Your “I” is your evil ego, lose it, they said; do not think of yourself as an ‘I’. How is that possible, I asked. If I do squish my I into an amorphous mass, devoid of individuality, it is still an … Continue reading
To be free!! As free as a bubble, floating in the air, tethered to nothing, nothing but…air! So the bubbles aren’t free for they but dance to the whims of the ever flowing, diabolical wind! Ah, to flow like the wind, … Continue reading
We are obsessed with reliving lives, over and over. Not necessarily our own, but any life. We re-live life scenarios in movies, in books, in gossip, even in our dreams. We find it incredibly interesting to watch a series of … Continue reading
“An·thro·po·cen·tric (anTHrəpəˈsentrik/adjective) : Considering human beings as the most significant entity of the universe; interpreting or regarding the world in terms of human values and experiences.” A pervasive term that pretty much sums up the way we live, the way … Continue reading
There was a time when everyone believed that the earth was flat. That the world was created by a judgmental humanoid superpower at a singular point in time. That there is a place called heaven and a place called hell. … Continue reading
Does it matter? Does it not matter? If the world is just a darn simulation, and we are merely playing our parts, a darn show on a stage that has no other relevance than that of being, does anything even … Continue reading
Glassy insignificants, contained in space…reflections, illusions..the splendor of kaleidoscope. Kaleidoscopic minds, contained in time…drama and emotion, the splendor of life. Life and the hunt for its metaphors, finding the metaphor = finding life? Meaning shrouded in complexity. Complexity gushing out of every … Continue reading
Our brains are like VHS tapes. No, not in that they are obsolete (yet), but in that they are capable of working only in a linear fashion. Even if the data is all in there, all wound up in its … Continue reading
When the survival of a species depended on and still does on its social construct and its very evolution has been defined by the connected civilizations it fosters, it is indeed difficult and, nearly impossible for an individual of the said … Continue reading
An icon. Is no more – in his mortal form. But will live on.
At 92, a mind as vast as the cosmos, an intellect sharper than a razor, he continued to inspire. There was not much that passed him by – philosophy, politics, medical science… He made it his business to keep abreast of everything. Having never ever bowed down to circumstances or social moors, he stood strong. One can never fathom the depths of his genius, the true grit of his personality. Much of his writing has been lost in the yellowed annals of ‘The Mail’ in Chennai, India and in the other newspapers he help launch. However, he leaves behind a handful of blogs, laboriously typed on the laptop even as his eyes were failing, between brutal dialysis sessions.
He could quote Shakespeare, Milton as the occasion ordained, or even the Rig Veda for that matter. It was all contained in that great brain of his. He never won an accolade, never won an award and did not care for any. He put his heart and soul in the newspapers he helped start. From television to radio, he covered it all. He wrote speeches for famous politicians, from Indira Gandhi, to MGR. He turned down political positions, finding it more entertaining to play politics instead, many a time in the 80s, parliamentary seats swinging by his whim in the background. In an era when entrepreneurship was frowned upon, he started newspapers and magazines, taking on behemoths like ‘The Hindu” and “Indian Express”. And when they failed, he moved on, effortlessly, shrugging them off as another experience down the line. He took risks, let nothing set him back. Never one to ever worry about money, he lived like a king, to his last day.
He taught his children to be intellectual, irreverent, bold, rebellious, carefree, and inquisitive – in an era and culture where girls especially were brought up to be complacent, normative, politically correct and in the box.
All the education that ever mattered – books strewn around – thoughts strewn around – from Dostoyevsky, Norman Mailer to Updike and History of Love – in all their glory – to be chewed upon, pondered and discussed. A bounty of thought and visions of far away lands some real, some imagined lay hanging in the air. ‘We all live in bubbles’ he proclaimed one day. My 5 yr old mind imagined us all in soapy kaleidoscopic bubbles as I walked carefully as to not pop them. “The world is Nothing” he said another day. It took years of rumination to get that one. He said schools were useless, grades a farce and tradition bogus. He filled our heads with existentialism, scientific breakthroughs, Freud and the like while we were ‘taught’ grammar and historic dates at school.
Assimilating into a new country was for him, an easy uneventful transition, not a full blown rite of passage. One would think that he had lived in his adopted country all his life. And when it was time to start dialysis, 3 brutal times a week, he dealt with it with aplomb, waking up at 5, making friends with the all and sundry and fought on, head on, against it, for 8 years. In the meantime, he researched wearable dialysis gadgets, signed up for clinical trials that never happened and kept his hopes alive nevertheless. Dialysis and any of the other assorted diseases never kept him from enjoying all that life had to offer. His illnesses were mere wrinkles. He ironed them out and moved on.
His intellect carried on as usual. He wrote blogs, followed politics, lived life. In his nineties, when I informed him of the supreme court decision allowing gay marriage, and how things had changed ‘since his time’, he remarked ” things have not changed, this is a concept as old as…and proceeded to educate me on the philosophy of Havelock Ellis.
Saraswathi Ganapathy. 1924-2016.
He who took up his mother’s name instead of his father’s in the 1940s.
…A Rebel, a Genius, a Mastermind.
A great mind never dies.
Fractals are everywhere… in the foliage of the trees, in the waves of the ocean, in the neurons of the brain, in the atom, to the solar system. Fractals pervade all existence.
The idea that the world and life itself are a tapestry of intricately woven fractals is nothing new. When fractals were discovered, it became quite apparent that they are everywhere. Some fractals are obviously simple recursive units, other more complicated copies of multi themes. However, our mind seems to compartmentalize our knowledge as theories and realities and more often than not fails to apply theory to the reality. Even when the idea is no longer a theory but a fact.
For it is the whole that the mind grasps, not as a sum of it’s parts.
Once we realize that all existence is but a fractal, a conglomeration of multi fractals within fractals, we are no longer intimidated by the complexity.
Fractals not only remind us that the manifest world is really very simple, if one focusses on the unit rather than the whole, but also provide an answer to the big question, how could this complicated world arise out of nowhere. When one looks at the sea, the trees, the rivers, the sky, the stars, the bugs, the birds, and of course the ever-present teeming millions of humans, the mind reels from the complexity and variety of life, of nature, of matter. Many a mind has been boggled with confusion at the sheer complexity of existence. The mind wonders, how could such complexity have evolved? And therefore invents a superpower to create it. Then over the ages, the superpower acquires more accessories in terms of myths and miracles and voila, a religion is born. But is the universe really that complex? All existence is really simple. Simple, elegant and therefore deeply understandable – if only we look for the core of everything.
This stretch of existence that we call ‘Life’ is but a unit of a mega fractal with multiple planes of existence both emotional and physical. On a larger scale, it is composed of life-life interactions, such as the food web, the matings, the emotional interchanges, and the drama they beget. This mega scale is but a fractal of individual life forms which in turn are fractals of cells. The basic unit of the cell are the biochemical processes that generate energy, energy within the cell to respirate, to replicate. And when one bores down these biochemical processes, they are but chemical reactions. All life boils down to this – chemical reactions. And all chemicals are but made of the very same subatomic particles. And so are all galaxies, all cities, all populations, all life, all atoms, all subatomic particles…a part of this multi fractal, each getting closer and closer to the core as it gets smaller and smaller.
It is not just the tangible things that could be part of fractals, but the intangible as well. We scream as anger ebbs in us, the scream the fractal of tiny emotional outbursts in the neurons. After all, neurotransmitter molecules rule the brain. Their interactions along the neuronal walls fractalize to form emotions.
Even our quest for knowledge follows the fractal pattern. Just as we are unaware of what lies before or after life, we ponder over the before and after of the world’s existence. On a smaller scale, we ponder about the subatomic particles and what lies within.
Will we ever fully understand every nuance of this tangled world? As scientists, we chip away at the mysteries, one rock at a time, at various points on the fractal, hoping that all this knowledge, aggregated, would solve the puzzle for us. But this manifest universe is infinite and there are infinite factoids that can be mined within it and therefore this approach will never offer complete knowledge of this universe, which is by definition infinite. It hence follows that it would serve us much better to hone in on the unit of which all this is comprised so that we may extrapolate the rest.
We need to rethink our thinking. We need to shed the complexity. We analyze loads and loads of data, make connections and draw conclusions. We are trained to see the ‘big picture’ and oftentimes forget that the picture is but a sum of its parts. We get entwined in the arms of the fractals, mired in their apparent complexity, while life’s secrets lie in plain sight, in the sublime core.
What is the soul? Is it that which according to some, is transferred through births and rebirths, or is it the neʹphesh or psy·kheʹ…the life we possess now?
It is, but, that which you think it is. What you feel when you say I.
Is there an I, fundamentally undefined by your name and bearings, something that seems to stand out, stand still, while the murky waters of this business of living swirls around you?
Or is the I in you intricately woven with your identity as a person and bestowed upon you since your conception?
Or as you dig deeper, is the I a synthesis of the two, turbulent, yet still. A conscious recognition as the oneness of all things material, energy in its various manifestations in apparent entropy while in reality a synergy. A cosmic dance between the state of being and nothingness, between manifestation as matter or as energy. An existence with no other significance than that of being.
Only you will ever know and what you know, is your truth.
The I in me, I call the soul. A soul masked by layers of genetic codes, of information, of society, its ethos, mores, and of religions, generations old. And I look for a deeper identity, an identity irrespective of the above, I realize it is rather an identity that is as intricately woven with the said genetic code, the information overload, the society, its mores and norms, as it is with the essence and oneness of all things. An identity I call my soul is one that at once pervades and unifies all.
You and me, cells of the same cosmos, defining the one cosmic body we call existence. I, you, me, the stone, the atom, the black hole…all one. Singularity bursting forth as multiplicity, yet singular all the same.
Is there one so pure, so naked, that defines and encompasses all? That which rises above, yet stands still, timeless as time ebbs around it. That is the essence of this journey we call life. To realize the essence. The process the purpose, the purpose, the process…of breaking free and becoming one…the soul, the body, the dirt, the star and everything in between and beyond.
One. Therefore None.
Be a Roman. While living this life, live. Live as your genes, your environs, your instincts mandate. Live as your dogmas, your notions, your religions dictate. You may break free and run away, but you will not go far. You … Continue reading
Artists and philosophers, both abhor reality. They are in abject denial of the ever-present present and are constantly trying to re-interpret, to repaint, to redefine reality. They refuse to take reality at face value and and have a need to re-create … Continue reading
Simulation is the buzz word of the day in popular science magazines, of nascent and tenured philosophers and established scientists. Even popular figures like Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk are proclaiming that we may very well be living in a simulation(s) of … Continue reading
A thinking, evolving mind can take either of two paths. Why? or How? It can wonder why? The why of life, of the world, the why of ‘I’. Or it could think how? How does life work, how does the … Continue reading
The mainstay of Darwinian evolutionary theory , the concept of the “natural selection” has become a counter -evolutionary force in the context of human evolution.
That is because human discretion rather than natural selection now decides who survives and who does not. Nature selects in a mathematical, unbiased and complex way that is a result of a multitude of factors. Humans, on the other hand, use their flawed and as yet half baked conscious logic to determine selection and hence it is riddled with miscalculations.
The evolution of conscious thought and emergence of (il)logical thinking has led us to this predicament. This is not to say nature is somehow “superior” to humans ( who are but a part thereof) or that decision should be left to a “superpower” that is behind it all. It is simply because human decision making is nowhere yet near perfection. We still rely on calculators and computers for analytical decision making and for the more subjective areas, rely on our not so perfect judgement skills alone. However, our conscious thought is not yet capable of holding in parallel, the multitude of factors that could affect a given situation, come up with hundreds of what-if scenarios and then make a choice.
In nature undisturbed, of course, there is no conscious decision making, but rather an organic flow of consequential happenings.
We can picture the workings of nature in the absence of our conscious interference as one gigantic chain reaction. The antelope that has a defective limb is slow to escape and so falls prey to the supersonic leopard before it can procreate while its more agile cousins leave behind progeny. In an undisturbed jungle landscape this works well to eliminate the weak and make sure the strongest survive and pass on their genes. Enter the human. He saves every slow moving antelope on moralistic, ‘humanistic’ grounds, even attaches plastic prosthesis to the ones with a defective limb, and then being politically correct, wants to save the jungle as it were as well. He introduces all the poor speed challenged antelopes into the said jungle- only to be devoured by the leopards. However, while alive these weaklings had competed with the more agile ones for more food, so the speedy ones are not so agile anymore! The population of antelopes collapses and so does the leopard’s. The jungle collapses and then they blame it all on climate change. Just to give one rather simplistic example.
If our thinking was supersonic and unflawed, we wouldn’t be chipping away at the world’s mysteries one tiny nick at time. It would not take us years to prove the gravitational theory or Fermat’s last theorem. Lets face it, our brains are still in the infantile stages of analytical thinking. Unfortunately, our logical shortcomings does not preclude us from throwing our decisions around and masterminding the world. Let us instead spend our energies actually honing our thinking skills rather than throwing it away half-baked, and altering the course of a perfectly fine evolutionary process.
It is time to give religion a well deserved rest. The kind of organized, tradition enriched, communal religion with its set repertoire of mores and ethos that fragments society rather than enlightens it. We need to give it a rest. … Continue reading
Can the eye see itself?
Can thought perceive itself?
Thought can perceive but cannot see. The eye can see but what can it perceive? Perception of the outside world is but a mishmash of all senses.
So it is with thought. It cannot see or hear or touch. It has to synthesize but that which all other senses perceive.
Is all that input necessary for thought to perceive itself? Yes, it is necessary to perceive the outside. But for itself?
What is thought trying to perceive when we say ‘itself”? The thinking being bereft of the body? The process of deduction? The firing neurons?
Is it thought that is trying to perceive the self? Palpable conscious thought? Or is the conscious mind trying to delve deep into the subconscious in a state of thoughtless understanding?
Is there an understanding beyond or bereft of thought? An understanding not limited to consciousness?
Feelings of sympathy, love, and of course happiness are ‘good’ while emotions such as hate, envy and the like are deemed ‘bad’. So much so that if envy arises in a person, the person as a whole is labeled ‘bad’. Aside from the fact that emotions arise, period, and that we merely react to them and do not create them, it seems rather naive and simplistic to label emotions ( and people) so. Of course consequences of these emotions left in their natural trajectory may be good or bad, either for the individual and/or for the society and therefore the labels.
For the sake of argument, lets get to the root of envy. Say you have a decent sized house. A friend buys a newer, better, bigger house, throws a lavish housewarming party and boom, the pangs of jealousy start grawing in your bosom. Why? What are you thinking? You WANT that house! But you CANNOT have that house. Frustration. Why him? Why not you? The unfairness of it!!!! Yada yada yada. But then that envy could goad you to to earn more, give you a goal, a purpose in life. ( whether or not a materialistic “purpose” in life is inferior to a so-called spiritual one is the fodder for another blog).
As the wise sages have said from the time sages existed, desire is the root of all. Remove desire, you remove life. The desire for wealth, for fame, the desire to live, in fact the desire to live better than thy neighbor. Life is desire. To desire is to live. Envy is but the fuel. Emotions are necessary not just for suvival, but to flourish.
Emotions seem to act only at the plane of conscious thought since judgement of good and bad, happy and sad seem to be tied to conscious awareness. Whether our kidneys work or not, our subconscious deals with it the same way. However knowledge of the diseased state of one’s kidneys leads to sadness, anger and despair at the conscious level, none of which are really conducive to their functioning in any way.
Imagine a world where everyone has attained “nirvana”, shunned or ‘overcome’ emotions… A grey world with people sedately moving around in orange robes…….and imagine a world vibrant with desire with flashy neons with the latest tech gadget. Lets face it, we all live in this world with no frigging clue why we are here and what the heck we are doing in here. Lets at least do it in style.
There are various degrees of entrapment. On one hand, we get so entrapped in events and consequences of our own lives and on the other, in the doings of everyone and everything around us. The process of living takes up so much of our collective conscious thought that we forget to ponder over the purpose of it all.
Everything we do can essentially be boiled down to our attempts at foraging for food and for mates. Period. We of course pretend otherwise.
Yes, we consider ourselves to be on a higher plane. Do we know anything deeper and more sublime that the most prehistoric life forms? Of course, we are, ostensibly, more conscious of our existence. Now, this in itself is no claim to fame. I know I am. So what? If I know not, I still am.
The trappings of everyday life almost obliterates the awareness of the biological system within us. We get entrenched in the emotional high drama, within the family, with co-workers and other assorted people who cross our path every minute of the day. In whatever gaps are left, we get mired in botched plans, dreams of future and in politics of relationships. The media too keeps bombarding us with visuals of humans in despair, the latest gadgets, the rich and famous. It is almost as if we are acting out our parts in a movie. When do we ever, stop, pause, or even slow down enough to see the drama in it all and the futility of this part we play in the grand scheme of existence?
Is it even possible to stop, pause or slow down? Pause and slow down, perhaps. Stop, nearly impossible. Because, try as we might, we are still entrapped in this body and this body is entrapped in this biome. So all or any enlightenment has to dawn within this framework we live in, within this drama, within this part we play. After all, all this drama is but a part of the grand scheme of things.
Save my dog, eat the chicken. No, you cannot eat a horse, but a lowly pig is fine. My religion, my god, my beliefs are fine, yours are the pits. My country, my way. My great grandparents migrated, but you … Continue reading
Art. Art is what sets humans apart. Take away art, and you have a species trying to live, to survive and procreate, just like the scurrying ant or the dog sitting next to you.
However, we do not yet know if the aforementioned ant and dog have minds with conscious thought. And until we find a common medium to communicate, we will never know. But what we do perceive so far is that the ant and dog both go about their lives, eat, and in case of the ant, build communities, forage for food and replicate. However, so far, we have not seen them do anything beyond what is necessary to just live, survive and multiply. While the songs and elaborate nests of birds for instance could be considered art, or expression, they do so apparently to attract mates, not for self expression as far as we can see. We humans, however, spend time on creating things that are superfluous to our survival. We do not need art to survive. Yet, we spend time on art.
Ants of course and others can and do communicate with chemicals. And birds do sing to each other, whales bounce off sound waves, and dolphins do frolic rather adorably. However, do they make noises or frolic for no reason other than to communicate a particular imagery or thought that crosses their brain? While this is a strong possibility, we do not yet have a means to discern it. For Dolphins really have no reason to frolic if their tummies are full and they have their heart’s content of progeny by their side, yet frolic they do. So how is this frolicking different or any less an art form than a ballerina twirling?
In any case, the question is not if and how other species create art, but if art is defined as self-expression for reasons other than survival and procreation, why do we create art?
Through art, we try to express something that cannot be expressed through other forms of communication. Could Dali have communicated The Hallucinogenic Toreador or the Persistence of Memories with words or actions? Or more importantly, why did he even have to communicate these abstract and complex thoughts?
There is an evolutionary advantage to art. Art is but the expression of abstract thoughts that cannot be moulded into words and communicated to a fellow human being in the traditional sense. Thoughts might be a precursor to a design or to put it in layman’s terms, useful for survival and/or they could be an attempt to understand the subtleties of the universe we see around us. How do you explain the beauty of green grass against the shades of blue in the sky or the profundity of Rodin deep in thought? The entirety of that feeling is captured not by words, but in a painting or a sculpture we call art. Words as a communication tool hits its ceiling and cannot capture all the nuances of wonder and curiosity that arises in us.
Art is oftentimes portrayed as in direct opposition to science. Yet, art and science are both our attempts at understanding the world around us. When we take the path of science, we use logical deduction, words in sequence, to derive answers. The sky is blue, because…the light is diffracting because….and come to a conclusion that sates our curiosity. However, as an artist, we see the colorful landscape, take it in its entirety and try to retell it in terms of a photographic depiction or as our own interpretation. By repainting the scene or by capturing the essence of an emotion in splashes of color on a canvas, we have in essence, understood it deep in our subconscious in a way that cannot be described by words. Science chews slowly while art gulps it down. But both lead to a certain satisfied feeling of having had a well digested meal.
The New Epoch
By S. Ganapathy
The human species has entered a new phase, an exciting phase- combining physics with metaphysics. It is of course difficult -even perplexing for those in the earlier generation to comprehend and grasp fully the mindset of this new epoch we are in. It is not just the generation gap but something mystic. A metaphoric expression, as it were. This epoch baffles the conventional psychologist- Freud as well as the Jung school.
I have had the privilege of long discussions with noted psychologists in the 50s and we covered in our talks major psychologists from Hevelock Ellis to Addler. I do believe that psychology as a science and a clinical discipline has its limitations. There are aspects of human behavior which are yet to be unraveled by psychology – It is becoming increasingly obvious that there are aspects of life which are apparently not amenable to reason or logic.
Psychology fashionably describes these aspects as periods of depression. because of an inability to comprehend and appreciate the epochal aspects of an emerging behavioral pattern, the tendency is to categorize these aspects as symptoms of depression. The new epoch is just not something that could be held captive by a terminology. It is an error if it is sought to be explained by a common psychological phrase – depression The new Epoch is an attempt to interconnect the physical with the metaphysical. One of my late friends who was a professor of physics in the university of Mysore and an acknowledged scholar was fond of saying that metaphysics begins where physics ends. This is a pithy statement, too concise to encompass adequately the truth.
The new epoch is naturally going through a struggle to weld the two critical thoughts into a single alloy. The struggle will triumph. To illustrate the point, the child of the new generation talks of biology, ecology and mathematics are a kind of fulcrum while simultaneously his thoughts dwell on the validity of existence. He seeks for meaning and the purpose of life. Whenever he airs his quest aloud, the elders – the other generation folks are alarmed. This is not normal for the boy they exclaim in chorus. And the experts pronounce their judgment. What a pity! The elders, the experts and the other generation, as a whole have become obsolete, outdated- their relevance and validity are lost. One should recall Lord Tennyson’s immortal lines “Old Order changeth yielding place to new, lest one good custom should corrupt the world ( and the truth)”
So all that burdened inferences and conclusions have long outlived their relevance. The emerging thoughts and attitudes coming out of the intellectual “New Epoch ” foundry have already replaced an untenable old order.
The Call Of The New Order
The emerging epoch is obviously a synthesis and the world which is slowly waking up, to this totally new and hitherto hidden phenomenon, stands at the cross road . It is a kind of revival of the evolutionary process, if one wants to describe the unfolding in the terminology of physical science (biology) . But I think the emergence of the new epoch is beyond reach . May be it can be surmised loosely as a cosmic transformation, the relevance of mysticism is still to be understood. Metaphysics has to be acknowledged… Survival has reached the point when synthesis of the physical and the metaphysical has become the only way.
The new epoch will be the product of this synthesis. This leads us to the realm of consciousness, mysticism and metaphysics. Consciousness is the fundamental concept of metaphysics in the same sense that energy is the fundamental concept of physics Awareness and being alive ,a synthesized order is unfolding Synthesis of the physical and the metaphysical is the New Order.
The great synthesis!
The flowing force
Of time and change
The twilight hour is drawing to a close
Dawn is breaking – A New Epoch –
A New Order replacing the Old Order. Synthesis of the physical and the metaphysical. And the Bard who sang paeans of the French Revolution (Wordsworth) would today exclaim “Bliss is it in this dawn to be alive and be consumed by this cosmic synthesis.”
The SAGA has begun.
We will watch the breaking of dawn from the ring-side and resume in 2013
***This blog will remain in a constant state of flux, between the edited and the updated…constantly changing…like life itself…evolving as thinking evolves…***
Some of the world’s dominating religions would like us to think that only a couple thousand years of human civilization are relevant and that the world was either comatose or in a state of moral and psychological chaos before their inception. However, human race has been flourishing for over 5000 years and surely the inquiring mind came up with other workable theories before then. Of course it is hard to put a ‘date’ on some of the older religions such as Judaism and Hinduism. While Judaism may be more streamlined, Hinduism is more akin to branches of alternate thinking tied together by some commonalities.
However, this is not a treatise on religions and I am sure there are ‘experts’ towards that goal, the point is not which one of these religions is superior and which one decreed as the ultimate by a higher form, but rather how relevant are these systems and where do they stand today?
Religions are but theories of this enigma called life – how it came to be, why it came to be and a how-to – at least for those who need or want a set of instructions to go with it. Religious thinking evolved as human consciousness evolved. Religions started as an exquisite marriage between the need for social norms to ensure societal survival and the more individualistic mind yearning for answers to profound yet fundamental questions. Some amount of individualism has to be sacrificed for communal good and this would only happen if those rules were etched in so called holy books and trimmed with futuristic consequences extending oftentimes into the afterlife. This ensured that society sailed more smoothly.
However, over the years, the religions gathered more and more moss, traditions got tarnished with superstition, high priests established themselves as demigods and more importantly, many of the basic tenets of the religions lost their relevance. But then peoples’ minds had become so mired in the rituals and moors of the religion they were born into that it became impossible to break free. The fear of consequences and now and in the life after, fear of excommunication and ridicule kept the outliers more inline, bound by the chains of their religion.
The mind continued to think, ask questions, science evolved, aided by the few who ventured into the woods, their logic and scientific methods as tools of choice to chip away at this mystery called life. Science developed as the logical alternative to religion, the pathway of the mind as a flowchart of ifs, hows and whys. Theories were formed, tested, some proven with tools created. The proofs however limited by the tools. How can you measure that for which there is no tool…yet. Do all tools have to be of the physical form? Thought matters, is that tool enough?
However, as of yet, science does not have all the answers, especially so for the big questions such as the ‘why’ of life. Science as it is today and religion are both but crutches, temporary aids to living life. If one limits science to materialistic tools, that is. Religion, limited by logic, science limited by its tools. But the mind yearns to go beyond beyond science and religion, knowing that it knows nothing yet. Science has been merely chipping away at the edges of questions, religion shrouds them with a cloak of theories.
It is because of the limitations of the knowledge we have today that religion is still filling in the cracks, as a band aid, an instant gratification of sorts, so the mind could then look beyond the questions and get on with this mundane life. There has always been a constant tug of war between religion and science. Those that stick to empirical formulas and facts limp behind, forever caught in the duality of living a life they have not fully understood yet while those mired in religious beliefs go on unperturbed, but ignorant.
What if the mind broke free? Of every tenet, every decree, every tradition of their religion? What if we stood naked, draped only by our thoughts, evolving, spinning a web around us? Is it possible? More often than not, it is the fear that something ‘bad’ would happen that keeps us from this nakedness. The fear of some materialistic loss in this life that we lead as a consequence of our transgression. Ridicule of friends and family or fear of an after life in hell. What if we rose from such fears and did stand tall?
What then, where then, is the answer? The mind screams. Its neither science as it stands today nor religion. It is something beyond, an off shoot of their intersection. Some minds cling on to religion in order to fill in those gaping holes science is yet to fill. Is this necessary? Why not leave the unanswered questions just as they are, unanswered, instead of spinning theories to mask them? Whom are we cheating? What does religion accomplish today anyway? There is more strife, hatred and abject terrorism in the name of religion than any positive consequence from it. Individuals may seek and obtain peace, or even respite from the unsettling nature of life’s deep questions as they rest on their deeply ingrained religious beliefs, but then they give up on true liberation, and get mired forever in the web of hypocrisy.
The only valid argument religionist have had so far is that science has not answered any big questions yet. However, we should stop considering the scientific method from the purely physical nature that it has now, and explore other planes of thoughts. We need to extend science beyond what is today. It is at present an analytical tool on the observable universe. We need to extend it and go further into metaphysical and ethereal realms.
If we are to find the essence of all, we need to look beyond the tools of the physical world, beyond tools such as microscopes and telescopes. What we need are thought accelerators more than particle accelerators. We need to delve deep into thought and introspection. It is a deep knowing, not defined by our thoughts, beyond our thoughts, not quite a feeling, but a subconscious perception that comes when one sheds all, accepts all, brings the inside to the outside into one seamless existence. It is a personal strife, a personal journey that encompasses all, undefined by words or even thoughts or emotions.
A sanyas of the soul.
We are all but bubbles strewn out of the same soapy solution. All the same, yet, all very different. Each one of us a different permutation, a different combination of the other. Similar, yet dissimilar, just the same, however.
Look at all the people around you. They are but what you could have been, what you may become, under a different set of circumstances, in different coordinates. They are all you. Different versions of You. Of Me.
You and Me – the difference is a little rearrangement of the genes, a different parameter of birth, a different location, a different combination.
Like bubbles strewn out of the same soapy solution. We see many but there really is only one. You.
Stop! Stop parenting your kids! Stop telling them what to do, what not to do. Stop telling them what to think, how to think and what NOT to think!
Let the child lead you with their open minds and naked souls. Trust them. They do not judge with generations of preconceived notions. They do not jump to conclusions based on prejudices. On the contrary, they look at each event for itself. So their judgement is pure, unbiased.
The child wants a candy. Do not refuse her a candy. A candy does not kill a child. But keep denying that one candy and it becomes a sugar rush so insatiable that when you are not looking, she gorges on candies. And then that would kill her. Not that one candy, but the candy rush you bestowed upon her.
The child asks why. Why do we pray? Why do we have to be polite? Why do we have to wear clothes? Lead him to reason for himself. Lead him not to answers, to your answers. But rather let her get to her own answers.
We are all under the mistaken notion that the older we are, the better we know. How untrue. Why bestow our jaded and rusty old views on a sparklingly clean young generation?
It takes courage to unparent. But unparent, we must. Treat your kids as an equal, if not more. Listen to them first, before thrusting your views upon them. They will teach you to be free. To be naked. To be euphorically liberated.
We need to find the essence of life, mired as we are in the mundane, the daily commute, the rise and fall of the stock market, the cacophony on the streets, the emotional humdrum of everyday life. Perhaps it is all not so humdrum after all.
The world we perceive is not the world that really is. We ‘see’ colors and almost attribute a material characteristic to it. In our minds colors are solid and vibrant, an emulsion if you will, draped on all things. However, all colors are primarily mere reflections of the same photon…each just travelling towards us in slightly different ways or wavelengths. You see a friend running towards you. Now you see the same friend walking towards you and then you see the friend just standing. It is still the same friend, however, if this friend were to be a ray of light then you would ascribe a different identity to it at those three different times. Obviously color is an illusion, so are textures and weights. Even if the scientific mind recognizes color for what is it, it still describes the telescope as white, not as a conglomeration of subatomic particles reflecting all the light that falls on it. Our brains are tuned into our senses to comprehend in a certain way and yet, can snap away and look at everything in their subliminal form once in a while.
It so appears that even if we have an innate ability to perceive the illusions for what they are, we are still limited by our senses in those perceptions. We may chose a green ball over a red one, knowing very well, the green and red have nothing to do with the ball itself, but yet we persist for thats the way we are wired. We are aware and unaware at the same time.
And like the photon, we too oscillate between dual identities of the world, and of ourselves.
Time exists because of the intrinsic dynamism of matter. Electrons revolve around the nucleus. Planets revolve around the sun. Movement and time are intertwined. Remove motion, time stands still. But still exists as matter exists. Remove matter and time is erased. Matter is but energy personified. Electron protons neutrons, all oscillating between their elemental energy and physical forms. Pulsating between being and non being. When matter bursts forth from energy as an entity with mass, time is created. Time is but an entity, a manifestation.
Time is what makes this life seem like what it is. This perception of our minds that sees life as a passage through time.
Is time an illusion? Is time exclusive to this span between birth and death?
The past, present and the future are all singular at an instant. It is just our perception that stretches them out on a timeline, into the known and the yet unknown. Imagine consciousness as the pull of a zipper. As it runs along the two strands, experiences are locked into consciousness and the point of the zipper’s tag is perceived as the present moment, the zipped or intertwined part, the past and the free strands, the unknown future.
After all, the conscious brain started developing only a few million years ago and is evolutionarily still young, compared to other life functions. Consciousness seems to be limited to animals with brains. Are plants conscious? Or is their subconscious blissfully taking care of all the functions of living. Is consciousness even necessary to live? After all, all of our most important life sustaining functions are done unconsciously – breathing, blood flow, immunity..
Just like our perception of color and texture makes things seem so different than they really are, our perception of time is also an illusion Our conscious brain which is dependent on our senses is probably only capable of awareness at specific points and comes into awareness much as the zipper going through the teeth on the strands, the awareness and perception of present is defined as awareness of the conscious mind. The past present and future are always there like the teeth of the zipper. Its our awareness of those that moves, not our lives.
To be is to know. We know what we are, why we are and how we are. We may not know that we know, but know, we do.
We limit ‘knowing’ to the senses we sense. To sight, smell, sound, taste or touch. These are the modes by which we ‘learn’ or gain knowledge. Once we perceive, it becomes a thought. We feel something, or see something …such as the feel of the wind or color of the sky and this leads to formulation of thoughts, say “oh, the sky is blue” or “the wind is gentle”. We then relegate these thoughts to the memory bank in our brain and this becomes part of the ‘conscious knowledge’ that it carries.
But there is a knowing that is beyond the realm of our senses that we need to try and bring to the forefront of our senses. We are so attuned to sensory perceptions that we ignore the non sensory perceptions of intuition or internal knowledge. The non-sensory perceptions have to be brought to the sensory bandwidth in order to be recognized and integrated into ‘knowledge’.
We ask questions because we perceive an anomaly. However, to perceive an anomaly we need some knowledge of normalcy. For how can we perceive discordance if we have no idea of harmony? When we see a jigsaw puzzle with a wrong piece, or a missing one, our brain knows it does not fit there because it has an idea of what would fit there. It is just a matter of finding that piece.
So it is with life.
Life is a jigsaw we try to comprehend. We seem to know some pieces, some seem obscure. But we sense what does not fit. Theories and philosophies try to fill in the gaps. The mind questions, parses, broods. We question paradigms that do not seem to fit or seem to have missing links. This is because our subconscious has an idea or knowledge of what should be there. It is just not in our conscious knowledge bank as of yet. So we try to bring the subconscious into the realm of thought, to decode if you will. This entire effort is just to be conscious of all that we already know. To find those missing jigsaw pieces. So the conscious brain continuously tugs at the subconscious, trying to open it out into the conscious.
Therefore, it is not that there are questions that we will never know or that the world is so complex that we do not have the capacity to decode it, it is just a matter of reaching deep into our subconscious and bringing the submerged knowledge onto the surface, of merging our conscious into our subconscious until there is no more need of perceived knowledge. The subconscious and conscious become one.
Fear defines us. Fear defines all that we do. It could be some subtle, subconscious fear or a phobic fathomable fear. Fear binds and chains us into doing what we do.
Fear keeps us from naked thought.
As toddlers, we are at times fearless, wanting to touch the proverbial fire. However we are taught to fear fire, and to fear not only the dark, and the unknown, but a plethora of other ‘undesirable’ objects and behaviours. We are taught to do things the ‘right’ way, the ‘right’ way to be, to think.
And as we grow, our thoughts get tunneled for fear that we may intrude upon some set moralistic, cultural or social boundary. Even if we did want to venture out, our fear of disapproving glances from those around us keep us in check. We do not want to be ‘the’ transgressor. The fear of being a moral or social outcast keeps us in. Fear becomes a habit.
What if we had no fear, or shed the fears we have? One tiny fear at a time.
Fear fear. It takes courage to be naked…..until it becomes the new habit.
A blog of musings of a naked soul. A soul that sheds all external influences and looks at life, at existence, at consciousness, from within and from without…. as an insider and as an outsider. A soul, shorn of beliefs, traditions, learnings, and ultimately knowledge itself. Preexisting knowledge that is. When the soul, in its most ethereal form involutes and reflects upon itself or perhaps realizes there is nothing to reflect upon, then comes true knowledge. Pure, simple knowledge.
Let the naked journey begin……
Death. The finality. The end all. The horror. The grief. The sadness.
We were ‘dead’ before we are born. Yet, we never give thought to this fact. We never wring our hands and wail over it. We seldom give thought to what were we before we were born or even conceived. The fact that we just did not exist before we lived does not seem to faze us as much as the realization that we might cease to exist after we have lived.
Death is shrouded not only in mystery, but in macabre and tragedy. We have absolutely no knowdge of what happens after we die – do we just shut off or does a part of us live on? We have absolutely no frigging clue. Yet, we are afraid.
Afraid of what? Why is there a basic pessimistic tragic assumption. Why do we assume its gotta be bad?
Birth and death are but the same in reverse. The body comes into being for a period of time and then ceases to be. If consciousness were to pervade beyond death, then it is logical to presume, that it preceded the body before birth as well. however, we are not conscious of anything before birth or after death. Therefore this state of consciousness is unique to this span of life.
Are we more than our body? Is there a so-called soul? If there was a soul and it existed before birth, and exists after death, there must be a state of being-ness we are unaware of, before and after life. However, no one has ever known it. Therefore it is quite inconsequential to our current life span. therefore its quite futile and unnecessary to brood over it.
Anyway, coming back to the original premise, why is death considered so morose and frightening? Death and dying are not the same. The process of dying itself, could definitely be painful, morose, and frightening. However death itself isn’t so.
No one in this realm that we call life, has ever known what lies beyond, and therefore it is quite inane to assume that it would be something unpleasant. In fact what lies beyond is probably beyond the realm of pleasant or unpleasant, of anything we experience in this life. It is not really worth brooding about for we will never know and do we even need to know?
For this life that we live has no bearing on death and death and thereafter has no bearing on this life.
There is this chasm of the mind that has very slippery slopes. No matter how much the mind tries, it keeps slithering back down…no matter what it grasps onto, it keeps falling back, down into the chasm, into the dark valley of the void.
There are those, who, restless with intellectual inertia turn inward and seek within themselves. And then there are those, whose quests lead them to replace one deity with another, living or otherwise, one religion with another. These are the inhabitants of that intellectual chasm, of that mindless limbo land.
The chasm is indeed a world onto itself. There are many in this chasm that have forgotten or were never aware of a world beyond. They bicker among themselves in this chasm, fighting over whose god is greater. They build shiny shrines, break the ones that others have built. They hurl physical and verbal grenades, trying to gain sole supremacy. They fail to see that they are but throwing stones at their own reflections, each tinted a different hue, similar all the same.
Meanwhile, the lone ladder waits for that lone brave soul. For there lies a whole new world up there, lighted and lighter. A world where the mind, breaking free of its own confines harmonizes one with all. A mind that breaks free of norms and rituals, of ethos and morals. A world of naked souls with naked minds, whose life paths are in sync with the before and after.
Why does the mind not want to think deeper, to take that thought one step further, to analyze? Perhaps there is a plateau of comfort. The thought process finds this equilibrium where the inherent curiosity is sated just enough, and some minds, tired of thinking, settle at that level. For most, its an abject belief in a religious tenet, that precludes them from any thinking so they can focus on the more mundane aspects of life. For others it might be a synthesis of a religious philosophy they have been brought up with and their own analysis. And then for few, it could be some point on their own original inward journey.
As the human mind traverses along this evolutionary path, the conscious and the sub conscious close in on each other, settling on a higher and higher plateau every time the neurons connect. The full potential of this incredible journey reaching its zenith when the mind is able to take its thoughts to the finish line – when thinking is no longer a linear sequence along time, but a burst of absolute knowing.
From nothing we come…. to nothing we go…..
Yes, nothing does matter!
For between nothing and nothing
So carry on!
What if we stopped thinking about the future…about consequences…about what ifs…..
We revel in futuristic forward thinking. A lion hunts when it is hungry. Once it has eaten, does it worry about its next meal? Does it ponder if there would be any more watering holes left due to global warming and therefore would there be anymore deer left to hunt? It eats and then digests that meal. It acts on the next meal plan when it get hungry again. The key word here is ‘acts’, not ‘thinks’.
Does forward thinking actually change the way we behave or even our decisions? For every point we stand on in the present there are infinite possible out-spokes. Myriad possibilities of which our own decisions and behaviour play but a very small part.
As an extreme example, take the case of a terminal disease diagnosis either for oneself or someone close. The mind immediately spins of various scenarios. Scenarios of the person suffering to various levels, scenarios of the person dying in these many days or months. Scenarios of how the person dies, where the subject is when that happens and infinite scenarios of life after the loved one passes. However, at least in this extreme example, the subject has absolutely no control over one suffers or when one dies. Which is true even if one decides on the level of treatment. Even if the treatment is terminated, the process and timeline of the process is completely out of one’s control. So what was the point of the brain’s exercise on coming up with all the possible scenarios?
At times as these, the brain seems to be obviously on an auto-pilot mode. How much of this thinking is voluntary or conscious? Is there a subconscious engine that drives the thoughts and we are but aware of the tip of the iceberg?
The human mind entwines itself with possibilities and outcomes. It gravitates towards what if scenarios, Towards increased tangential thinking, towards extrapolation. towards stress. How is this adaptation? What evolutionary advantage can this possibly have?
Or has our tangential forward thinking mind detached us from the evolutionary process?
A child born was left untethered…
No right or wrong, no sin or virtue, no morals or norms touched it’s mind……
It was not led to be this or that….to think this or that…..to believe this or that….
It’s naked thoughts ran their course…..
We could all shed our layers and be that child…
Light. Is it a wave? Or a particle? Electrons, are they energy? Or matter? The duality that is apparently ingrained in all things material pervades the ethereal as well. We live in a constant dilemma of duality. Consciously or subconsciously. The soul tries to free itself of its physical coordinates, succeeds, but slips again….as if tethered to the coordinates by gossamer strands…like a snake slithering out of its old skin but never quite getting out.
The duality of the self as manifested physically and the identity of self as a formless singular idea within, coexist in all of us at all times, consciously or otherwise.
We react to events, to ideas, mostly as we have been preordained genetically and trained environmentally. What if we never had any external influences shaping our thoughts? What would then our reaction be? Is it even possible to be so untethered? It is hard to answer that question since even imagining such a situation ultimately relies on our pre-existing thoughts. A predicament much like Schrodinger’s cat.
As one keeps up with the thought processes, the strands of duality do seem to disappear, albeit for few staggered moments and then snap back. This cosmic dance of duality and singularity will go on, as long as we inhabit this body, and as long as our brain is doing the thinking.
The thinking mind oscillates between the two entities, the boundary between them but a hazy mist. To categorize the visible, palpable present as mundane and the unseen and/or theoretical as profound is a tempting fallacy. Pondering over the present, this world, these surroundings is just as profound as pondering over the before and after, over the infinite.
Even as the mind grapples with the fact that we are not dissimilar to the person sitting next to us on the bus, or the bus itself, all but manifestations of the same energy, in various forms and energy levels, and strives to imbibe this oneness into the core of one’s being, the mind still snaps back to being who we are, a passenger on the bus, distinct from the next person on the bus and the bus itself. For as long as we live this life.
This blog is an ode to this cosmic dance. The dance between one’s journeys of the mind and journeys of the body. It acknowledges that the present is always here, either in plain sight or in essence, even when we have travelled far in our thoughts. For it is this life we are trying to decipher, the here and now.
Many plants can be propagated by grafting. Carefully break off a branch, rebury part of it in soil and voila, it sprouts roots, then shoots into a being of its own! Or is it? Had it stayed where it was, it would have been a part of the parent life form. However, now it is assumed to be distinct, a unique plant. Or could it just be called a transplant in space of the parent?
In essence so are we all, derivatives of our parents, transplanted in space and time. We grew from a cell each of our parents, differentiated into a whole. Not much different from the way organs develop from a single cell. Yet, the only difference is that organs remain inside the body while the progeny is expelled into a life form of its own.
We like to think of generations as unique and distinct. But are they? We are all but points on the line. You are but your parents on another plane.
The fractal of life.
The race is on. Global warming, carbon footprint, ozone depletion… The race is on – to save the earth. There is panic everywhere. Almost as much panic as plastic in a landfill, choking us, as we bleakly look everywhere for a solution. For a miracle cure that would assure us…that no, the earth will NOT change, that we will survive as a species forever, and that all will be well.
The race is on. To cure cancer, to cure chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, to cure that obscure chromosomal abnormality. The race is on, to fight very disease, to live longer, forever.
The race is on, to save every species from extinction, to save every human from annihilation. To make sure every life form, no matter what its shortcomings, survives. Longer. Until unable to bear the burden, the earth, and life itself, implodes.
The very things we do to survive in the short term will more than likely shorten the long term.
The race is on.
We are all acutely aware of our bodies, identify ourselves with our bodies. We think of our body as being one. A body. What if it isn’t?
Evolutionarily speaking, the very first multi-cellular organisms were but a colony of individual cells each of which could very well be ‘a’ body. But living together, they all formed ‘a’ new body, each individual unit performing all the functions every other unit did. However, gradually this group of cells started to speciaize so they did not have to do all the work but just some of the work such that if every unit was perfectly coordinated with the others, they could survive perfectly well and in fact better than if the individual units were by themselves. Thus evolved the complex life forms if we were to accept one of evolution’s most basic tenets.
Taking this a step or more further, we could indeed all be just that, a colony of cells cooperating in a perfectly synchronized way. Think about it. What if this were true? So then who are YOU now?
Who are we? No, really, who am I ?? The daughter of so and so, the father of this and that, living in such and such? Did I choose to? Did I decree to whom I would be born, when and where? Afterall that practically decided my entire fate – being born or rather encompassed in those particular coordinates. I am thenceforth jailed in the persona with this name and THAT is my identity. Really?
Is it even possible to break free of the identity you are born with? After all, your very being, your very cells, your very neurons… Your thinking is decreed by your genes and the environment you are encompassed in and the influences you are bombarded with.
So the dilemma of the naked soul. Shedding off of the layers is harder than it seems. There is always that ingrained note from the past, that bigoted view enshrined through generations, that song in the head that just doesn’t go away. But the soul rallies on, to shed them all. To be naked.