State Machine of the Self

Man is an enigma.

For all his assured poise in regard to the external world, his position when it comes to questions on himself is shaky at best. Am not talking about the fundamental questions of existence, this is something more immediate, the who we are now, how we came to be thus and what control, if at all, do we have on what we become.

I have been thinking about certain traits of myself, not undesirable in themselves, but the absence of which would be highly desirable. I questioned myself in a series of introspective sessions thus, ‘where does this start?’. I did not use any rational technique to do this. I used the free-association way of letting the mind loose, but set the goal up-front, to see what raw data it brought up. What an experience! And I know for sure I have barely scratched the surface here.

The details of what came up are not relevant, at least to this post, but what I found amazing was this – we seem to be a very complex state-machine, fed by an enormous number of signals that determine what subsequent states we attain. Capable of multiple parallel fuzzy states of activation, we seem a massive soft machine of infinite complexity and possibility.

Every gesture has the timeless past for its ancestors. This immense legacy endows to every act the sanctity of a ritual. But this history is a burden too – It shackles our future to the past, which in some cases we would rather not have gone through. Living in the mire has endowed us with some of its characteristics.

Numerous questions come up in the light of this thought – By how much do hereditary factors control our initial state? What impact does the environment have on the signals that influence our transitions? Is our initial state only determined by hereditary factors, or is there a yet deeper past of the individual, one that goes beyond this specific manifestation of his soul? Is every state of being open to attainment from any given state? Is eternal damnation a reality?

I have no answers to any of these. Of course I could parrot the thoughts and opinions from my religious or spiritual system but that is not the option I would take. Now is not the time for talk. Knowledge does not reveal its true riches unless paid for by experience. Every release will have to be earned. The Infinite Maker, it seems, is an exacting accountant.

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