Our inner voice is like a symphony

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Article Date: 
Jan 07 2013, 2123

Most of us feel that our observations are often a precise interpretation of things. We also believe that such annotations are outcomes of verified interpretations. Picture this — for a person with no knowledge of using the stethoscope, the consequence of what each heartbeat conveys is inconsequential. It takes a physician to analyse, infer and diagnose a condition, or deduce that the heart is as ‘sound’ as a bell. Or, it is healthy and strong. The most important fact that a physician interprets is, again, evidence — heart sounds and their impact in health and illness. This holds ‘good’ for every activity we do — be it accountancy or marketing analyses. The inference is obvious. We all need some hypothesis, or ‘cushion,’ to guard against misreading our observations.
Interpretations also include our beliefs of expression, or language. What we express is a measure of detected feelings and also descriptions of such feelings. They can be as direct as a straight line, or as distorted as the appearance of a curved object in a glass of water. What does this connote? That our language makes us what we are — they are akin to perceptions that we all carry about us and of others. You may equate this idea to a prism, which causes objects to appear differently each time you try to view them through your own lens and not merely through your mind’s eye. This applies just as much to our palpable feelings, or emotions, which are key components of our observations, if not interpretations. Philosophers believe that the concept of emotions is nothing but picture postcards of ‘mindful’ activation. All emotions are endowed with a matrix or structure, although this is not as easy to evaluate as it appears in the presence of our conscious awareness. You’d think of a cosmic simile — the gravitational force between the sun and the earth, which is as difficult to measure. While it is agreed that scientists are yet to establish gravity waves, our feelings, likewise, are not as yet acquiescent to precise measurement —notwithstanding breathtaking advances in medical science.
The study of emotions has, nonetheless, enabled us to assemble and interpret a particular brain state, or a number of brain states. This represents our emotions — it is, however, far from what resembles the structure of the atom to a physicist. Yet, the big idea is emotions, like atoms, are elementary particles of psychological and physical phenomena. They represent the fundamental premise that began at the beginning of a complex surge called evolution.
You get the credo. Human sensory, motor and conceptual systems are as complex and ‘tangible’ as quantum physics and as definable as the biology of life, including the function of the mitochondrion — the ‘powerhouse’ of the cell. However, in the light of thought vis-à-vis the utility of specific relations among variable components of emotions, it is only appropriate that we evaluate such relevant phenomena by acknowledging our event-related brain activity — which all of us possess — in quantifying our behaviours. This is, of course, not as easy as it appears. Because, the interpretation of one’s temperament, or one’s biological processes, during emotional upsurges, can be as different as chalk and cheese between two individuals.
This is one reason why philosophers suggest that it would do us all a world of good if only we begin to accommodate our rich complexities and analyse — and, not misinterpret our expressions on ‘face value.’ In other words, it is only when we surmount our elementary bias would we be able to synchronise our inner voice like a symphony orchestra.

(The writer is a physician and a doctorate in philosophical literature)