How does brain handle multiple sources of information around it? ..like waves?

Perhaps this would be my first blog relating to my IIT days.

Old IIT Days! IIT was an upside down to "my" life, rather "our" life. Blame it to the IIT or that growing age or to the IITians itself, but it really happens. What I learned and what I forgot, what I earned and what I lost or such debates are endless, but whether good or bad, it was the foundation for the future.

Good things? I really don't remember. But I can surely list all bad things :D hmm.. like chatting, bhatting (bhatting is nonsense gap-shap) slangs and of course, NOT TO STUDY! Amazed? but that's true. I remember guys getting furious if you call them "muggu" ("muggu" essentially falls into the category of nerds :D).. folks didn't want to attach themselves with books and classes simply because "it was just so out-of-fashion".. and the first and last thing i can say about studies would be when exams used to come. If u ask me to draw a graph of how many "tension" hours guys put on study with days left for end-sems, it would turn out to be exponential, a steep fall.. So now lets think, how do IITians study?

Interesting Question. There might be lot of answers to this question, and also various aspects. But, have you heard things like "I can't study without loud music"? or "increase the volume yaar, I can't concentrate!"? Well I do not exclude myself from those people who study like that, and I would also claim that major chunk of people were like me. Not just that its unusual to study in a loud noisy atmosphere, but also that it was "better" way to study for some people. Many guys would go to other rooms to study just because "they played louder music, and it was easier to concentrate there". I could never understand the very "how" and "what" of this, cause it sounded so contradictory to me that they wanted to create noise around in order to concentrate, which is so much contradictory to the normal understanding of concentration, where you get disturbed if someone is making noise. Though for long in my mind, something yesterday sparked my mind.

Yesterday, I watched a fabulous movie of 2006 The Prestige "thrice", they mentioned about "Tesla", the familiar unit for magnetism. I searched about the scientist and I came to know that he belongs to special category of possessing Eidetic Memory, which Wikipedia.org describes as the ability to recall images, sounds, or objects in memory with great accuracy and in seemingly abundant volume. As I was exploring more and more about it, the same old question flashed before my eyes, What does drive our concentration? How do we or can we increase the perception rate of what we learn? How does the brain respond to innumerable phenomena around the body?"

..like Waves?

The thought process has a frequency through one talks to the self. When we are silent, our mind is actually not. It keeps throwing and exchanging information, not exactly in form of words and sentences but rather expressions and feelings, which are much faster way to communicate. Though different people may have different frequencies at which they talk to themselves, it has got a "real" connection to the sounds and noises around us. By default, it's always easy to concentrate in a silent place, say a temple or a garden. We find no sounds disturbing our thought process, we feel relieved in such places. But such a place rarely exists today specially in cities. Sounds and noises are everywhere! Then, how do we continue our thought process? How do we concentrate, if I were to ask in simple words?

In a typical scenario, tons of things go around us. Take an example, say I'm at office. In front I have my laptop, with an internet page opened, slow music is also on, couple of folks sit beside me close, they are doing their stuffs or may be talking around, fans are on the top of my head, and every minute there is surely someone in the hall to shout a line or a word, which I can clearly hear. But I'm not paying attention to anyone but the page I'm reading. That's exactly what is going inside my mind, not the music, not the noises, not what folks are talking there, but just that page. And I'm so much locked into it, that if my boss comes and says hi to me from back, it scares me just like u shout "DUH" from the back to a person sitting idle .

Our mind behaves just like a signal receiver. Thousands of signals are being received through our body sensors like nose, ears, eyes skin etc. Most are fade and unclear like noises but few are loud and clear and in higher density. Just like a fine tuner, our mind tries to suppress effects of signals from all sources except the one we would like to concentrate upon. Some minds does it so well that any changes in other sources gives a shock to the brain. Some minds, on the other hand, work like dexterous, and hence can fine-tune more than one signal with equal ease and accuracy at the same time (more suitable for things like games!).

Each mind has its unique tuner and works at a peculiar frequency. If I go back to original example of studying in a loud music, it explains a lot of things. Anytime there will be noises coming from neighborhood as music or shouts or talks or discussions or something else. As these noises change in their strengths and frequencies rapidly with time, it becomes hard for mind to concentrate on a particular thing, say reading notes. Even worse, uncontrollable thoughts from our mind itself because of hell things happened sometime ago, does not let you concentrate. Hence, something is needed which not only dampens the noise around but also the noises from inside our mind, like a Loud Music System. Here, We don't want a soft instrumental, but loud techno trance beats. However, different situations may suit different songs to be played. This whole thing makes it easier for brain to handle just couple of sensors, like reading a note and listening to song.

Perhaps talking in more generic sense will make it more clear. So here's another question, Have you seen folks who usually tend to do something in particular, like waving legs while sitting, rolling pen, gently beating desk, chewing chewinggums or something like that, while being in concentration? Well, I've seen. I remember my ma'm used to scold me for moving legs while teaching (I used to sit in front row). But actually all I was trying to do is to concentrate upon what she is teaching!

Either Have a Strong Mind, or Deceive to Have One!

Thurs, 19th April, 18:47hrs
All this, when I read today again, didn't look much different to meditation. After all, what is meditation? It's an approach to reach immortality from mortality. However, I could easily see Indian Meditation techniques never needed such ghostly speakers to reach divinity, it was all from within, it wasn't ghost but something pure, truly silent which could enlighten the path even in the darkest of nights. Will Indian Education Institutes ever use our traditional techniques to provide meditation to IITians, when its evidently clear that they need it desperately? Waiting..

7 comments:

  1. good one from ur kitchen! keep serving more of these :D
    abhi kgp mein hi hoon, countodwn chal raha hai abhi:)

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  2. Just one addition to your theory:
    If you try repeating music*, the brain starts to ignore it(this music) after a while... and then concentration is even more.
    *Same 02:30 minute song in winamp, with repeat mode

    We are constantly learning systems, so our blog-names are bound to change... sometimes for good sometimes for bad.

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  3. pj,
    the kitchen is veg.. don't expect what you're looking for :P lol

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  4. bp,
    tats absolutely true man.. we guys used to play those everlasting lust and return of innocence of enigma like forever.. lol..

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  5. One of my frnd used to study in Loo, he got to get his concentration there :P

    ps.: not joking!!

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  6. hey.. which loo man? left one or the right one in our bldg??? ;-) lol..

    PS : thank god u didnt say sleeping.. sleeping folks in class when awakened by prof used to respond with absolute confidence that they were thinking/analysing.. lol..

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  7. Guy next to me in school once caught while sleeping in class answered "Sir, Dhyaan kar raha hoon !!!" :D LOL

    Btw i think he went to the right one...:P (i am talking abt the loo in our bldg) hehehe LOL...

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