Monday, March 19, 2012

The Science Of Deduction - Sherlock Holmes

So every now and then I watch something or someone I get addicted to and I try to mix it up with magic. From Steve Jobs to Apple products, to Derren Brown to Shah Rukh Khan to Lie To Me, The Mentalist and whole other things. These days it's none other than the unbelievably brilliant series being telecasted on BBC, Sherlock. For those of you who haven't seen it, do yourself a favor and watch it for three simple reasons. One, it has no annoying American accents. Two, it's all about observing stuff and making conclusions or "deductions", something which the whole world finds intriguing. Three, it's Sherlock for crying out loud.
There are two dialogues or sayings if you might want to call them, in the series that I really really like and which can be associated a LOT with life and what we do. Particularly for what I do.
The first, "You didn't notice because you're an idiot. Oh, don't look at me like that, nearly everyone is an idiot. The problem is that we all look, we just don't observe."
While that sentence may be unbelievably true for the only consulting detective in the world, it's unbelievably true in what we all do
There is so much we miss, day after day, we tend to ignore things around us even if they're staring at us in the face. When we talk to someone who we're close to, we notice certain things and try to figure out how they might be feeling. What we don't do is observe. How many of you have tried staring at someone till they swallow and you can see their Adam's apple move? Or just that slight gesture when we know that someone has swallowed. We notice that, but we don't know what to make of it. That is fear. Unless of course someone is eating something. That motion or gesture or movement or whatever we might want to call it, is fear. 
How many of us have seen people tap their foot while sitting in a train or in a class or anywhere, and tapping their foot non stop. We see that, but what we don't realize is that the tapping of the foot signifies impatience, or awkwardness in a social setting. Similarly the rubbing of two fingers of the same hand together or scratching one hand constantly is,s nervousness. Covering your "gonads" while talking is a classic example of hiding stuff. Bringing your hand close to your face, either to rub your nose, ear or eye is a classic example of lying. ALL of this we notice, but we do not observe, we do not know what to make of it.
And with a gulp which might signify fear on my part for making this post slightly on the longer side, I move on to the second part of the show that I liked. The dialogue being, "I have no idea how many planets there are in the solar system, because unlike the rest of the world, I don't fill my brain with stuff that isn't supposed to be there."
If any parents of kids who know me are reading, you might not like the rest of the blog for it may have, as you say, "A bad effect on your kids." You have been warned.
That dialogue made me realize how unbelievably true some of it is, not just for Sherlcok, but for all of us too. We cram our brains with weird maths problems, chemical formulae which we'll never ever use unless we end up making bombs with the Al Qaeda and we also have our plate full with weird historical dates only for our exams.
If we didn't have exams, we never ever need to remember things which are not important. I for one may seem quite aware of things around me to some of you, but the truth is, I have absolutely no idea about half the things. Especially politics. I recently got laughed at because I didn't know that Akilesh Yadav (UP's new Chief Minister) is Mulayam Singh Yadav's son. If I read something like that somewhere, I'll remember it for quite a while, but that's stuff that I don't NEED to remember. What I need to remember is the reaction of people to certain "tricks" I do. Some of the expressions of people and their meanings, from time to time, the order of cards in a deck, not to forget the tricks or illusions or whatever you prefer to call them that I come up with day after day. All that I need to remember because it helps me in what I do. 
If you work in an office, you need to remember your deadlines, if you paint, you need to remember certain strokes that work better for you than others, if you cook, you need to remember which salts or recipes work for you. Don't fill your head with stuff you'll never use.
And after reading that last sentence, I leave you to thinking if you'll ever need to remember the stuff written in this post, but I also know that you might not be able to forget it.
So those were the two amazing things about Sherlock. But as always, there is "One more thing..."
Which is quite simply, do yourself a favor, AND WATCH THE SERIES. Cheerio.