People answer in different ways if we ask them, “What is the most likable thing about social media?” Knowledge acquisition, new information, friendship, pastime, etc. are some of the answers that will come onto the table. Though I, too, like these things of social media platforms, the most I liked is something else. WhatsApp, one of the most popular social media, gives many options like delete, share, archive, unarchive, see to who all messages got delivered and who all had seen the message, and so on. All these options have a prerequisite to be fulfilled before they can be executed, and that is one has to select the post on which any of these options needed to be acted. Yes, the feature of selection is the most important thing I like about social media. I can share, delete, archive in order to escape the frequency of incoming messages, even ignore messages by not opening it and so on by using the feature of selection.
Selection is an unavoidable element in life, which we do knowingly or unknowingly. There are many interesting factors about and around the phenomenon called selection. Selection is the manifestation of a thought process that decides how man responds in a given situation Hence, it is an expression of man’s power to choose — the culmination of a churning process that evaluates the utility value of different alternatives and choose one, accordingly. The churning process is necessitated by either situational compulsions or suo motu inclinations though both are not mutually exclusive. How does this churning process work? In other words, how do we select or make a choice?. A straight answer is through our thoughts – thinking that decides priorities.
Countless wise souls who lived before us gave an invaluable maxim: “Man is what he thinks.” Nothing but this universal truth is responsible for whatever ultimately happens in our life. Every event that happens in our life may not necessarily look like an output of our thought process, but if we dive deep down and look at the event, revelation will come that it was a direct or indirect consequence of our thinking. Now, the big question: what forms the basis of man’s thinking? A man can think about something with direct or indirect or no knowledge about it or with a combination of them. To a large extend, man thinks based on his ‘learning’ — either as an extension of that learning or as a total departure from that learning. Inventions, for example, are the fruits of the latter kind of thinking. A man behaves — selects to conduct himself in a particular fashion — based on his thinking which is largely dictated by his learning. So we are now at a coordinate that says selection, the power of choosing, is based on thinking which is mainly fueled by what all that man had learnt from his life.
I remember my management classes where I learnt the relation among perception presumption and assumption. Man tends to learn through his perceptions which can be influenced by his preconceived notions called assumptions as well as by presumptions. Assumptions influencing learning is dangerous because, unlike presumptions, assumptions are guesses based on past events or can have no connection to any past event, with no realistic underpinning to a particular situation on hand. Conversely, assumptions can be based on earlier perceptions, meaning each feeding the other. How to extricate one’s perceptions out of the assumptions in order to reach to the reality is at the center of learning. By and large, man can not escape the bane of assumptions without deliberate effort to obliterate them. Another scenario is that what if the perceptions, which can form the bases of assumptions, itself were wrong and away from reality?
On the other hand, presumptions have elements of realistic value drawn from the task on hand. Presumptions are conclusions based on evidences gifted to a mind capable of critical thinking. Every task or a situation on which man has to make a choice has unseen roots of knowledge branching out, and these roots reveal the fruits or their absence on the tree that is the task. The seeing and reading of these roots is presumption. And, how does man presume? There is no silver bullet to do it but a thought process that filters out assumptions and subjectivity by using intelligence.
Learning is complex as much as a concept as its practical leanings, for learning is multidimensional as well as progressive, meaning there is more than one way to understand anything about life and that learning is a gradual process, built brick-over-brick — with each brick further strengthening the learning or altogether demolishing the very learning itself in order to give way to a new learning. There is not a single man who has driver’s license to drive the vehicle of life, rather he is perpetually on a ‘learner’s license,’ learning everyday a lesson or two to choose the best from among the alternatives.