Wednesday, October 04, 2006

psychology, lies and videotapes

Ok. I have been tagged. So have to make up some nice sounding traits about myself that would endear me more to my readers :-)

New rules of this tag:
1. Name the person who tagged you.
2. Mention 9 things about you.
3. Tag 6 people.

I. I was tagged by Archana Bahuguna, an old time dear friend.

II. The nine things about me, in no particular order or importance, are:

  1. Despite my scientific inclinations and a healthy skepticism, I have explored, and still keep dabbling in esoteric occult subjects like tarot and astrology. I confess to possessing a tarot deck and I used to do light-hearted predictions for my friends while in college (mostly fooling them by telling them what they wanted to hear :-) . At one time I seriously believed in Nostradamus's predictions of an impending third world war and wanted to do my bit to prevent the catastrophe!! Now, hopefully, I have become more reasonable and rigorously scientific-minded, but am still intrigued by the power of these occult sciences to hold ground through the years and thus the fascination still remains.
  2. I am one of the silent types and make a poor conversationalist. Over the years I have realized that the best way to hide your foolishness is by keeping mum. Thus, I have to be literally prodded to engage in everyday small talk. The upside of this is that my friends presume that whenever I do manage to find something to say in a conversation, it would be bound to be profound or meaningful!!
  3. I'm a financially naive/careless person. I have never managed (or attempted) to make money from money. I do earn well, but I rarely invest that money in money generating instruments like shares or properties. I rationalize this by assuring myself that this lack of financial savvy is due to my professed disregard and antipathy of the capitalist system (emphasizing capital's role over everything else) as the best possible system one could have. I also end up paying more taxes than could have been legally saved using tax-incentive schemes and rationalize this as doing my bit to help the underprivileged.
  4. I like to take calculated risks. I like to explore the latent abilities that I either fear to possess or reasonably hope to develop; and to optimally balance my tangential interests and activities with a core moolah generating activity, so as to not end up with a feeling of missed opportunities or a wasted life/talent. Some might say that this is just a propensity towards listlessness and a misguided sense of heroism arising from starting life all over again, but that doesn’t deter me from trying my hands on something new and failing once more!!
  5. I am the studious, non-athletic sort of person. I rarely work out and am too lazy/unmotivated to even go for a regular morning walk. Despite an acute realization of the tremendous ill-effect my lack of physical exertion may have on my physical well being, I somehow never manage to place the body over mind. All the free time is either spent in mental wanderings and pursuits, in passive entertainment or in playing with my eight month old kid - only the last providing some physical activity.
  6. I like to think of myself as a spiritual person (whatever that means). I concur with Voltaire that if god does not exist, he has to be created. I strongly believe in evolution, but also believe in a higher purpose to life than mere survival, reproduction or increasing inclusive fitness. I believe Morality evolves, Choice evolves and as humans we have evolved to a stage where we have to take responsibility for ourselves as well as others. In this sense, I agree most strongly with the existential school of thought whereby we are responsible for giving essence (or meaning) to our existence. Here too, I am mostly spiritual in the analytical sense and like to focus on right actions as opposed to other experiential forms of enhancing spirituality like meditation or mindfulness.
  7. I am fascinated by movies, literature, mythology, art, music and the myriad ways in which the memes/ archetypes originate, replicate and survive in popular culture and the collective unconscious. I prefer aesthetic over utilitarian concerns and believe in the make-believe power of fabricated reality to take care of many of the pressing utilitarian needs. To provide meaning to a person, in some cases, may be more important, than providing food.
  8. I believe in the power of the ordinary, rather than the spectacle of the extraordinary. A culture that needs heroes is a potentially sick culture. A culture that doesn’t have room for those lagging behind, either due to differential abilities or circumstances, is a sick culture. A kind word or gesture, a caring in relationships, a sharing of resources (however limited) and a touching of someone else's life for betterment- all everyday acts one can easily indulge in- are equally, if not more, important than say making a once-in-lifetime dramatic new technological or scientific innovation that may be put to good use. One's goodness must reflect in everyday acts and the culture such that it values these everyday acts of heroism and goodness by the ordinary people.
  9. I sometimes lie, mostly passively, by not volunteering adverse information about myself. I am not someone who values absolutely or is adamant about the absoluteness of Truth. I believe in creating a fabricated reality if that serves a good purpose. I prefer to lie as infrequently as possible, but as I am a creative writer and have often managed to create decent poetry or prose by generously mixing (autobiographical) fact with fiction, I don't mind putting a spin on presented information, or selectively presenting information that I want. (This does not apply to my scientific blogging - I do try to be objective and truthful there). So, take the above revelations about myself with a pinch of salt!!

Tagging 6 people is the most difficult part. I'm not sure how many of them are going to respond (as my blogosphere consists entirely of psychologists who do not generally blog about personal stuff), but let me try.

I tag the Neurophilosopher, Shelley at the Retrospectacle, Chris at Developing Intelligence, Jake at Pure Pedantry, The Neurocritic and Mary at The Thinking Meat.

Anyone else from the readers, is welcome to get tagged and do leave your URL back in the comments so that the tagging can be traced!

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Archana Bahuguna said...

I am excited to see that you finally tagged. hope navratras went great for all of you ..wishes from me.

I have quickly browsed thru ur tag, but have an exam on friday so I am going to comment only after that!


Archana Bahuguna said...

Interesting :-) I really like and believe in the 6 n 8 things you've written about ... Pt 8 is a profound thought :-).

Take care ... and kuchh personal bhi likh diya karo ... Tumhare Psychology ke blogs hum tuchh praniyon ke upar se jaate hain ...:-) just kidding ..hope u guys are doing great, must b havin' fun with ur son :-) keep writing, I like the fact that you have that strong a passion (or whatever you want to call it) for pscychology!

(ps: sorry couldnt comment earlier, had a maddening week)

Sandy G said...

Archana, I am sure you came out with flying colors in the Friday exam. Thanks for commenting and I am glad that we concur on the broader philosophies of life - viz, definitions of goodness and right conduct and what it means to be spiritual. The only real point of disagreement I see is on the 9th point - as I know you are a big fan of Gandhi and consequently would place the utmost emphasis on truth!

I'm sure you would be able to follow my psychology posts easily, but for that you have to read them first!! Do tell me if you would like to see some basic primers on some psychological topics of your interest, and I would try to post some easy-to-read stuff on them.

Archana Bahuguna said...

I think I am just as much a fan of truth as you are. In fact, your comment has already given me enough food for thought that most likely the next or the next to next blog will be around that. :-)

About psychology, seriously, so many neurons and brain and all their interactions and all that ... It really really goes above my head. Or maybe, I am not interested in that side of psychology like how brain works etc. Perhaps, I am more interested in psychology from an intuitive or meditative perspective, learning it through experience of every day life or meditating. But I 'll try :-).