There are stories that in certain offices of Amazon, the hire and fire process is automated. Alexa- hire, Alexa- fire! Seemingly, logical codes are defined to measure the inputs and outputs of a person and decide if it is economically viable to do continued partnering with the employee. Not sure how much of this is true. Closer to home, my friend was interviewed and was speaking on automation. He cautioned that it is the future and while it is necessary in several arenas, world must ensure that humans are monitoring the automation and must be capable or alert enough to intervene when necessary.
As he was speaking on the subject and was cautioning, I thought to myself automation is nothing new to humankind. We have been automating most of the thoughts in our mind. Indeed most, or almost all our day to day thought processing is on automatic mode. Pre-written programs of the mind ensure responses to various events that occur daily in our life. Programs are written by years and even centuries of mind conditioning. That is why a human being typically fails to realize that what he considers as the exercising of human choice may not be a decision “by choice” but a decision made based on predefined programs that’s set in the mind.
Let me explain with an example – the choice of eating or not eating an ice-cream “now” after looking at the ice-cream advertisement at a time when you are hungry may be determined by past programs that define ice-cream to be a delicious eatable capable of emitting joyous feelings of taste enjoyment or a more updated program added by the modern world vision that suggests eating ice-cream is detrimental to personal health of an adult and may cause serious repercussions in the future.
For individuals where the previous program is not cleaned up completely, both programs run simultaneously causing conflict. Thus, within the same person 2 conflicting programs that were written to automate responses co-exist. Humans have a clear need to intervene and decide which program should exist and which program should be deleted permanently. This is the “choice” that humans possess yet most humans fail to realize this and instead choose based on whatever program wins for that day in the conflict war. This is what a realized person defines as human “reaction” rather than human “response”. The conflict will thus run in this “reactive” person several times in his lifetime until he completely cleans up one of the program. The conflict does not arise for a person who has only one program running – single program that defines ice-cream to be either “a source of enjoyment” or “a source of future pain”. Automation here is perfectly tuned for that person and thoughts flow uninterrupted.
Ice-cream was a simple example in human thought chain. Imagine multiple such examples running into million thoughts that also exist in conflict with newer programs that come with modern existence. Human “choice” becomes very very important and relevant. The choice is in deciding what program should be completely eradicated for a clear uninterrupted flow of thoughts. As humanity progresses and nature evolves, erstwhile programs that deemed certain objects to be source of joy is replaced with programs that define the same object with being source of pain. For eg: centuries ago, killing of wild animals (by kings) were approved as it offered security to human existence, however in modern era, where animals are getting extinct by the day and human security from wild animals is high, such programs that promote wild animal killings are redundant and needs complete cleansing from the system. Yet for several individuals such programs still exist and the newer programs just usher conflict.
Mindfulness in human being then refers to capability of an individual to assess what program is running your automated response with reference to any present object and in determining if conflicting programs are co-existing. Once each human becomes aware of the co-existence of another conflicting program, it is this very quality of “mindfulness” that helps a human tune in to a higher mind (and thus identify a more superior program that may not necessarily always be one of the two conflicting program) to choose properly. Tuning to a higher mind refers to actively scanning all the past programs written diligently and finding a program that is more universal in nature. This is a very time-consuming and difficult activity that many “mindful” humans (beginners) also choose to skip. It is an advance level of mindfulness.
Simple “Mindfulness” helps us identify the two choices available to us clearly. A superior or higher mindfulness allows us to read the source program thoroughly and identify the universal choice that makes the choosing irrelevant. The higher mindfulness makes us realize or understand that pain and pleasure is nature of world that we observe and exist in. What is pain to us may represent pleasure to someone else who for purpose of simplification, we now label as “others”. With realization, one understands that the sum total of pain and pleasure in the universe will always be in balance and thus zero. In the name of harmony, one must bear pain without qualms just as one enjoys pleasure without qualms. If one single individual or like-minded group chooses only pleasure always over pain, the “others” side is bound to feel more pain so that the sum total of equation always remains as zero. But the continued increase in pain to the “others” brings resistance and uprising that leads them to one day muster forces to reverse fortunes thus causing pain to the side that was indulging in self-pleasure at the cost of “others” group. It is a cycle then!
Both pleasure and pain emotions during the mind’s automation program run are clues for becoming mindful and identifying manual intervention need. While conflicts represent the pain emotion where intervention is needed for removing conflict, happy emotions are equally troublesome. These cause drags in the automation program run. This is unwitting human intervention seeking multiple rerun of the same sub-program that bring pleasure feelings. For example: an individual may get attached to brief attention shown by a boy/girl who brings happiness feeling to that individual but refuse to accept that the same boy/girl is now showering the attention elsewhere. Due to this, the individual refuses to move forward seeking to rekindle the boy/girl’s interest and vie for his/her attention on a continued basis without accepting the new reality. Here mindfulness is needed to disengage from human tendency for running the same sub-program (of seeking someone’s attention) repeatedly and allowing other following programs to continue without any interference.
Automation of external world activities is the future and is becoming a reality (like Alexa). But, repeated instances of stray failures in automation world is bound to exist and get visible now and then. This is because humans are prone to laziness or boredom with automation in place. Owing to laziness, they lose their alertness that help them identify older dormant programs that are left uninstalled and that become active the moment relevant situation arise. These old programs then work in conflict with the newer program that has been installed thus creating a situation for manual intervention (called mindfulness in world of thoughts). During other-times owing to boredom, humans may sometimes choose multiple reruns of specific sub-program repeatedly without even being aware of it. This in-turn can lead on to a larger unforeseen problem just like the drag one finds in the inner world of mind.
Finally speaking, automation lays bare the human tendency for boredom and laziness and thus drop in human alertness. And nowhere else is this quality more consistently visible than the mirror of looking at one’s own mind working. So -are you driving or are you being driven?? Where are you heading towards?? Let’s question ourselves- Can we be increasingly more mindful everyday??