Why So Complicated?

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Try, fail and try again. Trial and error is the basis of evolution. But is the concept limited to biological workings? I want to divulge my own perspective on evolution and its siblings, who as a family relentlessly brings the world into states of greater complexity.

To do this, I reuse the term evolution and let this new evolution have two characteristics

  1. For each version of evolution, there is a group of subjects that manifest and disappear (live and die).
  2. Transcending those lives, is a concept which is made more complex by this process.

The eternal evolution

Take stars, for instance. Brown dwarves live long lives, blue giants short lives. They all explode eventually and spread dense matter that ends up in other solar systems. That is their interaction. The concept that evolves, is the distribution of elements. Our solar system is of the third generation, which means the elements we are made out of, have been involved with two stars before. Otherwise, there’d only be hydrogen and helium. This evolution of matter made life possible.

On our own planet, then, you eventually got the biological evolution, the prime example. It started out as evolution of structures: inevitably, only the stable ones remained. Then, when life was truly starting to form, producing bodies and movement, competition took over. The changes that evolution made on its subjects, varied greatly as the complexity rose. At first, you would see genes multiplying, forming two body parts where there used to be one. In time, the genetic “programming language” was extended, and changes could happen in more ways. More interestingly, they could surface as preferences, desires, feelings, things that were previously unknown and irrelevant for early evolution. Continue reading »

Here and There

DSC05408_wpapAt times, I fear for my existence. In several situations, my judgment has been guided by the fear of losing what I truly am. Such a threat, real or imaginary, can approach me from many borders, and each of them has its own defender in the court of my judgment. In conversation with the other parties of the court — the selfless and the neutral — they make up the actions and choices I am able to make. I want to talk about one of these borders and its defender. It is the story of one of the pieces of me, its nature and its threatened existence.

Only the present exists.” Believing it is one of the best ways to move on after a painful memory. It is true, but from a certain perspective. All the truths about life cannot be seen in a single perspective. The full picture is arranged like in a kaleidoscope. That’s because we are arranged like kaleidoscopes. So I’m not saying you ought to pick out the pieces you like best and stitch them together into a patchwork of the world you’d like to see. No truths change, but some are true only to parts of you.

There may be universal truths as well, I suppose, but they don’t tell us what we need to live. Perhaps we’re all based on the principles of science, both those we have and those haven’t figured out yet. I don’t think so, but even if we are, we are simultaneously unable to process those truths into something with the insight and humanity of simple common sense. And even in the most concrete science, complex phenomenons need their own explanations different from the basics. Everything has its scope. That is why the apparent ambiguity of truths about life never troubles me. We are glued together by so many different complex workings, their scopes will not overlap, and they cannot understand eachother. But we can understand all of them and act on each of them where it is valid.

So, only the present exists, but here’s another turn of the kaleidoscope that makes the next point clearer. This turn resonates deeply with other actors in the great scheme of my being, and it says: “only through the past do we exist.

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The point is about growth. I came into this world with some parts and a machinery ready. Then I grew and became what I am through interacting with my surroundings. I involved myself, dealt myself out; I spread my roots, and they brought back nutrition. On that, I grew, reshaped, created myself. I still do.

Inevitably, I became what I fostered on. I didn’t just take and exploit wherever I went; where my roots are, I am. This is how nature designed me on many levels. In the vast principles of nature, giving is taking, living is dying, and growing is shrinking. We are allotted no more than what is, and so is everyone else, before, during and after us.

I am what I am. But not all I’ve fostered on, is physically present. My roots go further than this world, because this world wasn’t the only one I grew in. Effectively, I’m not entirely of this world. My roots cannot be denied. If it wasn’t for the vitality and life that definitely courses through me, some parts of me would be just as real as the stories they were created in. This has provided me with a unique insider perspective.

Aren’t stories real as well? Their conflict with our science is irrelevant, for the value of a story lies in the emotions it brings. All that stories are, all the wonder we envisage through them, is concieved right here, in ourselves. So perhaps the only difference between wondrous stories and real life, is that real life happens to have chosen a seemingly boring configuration. We’re able to be so much else, we can life and feel in so many other ways. Without the stories, I might not have been able to know that. Knowing the stories, having the imagination, I life with the frustration of what is and what isn’t real. My own extended existence, incompatible with the confines of our concrete cave.

I despair because I’m a dreamer trapped among scientists and businessmen. But in moments of clarity, when I can break free, I realize that stories have seldom been so prominent, so numerous. I’m definitely not the only one existing around here. Many of us know what we are deep inside, and how much more that is than what we have been able to be in real life. That is the very reason we have stories in the first place.

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I will always have one foot in other worlds. It’s what makes me, me. These worlds, and the past, is one and the same. For all the stories I have grown in, I found in the past, and the past is also but an imagination, now that it has gone. It might not exist physically any longer, but mentally, the past is a very real place, where we find many of the things that define us. Whatever we are.

Maintenance

ReflectionsWhat does the world really feel like, and what is the most true way to feel? In the next paragraphs, I conclude that this difference in feeling, this paradox of the human soul, disappears when we realize what is really going on.

Not so rarely, I find myself engulfed in some specific emotional landscape. It can be the set of emotions found in a specific book, the strings pulled by a certain album, or even the emotions brought forth by the nature around me. While in this landscape, the similar emotions within me stand out more clearly and are easier to access. I all but settle down in the surroundings and become a part of the experience.

Like all works of art, emotional landscapes have an array of emotions, some more present than others, and put together in a unique way. So while no landscape relates to one single emotion, different landscapes can take up wholly different sections of the great continent of emotions. Also, just as a musical piece can be complete in and of itself, so can a landscape feel complete and un-lacking. In effect, two completely seperate landscapes can both feel like the “most real” one.

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The Zealotry of Emotions

DSC02243Having seen the lack of magic in science, I round up my investigation by looking at the tragic application of science where it should have no power: humanity. Scientism appears as a minimum, a reduced world that nobody can dispute. But how can you live your life believing that you hardly even exist?

(Follow-up to The Infancy of Science.)

Some people chase extraordinary meaning in the world around them, just to end up lost and come back disappointed. Meanwhile, those who consider themselves down-to-earth sit contently and preach about the lack of inherent value in the world. We simply need to acknowledge this lack, to stop looking and be happy with what is, and all will be better.

So what is? Who can tell us; what instance has the authority to set the standards for what we can allow ourselves to believe in? Well, if we have been let down by spirituality and religion, is seems only fit to turn to science as the supreme authority of answer-providing. I don’t know about you, but I have a problem with this solution. A big problem.

When running from a liar, is it more fitting to move in with a psychopath?

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The Infancy of Science

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In this entry and the next, I look at the relationship between science, magic… and what we think they are. First, I reveal the ignorance of science as it does not care about first-hand knowledge and emotional experience, but only theory and description. Are not our very emotions a result of these processes which we treat with such logical indifference?

Different humans can have very different perspectives on things. In many conflicts, it’s never enough to just point out the facts and agree upon them. That’s not what those conflicts are about, and yet some people just won’t understand that. Why?

Well… fact, or information, is power. This has — naturally — given much power to information. And what is information all about? I’ll tell you. It’s about 0 and 1. Black and white. North and south. Jedi and Sith. All information is either valid or invalid. Information, the great power of our time, doesn’t care about anything else.

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Solace of the Familiar

This is the inconvenient truth  that sometimes, bad things happen, and if you don’t realize it, it will only get worse. Sometimes we even have to save ourselves from ourselves. That is when we must stand up to our own feelings and relieve ourselves of involuntary torments. That, or live our lives in fear and distress.

Throughout life, people bond. Not only with eachother, but perhaps even more so with all they experience. We bond with memories, with emotions, habits, norms and with ourselves.

Bonds form, and bonds break. Many break because they were weak, and they make space for greater bonds, and we do not even notice. Meanwhile, some bonds are much stronger, and will become a background for our life for a long time to come. New bonds will be made on top of these strong bonds, and rely on them to hold.

They do not always hold. Even strong bonds can break; and whether they connected us to other people, to a daily life we used to have, to our place of birth or even to a scent or a color — the feeling is much the same. The difference lies only in the nature of the bond and what we can do about it. Naturally, the death of someone we know is hardest because we have the strongest bonds with them, and nothing can bring them back.

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Beyond the Origin: An Earthy Perspective

The modern opinion is cynical towards the world, expecting to recieve no compassion or meaning — because after all, the universe is a faceless machine, its gears the cold logic of physics and probability. I battle this opinion under its own terms, showing that emotions like love cannot merely be explained by their apparent purposes, but must have been present since the conception of this world.

Humanity. We live and we persist because it is inevitable. In this world of change and peril, only that which persists, lives.

Our highly developed consciousness, our imagination, made us persist. Our hope in better days, in great wonder, made us persist. Because of them, we still exist to this day.

And because they made us persist, these parts have persisted in us. That is the only reason we have them. If the world had challenged us in different ways, we would have developed different abilities. In another world, we might be unable to learn to swim, climb trees… or feel happy.

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The Lie

Go to artist's pageArtists make the world into something it’s not, giving people false hope and wrong impressions of what the world is. At least, that is what some might say. How do you defend such an argument, if even possible? I try to locate the true meaning behind art, finding that it is not to illustrate places and events, but to explore the human soul.

Photographers find the exact angle and composition where the beauty is the clearest, and then they doll up the scene in Photoshop afterwards, making it into something that can’t even be found. Writers also give us prime examples and leave out the mundanity that truly fills our lives. And musicians hog the well-used beats and harmonies of the rare moments in life. Art, in effect, makes us disappointed in the world.

The world has no beauty. Continue reading »

The Challenge

Don’t fall down into ignorance when there’s something that needs your attention. Doing nothing is also a choice, and sometimes the worst one, but oh, so easy to make.

The world is exactly what we make it into.

Anything we choose to nourish, it will grow.

And anything we choose to neglect, it will wither.

Neglect — and the loss is leads to — is the easiest to accomplish. It requires no hard work, it needs no grand plans and ideals. Do nothing, and withering will come to the world all on its own. Let it stay, and it will set root. Rely on it, and it will grow.

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Bridge to Terabithia

We are sometimes afraid of ourselves, conforming to what feels safe just to lessen our anxieties, our fears of the unknown, however good.

Why do we all hinder ourselves? Why do we hold back, in favor of being gray? Is is because we are afraid of loss?

Even when we know what can be, how life can be, why oh why do we still do nothing? Why do I do nothing?

Humans can be so special. Relationships can be so special. But we.. no, I. I am so afraid. I cannot hide behind mankind on this one. It’s childish, it’s introverted, it’s straight-out stupid, but I am afraid of letting anyone close. All my life, I have kept more distance from others than I can honestly say I’m happy with.

Why doesn’t matter. Whys are not just excuses, they are shields; shields of lies that you can hide behind and believe it’s okay that you’re doing something wrong. Psychology is an elaborate shield that lets us be gray with a clean conscience. I will not ponder on why I am afraid and distant, and then be happy with the reason I find most likely. I will not be happy with being like this for the rest of my life, with not being as I think people ought to be.

Difference starts somewhere. And then it spreads. We would all do best not to resist the kind of change that this movie inspires in us.