Saturday, April 18, 2009

A really wierd experiment by me.

Yesterday evening I set out from office to go to 'Relax' - the regular meeting place where we school pals meet every other weekend or two. It was around 8pm and there was quite some traffic on the road. At a signal on the way (name unimportant :)) I reached the crossing just as the light turned red.

        I was already dead slow and had almost stopped. Then I observed the middle-aged policewoman who was standing in the chowk to my right side at a distance of around 10-15 feet. Looking at the expressions on the face and her overall posture, I had a hunch that she would not be interested in stopping me(or anyone else for that matter) even if I went right through the red light. So, just to verify my (rather nonsensical) hunch I decided to jump the red signal, right under the nose of the police! It was an absolutely crazy idea, but for some unknown reason I was ready to risk a 100 buck fine to test it. So, I put my bike into first gear and slowly passed by her! Under normal circumstances, I would have been surely and easily caught, but yesterday it did not go the normal way. I missed the racing traffic from other directions by just a few feet. The couple of seconds it took me to cross the chowk seemed like a minute or so!(more on this phenomenon sometime later).
        I could feel the same kind of stress one feels when breaking one's principle or copying in an exam or while stealing some thing after making sure that nobody is looking(just a guess, haven't done it myself :)). But the big difference here was - there was stress but, there was no fear! Since, I was prepared beforehand to shell out the fine if the trial failed I could 'savour' (for lack of a better word :( ) the stress as i slowly drove past. It was a very different experience, worth writing on the blog!
        The important question that remains is - was my intuition that the policewoman wouldn't bother, an informed one or a pure stroke of luck ? I don't know the answer. One thing is sure though, I had never thought of or planned doing it before this time, it was a decision made in a split second. If I assume that, it was an informed decision then, can i define the decisive parameters employed in analzying the police's expressions ? No, I can't. And that's why I referred it to as a 'hunch' and 'intuition'. The only logic which can somewhat explain the phenomenon is to accept that, there is more to the brain than meets the consciousness! In other words, our brain does a *lot* of processing internally which we are not consciously aware of. Some of that 'invisible' processing is used to produce results which we call hunches or intuitions. After all, intuitions have to be a result of some orderly processing our brain does on non-random input. Intuitions definitely cannot be created from random input and random processing on it inside the brain.
        The hallmark of an 'experiment' is - acute control on your input variables; which, unfortunately, I entirely lack here. So, from the point of view of a purist, calling this episode an 'experiment' would be wrong. But who cares ;) I ain't writing a paper, its just a blog! So 'experiment' is fine :)
        Just to be clear, through this post I'm *not* trying to put forward any hypothesis like 'guessing people' without active interaction with them is easy or that I can do it (even to the slightest extent). I feel that, yesterday's experience of mine can be more easily attributed to serendipity than anything else.
        Lastly, shame on me for breaking a traffic regulation!!

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2 comments:

Shreyas said...

Which signal did u jump?
Also, maybe, the policewoman knew u wud mention her in your blog so she let you go :)
who knows, the policewoman's brain might also be doing a lot of processing ;)
btw, nice article

Pranav said...

> Which signal did u jump?
ना.सी.फङके चौक

>who knows, the policewoman's brain might also be doing a lot of processing ;)

Yes, very much :)