Friday, June 28, 2013

Considering & Pondering

Did you ever stop to think, and forget to start again?  
~Winnie the Pooh

 1. When reflecting on human psychology, physicist and electronics engineer Derek Abbott, observes that “…[p]eople who are … hypersensitive about certain things tend to be very sensitive to other peoples' feelings in those same areas. This is understandable.

"However, notice that they can be very insensitive to other people on issues that don’t happen to worry them specifically.” Abbot wonders if there is there a name for this phenomenon and a hypothesis to explain it.

No, I don’t have a name for what Abbott calls a “phenomenon.” However, seems to me this kind of person has a lack of empathy as well as a (usually unwitting) disregard for feelings of others—perhaps coupled with a superior sense of self.

These people seem to be so wrapped up in their own lives they are unable to genuinely care about the feelings of others. Oh, these folks will seem to care, yet somehow the conversation always segues back to talk about their feelings and their sensitivities.  

2. Several years ago I knew a person who would open a conversation by saying, with great enthusiasm and glee, “You were on my mind so much yesterday …" Of course, that effusive comment usually garnered my full attention! Yet, after this intro, he related an event in his own life which, in the main, had absolutely nothing to do with me. But, of course, I was in rapt attention (ego being what it is!), waiting for whatever it was in that story which reminded him of me. Nope, never happened.

3. Check out this website, “TED,” an acronym for Technology, Entertainment and Design. TED’s site has “Ideas Worth Spreading.” For the most part the comments attendant to each video are thoughtful and coherent (some seem a bit nutty!).

4. Another Derek Abbott thought: “Given that the atoms in your body get replaced over each seven-year period and that your mind both develops and forgets old data, how can you define identity? Are you really the same person, you were yesterday?”

My very unscientific answer to that pondering would be “No, I’m not the same person; not the same person I was yesterday, or the day before or the years before that. I am, as we all are, an olio of every past moment of experience and every experience of the present moment.

The tricky thing is, I want to save the helpful life lessons I learned yesterday and the days before, add them to what I’m beginning to understand today and toss out the fluff of inconsequential data which seems to continually swirl through my brain.

As for the atoms in my physical body being replaced every seven years, there’s no trick to understanding that. All have to do is look in the mirror or walk up the three flights of stairs to my office. My body’s “atom rearrangement (derangement?),” which has occurred ten times—if Abbott’s calculations are correct—is obvious.

5. Stochastic resonance is observed when noise added to a system changes the system's behavior in some fashion.

Hmmm, such as how my “system” reacts when I’m in grocery or department stores where caterwauling noise disguised as music blasts into my already frazzled mind!!!??

I’ve spoken to managers of these stores and usually receive blank stares of incomprehension. In fact a few store personnel said adding this music is believed to enhance customers’ shopping experience (read: entice us to buy more!).

Okay, so the CEOs have determined their bottom line is increased when they pummel the shoppers’ “system” with this dissonance. This shopper's “bottom line”: I stay away from those stores as much and as often as possible. That resonates with me!