Every moment of your life can be divided into two categories or two states: you are either doing something or you are doing nothing. If you are doing something, and if that something is meaningful, then your whole concentration is on doing that something. But if you are doing nothing?
One can think of the state of doing nothing as the base state of a person, or if we borrow a physics analogy, a state with lowest entropy. The lowest possible entropy state for a person to be in would be a state where he would think nothing and do nothing. Some might call this state “meditating”. From physics we know that objects tend towards a state of lowest entropy relative to their surroundings. For a normal person however, the lowest entropy state is not meditating. In-fact, it takes a lot of mental effort to be in a state where one would think nothing and do nothing. If we are to include this effort into our physical state, then we no longer are in a state of least entropy.
Hence the actual position of least entropy for a person is a state where he does nothing and keeps thinking. But again, can a person remain in this state for extended periods of time? No he can’t. After of while of thinking and doing nothing, something called “restlessness” kicks in making the person do something. At this point I ask myself. What is the point to be derived from the previous 3 paragraphs? And I have an answer for that. But before we come to that, we will have to indulge in a little philosophy.
I have this idea that we can make a movie out a persons entire life. Every moment in a persons life will be a scene in the movie. Naturally, the movie is bound to have a few interesting scenes, but for most part, the movie will consist of mundane repetitive scenes such as sleeping or eating or such else. If a persons life is a movie, the quality of the movie will obviously match the quality of the life. And if the quality of the movie has to be good, it ought to have more interesting scenes and less mundane scenes.
So we come back to the entropy thing and see how these two concepts are related and how they are related to the topic of my essay.. the thought process of a 24 year old. The state I found myself in about an hour ago was the state of doing nothing and thinking something. But being the extremely restless guy that I am, I would be pushed into a state of thinking and doing. In the transition from a state of doing nothing to a state of doing something, a question pops up.. what is the something I should start doing?
Here’s where thought process or thought patterns come in. For a 24 year old, 3 activities that take the least energy are eating, sex and sleep. These 3 are the first thing that come to our mind when we find ourselves in a state of inactivity. Now before someone says that sex takes a lot a energy, I am not talking about physical energy. I am referring to mental drive and effort. And it’s not just me who thinks this.. a little research uncovered this article which supports my theory.
If we think about food and food is nearby, we eat. When we think of sleep, we sleep. And when we think of sex and a pussy isn’t accessible, we always have our hand to do the job. Except for physically handicapped people although I don’t think sex features highly in their thoughts. So we think about these 3 the most, they take the least mental effort and they also contribute the least to the movie that is our life.
Lets quantize our life for the sake of the discussion at hand. Let’s say we life our life by the hour. If is virtually impossible for a person to think about how every hour of his life is contributing to the movie. Very few people live their life constantly relating their actions to the bigger picture. And the people who do this the most are the people who are the most successful. Conversely, the people who think the least about the bigger picture are the people whose life has no worth.
We have established that the top 3 things a 24 year old male thinks about. What can be the 4th in this list? If a person asked me what are the basic needs of a human, I would recite the 5 things we all know.. food,shelter,clothing, transportation and security. For a 24 year old however, this list may be different. Food, shelter and clothing are the basic and maybe security is too but the fifth basic human need that is more important that transportation is : Attention.
For a different age group, “love” can be used instead of “attention”, but not for us. The need for attention drives us to do crazy things and spend the 4th highest amount of time thinking and doing. In a physical world, the need for attention manifests itself in people wearing fashionable clothes, expensive jewellery, talking in an exotic way and doing things that attract attention. Different people do this to a different extend but the desire is present in everybody and no one can deny it. For those who don’t venture into the physical world, we always have facebook and twitter and blogs in the virtual world to satisfy our needs. Every status update we make, every tweet, every like and every comment is done to attract attention.. if not consciously then subconsciously.
The various acts of attracting attention take more mental and physical effort than the top three in our list… but if we think about how much they contribute to the movie that is life, then the answer is :very little.
So what really brings about those interesting scenes in the movie of life? The Desire to Improve. To be better. This desire can be fueled by promise of tangible benefits.. such as a better job or a improved set of life skills or better health or other such things. The drive to improve brings about change in a persons life. It takes the most effort physically and mentally and hence is also the most rewarding. The drive to improve can at sometimes be a manifestation of the desire for attention, or it can be to improve the quality of our basic needs. Whatever the reason, it is this desire that gives meaning to life and makes for an interesting movie. Sadly, it is also the least time a 24 year old spends thinking about.
The ideal way to live a life would be to constantly think of ways to improve oneself, one’s life and the life of those around him. Nothing else matters. Nothing else is important when we look at the bigger picture. I have spent the last 1 hour writing this piece. Have I done something to make my movie interesting? Yes. I have written something that will go on record, it is something meaningful that I can come back to after six months and learn something from. What will I do in the next 1 hour? I will go outside and eat something.. Food does feature prominently in my thoughts and I happen to be hungry right now.