Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Carrying the girl...

Tanzan and Ekido, two monks, were once traveling together down a muddy road. A heavy rain was falling.
Coming around a bend, they met a lovely girl in a silk kimono and sash, unable to cross a large mud puddle stretching across the road.
"Come on, girl," said Tanzan at once. Lifting her in his arms, he carried her over the mud.

Ekido did not speak again until that night when they reached a lodging temple, then he no longer could restrain himself. "We monks don't go near females", he told Tanzan, "especially not young, lovely ones. It is dangerous. Why did you do that?"

"I left the girl there", said Tanzan. "Are you still carrying her?"

This one is a beautiful koan and is one of my favorites.

We carry a lot of useless baggage in our mind which more often than not, makes our life less gleeful. It is better to drop off at the right time that what is unwanted. Continuous anxiety, fear, stress, worry or for that matter any negative thought is not good.

Here is the same stuff from above, put somewhat scientifically(from whatever little i know). Thoughts can trigger neurochemicals. Thus thinking can directly influence the health of the brain. Continuous anxiety and stress produced from thinking can disturb the feedback system in the brain which controls our responses to stress and emotions. This is not good.

The moral is - one should not carry the girl for too long...

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Anonymous said...

On a simple machine like a PC, memory deletion is quite straightforward. But what about deletion of the contents of the human memory ? Do you believe we can choose what not to remember("carry") consciously ?

Pranav said...

Interesting question! AFAIK, I don't think we can do that. I assume you are considering forgetting something by the use of sheer will-power, and not by the use of any amnesia inducing chemicals at the right time. Of course, we can always choose not to memorize new things by ignoring them. Also, in general, stronger emotions produce long lasting memories. So, if you could keep emotions away you can exercise some control over whether you will be able to remember that event after long time. This does not apply for already formed memories though.
May be, 50 yrs down the line, we'll have some ways of erasing and inserting memories...