Monday, July 16, 2018

Find the Sun

Will you live to see ten thousand sunsets?
Will you let your feet carry you to strange and wonderful lands?
Will you stand tall and hold on to your dreams when the ground around you fall away?
Will you fight the good fight and rise above it all to find the sun?

Will you stay humble and seek the riches of the heart?
Will you find the keeper of your dreams?
Will you live to spend ten thousand nights with her?
Will you share with her all the secrets of your soul?

Will you laugh and cry, overcome and let it overpower?
Will you anger and get angered, compromise and confront?
Will you touch, smell, see and hear all that there is
Then move on without a second glance, will you live?



Rise above to find the sun.

Monday, April 30, 2018

The Nautilus Shell


The scientist willed himself to open his eyes one last time. Through the window in his rickety old room He could see the beauty of Gods creation, he could understand its intricacy as much as a human mind would allow. He gave thanks to the creator one last time, he understood it was through him all things were made. He remembered Jesus, the begotten son who payed for the sins of the world with his life so that mankind may stand once more victorious. As his breath left him, he felt the cold winter brewing outside his cabin enter his withered old body, darkness surrounded him. On December 13th of the year 2047 at 4.56 PM Melachai died.

As suddenly as a light bulb fills a darkened room with light at the flick of a switch, the darkness that surrounded Melachai left him, taking the pins of cold he felt with it. He was now basked in a warm light that hide every other detail that may or may not be about him. Malachai realized though he existed in this light, he had no body to sense, he had no eyes to see, no ears to hear nor did he have a nose to smell. Yet, surprisingly he felt whole.

His thoughts raced back to a memory of his youth. He was a 16 year old boy, he was on vacation in Sri Lanka, an island country he slowly fell in love with and had spent quite a number of his years calling it home. He had left the hotel his family was staying at on one early morning and found himself walking along a quiet stretch of beach. His feet landed on something hard, as he removed his feet to take a better look he saw it. A nautilus shell half jotting out of the sand. He picked up the shell to admire its beauty. It was pearl white in color and was perfectly created mimicking the golden ratio us humans intuitively find pleasing. A thought occurred in him, the eyes that were singing to him the beauty of the shell he held in his hand were not entirely truthful. There was no color or sight outside the mind that was perceiving it. Here was a electro-magnatic wave, a slice of the full spectrum emitted by the sun that had traveled 150 million KM to reach earth. It fell on the calcium rich exterior of the nautilus shell, the protons found in the wave interacted with the atoms of the shell, loosing energy at various intensities based on the composition of the shell. It is these fluctuations of energy that our eyes detected as color and shape. He understood that similarly There was no sound, there were air compression waves. He wondered if humans are even capable of recognizing reality as it truly is. He thought that even if what our ears, eyes, nose and touch were telling us was not completely true the streams of thought that arose in our mind as a result of the input from our senses was still meaningful because all that one felt and all that one thought was all that one was, it was one’s soul.

So was it his soul that was here basked in light? Malachai didn’t know but he thought it so. He had no body to sense, he had no eyes to see, no ears to hear nor did he have a nose to smell. Yet, he felt whole.

A figure materialized in front of him, he struggled to focus on the figure but there were no features for his mind to cling onto. He felt uneasy, then suddenly the features collapsed into the figure filling it to be his father.

His father who he had not seen in many years stood clothed in a 3 piece suit holding a brown brief case in his left hand. It was a suit his father wore often when Melachie was a child. He wore a face that was radiating in youthfulness.

“Father, where am I? Am I dead?” Malechie opened the dialog.

“Death is but a step in the Journey my son, an important step but a step nevertheless. You are safe here and you have done good.

Your father is proud of the life of faith you have lived. You were able to fulfill the life I had destined for you, in doing so you were able to grow wise and achieve all your hearts desires. You loved your kin and above all you loved me.

Your time on earth has come to past. Are you satisfied with the life you’ve lived?”

Moments of Melachies life ran through his consciousness, Memories of triumph and lose, joy and pain, love and anger. As these moments ran through him at blinding speed he could understand as clearly as the first rays of the sun christen a new day, that these moments both pleasing and displeasing shaped him to be the man he was meant to be. The man who could fulfill the promises he had made to his heart. He saw how these moments chipped away the unneeded parts, straightened the crooked places and added what was needed to the mix so that he was that exact man who would be able to win over the love of his life, so that he was that exact man who would have the internal fortitude and drive to succeed where others failed, so that he was that exact man who would go on to provide a safe and nourishing home for his children and see them grow up to be realized and without want. As this realization took root in him, the stream of memories subsided and Melachie became once more aware of his father standing in front of him.

“I was always fascinated with the connectedness of everything, naturally I wanted to pursue science. As scientists we were taught to explain the world we live in with causative and correlative relationships, cause and effect. Too often in my life I saw others get caught up in trying to explain every aspect of their life and existence using the crude tools of science.

Pure reductionist and determinists believe the parts make up the whole and that if one understands the parts one can predict and alter the whole. It is these people I have seen who find it hardest to grasp creation. I found it ironic that those who are waist deep in evidence of creation are the very ones who are unable to follow the bread crumbs all the way back home. Human knowledge continued to expand during my life time and every so often we were be able to peal away another layer of ambiguity. Newtonian physics at the time was thought absolute yet it was expanded by Einsteins theories, physics was incomplete. one day human mind may even fathom a grand unifying theory that will tie the severed parts of physics together. Even if humans do live to see this day there will always be questions science will struggle to answer about reality. Therefore, instead of coming to conclusions based on philosophies, ideologies theories and sciences that are incomplete, I often wished they would recognize the discoveries of science as proof of Gods grand design for that is what it was. But it was not for me to guide them.

I often wondered about the purpose of this this life that was given to me. As I grew old I thought it to be to have experience love, in all its forms. To be loved for what you mean to another. To love oneself for what one truly was, to find another to love and to be loved for who you are by that person. To love mankind and to love creation. By experiencing all these forms of love we learn to love God above all. 

Father, basked in this comfortable warm light, having seen you, heard you, felt you I now know we are, all that we are is you.

I am satisfied.”




I love them that love me, and those that seek me early shall find me. Proverbs 8:17


Sunday, September 3, 2017

Making sense of "Like Tears in Rain" monologue in Blade Runner

Okay so everyone is like blade runner is an amazing movie, you’ve watched it and yeah it was decent enough for an 80s movie but what’s the big deal with that “Like tears in rain” speech at the end?

The point of this post is to try and make sense of this one sided gibberish jabber that takes place at the climax of the movie between its protagonist and antagonist.

Disclaimer: If you haven’t watched the movie or understood the premise and philosophical questions the movie is discussing don’t bother with this read. Some of it is not great dinner time conversation topics, so I will not touch them, not even with a ten-foot pole.

Let’s first watch this scene in question,



In short, leading up to this point in the movie, the androids that have stolen away to earth seeking to extend their 4-year lifespan, have learned that it’s not something that can be done. Rick Deckard who has pursued these criminals, comes face to face with their leader Roy Batty at the climax of the movie and finds himself in a bit of a tricky situation, dangling away from his end. To his surprise he finds Batty saving his life. Batty goes onto give a short final speech before meeting his end.

“I’ve seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost, in time, like tears in rain. Time to die”

To the untrained mind, the first three sentences of this speech may seem like nonsensical gibberish, with no plot value or merit. These three sentences are then followed by the key piece of information that allows one to decipher the gibber. This key piece of information being, the memories Batty recounts at his time of death are to him his most significant memories, as it would be for any one of us.

These most significant memories of Batty, who has lived a life of a fruit fly(supposedly having a lifespan of 4-6 weeks) are immature and insignificant. They’re not the type of memories you or I would like to recall when death comes knocking on our door. The memories of merry made with friends and loved ones, memories of passion, memories of good we have done for others.

Batty who has lived a mere 4 years, engrossed in trying to break the chains that bound him to his fate has not truly lived, he was not allowed to, he never had the time to. Yet, as the central premise of the movie is to present the viewer the moral question “is a dog’s life as significant as its master's”, which the movie allows the viewer to draw up their own conclusions to, the monologue works. It works as effectively as a sledgehammer in motion coming to a sudden violent stop, with the purpose of crushing a watermelon placed between it and solid ground.

Now watch this scene again, but this time with this new realization and see the utter bewilderment and inability of Deckard to process what he is experiencing(to digest what he has been struggling to accept throughout the story). See the sheer conviction with which Batty delivers his most sacred of memories and the validity he attaches to them, as in his mind they truly are valid and real as the rain falling down on both him and Deckard. Pay attention to the symbolism, feel the score and appreciate the color palette because they all work to deliver this central message.

Do android's dream of electric sheep? If they are, and you are to deny them of its validity what will you do?

I can't give you an answer to the question just like the movie never gave us one, but I will say that with some matters in life staying on the fence is not an option everyone can afford, we must get down to one side or the other.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Hevel

The traveler had finally come face to face with the man he had been looking for. The quest he had been on looking for this mysterious man had finally come to a sudden end, there he was few yards in front of him, plowing earth.

He was a tall, slim man with a long head of hair neatly tied up in a bun, it was beginning to gray. He wore a white shirt haphazardly tucked into a pair of blue denim jeans, on his feet were working stocks. From the stories the traveler had heard about this man, he should be at least 60 years old yet the man that stood in front of him radiated with a youthfulness which even his 38 year old self did not possess.

It was finally time to ask the question he had failed to answer himself, the question that haunted him throughout his adolescence until it became the all important quest of his life. A question he was sure this man could answer, With trepidation, he strung together the words that formed the question.

“They say you’re the wisest of all the seekers that have walked among us... They say your grasp of sciences is not short the best of academics back at home. Are you Malachai? Melachai from old sussex, son of Ruth and Dave?”

The traveler's words hung in the air for what seemed like an age.

“Melachai who wrote two brilliant papers on quantum uncertainty before dropping out of a doctorate at Cambridge?”

There was no answer, yet the traveler continued with his inquiry. This time the words came out in a steady flow.  
  
“They say you’ve lived up here for the last 25 years in contemplation, You must surely know the meaning of this existence? Is the glass half empty or half full? Is there a purpose or is everything we’ve known, felt, been and understood just a statistical anomaly, something that was bound to happen because the numbers are so unfathomably big?”

The traveler found this man's gaze resting on him now. He felt he was being gauged, dissected and analyzed. Seconds flew by, yet no answer came. The traveler thought he may not even get a response from this man he had searched for a better part of a year. He was going to go back empty handed just like every other time.

Then suddenly the man spoke,

“It can be whichever one you want it to be, you choose. Just don’t spend too much time making up your mind.”  

Hearing this, the traveler felt anger bubbling up in him, did I climb up this god forsaken mountain to hear that crap, he thought. He held back the anger and responded with the calmest voice he could muster.

“What’s that suppose to mean?”

“hmm.. I see you need a few more words to understand but I have nothing more to say than what I’ve already said. Follow me.”
           
The man got to his feet and started making his way up a rocky path that lead to a small hut few yards up the mountain. After a moment of reluctance the traveler pursued. As they moved up the mountain, the man started explaining,

“It can be whichever you want it to be, the glass I mean, but that is irrelevant because that’s not the question you want me to answer, the answer you want me to make you understand. You want to know what is the meaning of life? especially of the one that belongs to you. You want to understand the singular, objective reality”

“The answer to your question is as incomprehensible to us as feeling the curvature of the earth through the soles of our shoes. There is a meaning but it eludes us everytime we get close with our instruments and theories. The greatest of all the fools is he who waits on a singular all encompassing meaning when it’s unattainable in a 100 lifetimes. This, my friend, is the only truth you should know about what you seek.”

“It’s a truth that can be understood with multi-million dollar machinery, in the solitude of a clear mind or on a mindful walk down a coastline. A destination that can be reached in many ways.”

“Look at the greatest of your sciences, Newton came along and brought to our understanding some characteristics of gravity. With this new found knowledge we could accurately predict movements of our celestial relatives using his equation , but this new understanding brought with it new mysteries, we could now explain why the earth goes around the sun the way it does but we didn’t know how gravity could instantaneously work on the two celestial bodies separated by 150 million kilometers. It took another scientist to bring to our understanding that gravity was bending the fabric of our 3 dimensional reality, spacetime. What we were seeing as the effect of gravity was the movement of objects through this curved space in a straight line. With the resolution to Newton’s question, yet again more mysteries were served on a silver platter for the scientist to bend their heads around. Maybe one day someone would bring to our understanding why us; 3 dimensional beings cannot fathom a 4 dimensional reality and how it can be done if need be but even then there will still be new mysteries to be unraveled. So has it been, so it ever will be.”

“Let’s continue our exploration through an allegory, take two individuals let’s name them Smith and Jo, they are as identical as they can be in physique, socioeconomic standing and other aspects, all that separate them is the manner in which they make sense of their reality. Imagine both of them are being ridiculed by society in a subtle manner because of some characteristic they both possess, or lack. They are both made aware of this fact, Smith decides to cope with this sudden turn of events with denial and continues on as if nothing had happened. Jo, decides to understand why this is so and then rectify the situation, this decision takes Jo through a decade-long bitter journey of discovery, Jo finally comes to understand why, but finds the power to rectify the situation is beyond his abilities. Ironically, Jo finds that all he can do is to deny and continue on as if nothing had happened just as Smith did decades ago, the price he had paid for understanding was decades of his life he could have spent elsewhere.”

“This is the truth we must understand when we pursue answers to the unknown, sometimes it is within our capabilities to find the answers to our questions, sometimes the questions are much too great for mere mortals, we can only chisel out a piece of the answer, never the whole. Either way, the price of knowing is paid in time.”

“When we have so few meaningful divisions of time to give away, what we should be doing is finding where it can be best spent. Let the meaning of existence elude you, instead look for that someone who perfectly distracts you from this thirst, find her. Find work that best engage you, spend the time that’s given to you as wisely. Be grateful for all that you receive and never forget that however way you wish to look at it, life is a still a gift.”

The two men had made their way to the hut.

“Take a seat, my friend, I am the Melachai you seek. Let me make you a cup of tea”, said the man pointing to a rickety old wooden chair as he disappeared into the hut.  

The traveler wearily sat down on the chair and waited for Melachai’s return..  

Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Drift

With arms stretched wide open, we cross the threshold of shelter to the bitterness of the unknown. Hoping and wishing, we drift out. Holding onto our dreams we struggle and at times we stray. Maybe some find all that they ever dreamt of but most of us would settle for meaning instead.

Some find it in the embrace of another. Some find it in gold, failing to see the error in their way till it’s too late. For few the meaning comes much too late, having nothing to hold onto they get carried further into the abyss, having only the ghosts of their pasts to reconcile, they burn, they disintegrate.  



“The price of getting what you want is getting what you once wanted.” - Neil Gaiman

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Store away the best throw away the rest

Some of us are more open to new experiences than others, we’ve all come across people who refuse change and avoid trying anything new for the life of them. Is it in our nature to fear change? To reject what is unfamiliar? Maybe. Through my experiences, I’ve come to learn that it’s foolish to reject a thing based completely on what the majority think about it. Let me try to explain. 

I am a believer that one must use one’s own faculties to evaluate and judge the merits and suitability of an act. Some of us reject things based on what can be seen at the end of the spectrum that is closest to what we are familiar with. Let’s take the relatively harmless topic of anime to explore this premise. Is it considered a non-substantial art form? Do most anime have stupid story lines or lack depth? An average appreciator of movies would say yes and wouldn't think too far before labeling the whole genre as garbage, but do you get exceptions to this generalization? Absolutely, studio ghibli offerings like 'spirited away', serials like 'cowboy bebop' or 'avatar' are great examples where anime delivers compelling stories that address deep subject matter. Now, if one dismissed anime altogether based on its generalized classification, because of the norm or because of some social stigma the medium may carry, then they have lost the chance to experience what ever good and unique that only anime has to offer them. 

This is true to many such negative classifications in society. If one was to inquire closely, they would find exceptions to the classification but as a whole, they would find the classification is just. One must not forget that society is one that is best suited to the majority and as such these classifications should be accepted as truths even if they don't hold true to everyone if one wishes to be part of society. In fact, there are many reasons as to why these negative classifications ring true in society. Two most common reasons seem to be the difficulty to weed out the bad parts from the good and the fear of deviating from the norm and the consequences of the act.

As true as there are almost always exceptions to societal classifications is the fact that societal classifications are almost always mostly valid, meaning though there are exceptions to the case as an inferred truth they do hold up. If we go back to peering this silly topic using anime as an example, one could make the argument that it would make more sense to invest one’s time in watching a genre of movies that have a higher ROI? that for every ‘spirited away’ you stand to find you would waste your time going through 20 disappointments.


‘Hey man.. that’s not cool! You might suck at finding the good one’s but i’m a pro bruh.. you need to correlate the imdb scores with what the experts are saying in the usual sites and you know.. you need to get that zing when you watch the short. It all adds up. It’s like a science really. Don’t be hating.’



Well, the dude makes a good point, but what if you're someone who has lived under a rock and have never heard of IMDB or the experts and these usual sites the dude is talking about? What if you were born without the ability to zing(if it is something you're born with)? All valid concerns, and from my experiences, I’ve come to realize that behind many such negative classifications there is a difficulty of weeding out the bad parts from the good and that It is a difficulty faced by the majority of those who've given it a go.

So do classifications built up on the past experiences of a majority serve any purpose? Absolutely, simply put it saves most of us from making bad decisions. These classifications though they have come to be through the evolution of society, once established becomes truths, the expected and the norm.The standards that must be upheld. They become part of the psyche of what the philosopher Martin Heidegger called the ‘they self’. ‘They self’, the template members of society are expected to conform to but according to Heidegger hinders the member from being the authentic self he or she can be.  

Classifications do for the most part serve the purposes they're supposed to serve. Not all of us are capable of weeding out the bad or have the internal fortitude to withstand the repercussions of deviating from the norm. Attempting to do so without the needed faculties lead to disastrous outcomes. To complicate the matter further, most of us are ill equipped to assess the limits of our faculties. So in short, the man who travels the well-known road is far less likely to get lost.

So then what is the point of this discourse? The point is the importance of classifications and norms for a society to function and how they come to be. A man who truly understands the mechanics at play would not be too quick to judge someone who appears to diverge from the norm. Further they will not fear diverging from the norm just because of an unfavorable classification, they would instead assess the suitability, the risks and benefits of the act, rationally and come to their own conclusions, gathering pearls of wisdom from places most may not even bother to look. Store away the best throw away the rest!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Two Kinds of People

While reading up for a paper I have the good fortune(sigh) of having to write, tucked away in a comfortable little inn on a corner of galle fort, I stumbled upon this quote,

“There are two kinds of people in the world, an old joke goes: those who believe that everything can be divided into two categories – and the rest of you.”  - Daniel Pink

I'm not sure how original a quote it is but it sums up one big problem I see in soft sciences' like psychology(another post on the topic). That is, It's insatiable need to define, categories and label things atomic. When I was reading up some of the papers and such that I had to read I couldn't help but think what a mess some of these people have made? Do they really believe all of what they have written or are they just like most of us who are doing the best we can do? I choose to believe the later, that they know that "everything" cant be made sense with a one size fits all mentality, that they are just doing the best they can with whats in hand.

Many truths have an "if" attached to them at the end. It's apparent, at least to me that the best of scientists are those who know this nature of science at heart.


the scientist