with reference to the sub humans, we do not as of this day know of some other evolved specie, hence the pride). But this has taken around 2 million years for us to evolve into this form - 2 million years for this intelligence to be attained. 2000 years is too little a phase in it. It is highly probable that 2000 years is insufficient time for such drastic changes - the elimination of laziness and fear to take place.
Anyways, that again is not the solution (if we consider it a problem). I believe is that the problem lies in our own minds. Scientists say that we are able to use only 4 – 10 percent of our mental capabilities. I just wish they are true because it gives us so much hope for the future. But of the 10 percent of the mind that we use, are we able to use the most of it for our good? Or do we end up wasting an exorbitant portion of what we have? I guess I made the statement a bit debatable, which I should have avoided, but I find some exponent of truth in it. I will try and explain.
We as humans are made of instincts, emotions and feelings. Okay – they actually are different and impact our thoughts in different magnitudes. Instinct is something which is hardwired into us. It is something that we are born with, we meaning all of us humans. And there are just a few instincts like – the sense of security, love, dislike etc. Fear may or may not be an instinct; it could be plugged with the security thing. I mean there are intrinsic to us humans. And then there are emotions. These include our desires, cravings, wants, anger, rage etc. There are lots of them to be mentioned here. Some are the nice and good ones – the ones which keep us happy. And there are some negative emotions like anger, jealousy, anxiety, desperation etc. It is the emotions and our instincts which determine what we feel at any instant. What else could possibly guide our feelings? And the feelings determine how we work and perform at any time.
I guess I am lost in my own words here so will try to simplify things. Our mind at this stage of evolution has certain limited capabilities. This limited capability is shared by instincts, emotions, feelings, our cravings and the most important one – our creative capabilities. It is this creative capability of the mind which when used gives us the greatest pleasure and happiness. I guess I cannot explain the nature of happiness but it is of the highest kind- pure unadulterated happiness. Each one experiences this pleasure in different things. And to attain that pleasure, is to me, the motive of life. Analyzing the working of our minds we realize that if we could allocate more of our brain space to our creative instincts, we would be much happier and would be true to our natural selves.
Instincts are hardwired into us. They occupy not much space in the conscious and the sub-conscious mind but we have not much control over them. We can alter the extent of the impact of our instincts; we can hone them but not change them much. It is the emotions which occupy a lot of space in our sub-conscious and the conscious. And the feelings occupy a lot of our conscious, especially the negative ones. Feelings like anger, hate, dislike, jealousy have the potential to capture the whole working space of our mind. Our decisions get directed by them which could be really harmful at times. So the idea here is that if we can eliminate the negative emotions from our thought process we could be able to allocate a larger portion of our active brain for the creative processes. It is not as easy as said. But on second thought it is not that tough either. It is as simple as staying true to our natural selves – trusting our instincts, keeping our emotions simple and pure, understanding the motive of life and trying to use our creativity to the extreme limits.
Okay, I have the capacity to come up with weird theories and this is just one of them. I feel that we have two types of emotions – the ones that come naturally to us and those which we learn as we grow. Love is a natural emotion, so much so that I prefer to call it an instinct. There are so many of them. I guess I will have to look up the thesaurus for them. It is like we have our instincts which breed emotions in us. These emotions are the guiding light for our feelings. If a person is happy, he will be excited and exuberant. Happiness is an emotion, excitement and exuberance are feelings. And so every act he does, he will do it with excitement and hence do it better than if we were feeling low or sad. We cannot deny that emotions and feelings can have a huge impact upon us.
So if we can unlearn the negative emotions or reduce the impact they have upon us we can allocate more mind-space to our creative thoughts and creative processes. Hence we will be happier and hence do every creative process with excitement and hence do our tasks much better. I guess you too can see a vicious circle of happiness. Or should we call it Bliss…