Voice Notes

RAJGOPAL NIDAMBOOR

Most of us feel that our observations are often a precise interpretation of things. We also believe that such annotations are outcomes of verified interpretations. Picture this — for a person with no knowledge of using the stethoscope, the consequence of what each heart beat conveys is inconsequential. It takes a physician to analyse, infer and diagnose a condition, or deduce that the heart is as ‘sound’ as a bell. Or, it is healthy and strong. The most important fact that a physician interprets is, again, evidence — heart sounds and their impact in health and illness. This holds ‘good’ for every activity we do — be it accountancy, or marketing analyses. The inference? We all need some hypothesis, or ‘cushion,’ to guard against misreading our observations.

Interpretations also include our beliefs of expression, or language. What we express is a measure of detected feelings and descriptions of such feelings too. They can be as direct as a straight line, or as distorted as the appearance of a curved object in a glass of water. What does this connote? That our language makes us what we are — this is akin to perceptions that we all carry about us and of others. You may equate this idea to a prism which causes objects to appear differently each time you try to view them through your own lens and not merely through your mind’s eye. This applies just as much to our palpable feelings, or emotions, which are key components of our observations, if not interpretations.

Philosophers believe that the concept of emotions are like picture-postcards of ‘mindful’ activation. All emotions are endowed with a matrix, or structure, although this is not as easy to evaluate as it appears in the presence of our conscious awareness. You’d think of a cosmic simile — the gravitational force between the sun and the earth which is as difficult to measure. While it is agreed that scientists are yet to establish gravity waves, our feelings, likewise, are not as yet acquiescent to precise measurement — notwithstanding breath-taking advances in medical science.

The study of emotions has enabled us to assemble and interpret a particular brain state, or a number of brain states. This represents our emotions — it is, however, far from what resembles the structure of the atom to a physicist. Yet, the big idea is emotions, like atoms, are elementary particles of psychological and physical phenomena. They represent the fundamental premise that began at the beginning of a complex surge called evolution.

You get the point. Human sensory, motor and conceptual systems are as complex and ‘tangible’ as quantum physics and as definable as the biology of life, including the function of the mitochondria — the ‘powerhouse’ of the cell. However, in the light of thought vis-à-vis the utility of specific relations among variable components of emotions, it is only appropriate that we evaluate such relevant phenomena by acknowledging our event-related brain activity — which all of us possess — in quantifying our behaviours. This is, of course, not as easy as it appears. Because, the interpretation of one’s temperament, or one’s biological processes, during emotional upsurges, can be as different as chalk and cheese between two individuals.

This is one reason why philosophers suggest that it would do us all a world of good if only we begin to accommodate our rich complexities and analyse — and, not misinterpret our expressions on ‘face value.’ In other words, it is only when we surmount our elementary bias would we be able to synchronise our inner voice like the symphony orchestra.

Yet, the point is all of us have to bear the load of ominous responsibilities that slow down things in one way, or the other. This, in turn, is stuffed with a plethora of cascading outcomes that trigger annoyance within oneself and in others. It reaches the crescendo, even before you’d exchange a perfunctory ‘hello’ with your colleague.

This is why we all love freedom, a splash of independence and the power to be what we want to be. However, the fact of the matter is free will and talent to make choices are two different entities. They may be interconnected, but they are no less distinct as clay is from quartz. The analogy is not complex — free will is nothing but an extension of responsibility, or accountability, for the options we formulate in life. It holds a gamut of issues — the first being that one should weigh the choices we make with the preferences we don’t wish to make. Because, decisions made haphazardly, or with alacrity, not only tend to go askew, they can also be disastrous. It pays to exercise patience, because thinking things through don’t often take a great deal of time, or long, dreary meetings in the conference room.

All it takes is vision and the facility to save time, while preserving, or conserving, energy to getting the job on hand done. There is no wisdom in procrastination. There is no wisdom in taking the path frequently travelled, or surplus conflict, when your ‘cargo’ is already bulky. We would all do well to remember that resistance equips us with determination, a steely resolve and the courage to look beyond hurdles — not remorse and disappointment.

We live in an epoch of collective, not private inventiveness — where individual marathons suffer fatigue more swiftly than supportive teams — if teamwork, as it appears to be on paper, really exists in everyone’s psyche. Any failure that affects us, or others around us, is nothing short of dreadful pulsations, or biorhythms. They have the frightening clout to influence our emotions. They affect our optimal health and well-being. The only way out of the impasse is to relax and de-stress through the power of sympathetic resonance, self-belief, empathy and harmony of thought and action with which we are all endowed with — in mind, body, and spirit.

— First published in The Himalayan Times, Nepal