Monday, June 20, 2011

Murphy's overstatement

We humans are so interesting! I'm just trying to understand, as many of you might have already, why is it that we're naturally so inclined to negative thinking. In fact, there is no historical record that I know of about anyone ever inventing any anti-Murphy laws. Nobody ever said that given the chance that something might go well, it is very likely to go well, or maybe better than expected.

Also, why will we always try to leave home minimally prepared for an unfortunate event, like randomly taking an umbrella "just in case" when spending a long time out far, and we are not really likely to take, for example, a camera, just in case we see something really interesting that deserves being photographed? As a matter of fact, in modern society, but I believe ever since the existence of mankind, the circumstance where "I'm feeling lucky" isn't considered unwise is while Googling. My take on it is that our mind is built to let us be happy with all the imperfection in and around us. We are imperfect beings, and the randomness of events will naturally not synchronize with our needs: if we are in a bad mood, there's no increase in the likelihood of a positive event, and vice versa.

Let us analyze how positive and negative "karma" affects our brain machinery. If we are leaning towards the negative side of our perception of reality, some brain functions will slow down, or show certain inertia. If we are in a neutral state, brain functions will work just fine, as they are needed to do so, at average pace of everyday activity. If we are "happy", the brain gets stimulated to work faster and more efficiently. However, the superior efficiency is not always needed, and does not necessarily improve the quality of what we are doing (if we need to solve a simple mathematical operation, positive mental incentive might not have any impact beyond what's physically possible in neutral state already, while negative incentive will decrease efficiency proportionally, possibly until mental blockage).

So we will only notice positive incentive on more complex tasks (that do not make up most of our normal activity), but negative input will always affect efficiency. So since our brain is so masterfully engineered, even though we don't really know this consciously, our subconscious takes care of keeping us aware that all we really need is to focus on not getting negative input, and we don't waste extra energy frustrating ourselves while attracting unnecessary positive input. So to me, though it may seem at first a symbol of negativity, our way of always keeping danger and bad luck in mind is indeed nothing but another ingenious stress defense in our amazingly complex and clever gray mass – a positive control technique seamlessly hidden in common social behavior. Once again, all I take from wondering about the issues of humanity and the complexity of our minds is just how great of a piece of machinery with a well-measured touch of humor we are.

It would be interesting also to see what Albedo (Happy birthday by the way ;) ) has to say on this, since she is far more than me into sociology and human sciences than I am. I'm just a curious bystander. Good reading folks!


1 comment:

Μαρία said...

Interesting topic.
"Some times a cigar it's just a cigar" but if we analyze it from the point of human sciences, it's true what you're saying. Our mind tends to think negatively because that way we feel more prepared to the possible dangers. At least I can say that negative people enjoy suprises more than anyone. :p Positivism involves creative mind, self-confidence and faith.

I just think we should find the golden line of balance and realize that some things are not because of the karma or the planents, but because of our close minds. It's true, whether we are constantly finding one million excuses to hide it ;) It's a huge subject and we can examine from different angles. What it matters in the end is how we deal with all our meetings with Murphy's law ;)