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Shouldn't We Have Thresholds in Life?

Updated on June 10, 2017

Threshold is ..

Threshold, which refers to the part of the floor at the entrance to a room or building, signifies the beginning of something. Shouldn't we have a starting point for everything in life? A threshold, which is more important then the ‘thing’ itself?

This is quite a popular, useful concept in engineering, which enables the controlling element of any system to make appropriate decisions regarding health of a system as well as that of each of its components, just by observing system performance. This information is essential for the smooth operation of any system, and also for automatic control. It can be thought of as the value of certain parameter of the component in question, beyond which it behaves in the predicted manner, and below which, it doesn’t. For example:

Current threshold: The minimum current level which produces a given effect, result, or response, such as detection, activation, or operation. For example, the lowest current needed to sustain lasing action in a diode laser.

Sound threshold: The minimum sound pressure level necessary to be detected by human ears.

Frequency threshold: The minimum or maximum frequency which produces a given effect, result, or response, such as detection, activation, or operation. For example, each of the cutoff frequencies of a filter, amplifier, or waveguide, which marks the regions of satisfactory functioning (linear range).

What can it do to Life?

But this concept is not at all popular in the affairs of life and living, where it could have defined a boundary for all our reactions, or considerations, affecting us in more than one way. As a parameter, threshold could have marked the point which demarcates a change as radical or otherwise. A change beyond this could become a radically different one and one needing different reactions. And one within this could be accepted as part of the normal. This could have greatly altered our reactions to things that lead us to a change in our stance. That could have given us new ideas about, good or bad, acceptable or unacceptable, healthy or sick, right or wrong, and many other mutually exclusive parameters, thereby altering the single most significant source of social unrest. Or, it could have helped us in prescribing new rules of conduct, which are more conducive to social tranquility.

What change can it bring?

Let us study a few instances of human interaction and see how 'threshold' can aid us.

Take meekness or submissive nature. Our appreciation of humility is dependent of many variables. For those who belong to the lower strata of society, or who are in occupations of lesser income, such a temperament does not make any addition to their value. In fact for such people, the consideration accorded by society is in direct proportion to the importance each one accords for oneself. Those who behave in a submissive manner will get treated also accordingly. Whereas, for those who belong to the upper strata of society, submissive behavior acts like an ornament. It enhances their value, and, the higher one’s position is, the worthier, a meek disposition becomes. Not only that, as can be noticed easily, the opposites are equally counterproductive. For, adorning a humble disposition when poor, is asking for repression, and, presenting a proud visage when rich, invites others to create trouble.

Thus, one’s status can be thought of as a threshold, both while choosing to assume a meek personality and for acting high and mighty.

It already Exists?!

In fact the ideas of a threshold already exist in our daily activities. Each of us normally shall feel the need of satisfying our hunger, rest or relaxation only when the corresponding urge crosses certain level, unique to each. Or, one’s sharpness of reactions can cross the limits of tolerance when the actions experienced cross certain limits, again, unique to each. In which case what we have is, those low in threshold are identified as short tempered. So also for all our behavioral states, like becoming happy, sad, and others. In all such circumstances, the trigger differs for each. This, the threshold, can be considered as the unique element that demarcates each one’s personality, like jovial (low threshold of elation), carefree (low threshold of cavalier feeling), etc.

This can introduce certain degree of moderation in our makeup and our transactions. One is not happy need not necessarily indicate that one is sad. One is not in agreement need not show that one is in disagreement. All that we ascribe to various entities need be defined explicitly, when each of those cross it’s threshold, thereby resulting in a state of serenity of sorts.

How Do You Feel?

Threshold is the Thing that Causes Stability Everywhere

See results

What Good awaits Us

Presently we identify at least a few emotions as negative, tolerating those as we have no other go. Negative emotions like anger, neglect etc., can be of use, if appropriately placed. For, many a time, it has been observed that a bit of anger by the right people was all that was needed to prevent a serious crime from taking place. From what we have discussed earlier, by accommodating these emotions as rightful part of human nature and specifying the parameter ‘threshold’, as the entity to be held in check, we can bring all these to mainstream. Rather than relegated to the background as undesirable elements of human behavior, these will become an established part of human transactions. That will relieve the human society of much disturbance, as there will be no need to grapple with far too many activities, we term now as anti-social. We will be relieved of the present load of managing a huge group – lawbreakers, constantly deriving various techniques of punitive and reformative approach. No feeling will be a pariah, if it is within threshold, and all will be thus, if it is beyond.

Easier life and a better world!

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