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Relatively Speaking

How good would the world if we understand that all the things in this world are related and we are only a small part of the entire system?  Will it not make us modest and behave in a humane manner towards every living thing? 

How Life is relative?

‘Rose is red’.  ‘Honey tastes sweet’.‘Sun radiates heat’. What do ‘red’, ‘sweet’ and ‘heat’ mean?  Can we answer this question in absolute terms i.e., without referring to anything?  If your answers are ‘Red is a colour’, ‘Sweetness is a type of taste’ and ‘Heat is a measure of temperature’, you are only in square one as you may have to again define ‘Colour’, ‘Taste’ and ‘Temperature’.

The words ‘red’, ‘sweet’ and ‘heat’ are all abstract which means that they cannot be defined as such, and references need to be made to make them understandable. 

Truth is also not an absolute thing.  Suppose, both you and your colleague see a man ‘X’ kill another man ‘Y’.  You say, ‘X must be punished’ and your colleague says, ‘X must be honoured’.  Which is the correct view, either yours or your colleague’s? Both of the views may be right.  As you know ‘X’ and ‘Y’ only as two ordinary men, you said that ‘X’ must be punished.  But your colleague knows that ‘X’ is President of a Country and ‘Y’ is a terrorist’ and so he said ‘X’ must be honoured because he saved a nation from a chaotic situation. 

Your view and your colleague’s view on the same incident are entirely different.  You expressed your opinion based on your knowledge about the two persons and so did your colleague. Ironically, both views are true and correct from their own perspective.  The level of knowledge determines the truthfulness and correctness of a view.  Likewise, everything in this world can only be described in a relative manner.  Nothing must be treated as an isolated entity.  Few more examples might help.

How will you read the following letter?

‘My daer father,
How are you? Are you diong well? I am fine. I am coming hoem next month.  Take caer of yourself.
Your loivng son,

If you are an affectionate father awaiting your son’s letter for a long time, probably you might not have noticed the spelling of the words ‘dear’, ‘doing’, ‘home’, ‘care’ and ‘loving’.  Isn't it?  We do not read each word and take its meaning.   We don’t refer to dictionary to find the meaning of the word ‘daer’, if it is in the sentence ‘My daer father’.  We take and read it as ‘dear’.  The relative positions of words in a sentence convey their real meaning and most of the times words that are not spelt correctly would really serve the purpose when read collectively.

We all know that, our five sense organs are connected to the brain through nerves. It will be surprising to know that all the sensory inputs to the brain through these organs go as electrical signals which are similar in nature.  But the brain interprets the electrical signals as smelling, tasting, seeing, hearing and touching depending upon the sensory organ which sends these electrical signals.  Hence, the electrical signals get their real meaning relative to their place from where they emanate.

‘Whole is greater than sum of its parts’:

It’s also a fact that when the parts combine to form a whole, the potential of the whole is greater than the sum of the potentials of its parts, sometimes and the whole may have a character entirely different from the characters of the part.

There are only seven major notes in music. They are represented as ‘Sa’, ‘Re’, ‘Ga’, ‘Ma’, ‘Pa’, ‘Dha’ and ‘Nee’ in Indian Music and ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’, ‘D’ ‘E’, ‘F’ and ‘G’ in Western Music.  But with these seven notes, millions of compositions were made, are being made and will be made.  We don’t hear individual notes in a song.  Instead we hear a synthesis of these sounds and so every song becomes unique in its own respect. Relative positions of the notes make one composition different from other.

Do we see 32 still photographs in series in a second on the screen of a theatre?  Or are we watching scenes continuously running all along the movie? Our brain perceives a continuous running of coherent photographs at the rate of 32 frames per second as a movie (a sequence of images giving us an illusion of continuous movement).  Here also we do not see individual images / photographs, but we watch a movie as a whole.  We can enjoy such a phenomenon only because our brain unconsciously relates one image to the other. 

Take another example.  Sodium and Chlorine are two poisonous substances.  When they combine they form Sodium-Chloride which is the chemical name of common salt.  When they are in isolation they are poisonous, but when they relate to form a compound, they lose their poisonous character and give us a wonderful thing (salt) without which most of our dishes will be unpalatable.

Let us all understand this and live a coherent and mutually beneficial life without wars or any other man made destructions.  A famous saying goes like this ‘Cosmos is like a Cobweb, If you touch one place, every other place shatters’.  When we comprehend the meaning of this, world would be a better place to live in. 

To appreciate relativity, Einstein’s’ famous quote will definitely help.

“Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That is relativity”.

If you have patience watch this beautiful video on relative dimensions in space.