Of what we share and we choose not to share.

When we start talking to someone, we really don’t know what will transpire between us as the time marches forward. This is so straightforward, but we fail to grasp it. It is so simple, what happens when two people decide to tell eachother what it means to be themselves.

Granted, the choice to make your vulnerabilities so obvious is a very important decision. Exposing yourself like that is not easy. Especially when the vagaries of life have had you. Broken relationships, trust issues and an uneasy truce that you have made with your own inner demons. More often, the mistakes you make are not your own creation. They are the work of an intricate mess that you have no control over. You like to think that your destiny is your own creation. But it isn’t. Every single thought you have had, every single experience you have exposed yourself to; every single path you have threaded in this dreaded game that is life, everything contributes to the chaotic mess that is your persona. I have always had this impulse to imagine personality as a biological reality. But sure it has a lot of extra-somatic features that you cannot define by the elements of your own biological system alone.

Let me elaborate.

I have once written that love is nothing but time. Everything else that is in possession of a (hu)man could be shared. The wealth, the material possessions, everything could be shared with more than one person. But how can you share your time with more than one? When I decide to speak with you, you are the only one who will consume the entire bandwidth that I have reserved for communication. This is one reason why I am a lousy texter. When I text, a hundred thousand different things flow through my mind. The philosophies that determine my interaction, my previous experiences, and the general attitude that I harbour towards people like ‘you’. Now, this ‘people like you’, is no simple affair. How dare I generalise your idiosyncrasies with people you have no connection with? Is it an okay thing to do?

Maybe not. But then, such abstractions help me understand who you are. How can I claim to know a person, when they are the complex creations of an intricate mess. I have been writing about this intricate mess again and again. But what is it? Without defining it concretely, it isn’t possible to take this conversation forward.

This intricate mess is the reality that we surround ourselves with. It is not just a collection of rules by which we interact with our own self and others. It is also the system that creates the aforementioned rules. It is easy to make sense of the rules by which people interact with each other, But it is not easy to see where these rules come from. How I respond to a certain kind of Music is easy to see. But it isn’t easy at all to see why I have formed these ‘rules’ in the first place. This complex of my rules and the system that creates these rules is what I call the intricate mess. There is a reason why this intricate mess is not in single quotes. It is the product of a long standing process of self creation and self processing. It would be inaccurate to say that I have no control over the structure of systems that determine my interaction with the world and other people. Indeed, I can control them. But then, I cannot just re-write the rules as I please. The only feasible method to change this intricate mess is through trial and error.

You see, I have had a hard time trying to properly understand myself. All I can do is to reduce myself to a passive observer and try to make sense of why I act in a particular manner. If it doesn’t make sense, I have to come close to my mind’s decision making systems, observe it and make inferences. If these inferences are not so straightforward, I will have to break it down and study the inner mechanisms. If you ask me what this intricate mess is, it is the result of these studies. That’s all I could say about it now.

So, this intricate mess is my mind’s effort to form an abstraction that will help me accurately predict the way my mind will react to a particular situation, But there is a contradiction you see. If this intricate mess is a chaotic entity, how could I ‘accurately’ predict its behaviour?

And that is the most important point here. If we look at the history of science, it began with trying to accurately model and predict the behaviour of complex, chaotic systems. It is only after many failures that we realise how these systems have an in-built affinity towards chaos. The prime reason behind the failure of early scientific theories is this inability to factor in the true nature of chaos. So if psychology ever has a chance at a unified theory, it would be the one that could integrate the theory of chaos into its fold. But that is a discussion for another day. Here, we are trying to decipher the rules that govern the working of human interaction with others and the inanimate objects that surround them.

If you look close enough, you would discover where this thought comes from. It arises from a soul who has utterly failed to understand himself. He has tried everything at his disposal to understand why he behaves the way he does. Such reductionist theories as childhood traumas and ensuing determinism fails to depict his life’s realities accurately. He has tried a lot. Once. It was an furtive attempt to read up the entire scientific literature pertaining to psychology, other was to read the saga of 1001 Arabian nights to see how the human conception of mind has evolved over centuries. Taken, they all helped him understand a few bits, and they did make him richer in a cultural sense. But they were all inadequate to give him the kind of answers he always desired. Even when he could reliably articulate the make-up of this intricate mess, he has struggled to reduce it to first principles, which is one reason why intricate mess may never make it to the theory books.

But that’s okay. It has helped him explain what he felt when he saw Ananya for the first time from a distance. It also made sense when he tried to interpret the meaning of kissing Tara for the first time only after hours they met. How he has hidden the most important parts of his life from the people who were supposed to be close to him; and the sudden revelation of his life’s trajectory to people who were practically strangers. Only the theory of intricate mess could put all these together. And it was no accident. After all, the theory of intricate mess was created to explain all these situations.

Intricate mess is the cloud that envelops the decision making apparatus of the mind, It mellows down the pungent realities, as much as it protects the gears of an ornate elaboration of the mind’s machinery. That the mind is a deterministic machine is not an idea that a lot of people will be prepared to fathom. The small dials of every little cog in the mind’s apparatus has a function ascribed to it. Unfortunately, they aren’t straight forward one to one relationships. Neither a they onto functions, that makes a kind of inversion possible. Please pay attention as we sail through this paragraph. It may sound a bit heavy in jargon, but that is beside the point. What we are trying to do here is to put together a language of mind that will help us understand why the human mind behaves the way it does.

It is a well accepted dictum that the heart wants what it wants. But what are the biological systems that make such an action possible? Could we ever be able to make sense of this without resorting to the complex psychological dictums that are hard to prove and are replicable. These are the questions that the model/theorem of intricate mess seeks to prove.

And given the nature of the subject, the treatment that we adopt here will scarcely make sense at the beginning. If you have cared to read this much, you know how the prose has made little changes in your minds, even when they aren’t significant. This agony of not knowing enough is the hallmark of our times. Again, that is a discussion that is better taken later.

If this write-up has failed to do one thing, that would be to make sense of a concept that is so simple. But then, it also symbolises the effort of a people to understand and mark themselves in ways that are much more remarkable.

That being said, let me wrap up this article that makes no sense at all. But it does speak to souls that are stuck between smashing the breakfast cread and fastening a seatbelt even at sub twenty kmph speeds over an icy highway. We will keep that for another day. For now, it is only important to speak your heart out to the important person you have found for yourself.

Good night.


(Do let me know what you feel now, it is important. This fact finding mission will be incomplete without all that)

Written on December 24, 2021