Friday, 23 March 2012

Inception in real life

Swami Gulagulaananda said:
"Are you really capable of thinking originally or has someone done inception on you. Without you even realising..."

If you have not watched the movie Inception, go watch it now... It's awesome.

Nonetheless, have you ever thought of the way in which your mind works when you see or hear something? Have you ever wondered why you think the way you do? Many jobs require the applicant to be an engineer, though many BCA and MCA guys are as knowledgeable in terms of knowledge in computers. Apparently, the reason is "You have gone through an engineering course, you can think like an engineer". Big deal, what's thinking like an engineer anyway? Knowing how to mass bunk? Or booze? Or finish studying last minute? Surely all students are like that, no? Well, apparently, training makes a great difference.

So, what I am trying to say here is that, the way in which you react to anything is dependent on the kind of environment you have been in, the kinds of experiences you have gone through, the kinds of experiences you have seen others go through (which also adds to your understanding several times) and the kind of training you have gone through. But, notice, not every bit of reaction is original - Many times, a lot of ideas and reactions are not at all your original. Rather, they were placed there by someone else.

Think about it. If you touch something hot, you move your hand away from it - This is an original reaction, instinctive. However, keeping away from bad people - is not always experienced, it is driven into you by your parents and teachers. Surely you also read the consequences of being a rowdy in the newspapers, when someone gets hacked or shot. But you see, the idea was in your head due to someone else. And with that, the definition of what is good and bad is also put in by others. Stealing is bad - is what you were probably taught. Stealing to eat because nobody is willing to give a job to me and I have to survive, is probably something a guy who stole for that reason would say. From his perspective, it is right. But for the guy who was robbed, it was wrong.

Now put this along with an idea that is made to bombard you no matter where you go. Take the example of the organisation RSS. The moment you hear or see RSS, if you are not a geek who quickly goes to RSS feeds (Really Simple Syndication) you are one who pictures saffron. For you, RSS implies saffron, and you may even go ahead to think of them as Hindu fanatics. Some may even go ahead and think of them as right winged Hindu based terrorists. And so on. I don't know how deep you think, but step back for a moment and think again. How much do you know about RSS directly and how much do you know about it as a perception - And where did such a perception originate? If you are able to identify the source, how authentic is the source? Is it possible for a source that seems authentic to be contaminated and thereby spreading false information?

Did you know? It seems media channels and media companies are often bribed - which is why you see that some things are all the time on news and then suddenly vanish without a trace - this is due to an exchange of money... <== Conspiracy theory? Well, think about it. Read on.

Many of our ideas come from the media - and news channels. When something is aggressively followed by the news channels coupled with the newspapers, we tend to swing with it. You may not even have heard about some of the things, but then you start actively supporting things. You start developing opinions. But note that they may not even be the ones you would have had if you had thought of it yourself from the beginning. Let's take homosexuality, for instance. People are divided into two groups, one who claim that it is unnatural, because nature created males and females and wanted them to unite for spawning new generation. Homosexuality just doesn't fit in. The other, well, they may not have a reason. Rather, a more emotional approach in a way, or democratic if you will, in the sense that they say that everyone has the right to be as they want to be and as long as they are not hurting others, what right do you have to say what they should or shouldn't be doing. When I asked people, most of them had only one answer "I don't care what they want to do, as long as they are not bothering me... Let them do whatever they want to do" and interestingly, this point of view never appears in the media. All you can see is a mass of people holding placards and banners, shouting slogans FOR homosexuality. What happens when an average man with no opinion sees this? He begins to think that this is the general idea. And he tends to swing towards it, though he may originally not have had that idea.

The interesting part is, very few people are open for confrontation. Most people don't like confrontation, especially if they are up against a mob or a large group of people. If you have seen debates among your friends or have been involved in one, you will see that one of the guys often becomes the underdog, and as the pressure of peers increase, he gets quieter. Most people don't want to be that underdog, when you can be on the same side of the winning group. You see, it is more satisfying emotionally. Especially when you don't feel strongly about something. I don't really care about homosexuality, but that group is winning, and I like to be on the winning side. I know it sounds funny, but pay attention next time.

Riots in some nations have been brought about successfully in a similar manner. A group of people are made to shout slogans and hurl stones and other things - Then this is aggressively covered by the media from all angles. How perceptive are we to differentiate if the people we see are the same ones or not. All we see is "Riots in Srinagar" and we see flames, thick dark smoke and stone pelters and some army men and police men with what seem to be cane shields and lathis. We start filling in the rest of the details ourselves. Oh, mostly the people in Srinagar or any other place, are not happy. Maybe the government there is bad. If the people there themselves don't want to be with India, is it fair that we force them to? When people in that area see their "brothers and comrades" fighting for a cause, and when they see that inhuman army man beating that innocent boy as he desperately clutches the dirt on the ground, pleading for mercy, they see red. They shout out "Enough of this. I am no coward to be sitting here while a younger boy is getting beaten up for a cause that we should all support." Probably the cause is not really as important to you as having a young boy rescued. Small nations have been toppled using this technique.

This may seem to be an elaborate conspiracy theory. But the next time you are forming an opinion, think once more if the opinion is indeed yours. Try to form a train of thought as to what made you think whatever it was that you thought. What were the probably factors that make you think the way you do. Are you really capable of thinking originally or has someone done inception on you. Without you even realising...

P.S. - I am strongly against newspapers such as Times Of India for posting Times View.

You may also like to read:
Homosexuality - It's a queer topic
Situation, Perception and Reaction

=== Comments From Facebook ===

Chiranth Ashok:
I agree with you that a lot of times our opinions are not really ours.. What is eveything, if not inception? Everything is taught to us in a certain way and that is what we believe and that will reflect in our thoughts when we do think..
Since everything is inception, what matters? when there are several opinions in front of you, your choice among them is what matters(that also comes from how you were brought up).
Perhaps you missed to mention that there is also a "Counter-view" in TOI right next to the "Times-view"?
There was something from you about free speech and how it is misused, I agree with that as well.. You have been excellently showcasing the problems in our way of life, but what is the solution? Can these problems be solved? I think these are the questions that need to be answered soon..

Nikhil Baliga:
Uhh Saar, I am talkin about the little box that appear with every news article, not that one where two people give opposing views...

And what's the solution? I suggest you read a book called I'm OK, You're OK. I think the solution is as in the post, think originally and don't get swayed. You need to develop an independent way of thinking. Logical, if I may say so. I would also like to suggest Six Thinking Hats.

And besides, if everything was taught to you, you are nothing more than a robot, according to you, who has been pre-programmed. Everything is not pre-programmed. But the way in which you perceive things is a result of your past experience and lessons. Which is not permanent. Instead, it should be assessed, and  checked if it is right. It would be a problem if you are judging with that same mind which has preconceived notions. For that would be like measuring if a length that was measured with a faulty tape earlier is right or not, with the same faulty tape. Thus, developing an independent thought system is the need, and not what is fed to you... I hope this clarifies what I was saying...

Chiranth Ashok: 
Yes, this clears any possibility of confusion. I agree with you as I have always strived to follow logic. Unfortunately, our society is full of robots (this is my personal experience). I will look into this book I'm OK, You're OK.. Maybe I can improve my thought process.

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