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Physically, all human beings have more or less similar constitution. Everybody's body and brain is made of the same matter. What is different is the thinking - the thoughts that come to everyone every moment are different. The thoughts, feelings, emotions are different - things which are not physical entities.
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Note: Website found this article appropriate to reproduce at their website in Jan 2012. It has an older version. Click here to view.)

The Hardware and Software in Humans

The computer, particularly the Central Processing Unit or CPU, is often associated with the human brain. In this article we try to explore the human brain, or more precisely the human mind, by comparing it with the computer and its components.

When you look at a computer, what you see is the monitor or the computer screen, the keyboard and the box which is called the CPU. Some of us are aware of the circuitry within consisting of the silicon chips and other electronic devices. These physical components of the computer which you can see with your eyes are called the computer hardware. What we do not see and most of us are not even aware of is the software or the computer programs which run inside to give it the real power of this miraculous device. What gives computer its 'life' is the software.

Drawing an analogy with the digital world, human beings too are made up of two basic constituents - hardware and software. Hardware is the physical matter of which our body is built, or our physical being. The software is the bundle of thoughts, emotions, feelings, and complexes. The hardware is more or less the same for everybody, but the software is different for every human being. What is different is the thinking - the thoughts that arise for everyone every moment. The thoughts, feelings and emotions are different and they depend on our background, life history and experiences. Since no two persons can have exactly the same experiences and surroundings in life, no two softwares in human beings are ever equal. It means that every human broadly has the same constitution physically, but is mentally different from the other.

The software is dependent on our past history and experience. At the same time, the thoughts that come to our mind are in turn dependent on the software. Some experiences in our childhood create some fears and complexes in our mind. As the experiences in everybody's lives are different and software decides today's thoughts, the thoughts which come to two different persons on the same stimulation or in similar situations are different. For example, if a person has inferiority complex about some particular personal attributes, a remark from another person related to that attribute will immediately react violently as it gives rise to a thought that it was an attack on his person. Whereas the same remark may not give rise to the same reaction or thoughts for another person who has no complex. The reactions of the two persons will be different because of the different thoughts. So it is the thoughts which are sparked off at the instant of a provocation or action that make the reactions different.

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Software and the Subconscious Mind

If we look at computer software or a computer program, it is a step by step set of instructions to the CPU guiding it as to what to do next. It also has a set of rules in the form of "If - Then" statements. If-Then statements are a set of rules which guide the computer what action to take if certain situation arises. (If this situation, then take this action).

As we said, we humans build our software based on our experiences. Our software too contains a set of instructions or rules guiding us based on prior experience as to how to act in certain situations. The problem is that most of these rules are written in our childhood when our logical mind has not fully developed. The software gets written in the early childhood. So most of the rules are quite illogical too. But over time, we so faithfully follow these rules that the rules get pushed under the carpet into our subconscious mind. So most of the software lies in the subconscious mind of which we are not so aware in later part of our life. Yet it is this software and the rules which drive our decisions and actions.

This software gets very deeply ingrained into the subconscious, and it is not so easy to change it. (To know more about the Subconscious Mind, read my article " What is Subconscious Mind? How Does it Impact our Behaviour?")

Software Makes all the Difference

I remember an instance narrated by my friend relating to a training programme that he had attended. The trainer asked any one such participant to come forward who thought that he or she was incapable of catching the ball. The trainer then threw the ball to the lady who had volunteered and predictably enough, she dropped the ball. The trainer then repeated the experiment with a difference. This time he asked her to watch the spin of the ball as he threw it to her, and to see whether the ball was spinning right or left. Surprisingly, the ball was in her hands as she told him which way the ball was spinning. She could now catch the ball - when she was asked to divert her thoughts and attention to see the direction of spin.

In the first instance when she was asked to catch the ball, the thoughts of her inability to catch the ball filled her mind. When she was thinking 'how will I catch the ball, will I or won't I, what will happen if I drop it?' and so on, she dropped the ball. On the other hand, when she was busy watching the spin of the ball, there were no such negative thoughts. As a result, she was in a different state of mind. And she succeeded in catching the ball.

I am sure the cricketing greats like Gavaskar and Tendulkar, or Tennis great like Roger Federer, do not think of anything while hitting a shot but only concentrate on the ball - and that makes them great players.

If one can dissociate the software from the hardware, then all humans are more or less alike and every person has almost the same potential.

Some might argue that individuals are differentiated by their genes and chromosomes. Man's ability might differ slightly by his chromosomes, but it is his software which makes him more capable or less capable, and hence different.

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Examples of How the Software Drives our Life

Other examples of how our subconscious desire drives our life into involuntary actions -

  1. A father wants his son to do very well in the exams. The son who hates his father and subconsciously wants to hurt him fails in the exam. He feels bad having failed, but subconsciously, he is happy having hurt his father. He may say that he studied hard and wanted to pass, but really, in the heart of hearts, he never wanted to pass.

  2. There are several examples of children who have ruined their lives and taken to drugs because subconsciously, they wanted to hurt their parents, take revenge for something, however illogical it may be.

  3. Desire to win sympathy as 'someone who gave love but did not get love', or 'someone who sacrificed' leads to making one's own life miserable and being mistreated by people, because although you suffer, you also win as your subconscious desire to win sympathy is fulfilled.
Often, one is driven by his subconscience and he does not know why he behaves in that manner. This leads to a considerable amount of mental fatigue. I can share my own experience. I used to sometimes think that I play so many games; I learn a new game so fast but why is it that I do not have mastery in any game? When I did some introspection, I suddenly realised why.

I always admired someone who appeared to be knowing so many sports. I too wanted to be like them. My idea of "looking good" was to be able to play a lot of games. which meant that I learnt a lot of games because that way I looked good to myself. Subconsciously, simply playing the games satisfied my main aim of looking good and there was no need to master it. My subconscious desire was only to be able to play games and never to master it, so I would never really try to be an expert. Hence it is said that we always get what we TRULY desire. The truth is that we always get what we SUBCONSCIOUSLY desire. Quite often, we do not know our subconscious desires. Trying to be what one is not gives a lot of mental fatigue whereas spontaneous actions are never tiring.

How to Change the Software Within

We often say that some people never change. Man's software cannot change as his past cannot change. But it is possible, though difficult to delink the present with the past, so that the past does not influence one's actions today. Only then can his actions change.

It is not possible to change the software, but one must try to dissociate it with his new thoughts so that it does not lead to compulsive behavior, or, in other words, it does not drive our life.

However hard one tries it is not possible to change the software (i.e., the complexes, emotions). But fortunately there is no need to try and change the software. One does not have to try to change it. All that is required is only to notice what is in the subconscience, experience it, notice what happens inside oneself and automatically it will disappear. For example, if you are in an unpleasant situation any time of the day, go back home, sit down in a relaxed mood and recreate that unpleasant situation by imagining oneself in that situation. Then observe what happens inside the body, what thoughts come to mind, what feelings and emotions are there, what sensations are there in the body. Experience the unpleasant situation fully and do not try to ward it off. This exercise, quite often, helps bring to surface certain things which are deeply ingrained into the subconscious.

One may say, what is the use of knowing what is in the sub conscience? It can help you free yourself from your compulsive behaviour driven by your subconscious mind. The subconscious mind's rules will no longer be a barrier for you. You can deprogram yourself by being aware of your subconscious rule book.

(Note: Website found this article appropriate to reproduce at their website in Jan 2012. It has an older version. Click here to view.)

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