5 January 2009

तत् त्वम् असि

Who am I?

The landmark education series evangelizes of one’s life being something of ‘the act’ that one puts on. This act is defined quite early in one's life and then reinforced over the formative years. The rest of one’s life is nothing but the play of this act and one would never realize this fact ever!

But why this act in the first place?

What forms my identity?

Using a familiar model, the relationships-network model, one could try simplify: this model has the all-familiar node-circles for entities (persons/individuals) and linking-lines for relationships associated with a particular entity. In this way one can draw the web (of relationships) centered on an entity (person).
  •  Imagine yourself as the center node
  • Spikes (links) out of this node in all directions equivalent to the number of people you know
  • Link the end of these spikes with other nodes (people you know). Everyone you know: directly or indirectly; know a bit or know a whole lot; Love or hate et cetera. It would be fun to know how many nodes you are linked to.
  • Continue to build the auras of spikes around these linking nodes (of people you know) also. Yes, you share some of their links too (common friends, relatives). But definitely some of their links you may have no connection to (friend’s friend).
  • If anyone could complete this web with all the people on earth, we could find out if the six degrees of separation concept is really true ;) And with facebook very soon this visualization may soon be a reality.

Yep, and if one can finish it or at least visualize it, no matter how isolated you are (or think you are or have made yourself to be) you still end up with a complicated circle of connections. No escaping this. Sales people know this fact very well: studies have shown that opportunities in life (some call this luck) is directly proportional to the number of links one maintains … maintain positively though. I also read somewhere: life is all about the quality of relationships (the solid links) one maintains.

Even with common sense, we all know our networks are important.

So how does this model make my identity?
Let there be a new node somewhere in the web: the newborn Adam who is with no links flowing out of him. But his surrounding links: parents, siblings, grandparents etc. would impose upon this infant node their version of the ‘to be’ of this identity. And the rest of the web (environment) also will not leave this infant-node free-spirited; they reinforce their expectations and continue to mould the clay that is Adam’s identity. This ‘to be’ impress is the genesis of little Adam’s identity.

The superset network is one big living entity and therefore theoretically the intent to create this particular Adam with this particular identity was ‘destined’.
The nodes in the web eventfully trigger information to propagate through each of its links and thus across the network … like a ripple. Like if you have just won yourself a lottery everyone you know will know soon. If you just got fired from your job everyone would know … sooner or later. If you just started your own venture everyone around you would know and appreciate. Everyone you know would also know as soon as your company goes bust. If you are accused of murder, everyone you know and a lot more in the bigger network will label you a murderer. If you are good at something, this propagates as part of your definition (identity) through the network. In short, we continuously declare our identity (Who am I? actively or passively) through the networks. Net-worked!

Propagation and/or broadcast of something new or something unapparent/unconvincing with a node (like the declaration that ‘I am not crazy’) is matched with high impedance within the network. Trying to be something or someone is therefore tougher and tiring than just being.
The Network also reinforces back to each node what the network’s definition of the node (Who you are?) is (or was), reminding of each node of its place (and limitations) in the network. The network has memory; the node’s past is collectively stored in one or more of the link nodes. The network continues to tell you back things like : one are not good enough; one has failed in the past; you are bonkers; you can do it; you are the child of Mr. XYZ and so it is expected of you; Humans can’t fly etc. etc.

In short, the network continuously also limits us to what we are, reminds one of whom one is and expects of what is supposed to be. With this reiterations one’s future (in the network scheme of things) is also more or less predictable….or destined.

Negatively speaking, our lives are trapped in this net!

1 comment:

  1. When you look at the deep structure of a node, physical or otherwise, the design is such that it can connect to form chains and connecting is creating order against chaos. The observer has the choice to connect or to break the connection which ultimately is what really matters. Do we exercise our freedom to choose?