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Health and Fitness Personal Growth Relationships Science Social

26 Lessons Life Taught Me After I Turn 26

I often wonder, why do people celebrate their birthday?

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against it. The celebration is great and we must do that to make someone feel special.

But what is the purpose?

Maybe to remind someone how special he/she is or to let someone know that his/her birth has made some difference to this world or maybe something else. Perhaps there is no single answer.

What do you think about this? Why a birthday celebration is meaningful to you?

You can also say ‘I don’t celebrate my birthday, my friends celebrate to get a party from me’. That’s also a fair enough answer.

I do also have my own perspective on this. A birthday celebration works like a reminder to me. It reminds how little time is left in my life and fills me with a sense of urgency.

As I become 26 years old today, I look back at my life to extract some lessons life has taught me in my good times and in my bad times. I remember one of Seneca’s quote where he said-

“It is not that we have a short time to live,

but that we waste a lot of it”

You might think, who am I to write about life lessons?

Honestly, I thought about the same a lot. Why should I write about what I learned after living for 25 years?

Everybody goes through different phases in life, everybody has a different story. We all learn numerous lessons as we go through life. In fact, this article is not just written for the reader but also for myself. It’s a template for me to know what I have felt after turning 26.

Ok enough of my rubbish, here are 26 lessons listed below that I felt are worth your time-

1. Personalities are not permanent

What type of person are you? Do you believe you are a born introvert or extrovert?

If you think you are a certain type of person from childhood and will remain like that, then you are wrong. There is nothing like a fixed personality. People change and so is their personality.

I was one of those shy, socially awkward, and geek type of guy in my childhood. Even at my teenage, I was the same. I had to listen a lot from my own family about how pathetic my social skills were.

But today I believe, I am not the same guy anymore. I have improved, my interests have grown. In fact, today I enjoy whether it is to give presentations in front of a packed audience or to talk with strangers.

So if you are thinking you can’t change then you are wrong. Of course, it will take time but eventually, you will.

2. Your beliefs shape you

Ever wondered why do you think in a certain way? Why do you behave in a certain way?

It’s because of your beliefs. What we believe is what we think and what we think is what we do. You follow a certain religion because you believe in that. People have superstitions because they believe in that.

Most often you are not even aware of what do you believe. It’s given to you by your parents, surroundings, and society. But surely you can change your beliefs. So if you know beliefs are so powerful, then believe in abundance, growth, and affluence. It will bring good to you.

3. Don’t compromise too much with yourself

There come some times in life when we feel like compromising with ourselves. Like when we try to please others, when someone criticizes us, when we go through some hurdles we try to over compromise with our original self.

Don’t be that guy. Yes, sometimes a little bit compromise is beneficial, like when you want a fulfilling relationship or when you move to a new place, but don’t do that by sacrificing your self-esteem.

I have been to different places for my education. What I experienced is, sometimes you feel lonely because there could be no one to share your story, finding a trustworthy friend could be challenging.

In such situations, you could sacrifice some of your principles, your values in order to make friends. They might not accept you the way you are. In such situations don’t lose yourself. Be the person who you are. You will find someone loyal, trustworthy sooner or later.

Don’t lose your integrity ever.

4. Passion is overrated

Follow your passion. How many people have advised you this line?

I am sure many. Have you thought what actually passion is?

It’s easy right. Things that makes us joyful and we have a natural inclination towards it are our passion. But is it pre-defined or people develop it?

Until you try something, how will you know you are good at it or not. And if you don’t know whether you are good at something or not, how will you find your passion.

There are many instances in people’s lives where they found it difficult to learn some skill, but with desire, focus, and deliberate practice they mastered it and it became their passion.

Do you think running was Usain Bolt’s passion from childhood? or writing was a passion for J.K Rowling from the beginning?

In the beginning, they just liked it. But even they had to work for years/decades to hone their crafts. Passion is not something people relate to natural calling. I don’t believe in that. Rather it’s more of a self-discovery process.

I never thought until 2018 that I could write blog articles someday. But today I feel like it is one of my passions. I want to write till I am alive. So my suggestion is to try more number of things, learn as many skills as you can.

In the process, you will learn about your likes and dislikes. Then work on things you liked to get better at them. Trust me, someday you won’t even realize and people will tell you ‘you are so lucky, you found your passion’.

5. Value skills, not degrees

When I was in school, I thought getting a college degree would be a great achievement. The highest degree in my family was a Bachelor’s degree. I thought getting a Master’s degree would be a proud moment for me.

Then I got a Master’s degree, but there was no excitement. Later, I have enrolled in a doctoral program but trust me even today I don’t have any extra excitement about the so called highest academic degree Ph.D. But the feeling that I am learning many skills and that wouldn’t be possible had I not enrolled in the Ph.D program makes me feel good.

I often think, why I thought degrees would make me happy?

Perhaps, this is what everybody taught me. Everybody asked questions like

‘Which degree you are pursuing?’ but nobody asked ‘What skills are you learning?’

Perhaps, I thought degrees would give a job. I was wrong. It’s not degrees won’t give you a good job but the problem is it doesn’t guarantee you the skills. Most importantly you will feel bad if someone tells you ‘you have the degree, but don’t have proper skills.

So I urge you to not give much importance to degrees. Hone your skills otherwise, some robots will take your job in the future. In today’s era, having a degree doesn’t guarantee a job but having a skill is.

A few days back I saw somewhere Elon Musk said- ‘In my company, I don’t care if you are a high school graduate or not, if you have skills welcome to my company’. You might think your place is still degree oriented but it won’t be for long.

6. Have an earning hobby

Do you remember during the examination time, most of us used to carry more than one pen in the examination hall.

Why did we carry multiple pens?

Because having a backup option is good. We wanted to be on the safer side. I wonder why we don’t follow the same strategy in life also?

Why do we forget to keep a small back up option in our career?

In today’s time, I think it’s a good idea to have a hobby which has the potential to earn in the future. Do your job sincerely, but keep a hobby which you like and can generate some income in the future.

This way, you will feel safe and perform better in your current job. Remember those friends whose fathers had a big shop or businesses. They were relaxed because they know they had a backup option.

You can do the same for yourself. Even if you are satisfied with your current job, still having an extra monetizable skill is beneficial. At least, you can earn some more money. Just imagine how many people will lose their jobs because of this pandemic. They can save themselves by having some extra skills. No one knows what will happen tomorrow.

7. Read books on diverse subjects

What would be the single line answer of the question

How to become the smartest person in the room?

The answer is- just read more books than everybody else.

Everybody knows the benefits of reading books. So I am not talking anything about that. But I would like to give you a suggestion from my personal experience

Don’t just read books on the same subjects, read about diverse subjects. This will make you more creative and astute. Read books on science, economics, health, history, personal growth, fiction novels, finance, relationships, spiriuality, etc. Just read multiple genre books.

8. Writing is powerful

You must have heard the line ‘The pen is mightier than the sword’.

There is a reason for that line. Writing brings out the soul inside you, which you never knew existed. There are numerous scientific studies which showed how writing leaves a profound positive effect on your life. Now you might say ‘but I don’t like writing’.

C’mon, you have already written so much in your examinations. and you don’t have to become a writer. All you need is to write down your feelings, thoughts on paper, or on the computer. You can just even write bullet points or make mind maps. Whatever you like but I promise, you won’t regret the decision to start writing. But this time for yourself not to pass any examination.

9. Choose your role models wisely

Who is /are your role model? Who inspires you?

The answers to these questions have a deep effect on your life. When you choose someone your role model, your life will be affected by your role model consciously or subconsciously in a positive or negative way.

When you choose someone as your role model, he/she become your benchmark, which means that you have instructed your subconscious mind that you can’t become more than your benchmark.

You must have heard the story of Roger Bannister, the first man to run a mile under four minute. Before him, everyone, including sport researchers thought it is impossible to run a mile under 4 minutes. Had Roger Bannister made some runner his role model, he wouldn’t be able to achieve what everyone thought unachievable.

You try to imitate your role model’s actions even when you are not aware of that. Take inspiration from someone’s life and their legacy but try not to set a benchmark. And even if you want to have role models, choose them wisely.

10. Label your negative emotions

Managing our negative emotions well is key to a successful life. Researchers call it ‘Emotional Intelligence(EQ)’. Your success doesn’t just depend on IQ but also on EQ.

Everyone has to go through the ups and downs of life. I am myself a worrier, an overthinker. Sometimes I worry too much and I feel it’s normal. But thinking about controlling it doesn’t produce anything good.

So what should you do when you are angry, worried, anxious, or sad?

Research have shown that putting a label on your emotions helps you a lot to manage your negative emotions. What does it mean?

It means giving your negative emotions a verbal or written expression. You can write down about your emotion in a paper. Ask yourself-

Why are you feeling worried or sad? What can happen? What can you do to prevent this?

Writing down answers of these or even just talking to someone or to yourself loudly about your emotions helps a lot tone down your emotion.

What basically it does is, it transfers the negative thought from your emotional brain (amygdala) to the rational brain (frontal lobe), so you get a chance to think more logically and hence will be able to better handle with the situation.

Now you know people who often talk to themselves loudly are not crazy. By the way, I am one of them.

11. Relationships are key to a happy life

If any day you have to choose one thing among money, power, fame, and stable relationships. Choose the last one, it’s not me but the longest research done on happiness by Harvard Psychologists are saying. See the video below-

I hope there would not come any day when you have to choose. I wish you will get everything including money, fame, power, and good relationships. Humans are social animals. So if your relationships are not in place, nothing can make you truly happy.

12. Rise but don’t fall in love

When we talk about relationships, the most challenging relationship is perhaps the relation with your spouse or your girlfriend/boyfriend. I think the reason is obvious, you cannot choose your parents, your relatives but you can choose your better half.

When you choose something on your own, you expect much more from that relationship. And that’s where we make blunders many times and make our life miserable. The romantic movies, novels taught us that there is some soulmate waiting for me. Love is effortless.

Whereas, in reality it is not the case. Yeah, of course, love is a feeling at the beginning but after some time it becomes a choice. Like everything love also comes in a package, there are goods and bads.

You have to choose whether you want to handle the mood swings of your partner (which are not always pleasant, I am telling), whether you are ready to cheer the other person even when you are not feeling well, whether you want to face some uncomfortable conversations with your partner. At times, you might feel like giving up. In those moments it’s up to you to choose whether you want to still love that person or he/she doesn’t deserve so much of your time and energy.

Your romantic relationship is just a part of your life, not your whole life. Don’t lose your self-esteem in order to impress your partner. Rise but don’t fall in love as I wrote in one of my previous articles.

But yeah, when two people have love and respect for each other, perhaps, ultimately everything falls into place. As there is a saying in Hindi- ‘Aag ka dariya hai, aur doobke jana hai (It’s a river of fire and we have to sink to go through it).’

13. Your health is your actual asset

Our health is probably the most underrated thing in this world. We only realize it’s value when we lose it. And many of you are perhaps thinking ‘I understand man, health is important’.

Instead of knowing its importance, we don’t do much to keep it fit. A few years back health was not on my priority list, I didn’t know what an active body means. But after I started to inspect my food intake, running, and exercise I realized what it feels like to live with more energy.

People dream about driving a Mercedes, BMW, Ferrari, Rolls Royce but forget about the most beautiful machine they possess. Your body is the most beautiful and powerful machine. The choice is yours whether you want to run it like a 2nd hand car or like a premium car.

14. Learn about finance

This is the most neglected area by most of the people. Everybody thinks he/she knows about finance, whereas in reality don’t. Most people think ‘what is there, just earn more money, spend less, and save as much as possible, that’s all finance is’.

It’s only in recent times, I have realized that I need to learn a lot about finance and it’s a fascinating world. The problem is no one talks about this. Schools don’t provide financial education, parents don’t make children financially aware. In fact, parent’s are themselves unaware of this and it’s not their fault.

Finance is not a specialized subject. Everybody has to deal with money in their life. So it ‘s a must learning subject. Learn at least basics like-

How does the economy work? How do banks work? What is compound interest? How to invest money? What is wealth creation?

I promise you, these learnings will pay off you in the future.

15. Your salary alone won’t make you rich

Do you want to become rich?

Yes, the meaning of rich is different for different people. But here I am talking about monetary wealth.

For me, you are rich when you don’t have to work for money. When you can pay your bills even if you don’t work. It’s called financial freedom.

Are you thinking it is impossible?

Yeah, it is rare to happen in your 20s or 30s, but it is certainly possible in your 40s or 50s. You just need to plan your financial life well.

I am from a background where people think only a high paying job or a million dollar business can make you rich. But I can assure you it is not just that. Paying EMI for your home, car, gadgets, and what not with your high salary year after year doesn’t prove you are rich.

A person with a six figure salary can become bankrupt or live under debt whole life and a person with much less salary can achieve financial freedom.

Study the rich people everywhere in this world, you will find things common in them. All of them have multiple sources of income. They know how to grow wealth. If they can, you can learn too.

Ultimately being rich is not about showing off your luxury lifestyle but to reach a point where you don’t have to worry about money anymore. So keep in mind, your salary alone won’t make you rich but how you utilize your salary will.

16. Travel whenever you get chance

Who doesn’t love to travel. It’s amazing to see new places, new cultures right.

Till I was 20 years old, I haven’t gone outside my district, let alone state. Later I got the chance to travel to different places. When I experienced how it feels to travel, I realized why everyone talks so much about traveling.

But I felt the more you travel like a tourist, the less you will get out of your travel. Rather, try to talk with people there, know their culture, don’t have any prejudices about any place. Travel with an open mind. Your perspective about the world will change.

And yeah, travel solo sometimes.

17. Be a doer

I am a procrastinator. So this is the most important lesson for me.

Imagine a situation where you have brought all the fresh vegetables and fruits from the market. You know it’s good for your body. But what’s the point if you don’t eat them.

The same thing happens with your mind. We read books, blogs, watch videos, take seminars but what’s the point if we don’t act on them. You must become action-oriented rather than just collecting knowledge.

This is something I still tell myself time and again-

‘You can become something by acting on something not just by thinking about it’

18. Learn to live alone

Don’t get me wrong, I am not telling you to isolate yourself. Just learn to enjoy solitude.

Don’t rely on anybody. Become the captain of your ship. Many times nobody would want to travel on your ship. So learn to live with yourself.

The person who enjoys his/her own company can be in peace with himself/herself. Accept the fact that you have come alone in this world and will die alone. The better you understand this, the more peaceful you will become.

19. Television is really an idiot box

You must have heard the old saying ‘TV is an idiot box’. Well, I never really thought about this. I used to love watching TV. There were days when I used to watch TV for 5-6 hours daily.

But then I have come to know about the ill-effects of watching TV and how it actually makes us an idiot. I am not saying to remove your TV from your home but at least be aware of how much of your time you spend watching TV.

Numerous studies have shown that TV viewing is detrimental for the development of intellectual abilities, especially during infancy.

20. Don’t become a slave of social media

Today’s generation is not interested in TV right, social media is the new culture. It’s a great platform. I mean who thought 20 years back that we could be in touch with someone from other corners of the world. Social media have made it possible.

But unfortunately today the world talks about how social media is making us miserable. How it is decreasing our attention span. Don’t let that happen to you.

The problem is social media can become an addiction just like alcohol or drug. You might be even unaware of the fact that you are addicted. So keep track of your time while using social media.

You can utilize social media for creation rather than just for consumption. Limit your time and create more if you love social media. Remember data is the new currency, it is more valuable than money. Be aware of whom you are giving your data.

Use social media with a purpose, but don’t become a slave of it.

21. Spirituality is not about religion

We often think being spiritual is not my cup of tea. You don’t have to become a yogi or do meditation on Himalaya to include spirituality in your life. Spirituality is just like a lifestyle.

Am I spiritual?

I don’t know, maybe not yet. I don’t even have much idea about the word ‘spiritual’. But I believe there is something special about being spiritual, which elevates you.

Maybe it’s about believing in a superior force than you, or letting things go sometimes can make you more content. I perhaps don’t know much about it right now. But I do know that you don’t have to be from any particular background to lead a spiritual lifestyle.

As we go through life and become mature, we get to know more about it. But first of all, you need to believe in it.

22. Learn to enjoy small things in life

I always thought, my achievements would make me happy. But that never happened. Today when I try to remember my school days or college years, all I remember is the moments I had with my friends, the celebrations, the laughs, trips, etc.

I don’t remember my achievements. Even if I remember some of them, those achievements are ok but that does not bring any extra smile on my face. But moments with friends, people do. I am sure same is the case with you.

Therefore, don’t forget to enjoy your present in order to make your future. Don’t wait for big achievements, enjoy the small things in life.

Whatever you are trying to achieve, nothing much you will remember ten years down the line, but you will surely remember some moments you had with your friends.

23. The world gives more to givers

You may have heard a lot from people that the more you help others, the more god will return to you.

But today it’s being proven by even scientific studies. Adam Grant, a psychologist in the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania has shown in his studies that you will increase your chances of becoming more successful by helping other people. You can read his book ‘Give and Take’.

Help others not with a selfish motive, but to be at peace with yourself. We all know it right, whenever we help someone needy, we feel great. It is basic human nature to help needy people.

24. Science is just an instrument

This is what I personally feel. It has nothing to do with your belief.

When someone says, my religion is best. We call him/her immature or intolerant. Similarly, when someone says, science is everything, I see no difference between both the person.

Science is great. I am also involved with this. The invention of Science and scientific thinking is the biggest invention in human history. But I think it is just like an instrument.

It is quantitative. You can’t measure your feelings, you cannot make moral judgments using science. Science is like a beautiful instrument that you can use to create something worthwhile. Some people use the word ‘science’ just like religion as if it can give answers to everything.

Critical thinking is much more important rather than citing a research paper for everything.

25. Be a lifelong learner

How attractive this word ‘lifelong learner’ is right. But these are not just attractive words but a must have skill for survival, for growth in today’s era.

In our father’s or grandfather’s era, they just needed to learn any one skill in their early age and that was enough to live the rest of their lives with comfort.

But today, circumstances are different. Every 5 years some jobs are becoming obsolete and new kinds of jobs are arising. It means what you learned in your college may become irrelevant today.

In such a situation, the only way to ensure a comfortable life is to keep on learning new skills. Once you adopt this mindset, learning skills will become fun for you.

26. Explore yourself and the world

What is the most important thing I learned?

You can listen to many great people, you can read as many books or articles as you can, you can watch as many inspiring videos as you can but your answers you have to find yourself.

No one else can give you your answers. There is no single answer for everyone. You are unique among 7.7 billion other people on this earth. Your answers will also be unique.

How would you find them?

Explore yourself. Check what you like what you don’t. Try diverse things, talk with people from various backgrounds, travel to different places (not just the usual places), put effort to learn various skills.

Keep exploring yourself and the world around you, one day you will find your answers.

I know it’s been a long post. If you have read it, thank you for bearing with me. I hope you gain some good insights from it. I Would love to hear from you.

Have a great life. Until next time.

Joy

Source of images: Google images

Categories
Health and Fitness Personal Growth Science

How The Coronavirus Pandemic Shaping Humanities Future

It’s been 48 days since I wrote the last blog post on this website (wrote on 23rd February). From that time to now, a lot of things have drastically changed in the world. The world has witnessed a new pandemic in the form of the novel coronavirus. Almost a million people infected and more than 10000 died till now. No one knows how many more lives will die off the virus.

I have been reading from various sources about the virus and its implications. Though, reading or watching a lot of content about the pandemic does not serve any purpose except creating fear in your mind. On top of that, there are fake news circulating everywhere. The real knowledge is lost in this age of information.

This reminds me of one of the quotes from T. S Eliott

“Where is the life we have lost in living?

Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?

Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?

Wherever I go people talk about the virus, news channels are showing the same news 24/7, internet is full of same content and conspiracy theories of experts. Sometimes it feels like someone wants to hijack peoples brain by repeatedly exposing to the same content.

No doubt it’s a tough time for us but consuming the same content throughout the day will not produce anything worthwhile except fear and depression. Of course, you should know what’s going on in the world but give priority to quality instead of quantity. Check the source of the information, whether it is reliable or not.

Remember knowledge removes darkness and ignorance but a little knowledge or fake knowledge is even more fatal than ignorance. A few days back I saw a tweet from Yuval Noah Harari. He is a historian, author of bestselling books, philosopher ( and one of my favorite human beings). Here is his tweet

In an ideal world one would expect people to learn a little bit about the science of viruses, what is it? How it causes disease? How it causes pandemics?

Nonetheless, we are not living in such an ideal world and we are imperfect people. However, we are very fortunate to live in this era.

See, such pandemics are nothing new to the world. In the 14th century there was ‘Black Death’ which killed almost 200 million people worldwide, in the 16th century there was smallpox then great plague, cholera, Spanish flu came one by one. For your convenience look at the list below-

Imagine all those times when millions of people were dying due to a virus but they didn’t have any clue why they were dying. All they used think was about some evil demons as the reason for the pandemics.

But today we know about the existence of viruses and bacteria. It took just two weeks to identify the novel coronavirus, sequence its genome, and to develop a reliable test to recognize infected people. We are already developing vaccines for the coronavirus.

It’s not the incident or event but your response to that event defines you. Soon this pandemic will be over but the world we used to see will not be the same. I am really curious about the concomitant upshot of this novel virus on our forthcoming world.

And we are going to witness a world we have never seen before. The choices we make now will affect the world we will inhabit once the storm passes.

Prof. Harari discussed beautifully about the post coronavirus world in one of his articles. Where he specifically said-

“In this time of crisis, we face two particularly important choices. The first is between totalitarian surveillance and citizen empowerment. The second is between nationalist isolation and global solidarity.”

His contemplation is indeed very interesting and I will reflect upon his thoughts-

1. Totalitarian surveillance Vs Citizen empowerment

By this time you must have realized that in order to prevent the spread of this pandemic entire global population needs to obey certain guidelines (such as social distancing, wearing masks, washing hands time and again).

There are two ways to achieve this. And we are somehow seeing both ways to be operating in the world.

One way for governments is to monitor people and punish people who break the rules. This is what we have seen in some countries such as China. What was believed to be science fiction a year ago, that is true today.

Today the government can keep an eye on all the citizens with the help of technology. By closely monitoring people’s smartphones, with the help of hundreds of millions of face-recognizing cameras, and forcing people to screen their body temperature and medical condition, governments can quickly identify suspected coronavirus carriers.

A range of mobile apps track our movements and warn citizens about their proximity to infected patients. In this way, citizens are totally under government surveillance.

Now you might think, what’s the big deal, even companies like Google or Facebook tracks us. Even they know where we are going? what we are buying?

What we are experiencing in many countries is not something very usual. The surveillance has gone one step ahead. What Prof. Harari mentioned as the transition from ‘over the skin‘ to ‘under the skin‘ surveillance.

Although we were under the surveillance before the pandemic by Google or Facebook, but they only knew our external reactions like what we buy more frequently, they didn’t know whether buying that makes us happy or sad.

They only knew where we are roaming but they didn’t know how that makes us feel. In short, their surveillance is ‘over the skin’.

But now with tracking of your body temperature to blood pressure, the government wants to go inside your body. Previously they were interested to know what kind of news you are reading more, and now when your finger touches your smartphone screen to press a link, government can track the temperature of your finger and blood pressure of your body when you press that link.

Imagine a day, when authorities/companies tracking every response of your body. They will exactly know what makes you sick or what makes you happy , sad, or angry. You don’t know what coming years might bring. In fact, they would know you better then you yourself.

Of course, at this crisis moment government is tracking people for our good, to identify infected people, prevent the pandemic, and it is for some time. But this may not be the case. Yuval Harari put forward some great insights on this. Read below his words-

You could, of course, make the case for biometric surveillance as a temporary measure taken during a state of emergency. It would go away once the emergency is over. But temporary measures have a nasty habit of outlasting emergencies, especially as there is always a new emergency lurking on the horizon.

Even when the infections from corona virus will be down to zero, some data hungry governments could argue they needed to keep the biometric surveillance systems in place because they fear a second wave of coronavirus, or there is a new Ebola strain evolving in central Africa, or because blah blah…, you get the idea. A big battle has been raging in recent years over our privacy (The data war). The coronavirus crisis could be the battle’s tipping point. For when people are given a choice between health and privacy, they will usually choose health.

Instead of building a surveillance regime, it is not too late to rebuild people’s trust in science, in public authorities, and in the media. We should definitely make use of new technologies too, but these technologies should empower citizens. I am all in favor of monitoring my body temperature and blood pressure, but that data should not be used to create an all powerful government. Instead, data should enable me to make more informed personal choices, and also to hold government accountable for its choices.’

Asking to choose between privacy and health is a trap. You might not realize now but privacy is equally important as health in today’s generation and you should enjoy both.

An alternative to this totalitarian surveillance Harari suggests is ‘Citizen empowerment’. If people know scientific reasons of why they should wash their hands or why social distancing is important, perhaps governments don’t need to surveill them 24/7.

Why is more important than what or how (of a fact) to empower citizens. For a person who knows how beneficial it is to just wash your hands with soap, washing hands becomes natural. But for an ignorant person have no clue why should he/she should wash hands.

A self-motivated population is way more powerful than an ignorant population who need to be surveilled 24/7. Countries like Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea have already shown this.

Somehow a lot of government authorities realizing now how crucial is people’s scientific temper.

2. Nationalist isolation Vs Global solidarity

A lot of people over the globe believe that globalization will take a halt after this pandemic. People will less prefer to travel to other countries and countries would separate themselves from other countries. Just the way a lot of nations are sealing their borders right now.

Think about the society where you are living. Imagine a gang of robbers entered your neighbor’s home, beat people there and loot everything. And then again the same thing happened in another home.

What should your society do under such circumstances?

Just seal all the houses, stop speaking with each other, and be in your home all the time or cooperate with each other, share the information of robbers with each other and make strategies to combat them.

You would always choose the 2nd option as It is more reliable and effective.

The same is true at this pandemic time. Countries which fought better with the virus such as Singapore, South Korea could share the information and strategies with other countries.

But the recent incidents have shown the lack of cooperation among countries. Even at this crisis time, many countries are busy in blaming each other and making conspiracy theories rather than thinking about the future of humanity.

The real character of a person revealed at the time of crisis. This is the time for all the world leaders as well as for us to show some character.

From the economic point of view also global cooperation is vital. A sharp decrease in the supply chain from one corner of the world will affect the other corner.

Therefore, thinking about nationalist isolation at this moment will result in a disaster. We must work together as a whole rather thank working as a chunk.

These are the decisions that are going to shape our future. This is the time to make choice between totalitarian surveillance vs citizen empowerment and nationalist isolation vs global solidarity.

Don’t feel like your own personal decisions have nothing to do with the world tomorrow. It’s the choices of every individual human which defines the world. The world is going to change for sure.

What kind of world we would like to see tomorrow is our collective choice. We can empower ourselves for a better future or we can remain ignorant and present our future generations a dystopian future.

Have a safe week. Until next time

Joy

Source:

  1. Yuval Noah Harari: The world after corona virus-Financial Times
  2. The coronavirus crisis- Inkstone News
  3. Home Deus-Yuval Noah Harari
Categories
Health and Fitness Science

Bacteriophage: How A Forgotten Virus Can be An Asset to Combat Superbugs

What is the first word come to your mind after hearing the word ‘Virus’?

Disease, infection, infectious, harmful, etc. right.

What if tell you there are viruses that can cure our diseases.

Haven’t heard before! But there does exist such viruses, which are friendly to humans.

Just like there are god bacterias, there are good viruses.

These bacterias are known as ‘Bacteriophages’ or ‘Phages’meaning bacteria eaters.

These are good because ‘Bacteriophages’ are extreme enemies of deadly bacterias which has the potential to kill us. Believe it or not but phages are the most deadly beings on the planet.

Phages were discovered independently by two researchers Frederick William Twort at the University of London in 1915, and Félix d’Herelle who confirmed the finding and coined the term bacteriophage in 1917.

Below are some mind boggling facts about phages-

  • They are the most abundant microorganism on the planet. Much more in number than the total number of bacterias present. To give you an idea. They are everywhere, in soil, in water, in your body. Just your bare hand contains more than 10 billion phages. That’s a huge number right. The pie chart below depicts the number of phages compared to rest of the microorganism
Abundance of phages
  • Phages are 100 times smaller than bacterias. Under a normal microscope, they are not visible. You need an electrone microscope to see them.
  • The human gut contains almost one million billion phages. Whereas just one ml seawater contains one billion phages.

The most fascinating thing is that phages do not affect humans but only bacterias. Unlike other viruses phages can be a great weapon for us to fight with deadly bacterias.

How does a phage look like?

Bacteriophage Structure
Bacteriophage Structure

This is how a typical phage looks like. A head, a neck and a tail depicted in the above structure. Their genetic material is contained in a prism shaped head, surrounded by a protein capsid.

Like any other virus phages need a host cell in order to reproduce and become alive. When alone they are equivalent as dead.

Image of a phage under electron microscope
Image of a phage under electron microscope

How do phages kill deadly bacterias?

Phages are very specific in killing bacterias. What I mean is a particular type of phages can only kill a specific set of bacterias not all types of bacteria.

In order to kill a bacteria, phages first bind to the bind to specific receptors on the bacterial cell surface with their tail fibers and create a hole, a process which, along with attachment, is coordinated by the base plate.

Next,  a rigid tube is propelled out of the sheath, puncturing a hole in the bacterial cell membrane through which they inject their genetic material (DNA or RNA, double or single stranded).

From here, there are two ways via which phages can kill the host cell. One is known as lytic cycle, where after injecting (DNA or RNA) into the host cell, the phage genome synthesizes early proteins that break down the host DNA, allowing the phage to take control of the cellular machinery.

The phage then uses the host cell to synthesize the remaining proteins required to build new phages. During this process, the host cells gradually become weakened by phage enzymes (known as endolysin) and eventually burst. The whole process looks like the image below-

Different stages of lytic cycle
Different stages of lytic cycle

In another way, known as lysogenic cycle allows a phage to reproduce without killing its host. Following the injection of the phage DNA into the host cell, it integrates itself into the host genome, with the help of phage-encoded integrases, where it is then termed a prophage. The prophage genome is then replicated passively along with the host genome as the host cell divides. Something like shown in the below picture-

Different stages of lysogenic cycle

This process does not kill the bacteria directly but then under the right conditions (UV light, low nutrient conditions), the prophage can become active and come back out of the bacterial chromosome, triggering the remaining steps of the lytic cycle and kill the bacteria.

How does a phage decide whether to enter the lytic or lysogenic cycle when it infects a bacterium host cell?

One of the major factors is the number of phages infecting the host cell at once. Larger numbers of co-infecting phages make it more likely that the phages will use the lysogenic cycle.

This strategy may help prevent the phages from wiping out their bacterial hosts by toning down the attack if the phage-to-host ratio gets too high.

Because phages need a host cell to reproduce, they don’t want to run out of hosts. Thus, the tendency to flip to lysogeny at high abundance might have been favored by natural selection (explaining why phages are in such huge numbers).

But why are we suddenly interested in bacteriophages?

Although discovered first in 1917, we never paid enough attention to phages and there is a reason behind that.

In the earlier days, just a single cut in your body could have killed you. Bacterias were the culprits. We didn’t have any answer for them. People then moved their attention towards phages and successfully cured bacterial diseases by applying phages as weapons.

However, in 1928 Sir Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin and everything changed. We invented antibiotics and they were so effective against bacterias that we forgot about phages.

We became so habituated with antibiotics that we used them more and more for less and less serious causes. We lost respect for the little monsters (bacterias) and the weapon (antibiotics).

As a result, with time bacterias started to become immune against our invented weapon (antibiotics). Today there are hundreds of bacterias which are resistant towards most of our antibiotic. They are known as ‘multi drug resistant bacteria’.

Once we feared that soon there might be some bacterias that will be resistant to all our invented antibiotics and we will again go back in time, where a simple cut can kill us. Sir Alexander Fleming warned us-

there is the danger that the ignorant man may easily underdose himself and by exposing his microbes to non-lethal quantities of the drug make them resistant.

We have already created such monsters known as ‘Superbugs‘. And believe it or not but they can wipe out human existence.

In fact, according to a survey, by 2050 superbugs could kill more humans a year than cancer. The days when a cut or cough or simple infection could kill you or your loved ones are coming back.

In such circumstances, scientists again turned their attention to forgotten tiny phages. In fact, phages are perhaps better than antibiotics to combat with bacterias.

Because antibiotics are like unguided missiles. It kills everything (good and bad bacteria) that comes within its range. But phages are very specific, they are like guided missiles.

By now, you already know how phages kill bacterias (discussed above).

In fact, there are many instances recently, where doctors have used phages to treat patients successfully.

You might be thinking, won’t bacterias develop ways of defending themselves?

They will evolve against phages too. But wait a minute, phages are also microorganisms, so they evolve too. There is a constant war going on between phages and bacterias from billions of years. Fortunately, phages won the battle almost all the time.

And even if bacterias become immune against phages someday, we will still be able to win against bacterias. It has been found that in order to become resistant to even just a few species of phages, bacteria have to give up their resistance to antibiotics. It’s like attacking the enemy with two different classes of weapons.

This has already been successfully tested patients who had no other hope left. Bacteria have no answer to the combination of phages and antibiotics.

But why don’t we hear more about phages in medical science?

Unfortunately, although there is a growing interest among scientists about phages but treatment via phages is still in an experimental state. Pharma companies are reluctant to invest in phages to a great extent. As a result, it has not become part of medical treatment. There is no official approval yet.

But things are changing, in recent years phages are getting more and more attention. Research is going on to see how safe phages are if we inject them from outside.

We better do more sound research on phages and make them a part of our medical treatment before superbug kills millions of lives all over the globe.

It might sound weird but injecting the deadliest being on the planet into the human body might save millions of lives. And who knows one day your doctor might write you a prescription for phages along with or instead of antibiotics.

An informative video on this topic-

Please, never use antibiotics mindlessly. Do remember what Sir Alexander Fleming said-

Sir Alexander Fleming On Antibiotic Resistence

Source:

  1. Technology networks
  2. Khan Academy-bacteriophage
  3. Phage treatment of human infections
  4. Encyclopedia Britannica
  5. Advantages and Limitations of Bacteriophage

Categories
Health and Fitness Science

Medical Industry Vs Medical Science

Have you ever been in a situation where your family has asked your opinion before taking an important decision?

Although you were right at what you have suggested, your family neglected your suggestion and took exactly the opposite decision just because the majority of your family members support the opposite idea. Your knew from inside that what you said was absolutely correct and the wrong decision made is going to hamper your family in the future but you can’t do anything.

This exactly depicts the meaning of this article, where you represent medical science and your family members medical industry.

If anything fascinates me most in this world, that’s humans. I mean you think about our creature sometimes deeply and I am sure you will find the same thing too.

In fact, there is a ecologist named Ellis Silver, who argues that we, humans, are not originally from earth but from somewhere else. We are a foreign creature here. He has written a book also on this named ‘Humans are not from Earth: a scientific evaluation of the evidence’. You can read it if you wish.

Whether you believe him or not but humans are pretty strange. There is no denying about this

Look at other animals, birds, or any living creature. Among all of them, we have advanced most from the time we exist. We rule the world (you can say perhaps) but instead of all the advancements we are our lives are not advancing to that extent.

In pursuit of becoming happier, we are becoming miserable. We try to become healthier, but we are becoming prone to new diseases. Something is fundamentally wrong don’t you think?

Ask your grandfather (or even your father) about their lifestyle when they were young. You probably can’t imagine your life like that but when you listen to them carefully, you will be amazed that they were somehow more healthy and content in their lives instead of not having the luxuries of today’s world. Perhaps your grandchildren will experience the same thing.

All of us want to live longer and in quest of that, we have built a super special healthcare industry. And no doubt we have been successful in eradicating a lot of deadly diseases.

Antibiotics are one of the greatest discoveries in medical science. Vaccination has been a great weapon for us. Once deadly small pox, Diptheria, yellow fever, polio are almost gone from our planet.

The number of different organs that can be replaced in the human body is extraordinary.

Latest development is the stem cell therapy. Scientists believe that stem cell therapy can change the face of human diseases and alleviate suffering.

Take a pause and think again, instead of all this, are we healthier today? Are we living longer?

You know the answer is a big no.

So what is wrong with us? Is there any loophole in our healthcare industry?

But our medical science research upon things and then they prove facts.

How can there be any loophole?

Remember medical science is just like that younger family member who knows he/she is right (the example given at the beginning of the article) but there is an entire industry, who are the majority in number dictates everything in healthcare industry.

Why does this medical industry most often take decisions which are not aligned with a healthy life?

Because they want to make money. It’s a huge business for them. And it’s called fear business (or a business out of ignorant/innocent people).

Think about it, what does a business person want?

More customers, more revenue right. If people are not falling sick, if people are feeling great about their bodies then who will go to them.

Mind it, when I am mentioning medical industry, I am not talking about medical science. Science gives us facts upon extensive research, investigation for a prolonged time. So chances are high that science won’t misinform us or even if they do sometimes, they correct themselves in the future.

But how many of us really aware of the latest findings of medical research?

Very few, unless you are very enthusiastic, fitness freak or studying in such a specialization. Whenever we face any problem regarding our health, we consult a doctor with the hope that he is the expert in his domain and knows the solution.

But alas! in todays time even some doctors are ignorant about latest medical science and many of them utilize their patients as an instrument to earn money. Many of the doctors represent the ruthless dacoits of earlier times.

There are thousands of stories about how doctors cheat with their patients. They have collaboration with pharmaceutical industries and pathology labs. So they ask their patients to go through hundreds of tests and recommend them to take a variety of medicine even if they don’t need. Most of the hospitals are just merciless butchers.

There is a term called ‘Disease Mongering’ which means the practice of extensive tests and treatments done by your doctor to make you feel sick. It’s a practice to make money out of healthy people. Whoever has visited today’s super speciality hospitals must have experienced this.

Cartoon describing ‘Disease Mongering’

In 2011, there was an article published in ‘News Week’ named ‘One word that will save your life‘. If you are serioos about your health then please read this article once.

This article talks about new research which shows how extensive medical tests and treatments in hospitals do more harm to our body than good.

So, what is the way out for us who are not so aware of what new medical science is suggesting?

How can we protect us from these ruthless dacoits or merciless butchers?

Suppose there is an aquarium in your home with healthy fishes dancing and moving from one side to another. But with the passage of time, the water in the aquarium gets contaminated and the fishes start falling sick.

Now, what will you do?

You have two options-

  1. Either you take out the fishes, treat them and put them back in the contaminated aquarium.

2. Or you replace the contaminated water with fresh water.

In todays hospitals you can expect the first option to be applied. But if you are smart you will choose the 2nd option. To get rid of a disease you have to remove its root, not its symptoms.

When you say ‘I want to cure this disease’, you should heal your body through the fuels you are putting in your body. Medicines are meant to use only in emergency situations when you need some relief. You should not think of medicines as permanent solutions.

How many times you have seen any animal falling sick?

Very rare right. Does their biochemistry inside the body is better than us?

I don’t think so. They don’t disturb their bodies chemistry by putting any foreign element.

“Nature has created us, so the power to heal us is within nature itself”

Enough of discussion. What’s the solution/conclusion?

How healthy is our body depends on two things.

  1. What we eat
  2. What we think

Your life will change when you start eating foods that are aligned with nature’s choice.

Before that, what to avoid completely? Below is a summarised list. I am not going into details as these are established facts and you can research about all of them separately.

1. Refined Sugar:

It’s equivalent to poison. It does almost nothing good for our body and responsible for most of the diseases.

2. Caffeine:

You are thinking, it gives us instant energy, refreshness. It’s too acidic in nature and not good for our body. Even if you want to, maybe once per day is probably ok.

3. Table Salt:

A small amount of salt is required for maintenance of good health but that need is fulfilled from vegetables. You don’t need extra table salt to fulfill that.

Moreover, when taken in little excess it is responsible for a plethora of diseases.

4. Fried Food:

The frying and prolonged heating of foods lead to the formation of free radicals. We know how damaging these free radicals can be. Especially avoid those deep fried foods.

Avoid eating micro-waved foods. Microwave exposure causes a significant decrease in nutritive value.

5. Fast Foods:

Oh, man! these are equivalent to garbages. If you care about your health even a little bit, stay away from these garbages. All shit things like mono sodium glutamate (MSG), aspartame (artificial sweetner) are found in so called fast foods.

Now there are few things which we are used to eat maybe from our childhood but in reality, they are not as good as we used to think. Some of them are like-

6. Refined Cereal:

White flour and polished rice are the two most widely used refined cereals in our day to day food. The outer husk is removed from wheat and rice while during refining. The outer husk is the major source of vitamins, minerals, and fibers. Your body has to work much harder while absorbing such refined cereals. Gluten present in them also causes problems in many people. Avoiding them completely would be impractical for most people, but surely we can reduce their intake.

7. Milk:

I know this one surprised you. This one surprised me too. To be honest there is no direct evidence that milk harms our body.

Well, this a debateable thing at the moment but many experts believe that milk is required during infancy (talking about cow or buffalo’s milk) when the infant is not able to take any other solid or liquid food, but milk is not meant for lifelong use.

No animals except human beings continue to drink milk lifetime.

With age the enzymes which help in the digestion of milk become inactive in some people, as a result some component of milk get glued to various parts of the digestive system, resulting in overall blockage of the system and prevents the absorption of nutrients in the body. And don’t worry, even if you don’t drink milk, you will not become calcium deficient.

Still, I am arguing about whether you should drink milk or not. You observe your own body, research by yourself and find out what’s best for you.

You might be thinking about what to eat then?

First of all, don’t believe in any particular type of diet. Our biochemistry is so complex that it is impossible to micro manage it. Therefore, we should return to the pattern of eating to which our bodies have been adapted over millions of years.

I found an excellent chart describing how much and what should we consume daily. Hope you will find it useful.

Lifestyle Diet Chart

Our body is the best manager of its biochemistry. Don’t interfere by putting unnecessary toxic things into the body.

Our thoughts are another important factor for good health which we often ignore. Every thought you have have a powerful impact on the cells of your body.

Positive high vibrational thoughts can purge your body diseases and negative stressful thoughts can confer your body a series of diseases. Your frequency determines your life.

Just remember

“Hospitals are not about health, but they are all about diseases.”

Your health is your true wealth. Take care of it.

Have a healthy week. Until next time.

Joy

Source:

  1. Heal without pill by Biswaroop Roy Choudhury
  2. Is Milk Really Healthy for You?
  3. Disease Mongering

Categories
Personal Growth Science

The Art of Becoming A Buoyant Learner

Do you know what ‘polymath’ means?

Polymath, Renaissance man, multipotentialite these all have the same meaning. The above picture depicts the meaning perfectly.

It means a person having the expertise or skilled at multiple things.

Take Leonardo Da Vinci for example or Benjamin Franklin or Richard Feynmann. In fact, most people who left their impact in this world were all polymaths.

There is a famous quote which says-

“Jack of all trades, master of none”

You must have heard about this or at least definitely experienced it at some point in your life.

Remember the times when everyone including our family, friends, relatives tells us to specialize in one particular thing and abandon everything that has no link with that specialized goal.

But guess what, most successful people lived in the earth were polymaths. They had multiple interests and often one interest has nothing to do with the other one.

From a very early age, our mind has been programmed in such a way that we born to excel in only one specified area. We can’t be good at multiple things.

And then we read about people like Leonardo Da Vinci and others like him, and think ‘Oh come on! they were genius people, I can’t be like them’

Really! is that so? Henry Ford has a beautiful reply to that

“Whether you think you can or cannot

Either way you are correct”

‘What your mind can believe, it can conceive‘ as Napoleon Hill said in his ‘Think and Grow Rich’ book.

And then even if you believe that you can become a polymath, but then you would ask How would I learn so many things? How can I become good at multiple things in this short span of lifetime?

The most important question should be

How should I approach learning to learn better and faster?

This is one question which most of us never ask ourselves. Maybe we are not programmed to ask so. We think it’s an inherent natural ability that can’t be improved.

And one might think ‘why should I even bother about becoming multipotentialite’?

Fair enough. Not everyone is interested in learning multiple things. If someone wants to dig deeper only in one specified subject, that’s also great. We all have our own choices.

But skilled at many things doesn’t mean you have to monetize all those skills. A lot of times people learn something just to quench his curiosity or to have fun.

You look at the lives of great scientists, artists, writers, most of them had/have multiple hobbies which people don’t even know. But somehow these hobbies helped them to focus better on their main job. Today, scientific research also supporting such claims. I have written an article about this before.

Albert Einstein, Werner Heisenberg, Max Planck, you probably have heard about all of them. They were great scientists, everyone knows them. But do you know they were also skilled musicians? Einstein used to play the piano. He was really good at playing the piano. He said once-

Life without playing music is inconceivable for me.”

Music helped Einstein in this thought process and helped convert the images to logic. Similarly, Heisenberg and Max Planck were also expert musicians. In fact, there is a beautiful article named ‘Symphony of Science’ on the Nobel prize website. You should read it sometime.

Anyway, coming back to the question ‘how should I approach learning?

I captured a beautiful (as well as meaningful) image from the book ‘The Intelligence Trap’

From the book ‘The Intelligence Trap’

If you just understand this curve properly, learning something (you like) will become easier and more fun.

So what does this learning curve conveys?

Psychologists have described four distinct stages of learning and they are as follows

1. Unconscious Incompetence

This is the very first stage before even learning something new. At this stage, most of the ignorant, overconfident people lie. Here people don’t even know what they don’t know (wow!).

You must have encountered such people who behave like they have all the knowledge of the world and they need to learn anything new. Basically, their mind is full of ignorance and it has no place to fill with any sort of new knowledge which ultimately leads to overconfidence. Therefore, you are incompetent as well as unconscious about it.

2. Conscious Incompetence

At this stage, people realize that they lack at certain skills and they need to work towards it. This is the beginning stage of learning anything new.

Until you don’t realize you don’t know something how can you even start learning? You have to empty your mind first to fill it. Here still are incompetent but you are at least conscious of that.

3. Conscious Competence

Now you are ready to put effort for learning. You start to look for the most efficient ways to learn.

Here I would suggest you to use the Feynman technique to learn anything new. This one I really found a great approach for learning anything.

What is the ‘Feynman Technique’ to learn?

This technique was named after the famous scientist Richard Feynman. In addition to being a great scientist, he was a fascinating teacher. In fact, one of his nicknames was ‘The Great Explainer’ because he was able to boil down incredibly complex concepts and put them in simple language.

It’s a simple four-step process-

  1. Take a piece of paper and write the name of the skill/concept you want to learn.
  2. Explain the concept to yourself and write it down (whatever comes to your mind). Draw diagrams, charts or whatever you find convenient to learn easily. This is like making your own notes.
  3. Introspect about your understanding of the subject. Identify the areas, which you haven’t understood properly and review them.
  4. The important part of this technique is to challenge yourself to make understand your learning to someone who is not an expert on that. Think about how can you explain your understanding to a child. Initially, you might think how is that possible to explain complex concepts to a child but with practice you can.

Take Einstein for example. You would agree with me that understanding the concept ‘Theory of Relativity’ is not an easy one.

But Einstein gave an amazing analogy to explain it simply. He said-

“When you sit with a nice girl for two hours you think it’s only a minute, but when you sit on a hot stove for a minute you think it’s two hours. That’s relativity.”

Now it’s easy to understand relativity right. So anything you learn, think about how can you explain it to others simply.

“A great explainer is a great learner”

I found a great video of Josh Kaufmann on learning anything new faster (in just 20 hours). You can see the video below-

4. Unconscious Competence

In the earlier stage (Conscious competence) you have to put effort, you have to think, make decisions to learn. In other words, you are aware of what you are doing. You are consciously doing everything.

But at this stage, after a lot of practice and training, you become skilled and now things happen effortlessly. You are unaware of the fact that you are even putting any effort.

You must have experienced this. Think about those times when you were reading an amazing book and you were so engrossed in the book that you were unaware of your surroundings. You felt like time just flew

. Or you were playing any musical instrument and you were so lost that fingers were coming automatically on the strings, you didn’t have to consciously put your fingers on the strings.

There are many instances like that you encounter frequently. This is known as ‘Flow State’, a term coined by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. It’s a blissful state and to live a fulfilled life all of us should strive to experience more of such Flow state in all the areas of our life.

But there is a danger at this stage. Now that you know you are skilled at something, there is a great danger that you become overconfident and no longer want to consciously put any effort to improve. Your growth, learning might hit stagnancy. You will find many examples like that.

There is a famous quote by Bertrand Russell that says-

Becoming dead sure about everything is the danger at this stage. Do not fall in this ‘expert bias’ trap as described by David Robson in his book ‘The Intelligence Trap’.

5. Reflective Competence

If you can reach up to this stage of learning, you will achieve mastery over the subject you want to learn. Here, you are aware of your feelings, intuitions, and identify biases before they cause any harm. You reflect over your learnings and learn from your previous mistakes. You are aware of your shortcomings.

This reminds me of what Lao Tzu said-

This stage of learning is exactly the reflection of this quote.

See, I don’t believe that we are born to excel only in one particular thing. The biggest boon to born as a human is that our lives are not predetermined, unlike animals. We have the choice to explore our life as much as possible.

There are so many things to learn, to get excited about. Sometimes we just take it for granted that we are born on this beautiful planet as humans and we have the choice to learn so many things.

Explore your life as much as possible. That’s the best piece of advice from my side. As long as you are alive LIVE YOUR LIFE TO ITS FULLEST.

Every time I become hopeless, I remember the following quote and become excited again.

Death Quote

Have a learning week. Until next time.

Joy

Source:

  1. ‘The Intelligence Trap’ by David Robson
  2. Symphony of Science
Categories
Health and Fitness Personal Growth Relationships Science Social

The Science of Loneliness and How to Win over it.

A few days back I was talking with one of my college friends over the phone. We were asking about each other’s life and how everything is going. He said ‘Everything is good but I am feeling lonely here most of the times’.

At first, I didn’t take it seriously. In fact, I told him ‘you are surrounded by so many people, your family, your new friends, and many others, how can you feel lonely. On the contrary, I should feel lonely because I don’t have my family, people whom I used to adore once are not with me.

His voice became numb. He said ‘I don’t know. After we left college, everything changed. As if I have entered into a new planet to live. I no longer had deeper conversations with anyone, I rarely laugh wholeheartedly like before. These days I feel empty from inside’.

My mood changed from a light conversation to a serious one. Anyway, I told him things will be better with time.

Honestly, I was shocked a little bit. I knew him in college. He was not one of those socially awkward or a bashful guy. He used to shout, laugh a lot, and enjoy conversations with others. How come such a guy can say ‘I feel empty from inside’. What changes in just 4-5 years.

People have asked me multiple times ‘don’t you feel lonely living far away from home?’

Their question is really valid. I know that feeling when you leave your village or hometown and come to a new city for whatever reason. I had been in multiple places (away from home) for study, so I had that feeling multiple times.

When you move to a new city, there are strangers everywhere you look around. There is no one to sit next to you and hear your story. Loneliness comes naturally in those times.

But it’s very normal on such occasions to feel a little lonely. With time everything becomes normal, we make new friends, we explore new places, food, people. Life becomes interesting again. This is a type of loneliness occurs due to external reasons and it’s very temporary (unless you don’t want to make friends or explore anything).

Loneliness is part of our biology, just like hunger. Hunger makes you feel attention to your physical needs, you need to eat to quench hunger. Similarly, loneliness makes you pay attention to your social needs.

And this is due to our evolution, in the earlier times when our ancestors were in jungles, our social needs were a great indicator of how likely we were to survive. Natural selection rewarded us for collaboration, for forming connections with each other.

Had we not formed connections with each other, we wouldn’t be alive today. Being together meant survival. This is precisely one of the reasons why humans are unique. We can form groups of large numbers. We can make meaningful connections with each other.

And today we are in the most connected time of history. People from different corners of the world can be friends today.

But alas, the data shows something else. More than 300 million people are suffering from depression all over the world, and most of the time depression arises from a feeling of loneliness. India is the leader of the list. Yes, India is the most depressed country in the world with every 1 among 6 people is depressed. Surprisingly people in the age group of 18-34 are most depressed.

The irony is-

“We are living in the most connected time of history

Yet, an unprecedented number of us feel lonely”

Wait, a few minutes back I said loneliness is the part of our biology and now I am saying loneliness has led to depression for a huge number of people.

Isn’t this sounds contradicting?

No, the type of loneliness I talked above appears due to external reasons like no one is there to sit near you during lunch or no one is there to play with you. This happens when you move to a new place as I said.

With time such loneliness disappears as we start making new friends, making connections with others.

But what about those occasions when you are surrounded by a huge number of people, your friends and yet you feel the ache of emptiness. This loneliness is the invention of the modern human race. And it is due to our internal dissatisfaction or our inability to be at ease with ourselves.

Psychologists define such loneliness as-

‘the psychological consequences of having a gap between the support and social interaction you’d like and what you are getting actually.’

Moreover, loneliness is a state of mind (just like happiness). If you are feeling lonely, you are lonely.

The most stereotype about loneliness is that ‘people who feel lonely don’t know how to talk to people or how to behave with others’. But you know this is not true. Scientific studies have also proved this. (Link to the study).

In fact, social skills make no difference when it comes to social connections. Studies have found that lonely people have superior social skills (Read here about it).

So it’s not like if your friend is more famous, beautiful, or have better social skills, she/he will not feel lonely.

The scary thing is, loneliness which arises due to our internal mismanagement is very lethal. It’s like smoking a packet of cigarettes every day, Surely, way more harmful than what you thought. I don’t want to talk in detail about that. You can just see the video below to get some idea-

If you read about the evolution of humankind from living in jungles to the agricultural revolution to the industrial revolution then finally to the digital revolution, it becomes clear why more and more people suffer from loneliness now-a-days.

Our biology is designed in such a way that it wants connection. That’s how our brain grew and became more and more fine-tuned to recognize what others thought and felt, and to form more sustainable social bonds.

Earlier human used to live together in groups, they used to take care of each other. There used to be joint families. Communities that existed before began to dissolve especially after the industrial revolution.

Today people leave their home in search of job, education, business, etc. So the number of connections with people we make today is far less today. Remember, not making strong social bonds is against our biology and in that way, we are more prone to fall in the trap of loneliness.

You might be thinking-

How can I save myself from loneliness?

Being in different places at different points of my life, I can tell you from my personal experience what has helped me to stay away from the vicious cycle of loneliness.

1. Accept your feeling

If you don’t know the problem, you can’t cure it. Yes, I felt lonely everytime I visited a new place. Everybody feels lonely at some point in their life. It’s a universal human experience. Accepting the feeling of loneliness will open the doors to cure it.

2. Write it down

I know it sounds silly but I told this before also (in my previous articles). You don’t have to be a fancy writer to write something. Whatever you feel lonely, just take a pen and paper and write about your feelings. Why you are feeling lonely? What are your views on it? What can you do to remove this?

You will be amazed by the kind of clarity you will achieve after doing this. Yes, not always it will cure your loneliness completely but for sure it will make you feel better.

3. Become self-aware

Maybe you are focusing too much on negative things or getting affected by your negative colleague. You can examine what your focus your attention on, and check if you are selectively focusing on negative things.

Do you make negative judgments about people even without meeting them ever?

Do you assume others don’t want you around?

If your outlook towards the world, towards your life, is negative, you are more prone to loneliness. Introspection is a great way to prevent loneliness.

4. Become interested in people

This was my problem in my teenage years. I used to think ‘I will only talk when somebody will show interest in me‘ until I read Dale Carnegie’s ‘How to win friends and influence people‘ book. Become interested in people is one of the greatest pieces of advice I ever got.

If you like someone, just go and ask him interesting questions about himself. I promise you will be amazed by the number of meaningful connections you will make.

5. Prioritize quality over quantity

I am sure you must have seen people who instead of having many friends, feel lonely most of the time. Yes, we should make connections with people but not necessarily with everyone. You won’t like many people and many people won’t like you. That’s normal.

I always believed, having 2 good friends is better rather than having 10 average friends.

You must make meaningful connections with people who will be beside you at the time of adversity. Otherwise, what’s the point of having friends. Make less but make better connections.

6. Have an explorer mindset

If you are curious about life, I bet you will rarely feel lonely. Actually you won’t have time to feel lonely. Just imagine, do you think Leonardo da Vinci or Benjamin Franklin felt depressed anytime? There is hardly any chance.

They were so curious, so busy doing different things that their minds always wonder about new ideas, new possibilities.

When you have an explorer mindset, you will find something interesting in nothing. Now, every time you go to a new place, you become curious about people, food, weather, the culture there.

7. Transform loneliness into solitude

This is the most important part of this entire article. You cannot always avoid loneliness (even if follow everything written above). Sometimes it is inevitable.

What happens when your loved one dies?

You will be in grief. Naturally, you want to isolate yourself from everyone.

What will you do in such a situation?

Remember, being alone and being lonely are two completely different things.

” Just like you can be sad even in the presence of crowd around you,

you can be blissfull even in the absence of crowd around you “

why do we like someone?

Because of various reasons. Maybe that person makes me laugh, he/she is cute, knowledgeable, has good social skills, etc.

In other way, I like someone due to blah, blah reasons. I feel good because of his something. We are dependent on someone else for feeling good. We try to extract something out of that person for feeling happy. We behave like beggars who always want something out of that person.

Naturally, when that person one day leaves or behave another way, our good feeling also vanishes. Because our good feeling was linked with some behavior of that person. Then we feel lonely, as if, someone has destroyed our world.

The day you realize that we are responsible for every emotion we are going through, be it joy, misery, ecstasy, or loneliness, you stop depending on others.

It’s not like we then no longer need connections with people. We will make connections with people but now we become a giver instead of a beggar. People want to make connection with you because now you are the source of joy.

Remember nobody wants to be with a miserable person, everyone wants joyful people in their life. Only when your own cup is full, you can share that with others. When you are ecstatic, you can share that with others.

“Become joy, don’t seek joy”

Jim Carrey once said-

Jim Carrey quote on loneliness

If you want to make your life meaningful, you must enjoy your own company. The great scientist, Nikola Tesla also said the same thing-

Nikola Tesla joyexcel

See loneliness is not that bad if you only know how to transform it into solitude. Loneliness is like giving full freedom to yourself. You can do whatever you want to do. Either you will become more creative or you will be scared, watching no one is around you. The only thing to think about is-

Do you know how to use that freedom for your good cause?

I am finishing this article with this quote-

joyexcel solitude quote

Have a meaningful week. Until next time.

Joy

Source:

  1. The Atlantic.com
  2. The Lonely Blog
  3. Vandrevala Foundation
  4. Cigna U.S. Loneliness index
  5. The Science of Loneliness
Categories
Science

The Grand Journey of Voyagers in Space

How do you feel when you look into the sky at night?

Fascinating! isn’t it? Especially when I was a child, I used to wonder a lot about those bright stars visible in the sky. It spiked curiosity in my mind.

How far are they? Does anyone live there? Can we go there? These are some common questions arise in our mind in our childhood.

Unfortunately, as we grow up that curiosity dies slowly in most of us. We don’t wonder about the stars, about the space like before (unless we become an astronaut).

But these days I wonder even more about the space than in my childhood. Reading books on space and watching documentaries have filled me with inquisitiveness. I know I am not going to become an astronaut, but then who said only astronauts can learn about the space, the stars, the galaxies.

There is one more reason why I love learning about space.

If you learn about the solar system, the galaxies, the whole universe a little bit, it will make you realize how insignificant you are. You are like a tiny sand particle in a vast desert in this mammoth universe. You have no idea how big this universe is (or even probably the multiverse). Look at the image below-

The Pale blue dot image
The Pale blue dot image

This picture was taken by NASA’s Voyager 1 space probe from somewhere near Saturn planet (6 billion kilometers from the earth). The tiny blue dot you can see in the image (where ‘you are where’ is written) is the earth. That’s where we all live.

If our planet is that small even within our solar system (imagine how would it look from outside solar system) then do you think you are even observable in this universe?

This feeling itself makes me really humble and grateful towards life. You have born to live your life to it’s fullest not to worry about everything, not in your control or not to show off. Just enjoy your time as long as you are here.

Ok let me ask you a question

Do you know what is the farthest traveled (from earth) spacecraft name?

It’s Voyager 1. In 1977 NASA launched two spacecraft to study the planets of our solar system like Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune etc. Those are Voyager 1 and Voyager 2.

How did it all start?


In 1964, a graduate student named Gary Flandro observed a rare alignment of the planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. They would all be aligned on the same side of the sun during the 1980s. He also realized that such a configuration wouldn’t happen again for another 176 years.

Planets in the same alignment
Planets in the same alignment

There is a tremendous advantage of this. The rare alignment presented a singular opportunity to visit all four outer planets with the one mission.

The advantage was gravity assist. Gravity assist is when a spacecraft uses the gravitational force of another object, usually a planet, to alter its speed and trajectory. Due to this spacecraft can visit the planets in a much quicker time than expected.

Golden record of Voyagers
Voyager’s Trajectories

Voyager 1 and 2 are identical spacecraft equipped with instruments like particle sensors, infrared and UV sensor magnetometer, television cameras, etc. to conduct 10 different experiments.

They’re powered by ‘radioisotope thermoelectric generators’, which convert the heat produced by the radioactive decay of plutonium into electricity.

More interestingly both spacecraft carries a golden record that contains sounds, music, and images from Earth, intended for any aliens or future humans who chance upon the craft.

Golden record of Voyagers
Golden record of Voyagers

Carl Sagan, the famous astronaut said the best thing about these ‘Golden record’ in his book ‘The Pale Blue Dot’-

” Perhaps the records will never be intercepted. Perhaps no one in five billion years will ever come upon them. Five billion years is a long time.

In five billion years, all human beings will have become extinct or evolved into other beings, none of our artifacts will have survived on Earth, the continents will have become unrecognizably altered or destroyed, and the evolution of the Sun will have burned the Earth to a crisp or reduced it to a whirl of atoms.

Far from home, untouched by these remote events, the Voyagers, bearing the memories of a world that is no more, will fly on.”

Voyager 2 was launched on 20th August 1977 and Voyager 2 on 5th September 1977. Due to Voyager 1’s better speed and shorter route, it is the farthest traveled spacecraft right now.

Voyager 1 took a direct path from saturn to interstellar space while Voyager 2 traveled towards Uranus and Neptune after it encountered Saturn. (See above the Voyager trajectory image).

Both of the craft gave us tremendous information about our solar planets like Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune etc. Like the presence of volcanos on Io (third largest moon of jupiter) instead of being a cold place, presence of oceans on Europa (smallest moon of Jupiter) etc. For the first time, we have observed planets and their moons so closely.

Where are these spacecraft now?

Voyager 1 entered the space between stars – ‘interstellar space’ – in August 2012, going beyond the influence of the Sun’s magnetic field and ‘solar wind’ of charged particles. This means that it’s the first man-made object ever to leave the Solar System.

Voyager 1 is 19 billion kilometers away from earth and its radio signals take 17 hours to reach us.

Voyager 2 entered into interstellar space in 2018 and it is now 18 billion kilometers away from us. It takes 16.5 hours to reach its radio signal to earth.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
An illustration of the current position of NASA’s Voyager 1 and 2 probe. outside of the heliosphere, a protective bubble created by the Sun that extends well past the orbit of Pluto. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

It’s been 42 years when both these spacecraft were launched. Still, both of these are going strong.

But by 2025, it is expected that Voyager 1 will exhaust its plutonium power supply, at which point it’ll end its broadcasts back to Earth. The same thing is expected for its twin Voyager 2 in the near future.

However, both the spacecraft will continue to travel in the space. In the next 40000 years, they might encounter another star in our milky way galaxy. Only thing is,we might not get any data from them.

Just imagine there used to be a time when people thought our planet earth is everything and the sun revolves around it. We evolved with time. We realized that the earth is just a small planet among others revolving the sun.

And today even our entire solar system looks a tiny grain compared to the universe we know.

What is waiting for us next? No one knows. But as our knowledge about the universe is increasing, it’s making us smaller and smaller. As if it’s telling us to be more humble. As if it’s telling ‘stop giving so much importance to yourself, just live your life to it’s fullest’.

So who are you in this universe?

C’mon, you are not even observable.

Carl Sagan Quote

Have a meaningful week. Until next time

Joy

Source:

  1. Interstellar Mission NASA
  2. JPL NASA
  3. Science Focus
  4. Gary Flandro
  5. National Geographic

Categories
Science

Neuralink: The New Age of Human Brain

Remember movies like ‘The Matrix’, or ‘Total Recall’. where humans were able to interact with computers without using a keyboard and mouse but merely utilizing their brains.

All they need was some eletrodes to be inserted in the skull which can recieve the signals from your brain (specifically from neurons). It looked something like this.

However, from movies when we come to real life, the question you probably pondering about is- is it really possible in real life?

This collaboration between a device (machine) and the brain is known as the brain-machine interface. To give any command to a computer we need to use a keyboard and cursor, here keyboard and cursor are the mediators between us and the computer. What if we can run a computer without using our fingers (no keyboard or mouse). Sounds cool! isn’t it?

But how brain-machine interface work?

We all know our brain is the most important organ we have. we can’t see, hear, taste, and feel until our brain process the corresponding information.

Our eyes are merely a tool for receiving visual information, it’s the brain that ultimately receives the information and processes the visual information via visual cortex.

We can move because the brain sends signals via the central nervous system to the muscles of the body. All our interaction like speaking, shaking hands requires precise communication between the brain and muscles of our body.

In case, if this communication is get disrupted then we called it paralysis in medical terms. The brain is the ultimate processor of everything we do.

Brain cells (neurons) communicate with each other by sending and receiving small electrical signals. Now it’s possible to catch these electrical signals with electrical sensors.

In brain-computer interface (BMI) an electrode that contains many electricals sensors is attached to the brain via the skull. Now, these sensors catch the brain signals and using a receiver one can detect and convert to a command to operate a device.

Using BMI we can understand a paralyzed person’s intent, whether he wants to talk, move, add or anything else.

Nonetheless, the current technology of BMI is not very practical. There are several reasons for that. Often one needs to implant the electrodes on the scalp via surgery, which is quite expensive and can be dangerous.

In the current technology, the number of electrical sensors present in the electrodes are not much in number (10 at best) due to their not enough small size. Due to the lesser number of sensors, they can’t catch the brain signals precisely. Moreover, no one wants to carry a heavy electrode on their head, it looks weird, isn’t it?

Electrodes on the head
Electrodes on the head

Pedram Mohseni, a professor at Case Western Reserve University, and his scientific partner, Randolph Nudo of Kansas University Medical Center created their own start-up company with the name Neuralink in 2011.

Their aim was to develop a device that might help people with brain injuries. But later they sold it to Elon Musk in 2016 (in $100 million). This was when Neuralink caught people’s attention.

Right after Elon Musk became main investor at Neuralink and launched it in 2016, it has generated a storm of hype in the world. Of course, there are reasons for that. In just 2-3 years the kind of achievements this company has accomplished is just amazing.

So how exactly Neuralink can take the brain-machine interface to the next level?

It has already solved or I would say resolved a lot of limitations brain-machine interface earlier had. The first one is about electrodes, which I already discussed above.

Scientists in Neuralink has created a chip (electrode) called N1 sensor (4 millimeter in size), which contains 1024 tiny electrical sensors in small threads, which are thinner than a human hair (because we need really small sensors, which was earlier not developed).

N1 sensor of Neuralink
N1 sensor

With current technology one can implant at best 10 electrical sensors in the brain but Neuralink’s electrical sensors are so tiny (4 to 6 μm in width) that one can implant more than 10000 sensors without hampering anything in the brain. Imagine the kind of signals these many sensors can catch!

But how these electrical sensors will be implanted within the brain?

Developing tiny sensors is one thing but implanting them inside the brain without hampering any brain activity itself is a significant challenge.

To conquer this,the team at Neuralink has developed a robot that can do the job with accuracy. This robot will implant those threads precisely in the brain without affecting any blood vessels within. Have a look at the video below-

These threads will then catch the neuron signals send it to the N1 sensor (which is the tiny processor implanted in the brain) and with the help of a transmitter placed just beside the air we can decode the signal.

Tranmitter to be used in brain-machine interface
Transmitter placed beside ear

The most advantageous thing in this technology is that unlike other brain-machine technologies, it’s not one-dimensional but two-dimensional. Not only we can get the output from the brain, but we can also send input to the brain via the tiny threads.

All these developments in Neuralink I have discussed so far have been done in just 2 years. They are progressing at a lightning speed.

The technology is yet to be tested on humans, it has been successfully applied to mice and monkeys. The company said humans trials will be done by 2020.

If successful, brain-machine interface will reach a new level. It will surely revolutionize medical science. Especially the paralyzed people who can not talk, walk, move and people who lost their legs or hands will benefit immensely. They will be able to do things probably with much better speed and precision than normal humans do.

But wait, the story doesn’t end here. The ultimate ambition of the brain-machine interface is not just to benefit paralyzed people but to take the human race to an advanced level.

An advanced level where we can communicate with machines smoothly, where things we do will be much faster, accurate, and effective, where biological and artificial intelligence will merge to generate superintelligent humans.

The potential of this technology is limitless. We cannot even imagine at this point. We can download any information in our brain without even moving any part of our body. We can do things just using the sheer power of our amazing brain.

Elon Musk and many others have time and again talked about threats from artificial intelligence (AI) in the near future. If this technology of Neuralink becomes successful, then this will be our way to prevent AI apocalypse.

With such astonishing potentials there comes some dark sides of this technology also.

What about people’s privacy? Do you think there would be any privacy?

What if someone hacks our brain?

These are some ethical questions we need to answer before such technologies become feasible.

Humans are meant to evolve, to become better with time. Every new technology comes with some dark side depending upon the user (be it antibiotics or atom bombs).

Science and technology will continue to expand whether someone likes it or not. But with every advanced technology comes an advanced threat. What we can do is to make sure to minimize the effect of its threats.

We must remember the famous quote written by Stan Lee

“With great power comes great responsibility”

You must be thinking about how fascinating our brain really is. It’s indeed one of the most mysterious things in the world. We have come so far to understand how our world works. We know a little bit even about the birth of the universe how it expands but ironically we barely know anything about our brain using which we think all these.

I remember the lines Prof. Jeff Litchman (from Harvard University) tells his students every time he teaches them about the brain-

“If everything you need to know about the brain is a mile, how far have we walked in this mile?”

Prof. Litchman said we have walked merely three inches. That little we understand our fascinating brain.

What do you think about this? How much do you know about the brain?

Let me know in the comment section.

Elon Musk quote

Have a wonderful week. Until next time.

-Joy

Source:

  1. Neuralink-Official Website
  2. Brain-Machine interface

Categories
Personal Growth Science

Can you Create Something You Wish For?

You must have heard a famous quote by Nikola Tesla. It’s one of my favorites.

“If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency, and vibration”

It’s really a deep and very meaningful quote. Probably that’s why I have seen this quite a few times but overlooked it. I didn’t pay enough attention because it’s not something very easy to understand. But if you can then something magical may happen.

Probably you will agree with me if I say Nikola Tesla was the most mysterious scientist of this planet. Let me tell you about an incident. Once a reporter asked Albert Einstein

How does it feel to be the smartest man in the world?

Einstein answered- ‘I don’t know, I guess you have to ask Nikola Tesla’.

That’s how Nikola Tesla’s aura was.

I will write an entire article on Nikola Tesla someday, but for today let’s try to decode Tesla’s quote.

What’s the smallest particle in this universe you know?

It’s electron you might think or a quark (inside electron or proton) which is even smaller than an electron. But according to a modern theory called the ‘String Theory’, there is something even smaller than a quark and those are called strings, just like a thread.

Smallest particle known as strings

These one dimensional strings are vibrating at particular frequencies and generate different kind of matters in the world.

This basically means the difference between you and any other animal or even a stone is that these strings are vibrating at different frequencies in you and other matters (here any animal or stone).

You might find it hard to digest but that’s what modern science conveys. You can read more on ‘String Theory‘ if you wish.

There was an interesting experiment done by a Japanese scientist Dr. Masaru Emoto who has done a thought experiment on water. They observed different molecular structures of water when exposed to different thoughts, sounds, images. Those structures were more symmetrical and beautiful when water is exposed to some positive thought like joy, love, peace compared to those when water was exposed to negative thoughts like anger, jealousy, shame, Fear, etc.

Effect of words on water

I have written an article on this experiment before. You can read it here

That means the whole universe is consist of energies (which results due to the vibration of strings at particular frequencies). In humans this energy transmit through our thoughts. We utilize this energy through our mind.

Every individual has a different rate of vibration and therefore energy. Constructive use (positive use) of this energy raises the level of consciousness of man and in turn, raises his vibration rate or frequency.

Whereas, destructive use (negative thoughts) lowers the level of consciousness. There is a chart available for different frequency thought called ‘Omega Chart of Consciousness’.

Thought frequency Chart

As you can see in the chart, as your raise your consciousness you feel more positive experiences.

So then can we create in reality what we wish for?

You must first understand that our mind is like a transmitter which can receive and transmit energies. But then you will think-

Why am I not getting what I wish in my life?

If you want to listen to a channel at 99.5 FM, can you listen to that channel by tuning your radio at 99.8 FM? No right, you have to tune your radio at 99.5 FM only to listen to that channel.

It’s same with the mind. In order to receive what you have asked for (to the universe), you have to tune your mind to same frequency as that you have asked for.

Suppose you want to get healthy and fitter by the next six months and this is what you wish very strongly.

Now if you continue to eat junk foods and don’t start any kind of exercise, then you are not in the right frame of mind to achieve what you wished.

If only you show some courage and start taking small steps, the whole universe will help you to attain your wish. Remember what Paulo Coelho said in his book ‘The Alchemist’

“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it”

So what’s the message from all this?

Yes, you can create in reality what you wish for. But that doesn’t happen overnight and you cannot sit lethargically in your couch and expect universe will put everything you wish in your lap.

You have to have faith in you. You have to take action according to the goal you want to achieve. You cannot become a writer by sitting idle, you have to start writing. You have to play football sincerely to become a footballer.

Again you might ask, a lot of people do play football or start writing but they don’t become a footballer or writer in their life?

I agree. But remember you have to tune your mind to receive the exact vibration what you have asked the universe. You have to do more of those things which a writer do to become a writer (That’s why people have mentors). You have to read more, you have to observe things closely and most importantly when you write, you have to feel like a writer.

Faith is indespensable. You cannot become a winner by thinking yourself a looser.

All these things whatever I have discussed are not something easy to digest. I too get astonished when I get to know about such things. Then the only way to test these is to try out this in your own life.

Just remember that experiment on the water by Dr. Masaru Emoto. The more you expose yourself to negative energies via people, media or whatever way, the more you become ugly from inside.

Therefore, surround yourself in a positive environment. Talk more often with people who elevate you morally and spiritually, don’t just read anything, read meaningful content which makes you feel good. Stop watching those negative news on the television, watch something uplifting, take actions for whatever you want to achieve.

And most importantly have faith in yourself.

What’s are your thoughts on all this? write in the comment section.

Before finishing the article see what Albert Einstein has to say on this-

Have a wonderful week. Until next time.

-Joy

Categories
Health and Fitness Science

The Enigma of Human Brain

Do you know how alike you are with a Chimpanzee?

Almost 98.9%, genetically speaking. Not only that, you are genetically 94% similar to your pet and 90% with your cat.

You might be thinking ‘But I don’t behave like my pet or cat. No way

Then what separates us from pet, cat, or chimpanzees?

It’s our brain of course. The genes we have relevant to brain development is absent in other animals. We approximately have 3 million more neurons in our brain than that of chimpanzee’s. More neurons mean, more connections, more complexity, and more intelligence.

Do you know what’s in our head is the order of magnitude more complex than anything one sees in the entire universe. Although our brain is within us and we use in daily life but probably we still have no idea how this enigmatic brain works.

According to the physicist, Roger Penrose (University of Oxford)-

“If you look at the entire physical cosmos, our brains are a tiny, tiny part of it. But they’re the most perfectly organized part. Compared to the complexity of a brain, a galaxy is just an inert lump”

So let’s take a tour of our marvelous brain.

I am not going to discuss the anatomy of the human brain with you. That you must have read in your school and college. Just by a Google search, you can know everything about the anatomy of the human brain.

Instead, I am going to share an idea which fascinated me when I first got to know it.

Do you know you behave similarly as lizards or snakes behave?

There are a lot of similarities between you and your pet’s behavior.

How is that? And if so, then what makes us human?

In 1960’s neuroscientist Paul D. MacLean formulated a model of the human brain (The triune brain in evolution), describing the brain in terms of three distinct structures that emerged along an evolutionary path. That means his model describes how the human brain has developed over the years through evolution.

Dr. Paul D. MacLean inventor of Triune Brain Concept

According to his model, there are not only one brain but three independent brains exist in our head. Sounds strange! Try to remember the time when you wanted to do something but you knew you shouldn’t do that. from where these conflicting thoughts arise.

Also, you will feel hungry only when you will pay attention to it. As long as you are not thinking about food or hunger you are ok but the moment you pay attention, you will realize you are hungry. What’s happening! This is because of different parts of your brain.

According to MacLeon, these three brains are-

  1. The Reptilian Brain (R-Complex)
  2. The Limbic Brain (Paleomammalian Complex)
  3. The Neocortex (Neomammalian Complex)
The Human Brain

As suggesting the name, reptilian brain resembles main structures found in a reptile’s brain. Basal Ganglia part of the human brain represents the reptilian brain. The triune brain model suggests the basal ganglia was acquired first through evolution.

Basal Ganglia in Human Brain

This system of the brain is responsible for the most basic survival functions, such as heart rate, breathing, body temperature, and balance. This brain is mainly take care of our survival. When you try to hold your breath for a long time, as carbon dioxide builds up in your bloodstream, the reptilian brain is going to want to take over and make you breathe again. At extreme conditions, this part of brain makes your alert for danger.

Now think about reptiles like snakes, lizards. Their behavior is exactly the same as the functions of our reptilian brain. Survival is the main challenge for them. The reptilian brain is reliable but tends to be somewhat rigid and compulsive.

Limbic brain resembles little more complex animal kingdoms brain. This part of brain consist of various part of brain such as- amygdala, hippocampus, hypothalamus. This part is responsible for our abilities such as learning, memory, expressing emotions.

Limbic Brain in Humans

Limbic brain wrapped around the reptilian brain in a shell, or girdle. Now if you are curious to know the difference between reptilian and limbic brain then think about the difference between a snake and a cat. Unlike reptiles, mammals have some feelings and ability to learn. Training a mammal is much easier than a reptile. You got the difference.

Finally, the neocortex is our most newest brain. Remember I asked a question before ‘what makes us human’?

Well, this neocortex is the answer. In humans, this neocortex has grown immensely compared to any other animal and this makes us unique. Other primates like chimpanzee’s DNA differs from ours by only 1.6% as I said before, but a chimpanzee’s neocortex in the brain is not as developed as in humans.

What superpowers this part of the brain gives us?

All the higher-order conscious activities such as language, abstract thought, imagination, planning, and creativity to name a few are due to our neocortex.

Of special interest in this part is the prefrontal cortex, reside just behind our forehead. The prefrontal cortex may be slower in responding to incoming information than the limbic system but is much more sophisticated in its processing. Such “slow” thinking is the hallmark of our human intelligence. Complex and new thinking on technical, emotional, social, and logical planes take place here. This is where ideas grow. In short, your neocortex makes you more of a human.

Prefrontal cortex in neocortex

So what’s the conclusion?

MacLean’s model claims that activity in the three brain regions (reptilian brain, limbic system, and neocortex) is largely distinct when we are engaged in each of the mental activities outlined above.

For example, when we are in danger and must respond quickly, as an act of self-preservation, the reptilian structure is aroused, preparing us for action by initiating the release of chemicals throughout the body. When we are watching a shocking news story or receive an upsetting message, the limbic system is stimulated and, again, chemicals are released, which create our experience of emotions. Finally, when we are making decisions, solving problems or reasoning, the neocortex is engaged, without the involvement of the other brain structures.

But modern brain images have revealed that distinct parts of the human brain are not independently active during any emotional or rational experience, Various parts of the brain are simultaneously active in those time.

Nonetheless, MacLean’s model is an oversimplified concept and it is not entirely true. However, it’s neither entirely wrong also. Undoubtedly triune brain concept provides us a useful way to asses the relationship between the structure and functions of the human brain. It helps us to understand the analogy between the human brain and other creature’s brain on the planet earth.

You know what fascinates most about this triune model of the brain, it’s the fact which often people used to say to other human beings ‘become a more human’.

I used to think how anyone can become ‘a more human’. A human is a human, what is more and less about that. But after knowing about triune brain concept I think it’s not a wrong statement.

See, if your reptilian brain is more active, you will be more aggressive, anxious and scared and less aware, creative or inventive. In such cases, your behavior is more like a reptile (lizard/snake) than like a human. Every time you get angry or too much aggressive your neocortex becomes less active, in other words, you become a reptile from a human.

You know what’s the good news, our neocortex is not rigid but of plastic nature which means we can develop our neocortex at any time of your life to become more of a human. You just need to use your neocortex more often in daily life.

Be creative whenever possible, practice to keep your mind calm, reflect more often, learn new things like a new language or instrument or any skill you like. All of these will utilize and develop your neocortex and will make you a better human.

The human life is a gift to you, don’t waste it by becoming a reptile or animal.

Have a humanly week. Until next time -Joy

Source:

  1. THE EVOLUTIONARY LAYERS OF THE HUMAN BRAIN
  2. The Concept of the “Triune Brain”
  3. 3 Brains in One
  4. The Triune Brain