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Interpretation, though it influences every act of us has been rarely used as philosophical perspective. To better understand the concept of interpretation, it is essential to have an awareness of the factors behind it. Our thoughts reflect our actions, our actions reflect our behaviour, and our behaviour defines our character. We are overburdened by incomputable number of thoughts; while some thoughts let you to take some action, some thoughts are lost without any effect. Characterization or categorization of thoughts has no essence as the meaning of good and bad, positive and negative, right and wrong varies from person to person. It is the interpretation which has an essence in defining the actions of a person. The way a person interprets his thoughts reflects his actions. Similar to the thoughts, there is no meaning in categorization of actions, which defines character. But, is it possible to define character without categorising the actions, which are influenced by thoughts? Yes, basically the whole process is interpretation, even the categorization or no categorization. Then, is it possible to define interpretation. Yes, defining interpretation itself is a way of interpreting what is interpretation. Can it be classified or categorised? Well, again there is no meaning in categorising interpretation similar to the thoughts. Categorization is only a means used to interpret a series of thoughts to define them in an effective way. However, every individual can perceive and interpret information of thoughts in different ways and ultimately reflects them in actions as they intend to. Therefore no matter, how well we define thoughts; it is ultimately individuals’ interpretation of thoughts which defines their actions and behaviours.

Is it possible to influence an individual’s ways of interpretation? To an extent the answer is ‘yes’. History is a perfect example of how ambiguous could interpretation actually be. History is an art of interpreting the scenes of the past by studying the remains. If there is no written information about the past, researchers interprets the past based on their understanding, knowledge and interpretation of it. If there is any written source of information, people rely on these sources, but how can we conclude that the written source is legitimate and real.

Reality and actuality seem to be same but there is a vast difference in both, in the way they are understood and in the way they are perceived. Actuality is something which is perceived and interpreted by an individual, which can be real or unreal. But reality is something which is independent of an individual’s perception or thinking. It exists in a single way and is the ultimate truth, which cannot be destroyed or maligned; and may or may not be perceived by an individual. For example, the levitation trick used by the Indians. Those who see a sage levitating in air perceive the scene in a way that sage levitating in air is real. But it is not the reality; the reality is that the sage uses steel rod and a seat attached to it in order to levitate. In our everyday life, we often fail to understand reality and perceive and interpret actual things to be real and formulate actions based on it. Majority of the problems arises due to this fact. We only see the front end of government actions and forget what is happening in reality; similarly we only interpret something until we know what reality is. Once we found the reality or the ultimate truth, then we say it as realization. The actuality loses its credibility and the reality gains it. Coming back to the ways of influencing interpretation, until and unless an individual thinks and interprets out of the box, he can be influenced.

For example, we are influence to think and interpret that god exists; but we don’t know whether it is reality. We are influenced to think and interpret that justice prevails; but we don’t know whether it is true. It is evident from many instances from the history and also from many from the present situations. Many criminals were proved to be righteous in the courts of justice, or may not be proved to be guilty or righteous. We are influenced to think that one should follow the path of dharma would be saved by god; but many people who followed the righteous path are killed and the justice was never delivered. The best part of influence is the manipulation; that we also develop reasons to support interpretations which contradict with themselves. Taking the same previous examples, we are influenced to think and interpret that truth/ justice would prevail at the end no matter how many lives it cost; god exists but we need unmeasurable bhakti or devotion to see him or perceive his presence. We are manipulated to think and perceive that Hitler was cruel and his ambitions to expand his territory were against the humanity; but undermine the England’s imperialism which is in fact crueller in nature, by industrialization and development in the colonies. Therefore, yes the ways of interpretations by an individual can be influenced. To best express the idea, my basic effort of writing this article could be an influence on the readers’ ways of interpretation.

Are interpretations ambiguous? Yes. Interpretations are always ambiguous because thoughts can be interpreted in multiple ways, which are completely different from each other. Taking the thought of democracy as an example, many people have varied interpretations of it. While some interpret it as completely baseless, while some interpret it as the best system that could be in place. However, many interpretations can be made. Is it really possible to implement a system, where the government is ruled by the people, of the people, and for the people? The thought of democracy states that the real power lies in the hands of the people; but is it really in the hands of the people? It promotes the idea of equality and freedom; but is it true that these principles are observed in the regions where democracy is followed? Such interpretations can lead to ambiguity in interpreting a single thought or a series of thoughts. To better express and support the idea, it can be said that different readers reading this article can interpret it in different ways.

Is it possible to have meaningful interpretations? Or can we categorise or structure interpretations in a definite shape or box to add meaning to it? The answer to the question is complicated. The idea of adding meaning to a thing is often influenced by the concept of good and bad or right or wrong. However, these factors are ‘influenced interpretations’ on an individual either by himself or by another individual. An act of stealing is said to be wrong because a person is gaining access to something which is not earned by him. A thief knows that stealing is a wrong thing to do, but interprets his action as a good thing to do given his circumstances and performs the act. This action can also be interpreted by others as both right and wrong thing to do. We are stealing the natural resources from the earth, which is not owned by the man, causing damage to the environment and interpret the act as a good thing to do by giving a reason as the natural resources are essential for the development of humanity. But a thief stealing the money from a bank, which is not owned by him for feeding his family, is termed as a wrong thing to do. Therefore, the terms good or bad cannot be used to make interpretations meaningful.

Interpretation is something which is not bound by rules, and cannot be ‘completely controlled’. Though people seem to be controlling thoughts and their ways of interpreting the thoughts, in reality it is only their ‘actual’ belief about ‘controlling interpretation’. In a better way to express the idea, the life cannot completely control the interpretation of thoughts, but it has an essence as long as the thoughts are interpreted; it is the state of ‘interpreting thoughts’ that completely controls the life. Life is a series of thoughts and their interpretation, and it ends when the ability to interpret thoughts end; and finally there is no meaning to it. Adding meaning to life is only a momentary phase and an influenced interpretations which loses its identity in the never-ending phase of TIME.         

Shiva Sam
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