Author Archive: PalHachi~

Emotional and Mental Projection (1)

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The only true experiences, whether mental or emotional that we can rely on are our own. The only stories that we can understand fully our our own stories and the events that transpired in our lives. While we can understand stories that happen to others there are always bits and pieces that we either don’t know about or are simply beyond our level of comprehension. So when it comes time to try to understand the viewpoints and motivations of others, we naturally place ourselves in their shoes, but while we do so, we remain in our own bodies with its collection of feelings, thoughts and memories and apply them to the story.

While we say we emphathize with their plight and problems we usually fail to understand why they are in such a situation to begin with. The easiest ones for us to understand are situations that are truly out of anyone’s personal control. That is why there is a wave of sympathy and charity in situations that involve natural disasters as we can fully understand that there are things that simply happen for no reason or fault of the individual.

For situations that are more and more in control of the individual we tend to add more and more judgmental attributes and viewpoints into the equation. Let’s say there are three men with three houses, each house burned down to the ground. Each man asks for help to rebuild their house.

 

The first man Mr. White had his house burn down when it was suddenly struck by lightning. His neighbors and friends look at the burnt remains of his home and help him dig through the ashes to help find any mementos or salvageable remains in the rubble. A collection is made and many people who don’t even know Mr. White contribute what they can to help Mr. White rebuild his house.

We see stories like this often as millions of people are willing to help out those struck by natural disasters or circumstances that are out of their control. We imagine what we would do in those situations as we can picture them happening to us and hope that the same outpouring of help would be available to us. We are easily capable of projecting ourselves into those situations and can empathize fully and openly without judgment.

Mr. Blue’s house burned down as well. Instead of a natural disaster Mr. Blue accidentally started a kitchen fire while making himself some bacon. Mr. Blue normally doesn’t cook and is a nice enough fellow so his neighbors and friends come to help dig through the rubble and even start a collection to help him through. While they help him, most of his neighbors and friends think to themselves ‘Boy what a silly fool Mr. Blue is, he should have known better than to try cooking bacon.’ Others read the story in the local news and have a chuckle over how Mr. Blue tried to put out a bacon fire by throwing water on it. In the end Mr. Blue does receive some help from those close to him, but not so much from the general public.

Finally, we have the story of Mr. Red. His house burned down as well. He had gotten in a fight with his wife and in a moment of rage simply decided to burn his home down. As the ashes and rubble cools Mr. Red is left alone to dig through the remains. His friends and neighbors avoid him because they cannot comprehend what would drive someone to do something so insane. His story in the news garners mainly ridicule except from the few people that read it that may have felt the same rage that Mr. Red did that fateful day.

In the end all three men lost their house, but the amount of empathy and sympathy that they were able to receive was not based on the loss of the house which was the same in all three situations, but whether or not people were able to understand the circumstances and place themselves not only in the shoes of Mr. White, Blue and Red but in the lives of them as well.

We tend to empathize and sympathize with those that have experienced the same or similar situations in life that we have gone through or can worry about ourselves, but to truly understand the actions and motivations of a person we need to take another step forward and remove ourselves from the equation.

~PalHachi

 

Entropy

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We all learned the Laws of Thermodynamics in school. The first law simply states that energy in a closed system energy cannot be created or destroyed but simply changed from one form to another. The second law states that entropy or entropies exist which will also sap some energy in the process of the conversion of energy from one form to another. To put it in simpler terms the first law states that anything on its own has a limited amount of energy, the only way to increase the energy is from an outside source. For example, your car has energy in the form of gasoline, diesel or in more modern cases the batteries. Once the car is driven to a certain point it will run out of energy or power unless it is refueled or plugged into an outside source.

The second law simply states that a perfect conversion from one form of energy to another is never 100% efficient and some loss is always present. We all learned these laws in school and for the majority of us we saw it as information to learn for an exam only to be forgotten. In the sense that we never thought about how it applies to our own daily lives much like the idea of mitosis. We learned about it in biology class and may even be able to explain what it is, but I’m sure that the average couple engaged in amorous activities will not have the idea of mitosis crossing their minds.

Entropy Definition

The idea that entropy, the march towards chaos and disorder exists is something that we don’t realize happens every single day in everything that we do. In any project or job that we undertake it will ultimately fall apart unless we give more energy into the project to keep things moving or even increasing.

A musician can release a hit song and it may see its time of fame on the radio and record sales and streams, but unless there is more effort or energy input into the system the song like many others will simply disappear from the market. So the musician makes an effort to make a video, go on tour and advertise in order to promote the song and make more sales. They are actively inputting more energy into the system to keep it viable and fight against entropy. More energy is put into the song in order to keep it popular or to revive it.

This principal can be applied to every aspect of our lives from our careers, hobbies and skills to even our relationships with other people. We can all recognize that without putting in more effort that things in time will degrade because of entropy.

In our relationships with others the more time, effort and energy we put into it the stronger the bonds becomes. Just like a chemical process between atoms and molecules where stronger bonds exist because of more energy the same exists with our relationships with others. If you want a better relationship simply input more energy into it and the bond will get stronger.

The Golden Path

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The Golden Path is an idea brought up in the Dune series of books by Frank Herbert. It stars characters who are prescient or can see the future and the possible paths that lead to a particular end. In order to get to a ‘perfect’ or ‘ideal’ future for humanity the main characters are forced to take a the Golden Path, a series of actions that cause great immediate harm and suffering to both humanity and themselves but to reach an ultimate ‘ideal’ goal.

Now the idea of prescience or being able to see the future for all of humanity is a bit grandiose but I believe that it is possible to see the future for ourselves as individuals. We do it every day to a certain degree. When we are at work we think about what we’ll have for dinner or going to the bar for a beer. At night before we sleep we think about what we’ll do the following day, what we’ll have for lunch or where we’ll go. We plan our vacations and imagine sitting on the beach or visiting a museum. Each of those ‘visions’ in our head is a possible future that we can make for ourselves as individuals. The idea is that those places in time and space already exist and we just need to find the optimal path to get there.

To reach each possible point that we envision has a path or in some cases paths that we can take. Some are easier than others, but each one exists just like each possible future already exists.

How we reach that end point or goal is wholly dependent on us. It is not an issue of fate, destiny or predestination as we are the ones that make the each choice and decision that will lead there. Like any path or road that we take to a destination, there will be twists and turns. There will be unforeseen obstacles that block our way. It is however up to us to decide whether to desert the idea of the Golden Path or simply to find the detour in the road that leads there.

We all imagine a ‘perfect’ future for ourselves; where we’ll be, what we’ll be doing and in some cases who we’ll be with. Fortunately, we have the ability to actively affect most of those factors. Of course, there are limits to what we as individuals can do, but there is much more we can do than we realize.

As children, we imagined what careers that we would have whether it was to be an astronaut, athlete, movie star or something entirely different. As children, we all had some opportunity or path available to us to reach that goal. Unfortunately, in too many cases we chose different paths to take and ended up in a completely different location, but at the moment of conception of that dream goal there was a path that made that goal possible. In most cases the path was too difficult, so we chose an easier way that led to a different destination.

While long term end goals can be easy to envision and fantasize about reaching those goals and finding the path is even more difficult as we are unable to plan for eventualities that may pop up along the way.

In following entries we’ll take a closer look at if this is at all possible within the confines of science and reason and also what implications it may have on our daily lives.

 

~PalHachi

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