One's personality is both a composition and reflection, but if I have to choose one of them, I will choose reflection as the "self" is more important to me than "me". One's composition may change, walking across the cultural landscapes and climbing the social ladder but one's self is tied to one's reflections. The fun part is that reflections are not bound to "Time-Space" barriers ( it is not time-space) and respective mental constructs, which have grown so thick over ages, that they had reduced the image of humans to Sisyphus, rolling different sizes of boulders on hills of different heights.… As the name of this Blog indicates, knols are my perspectives on topics of interests, sweet/bitter experiences or just doodling :)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Boredom; Nature’s push for innovation

My first zoo experience was a visit to a makeshift, outdoor zoo by name of Lucky Irani Circus. Lucky Irani Circus Company wanders from city to city to have its exhibits (I have provided a link at the end of article; in case you are interested in knowing, how this circus works). For sake of efficient usage of tent area, the cages of medium size animals were put side by side and on top of each other. What really puzzled me and also interested me was the RESTLESSNESS of a monkey. The monkey, by using his long arms was pinching animals at back and pulling their tails. I could see that he couldn’t sit quiet. I enjoyed his moves but at the same time I was asking myself why he is so restless. At that time I had no answer. This spring we went to Bronx Zoo where I saw a RESTLESS cat walking restlessly and seemingly aimless. The same childhood question came back to me, “Why this animal is so restless?

The reason that I got interested in this topic was the drive for fun that I see around me (I myself like healthy and Halal fun). The drive for fun makes me think why people are so crazy for fun? Endless numbers of sports, movies, dramas, songs, cultural, variety shoes and gambling are few examples. Is boredom as some suggest, is a product of civilization (When there is no urgency for survival and plenty of leisure time, the boredom is a natural product) or is it the product of bigger brain? If it is the product of the bigger brain then mammals and apes must spent a big chunk of their time for fun. They must play for fun and hunt for fun. Certainly the answer is yes. I am giving answer with certainty because I had the painful experience of being the victim of cats’ hunting for fun.

Every spring we were going to Quetta’s vegetable market to buy one or two days old baby chicken of different colors. We were playing with them, watching after them to save them from wandering cats and each day comparing our chicken with each other. One night I forgot to bring in my chicken’s cage. Next morning, I found blood and feathers on sides of the cage. Climbing on the tree, I found the dead bodies of four of them (The cat had just suffocated them). The cat didn’t eat all of them. He just massacred them for fun. It was most painful experience. I was crying non-stop until my father promised me buying me new chickens. I also learnt that cats hunt for fun by observing cats playing with live mouse that they had caught for hours before killing them at end. It was not just cats’ hunt for fun that was puzzling for me but also human’s hunt for fun that was puzzling me. Elders in my family and also some in our streets were going to mountain for hunting Partridges. Partridges were available at vegetable market so I was asking why they go for hunting few partridges while they can buy them easily from market.

Now I understand that BOREDOM is the product of bigger brain. As brain get bigger relative to body size, the relative levels of boredom increases. Highly intelligent animals have higher levels of boredom and it is why animals like cats and monkeys in captivity get restless because there is no fun for them. Now this amazing result from studies on apes is that, more playful apes like Bonobos are more peaceful than their counterpart Chimps are part of general knowledge.
If it is true that relatively larger brain has bigger levels of boredom then the next question comes,…. is more creative people get bored soon than ordinary people? Based on my teaching experience, I would say, yes. Most of trouble making students was creative students. Creative students were getting bored and were expressing their creativity everywhere from their notebooks, blackboards to… on other students.

Creative people can’t accept things as they are. Repetition just drives them nut. How much repetition could become unbearable? I knew it by admission to an art class. The teacher was asking me to practice making different shades by controlling the level of pressing pencil against the paper. It was just crazy. The same is about my classes in calligraphy where our teacher was asking us to fill the pages with square points. Soon I left the practice altogether to do my doodling.

We had just a discussion on whether we are the product of our genes or environment. My point is genes and environment defines our limits and WE PUSH FOR BREAKING THOSE LIMITS. The limitation of genes and environments are common to all of us and each of us become UNIQUE by ways we BREAK those limits. A rebellion against nature defines who we are? And the biggest help comes from nature herself by making us bore with limits of genes and environment. BOREDOM is the biggest gift of nature by which it pushes us for innovations.

Novels, legends, stories of fairies and giants and extra-terrestrial organisms, cartoons etc are contradicting facts, rationality and nature and still we work very hard for them. Isn’t it a rebellion against nature? Artists are especially notorious for revolt against nature. Picasso broke the lines and Van Gogh makes everything just round and round. They are not how things, naturally are. If you look to innovative construction projects, you see the efforts of men to push the boundaries of limitation that nature imposes on them. Genetic engineering is another example of trying to push the boundary of limitation to basic unit of life.

The fun part is that, a lot of these innovations come not from purposeful efforts but from Doodling. Life’s innovation also comes from doodling. Genetic mutation does not happen with a clear purpose. Mutations in genes either create problems for organisms or provide opportunities for adaptations. Problem causing mutations usually do not survive and adaptations usually survive. It is how organisms push ahead.

No comments:

Post a Comment