Thursday, May 04, 2006

Lost in Translation

Director: Sofia Coppola

One interesting thing in the movie is about the communication between the Japenese director ane the leading actor. It seems that the director talks a lots to the leading actor. However, the interpreter just repeats the same simplest "gist" for the actor - more passion - again and again. Though the leading actor doesn't know actully what should be done, he still has to complete his performance. Such situation makes me think about my everyday experiences now.

Living abroad, I lose lots of implications of information around me. Translation in my brain is so fragmental. Yet I still have to react to what others talk to me, and have to make decision based on those information. I am so curious that whether I perceive is what it should be. But anyway, you can't think to much and have to view what you perceive as the truth of the world ... Until someday, you may find you are totally wrong... and what others think about you is also far from what you are...Ha

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

A book about the brain

Some thoughs derived from reading the book "The New Brain: How The Modern Age Is Rewriting Your Mind"

1. It is a little terrified to know that it is today’s media and technology such as TV carrying visual messages varying from minutes to minutes that result in more and more population of ADHD/ADD. By Darwin’s survival of the fittest, I wonder whether the evolution of our brain can catch up with the speed of continuously increasing technologies around us. We have been worried since industrial revolution that one day we may no longer survive on the earth because of our damage to the nature. However now, I am also thinking about whether finally we might kick ourselves out of the survival because of the artificial environment built and persistently “improved” by ourselves.

2. It is interesting to know that an expert has to counteract the natural impulse to gain automated performance as soon as possible when learning and training themselves. The expert definitely does lots of practice. Yet rather than just repeat the same thing again and aging, he does deliberate exercises to adjust each aspect to improve the whole performance. I think this is a powerful discovery because it provides the methodology for people who want to master with something. We might not become an expert or genius, but we definitely can use the strategies to effectively improve ourselves.

3. I think that the discovery that some violent or anti-social behaviors may result from the defective genotypes will impact our moral and lawful considerations for each person, especially criminals in the future. It is clearer than ever that those who have deficiency need helps rather than punishment. One the other hand, we now also have evidence that frequent exposure to graphic scenes of violence will change human brain in harmful ways which may result in the reproduction of violent behaviors. This finding also implies that punishment to people with violent tendency is meaningless. To decrease social violent events and crimes, rather than give punishment or committal, we should focus more on preventing people, especially children from exposure to violence, and we also have to keep in mind that some people might be suffering from the inborn deficiency.

4. The Indian master Osho suggests people to laugh more often for healthier lives – not only laugh when we hear funny things but just consciously move our muscles around the mouth to “laugh”. Osho’s comment is quite reasonable if we consider the so-called “pleasure pathway” mentioned in the book - laughing will result in our brain’s activating the “pleasure pathway,” which give us an inner sense of well-being. As for the exercise of conscious laugh which is controlled by us, I think it also highly possible works because the “happy patterns” stored in our brain must connect with all of our related emotions and behaviors so that the behavior itself could be able to activate the happy patterns, too.

5. New discoveries about the brain have provides us with whole new insights into our behaviors, thinking and feelings. I think this twenty-first century scientific revolution is a little different from the previous scientific revolutions in western history. Before, people were challenged by scientists such as Copernicus and Darwin mainly because those scientific discoveries conflicted with common belief in God. However, nowadays what confuses people may not be the belief in God but the belief in people ourselves. We have known that our daily behaviors are not so dominated by our consciousness as we thought before. This uncertainty really surprises and probability scares us. Will the discoveries push us into introspecting ourselves and being more humble for what we have done and more considerable about what we are going to do?