Let us consider you and start analyzing what parts you have. What are the parts of your system?
Work: If we try to go deep into this you may be working in technology, manufacturing, service, banking, teaching, politics, studying, freelancing, accounting, spirituality etc. Now within these fields, you may be doing some particular work or multiple works. Like you may be a manager or a worker or a specialist or any combination of the above. You may be working 10 hours a week or 20 hours or 70 or so on. You may be having more depth of experience in a particular field while others may be having more width of experience (or wider point of view).
Further, some of you may be loving your work while others may not. Some may be working for their own personal reasons while others may be working selflessly for others. Definitely any one or multiple of these categories may apply to you alone.
Relationships: You may have a happy family and friends. While some of you may be alone. Relationships with each one of the people in your network may differ on the depth vs width of your relationships. Some people may be professional while some may be personally very close to you. Few of these may give you lots of satisfaction while others may make you feel uncomfortable. You may like some of the people. With some people, you may be spending the hours together in a week while for some others you may see once a year or never. While every one of your counterperson in the relationship may have some view about you.
Body: You may be very flexible as you may have a rigid body. You may be a sports athlete or you may be the opposite. You may feel very good about your body or very bad about your same body. Similarly, the parts of your body may form your entire body together.
Mind: Very few of you may have a mind which is very stable like the rock-solid ocean which is eternally happy not deterred by the waves of the ocean while most of us may have conflicting thoughts. Some of us may have negative thoughts most of the time while some may have positive. Similarly, some of us may easily control our mind while some may not.
Some of us may have a more creative mind while others may have a more logical one. Some of us may easily see the bigger picture in things while others may be more focused on details. Some may be multidisciplinary while others may be subject specific.
Habits: Some of us may be smokers while others maybe not. Some may guitar players while others maybe not. Some of us may be meditators while others maybe not. Some of us may be proficient in one language while others maybe not.
Now if you read carefully you are not any one of those.
- Most of the times you are one of them either. You are not completely one of those. To say it in another way that each choice has some of the proportions in you and sometimes you are one of those while the other times you are another one of those. The exact proportion of a feature like negative thoughts is not fixed. Though at a point in time you may consider any one of these features very important.
- you as a person has many important parts and none of those parts its important in itself.
- All these parts interact with each other to form a complete person named as you. Neither you as whole or nor these parts individually are important enough they all interact to form you as a person.
If you analyze or think about most of the things. There will be few decisions which you may have taken in life due to which you may be the person you are today. So let take your particular habit, let’s assume you are a chain smoker and how this may be affecting you as a person what you are today. Let us make another assumption that you are 25 years of age now.
Let’s imagine you took your first smoke when you were 15 years of age. Let try to imagine the process of it the first time you did smoke. After 10 cigarettes lets think the smoke of the cigarette affecting effecting parts of your various system. You smoke, it obviously affects your mind and body. Slowly it starts impacting the people around you and as while smoking you cant work it also starts affecting your work.
But this is just 10 rounds of smoking and the process has just started forming. The bubble of smoking is still not a strong habit to affect you as a person. It is just a small part of your habits. So it hardly affects your entire system of the person.
Now before you smoke every time you have a choice whether you want to or not and every time you get feedback from the process, but after lakhs of iterations of the above-shown process for 10 years your smoking bubble becomes a very important part of your system and starts affecting your entire system as a person.
At 15 years of age after first few cigarettes
At 25 years of age after many iterations of smoking
As the system is interconnected, the bubble of smoking within habits has become large enough to affect your entire system and define you as a person
Similarly, you can analyze any part of your system in detail and you will always find you have certain principles or choices which have governed you as a system of what you are. This can apply to any situations (+ve or -ve) your work, your life. You may always get small feedbacks after the event it is always your choice how you react to them.
Till now what we have seen is that
- It is the interactions of parts which are important in a system
- Further, the weak links are where we are too extreme with our habits. The middle way in choices helps as our nature is imperfect, not perfect. We need to balance various parts of the system. There is no exact number important for any one of the person.
- Proportions are important.
Before going lost in detail lets move forward with our analysis.
Now lets think you want to change yourself as a person who you are. Or your entire life you want to set a goal in life very creatively or a grand vision. You want to change what you are working on, your habits, etc.But before doing that we need to first get into the past to visualise.
Now by this time (25 years of age), we have most probably analyzed most parts of our system from our birthright. But before going forward we should never forget that we are not the only important person. Above us is nature and we probably have joined a or cycle of nature. (For more details please read Do trees and life have something in common?) We have been only born from 25 years but we have millions of years of history behind us. In order to increase the width of our horizon, we should plan to read history.
Now as we know nature moves in cycles. We are not sure before the event that which part of the cycle we are on if we do not dig in deep for each part of the system we want to improve. Like if you want to change the industry in which you want to work it is better to study the history of the industry to know where you are on the horizon. Now where you are will matter on the longevity of history you read. Your starting point of the below-mentioned graph will depend on the point from which you start reading history.
After reading history, remember this history rhymes but does not repeat exactly hence your decisions every time will be more important. History widens your horizons.
Whether future will be better or worse matters on how the environment will support us and further cycles of nature are longer than the environment. How long the history you should study will matter to you and is a subjective question. Obviously, you need to balance the depth and width of study and it matters what you should study in how much depth. The answers to these subjective question will come later.
Back to Microscopic
Now from your creativity and knowledge, let’s think you have set a future goal (25 years ahead, currently 25 years) for your own self. A larger goal to change yourself as a person. This is your higher level view.
It would be a blunder if we stop thinking here. We need to think second order or third order way. If you want ABC in future as a person what effect it will have on the parts of your system as a person. Do you have those parts or you need to build those parts? This can be called logical analysis (Probabilistic).
Now, in order to get to that goal, you need to visualize how the parts will interact together to form a complete system which is you. Like in the smoking example the process was formed after multiple iterations among parts. Then with each feedback, you get from the iteration you need to improve or adjust as per your final goal. The more iterations you will do the stronger the bubbles will become to form your new person. It is better if you visualize how the bubble will become big.
The Wise Man
Now you can analyze multiple scenarios like this but the final decision will always be on you. (Decision making is more important than being right or wrong)
Now, how you take that final decision whether on intuition or gut? Further, luck (Macroscopic, nature) will play a role to take you ahead. Finally when all the parts of the system (microscopic and macroscopic) interact you may get your goal. Then time to find another goal.
Once you enter the final phase of your life, you may give this knowledge to someone else, as you may remember that the world will keep on functioning when you die (Macroscopic viewpoint).
If you clearly read the article from beginning to end, this applies to almost all aspects of life, nature, work, etc. It may be happing subconsciously we may not recognize it. If you have carefully read till now some points come to question, we always have choices in life:
- Like what is macroscopic for one may be microscopic for the other. For example, for the government of India, a single individual is a very small part of the system. For you alone, you are very important part of the system.
- Further, we need to make choices as for when to listen to gut (instinct) or be creative and when be logical.
- When to be irrational and when to be rational.
- Every time our context is very different.
The proportion of any part of the system is important. How far that proportion should go that is your choice.
Most problems in life come when people take one concept to the extreme, like spending 10 hours in the gym every day to just build your muscles it may be good but it will impact other parts of your system. Similarly, workaholics who even in their family time are thinking about work. This will impact your entire system. Like meditation is excellent for mental health but doing meditation for the entire day and not practicing what you have learned can be dangerous. It does not solve our problems though it gives us a steady mind to make the right choices in life. This does not mean we can’t fail or cant be wrong.
The middle way or balance is better. Now, definition (context) of the middle for every person is different and that is good. Like what do you consider as extreme will be different from what I do.
I think there is a fictitious character The Wise Man, who knows when to use rationality and when not to. Deciding this is the job of a wise man. How much to have width vs how much to have depth is the job of Wise Man. As all of us may have different circumstances or different context, this wise man may support us every-time. In short, the wise man has a steady mind knows when to use art and when to use logic. He is mind is steady and ready to face the waves of the ocean.