Thursday, October 5, 2017

I tend to forget/ Something to escape from

I tend to forget. Once transitioned from one world to the next, my self tends to forget.

Be it friends, foes, or a once cherished wonder... The haze of the here and now swallows all; at times in the blink of an eye, at others, slow, imperceptible.

Friends I have lost a few, to this unseeing beast. My little steps running along in unburdened haste, seldom looking back at those who remained. 'Remain' is disappointingly apt in describing my relation to those that I pass by - passive, lifeless, fading... As my self carries on with its conquest of nothingness... As I tend to forget.

Of wonders what do I say? Fleeting so effortlessly by, I would only hope their ripples outlive their ephemeral selves. But ripples are easy to miss in a stream of limitless busyness. In continuous motion, one misses a coherent frame of reference. As one tries on masks on top of masks, the music drifts to the hills. I build walls around me, as I slowly tend to forget.

Then one day... I hear a whisper. Perhaps a tune I once knew... A song that soothed a previous life.
In the light thus shone, I gather my bearings, half blinded half asleep. And in so doing, find a fracture deep within. I wonder, if the song of seasons past serenades this little void, or is it the darkness that opens me to the music?

Must sweet relief follow only from abyssal depths? Does the muse that once saved a million lives, lose its magic with declining strife? Perhaps this follows from the relativity of emotion. Perhaps, it is a matter of perception. Perhaps, selective perception.

Strife is core to the human condition. A wall to push against, to find oneself, identify one's edges, and break into breath. To see no strife, is to live with eyes closed; closed, to the relatedness of one with the other; closed, to the decadent numbing of the world around; closed, to the changing air, water and land.

The muse must therefore present itself to those who see, feel and live. And to live is to suffer; to suffer is to open oneself to the music. Songs that soothed many a life before, play on, waiting only for us to let ourselves in.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Nothingness/ Noise

The Universe (as perceived by God (translated to the 'language' of human perception))
As I observed the stream of people entering the house, settle down and make small conversation, the village-towns of their origin struck me as quaintly obscure. In the course of the introductions, when my Uncle spoke of our ancestral place in Kozhencherry, something happened. The familiarity of the name was met with the sense of random obscurity that had coloured my reading of the various places mentioned previously. In that moment, I saw something.

I saw meaning and purpose fade away as the camera zoomed out; as the mass of strangers in the room swallowed the sense of unique belonging previously reserved for one's own. Moving up further, I remembered glimpses of Howrah Railway Station, as a sea of humanity flowed through, unceasingly for hours on end. En masse, how can identity persist? And without identity, how do we differentiate between a sea of (wo)men, and say an army of ants. Zooming out further, what purpose do the distinctions between plant and animal serve? The food chain? The earth is a closed system, and thus might as well be a macro-composite-organism, with all 'life forms' internal organs/ sub-systems. Either way we look at it, the moment we step into space, the limits of our world hit us (pale blue dot, for instance). Zoom out further... and you get the picture. Identity, meaning, value, association... everything stems from a subjective perception, which must necessarily be incomplete (E.g. in the absence of a knowledge of every single village-town in Kerala, my ancestral village seems distinct/ special, simply because it is where I come from and it is known to me. However, if I knew every square inch of Kerala/ India/ the world like the palm of my hand, then I might perceive things more like an endless stream of life/ being/ existence).

God, who/ which by definition is omniscient, must therefore be able to view/ perceive all things for what they are, equally. For all things are connected, in a causal network of related and (relatively) unrelated relationships. What better (human) visualization/ approximation of God's view of the universe then, than the symbol of absolute randomness (to mortals ill-equipped to make sense of it)? What more intuitive perception of God's workings then, than the unerring, unseeing, un-willing laws of the universe... than the universe itself?

Parting note:
Even with the dissolution of purpose and significance, this does not necessarily point us to fatalism/ nihilism. For the fact remains:
1. We are not God, to be able to absorb the universe as a mass of random noise
2. Thus, what we see, hear, feel, believe, do... becomes significant in our limited frame of reference
3. And, as this video so beautifully points out, meaning is what we assign to things
4. Thus our pursuit of happiness/ purpose can be worth our effort... and can be worth stretching the limits of our minuscule spheres of influence.
5. However, a less human/ anthropomorphous perspective of 'God' might help us better appreciate the little that we are, and also the lot that we share in common with others, on Carl Sagan's (and yours and mine!) pale blue dot.

“I believe in Spinoza's God, who reveals Himself in the lawful harmony of the world, not in a God who concerns Himself with the fate and the doings of mankind." - Albert Einstein

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Prometheus, meet your father

"Think fast, think ahead", is all one hears as one paces through every hour of every day of one's life. Right from the friendly advice from the nears and dears, to the news of achievements and failures, to the evolutionary struggle to survive. The subjective nature of meaning notwithstanding, every piece of stimulus one receives seems to, directly or indirectly, worship Prometheus.

And yes there is enough value in the suggestion as well, and undeniably so. What would life reduce to without a care for future consequence? Some would argue the world has been on one such blaze for a while now, but that's another story. Providence and wisdom, among the most treasured values known to (the common?) man today, spring eternally from the lodestar that is foresight.

What is one to say of foresight, in the absence of meaning? We assume a certain fabric on which foresight lends direction and order. But we don't question that fabric?
Who is the 'I' in 'I will look ahead and act responsibly'? And more pointedly, what prevents said 'I' from just wanting to watch the world burn?
Even primal to being a 'social animal', man is a 'thinking animal'. And for most of humanity, that opens an inexorable thirst for meaning. Meaning not necessarily in the elevated/ self-actualization sense, but even at the level of having a storyline to live by.

Where does that storyline come from?

As much as one looks to the future to decide on the present, one draws from the past to construct a sense of coherent reality. One's identity is shaped as much by one's memories, if not more, as by future aspirations. One could also argue that the road to one's aspirations is paved with the bricks of one's past, leading right up to the present. Yes, the present that just went past.

Love, caring, dependence, community... the fruits from Epimetheus' garden vary in shape and size. He may appear foolish in the light of his brother, but what is life without being open to possibilities? Each turn is an invitation to open a box, and he took his chance. To be alive is to be open to hurt. To love at all is to be vulnerable.

Epimetheus, his ordinariness and simplicity notwithstanding, is thus more than just the hapless brother to a brilliant titan. He is in fact, his father. Without him, the observer that seeks to live, progress and thrive, ceases to exist. He is the life in our otherwise minuscule, insignificant, fleeting existence.

Carl Gustav Jung said, "As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light of meaning in the darkness of mere being."
The candle that burns away slowly in the darkness of our mere being, is Epimetheus.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Sulemani Keeda

Every now and then there comes a movie with immense promise, with the prospect of a genuinely felt cinematic experiment coming to life, and an audience waiting rapt in attention. That such endeavours come with the potential to both fizzle out as well as overwhelm with awesome, is common knowledge. Sulemani Keeda, however, does something distinctly different.

While the overall texture of the film is quite endearing, with its refreshing use of sound (musical and otherwise!) and visuals, what really marks SK out is how it interacts with the average audience member. It successfully captures several shades of madness without caricaturizing/ exaggerating them (okay, without caricaturizing/ exaggerating most of them). Whether by design or by default, this ends up making the cinema experience tremendously personal for the average young urban viewer. Thus while a typical movie attempts to draw the audience into the parallel universe it builds, SK successfully manages to gain a foothold in your mind. Indeed, for several hours afterwards one feels part of the movie, not playing second fiddle to the cast members, but one's own self in a setting that is much more sensitive than Bollywood's staple (some might see this as having positive spill-overs for self-awareness even!)

Everyone acts wonderfully well in roles carved out of today's urban consciousness. The script is sharp without going overboard, thus adding to the sense of reality/ relate-ability. The music rings with a truthfulness across all the aforementioned shades of madness.

In all, a very interesting watch that deserves all the kudos it's getting, and more. Wonderful work Amit Masurkar, Naveen Kasturia, Mayank Tewari, Aditi Vasudev, and everyone else part of this project!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Circles (Nam myo ho, ft. Eternal Sunshine)

I wake up to you each day
Into the blinding lights
Every step a riddle read
Pauses to ends commence

In the nights I sit alone
Listening to you sing
An alien tune besot
That I too had once known

As the question crystallizes
Amidst the silent din
The answer reveals itself
In a muse or thought forgot

Tracing the path onwards on
Leads me back to the start
Even as I slowly dissolve
Running circles unabating

To stop is to cease is to end
And futility remembered a curse
Thus I forget, to continue to will
Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind

Cheers to South Park!

Q. - While people will always act within the bounds of human nature -- good people being good and bad people being bad, it takes religion to make good people bad.

A. - "Well, many religions also give people good reasons NOT to do bad things. And while people may do terrible things in the name of religion or via religion, they may have well still done them without the religion there -- it's just a justification provided for a choice already made."

-- Matt Stone & Trey Parker
(From South Park FAQ's)

Bet you didn't expect THIS from the ones who made Cartman and the gang! :)




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