Signal Systems and the Role of Words

‘Word’ is the path-maker for human to human Communication System. Word is deployed in the communication system either through speech or by writing down on material surfaces. These are well-known facts which need no specific mention. However, when it comes to spoken words, there comes something worth noticing: Spoken words entail sound and that makes the difference. Sound cannot be written down in normal, known platforms. Both word written and word sounded are symbols of signals.

Human Brain is capable of handling two Signal Systems through which ideas, information and knowledge are received and conveyed to self and to others respectively. The two signal systems are categorized as the First Signal System and the Second Signal System.

During the course of evolution, Homo sapiens developed an extremely important addition to its nervous activity. In animals reality of the surroundings is signalized by situations and the traces they leave behind in the cerebral hemispheres of brain which come directly to the nerve cells through visual, auditory, olfactory or other receptors. This process belongs to the category of First Signal System which humans too possess by way of impressions, sensations and notions in relation to the world around, – the world that represents both the natural and the social environs. As far as humans are concerned there is a well-laid path of communication system constructed by and through ‘word’ that is heard or ‘word’ that is seen in writing. That path of communication falls within the category of Second Signal System.

The Second Signal System is the special capability of human brain. The special capability of second signal system is of words written and or of words spoken. The knowledge the word conveys may be of impressions, sensations and notions in relation to the world around. Process of understanding the meaning and knowledge that the word conveys, either separately or jointly, depends upon the working condition of the sensory centres in the cerebral cortex of each individual human being: Idiots, imbeciles and morons may not understand the meaning and or knowledge that word represents or conveys. But an intelligent person whose sensory reactions to signals from the environs are sharp, might in all probability, understand the meaning and knowledge a word conveys  with consistency as compared to morons, imbeciles and idiots.

Humans cherish their additional capability facilitated by Second Signal System of communication through spoken words or written words while they overtake animals, birds and every other lower specie to maim them and to succeed. Humans think, evaluate and invent through the magic wand of Second Signal System along with the support or help from First Signal System.

Phobia – Fearsome, but Protective as well

Word phobia also known as phobism, owes its origin to the Greek word ’Phobos’. From Phobos, there arose ‘phobia’ and ‘phobism’ in English linguafranca. Phobos in Greek means morbid fear which goes on haunting the subject repeatedly.

In the initial stages the word phobia or phobism was used in spoken and written language to mean a mental attitude of aversion or experience of morbid fear and the physical reaction connected with those feelings. But as time passed by, the scenario too got changes as is usual in all human perseverance: Today phobia carries on its head serious fearful thoughts and actions. It includes persistent, abnormal, and irrational fear connected with certain things or situations that compel a person to avoid the things or situations. And that disorder continues to persist even if proper awareness and reassurance that the things or situations are not dangerous is imparted.

In sum and substance, phobia is a combination of fear and dread in connection with certain things and matters which the phobic tries to avoid despite being lobbied that the things and matters concerned are harmless. In that backdrop phobia can be described as 1. An emotion containing persistent, abnormal, and irrational fear of a specific thing or situation that compels the inflicted person to avoid the thing or situation despite the awareness and reassurance to the effect that it is not dangerous;   2. The impairment of phobia is of serious nature, sometimes leading to very strong and severe repulsive dislikes and aversions.

Don’t take Phobia as a minor or temporary disorder: In fact it is a persisting mental aberration; it is difficult to bring the victim of which back to normalcy.

The disorder has been a serious subject for in-depth studies both by soul-searchers of psychology and by bio-neurological researchers of physiology. While the former remained in subjective conclusions about the onset and removal of the disorder without tangible results, the latter had made significant progress in diagnosis and treatment of the disorder. For diagnostic purposes, they classified phobias into two categories and thereby resolved major issues of the problem scientifically: Specific Phobias and Agora Phobias were/are the two categories which the researchers identified.

Specific Phobia relates to fear and aversion to particular objects or situations that induce acute anxiety and at times panic attacks. Such phobias fall under different types such as animal type, environmental type, situational type, injury type et al. The types are created on the basis of fear-objects and fear-situations that make the patients panic stricken. Agora Phobia is related to fear of leaving home, departing familiar and safer places and also while encountering thoughts of open spaces, social embarrassment, contamination, germs and so on. Such fears and aversions sparingly or otherwise follow obsessive-compulsive reactions as well.

The severity of phobia varies from individuals to individuals depending upon biological, genealogical and neurological factors. Mentally and physically strong built persons with the support of powerful conditioned reflexes developed during their childhood days where no blind beliefs and unwanted fear-situations were ever allowed can simply ignore objects of fear situations in their grown up years of existence. They are the individuals who can resist the pull of phobia and can feel comparatively milder fear and aversive reactions. On the other hand there are lot many people who suffer full-fledged panic attacks associated with disabling symptoms of phobia. Such persons feel totally powerless to override their panic reactions. The main reasons for such disablement are the environal influences they had undergone during their childhood mental development. Blind beliefs and obscurantistic persuasions exerted by parents, relatives, neighbours, religion, faith, social and cultural engagements, all of which jointly or isolatedly, in some way or the other, created fear and aversions in children during their upbringing days. As a result, the people who were born and brought up in the described tardy background become prey to different types of phobic reactions.

Psychologists have recently come out with a finding that women are more prone to fear than men. Their views are mischievous and untrue because of two scientifically proven facts. For one thing, there does not exist any difference between men and women in matters of brain-size and cell to cell communication faculty pertaining to intelligence and reasoning. Secondly, women are straighter forward in revealing what they are and what they know whereas men-folk tend to hide many truths relating to their personality which may force them not to reveal that they are prone to phobic reactions. Therefore, it is better to ignore the conclusion of the Psychologists on this score as the so-called soul-searchers are deeply into subjective pursuits rather than objective research with the support of empirical evidence.

Whatever be the pros and cons of phobias, in normal conditions, it is a protective reaction especially while viewing it in the context of evolution. Phobia plays a role of warning in advance to save the living organism, more importantly the humans, from harm or destruction from dangerous objects or situations. However, in abnormal conditions where phobia leads to panic attacks and serious repercussions, appropriate medico-clinical and psychiatric treatments should have to be sought for. Hypnotherapy is a suggested method of treatment for phobia. An appropriately trained hypnotist with adequate knowledge of neuroscience can help cure phobic maladies. Here, Pavlovian (Dr. Ivan Petrovich Pavlov) theory of deconditioning is put into operation by the Hypnotist to restore normalcy.

Stigmata – The Bleeding Wounds

Divine Miracles are part and parcel of every religion and its belief system: Every religious text contains stories of divine miracles. It is irrevocable, proven fact that the stories of Divine Miracles keep the religious followers firmly and unshakably attached to their   faith and these stories help the faithful to offer timely prayers to their gods and deities. Above all, divine miracles are irreversible boost for the strength and might of every Religion. There is therefore no need for exhaustive research to find why divine miracles form integral part of every religion.

The most revered Divine Miracle of Christianity is appearance of “bleeding wounds of crucifixion” on the palms, chests and feet of notified Saints of extraordinary faith. These wounds are called stigmata: The number of stigmatics who had been anointed with sainthood in the whole history of Christianity, spanning over twenty centuries, is hardly around sixty. The bleeding wounds of stigmata are very rare occurrences and they are regarded as the greatest of all miracles in the history of Christian belief system.

The wounds on the body of the stigmatic are believed to represent the wounds sustained by Jesus Christ at the time of crucifixion. Christian literature has made very reverential references on divine men who had stigmata, the Holy Wounds of Crucifix on their palms and chests. The latest among the Holy Stigmatics were the French religious fanatic Louise Lateaue and Italian priest Padre Peo. While both are no more alive, Padre Peo was the twentieth century Stigmatic who left for heavenly abode on 17-9-1968.

Stigmata are spontaneous local bleeding ulcerations. They are symptoms appearing on certain persons who suffer from hysterical neurosis. In religious cults these local subcutaneous bruises develop on the body of persons of highly susceptible religious fervour during ecstatic states. The life story of Padre Peo will be of immense help to illustrate the sequences leading to the development of stigmata.

Padre Peo’s parents were highly religious. Their great ambition was to send young Padre to monastery and to equip him for priesthood. They planned everything conducive for the boy for a religious and priestly upbringing. He was not allowed to play with neighborhood boys. Prayer and study of religious texts were his only pastime. A grownup Padre was not different, he became a priest and he spent all his time in penance and prayer. He knelt before the crucifix and prayed for hours unending. He cut short his food and sleep. Christ and the great sacrifice were his only thought process. He spent long sixteen years in this way during the period, AD 1902 to 1918.

On one fine morning in early 1918, Padre Peo was in his prayer room: Tired and exhausted, suddenly his sleepy eyes twinkled as he could ultimately meet the fruition of his ambition, nay the ambition of a generation: Blood was dripping from the cross-like wounds developed on his palms. To add to his delight, he further observed ulcers on his feet and also on top of his chest. All this was unforgettable moments for him; it was the moment of the great miracle, the miracle that proclaimed Padre Peo as one of the most glorified Saints among the rank holders of stigmatics.

In the foregoing context, it becomes very much necessary to trace the scientific explanation for the appearance of bleeding wounds in the body of stigmatics. The ulcerous wounds of stigmata are not created by or through any external instruments like knife, stones, sticks or wood as we have seen in the case of Padre Peo?

In the summer of 1927, in the erstwhile Soviet Russia, famous scientists V Finne, M Chernorutsky and K Povarin conducted a very detailed study to trace the path of stigmata.  The relevant portion of the research paper on the experiment is reproduced below:

“Subject M. 35 years old, easily suggestible, was put under deep state of suggested sleep (hypnosis): Once she was under Hypnosis, the scientists placed a copper coin on the inner side of her left forearm and gave strong suggestion that the object was a burning hot metal disc. Within a short while the subject sustained a heavy burn inside her forearm and she felt acute pain.

“The subject M was then woken up from Hypnosis and was kept under observation by the scientists: According to the records, 25 minutes after the aforesaid hypno-suggestion and after awakening from sleep, the subject’s skin at the point of the “burn” became reddish; after 55 minutes a swelling was observed; after 2½hours, a white spot appeared in the centre of the burnt spot. And after 3 ½ hours later, a blister was formed on the spot. “

Yes, under deep hypnosis any suggestion to the effect of “burning” makes a second degree burn on the body of the subject where the hypnotist or the operator-scientist wanted the burn to occur. This is the result of extraordinary reactions of the paradoxical phase of hypnosis.

When the devotee during rituals surrenders totally to the one and the only thought process of salvation, then he passes through extreme ecstatic states. In such ecstatic state the same phenomenon as observed in the development of second degree burn, can take place. It should however be clearly understood that appearance of stigmata hardly occurs during common prayers and rituals. It takes place in very, very rare cases of extreme religious practices arising out of acute, dedication which is nothing short of self-sacrifice.

During the long spells of prayful sessions, the dedicated believer becomes completely exhausted, the exhaustion being the consequence of excessive excitation of nerve cells due to strained body postures and concentration on certain specific thought process. The believer-subject thus enters into deep hypnotic phases. His delusional beliefs of “holy wounds” that has strong rooted images in his memory turn out to be powerful suggestions: He develops blisters and wounds in his palms and on his chest, just like the second degree burn that had developed in F Finne’s experiments. It is nothing other than hysterical neuroses.

Kuttichhathan – The Mystic Poltergeist

This is the story of Kuttichhathan. Kuttichhathan is a tiny but mischievous spirit. In local linguafranca the name Kuttichhathan sounds like a male bastion who is invisible and untraceable. He belongs to the family of Poltergeists: Since he is a poltergeist-family-member his dubious doings are crystal clear. Kuttichhathan is very small in size, but his actions are as dangerous as those of the mighty ghosts of Poltergeist clan.

Once upon a time there existed a small kingdom which the Britishers called Travancore and the locals revered it as ‘Thiruvithamcore’. The kingdom was situated on the southernmost tip of the present day Kerala State in South India. In olden days, Kuttichhathan was the dread and scarce of every one in villages, towns and all across the Kingdom; the Kuttichhathan was notorious in every sense of the term. Whatever Kuttichhathan did, its impact had material presence in the real world situations. His dubious actions were nuisance for everyone. The nauseating deeds he carried out were primarily targeted at houses and its residents. A few of his actions, shortly put were as follows:

When a house wife was in the kitchen, cooking food for the day, Kuttichhathan intruded into the space, threw dirt and filth into the boiling food and disappeared in no time. The house wife became perplexed and cursed Kuttichhathan for the misdeed: Within a few seconds, she cleaned the vessel, removed the filth and started cooking afresh, again.

When everything in the kitchen seemed to be in order, Kuttichhathan appeared from behind: He displaced properly kept vessels and plates here and there and quickly disappeared from the scene. The house wife started cursing the evil spirit again and again and soon rearranged the things in its proper places.

At dead of night Kuttichhathan sneaked out, picked up stones and started pelting the stones at house-tops and walls of residential buildings: The hapless residents then woke up and ran shelter-swelter to trace the wicked Kuttichhathan but failed to trace him out. Tired and trembled, they went back to have a nap.

Those were tolerable incidents to some extent. But there were unbearable and painful actions too that Kuttichhathan inflicted on others. He intruded into the living rooms of people when there were no one around, set fire to clothes, bed sheets and valuables. At other times Kuttichhathan unlocked cupboards, took ornaments and currency notes and fled without getting noticed. The owners became restless and pain struck. Despite every effort they could not find a trace of Kuttichhathan. Ultimately they approached sorcerers to trap the Kuttichhathan. Despite paying huge fees, the Sorcerers utterly failed to catch the Kuttichhathan and the victims found solace in blaming their wretched fate.

Close scrutiny of such incidents and investigations carried out by experts have proved that the mischief attributed to Kuttichhathan were in fact the handiwork of someone among the home dwellers or home-workers. The persons concerned did the mischief during an instantaneous attack of memory loss that lasted only for a few seconds, not even twenty seconds at any rate. During that spell the person became victim of petitmal which belongs to a peculiar type of dementia.

Petitmal is a mild form of epilepsy characterized by brief spells of unconsciousness without loss of posture. The deranged person carries out the mischief as schizophrenics’ do at certain times. When memory returns and persons become normal, they realize the damage and wonders how all the nauseating things had taken place. Because of the blind belief about the reckless evil spirits, everyone around including the victims of petitmal, attribute the mischief as perpetrated by Kuttichhathan who wanders around the vicinity of residential areas.

According to neuroscience, petitmal is an ‘absence seizure’. Petitmal patients lose awareness of their surroundings for up to 20 seconds. During that period, the victims suddenly stop what they are doing. In rare cases they unconsciously do things similar to those mentioned in the case of Kuttichhathan.

In normal situations nerve cells in the brain of a person communicate with one another through reflexes or through the so-called electric signals. Such nerve to nerve communication gets blocked abruptly for a few seconds during absence seizure. Such seizures rarely cause convulsions or collapses despite losing consciousness.

Scientists are clueless about the underlying reasons for petitmal. The reasons may vary from person to person depending upon genetic factors, neuronal infection or accidents which may cause brain damages. Chances cannot also be ruled out about mischief makers who may act as Kuttichhathan, the mischief monger Poltergeist for the sake of fun or for taking revenge.

Heaven and Hell

Heaven and Hell, – very familiar concepts, they are. While both are familiar, the former is the aim of every believer all across the world while the latter is dreaded by everyone nay, every believer, around the world.

Both Heaven and Hell are words which belong to extreme religious centric beliefs. According to the belief heaven is the dwelling place of God and is shared by Angels and the Spirits of the righteous people. However, outside belief, the word heaven is used to refer the sky or the firmament. May be, drawing a parallel to the concept of heaven being the blissful abode of God, literary enthusiasts use these words to express feelings of extreme happiness and joy.

Hell, in every sense, is the opposite to heaven; hell is the place for the wicked to live after death. The place is the epicenter of all evils; it is pervaded by condemned spirits and is full of miseries. Just like the word heaven, hell too has slang referring it to someone who has been victimized for harsh reprimand and or punishment. In yet another context, making uproar and creating uneasy situations is hell for the nascent genre among the general public.

There is no proof of evidence to cite as to when and where the belief of heaven and hell started. It is said that the belief originated from Greek philosophy. Ancient Greek philosophy belong to the period around the 6th century BCE: Greek philosophers like Plato had talked elaborately about soul and spirit: Soul-spirit conglomerate plays pivotal role in the matter of entitlement for entry either into heaven or to hell. Greek philosopher Plato’s firm stand was that salvation takes place when the soul is set free from the body at the time of death. Even then, attributing the origin of heaven and hell to Greek philosophy does not seem to be correct.

Even before the birth of Greek philosophy there were ancient belief systems which flourished in the East. Those belief systems had many explanations on the subject relating to soul and spirit and after-death habitats. Taoism of China and Hinduism of ancient Bharat were the prominent belief systems of the yore. Hinduism was epicentre of all subjective imaginations including the dwellings of heaven and hell.

Complexity of human brain has no limit: It enabled prehistoric nomads to believe in supernatural powers and their thought process concerning belief grew with innumerable imaginations. That enabled them to build residence in the Skies for the super natural powers, much above their own habitats on the surface of the earth. In those habitats there were no miseries and calamities. Those were, no doubt, imaginations which underwent further refinements: The improved version concluded that when one dies, the life-force of the individual escapes from the body of the person and it moves towards the dwelling of the supernatural powers to be accommodated there.

As years passed by, all these pagan thoughts got modified in the form of organized system of beliefs as Religions, the supernatural powers as Gods, the dwelling of the God as Heaven, the life-sustaining force of the living as Soul or Spirit which leaves the body of the persons at the time of death. Formation of Hell was in the same trajectory but in the opposite direction: At the time of death the soul of all who do good things be accommodated by God along with him in heaven while the spirit of those who do bad things be accommodated by God in Hell which is full of miseries.

The concept of Heaven and Hell is part and parcel of every religion: Even the so-called non-religious philosophies of Buddhism and Jainism are no exception.

According to Hindu system of faith, entitlement to Heaven or Hell depends on Karma: Doors of heaven will be opened to the spirits of the ones who did Good Karma while alive. On the other hand, the ones who did bad karma will be dumped into the ditches of hell; their spirits will become prey to rebirth in continuum. In Buddhism, heaven is temporary habitat for the soul; the soul is entitled to incarnation. Not only that, as part of Samsara which is an illusory reality, there are many heavens for soul to habitat depending upon Karma. Jainism also holds the same concept about heaven: As per the concept there are several layers of heavenly abode for the souls to enter but the entitlement depends upon Karma.

Ancient Chinese mythology philosophizes that heaven observes, sees, hears and keeps close watch over all humans. The great philosopher Confucius asserted that belief in the quote: “He who offends against Heaven has none to whom he can pray.”

All organized religions of modern era have specific concepts about heaven and hell. All their preachings are aimed at achieving heavenly habitat of bliss; all the places of worship, all the religious heads, all the preachers devote time for prayers for the followers to help their souls attain heaven and to save the souls from going to hell. All followers of the religions attend prayers regularly on weekly congregations on time for the aim to be fulfilled.

Outside religion, there are some think-masters of materialism who are still unable to keep out of the belief in heaven and hell: They argue that belief in heaven keep people away from committing crimes for fear of hell; they do good things with love and compassion for their soul to get a place in heaven. These arguments of the stake holders are absurd if not nonsense. Criminals never stop their illicit activities for the sake of heaven and for fear of hell. Because, even the believer-criminals have all means at their disposal to use the path of confessions before priests, prayers before the Almighty god to save their soul from going to hell but to allow their soul easy entry to heaven.   Amen! Let the Soul of all rest in peace.

Love and Hate

Profoundly tender and passionate affection is Love; feeling of warm attachment is love; strong predilection and liking for someone or something is love; Above all, at the top of everything, Love points at sexual desire and its gratification.

Every human being knows love; every bird, every animal, every living organism feels love, experiences love, lives in love.

Intense and passionate dislike is Hate; feeling of strong hostility is hate; aversion to something or someone is hate; unwilling to interfere and to act wherever needed also constitute a version of Hate.

Every human being knows hate; every bird, every animal, every living organism undergoes hate; everyone keeps hate as a life-partner.

Linguists are very curious to find out which word in the linguafranca has the same meaning with different looks: Hate has not been an exception. One of the linguists found out that hate originated from old English word ‘hete’. Hete means hostility and aversion arising out of fear or anger or injury.

Love and hate are slated to be two of the most intense emotions: They are marked as closely connected with each other with totally different aptitudes. It has been a serious concern for scientists to locate the particular part of the human body where love-hate mechanisms are situated.

Researchers at University College, London on their relentless pursuits, have discovered that brain houses love and hate at a safe location called putamen insular cortex or medial frontal gyrus. Their hypothesis is that these regions protect love from hate through its spiteful reaction. They clarified that some of the brain circuits are equally responsible for generating the experiences of love and hate even though both are opposite to each other in quality and nature. Not only that, their conclusions indicated that hate is intended primarily to protect love.

The Researchers are reported to have also found that when a person undergoes feeling of love, the frontal cortex connected with mental activity of critical thinking becomes less excitatory as compared to normal working: When hate situations are introduced the particular brain area assumed energetic response, well-set to strongly react.

The above findings still need further elucidation. A deep study based on the excitatory and inhibitory responses of the sensory centres in the cortex might lead to the truth. Whatever it is, the reported findings give credence to the conclusion that love diminishes reasoning and critical thinking whereas hate produces instant aggressive sensory experience with strong motor reaction against hate-situations. It is common phenomenon that when an individual is in deep love with someone or something, the person concerned becomes unaware of reality and acts without reasoning. Very often such situations lead to animosity and hate leading to mental and physical hazards for the lover and the loved. Simply put, that is how ‘blind-love’ impacts.

Let the Researchers and psychologists in Western universities continue spending the bounty of their time and energy to find the special spot in the brain that produces love and hate. In the meanwhile those who are not averse or hesitant to Pavlovian theory of neuroscience know pretty well that love and hate are not housed in any particular brain-spot. As in the case of any other feelings and emotions, love and hate is also the product of excitatory and inhibitory reactions of nerve cells in the sensory centres: The Sensory centres are located in the cerebral cortex. Sensory centres are excited through reflex action and induce sensory experiences including love and hate, when stimuli from environs reach the centres through sense organs of the living entity, irrespective of whether the entities are humans or animals or any other living organism.

Frontal cortex of the brain which houses the five sensory centres is responsible for all types of mental and physical experiences and reactions including motor response. Since love and hate are emotional sensory experiences, these emotional feelings are certainly the product of brain-centric sensory reactions.

Meeting the physical needs is the basic requirement that ensures life, growth and survival of the living organism. Ingestible food and water, suitable environs for existence, procreation of new generation are fundamental physical needs.

Love enables the organism to meet its fundamental physical needs with the aid of hate. It is Hate that identifies what is appropriate and suitable for love to meet the physical needs. Hate executes the selection of the suitable by strong reaction in favor of whatever and wherever the objects are suitable for love to help to meet the physical needs or by strong reaction to reject whatever and wherever the resources are not suitable for love to help meet the physical needs. These are primitive love-hate reactions which are confined to lower animate species and the humans. The individual to individual communication mechanism of First Signal System gives boost for love-hate reaction among these species.

As for humans the scenario assumes greater significance: When homo-erectus evolved into homo-sapiens, their brain activities and intelligence became enormously complex. Development of Second Signal System of communication through words added extra glamour and supremacy to the complexity of human brain.

Love-hate reactions of human brain gained greater operational skills with the advent of second signal system in addition to the first signal system. Love thus became tool of awe and wonder in addition to its primitive module. Hate followed suit to help love by the route of aggressiveness and violence, in almost all areas of innovations, inventions and also in social, cultural, religious and political spheres.

Love in accompaniment with hate, both driving on the physic, opened the way for the evolution: Love and hate will ever continue its worthy job for survival as also for destruction.

Pain and Pleasure – Philosophy Vs Science

There are innumerable phenomena which are well placed in the awareness-kit of humans. Whether illiterate or literate, poor or rich, they know the phenomena and deal with the phenomena within the confines of their awareness-kit. However, philosophers and scientists are never satisfied with the general knowledge of the phenomena. They, therefore, jump into the field of study, evaluation and explanation of the phenomena to enlighten everybody.

Logically right it would be to say that in all such situations, it is the philosophers who drive the scientists into the field of study, evaluation and judgement of things and phenomena to lift the phenomena out of the glitter of philosophy. Had there not been a philosophy, probably there could not have been any scientific studies to demystify the philosophic revelations. Pain and Pleasure are two such instances where philosophers made imaginary conclusions which scientists had to demystify:

Philosophers Jeremy Bentham, Baruch Spinoza, and Descartes described that pain and pleasure are part of a continuum which go on and on from one condition after the other, non-stop. Perhaps these thinkers might have construed that pain and pleasure appear one after the other continuously for generations after generations. The idea ought to have sprung up out of a view that both pain and pleasure are interlinked universal sufferings.

Another philosophy as propounded by Marquis de Sade says that pain has ethic connotations and that pain ultimately leads to pleasurable situations in continuum. Similarly, Rene Descartes under the garb of Cartesian dualism strongly argued that pain and pleasure are inherent in one’s own consciousness within the inner world of the mind. On the other side, Atheist Philosopher Nietzsche explained that meaning of pain is the meaning of life which is made up of pain and pleasure.

Philosophy is built on subjectivism. Philosophers build thoughts on the basis of imaginations and shape their conclusions as per the world view they hold. Their world view always evades objective reality where each and every thing including matter and phenomena has material existence. Therefore a scientific approach only will give clear idea about the experiences of pain and pleasure both of which relate to body (and mind).

Pain and pleasure are sensory experiences felt by living organisms. The experiences are distinguished clearly and specifically by humans as compared to other living organisms like animals and birds. Animals and birds do certainly feel the experiences but fail to make localization and thereby to deal with the experiences pointedly to find the causes and effects of situations as humans can do.

Pain is explained as an unpleasant experience closely associated with strong emotional feelings arising out of both mental and physical damages and hurts. It is a physically motivated alarm signalling the brain that something is not going well for the body. Pleasure is attributed to situations which give feelings with emotional craving that enlivens physical needs of the organism required for pleasant feelings.

Pain motivates the living organism to escape from situations that hurt the physique and thereby to protect the body from damage. Pain also cautions the organism to keep away from situations that result in similar experience in future. Pain induction is carried out by the body parts which include the brain. There are pain receptors everywhere in the body. They exist in the skin, body-joints, peiosteum lining around bones, surfaces of arteries and skull structures. Pain-centric Signals from internal and external sources stimulate the receptors: The stimulus reaches the sensory centres in the cerebral cortex of the brain via spinal cord by the working of inherent nerve connections called unconditioned reflexes. The stimuli excite the sensory centres and thereby the person concerned get the sensory experience of pain and reacts mentally and physically to deal with the situation. Sense organs and motor centre in the brain are the executors of the task.

Unlike the negative trauma conveyed by pain, pleasure induces enjoyable feelings for both the mind and body. The feelings of pleasure induced by same situations may differ from person to person depending upon type and excitatory and inhibitory reactions of sensory centres. Most of the pleasure situations relate to food, health, resource-availability, sex, family, relations, friends, surroundings, society, social drives, recognition, art, music, literature and such other environs that go in line with the craving of the individual. Feelings of happiness, delight, joy, gladness, satisfaction, gratification, fulfilment, contentment, enjoyment and amusement are synonyms of pleasure. They are the undercurrents of pleasure situations.

Pleasure is experienced when the result of an activity coincides with the aim and aspiration a person has set or foreseen: It is postulated that the more important the aspiration is the more difficult (painful) it would be for the person to achieve it. Once the aim and aspiration are achieved the person becomes happier. That postulation leads to believe that pleasure always follows pain.

Some researchers have come with a set of conclusions stating that there is specific centre in the brain which produces the experience of pleasure. While one group of researchers identified the brain structure nucleus accumbency as pleasure centre another group claimed septum pellucidium as the pleasure centre while for yet another group hypothalamus is the pleasure centre. The very context that the views of the researchers differ from one another shows that pleasure centre theory has no tangible scientific evidence.

All experiences, including pain and pleasure are felt as a result of excitation of the sensory centres in the cerebral cortex of the brain. The stimuli for excitation are conducted through either unconditioned reflexes or conditioned reflexes which are nerve connections of nerve to nerve communication path. In the absence of sense organs which direct the stimuli to sensory centres, no living organism, including humans could experience any feeling; pain and pleasure no exception.

Pain and pleasure have played major role in the survival path of the species. In the course of existence each species, each living organism aims at the pleasure of existence by undergoing pains to achieve the aim. The nervous system of the organism enables the twin processes of pain and pleasure to tread the path of survival. The path led the route to natural selection and genetic mutation of evolution of the species.

Pain and pleasure are inter-linked sensory-experiences; But for pain and pleasure the world of humans of today could not have been what it is of today

Brainwash

Wash or Washing is cleaning something out of dirt just like what is done to clean dirty clothes with soap and water. Clothe Wash is familiar to everybody but brain wash is a different matter, altogether. Brainwash aims at cleaning the brain free of the ‘stuff’ perceived to be unnecessary, unwanted, unholy, unhelpful, inappropriate and or dis-allowable for someone or somebody or some group of ideologues. Brain wash is therefore totally different from cleaning dirty clothes with soap and water. Brainwash is not at all an easy task as compared to washing clothes with or without soap and water.

Brain consists of nerve cells which nurture and sustain invisible nerve connections which help formation of Sensations, Perceptions, Concepts and Memory. It is hard and even impossible to wash either the cells or the memory in the normal routine ways. Even in the case of serious injuries caused by accidents and illnesses where memory gets erased, it doesn’t constitute brain wash.

Brain wash involves deliberate action of a person or a group of persons for changing the thoughts, pursuits and beliefs of another person or group of persons against their will. Social influence to change one’s way of thinking without the person’s consent or permission amounts to brain wash. Suggestions and persuasions of someone directed at another who gets carried away by the suggestions and the persuasions also constitute brainwash. In the process, the suggestions and persuasions, depending upon victim’s mental stature, replace all or part of what the victim held in mind earlier. The entity that carries out the work of brainwash is brain-washer while the subject of brainwash can be called as brain-washee.

Brain wash also known as brain-washing, has many connotations: Brainwash controls the brain-washee; coercive persuasions are the common style of brainwash; the thoughts of the person or persons at whom coercive persuasions of brain wash is directed get slowly deformed; indoctrination process involved in persuasion causes impairment to the original mental calibre and the victim becomes unable to think and act freely and independently.

Brainwash changes moral values, beliefs, social interactions, rituals, behaviour, relationships and means of communication in individuals and group of individuals. In short, brain wash diminishes or totally destroys individuals’ freedom of thoughts, emotions and decision making prowess.

Social influence plays a major role in brain wash of the general public. In every body’s life, social influence takes place at every moment. Social influence is a collective way that changes people’s attitudes, behaviour and even beliefs. Outside the realm of social influence lies forceful dictate like “just do it or face the consequence”. That tactic is effectively used by extremist fanatic cults. They even apply physical harm and threat to life to get their nefarious intentions fulfilled through brainwash.

“Just do it” tantrum of brainwash is dictatorial in nature. Apart from extremists and fanatic cults, religious fanatics and power hungry political leaders, use the technique for selfish motives and establishing their supremacy. In modern times, persuasion and propaganda are usually deployed to brainwash the common man and the general public. As normal practice political parties use persuasive propaganda to brainwash the electorate and thereby to build a chain of followers to dance according to whims and fancies of the party they represent.

Neuroscience explains that brainwash takes place through the process of excitation and inhibition of nerve cells in the sensory centres in the cerebral cortex of the brain-washee victims. The process is executed by conditioned reflexes: Conditioned reflexes are those temporary nerve connections which are formed in the cerebral cortex after the organism is born. They develop as a result of repeat reactions of stimuli emanating from internal and external environments.

The formation of a conditioned reflex is well exposed by the famous experiments conducted by Dr. Ivan P. Pavlov, on his pet dog. While the hungry pet dog was being fed with food, the sound of a metronome was introduced in its auditory environs. After repeating the experiment for a number of times the food was withdrawn. Thereafter, when the metronome sound was introduced, the dog started salivating without the presence of food. The nerve connection which excited the salivary centre in the cerebral cortex of the dog in the absence of food was a conditioned reflex.

Conditioned reflexes formed in the nervous system may get erased and made ineffective by the process of inhibition which is equal and opposite to the responsive brain function of excitation.

Thoughts and behaviors of individuals or group of individuals are established by conditioned reflexes. Established mental attitudes and behaviour patterns get changed and then replaced by another set of thoughts and actions through the working of another set of conditioned reflexes. For that change, the reflexes which formed the earlier mental attitudes and behaviours have got to be deflected or erased. Such deflection and or erase are brought about by inhibition of the nerve cells in the sensory centres.

There are two types of inhibitions named ‘internal unconditioned inhibition’ and ‘external conditioned inhibition’. The brain wash tantrum of threat on the lines of ‘do it or face the consequence is the tool for internal unconditioned inhibition. Propaganda and persuasion techniques carry out brainwash through the working of external conditioned inhibition.

Throughout the history of mankind, brainwash has been part and parcel of existence: Whether one likes it or not, the truth remains unchanged: Brainwash continues to pervade individuals, Society and Nations. Dictatorial brainwash is the worst curse; it erodes human values; it makes individuals as slaves. Brainwash destroys freedom of thoughts and action. Irrespective of which way brainwash is effectuated, the result remains the same: Brainwash nullifies human values. Brainwash spreads shadow over the light of freedom of thought and it suppresses intellectual pursuits.

IQ Tests – Worthy or Not Worthy

‘IQ’ is the short form of ‘Intelligence Quotient’: Quotient is a mathematical term used to indicate the result obtained by dividing one number by another number. However, in the so-called psychological context, quotient means a method for evaluation:  In that sense IQ test is purportedly used to evaluate the standard of intelligence of a person with reference to age, skill, aptitude and knowledge. Depending upon these parameters mental prowess of a person is assessed. The assessment is made on the basis of answers to certain set of questions formulated by the test-conducting psychologists. The questions are focused on the skills of verbal communication, mathematical acumen, spatial concepts, visualization, classification, logic and recognition.

IQ test was introduced in the early twentieth century by a German Psychologist called William Stern. As is well known, what psychologists decide need not necessarily be fault-free conclusions because their findings are based on phenomena without looking into the material factors that generate the phenomena. IQ tests for arriving at the standard and scale of intelligence of a person cannot therefore be fault free.

In most cases, IQ tests are conducted to select individuals for the purpose of education and employment. Even in the case of small children, counselors and psychologists carry out IQ tests to determine whether the child is fit enough for admission to nursery and kindergarten schools of reputed educational institutions. In the case of grownups and educated persons IQ tests are conducted to find out whether the person concerned is suitable for a particular job, for higher education and professional courses. Since IQ tests cannot measure the depth of knowledge and mental abilities of a person in different areas of operations on the basis of some formal questions and answers, whether the person concerned is a child or a grown up one, the tests turn out to be fancy predictions. The predictions seldom help detect a person’s depth of knowledge, skills and abilities in the expected field of operation.

Intelligence is the ability of human brain to reach correct conclusions about what is true and real for resolving problems being faced by individuals. Intelligence can further be explained as the capability of the human mind to know generality and intricacies of situations and thereby to decide the course of action required of the individual to deal with the situation. Intelligence, thus, evolves itself through knowledge gained from various sources. They include experiences gained through social and cultural encounters and interactions made with the environs where the individuals are born and brought up.

The very principle of intelligence revolves around conditions responsible for sensations, perceptions, conceptions and judgments. They decide intellectual prowess of an individual. Human beings of normal health who have no deformities or damages in their nerve cells are therefore bound to be of proper intelligence and adequate memory skills.

What is being touted as ‘IQ tests for assessing credence’ cannot measure creativity, sensitivity, emotions, competency and skills. A child who is born and brought up by illiterate parents who belong to ordinary working class family cannot, despite being healthy, shine in the present style of IQ tests as compared to a child born and brought up in rich, well to do and educated families. Such a situation does not, at any stretch of imagination, make the child of the poor working class family pass the intelligent quotient tests. Hence efforts for selecting persons for admission to schools and colleges or for jobs on the basis of answers to certain questions composed for the IQ test remain as fancy dress rehearsals.

Intelligence is not an inborn gift. Intelligence is acquired by and through conditioning. Conditioning depends on environs. Schools, colleges, training institutions, offices, factories, production and sales centres, and the persons who are connected with these establishments constitute environs. Once a new comer enters the premises, establishes contacts, and engages in operations, the environs prepare the new entrant fit enough for the assignment. The new comer becomes competent. The newcomer starts knowing generality and intricacies of situations and thereby starts deciding the required course of action. Efforts to predetermine intelligence before engagement, therefore, turn out to be improper.

The IQ Tests are no more relevant: IQ tests do not recognize depth of intelligence; IQ tests limit opportunities; IQ tests deny opportunities for the deserving.

Let the glamour-filled balloon of IQ tests be burst in the air, never allowing it to take a rebirth: While at it, let the IQ test performers do whatever they like but they shall not use their psychology kit to cheat others in the guise of IQ Tests.

Materialism – It’s All, For All

Materialism is that process of thought and action which upholds that everything in the universe, including all what is attributed to mind, including even the so-called miracles, is either the product of matter or is dependent on matter. Materialism rejects  beliefs of soul, spirit, supernatural powers and extra-sensory experiences of the so-called sixth sense:

Materialism as a system of philosophical thoughts developed during the early part of the Seventeenth Century. End of the sixteenth Century paved the way for the emergence of science and technology: That lead light rays to penetrate into the darkness of subjective imaginations of the human mind.

Science and scientific quest for unraveling the unknown mysteries of Universe became tools at the hands of sections among the science-savvy pursuers of the yore. Among them were the thinkers like Galileo, Bacon, Descartes and others of the ilk. They expounded the basics of materialism through the route of rationalism. It was a path breaking trend; materialism so developed was a revolution in itself in the field of natural science, social science, means of production, discoveries and inventions. Dialectical Materialism as expounded by Karl Marx forms a part of Materialism which is directed at social science, means of production, discoveries and inventions.

The Universe originated as a result of a Big Bang that took place some fifteen billion years ago. The theory is widely accepted by the scientific community as well as the general public who refuse to accept the Creationist-belief that universe was created by the Almighty God. Big Bang was the explosion of an unimaginably tiny but dense and hot piece of object; the explosion disbursed matter in the form of galaxies, stars, planets, black holes and countless other particles in Space. Evolution that followed the Big Bang saw the emergence of innumerable species including the Homo sapiens in the form of humans placed at the top of the ladder. The Big Bang was a terrific phenomenon based on matter; all the species which came into existence are the products of matter. There are nothing in space other than matter and phenomena attributable to matter. The tenets of materialism are therefore firm and irrevocable.

Beliefs are imaginations of human brain: Materialism could unravel the falsity of soul, spirit, supernatural powers and extra-sensory experiences. Materialism established that there is no soul or spirit that sustains life; materialism detected that ‘power’ in whatever way it pervades the Universe is natural and that therefore there is no supernatural power anywhere in the universe; materialism proved that there is no extra sense in human brain other than the existing five senses and without the presence of the existing senses, there could be no extra-sensory experiences of the sixth sense ever possible.

Materialists are supposed to accept and adhere to the principles of materialism. However, some people who pretend themselves as materialists argue that matter is primary thing having physical properties like size, shape, color, magnetic charge and location: As per their views, there are things which do not have these attributes of matter and therefore everything in the universe cannot be taken for granted as matter. The so-called materialists do not appear to understand what matter is? According to science, matter is something which occupies space, which exists in space. The existence does not need size, shape, color, charge or specific location. The arguers, for sure, stand aloof outside materialism; at best such materialists are fence-sitters like skeptics.

There are also critiques who direct their finger at ‘mind’ saying that mind is not matter and therefore materialism does not apply to mind. Their arguments are baseless for, mind is property of matter; phenomena of mind depend on matter; without matter the phenomena are nothing. The entire thought processes of mind including what is termed as consciousness is product of matter, is dependent on matter:

Humans are the inhabitants of planet Earth in the Universe. Earth is matter and the inhabitants of the Earth comprising humans are the product of matter. Humans are made up of matter; human brain is a part of human body and hence brain which houses the nervous system comprising countless nerve cells is also matter. Feelings and emotions are felt as a result of excitation of the nerve cells. Excitation takes place when stimuli from the environs react with the nerve cells. The stimuli from environs reach central nervous system through various nerve connections in the sensory centers that represent vision, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching. These sensory nerve centers are there in the body at the time of birth. The mental activity that enables cardiac pulsations, blood circulation, breathing and ingestion are ingrained in the nervous system at the time of birth and are made possible through permanent nerve connections controlled by unconditioned reflex actions. The mental activity governed by unconditioned reflex action keeps the organism to meet basic subsistence needs of the body. These bare needs are supplemented by countless nerve connections which are formed after the organism is born. Such after-born nerve connections are activated and controlled by conditioned reflex actions.

Human mind represents the combination of both the unconditioned and conditioned reflex actions that take place in the central nervous system. The organism survives in the environment; the organism grows and fulfils its biological calls through the nervous actions which are guided, controlled and executed by the unconditioned and the conditioned reflex actions. These then are supported and supplemented by inherent biochemical formulations of congenital origin. The entire process taken together is what constitutes ‘Mind’. Mind is phenomena generated by matter. Mind cannot and does not stand outside materialism. Mind has nothing to do with spirit world developed in the imagery of ignorant philosophers.

Matter is the only reality in the Universe: Materialism is all that is of reality: Everything including thoughts and actions is of reality; everything relating to cognition is of reality: Materialism covers everything which is of reality. Even for physical wellness and worldly-possessions which humans value the most, materialism is the pathway for fulfillment.