There are all kinds of people in this world. But the two kinds that come to mind today are these:
People who skim the surface
People who go deep
Here's a little more insight into what I am talking about and where I am going with this.
People who skim the surface are those that rarely see reality completely. They are only capable of seeing the obvious. They see with their eyes, and not with the eyes of their mind. They have readily brought into everything the world has been telling them about success, failure, right, wrong, good and bad.
When they stumble across a person who is relatively or absolutely silent, they will judge the person to be incompetent and a psychotic fool. With their pretentious mindset, and over-sized ego, they will start playing a psychologist, considering themselves to be saints and wise. Having been at the receiving end, I can say for sure that they preach absolute drivel. Besides, they haven't studied psychology to be able to understand the nuances of human behavior, and the subtleties of human potential. So, they really need to stop being lame rip-offs of preaching Buddhas or analyzing psychologists. The best way I can describe them is that they are very one dimensional. What they see and what they have been told is what they regurgitate into the world. They do not know how to contemplate and question. They are willfully ignorant and hypocritical.
People who go deep - They do not jump to judgments about a person’s intelligence and capabilities based on how much the person talks or prefers to stay silent. They do not go about recommending a “success formula” of being social and creating noise. They are skeptical of everything the world says, and they will doubt the veracity of what you say until you scientifically prove them to be wrong. They know that reality, and life is multidimensional with many intricate and subtle layers, and nothing ever is as obvious and as stupid as - being silent equals a failure and a social disorder.
Most of us need silence to fall asleep. Most of us need silence to study and get those fancy degrees that add a whole new level of conceit and deceit to our life. Most of us do our best work in silence - be it at self signed drudgery stations in corporate environments or other equally notorious posts. Most of us need silence when we pray and when we need to think. Then, why - when you encounter silence in the form of an introvert or a shy person - do you act like a condescending prick who deigns to judge, mock, act superior, and dispense advice like a goddamn snob and an acclaimed psychologist? Why do you have to put up that show of a verbal one-upmanship? Congratulations, you are an honorary member of - people who skim the surface - club.
Sometimes, life should have an undo button. Or, at the very least, the mind should have an undo button. We live in this world with our dreams, hopes, fears within us. Our unique thoughts, strengths and weaknesses make us who we are. But sometimes, for far too long, the prison of destructive habits and negative thoughts leave us zapped out. That is where a quick undo would certainly help.
The mind has a mind of its own, really. The mind controls, the mind creates reality, the mind deceives, the mind enlightens - rarely is the mind ever silent. There is someone I have known all my life. Her mind is a madhouse, she says. Everyday she gets up, she goes through a drill - a routine of sorts that needs her to be at a computer, and at a desk for 7-9 hours. It kills a part of her everyday to be where she has to be and to do what she has to do. She cannot quit - the price of quitting is too steep, and unforgiving. But, over the course of the 7 years that she's invested in this typical thing that everyone does - she has lost her spark, her spirit, her edge, her sanity, her curiosity, her inner voice and her inner child. She knows she needs to get out, and tread the path that has been awaiting her for ages. Will she take the leap?
The thing though that she asked me was: why can't she be sane, bright, semi-fulfilled, semi-happy, semi-enthusiastic doing what she was doing currently. Why was everyone else around her comfortable doing this thing, but she was miserable, and suffering and screaming her way through this. Why was she left out of the party where everyone else was burning the dance floor. Why is she the cursed one. Why is she at the wrong place, and they are at the right place. She’s fought hard for 25 years to be where she is, only to be left stranded in a swamp with a couple of flailing branches to her rescue.
She has grown so numb, so tired that all she wants is peace of mind. She wants to feel a warmth, and a sense of belonging and accomplishment. She wants to undo the programming of her mind, and retune her mental wavelength to love her 9 to 5 routine. Just like everyone else, she wants to thrive, feel ambitious and find her sweet spot in the world of cubicles. It would be so much easy if one day she woke up, and felt right at home in the corporate world. She asks me - is there no way to undo what the mind creates. I sit in silence, smile a sad man's smile for I know this girl oh so well - my reflection in the mirror, and my companion for life.
In my 31 years of life, I have only been bombarded by the concept that social intelligence and social networks are crucial to accomplish any and everything in life, and that man/woman is a social animal. I think, we are overdoing this notion, and we are underselling individuality.
Yes, we need friends, family and kindred spirits. We need a companion or companions. We need people who can inspire us, who can help us grow, who challenge us to improve, who love us, who critique our work, and who pull us up when we are down and out. We need people - more than anything - to share our legacy of life - our laughter, our problems and sorrows, our philosophy, and our pettiness. All that is understandable. But sometimes, we take our people neediness to a whole new level. Sometimes, we feel the need to please people, to fit in with people and to seek their approval and accolades. Sometimes our whole course of action or series of actions are based on this notion that we are obligated to the people in our life to be and do what they need and want us to be and do; that they are entitled to a part of you or whole of you just because they are a part of your life.
We live in a world with billions of people. That is a huge number. What astounds me is that our notions of success and failure are so universal and unified, and that we are so reluctant to branch out and explore for ourselves what the meaning of life and our existence is. We think and act - more or less - the same way. We dress the same, we chase after the same degrees and we die trying to fulfill the way of life prescribed by society. Why? How is it possible that on a planet with so many people, we are all so morbidly and scarily alike? Dont you see it? Its a problem when people feel like they have to be just like each other. That way of thinking breeds so much of intolerance, and ostracizing those that are different. Gay, lesbians, atheists and anyone who dares to express their individuality and eccentricity and personality are condemned to such brutal and harsh behavior that we should be ashamed of our goddamn need to be so alike and average and mundane.
Success does not need you to be a social animal. Success needs you to a real person, owe up to the truth of your existence, and to be brave and determined, and to work your brains, sweat and heart off, to sacrifice what is easy for what is right, and to work on your goal and dream for all of eternity. Do not forsake your freedom, and your intelligence just to be like everyone else and to belong where you don't fit in. The tunnel of conforming mindlessly does not have a light at its end, but the subtle truth that you have wasted your life.
Individuality is what gets you started on the path to your highest self. We live in a world, and are part of institutions and clubs where nobody talks about dreams and calling, spirituality and truth, honesty and peace of mind. What we have here is a factory that’s churning identical products with as identical specifications as possible, and any deviation is treated as a bad product with no future. All products that conform will sell and the ones that don't will not sell. You have to turn off the constant stream of input from the world, and go on a journey by yourself to explore the potential of your consciousness and to develop the habits and to seek experiences that will get you closer to being who you truly are, and to live your dream. The journey to growth and achieving your dreams is a lonely road, and if you are lucky, you might attract kindred spirits who share your vision. But you cannot go backwards - cling to people and their notions, society and its expectations, and achieve anything of value that your core and inner voice will be proud of.
Being an individual means honoring your consciousness, your eccentricity and your originality. For its individuals that change the world, and that rise above a mediocre legacy that society is perpetuating. I have come across many people who have commented on my inability to produce as many words as is the average rate prescribed by the society. I have been told I am weirdly shy - again a trait that society doesn't approve of. But not one person has ever acknowledged my thoughtfulness, my independence, my individuality. It took me all of last two decades to switch off their voice and to turn on my inner voice. I am not looking for understanding or acceptance from anyone. I have come to the conclusion that the world does not honor individuality, and that certain labels like extrovert, confident are more powerful than introvert and shy.
Its a sad legacy we have spawned - not only do we make it harder for someone to be their own unique, individual person, but we also condemn, mock and alienate them for their way of being. From my experience, I can say that the way to your calling and inner peace and the truth of your existence is to be an individual with your own ideas, eccentricity and inner voice, and to blaze your own crazy, weird trail to success and a meaningful life.
The psychology of our biology is intriguing. Can we use our species to construct a cosmic science of psychology? If the physics and chemistry across all of cosmos is universal, can the psychology of life be universal as well?
Whats the most intrinsic philosophy or core principle of life as we know? It adapts to its surrounding habitat. It evolves over millions and billions of years. It grows and proliferates and expands. And, finally, it becomes self-aware. We are not sure if self-awareness culminates to self-annihilation at some point in future, but it's a fairly reasonable speculation.
What does the blueprint of psychological development look like for self-aware beings? The earliest humans were engaged in a constant battle for survival. They were in the hunter-predator mode, but their life was also about learning, exploring and understanding their environment and figuring out their place in the cosmos. Contemplation, curiosity and action laced with daredevil and ego began to simmer deep in the pot of terrestrial consciousness. The unknown had to be figured out, and hunger and thirst had to be satisfied - raw animal instincts, and intelligence took mankind further up the food chain than any other species. Slowly, but surely, the human brain started to develop further to become more efficient, and much more intellectually sophisticated.
However, as the most evolved conscious beings, we tread the path of progress, and annihilation, biological evolution, and psychological collapse in equal measures. So, is it reasonable to conclude that where there is life, there is struggle, fight, greed, bloodshed, violence, and all kinds of suffering - physical, mental and psychological - to be found in abundance? Is life a mad dash to outdo, and outgrow each other and everything else? Is it an indispensable and exquisite feature of life to be forever steeped in the philosophy of ying and yang?
Survive, thrive, and self-annihilate - is that the inevitable circle of life in that specific order? Sure, enough - thats a reasonable conclusion if we observe our existence and evolution. Once upon a time, we fought for our food, and we lived in jungles. Soon, most of us didn't had to fight for our food, and most of us didn't live in remote wilderness. Further into the future, some of us grew into gluttons and wasted food, and some of us lived in obnoxious mansions and palaces. And there are some, that scrape by and live off bare minimum. And some, that fall in the spectrum between the two extremes of comfortably pleasant and uncomfortably unpleasant. We were never divided in our initial stage of evolution - all of us were fighting for food, shelter and other basic needs. Now, some of us have embarked on the pursuit of pleasure and instant gratification, some of us are still fighting hard to fulfill daily needs, and others are striving to strike a balance between fulfilling daily needs, thriving and pursuing pleasure.
This means - further down the path of evolution - more psychological variables are introduced. Survival, strive and thrive, pleasure, insatiable greed and madness. The simple equation of consciousness becomes more convoluted and subtle as new psychological variables are introduced. We could conclude that there is a certain separation of the beings that did not exist in their most primitive form. Life starts out simple, and unified and over time - it becomes complicated, and it separates and mutates.
Does this mean that the final culmination of life everywhere is complexity, disparity, and self-annihilation?
Words bite. If you are an organism that identifies as a human being, what is your excuse for uttering things that scar, trouble and pain others. The world is full of people who love to judge. Sure, go ahead and say that it's human nature to judge. And this trait to judge has survived after billions of years of evolution, so there must be a competitive advantage to being a judging individual - agreed. But we are definitely overdoing it, especially when it's about judgement without empathy, compassion, and understanding.
Why is contemplation and thought being ruthlessly and maddeningly replaced by cold, snap judgement and callous sneers? Using words that demean and disparage someone’s existence, or individuality has become commonplace. Its not in everyone’s nature to develop a tough skin, and ignore judgements, and words that cut. If you call the ones who are hurt easily and are affected by the unkind words of others as sensitive and a wuss, then that doesn't make you thick-skinned but just someone lacking empathy. And the ones who judge and can't keep their mouths shut when it comes to yapping away with a cold heart and a narrow mind are nothing but bullies.
There are all kinds of people in this world. People who smile relatively less; people who carry sadness in their heart and mind; people who talk less; people who are shy; people with mental and physical disorders and learning disabilities; people who practise minimalism; people who don't fit in; people who prefer solitude; people with anxiety issues - all of them are different from average, and the norm. And, that seems to be a reason enough to judge them as inferior or dumb or useless. Making snide comments reflects the intellectual capability and the level of humanity of the person making the judgement, and not of the person being judged. The thing that is interesting is that most of these people who are different are pretty harmless and low on self confidence. When they get out there in the world, and are subjected to ridicule, subtle contempt, and malicious jokes - they are forced to make their own judgements - that they live in a prejudiced, intolerant, inhumane world, but at least their judgement is not born out of half-assed thinking but is based on contemplation and experience. And that completes the vicious circle of judgement.
Is your current life a natural progression of the six year old you?
Most of us are tamed, subdued, pale version of our childhood selves. Somewhere down the line, willingly or unwillingly, we conformed to what was expected of us. We also began to have crazy ideas of trading our individuality for fitting in with those that seemed fit and powerful. We have succeeded in perpetuating a legacy that has nothing to do with the ideals and ideas of our inner child and our inner voice. Where we are is probably not where we belong but we do find ourselves here - uneasy and troubled.
Sure, its easy to say that the six year old you had not seen the world and had no idea of the true meaning of living in this world; that the six year old you did not have responsibilities and did not had to fend for herself; that she was not expected to comply with the collective consciousness of the society. But its worth contemplating: has the six year old you been on the path of evolution and growth to get to where you are - or has it been bluntly flailing and swaying to the notions of the world to become the "functional" adult that you are. What kind of habits, experiences, and reactions have led you to your adult self? And, would the six year old you cringe or admire you?
Reality is a strange river. Sometimes you are traversing upstream, and sometimes downstream. Sometimes you float easily, and sometimes you are exhausted with the effort of staying adrift. Sometimes the water is calm, and relaxing, and sometimes the torrent is turbulent and treacherous. Sometimes, the horizon has a rainbow, and bright sunshine, and sometimes it is dark and ominous. Sometimes, the river feels like a beatific experience, and sometimes a hellhole. Sometimes, you feel bright and radiant, and sometimes hideous, and pale. Sometimes, you are strong, and sometimes, weak. Sometimes, the water beckons, stirs and inspires, sometimes, it thwarts, blocks and leaves you reeling. Sometimes, the water glimmers, and sometimes its murky. Sometimes the river is comforting, and silent, and sometimes its eerie and ferocious.
The river feels confounding and surreal. You continue to swim, and float. And then, you see some of the others paddling their way in canoes. They smile, and wave at you. You wonder what's it like to own that machine. You have no notion or idea of where you are trying to get, but you are curious if being in the canoe might help your cause. So, you get yourself a canoe, and start paddling with rest of them. At the beginning, you feel great as if you have ventured out on a great adventure or a noble cause. You feel this sense of kinship, and a feeling of pride that comes with being accepted by a creed, and finding yourself a spot where you belong, and fit in. You feel the power, and exhilaration of commanding the canoe, and your body, and mind syncs in with the rhythm and movement of the canoe.
As you drift, you become aware of this persistent but subtle disconnect. You are not fully aware but your subconscious has begun to emit messages of unease, anxiety and discontent. Slowly, but surely, you feel restlessness making you a captive. You feel troubled, lost and stranded. Your blood feels like liquid pain, your mind a world of apathy and lethargy. You can't understand what’s going on, and why you have lose the drive. You keep going, regardless.
And then you hear loud noises. You jolt out of your silence, and tormented mind, and look around. The herd is organizing races, and you have been signed to participate as a functional member of the creed. Your first instinct, and your inner voice urge you to refuse, and stay away - but you are scared of being the only one to deny them what they expect out of you. So, you comply their wishes, and defy the sanctity, and truth of your soul, and mind. You see others discussing strategies, and forming teams. You see them getting excited and aggressive. You find yourself doubting and balking. You hear their loud cries of jubilation, and your core cringes. You work with them for hours, pretending to be one of them. You try to copy their style - you move your hands, and steer your body in a way that matches their form; you rest when they rest, and you work when they work. You try to be part of the camaraderie that ricochets in your ears, you try to be as competitive and fierce as they are, and you try to put your body, heart and mind into it.
By now, it's obvious to you, and you can no longer deny the truth of your inner voice. While, at the beginning, it was elegantly and subtly beseeching you to quit on this chaotic straying from a meaningful life, now it has begun to scream and holler. You can hear the shrill shriek piercing your skull, and you start to wince, and gasp and go all sad and moronic. The others gape at you with horror, and ask you to explain your ridiculous, inexplicably weird, unpleasant and counterproductive behavior. You look at them, pleading for empathy and understanding. They stare back at you with a ruthless eye judging you as a perennial fool and despicable idiot.
You realize you have no choice. You understand you have always had this choice. You let go of the paddle, and the canoe, you smile and in one swift movement - jump into the river. You find yourself struggling, and sinking - its been awhile since you have treaded the waters in your skin and blood. You despair, and claw, and then suddenly you hear a voice asking you to be calm, and keep your shit together; it says you will either rise or drown, and that it will all be okay. Your inner conflict and the struggles in your mind ease off, and you concentrate in the present. You become aware of your movement, and you instinctively beat your hands and legs to keep yourself afloat. You pant and gasp, cough and shake your head. And then you settle down into a movement and pace that suits you just fine. You look at what lies ahead of you - the mad race of the canoes, and you feel grateful to have broken away from that madness.
You look around, and there’s no one but you, and the steady rhythm, and the churning sound of the water. You gaze at the horizon and a beautiful sunset lights up the sky in shades of orange, pink, red and yellow. You smile but you have no idea why you are at so much peace. Soon, it gets dark, and you realize what’s going on. The stars blaze across the sky, leaving you dazzled and bringing to life the poet in you. You start working with words, and you feel the flow of a divine, transcendental movement. You feel like a thousand poets are whispering to you the most beautiful thoughts, and ideas, and you are being inspired to write about something profound and moving. You start writing, and living the life of a poet. The stars and the sky are your inspiration, and you drift away from the canoes and the sailors. As you craft and work on your art with a diligence and perfection close to an enlightened madness, one starry night, you see a flock of people in round wooden boats. They talk about the beauty of words, and the inspiring darkness and the fury of the storm, and of a lost soul, and of a respite found in the stars, and of a higher calling, and you know you have found your place in the strange river of life. You join the crew, and you have begun to live.
Some interesting books across different genres.
The Time Machine by H G Wells
Contact by Carl Sagan
Gateway by Frederick Pohl
Horns by Joe Hill
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
The Monstrumologist Series by Rick Yancey
Misery by Stephen King
Dracula by Bram Stoker
Little Women by Louise May Alcott
Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louise Stevenson
Outsiders by S E Hinton
East of Eden by John Steinback
1984 by George Orwell
Jonathan Livingstone Seagull by Richard Bach
Love Story by Dr Eric Seagal
One Day by David Nicholls
For whatever reason, consciousness arose and evolved in our universe. There are speculations that consciousness is a way for the universe to contemplate its existence and evolution, which makes for a poetic and philosophical logic. The big questions of why life exist and why the universe exist have not been answered by science. The Big Bang which created our universe is a story that began 13.8 billion years ago. Everything that exist now did not exist prior to the Big Bang. So, what existed before Big Bang? Again, science hasn't come up with a clear answer.
We live in a causal and deterministic universe, or so science claims. Causal means every effect has a cause, and only if this is true, we can determine the future state of our universe from the present state. So, if causality is true, and every event must have a cause, what event, then, led to the Big Bang? Some scientists state that Big Bang is the starting point, and everything prior to that is a moot point because science is a way to understand the laws of the universe, and not necessarily to answer questions like what caused Big Bang, and why did Big Bang occur in the first place, these might be questions for philosophy. And, then there are other scientists that claim that our universe was born from a singularity which in turn is the result of a universe that collapsed on itself. And then there are some scientists that feel confident that someday a unified theory of everything will answer these questions.
To summarize - we do not know why consciousness exist. We are also not sure if there are other forms of consciousness out there. We might be rare, or the cosmos could be teeming with life.
So, what is the best way or a reasonably good way to honor your consciousness? I think one good way is by pushing the mental, physical and spiritual frontiers which means constantly striving to do the things that lead to physical, mental and spiritual growth. Often our pursuits in life are determined by what is expected out of us. When we chase after money and degrees, we might be sacrificing our spiritual way of life. It's upto us to figure out how we are going to contribute to our physical, mental and spiritual well being.
Blackholes have always fascinated me, and I am always hungry to know more about them, and always itching to talk about them. So, lets discuss.
What are blackholes?
A blackhole is a region of space-time that once entered cannot be exited. It means if you fall into a blackhole, you will never get out of it.
Why are blackholes one way portals?
Because of gravity. The escape velocity required to leave a blackhole is greater than the speed of light, and since nothing moves greater than the speed of light, anything inside a blackhole is doomed to stay inside - even light.
Why is the escape velocity so high and gravity so high for a blackhole?
Escape velocity is high if gravity is high, and gravity is high when space-time curvature or mass density is high.
What causes high mass density?
Death of a star.
What does death of a star mean?
It means nuclear fusion within a star stops, and the atoms of a star start collapsing and falling inward towards the center of the mass.
What is nuclear fusion?
In the interiors of a star, hydrogen atoms combine to form helium atoms, and in the process they emit radiation. The helium atoms combine to form carbon, oxygen, and these combine to form higher elements like iron. The thermal radiation creates pressure that balances the inward pull of gravity, and prevents the star from collapsing inward. However, when a star runs of hydrogen atoms, the pressure and radiation needed to stop gravity doesn't exist anymore, and the atoms start rushing towards the center of mass, and the star begins to enter its death throes.
What else is there to know about blackholes?
A blackhole has a singularity at its center. A singularity has infinite mass density, and laws of physics break down in the face of a singularity. The boundary of a blackhole is called event horizon, and once anything crosses the event horizon, it is pretty much doomed to hit the singularity. If a spaceship were to observe your journey towards a blackhole, it would only ever see you approaching and hovering near the event horizon, it will never be able to see your rocket cross the event horizon as time will slows down, and light is unable to escape.
The event horizon in a way is a time machine. Lets say if I was to hover near the event horizon for ten earth years, I would have aged only by a few minutes or days depending upon the size of the blackhole. That is because time near a high gravity object slows down, and so does light. The singularity of a blackhole could be an entry point into another universe as per one scientific hypothesis.
Cosmic censorship hypothesis by Roger Penrose states that there are no naked singularities in our universe and that nature conceals every singularity with an event horizon. This helps preserve the deterministic nature, and causality in the universe, since a singularity that can be observed will alter causality and the ability to determine space-time behavior.
The Hawking radiation, named after Stephen Hawking, is the only radiation that leaks out of a blackhole. As per quantum mechanics, particle-antiparticle duo are generated in space-time, and when this combination is generated in the gravitational field of event horizon, one of the virtual particles might fall into the blackhole, causing the other particle to become a “real” particle and escape from the blackhole as a radiation. This is Hawking radiation but it is different from thermal radiation in the sense that it does not give any information about the object that emitted it. The only information available about the objects that made the blackhole is its mass, charge and angular momentum. This indicates that information within a blackhole is forever destroyed, and this is called as the no-hair theorem.