Archive for the ‘Behavior’ Category
There is an interesting article in The Atlantic on Mind and Technological Innovations.
‘One cannot help noting immediately that the theory echoes Kurzweil’s professional achievements as an inventor of word recognition machines: the “secret of human thought” is pattern recognition, as it is implemented in the hardware of the brain. To create a mind therefore we need to create a machine that recognizes patterns, such as letters and words. …
The process of recognition, which involves the firing of neurons in response to stimuli from the world, will typically include weightings of various features, as well as a lowering of response thresholds for probable constituents of the pattern. Thus some features will be more important than others to the recognizer, while the probability of recognizing a presented shape as an “E” will be higher if it occurs after “APPL.”
These recognizers will therefore be “intelligent,” able to anticipate and correct for poverty and distortion in the stimulus. This process mirrors our human ability to recognize a face, say, when in shadow or partially occluded or drawn in caricature.”
When we need the Mind to recognize patterns to perceive and be understood, we can say that while being studied becomes an Object of the Observed.
The Observer is some thing else.
The Mind is able to observe thoughts and There is something else that observes the Mind as well.
Indian Philosophy classifies three things in respect of Mind.
Brain,the activity of which leads to the
Mind, Buddhi, The Discriminator.
Chitha, the dispositions( not the predispositions of Indian Philosophy, which means Vasanas or tendencies acquired over years including the previous Births).
The Observer is different from the Observed at the mundane or Transitory world.
To recognize an Object as the object, for that matter as an Object, Recognition is required.
Recognition is possible only when there is Data stored already.
For instance, to recognize a Rose as a Rose, at the first instance, we need some one to describe it .
But extend the logic.
How a Rose would have have been identified as such for the First Human Being as such when there were none around?
This calls for apriori Knowledge.(Knowledge that is innate.
This is the foundation of Idealism of Philosophy. whic h has been explained by Rene Descartes in His Books Principia philosophiae (Principles of Philosophy),Regulae ad directionem ingenii (Rules for the Direction of the Mind)’
Mind lets us know what it wants us to know.
As Nature does.
“[H]omunculus talk can give rise to the illusion that one is nearer to accounting for the mind, properly so-called, than one really is. If neural clumps can be characterized in psychological terms, then it looks as if we are in the right conceptual ballpark when trying to explain genuine mental phenomena–such as the recognition of words and faces by perceiving conscious subjects. But if we strip our theoretical language of psychological content, restricting ourselves to the physics and chemistry of cells, we are far from accounting for the mental phenomena we wish to explain. An army of homunculi all recognizing patterns, talking to each other, and having expectations might provide a foundation for whole-person pattern recognition; but electrochemical interactions across cell membranes are a far cry from actually consciously seeing something as the letter “A.” How do we get from pure chemistry to full-blown psychology?
McGinn goes on:
Why do we say that telephone lines convey information? Not because they are intrinsically informational, but because conscious subjects are at either end of them, exchanging information in the ordinary sense. Without the conscious subjects and their informational states, wires and neurons would not warrant being described in informational terms.
The mistake is to suppose that wires and neurons are homunculi that somehow mimic human subjects in their information-processing powers; instead they are simply the causal background to genuinely informational transactions.
- Memory Is…… Yoga Sutra 1.11 (ramanan50.wordpress.com)
- Identify The Tools of The Mind Patanjali Yoga Sutra 6 (ramanan50.wordpress.com)
We call ourselves the most evolved of the Species with an ability to do things and can handle tools.
But an Orangutan is found fishing with a Spear after watching local Fishermen!
Tool use among orangutans was first documented by Carel van Schaik. In 1994, Carel observed orangutans developing tools to help themselves eat, while conducting field work in Gunung Leuser National Park, in the northwest Sumatra.
Specifically the orangutans were using sticks to pry open pulpy fruits that have “Plexiglas needles” capable of delivering a painful jab covering them. Using the tools, the orangutans were getting past handling the prickly husk and into the nutritious fruit. From an anthropological viewpoint, tool use represents an aspect of culture, since the entire group participates in a behavior that has developed over time. One unique thing to clarify is that only Sumatran orangutans have been observed to use tools, not orangutans from Borneo…
“a male orangutan, clinging precariously to overhanging branches, flails the water with a pole, trying desperately to spear a passing fish…
The extraordinary image, a world exclusive, was taken in Borneo on the island of Kaja…
This individual had seen locals fishing with spears on the Gohong River.
Although the method required too much skill for him to master, he was later able to improvise by using the pole to catch fish already trapped in the locals’ fishing lines.”
- Secret Population of Rare Orangutan Discovered in Borneo: New Protection for Primates (scienceworldreport.com)
A woman took photographs of herself and made them Public.
If we can see ourselves (not in the Mirror, though, when alone), as others see us, then most of our impressions, especially vanity will vanish.
I am sure I would not accept Me as I am as such!
Glad that there is no Technology as yet to reproduce Images with our feelings and Thoughts!
Story and Photos.
When she returned to school and developed the film, the results caught her off guard.
The image of Davis, titled Pressure Point, shows her larger, covered body seated on a towel while her thinner friends around her wear bikinis.
“I wanted to make a picture to see what that felt like,” Davis said about the moment on the beach. “I was shocked by the ability I had to kind of freeze that moment, to take a mundane but painful moment that was able to be described in the image.”
Much of that work included photographing herself in ordinary situations: eating, relaxing, showering, etc. Her self-portraits also explored a private, fantasy space that were inspired by a sense of longing, though Davis explained that the line between fantasy and reality—especially when using photography as a medium—is easily blurred.
“Some of the images are real genuine feelings, and others are things I wanted to experience, and I used the license of the camera. … I wanted to know what it felt like to be held by someone or to be with a man, and the camera allowed me to have that experience,” Davis explained.
The image 4 a.m. (2003), for example, was inspired by a lonely return home after a night with friends, many of whom were in relationships.
“I came home at 4 a.m. and made that picture at that instance of having that empty, yearning feeling,” she said. Fantasy No. 1 shows a similar experience, though this time with a “fantasy” man present.
While she was working on the images, Davis said she never thought about an audience or what it would be like to show the work. When she eventually did start to show it, some of the images were tough for her to share, but the exposure also allowed her to work through that sense of vulnerability and insecurity.
“I was able to deal with the emotion and vulnerable state and release it,” she said. But something else happened during the process: She became upset with herself for not changing her body, and showing her work spurred her to take action.
“It was kind of shocking, kind of painful to look at myself and to see myself evolving and growing and understanding a deeper sense of myself but my body not being able to change after nine years’ time. I was shocked and thought ‘why can’t I take control of my life?’ and I realized I didn’t want to wake up at 40 and be in this body—I wanted to know what it would be like to be in a different body, and that was a painful realization,” Davis explained.
Davis decided to have Lap Band surgery and was surprised at how quickly weight started to come off. And although she thought she would be documenting her physical transformation, she was surprised that suddenly she found herself ignoring her camera. She explained:
“I was catching up on the emotional side of [losing weight] and feeling different in the world. … I wanted to experience what dating was, what it felt like in the world and not use a camera to gain access to anything and I didn’t want it to be a distraction for living in the world.”
Davis eventually began dating a man and only recently took out her camera in order to document the experience.
“Now I want to see what this feels like, so I’ve been shooting myself with him a lot,” she began. “I’m just trying to figure it all out now.”
- Poetry Of Microscopy Photo Essay (ramanan50.wordpress.com)
I watched an insightful Video in Ted.com on ‘Why do people work?’
Scroll down for Video and Transcript.
People who were paid money gradually lost interest.
People whose work was discarded gave up immediately.
Those who were appreciated performed better,
And those who did not for pleasure did well.
Money ,it is observed by the narrator is not a factor at all.
True, those who climb mountains climb despite hazards and payments start all over again for the sheer pleasure of it.
Edmund Hillary put it better, when he asked why he kept on climbing Mountains,
‘Because it is there”
Appears to be true.
But they too need Money to climb mountains and they go in for some other jobs or for sponsors for expenses.
So Money is needed.
The point is we do get pleasure in doing what we want to and we perform better,yet if the basic needs are not met you can not do do or work what gives you pleasure.
The crux is the result of the Work.
If the work is appreciated by others and if the work is creative and not destroyed we work better.
So work or performance Pleasure and efficiency is determined by the results it produces.
Yet the results of work is not determined by our efforts or work alone.
It has other factors to influence the results, like the other factors , environment and people.
Even a simple task like brushing one’s teeth assumes and needs other factors like Gravity,paste being available at a given time and most imp importantly one should be alive.
These factors, agents are not in one’s control and as such the outcome of any work depends heavily on these external factors.
The best one can do is to efficiently manage the one factor in one’s control, that is Himself.
If one were to worry about the other factors like others’ opinion and other factors,the very thought will impair on’e efficiency, thus lowering the chances of the work being completed successfully and as a result the pleasure one can derive.
Therefore to improve efficiency and derive pleasure out of work is to change the mind-set into one of detached attachment.
An action that is performed is non action when there is no involvement or motivation.
An action that is performed with the results in mind are Actions, which may cause disappointments when one is not appreciated or the work is destroyed.
Non action is an action is one where one performs an action or work because it has to be done without bothering about the consequences .
Here there is action and yet there is no anticipation of results and consequently no disappointment; if it is appreciated or remains for some time you are Happy, it is a Bonus.
This is the way one has to approach to work to be Happy and be more efficient.
One should be careful in understanding this thought as this does not mean non involvement or irresponsibility.
When we think about how people work,the naive intuition we have is that people are like rats in a maze – that all people care about is money, and the moment we give people money, we can direct them to work one way, we can direct them to work another way. This is why we give bonuses to bankers and pay in all kinds of ways. And we really have this incredibly simplistic view of why people work and what the labor market looks like.
At the same time, if you think about it, there’s all kinds of strange behaviors in the world around us. Think about something like mountaineering and mountain climbing. If you read books of people who climb mountains, difficult mountains, do you think that those books are full of moments of joy and happiness? No, they are full of misery. In fact, it’s all about frostbite and difficulty to walk and difficulty of breathing – cold, challenging circumstances.And if people were just trying to be happy, the moment they would get to the top, they would say, “This was a terrible mistake. I’ll never do it again.” (Laughter) ”Instead, let me sit on a beach somewhere drinking mojitos.” But instead, people go down, and after they recover, they go up again. And if you think about mountain climbing as an example, it suggests all kinds of things. It suggests that we care about reaching the end, a peak. It suggests that we care about the fight, about the challenge. It suggests that there’s all kinds of other things that motivate us to work or behave in all kinds of ways.
And for me personally, I started thinking about this after a student came to visit me. This was a student that was one of my students a few years earlier. And he came one day back to campus. And he told me the following story: He said that for more than two weeks, he was working on a PowerPoint presentation. He was working in a big bank. This was in preparation for a merger and acquisition. And he was working very hard on this presentation – graphs, tables, information. He stayed late at night every day. And the day before it was due, he sent his PowerPoint presentation to his boss, and his boss wrote him back and said, ”Nice presentation, but the merger is canceled.” And the guy was deeply depressed.Now at the moment when he was working, he was actually quite happy. Every night he was enjoying his work, he was staying late, he was perfecting this PowerPoint presentation. But knowing that nobody would ever watch that made him quite depressed.
So I started thinking about how do we experiment with this idea of the fruits of our labor.And to start with, we created a little experiment in which we gave people Legos, and we asked them to build with Legos. And for some people, we gave them Legos and we said,”Hey, would you like to build this Bionicle for three dollars? We’ll pay you three dollars for it.” And people said yes, and they built with these Legos. And when they finished, we took it, we put it under the table, and we said, “Would you like to build another one, this time for $2.70?” If they said yes, we gave them another one. And when they finished, we asked them, ”Do you want to build another one?” for $2.40, $2.10, and so on, until at some point people said, “No more. It’s not worth it for me.” This was what we called the meaningful condition. People built one Bionicle after another. After they finished every one of them, we put them under the table. And we told them that at the end of the experiment, we will take all these Bionicles, we will disassemble them, we will put them back in the boxes, and we will use it for the next participant.
There was another condition. This other condition was inspired by David, my student. And this other condition we called the Sisyphic condition. And if you remember the story about Sisyphus, Sisyphus was punished by the gods to push the same rock up a hill, and when he almost got to the end, the rock would roll over, and he would have to start again. And you can think about this as the essence of doing futile work. You can imagine that if he pushed the rock on different hills, at least he would have some sense of progress. Also, if you look at prison movies, sometimes the way that the guards torture the prisoners is to get them to dig a hole and when the prisoner is finished, they ask him to fill the hole back up and then dig again. There’s something about this cyclical version of doing something over and over and over that seems to be particularly demotivating. So in the second condition of this experiment, that’s exactly what we did. We asked people, “Would you like to build one Bionicle for three dollars?” And if they said yes, they built it. Then we asked them, “Do you want to build another one for $2.70?” And if they said yes, we gave them a new one, and as they were building it, we took apart the one that they just finished. And when they finished that, we said, “Would you like to build another one, this time for 30 cents less?” And if they said yes, we gave them the one that they built and we broke. So this was an endless cycleof them building and us destroying in front of their eyes.
Now what happens when you compare these two conditions? The first thing that happenedwas that people built many more Bionicles — they built 11 versus seven – in the meaningful condition versus the Sisyphus condition. And by the way, we should point out that this was not a big meaning. People were not curing cancer or building bridges. People were building Bionicles for a few cents. And not only that, everybody knew that the Bionicles would be destroyed quite soon. So there was not a real opportunity for big meaning. But even the small meaning made a difference.
Now we had another version of this experiment. In this other version of the experiment, we didn’t put people in this situation, we just described to them the situation, much as I am describing to you now, and we asked them to predict what the result would be. What happened? People predicted the right direction but not the right magnitude. People who were just given the description of the experiment said that in the meaningful condition people would probably build one more Bionicle. So people understand that meaning is important, they just don’t understand the magnitude of the importance, the extent to which it’s important.
Caste is a system of social organisation and acts as a Social Control tool.
It may be hard to digest under the notion that it breeds inequality among people and as such is reprehensible.
But it is innate.
Many are under the impression is a word coined by Hinduism to oppress people, while the rest of the world and Social systems do not have it.
Nothing can be farther from Truth.
Before we proceed to the Science news on this, I would like to add some points on ‘Caste’
The critics of ‘Caste’ system fail to understand the concept or even facts.
They use it as Varnasrama Dharma.
Varna means literally disposition, often used , of late, to mention, Color.
The disposition is determined , not by Birth but by attitudes that are inborn.
Asrama means’ stage’ as in Stages of Life.
So Varnasrama Dharma is a misnomer in this context.
Vedic texts do not express any special favors for a Group but prescribe some Responsibilities.
Each group is enjoined to have certain responsibilities and each supports the other.
Purusha Suktha of the Vedas, while narrating the origins of the Universe describes thus.
‘Brahmins are the Face,Kshatriyas, The Shoulders,Vaisyas The Thighs and The Sudras , The Feet’
( Brahmanosya Mukam Aaseeth, Baahu Rajanya Kruthaha, Ooru Thadhasya yas Vaisyah,Padhyo Soodro ajaayata’
The Face is indicative of the inner finer qualities and character , Shoulders, Valor and protection, Thighs support, and Feet Anchoring the whole Body.
What is conveyed is that the tendency to compare one with another and strive to be one up is natural and innate;they are dependent on and supportive of each other.
The Survival of the Fittest in Evolution stems from the urge to be ahead than the others to ensure survival;else the Organism will perish.
We always strive to excel than others in all our activities , be it in looks, Dressing, Status, Economic prosperity.
In the process we compete with one another through out Life and in times of the struggle for the Basics of Life, like Water, Food, Sex, we even kill.
The tendency to engage in one-upmanship is what actually ensures our Life,.
In the righteous anger against ‘Untouchability, people often confuse ‘Caste’ with it.
Caste as we call it has been in existence for over Five Thousand Years, where as Untouchabilty came into being around 600 AD.
While we can eradicate Untouchability as it is a conscious effort to isolate a group we can not do so about Caste.
People who practice Untouchabilty belong, normally, to Endogenous Groups’ and they are generally associated with those who were, in India,protecting the society, as a King, Soldiers.
One would find the practice of the Untouchability being practised more by these groups.like the Thakusr, Nadars and Thevars of Tamil Nadu.
The other communities in India,practice this habit very rarely.
A look at the statistics of Untouchability offences committed would prove that the Brahmins who practice Untouchability are very rare and few and far in between.
But the impression is that Brahmins practice Untouchability, an effort by the British to isolate the Group.
Caste , as i mentioned in my earlier posts, is based on Dispositions , not determined by Birth.
Howevrmuch one tries to eradciate it, it is not possible as it is Nature.
It will exist in some other from,as Poor and the Rich, Bourgeoisie and proletariat,Empolyed and The Employed; only the yard stick will differ(which is less scientic tahn based on Dispositions.
Even animals have Heiearchy and group feelings.
Their noises are so human-like that Thore Bergman, an assistant professor with the University of Michigan, thought he heard people talking while he was hanging out with the creatures.
“I would find myself frequently looking over my shoulder to see who was talking to me, but it was just the geladas,” he said. “It was unnerving to have primate vocalizations sound so much like human voices.”
Male geladas smack their lips to produce a distincive “wobble” in their calls to females. These sounds follow a similar tempo to human speech….
“While females have strong social bonds in the group, a female will only interact with at most three other members of her unit. Grooming and other social interactions among females usually occur between pairs. Females in a reproductive unit exist in a hierarchy. Higher-ranking females have more reproductive success and more offspring than lower-ranking females. Closely related females tend to have a similar hierarchical status. Females stay in their natal units for life; cases of females leaving are rare. Aggression is rare within a reproductive unit, being directed mostly towards members of other units. More often, the females start conflicts, but both males and females from both sides will join if the conflict escalates. Also, aggression within a reproductive unit is usually between females.‘
‘Untouchability is not unique to India; it was practised in parts of Europe until a few centuries ago, and Japan still has a large number of ‘untouchables’, called the burakumin. But it is in the Indian sub-continent that this system survives, closely bound with culture, religion, history and contemporary politics. Today over 170 million men, women and children in the India are considered untouchable, and improvement in their lot has been slow despite legal safeguards and government programs.’
‘The term is commonly associated with treatment of the Dalit communities, who are considered “polluting” among the people of South Asia, but the term has been used for other groups as well, such as the Burakumin of Japan, Cagots in Europe, or the Al-Akhdam in Yemen. Untouchability has been made illegal in post-independence India, and Dalits substantially empowered, although some prejudice against them continues, especially in rural pockets dominated by certain other backward caste (OBC) groups.(wiki)
Most of the great sages and Gods worshipped do not belong to Brahmin community, supposedly higher in echelon.
Brahma and Vishnu are classified as above because one is originator (Brahma) of Life and Vishnu is a Protector, both functions are that of Kshatriyas while Siva liberates from the world through Knowledge and hence called a Brahmana.