Please Yourself!

A lot of us may know the name “John Locke” from the famous TV series “Lost“. But that lot might not remember his character’s real name “Jeremy Bentham”. His character went through a lot of pain during his life before the plane crashed into the island where he found himself absolved of all pain and began to believe that “The Island” was his place to be, as he found a lot of pleasure in following its vague spiritual orders through “Jacob”, and otherwise.

In the real world too, a Jeremy Bentham existed a while ago. Was he in anyway connected to this reel character? Lets ponder!

Jeremy Bentham breathed through 1748 until 1832. He was the great British Economist and Philosopher who founded ‘Utilitarianism‘ and tried to quantify the ‘Pleasures and Pains’ in one’s life through his thorough but still tacit work called “Felicific Calculus“.

He laid out a very indulgently descriptive list of ‘Pleasures’ and ‘Pains’ in human lives.

The Pleasure of senses, skill, wealth, power, benevolence, amity, good name, imagination; to list a few. The Pains of enmity, association, expectation, ill name etc.

His idea was to minimize the pains and maximize the pleasures for the greater good of everyone according to a certain metric he invented. He tried quantification through parameters like the Intensity, certainty, propinquity, purity, duration and extent of Pleasure and Pain. But his doctrine had a flaw – the probability of all these parameters to differentiate for each individual was huge! The chances that 2 individuals will have the same intensity, purity, duration or any other effect of a pleasure or pain was zero, zilch, nada! and the number of differentiating factors and their intensity difference was uncountable! So his “Felicific Calculus” was not as thorough as he wanted it to be.

Hedonism, the philosophy of maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain was born from Utilitarianism. So Jeremy Bentham, in a way, pushed the lazy to the couch! But from his written pieces, one can observe that absolute pleasure was not part of his campaign! He was just trying to quantify life through pain and pleasures and the takeaway was ‘For the good of everyone!’

In the modern day technological advancement, a lot of human population is nowadays quantifying their life, but to a better cause of balancing the pains and pleasures. Everyone has these health gadgets these days to quantify sleep, exercise, diet, diseases and other health related parameters. One prime example would be FitBit. Financial gadgets, with the ease of regulations, have caused the rise of fiscal awareness among the common folks. Apps like Robin Hood, PayPalApple Pay, Samsung Pay etc. cater to a very eager audience of today who want to quantify (Read: Optimize) their routine (Read: Time and Money) to the level where they gather information and execute a good amount of financial investment and stabilization tasks with much less time spent. These are just 2 facets of life I have indulged in providing some examples of. There are many more facets (Read: Almost all)  where quantification, not possible earlier, has now changed the way the general human population gathers information and executes daily life tasks.

I think the words to remember are Balance and Over Indulgence. Both serve two different Devils/ Gods of two different worlds.

The real question is

‘Once Self Pleasing attitude starts driving you, How deep would you like to indulge?and in what direction specifically – For the greater good of everyone, a selected few or just yourself ?’


Massively But not Wholly Modular Minds

Some of us like to decide quickly with the minimal amount of numerically and philosophically most accurate choices. Whatever we decide needs to connect with the events of the present or past or both. Choices concerning the future need vague numerical prediction of the future (because accurate prediction is not available yet). Our mind has, over the years, trained itself at every step, nano or kilo, to form processes and modules of different behavioral, gestural, muscular, optical, nervous and other bodily dynamics. Each action has a module of dynamic components reacting in one in a millionth probable way to fulfill your thoughts of acting in a way you want. You train yourself to answer, gesture or physically behave in a certain way for certain situations. But some situations demand natural reactions. But even those natural reactions are a combination of the sub-conscious and genetic data which is hidden. So there is a chance that you never create an original gesture by un-intention!

Our minds have been generally thought to work in modules (module – each of a set of standardized parts or independent units that can be used to construct a more complex structure, such as an item of furniture or a building).

But there are 2 extreme thoughts on this. One extreme hypothesis believes that our mind is not wholly modular and the modularity lies towards the least side of the spectrum. Modularity is analogous with peripheral and output signals of the brain and non-modularity is related to the central cognition or conceptual section of the brain. So the first hypothesis calls our mind meagerly modular, kind of calling only a few of the peripheral signals modular. And our central cognition rules over most of the brain. This would mean that a few modules are created and our brain would not like to form habits of reacting in a certain way to certain situations, but rather act out of the gut most of the time. These brains would be very creative but not very productive!

The second hypothesis asserts that our brain is massively modular, if not wholly so! It likes to state that our central cognitive system is small and non-modular and almost every other system is modular. Now, this would mean that the brain signals work in modules and hence like to form modules for almost everything keeping the gut feeling away most of the times. I think these minds are the most practical and productive minds.

I think one trains its mind knowing or unknowingly throughout the life to either lean towards the natural frequency of it or away from it. The achievement would be the right balance. The right balance would make you a philosophical scientist. A person who knows exactly how to react every time, either through a module or the gut feeling! Balance is difficult to maintain, that is why change is the only constant!

Daily post – Daily prompt – Massive

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Permanent Philosophical Predicament!

The brain is a microscope, the heart is a telescope!

Focus is shaky, and a blur sometimes!

The target is a shape shifter, tiny at first, cyclopean at a close shave!

Taking a step back clears up my heart, but my brain is fuzzy then!

Am I an artist, or a scientist? The sweet spot is a momentary lapse of judgement!

The heart’s the management, the brain’s the techie!

Hovering too high, flying too low!

Into the deep abyss, but not all the way though!

The balance is momentary, the conclusion is half baked!

We are still forging our way ahead, philosophical blindness is probable!

Daily Post – Daily Prompt


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