Bergson, Duration, and Metaphysics

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    • The concept of duration is interesting .Duration occurs as part of space-time in contrast to time which is open-ended.Time .as we understand in normal parlance is space-time but one can always envisage a Time without being tied up to space-a type of time which has relationship with a physical space.The interesting thing about this concept is the flowing time,the time that has no relationship with a specific space or an occurence. For example there is the concept of Indian time which does not recognise precise time but just an approximation to time.I have never thought there was already a concept of "Indian Time"-not Indian time as we understand it in India-but the way it is understood among the native American Indians -a concept of free flowing time .In India we joke about it when we do not adhere to punctuality in appointments ,which is a very common thing in our country.
    • post by adukuri

Kurt Vonnegut’s Uncle Alex

Kurt Vonnegut

“…his principal complaint about other human beings was that they so seldom noticed it when they were happy. So when we were drinking lemonade under an apple tree in the summer, say, and talking lazily about this and that, almost buzzing like honeybees, Uncle Alex would suddenly interrupt the agreeable blather to exclaim, ”If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.”

This is what I keep telling my wife and son.When there is something going on nice,why not be conscious of it and verbalize the awareness .It is by being articulate about the good things of life happening to you that you experience the goodness of the thing.An obvious thing I see then is a plain simple reaction : what could be so good as to warrant appreciation ? Was it lots of riches or miracle solutions to life’s problems that have remained intractable all these years ? Miracles do not happen except the small little ones like everything is going on fine when something wrong is in the air or there is a gentle breeze which touches the skin unexpectedly or even a simple thing is the wondrous mix of different hues of filtered light in your drawing room on a summer afternoon.

The gentle nudge

Edge

“In the past three decades, psychologists and behavioural economists have learnt that people’s choices can be dramatically affected by subtle features of social situations. For example, inertia turns out to be a powerful force. If people’s magazine subscriptions are automatically renewed, they renew a lot more than if they have to send in a renewal form. Moreover, people are influenced by how problems are framed. If told that salami is “90 per cent fat-free” they are far more likely to buy salami than if they are told it is “10 per cent fat”.

Social norms matter a lot. If people think others are recycling, or paying their taxes, they are far more likely to recycle and to pay their taxes. The important message is that small details can induce large changes in behaviour.”

Our Bank has taken years to realise that people do not present themselves at the Bank on the due date of the maturity of the term deposit receipt.It is much much later they turn up and ask usually for its renewal with back date and in just 10% of cases only either they do not turn up at all or when they turn up they ask to cancel the deposit .It takes a lot of research to understand a thing like this which essentially bureaucratic institutions do not undertake in the context of constantly changing personnel .Consequently reading behavioural patterns in the depositors is just not done in the normal course and the remedial action such as what our bank has taken i.e.automatic renewals for a similar period as the earlier one with an implied assumption that the depositor will renew the deposit goes by default.

The gentle nudge thing is another practical phenomenon actually seen in daily life.In the way the forms are structured the preferences of people can be easily moulded along a predesigned path leading to the achievement of a desired goal.

The individualist and the collective mentality

Edge

“The world can be divided in many ways — rich and poor, democratic and authoritarian — but one of the most striking is the divide between the societies with an individualist mentality and the ones with a collectivist mentality.

This is a divide that goes deeper than economics into the way people perceive the world. If you show an American an image of a fish tank, the American will usually describe the biggest fish in the tank and what it is doing. If you ask a Chinese person to describe a fish tank, the Chinese will usually describe the context in which the fish swim.

These sorts of experiments have been done over and over again, and the results reveal the same underlying pattern. Americans usually see individuals; Chinese and other Asians see contexts.

When the psychologist Richard Nisbett showed Americans individual pictures of a chicken, a cow and hay and asked the subjects to pick out the two that go together, the Americans would usually pick out the chicken and the cow. They’re both animals. Most Asian people, on the other hand, would pick out the cow and the hay, since cows depend on hay. Americans are more likely to see categories. Asians are more likely to see relationships. …”

Although this conclusion is quite dramatic and leads us to the suspicion that it can be facile,it certainly needs looking into for its accuracy of observation.May be, there is something in it.If you extend it further, can we say that Asians lump things together in their world vision while the Americans and probably all the Westerners look at the individual unit as itself ,without relating it to its class or its environment.Can we extend it further and say that the importance of the family is felt more by the Asian than by the Westerner and hence marriage as an institution has lasted longer in the Asian countries than in the West ?