Change and control

The more I realize that I have no control, the more I want to work just for the heck of it. Why not? My head is clearer now. I have acquired this clarity by not being burdened by the anxiety over what-ifs. There is nothing to lose now. Just do and be happy. This clarity then brings a keen sense of observation. A power to observe how what you say or what you show sets off a change in another person. It is a very strange feeling to actually be able to observe the stream of sounds coming from around you and realize that the sounds and visuals have the power to change people profoundly. Sometimes this change is for the better. Other times it is for the worse. In either case, they affect change for sure. Just look at yourself. When someone praises you, you feel very good. When someone says bad things about you, you feel like starting a fight with the person. In truth, praise or curse, both are just the sounds that are used to express the thoughts the persons has about you. It is merely about your image in their mind. Those expressions bring joy or sadness if you don’t know yourself. As soon as you start knowing yourself, they either will sound meaningless or expose something about you for which you will feel profoundly grateful.

Audio and visuals can be transmitted long distance easily and instantaneously in the modern world. As a consequence we see an abundance of media around us – tv, billboard, radio, movies, computer, phone and so on. When we look closely at this, we find that we usually have very little control over the content we are being exposed to. Since so much has now been known about how our mind works, there are people, let’s say Xs, who try to use these media to affect changes in our behavior potentially to their advantage. This has been very successful because we usually think very little about the people behind the media. Interestingly though, when we flip this situation on its head and start becoming aware of ourselves and of the media that are being streamed into us, the media in turn will provide a glimpse into the minds of the people who are trying to brand us. Once this happens, we no longer remain just the consumer of the media rather we will now have some say on meaning the media is trying to convey. Ultimately Xs are also impacted by whey they hear, see, feel, touch, think and interact with in their own lives and media is a result of the belief system they have developed. Once we start interpreting the media in a unintended fashion, they will then have to take our interpretation into account. That means, even if they try to use audio-visual media as a one-way street to affect some change in us, as soon as we become aware of that motivation and start interpreting it differently, the media becomes a two-way street. The awareness brings a certain level control and we stop being easily manipulable. Xs now have to change themselves.

But let’s step back from all of this and ask the ultimate question: what is the meaning of all this? Or is there any meaning to it at all? Everything is changing so fast that it is very hard to find any meaning even if there is any. When you find a meaning in something, that thing is gone the next moment. Then what!? What happens to the meaning that you found? It is the ‘Anitya’ that Buddhism and Hinduism talk about. When everything changes, what is the truth?

You drive to office in the morning, come back in the evening and go to sleep. Cycle continues the next day. It feels like nothing changed from yesterday to today. But look closely. Among all the mundane events, big changes are happening. You grew one-day older from yesterday. Your kids also grew and now have one more day of experience that means they are slightly more intelligent and wiser. You probably also read something new, saw someone new on the road, faced some new challenges at the work, or even thought a new thought. Someone might have sent you an email with something interesting. After reading that email, you might have said: “That is very interesting.” Or you might have had a fight with your spouse, which in turn may end up resulting in something great in the future. In reality, it is very hard to keep track of things that happen as they all seem inconsequential and we simply lump them all together by saying “yesterday was uneventful.” But no matter what we say, big changes are constantly happening around us. Most of those changes are outside anyone’s control.

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