Thursday, September 08, 2011

 Know Thyself
Because I have some time to just think I am doing just that. It seems to me that we humans are wasting a lot of energy, stress and time with the way we think. Computers don't have that short coming. Not that computers are superior thinkers, about all they have going for them is speed. A computer can calculate much faster than it takes a human, but they have no emotion or obviously humanity. However, they do have a process that is superior to a human when it comes to taking action for future events and dealing with the past.
The fact is that a computer really doesn't deal with the future or past at all, they are always in the now. They can predict future actions or analyze the past but always based upon the now. They never find themselves paralyzed by a future problem or past event. Humans tend to live in either the past or the future and avoid the now. It can cause stress and wastes time and energy.
A computer is never concerned with what it did in the past. If it makes a mistake it corrects it in the moment and continues on. It spends no time wondering what would have happened "if" the mistake had not occurred or suffer guilt because of it. It was just an error, not a defining moment in the computers life. It thinks no more about the error except to correct it so that it is not repeated.
Humans seem to dwell on the mistakes they have made in the past. They have a need to be guilty or remorseful while neither emotion in itself will correct the mistake nor keep them from repeating it. The pattern of an abuser is to abuse, feel bad, express sorrow to the one hurt and soon repeat the abuse only to be sorry again. Remorse in itself does not correct the behavior. If they could not have both, would the abused rather have the abuser say he was sorry and continue the abuse or say nothing and never do it again. I suggest it would be the latter. A computer never apologizes for a mistake it simply corrects it. But, once the erroneous line of code is corrected it never repeats it either.
Future events are handled very differently by a human and a computer as well. While the human tends to think in terms of "What if then else" the computer thinks in terms of "If then else". A basic line of code in computer language is the "If then else" loop. It is used extensively to get computers to make choices. It says in essence, If this is the condition or answer, "then" complete the next sequence. If it is not the condition or answer, "else", complete a different sequence. When confronted in the now with a condition it makes a choice and continues on. When it reaches the next "If then else" loop it makes the choice based on the information it has at that moment. Like a sail boat continually correcting its course based upon current conditions, it reaches its destiny. A computer has the speed so these billions of "if then else" decisions happen very quickly, but no more than quick decisions based upon its current status.
Humans usually deal with the "What if then else" loop. Instead of waiting until information or a situation has presented itself the human will try to anticipate future actions. It is a loop that goes like this, "What if I lose my job? What if my saving is wiped out?" Based upon these hypothetical situations the human mind comes up with a plan of action. If I lose my job THEN I will run out of money fast, lose the house and will be homeless." The next part of the human loop is "else" , What if something else happens then what do I do? Again a fantasy scenario is calculated for the next situation that has not happened.
The human mind is capable of coming up with all kinds "what if then" situations and feels it must prepare for every thing that MIGHT come its way. Since all the imagined what if's can't possible happen, there is a lot of wasted time, energy, and stress used in contemplating that which will not happen. It is much better for humans to wait, like the computer, and react to that which IS in the now and not rehearse that which will not be.
In the same manner the past is taken care of because if you make better choices in the now, there will be less regret and guilt over what happened in the past.
One might quote the Boy Scout credo, "Be prepared" as the proper way to conduct your life. By anticipating the what if then scenario are we humans not becoming prepared? Prepared for what? Is it smart to prepare for a category five hurricane in the desert? Or bring refrigeration to the arctic? It is wasted time to prepare for that which will not be. And the only thing that will be is that which is... that which is now. When faced with the reality of now, IF action is needed THEN you will react to the proper stimuli.
The way we can prepare is to know who we are and what we are. If you know you are an honest person, faced with a choice that is dishonest, THEN you will not make the dishonest decision. If you believe in the value of everyone, when faced with the idea of hurting another for your own gain, THEN you will not participate.
The only way to truly prepare for what might happen is to know your core values now. Instead of imagining an event in your life and trying to write a scenario based upon what you would do IF it happens, know the principles you stand for. If you know what you believe in THEN you do not have to think about what you might do IF something happens you will simply do it when the time comes.
Written above the entrance on the Temple of Delphi thousands of years ago are two words. It is perhaps the best advice for modern living ever written. It says, "Know Thyself". IF you know yourself, THEN you will find everything ELSE easy and you will never worry about WHAT will happen to you, ELSE it is a lot of wasted time worrying about that which never will be.
As you were,

1 comment:

P. Grecian said...

But a computer cannot create. All of creativity rests on the foundation of those two words: What if?

You always make me read and think and respond...sometimes here, sometimes just in my own world. Thanks, Jay.