Saturday, October 20, 2018

The Science Of Addiction

Addiction is commonly associated with substance abuse such as alcohol, tobacco and drugs. National Institute on Drug Abuse has listed different reasons (as below) for why people take drugs.

To feel good: Feeling of pleasure, “high”

To feel better: To relieve stress

To do better: Improve performance

Curiosity

Peer pressure

Not just drugs, some behaviors too can be categorized as addictive. Addiction to video games is one such addictive behavior. Mounting evidence shows that the effects of video games simulate those of drugs of substance abuse and that video game addictions also alter the brain neurochemistry unlike the previously held belief that a person addicted to games lacked willpower.

The limbic system of the brain also known as the “brain reward system” is the part involved in addiction. When activated it releases neurochemicals such as dopamine, “the feel good” neurotransmitter.

Unlike activities like food, drinking, reading, music, which produce the optimum levels of dopamine, addictive substances or behaviors can release up to 10 times more dopamine leading to the “high” associated with use of drugs.Recurring activation of the “reward system” due to repeated use of addictive drugs leads to addiction.

“Dopamine surges in the reward circuit cause the reinforcement of pleasurable but unhealthy activities, leading people to repeat the behavior again and again. Over time, the brain adjusts to the excess dopamine, which reduces the high that theperson feels compared to the high they felt when first taking the drug—an effect known as tolerance. Theymight take more of the drug, trying to achieve the same dopamine high” (National Institute on Drug Abuse).

Recent studies also implicate serotonin, besides dopamine, in the development of addiction. Serotonin is responsible for feelings of well-being and contentment. Low serotonin levels can also increase the risk of drug addiction.

A study from the Victoria University of Wellington showed that serotonin levels during initial drug use affect the chances of a person becoming drug dependent. Higher the serotonin levels, lesser are the chances of somebody becoming addicted. The study suggests that “once drug use escalates and becomes frequent, the anti-addiction effect of serotonin is decreased. Another brain chemical, dopamine, seems to be the critical determinant of drug addiction during this phase”.

Drugs that modify dopamine affect motivation, motor functioning, sense of pleasure and important events a person experiences. While, drugs that affect serotonin affect the ways how a person learns, remembers, sleeps and feels emotions.

A person addicted to gaming can spend anywhere between 10 and 14 hours a day playing. Most of these people have some underlying social and psychological conditions as well. They are either suppressed, depressed, need appreciation or need compliments.

Addiction may worsen an underlying mental disorder or trigger a mental disorder such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), anxiety, depression etc. Such persons are more at risk of addictions.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has now included video game addictions as “Internet Gaming Disorder” in its latest revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). It described the addiction as a ‘pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behavior’ that becomes so extensive it ‘takes precedence over other life interests’.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

#Metoo-A psychological triumph by women against their worst fears!

As we are seeing in the last few days, more and more men in powerful positions find themselves suddenly out of a job because of the brave women who’ve come forward to share their traumatic experiences in public, it’s very easy to forget how serious the problem sexual assault is today. Many men (and even some women) simply brush off such accusations or behaviors with trite but insulting excuses, such as, “Boys will be boys.”
What Is Sexual Assault?
Sexual assault is a serious and devastating violent criminal behavior. It leaves a permanent traumatic scar on the victim which no amount of time can heal or lets the victim forget the event. It is time our culture and society stop making excuses for these dishonorable (mostly male) criminals.
Sexual assault (and its twin, sexual abuse) is not about the act of sex to the abuser.
Rather it is about the power differential between the abuser and the victim. Most of these crimes are committed by men toward women, and most people know their abuser. Sexual assault usually refers to the behavior when it is of short-duration or infrequent, but for the victim of such crimes, such distinctions don’t matter much.
Sexual assault in India as we see the cases popping out is sadly common.
One in five women has reported being raped at one point in their lives (and one in 71 men). On college campuses, that number rises to one in four women (and one in seven men). Over 92 percent of the time, it is either by their intimate partner, or by an acquaintance. About 91 percent of victims of rape and sexual assault and rape are women, while nine percent are men.

Sexual violence is even more common.
Sexual abuse can take many forms, but it always includes a component of unwanted sexual activity forced on the victim. That activity can, and most often does, involve direct contact with the victim, but may also be forcing the victim to watch the perpetrator engage in a sexual activity on their own, or inappropriately show their genitals. Perpetrators of sexual abuse think nothing of making threats to get what they want, using force, or taking advantage of a victim’s role (such as an employee).
Perpetrators of sexual abuse take pleasure in inflicting their will onto the victim, as well as the victim’s powerlessness. Some sexual abusers use alcohol or drugs to ensure a compliant, intoxicated victim. Using drugs and alcohol seems to reduce the likelihood of the victim reporting the crime to the police, as the victim will often blame herself or himself for taking the drugs or alcohol (although the administration of drugs is often non-consensual).
Many powerful, prominent men who engage in sexual assault believe they are owed the right to both verbally harass and sexually abuse whomever they want, whenever they want. They believe their position of power — whether it comes through wealth, family background, work role, politics, or corporate leadership — negates ordinary cultural and societal norms. “I’m owed this, and you can’t do anything about it — who would believe you over me?” is a common refrain for these men.
Why Some men sexually abuse women?
There are many excuses and motives to why the perpetrators commit such crimes. According to the case study done by Jaydip Sarkar of Institute of Mental Health of Singapore, the perpetrators rationalize their actions by stating that the other party was triggering the perpetrator to display molesting behavior. Sarkar states that upon evaluation of the rape offenders, they used the five theories to rationalize their past behaviors, which Sarkar refers to them as cognitive distortion:
1.     Women are unknowable: Rapists believe that women are fundamentally different from me and, therefore, cannot be understood. Encounters with women will, therefore, be adversarial and women will be deceptive about what they really want. An example of such a Cognitive Distortion might be ”…she is dressed in hot pants and her cleavage is visible. This means she wants sex and it is okay for me to have sex with her” when she says “no” she actually wants to turn me on further.” (Sarkar 2013)
2.     Women are sex objects: The Cognitive Distortion is that women are constantly receptive to men's sexual needs but are not necessarily always conscious of this. Their body language is more important than what they say and women cannot be hurt by sexual activity unless they are physically harmed, that is being beaten or punched. An example of this might be ”…when she looks furtively at me when I make lewd comments, she is actually interested in me. So when she says “no” she is actually playing with me to turn me on further. (Sarkar 2013)
3.     Male sex drive is uncontrollable: Men's sexual energies can build up to dangerous levels if women do not provide them with sexual opportunities and once they are aroused it is difficult not to progress to orgasm. In India, with its culture-bound syndromes of “male sexual weakness” or dhat syndrome, one manifestation of such a Cognitive Distortion might be “… I am going to become weak if my “dhat” (semen) flows out (premature ejaculation while molesting or sexually harassing a woman) and a woman does not offer herself to me.” (Sarkar 2013)
4.     Entitlement: Men's needs, which include sexual needs, should be met on demand by women. In a nation like India with major gender-based inequalities, such Cognitive Distortions of male entitlement, especially if the victim is from lower status for whatever reason (socioeconomics, caste, etc.) can lead to marital rape (recommended to be considered a crime in the Verma Commission report). (Sarkar 2013)
5.     Dangerous world: The world is a hostile and threatening place and people need to be on their guard, but there is no safe haven. An example is “…. I have been wronged in many ways, and so it is not wrong for me to do wrong to others." (Sarkar 2013)
Trauma inflicted Can Be Lifelong, Relentless
Criminal sexual assault behavior by a perpetrator onto their victim usually results in the victim dealing with the aftermath of the trauma throughout their life. 81 percent of women (and 35 percent of men) will suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, major depressive disorder, or some other disorder due to the assault.
“Survivors of sexual assault appear to be at substantially increased risk for suicidal ideation and attempts; indeed, relative to other conditions, sexual assault was associated with the highest increases in risk for suicidality” (Dworkin et al., 2017). These same researchers, in a comprehensive analysis of the sexual assault research literature, also found that victims are at increased risk for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and bipolar disorder.
Perpetrators rarely think of, much less care, about the impact of their behavior on their victim. When they do think about it, it is almost always in the context of believing the victim only has themselves to blame for putting themselves into a situation with the perpetrator.
Psychotherapy can often help a victim of sexual assault.
The healing process is usually lengthy, as many victims blame themselves (as society too often does as well) for somehow helping to bring on the sexual assault. Nobody would ever want such a thing to happen to their best friend, much less themselves, but this kind of cognitive distortion is common among victims. Time also helps to heal the pain caused by sexual assault, but in most people, time is usually not enough on its own.
Why don’t most sexual assault victims report the crime to the police?
Because victims often feel like they are victimized a second time by having to go through the details of the incident (often more than once) with law enforcement officers. Most of these folks are well-meaning, but not all of them are properly trained on how to handle sexual assault reports, and how to do so in a compassionate and empathetic manner.
Nearly every such law enforcement contact will include questions that suggest the victim might be partially to blame, such as, “What were you wearing at the time of the assault?” and “Did you have anything to drink?”

What is the Society’s Role in Perpetrating Sexual Assault?
Society needs to stop re-victimizing the victims of sexual assault (“What were you wearing?” “Did you drink too much?” “Did you resist?” “Are you sure he knew you didn’t want to?”) and focus its efforts on teaching perpetrators of this crime that people’s boundaries and rights must be respected at all times.
Lack of consent during sexual activity is not consent.
Just because a person is in a position of power over another person doesn’t give them the right to act out their violent behaviors. Society and family members need to stop making excuses for perpetrators behaving badly (“Oh, that’s just locker-room talk” or “They were only 18, what do they know?”), and start enforcing the idea that honor and respect carry far more weight and value. Women are not there to be subjugated or victimized.
Get Help & Helping Others
If you’re a perpetrator of sexual assault, you need to get help immediately. This dysfunctional behavior has likely caused significant harm to one or more people in your life — harm that will likely never go away completely for them. There are many psychologists and other therapists who specialize in helping perpetrators of sexual assault. Reaching out to one today is a proactive sign of strength.
If someone shares with you that they’ve been a victim of a sexual assault, please listen to them without judgment. Be an active listener and offer them unreserved emotional support. Help them figure out what kind of assistance they want and need, and then, if they need it, offer to help them with accessing those resources. Do not ask questions about the assault unless they indicate that they’d like to talk about it. Encourage them to get help — but don’t nag them or suggest there’s only one “right” way to react to the assault.

Remember that, if you’re a victim, help is available. And if you’re a victim of sexual assault, please know that it is not your fault. Professionals and your friends will believe you, even if your own family or certain people in your life don’t.
Please, reach out and get help today.
References
1.     Dworkin, ER, Menon, SV, Bystrynski, J, Allen, NE. (2017). Sexual assault victimization and psychopathology: A review and meta-analysis. Clinical Psychology Review, 56, 65-81.
2.     Davis, KC, Neilson, EC, Wegner, R, Danube, CL. (2018). The intersection of men’s sexual violence perpetration and sexual risk behavior: A literature review. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 40, 83-90.
4.      Malamuth, N. M., & Brown, L. M. (1994). Sexually aggressive men's perceptions of women's communications: Testing three explanations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 67(4), 699-712. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.67.4.699
5.      Sarkar, J. (2013). Mental health assessment of rape offenders. Indian Journal of Psychiatry55(3), 235–243. http://doi.org/10.4103/0019-5545.117137




Thursday, October 11, 2018

Unhappy People: The Things They Do to us and How to Deal with Them

We have all had come across an unhappy individual at some point in our lives who have stung us with their negative thoughts. Sometimes it simply creates havoc in our lives. Unsatisfied people are drawn to the sensible ones and I am sure every one of us has likely had (or have) at least one irritating person in our lives who have forced us into changing ourselves in endless attempts to please them – only to realize that it is an endless circle.
What makes them so toxic? Their past experiences, their judgmental attitude, their negative approach or simply their sadist nature. It is seen that most of these people are suffering from some psychological disorder which is undiagnosed and we are trying to understand them. It becomes all the more important to identify these individual so we can deal with them more maturely and not get driven into self-guilt.
Their strengths lie in their subtlety and the way they can make you believe so cunningly for every fault, ‘It’s not them, it’s me.’ They can make you question your ‘over-reactiveness’, your ‘oversensitivity’, your ‘tendency to misinterpret’. If in a relationship you’re the one who’s continually hurt or the one who is constantly changing your own behavior to avoid being hurt, then the probabilities are more than the problem is not you and it is not much you can do except not get drawn into the toxicities.
Like I said being able to pick up their harmful behavior is the first step to blunting their impact. You may not be able to change what they do, but you can surely change what you do with it, deal with that unhappy sulking individual and stop them from ruining away your mental peace and get away with it.
There are a number of things these people do to manipulate others and situations to their advantage. Here are 12 of them. Knowing them will alert you to avoid falling under the influence:
1.      They will love to keep you in a fix about what they really are.
They’ll be nice one day and the next day you’ll be actually guessing what you’ve done to upset them. Most of the time, there wouldn’t be anything obvious that could explain the change of attitude – you will get the gut feeling that something isn’t right. They might be irritable, unhappy, cold or cranky and when you ask them, if there’s something wrong, the answer will always be ‘nothing’ – but they’ll hint you just enough to make you realize that there’s something. The ‘just enough’ might either be a heaving sigh, a raised eyebrow, a cold shoulder. The moment this happens, you will find yourself making excuses for them or doing everything you can to please them. See why it works for them?
Stop trying to make them happy. Unhappy people have figured out a long time ago that most people will go out of their ways to keep the people, they care about happy. If your repeated attempts to please aren’t working or aren’t lasting for very long, maybe it’s time to stop. Leave it for a while and come back when the mood has shifted. You are not responsible for anybody else’s feelings. If you have unknowingly hurt someone, ask them, talk about it and if required, apologize. Under any circumstances, you shouldn’t have to guess and be gullible to this traumatizing experience.

    They’ll make you prove yourself to them.
They’ll regularly put you in a position where you have to choose between them and something else – and you’ll always feel obliged to choose them. At times just out of sympathy. Unhappy people will wait until you have committed, then they’ll unfold the drama.  ‘If you really cared about me you’d skip your exercise class and spend time with me.’  The problem with this is that enough will never be enough. Few things are fatal – unless it’s life or death, chances are it can wait.

 They love to manipulate.
If you have felt as though you’re the only one contributing to the relationship, you’re probably right. Unhappy people have a way of sending out the vibe/the signals that you owe them something. They also have strange ways to manipulate that you are responsible and you need to change even if the fault lies in them. This is very common in workplaces or relationships where the balance of power is an ever-changing phenomenon.. ‘I’ve left those reports for you’. I thought you’d appreciate the gesture and make use of the opportunity to learn your way around making the report. Remember it is a favor and I had to learn the hard way’ Or, ‘I’m having a get to gather tonight. Why don’t you bring dinner? For 10 people. It’ll give you an opportunity to show of favor cooking skills and make new contacts?’
Remember! You don’t owe anybody anything. If it doesn’t feel like a favor to you, then probably it’s not. 

They will never own their feelings.
Instead of owning up and speaking up about their own feelings, they’ll act as though the feelings are yours. It’s called dumping, as in dumping their feelings and thoughts onto you. For instance, someone who is irritated but won’t take responsibility for it might accuse you of being irritated with them. It might be as subtle as, ‘Are you okay with me around or Am I irritating you?’ or a bit more specific, ‘Why are you irritated me,’ or, ‘You’ve been in a foul mood all day.’
You’ll find yourself justifying and defending and often this will go around in circles – because it’s not about you. Bring clarity to your mind. What’s yours and what’s theirs. When you start feeling that you’re defending yourself too many times against lame accusations or questions that don’t fit, you might be being dumped on to.
Remember, You don’t have to explain, justify or defend yourself or deal with a misfired accusation.
They hate to and will never apologize. 
They’ll lie before they ever apologize, so there’s no point arguing. They’ll twist the story, change the way it happened and reframe it so convincingly that they’ll believe their own version.
People don’t have to apologize to be proven wrong. And you don’t need an apology to move forward. Just let go and move forward – without them. Never surrender your truth but don’t keep the argument going. There’s just no point. Some people want to be right more than they want to be happy and you have better things to do than to provide fodder for the right-fighters.
They’ll be there in a crisis but they’ll never ever share your joy.
They’ll find reasons your good news isn’t great news. The classics: About a promotion – ‘The money isn’t that great for the amount of hard work you’ll be doing.’ About a holiday at the beach – ‘Well it’s going to be very hot. Are you sure you want to go?’ About being made the best worker– ‘Well the Company is just trying to please you and I’m pretty sure they will exploit you.’ Get the idea? Don’t let them dampen your spirit or shrink you down to their size. You don’t need their approval anyway – or anyone else’s for that matter.
 They’ll leave a conversation unfinished – and then they’ll go offline or simply disappear.
They won’t pick up your call. They won’t answer texts or emails. And in between rounds of their voicemail message, you might find yourself playing the conversation or argument over and over in your head, guessing about the status of the relationship, wondering what you’ve done to upset them, or whether they’re dead, alive or just ignoring you – which can sometimes all feel the same.
Remember People who care about you won’t let you go on feeling rubbish without attempting to sort it out. That doesn’t mean you’ll sort it out of course, but at least they’ll try. Take it as a sign of their investment in the relationship if they leave you ‘out there’ for lengthy sessions.
8. They’ll use sweet words with a toxic tone.
The message might be innocent enough but the tone conveys so much more. Something like, ‘What did you do today?’ can mean different things depending on the way it’s said. It could mean anything from ‘So I bet you did nothing – as usual,’ to ‘I’m sure your day was better than mine. Mine was awful. Just awful. And you didn’t even notice enough to ask.’ When you question the tone, they’ll come back with, ‘All I said was what did you do today,’ which is true, kind of, not really.
They’ll bring unnecessary details into a conversation.
When you’re trying to resolve something important to you, unhappy people will bring in irrelevant detail from five arguments ago. The problem with this is that before you know it, you’re arguing about something you did six months ago, still defending yourself, rather than dealing with the issue at hand. Somehow, it just always seems to end up about what you’ve done to them. 
 They’ll point out the way you’re talking, rather than what you’re talking about.
You might be trying to resolve an issue or get clarification and before you know it, the conversation/ argument has moved away from the issue that was important to you and on to the manner in which you talked about it – whether there is any issue with your manner or not. You’ll find yourself defending your tone, your gestures, your choice of words or the way you belly moves when you breathe – it doesn’t even need to make sense. Meanwhile, your initial need is well gone on the pile of unfinished conversations that seems to grow bigger by the day.

Unhappy people exaggerate.
‘You always …’ ‘you never …’ It’s hard to defend yourself against this form of manipulation. Toxic people have a way of drawing on the one time you didn’t or the one time you did as evidence of your shortcomings. Don’t buy into the argument. You won’t win. And you don’t need to.
Unhappy people are judgemental.
We all get it wrong sometimes but unhappy people will make sure you know about it. They’ll judge you and take a swipe at your self-esteem suggesting that you’re inferior because you erred. We’re all allowed to get it wrong at many occasions in our day to day life, but until we’ve done something that harms them or affects them nobody has the right to stand in judgment.
Knowing the favorite signs for unhappy people will sharpen your radar, making the manipulations easier to spot and easier to name. More importantly, if you know the characteristic signs of the individual, you’ll have a better chance of catching yourself before you tie yourself in double knots trying to please them.
You need to lock it in your mind, some people can’t be pleased and they won’t be good for you – and many times that will have nothing to do with you. You can always say no to unnecessary craziness. Believe in yourself . Be confident and own up your mess, your bluffs and the things that make you shine. You don’t need anyone’s certificate but remember if someone is working hard to manipulate, it’s because probably because they need your approval. You don’t always have to give it but if you do, don’t let the cost be too high and get driven into it. If you are the unhappy dude, it’s time to realize these things don’t get you anywhere. They simply make yours and others life miserable. Happiness increase with sharing and so does unhappiness


Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Automation Of Thoughts in the World of Machines

We are evolving by every minute and the last decade has seen mind-blowing leap in technology, much beyond our imagination and will continue to do so.  

One of the reasons behind the newer inventions of our today’s world is algorithms. We can almost feel their presence—that somewhere far away, we’re interacting with a machine. Many users (approx. 60 percent), according to the best research, are completely unaware of its existence. But does it really matter to them? The answer is no. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have so many people glued to mobile phones.

Going deep into the effects of algorithm and the space it occupies in our lives today, try to imagine one of those earliest computers with its nervously blinking lights and long rows of dials. To tweak the algorithm, the engineers turn the knob, as they  continuously try to make small adjustments, here and there, so that the machine performs to their satisfaction. However, there was always something lacking.
But how do the engineers of today know which dial to twist and how much without actually being present all the time? There’s a whole discipline created in today’s world which was unheard when I was a kid, data science, to guide the writing and revision of algorithms. This makes a few individuals control the behavior and experience of thousands of people.
Although, we’re in the earliest days of this revolution, of course. But we can see where it’s heading.

Imagine, algorithms replicating the process of creativity, then there will be hardly any reason to nurture human creativity. Why would the next generation bother with the tortuous, inefficient process of writing or painting, if a machine can create something seemingly as good and in a painless flash?

The result being, we are having fewer people in manufacturing plants and warehouses now, even though their capacities and production rates are rising.
 Again in the near future, we will have lesser and lesser drivers on the road as “cars and trucks begin to drive themselves”.
And believe it or not, we will have lesser and lesser last mile delivery jobs as drones start to do them more efficiently and cheaply.
This has been a ‘hot potato’ in the news in the last couple of years as more and more people are worried and threatened at the thought that in a couple of decades, many jobs will be overtaken by machine, leaving 3/4th of the world’s population with no meaningful way to earn a living. Some call it “Artificial Intelligence
But there is another angle and a deeper impact of the above automations which we are missing.
Should we bother about the automation of machines? Does it have any effect on our thought process?
I have already explained the empty space created in the brain from solving arithmetic problems to decision making which is being taken over by the machines. This has created more scope for automaton of thought which instead of utilizing the human brain's uniqueness and creativity goes into automation of thoughts.
Let me give you an example.
When I was a child, I would go to the library and look among hundreds of books to pick one that I would read for the day. But now, the moment I’m done reading one, I already have a recommendation (which is pretty good by the way) for what I ought to read next. This happens with books I read, the music I listen to, the clothes I buy, the  plays and movies I watch, the dates I go on, the food I order, the restaurants I visit,  the places I travel to, etc.
Since the early days of my life, I always had an excellent memory (probably still do). I would remember and recollect friend’s birthdays and phone numbers. I used to remember a lot of the things like the stories I read and could easily quote from books I read. Now most of them are automated and I do not need to trouble my mind anymore. All I need is an Internet connection.
When I was a kid, I used to be really good with arithmetic calculations (probably still am). I could multiply big numbers in a matter of seconds and could solve difficult math problems without writing down a thing. Now, all that has been automated and I don’t need it anymore. All I need is a computing device.
What jobs are best suited for us, who should be our friends, what food we should eat, whom we should date, what we should do on weekends, are all served up to us as recommendations by effective and highly sophisticated engines?
The result being, a lot of our thoughts and our choices have been automated. Well, you might be thinking you are still in control as to which of the recommendations you click on and watch. Think again!
A lot of analysis has gone into deciding what choices are presented in what contexts and what positions, so that you are most likely to pick them.
In that sense, you still make a choice, because the algorithms are personalized to cater to your tastes. But that choice is now automated.
The engineering mindset has little patience for the manic obsession of words and images, for the mystique of art, for morality and emotional intelligence. This kind of mindset only views humans as data, components of systems, abstractions. With this kind of cold-blooded thinking, so divorced from the uniqueness and mystery of human life, it’s easy to understand for anyone ,how long-standing values  have suddenly begun to seem like an annoyance—why a term  like privacy carries so little weight in the engineer’s dictionary, why  publishing and journalism seem so imminently disruptive  and biased.
So, one thing is absolutely clear that algorithms are meant to erode free will, to alleviate mankind of the burden of choosing, to push them to think in a particular direction. Algorithms bring in the creator a sense of omnipotence, the condescending belief that our behavior can be altered, without our even being aware of the hand guiding us, in a superior direction. That was always the danger of the engineering mindset, as it moves beyond its roots in building inanimate stuff and begins to design a more perfect social world. We are only the screws and bolts in the grand design.
In the coming time, free will and choice will be more and more a theoretical concept.

Our thoughts, choices and consequently our decisions progressively being automated, a few questions need to be addressed as we plunge in this automated world blindly.
1.   Why is the brain so gullible to these automations?
2.   Are these automations a new phenomenon of the last few decades or they existed?
3.   Does our mind have a natural bias to these automations and hence are sitting ducks to these newer algorithms?
Let us try to understand more about automations of thoughts.



Automation is defined as the technique, method, or system of operating or controlling a process by highly automatic means, as by electronic devices, reducing human intervention to a minimum.
To simplify it further it is the method of making a machine, a process, or a system work without being directly controlled by a person.
The drive to provide increased levels of control of electro-mechanical systems, and with it, a corresponding distancing of the human from direct system control has grown out of the belief that automated systems provide superior reliability, improved performance and reduced costs for the performance of many functions.

Similarly, we have the universe and nature around us, working in automation. Let me try to explain this in detail. The planets revolve around the sun and the satellites (the moon revolves around the earth in automation). Although it is not absolute because there are instances where the balance between them changes, what we know as variations in the gravitational force causing storms and cyclones.
 In physics, Gravitational force and the electromagnetic quantum dynamics are two principles to explain why the organism and the universe move in automation.

But the majority of the time, the universe tends to move in automation. Similarly, the life cycles of organisms on planet earth move in automation. Nobody can deny the fact that we are born, then we get young, turn old and finally die. These are the facts which we have to live with every single day of our life. The heart beats every single moment, the breath and the various organs like the liver makes bile or the kidneys making urine, they all move in automation without any voluntary control.

But there are instances when this automation is momentarily disturbed, which changes the balance. So as in an infectious disease or neoplasms or any other disease once the automation is broken, it rewires and starts moving into other automation, only this time it destroys the body rather than being in harmony. We call this a parasitic relationship rather than symbiotic. When we intervene with treatment in the form of medicines or therapy, we break this automation and try to get the body back to harmony or homeostasis.
The fact that the universe and all its beings are moving in automation is now well established. There are subtle moments which change this automation to make them move into new automation. For example comets or meteors changing the path.


Similarly, our brain and its pathways tend to automate. This has resulted in us making those micro and macro changes in the brain when we learn to ride a bicycle or a motorbike. Initially, when we learn to ride a bicycle we all have had fallen off balance at some moment. Once we have learned and the brain pathways have become autonomous, we do not necessarily get off balance easily and fall off the bicycle. Even when we are talking to someone while riding we are able to maintain the balance. But during our learning, we need to have maximum awareness and focus on the task, be it learning how to read and write or riding a bicycle. It can be learning how to communicate or the social interactions in early childhood. Our awareness is at its maximum. But once the learning is done, the brain and its pathway set the same task into automation.

Since the ancient history of mankind, reacting to a stressful situation or managing difficult emotions are some of the things has always been understated and not given its due importance. But today in this fast-paced world, managing thoughts and emotions has become one of the most essential skills. Multinational companies are on a lookout for such employees having high emotional quotient who can challenge this automation.

In many cases, automation has provided the desired benefits and has extended system functionality well beyond existing human capabilities. Along with these benefits, however, a certain price has been extracted.

In 1989, a US Air B-737 failed to take-off at New York’s LaGuardia Airport, landing in the nearby river (National Transportation Safety Board, 1990). The precipitating cause was an accidental disarming of the autothrottle. Neither the captain nor the first officer monitored the critical flight parameters in order to detect and correct the problem, thus the take-off was not aborted in a timely manner, resulting in the loss of the aircraft and two passengers.

In 1983, a Korean Airlines flight was shot down over the (then) USSR with no survivors. The aircraft was interpreted as hostile when it traveled into Soviet airspace without authorization or radio contact.

In each of these cases, the human operators overseeing the automated systems were unaware of the critical features of the systems they were operating. They were unaware of the state of the automated system and were unaware of the aircraft parameters the automation was responsible for.
The more we are aware of these automations, the more we will realize the horrendous effects of the technology on our minds.
 I am not anti-technology by any chance and strongly believe that embracing these advances are a must for a better future. But I also believe that these automations of thoughts are one of the primary reasons behind mental health diseases and are less highlighted in the day to day life. Too much dependence on technology lead to increase automations in our thinking resulting in being driven into a lonely world of machines which can never replace the social need of the human brain.

As we embrace the newer technologies we also need to embrace the old age methods of mindfulness, cultivate empathy and emotional intelligence which seems to be the most prudent solution to the automations created.
References: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/241260715_AUTOMATION_AND_SITUATION_AWARENESS_THE_ACCIDENT_AT_CALI_COLUMBIA

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