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The Best time of your life: - a psychological perspective.

All people, regardless of any distinction, have at least one period in their liv
es, which they deem the 'happiest'. We all hear the statements - "My schooldays
were the happiest time of my life", "My youthful days were the best" etc. We als
o hear several nostalgic statements like "those were the days", "you don't get w
hat you used to get now-a-days" and so forth. We shall delve a bit deeper into w
hat causes people say these words, and their inclinations when they make such st
atements.
When we observe a pattern in people becoming nostalgic and make the above statem
ents, we all see and agree that the 'time' they refer their best days are almost
always their childhood, and/or their early youth. We seldom hear people attribu
te 'happy days' during their mid-age, old-age, and later youth. This phenomenon
is universal. Regardless of whether the person had had a happy or sad childhood,
regardless of a person having money or not having money during the 'happpy time
s', regardless of the place and environment the person was raised, and regardles
s of the time the person lived in, we almost always find that he/she had experie
nced the 'joy of life' during their childhood/early youth. This is a very intere
sting observation: Finding the cause for such behavior may help us to know the c
ause of their happiness, and possibly reinstate that happiness they 'saw' once a
nd are not seeing it presently.
All people 'perceive' the world with a combination of knowledge and experience.
A person's logic is totally based on his/her experience. And his/her knowledge a
nd experiences shape the life-pattern of the person. It is extremely difficult,
or almost impossible to think beyond the environment that shaped the person and
influenced his/her thoughts. For example, several hindu kids in India are taught
that eating meat is a 'sin'. This thought is imprinted in the mind of the perso
n always, and it influences every decision of his. On the other hand, a person b
rought up in Russia does not even know the concept of not eating meat, lest alon
e 'sin for eating meat'. So, all his decisions are based upon that factor. And t
his 'perception' changes with time and circumstances.
All through life, one recieves inputs from his/her surroundings. However, during
childhood and early youth, the person does not necessarily process these inputs
from surroundings. At this point, it becomes important to differentiate between
'instincts' and 'notions'. We are talking about 'notions' and not instincts.
An instinct is the innate behavior of the person based on his gender/age to resp
ond to a stimulus. For example, boys are more interested in outdoor games than g
irls.
A notion is a concept that a person has, and his response to stimulus according
to that concept. For example, kids raised in the houses of people who discrimina
te against certain races have that concept of racial discrimination in their min
d (which is not natural for a child).
When a person is in his childhood, or his early youth, the input received from t
he environment, is not processed by his mind/intelligence. This is the time when
the intelligence receives the input from the environment as it is, without a lo
t of pre-conceived notions. And this generally coincides with the time-frame a p
erson when he is not forming 'opinions' about what he sees and hears. One must a
lso note that a person may start processing the information he recieves from his
surroundings based on his/her maturity of mind, and not only on the age factor.
Some people start forming opinions (again, depending on environmental influence
) early in life, and some start forming opinions late in life.
Once the person starts forming 'opinions' about the inputs he gets from his surr
oundings, he starts perceiving the world differently. His ideas and viewpoints c
hange according to time and circumstances. If his notions are proved wrong by hi
s surroundings, he corrects his notions by rationalization. His friends, interes
ts, ideals and principles change. This is what we see a personality in making. T
his is the person who changes from a 'kid' to a 'teen' or a 'teen' to a 'young a
dult'. Once a person has his/her own opinions about things he has seen, his worl
d is different. When the person reaches certain age, his opinions are stabilised
. From that point, he rationalises whatever input he receives from his surroundi
ngs according to his pre-conceived notions.
When a person starts forming opinions, he invariably has dualities associated wi
th his opinions. Like if a person likes a given genre of movies, he is most cert
ain to dislike another genre of movies. If a person feels comfortable in a given
company, he is most certain to be uncomfortable in another company. This is the
result of formed opinions. At this stage of mind, there is nothing 'happy'. Eve
rything is associated with an unhappy feeling. The mind now gets confused, and i
s not able to view the world without processing the information with his preconc
eived notions. The world changes forever.
Provided one does not pass the information through the filter (opinion) of mind,
one sees no good or bad in one thing or another. For him, eating meat is not si
n, a person from another race is not bad in any way, the 'good-old' things are n
ot necessarily good, the present is not necessarily bad. Please note that having
this state of mind does not mean one should not differentiate between good and
bad, nor does it mean there is no good and bad in society. But it only requires
to carefully discriminate between the 'natural order' of the world without formi
ng opinions which disturb this natural order. It is natural for a person to have
different skin color, or to have different set of skills. So, differentiating p
eople based on skin color or for not possessing a given skillset would be a dist
urbance to this natural order. In fact, this right discrimination requires a ver
y high level of intelligence as opposed to forming opinions. Opinions are formed
when a person puts himself in the center of the universe and deems whatever ple
ases him as 'good' and whatever hurts him to be 'bad'.
However, I have observed in the society that almost always, a person without an
opinion about a given topic is told to lack a personality. Most of these opinion
s are the ones which brings upon sectarian attitude and/or divides people based
on different reasons like religion, political views/opinions etc. If we are able
to somehow 'undo' the opinions formed to view the world as it is, and not as we
want it to be, we should be able to see a very beautiful world, back to the tim
es we felt our best. Trust me, I have tried this myself, and am speaking out of
my experience.
We all agree that time is changing. Of course the time is different now than it
was fifty years ago. But that does not mean time is getting better or worse. The
re are good and bad elements during all times, and at all places. The world is s
ubject to a time/space constraint, which is impossible to break by an ordinary h
uman being. However, nature has its own ingenious ways of maintaining a pattern
over this changing time. There are good and bad elements at all time, and at all
given places. These dualities have existed before, and continue to exist, albei
t with slight variations.
I concede that reversing pre-formed opinion is a difficult task to do. It takes
huge amounts of patience and thinking, but it can be done. The old impressions o
n the mind have to be erased, and we have to avoid forming new opinions based on
personal tastes. These so-called personal tastes are the ones which bind us to
our pre-formed opinions, and block us from expanding our thoughts to what we 'th
ink' is pleasant or non-pleasant.

... TO BE CONTINUED
Please leave your comments in the comments section below whether you agree or di
sagree with me.