Entries Tagged as 'lagniappes'

Dissimilarities

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What could she possibly be seeing, I thought. Her eyes were fixed at a very mundane horizon. Becoming aware of my uninvited encroachment, she took a deep conspicuous breath. “You are the only other person I know who travels between memories and the present as often as I” she said. I knew what she meant. And she yearned for companionship, not just approval. I did know. Sometimes, time itself loses its grip on reality. It becomes utterly irrelevant, superfluous. Perception is blurred but not in an illusionary way — rather in a way that makes you think blurred is what it should be. These are the times when you feel every morsel in your being. And your mind, your mind fills up with dissimilarities that must look like a cheap display of junk at a flee market. “Is that good or bad?” I asked with mischief and a dose of apparent impatience. It was getting late, and I never liked driving on those iddy biddy roads full of sheep and goat. “You want to hit the city and your pub again, don’t you?” she said. “No” was a swift reply, followed by the compulsory lengthier explanation: “I have and will have been there.” She smiled. “All that are dissimilar are not… or rather not be.”

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Seaweed

“May I change it?” she asked rhetorically, referring to her life, her entire existence from birth on, using the third neuter singular object pronoun. How funny life has become. The inkling is there, in the marshes of the oasis, when you hit another depersonalization episode, when distant happy memories are the chief source of your current melancholy. But these were not the thoughts to be painted in words, nor encoded in tender gestures during intimate communication. It is when deliberate vigor to that visceral howling curse, which so fittingly accompanies the occasionally entrapped mind, is retained like tea leaves in an infuser. Like dead seaweed washed ashore.hdr_7586_crop

Campus cat

Cat“Look cat” I said, “the Higgs field and the scalar elementary particle may save the standard model, even explain well the phenomenon of electroweak symmetry breaking, but it lacks the elegance of, say, the extended Heim-Droscher Theory.” For some reason, cats on campus seem uninterested in the facts of life.

It is not enough

It is not enough to be open minded, to be tolerant, to be receptive to other views. It is not enough to respect other opinions. It is not enough to be comfortable with pluralist thoughts. It is not enough to understand other explanations. It is not enough to let others think what they may. It is not enough to leave thinkers of different thoughts alone.

All understanding benefits from an exchange of ideas. Society must generate these ideas. One cannot passively respect that others may have other views. One must actively seek to shape society so that other points of view actually emerge. One must keep the plains of thought fertile and level. One must struggle to see that the other side has a point, even the advantage.

That no other view is present means not that we are right — it simply means that the process is incomplete. And that, I fear, is not enough to warrant human participation in this rather magnificent cosmos.

Get out!

Physicists say that the day will come when the universe reaches its thermodynamic equilibrium. Ever since the big bang, as the universe expands, it has been cooling. Now there is evidence that the Hubble expansion is actually accelerating, due to some quintessential substance. The substance is perhaps linked to dark matter or dark energy. Albert said that the cosmological constant was his biggest mistake. Now physicists are all too eager to vindicate Big Al as if there can be no other explanation. Is the speed of light a constant? Could it be that light slows down as time goes by? What about the geometry of existence? Is geometry not the determining factor of both the macro and the micro universe? How about fractional dimensions? Ever since early humans started counting bananas, “one banana, two banana, three banana, four…” they think everything is a whole number. Numbers are for galactic pedestrians. Nature deals in concepts — as in aleph and omega.

All the same. We have a more immediate problem. It seems in at most 10^120 years or so, even the black holes will dissipate. What do we have left then? How do we escape the thermo-death, and the eventual evaporation of matter? We cannot even seem to manage a little global warming. If humans cannot stand the heat… Well, what can I say? First expelled from Eden, now from the proverbial kitchen, would you not agree?  And there I was, all along, believing that some liked it hot.

I meant it

Philip

This is Mr P.

I met him on an unusual — global warming kind of — hot April day at John Kehoe’s in Baile Átha Cliath. In the few hours we sat, he told me his life story. He told me how he left the rat race to the rats and became an artist. How he was free. Life may have been rough, but he was happy. He said it was better this way.

I think he meant it.

He asked and I told him about my hometown. He knew all about Florida. He told me how he spent time in Kissimmee. He told stories that can only be told hunched over on a stool. And just like a skilled artist, he changed his emotional complexion faster than a playful cephalopod. His speech had a carillon-like quality: the words would end, but the meanings seemed to ring on and blend in some intangible harmony.

It was over all too soon. I had things to do, people to see, and places to be. I wished I had more time, but I did not. As I stood to leave, thinking that our paths would never cross, I told him that I hoped we could continue our conversation on the other side.

I meant it.

Coincidence

There is no such thing as a coincidence. Once things happen and we observe, it has been and it cannot be any other way. It becomes part of reality. Reality just like any other. And permanent just like anything else that is real. As real and as permanent as the the laws of mathematics; you know, one, two, three… So coincidence shmoincidence — sorry Virginia, no dice.

Relativity tells us there is no synchronicity in the larger scheme of things. There is no before or after — it all depends on the observer. Then, as Godel asks, how could events be stacked one after another as if they are hotcakes at an all-you-can-eat breakfast bar? So if things seem to have influenced each other, no really.  If things seem to be happening at the same time, not so.  You see, as you stand looking at the hotcakes and contemplating maple syrup, think.  Think really hard.  Not only the party, but the breakfast is over. At least for some observer somewhere, sometime, somehow. All that remains now is the hangover. Not even memories remain. What happened? Did something happen? Really, did anything happen, anything at all?

We may, at best, think that we are here now… but all else is only speculation. Godel is cute; but just because events do not stack up does not mean that the reign of time is necessarily over. Neither are those books that say “if it has happened, it was meant to happen.” This is all too simplistic. The truth may be out there, but it is far to distant. Why even argue? Why apotheosize time? Grandma used to say “neither apologia, nor polemic.” But then again, that is neither here nor there.

Is intellectual maturity a prerequisite?

scaleFor the quest, that is… and if so, how can one acquire it?

Let us postulate… Progress in human thinking only comes when truths are discovered. Truths are discovered only if we are on the right tracks of thought. These tracks must be, by its very nature, unbiased, unemotional, void of any plan or agenda. Does all this not sound far far away from the common human traits? We could blame evolution for making us humans intrinsically and intuitively inclined towards being selfish, conniving, plotting, and shall we add, sinister. But then again, we think and judge. We can tell right from wrong. How come it is so difficult, even for the most learned of the human race, to be unbiased and fair?

If one sets out to discover what one considers to be the truths of existence, one must be intellectually fair. It seems this fairness requires maturity. But intellectual maturity is not enough. After all, many-a big shots are unfair, plotting, influencing. Neither can one argue for the ultimate and universal fairness. Otherwise, I fear, not only there would be no room for politicians, but as paradoxically as it may seem, there would be no progress.

What then, you may ask, does one need over and above fairness to seek one’s truths. I say it is the completeness of viewing all sides of an argument. Without this, one is by definition limited to what is seen and what is not. It should not be bothersome that irrespective of how hard we try, we only see the part, never the whole. Well, so what? As we see more and more, we discover more and more.

One thing for sure, though. If it were not so, the universe would be a much more boring place than it already is.

Keep your eye on the ball, boy!

eye on ballKeep your eye on the ball. Know your direction. Understand the path. Evaluate the options. Weigh the alternatives. Think, focus, concentrate, center your attention. Or else… you will not make it. You will lose, no?

En-oh NO. The true master need not look at the ball. Need not focus or concentrate. Need not think. He knows where the ball is. He put it there. He can feel it. He is one with it. Why the attention? Why the effort? Effort is nothing but the loudspeaker-friendly version of admittance; the proclamation of insufficiency, weakness, and ignorance. No, absolutely no — only know where the ball is. Do not look. Do not peek. A true master never ever does. He feels. He knows.

But, our boy here is not a master. He is beyond that. You see, that cue does not point to a ball. His game is ball-less. He need not keep his eyes on the ball, because there is none. After all, what is the use? What in this existence is true or real? What use is reality, other than to be a convenient and comfortable container to the continuum that manifests the collective amusement of all consciousness.

Our boy is no master. He is beyond masterhood. He is the genius; the genius that reduces his point to the self-evidential by that frivolous smile. Is that smile not more than, in any tongue, a mere smile? Is it not the strongest of declarations that existence does not preside in this realm. It is, and he surely knoweth!

Do not keep your eye on the ball, boy. Or else… you will look the fool when you have none.

And yes, watch the parking meters.