Tag Archives: Psychology

Nightmares !!

A Nightmare is the terrible dream like inability to run from a dangerous situation, losing your or gadgets or a bad time in a person’s life. But it has nothing to do with Mare. Although Sigmund Freud considered as the father of modern psychology described the dreams as the awakening of the subconscious mind and fulfillment of the unfulfilled desires.

Coming to the origin of the word, it consists of two words fused together. Night and Mare. Mare is derived from middle English word  Mare which meant a “female evil spirit thought to lie upon and suffocate sleepers’. This had developed from mære in Old English – so it’s clear concerns about anything that interrupts a good night’s sleep have been around for a long time. In those olden times our understanding of the working of our brain was not good and mythology provided the explanations. Mare has been prefixed to emphasise the sleep time occurence.

Other cultures also have many words with many describing evil spirits, demons or goblin-like creatures which would ride on people’s chests while they slept, bringing on bad dreams.

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Johari window: A tool to gauge human relations

Human beings are endowed with a fantastic and most developed brain. While animals settle their scores for supremacy by physical fighting, the humans do this by mind games. It is due to this reason, we are constantly trying to know what is going on in the minds of others.

Brain is the most complex organ and marvel of God. We have understood a mere tip of the iceberg. It works on conscious and sub-conscious levels. Our thoughts which shape our personality originate, processed and stored in our brains.

We also want to be better persons adored by large number of people. We have to seek, find, and apply truth in your life. This is the path to becoming a healthy person. Aligning yourself with the truth permits a better person to eventually emerge from within.

Scientists and psychologists are trying to understand the human behavior so that its talents can be utilized better. Different models are designed to understand the interactions between human beings. For example at workplace, if the understanding between employees is good, the productivity will increase which in turn be good for all.

One of such models is called the Johari Window.  The name is derived from the inventors’ names’ Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham. The Johari Window helps you to categorize conscious and subconscious areas of your life. The window works much like a matrix with four cells. These 4 cells are the areas of your personality derived from your views of yourself and what others think about you. These results of the four operators namely

1: “what you know about yourself”,

2: “what you don’t know about yourself”,

3: “what others know about you” and finally

4: “what others do not know about you”

are placed in these four cells and the area of each cell decides what kind of personality you have and what are the areas where improvement is desired. These are like the results of logical operators which have “Yes” or “No” outcome.

Interaction of 1 & 3 is called “open area”.  This area indicates how much of your personality traits are known to you and others. Wider this area, better is your ability to be open and share the thoughts with each others.

Interaction of 1 & 4 is your “Private realm”. This is the part of your personality which you know but others are unaware of. If it becomes smaller then it is better because others shall also share their personality traits with you.

Interaction of 2 & 3 is called “blind Area” meaning you have traits which may be good or bad which you yourself are unaware of but others know about. This area can be reduced by the feed backs which you receive from others and try to adjust your personality accordingly.

Interaction of 2 and 4 is area of your personality which neither you nor others know about. This is in other words your undiscovered self.  This area is largest when a person joins a new organization. Slowly this area will be reduced with the passage of time. It goes from the obvious and more conscious areas of your life to the less obvious areas that your may not be aware of.

Their are 56 words which psychologists use to judge the personality. These are given below:

  • able
  • accepting
  • adaptable
  • bold
  • brave
  • calm
  • caring
  • cheerful
  • clever
  • complex
  • confident
  • dependable
  • dignified
  • energetic
  • extroverted
  • friendly
  • giving
  • happy
  • helpful
  • idealistic
  • independent
  • ingenious
  • intelligent
  • introverted
  • kind
  • knowledgeable
  • logical
  • loving
  • mature
  • modest
  • nervous
  • observant
  • organized
  • patient
  • powerful
  • proud
  • quiet
  • reflective
  • relaxed
  • religious
  • responsive
  • searching
  • self-assertive
  • self-conscious
  • sensible
  • sentimental
  • shy
  • silly
  • smart
  • spontaneous
  • sympathetic
  • tense
  • trustworthy
  • warm
  • wise
  • witty

The Johari Window is a very helpful internal and external communication grid (intra-psychic and interpersonal). You may find it quite useful as you journey forward into the discovery of who you are. Desired Johari’s Window

Dream of Kekule:Benzene

Continuing the subject of dreams, it is pertinent to mention that lucid dreams had helped many to make great discoveries and inventions. Since my subject is chemistry, I will touch upon one such famous dream which laid the foundation for understanding the structure and chemistry of  aromatic compounds.

As every one versed with chemistry knows, the benzene is the starting compound of aromatic compounds. Its structure was derived by Kukule’. His full name was Friedrich August Kekulé von Stradonitz.

kekule-benzene-stamp

Benzene was analyzed to have 6 carbon and 6 hydrogen atoms. Existing formula of all the organic compounds did not fit into the structure of benzene and explain its strange properties.

Kukule’ was working on this problem but could not find its solution. Totally engrossed, he fell into a sleep in front of fireplace. He has a dream of the atoms which he described in his own words as follows:

“…I was sitting writing on my textbook, but the work did not progress; my thoughts were elsewhere. I turned my chair to the fire and dozed. Again the atoms were gamboling before my eyes. This time the smaller groups kept modestly in the background. My mental eye, rendered more acute by the repeated visions of the kind, could now distinguish larger structures of manifold conformation; long rows sometimes more closely fitted together all twining and twisting in snake-like motion. But look! What was that? One of the snakes had seized hold of its own tail, and the form whirled mockingly before my eyes. As if by a flash of lightning I awoke; and this time also I spent the rest of the night in working out the consequences of the hypothesis.”

So the snake he saw holding its own tail in its mouth was the the circular structure or closed ring structure of benzene. He immediately woke up and worked out his dream on the paper and by morning he had discovered the chemical structure of benzene.

snake

From the chemical point, the formula of benzene is C6H6. Kekule proposed the following structure to explain the number of substitution compounds which have been synthesized  using this structure.

Kekule's Benzene

Still there were problems in explaining the two different compounds obtained when hydrogen atoms on adjacent carbons were substituted with two different radicals like cl, NO3, I or CxHy. This is called ortho disubstituion. That is to say that C6H4XY will form two different ortho isomers depending  on whethere substitution has taken place C-C bond or C=C bond.  But such isomers have never been found. Kekule tried to explain this by saying that single and double bonds oscillate and thus become identical. Dr.Linus Pauling later on proposed resonance phenomenon, in which there are no purely single and double bonds but something in between and thus all C-C bonds are equivalent. This has been conformed by UV analysis which shows all C-C bonds of equal strength and indistinguishable. This is like the Hindu God Shiva when He assumed ardhnarishwar or androgynous form to show that both male and female forms coexist in the body. The final outcome depends upon which of these dominate at a given time.

In the end of a lecture explaining the discovery of benzene, he said

“Let us learn to dream!”


Dreams

Punjabi poet Shiv Kumar has said “O, dream, you are a Sultan“, not for nothing. Dreams are safety vents which help us humans to fulfill and therefore  release the suppressed desires. To achieve and get what we cannot get in real material world.

Dreams recreate the world around us according to the individuals experiences and inputs obtained by the interaction with the world. There in the dream, our suppressed feelings like unrequited love for someone who is in reality out of reach, shall be realized. The dream will bring two people thousands of miles apart together within no time. No journey, no tickets, no visas, no permissions are required.

We all dream strange dreams although strange is not the appropriate word because dreams are always strange because they run counter to the social norms prevailing in our real world. We can do things which are totally a taboo in the real world. And we can get away with them. Most of the times, our dreams are like muddled water in a pond. We cannot totally reproduce or recall them when we awake. But there might be times when dreams are very lucid.

So many times, a dear person, who has departed long ago, will be there in your dreams as if he is alive. He may be discussing some problems with us. Some women, who has attracted you by her bodily charm but is not so close to you, can become very close to you in your dream.

Subconscious mind is a repository of the experiences good or bad which had happened to us. It contains our emotions. Over the time, the library becomes loaded with this data. It them needs to clean it and releases some of these stored materials to lighten the burden on subconscious mind. If we cannot keep our thoughts to us for long, we can very well imagine what happens to our subconscious mind which has the dreams as the only conduit for the release of emotions.

Dreams happen mostly during the segment of sleep called “Paradoxical Sleep” , also called Rapid Eye Movement(REM). In this stage, brain becomes active, frequency of brain waves become high and magnitude low. This is akin to twilight stage of the beginning of normal sleep in its brain activity. But there are subtle differences. The body organs become limp or numb like a dead person. Eyes move side to side during this stage. It is in this stage that dreams occur. If a person is awakened at this stage, he or she can recall the dream.

Subconscious mind is like an ocean, which acts as a dumping ground of thoughts, feelings and events happened to a person. As we age, the seams of these bits form and those which are buried at the bottom are difficult to recall immediately unless a great effort is done to recall. This effort may be in the form of a shock,  through reminisces.

But some feelings refuse to bury down. They are incapable of drowning. However hard we try to forget, they float back and resurface. Sometimes they are so strong that dominate the our thoughts day in day out.