Thursday, April 1, 2010
Q and A
Ritwik lived with a lot of questions in his mind. Those questions tormented him and needless to say, torments me too.I could relate effortlessly to the person he was, when in school, the discipline he was supposed to comply with at home. He is one character I wished to be in my ambiance. Not many authors do that. The only other protagonist I wanted to be in my times is Prince Mushkin of 'the Idiot'. I probably didn't want to know other characters of Dostoevsky's because they belonged to an entirely different era. Though I loved the in depth analysis of his... nope I shall dedicate another entire post to him not just three or four lines in passing mention.
When Ritwik died he left me his questions. I couldn't sleep with them. When I was done reading the book, I felt empty, hollow and dumb trying to comprehend things. My mind was frantically trying to sort out things. Before I could get some sleep there were these obtrusive thoughts questioning the need for comprehension, the need for answers. I had just terminated the battle of choice between starting to read another novel and going to bed chewing over the questions I just mentioned.
And as usual, abstraction triumphed over reading, I dropped Ritwik's questions and was pondering over mine. Though there were sparks of illumination jumping into my consideration, lightening up my huge, vacuous room of questions, they were just flickers. I made a mental note to transfigure these sparks into lucid convictions and dozed off with the elation of having experienced mental fatigue, something I yearn for everyday.
Why was I desperate to answer Ritwik's questions?(though I call it desperate, it passed off. I didn't answer them then and shall not answer them henceforth). I wanted to remember the fatigue which was exhilaration to my senses and to my mind. I shall rather remember this exhilaration than the answers to Ritwik's questions. I shall let these questions fade away from my memory. That way I guess Neel Mukherjee is similar to Dostoevsky. I am not comparing their styles. I am only referring to my plight at the end of the their books.
Returning to my original question, why was I searching for answers? Its seems simple. More answers= more connection between neurons= positive augmentation of cognition. Intelligence is the ability to form a labyrinth of events in your brain, but an untangled one. So why is it we try to answer questions sometimes and not often do we try to give up and let it fade adopting stupid reasons such as mine?
Is it a "basic drive to improve cognition" or one to "reduce the memory and put the solved questions and answers and save them in a zipped folder such that the hippocampus is not burdened with too much data"? Is the sense of discomfort that accompanies the acknowledgment of incomplete analysis of something, some kind of negative feedback mechanism in the limbic system, that makes us untangle it soon and reduce the burden on the hippocampus?
I have this urge to end this abruptly and run to some place in joy, but I shall not do it. So eventually what is it? Given my vanity I would say its largely the former( the basic drive to augment cognition). The likelihood of the mind controlling something by known mechanisms(explained by basic human behaviour) is simply more plausible than vague theories on feedback and control. Life's Good.