A Curious Mind W(o/a)nders

Tuesday, July 07, 2009


Try picking up any new art, hmm lets say cooking. At first you are struggling with everything; sometimes you've put too much spice while at other times you've forgotten it completely! Some other time the salt has gone wrong...or god knows what else. Struggle for a while though, and the struggle becomes progressively lesser even without you making a conscious effort. It is as if your body has sub-consciously figured the thing out! Or if you've ever tried to woo a member of the opposite sex you'd know what I'm saying. At first (s)he is one big package of mystery. Yet gradually you manage to recognize the sublime clues (s)he is throwing around...and then somewhere down the line, the clues even begin to make sense!

Though not that apparent, the process of discovering new stuff in science is in fact quite similar to the examples above. Whether you are doing maths or physics or any of the newer exotic specialisations, the first stage is usually feeding yourself the basic stuff in a form that you understand. The "form you understand" differs from person to person and it is important that you figure out the drink that suits you best. For someone it might be mathematical symbolism, for someone else it might be practical examples, while for a third person it might be some other hybrid. As they warn: if marriages are made in heaven, you'd better search hard for your special someone on earth!

Give yourself the right drink for a while and you'll find that you've reached a state where you're able to sense pictures in jigsaw fragments and melodies in the notes. Thats "intuiting". The ability to make jumps in reasoning and see the story linking disconnected episodes... It is a very sublime thing; if you try to immediately logically reason it, the thing just goes away! But allow it to play itself out without willful tinkering and you'll begin to witness the effortless "falling into place" phenomenon. Try the rigorous checks later on; 9 out of 10 times you'll find the jigsaw pieces fell in place just right!

Intuiting is an amazing faculty and doesn't seem to be limited to any particular field of activity. Talk to any good football coach and (s)he'll emphasize the development of "legs in your brains"; thats just another form of intuiting.

Step back and think for a while... What makes us human... Can't machines today do almost everything we humans do... Well everything except "intuiting". Have you ever seen a machine drunk?? :)


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