Beauty

All that people want to create is something of beauty. Something perfect, immaculate, pristine, pure. And they succeed too, if most of them, in the end do beget a child, thats exactly what they have created. But the child also inherits the imperfections and failings and genetic predispositions towards improper tendencies. And over and above that, the parents also fail, almost always, to give perfect upbringing to their kids and they turn then, less than perfect.

Its an infinite cycle that we repeat. Have repeated, will do, ad infinitum.

Those who deviate from this way of creating beauty. Those who dedicate themselves to some other pursuit, their work, their passion, their bodies, anything other than focusing on the whole plan to create beauty through reproduction, also end up creating things which might be perfect and pure and beautiful in the beginning, but which deteriorate and degrade deform and become totally different than what they started off of as.

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In this, we have to understand, is the basic fact. The act of creation is not supreme in itself or the final one. Its the act of maintenance that goes a long way in keeping things in order. Its not as much as cleaning your room but keeping your room clean. Because we all are fighting against attrition by entropy and in this battle, creating things of beauty is not enough. You have to invest energy in it even after the creation in form of fixing it and keeping it in its form.

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The individual in the mob, going on a Witch-hunt in the 21st Century

You are a kid, running around the fields with wide open eyes, letting all the lights and colours and happiness to pour in through those windows to your soul, enriching it, making it fuller. People are simple, they look at you and smile, almost all of them do, unless they themselves are far beyond redemption. No one lies to you, at-least not directly. Everybody likes you and wants to play with you.Life is good.

You slowly start to grow up. You enter the school system, meet and make friends there. Most of them are starting off with as simple and honest hearts as yours. They share their breakfasts with you, play and stick by you as much as they can. Junior school still has a certain glow in form of that ignorance and innocence burrowing through from much earlier childhood , still not tarred with the things yet to come.

You move to high school, you start seeing people around you change. By the time they start growing hair on their faces, you observe them caring less about things they earlier seemed to care about . From honesty to true friendship to reciprocity in relations, all of these things start to turn and twist and take malevolent forms(at-least in your eyes) and you are looked down upon and laughed on, for still believing in things that you do, and are labelled ‘naive’ and ‘a loser’ for trying to stick by whatever was pure and genuine in you.

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But the fact is that all this while, for all the time you have been trying to remain pure, those same vices you despise around you, sneaks in your subconscious through the backdoor, making their way in and laying dormant there. The more you hate it outside and see it in other people, the stronger it grows inside you, taking control of who you are. It grasps and squeezes out the life from whatever that you might’ve wanted to protect, that thing for which you started all this charade in the first place. And then at one point that which you are keeping inside, the low flame, engulfed in all the darkness that has grown around it which you yourself have facilitated, extinguishes, and that’s it. At that point the devil enters your soul. Despair and fear enters too, which soon transform into panic and insanity . Most of the times it is misdirected and misguided and generally comes out in form of disillusionment, insomnia and irrational and impromptu rage. But then one of these days, or rather nights, because its midnight and you lie twisting and turning in your bed, unable to sleep, you see an angry mob chanting and marching through, outside your home, with pitchforks and burning torches. You jump out of your bed and ask one person in the mob where they are headed. He questions back in amazement, “Don’t you know.. ? that witch who lives down the street, it’s all her fault, why we are so lost and why our town is in such misery.”

 

The smoke emanating from the place where your flame once glowed, tries to restrict you, tries to stop you, but how can a burnt out flame lighten better judgement? It doesn’t exist. So you get in the mob, rather gleefully and someone hands you another one of those torches. Your transformation is finally complete. You have reached the end of your road.

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Every living Nihilist is a Narcissist

Sometimes we feel troubled not because we have thought up some bad thought. Or are afraid of something outside of ourselves. No, none of that, what we are actually scared of, is facing up to the facts, to articulate, truly, what we are feeling and have experienced, because any such articulation would conform to whatever we intuitively already know. And the actual pain is in that minute understanding of our own unique miserable situation.

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But what are you supposed to do, when the actual trouble that you are facing is, is to decide how to think about all of that in the first place. Which interpretive framework to apply to correctly, or in nearly correct ways, explain all that is happening to you. If your trouble is that you are afraid to articulate that you actually don’t know, or more appropriately, cant tell about anything with any surety ? A person, who faces the latter kind of problem is more lost ,lost and adrift, in life, than the kind whose problem is that of the former type.

Because the second kind of person is a faithless man, in the truest sense of the word. Not an atheist, not a sceptic, NO, none of those, but a true nihilist. And such a person is, if living, would be a narcissist. Because when there are no abstractions he can conjure up to believe in, his default biological settings take over, and that too in the extreme, and the straightforward answer for him is to be selfish and egoistic and narcissistic to survive and continue living as a nihilist. There are no other ways for him to be.

I am not saying every narcissist is a nihilists but every living nihilist is a narcissist.

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The Fog

It was a cold damp morning and the air was heavy, laden with the weight of all that moisture, forming the fog all around him, which made it hard to see even a foot in the distance. But there he was, standing at the crossroads with that card in his hand. He was sweating profusely even in all that cold that surrounded him. Partly because he was wearing too many clothes. For his mother was always overprotective of him, moulding and casting him in her shadow, always there for him,always picking him up when he used to stumble and fall. Something which was good at times and helped him grow emotionally,as he used to cry his heart out in her lap after she used to pick him him. But something which also made him stand on street corners in cold winter mornings waiting for someone on whom he can put all the burdens of his dreams, hopes, aspirations and even the meaning of existence itself, on. Whether this development was a desirable effect of her mother’s parenting was still a debatable question.

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Regardless of all this, he stood there, waiting for the one he had given his heart to. Even though he was 18 years old, never before he had felt so sure about anything else in his life. Apart for that time, at the age of 10,when he was in 4th grade, and had fallen for the first time for someone. A girl from his school who looked like, at-least to him, miniature version of a popular film actress of that time. Though the resemblance would have been a stretch of imagination but thats the kind of thing he reveled in,in fact excelled in, imagining things and then putting real people in those dream-spaces. So there was she, in his never-land, where he thought no one would take her away from him. But she left the school at grade 6 and he decided then and there that this was the first and last love of his life. But then came the hormone storms of high school and before he knew it, there was this another girl. A brown skinned girl, who didn’t look line anyone particular. Neither any film actress, nor his mother. She was beautiful in an exotic way and that was something about her which attracted him. She used to have a lot of other pursuers too, but never indulged anyone of those into anything serious. But a girl has to have her options open. Even though he was quite behind in the line of potential suitors, that didn’t stop him from laying awake in bed at night listening to romantic song and imagining his dream-spaces. Here also, his uniquely bright and blissful childhood made it much easier for him to paint the rainbows in his “never-land” laying awake in bed at midnight.

Where is she? He suddenly, almost with a shock, came out of a state of trance. Who was she ? Definitely not the girl who left junior high when they were in class 5th and now lives somewhere in the older parts of town, where, after studying in an all girls school, and having lived in an orthodox Muslim family, remains incapable to get into any kind of relationship he would paint in his imagination-land. The girl from 9th grade, got married a few years after her parents got to know about her “adventures” all throughout high school and college. In fact she was one of the first to get married. That’s the way highly intelligent girls in more traditional(and also more intuitive) societies take. Otherwise pray tell, how would civilisations survive..?

But all those thoughts vanished as he saw the car approaching. It passed him by and  stopped some hundred yards away from the corner and four girls(Women?) came out of it. Giggling and laughing, carrying bags. He saw at his card and the flower he was holding. Giving a sigh, which instantly converted into white smoke and levitated towards heaven, he started walking to the group of the girls who were now climbing the steps of the temple. A—– he said, the girl in the middle turned and saw him. Her smile didn’t fade but it did seem that she became uncomfortable. Nothing in her demeanour suggested that, but it was apparent in ways gut feelings are true, not in the way one plus one equals two. She told other girls to go ahead and that she would catch up with them inside the temple. Then she turned back,

“Hi, V—-, how are you..? I didn’t know you were in the city.” She said.

“No, I have been here for past couple of months. My parents came to meet me in the city where I was working in, and I came back with them.”

“Oh nice, thats nice, so how are you? How have you been?”

“I have been better.. don’t you remember, this corner, this was the place where we first met?”

“Yeah I remember, stupid old days”, she said and a faint smile came on her face which faded very fast , it lasted almost as long as their connection lasted back in the day. In that flash of a smile, it looked like, was bundled together, the whole pain and suffering and disappointment present in existence itself. This was something even he saw.”But I am here to correct that itself”, he thought.

“We were stupid kids back then, but didn’t you know that I actually loved you..?”

She was taken aback by this sudden awakward question and the discomfort now was pouring out of every part of her very being.

“Look, V—–, Its so cold and I am also getting late, why don’t you come to the house and we would talk?”

“But you wont be staying there longer, aren’t your flying to Mauritius next Monday?”

The look of discomfort on her face now changed into outright terror as she recognised what was happening. She looked around. It was still early morning and there was hardly anybody around and even if there would have been, she might not have seen them in that dense fog. The other girls who had come with her had already climbed the stairs and were long gone. She thought whether screaming would be foolish…?

“You thought I would never come to know about it..? You thought you can do this and you didn’t even think how it would effect my life.. ? How can you be so selfish..?”

Selfish, he had to go ahead and use that word. Her face twisted in indescribable ways . But one can do ascertain that the emotions that face conveyed was that of utmost disgust and contempt. It seemed as something burst, something deep inside her, and all of that came out as a spate of words, one after another, half of them neither made sense to him, nor to her,

“We never were anything else than two foolish 18 year olds who thought we were in love, and that too for me which lasted for a week. For you, I know it lasted longer.. ? But how could you have expected something else..? You weren’t ready to do anything. You thought, just sitting there, love would come running to you and embrace you and that one of the never-lands which you keep imagining in your head would materialise out of thin air and then you would live in that never-land forever, blissfully. But I saw that, even you know that I saw that in the first week itself. And that is why you never interested me beyond that first week. We were friends after that because I thought that at some point in future you might see yourself for who you actually are and maybe try to make amends, but alas, I was also a foolish dreamer, ever a bigger one than you, and that might be the reason why I continued to be in contact with you over these years. You know how hard it was. Now all of that makes me laugh. Because your tantrum seems like that of a kid, and I can see that I have matured and have become more practical. I have realised that there is no point in keeping a troop of boys around me, giving all of them hope. Hope is a sad thing. You can never be fair in this thing that we do in life. You are not unique and there are hundreds like you out there. But I think its foolish to keep giving people chances. Those who would be the kind of people who would take up the chances presented in front of them, would take the very first one and if not that then they never would. And that’s the reason why I am going to marry someone whom I love, or even might not, but at-least who is capable of taking the very first chance he is presented with. And you would keep withering away in your corner of the world, alone and empty because of your vanity, in form of your self consciousness wont allow you to do anyth–”

“That’s enough.”, he screamed, with his hands on his ears, like a small kid.

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What happened after this happened in a matter of seconds. The gun that came out from underneath his belt fired 2 shots. Fountain of blood exploded in the space between them, splinters of which also fell on his face, went into his eyes and everything went hazy.Powdered, red fogginess engulfed everything in his vision. But strangely enough,neither there was any scream, nor he saw anyone coming towards him out from the cloud of red fog that hung all around him. Though he saw three female figures standing on the steps of the temple. The fog had made it hard to see clearly who they were, but one looked like a famous film actress back from the days when he was a small kid, another one had brown skin and was beautiful in an exotic way and the third one looked like someone who used to be the first one to pick him up when he used to stumble and fall in his childhood. Suddenly he felt light in his head and a dizziness took him over. A kind of fever came over him. He fell on the ground and started convoluting. In his fevered dreams he heard sounds of police and ambulance sirens, sobs of his mother, rush at a government office, maybe, and finally he felt the same way as he used to feel when his father used to pick him up from back of his neck and made him swing and float midair making him feel like a superhero. After that It went all dark.

He opened his eyes.It was a cold damp morning and the air was heavy, laden with the weight of all that fog which was making it hard to see even a foot in the distance. But there he was staying there at the crossroad with that card in his hand.

Hope is a Sad thing

You shouldn’t have come to me at this point in my life. I was barely holding on to things to live for, to survive from one day to another. Knowing about all of my inadequacies and inefficiencies , trying to find words to explain my specific predicament. Lost, withering away at my core, barely holding on to the hope that I can still make things work, somehow. That there are people out there whom I know, who are co-passengers with me in the same train wreck that we know as life. That somehow I can connect with people who I know would understand me, because they are, well, for lack of better words, more like me.

But you came, as a sudden gush of cool air on a hot and humid summer night. Soothing and comforting but still laden with the knowledge of the fact that its not permanent, but temporary, that it will pass, and leave in its wake, a more insufferable world, with the hotness and humidity setting back in and taking me by my throat, choking me, suffocating me, as I struggle and gasp for air, as it is slowly squeezed out of my body and my systems start to shut down and I wonder whether I can even survive for another moment. The biology and the physical materialism of the world starting to dictate their dominance on the highfalutin abstractions of ideas, thoughts and philosophies and notions of truth, love and other such bullshit which means so little when life slowly starts to detach itself from the body. And in the end, what is life itself but cell activity and interactions of chemicals and nothing more than that?

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To see in these realisations, not only the follies of my own past, but even the futility of my new understandings  I was trying to pick up, and trying to frame whatever kind of life I was, with the pieces of my broken past, which laid shattered at the feet of my own ignorance and my own narcissism(around which my current life, or semblance of it, revolved), thinking it can be amended and corrected. But I see how petty and how insufficient is,even all of this new understanding, that I claim I have gathered. All too inefficient and inept, just like I am, and how Hope is not only sad but a really bad thing.

Writing

What is that which needs expressing ? Things inside you, facets of your personality, that are, because of one reason or another, subdued, lie suppressed. At least that’s how writing, ,or keeping a diary, works for most of the amateurish writers out there on the “interwebs”, on corners of our common collective consciousness, where people seldom visit them and where the plain merit of the content has less importance than the cathartic value it holds to those writing it. Same goes to hundreds of thousands of blogs published on a regular basis, and also to this one that I am running here.

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Very rarely, writing brings out the best and the most developed parts of a person’s persona, so to speak. And when it does, then that shines through, as a diamond amongst the heap of other coal blocks. These are ‘ diamonds’ whom we follow and adore as writers and poets and storytellers and visionary thinkers.

As for those other ones who are left, those other blocks of coal, don’t for a moment make the mistake of confusing them with the ones that hold promise or hope or potential of any sort of beauty or shine, but rather, see them and acknowledge them as blocks of darkness, which are hollow shells of complete blackness absorbing any and every spark of light, joy and positivity in and around them.

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Life is misery… But then it is so much more of the same(On Cockroaches and Dodos)

Life is tough. Its hard to get by in life with any certainty for what fate awaits you. Its a burden which is borne by each and everyone of us. But some of us chose to, or rather try to, “opt out”of it. Try to become fence-sitters and watch it from a distance. Never partaking in it , but only commenting, speculating for what it is actually. The plethora of “writers” you see, the ones like me, writing away their nights on their pretty, little blogs which reach , in comparison to their efforts, virtually no one , are doing just this. Speculation and observation. But the thing about life is, its not supposed to be tackled that way.

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Granted life is misery, and not just that, its a relentless affront on your sanity, but all that is to test you. To test your limits, your braking points, your potential. Beings which don’t labour under the burden of misery are more vulnerable to destruction than those which have survived all forms and kinds of suffering in the past. In the end, at a point, you have to ask yourself this question, “Given a choice, what would you want to be, a Cockroach or a Dodo ?”

Suicide and what it means

Of all animals, which are out there, only human-beings are capable of doing suicide. And that is probably because any primal forms of depression in lower organisms’ primal consciousness , would result in their death and removal from the gene pool. Depression, which is a state of being for a life-form, where it is anxious and stressed out all the time, always being a prey animal.( because of its own lack of skills or understanding or its plain ineptitude to navigate through existence, a large part of which is rough and cruel and unjust, in the sense that you dominate and get dominated by others, you climb and descend the dominance hierarchy, you are chosen by a sexual partner that you deem fit or you settle for someone clearly unfit for you, you proactively do things at times and let people run all over you at others). In lower life-forms, any sustained sense of anxiety or stress, or any primordial precedents of such traits, leads to its death in the natural environment which is cold, harsh and unforgiving . Where a mother herself would choke an offspring if she sees that it is unfit. Where your sibling would throw you off your nest on the ground, in case of this bird species I saw on discovery channel once, if you are weak and don’t deserve to survive. So, either weakness is nipped in the bud or if it somehow sneaks into existence, falls off a cliff, or drown in a river, because of its own mental weaknesses.

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Because in animals where consciousness is not evolved enough, weakness, either mental or physical, is of no significance. It is in fact a hindrance in survival. The extra member feeding off the grassland and causing harm to rest of the group.

Only in humans, we allowed, first, individuals with mental weaknesses and shortcomings to survive and grow up into adults and much later, even physical weaknesses were not seen as a big problem. We started providing scientific answers to our follies, at least more clearly, in case of physical shortcomings of man. But when it comes to mental ineptitude, we are still miles away from coming up with a solution where we can make a mentally weak (not in the sense that he/she is slow or retarded, but that he/she does not understands the way to socialize and navigate his/her way through life, he/she is unable to figure out a healthy mode of being for his soul, so to speak.) person suitable enough to survive in the world. We have volumes talking about a healthy body and which bodies would qualify for it. There are standards on which you can measure, let’s say, your eyesight and see if you have a ‘healthy eyesight ‘ or not. If not, you can make use of science, to reach or approach that standard of health.(This is the case , rationalists such as Sam Harris make when they claim that everything need not be defined within the evolutionary paradigm as we are using Science , increasingly on a year to year basis, to subvert and overcome our evolutionary follies, at-least more clearly in terms of our physical health)

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But when it comes to modes of being, or mental states, first of all, there are no definition of ‘healthy’ defined, let alone the scientific methods which we can use to reach those standards of health.(except of course in extreme cases of chemical imbalances, which are treated, still shrouded in mystery, about whether bringing the balance itself is the true cure or how are those chemicals deciding and guiding our waking consciousness)

In this way, we have been successful in creating a society which has a very clear idea and sense of what it means to be ‘physically healthy’ and the idea of ‘physical well-being which is ensured to you by law. Checks and balances are in place to guard and protect it for you, if you are incapable of doing it yourself. At the same time, the ideas of ‘mental health’ are still vague, because any question in this direction would lead us to the moral and ethical questions about our existence, which we are hell bent on avoiding on all costs because our old answers, about heaven and hell and gods in high clouds remain shattered on the ground after the scientific revolution. In such imbalance , people are driven to suicide, because they know that even if their mental health keeps on deterioration and they become more and more incapable of leading a normal existence, society won’t allow them to die, unless they take their life by their own hands.(the moral dilemma associated with topics such as euthanasia and abortion stemming from the same point, as there is a lack of congruity between the old ideas about well-being, which incorporate answers for both physical and psychical , though the psychical answers invariably leading to miracles and gods and such things which are deemed impossible by proponents of the new idea of existence which solely account and considers ‘physical health’ as the sole parameter of well-being. This incongruity, at least on parts of the proponents of the new idea, about human well-being, leads them to be in the “extreme-progressive side” where they claim that a 60-year-old guy pretending to be a 6-year-old girl is still somehow ‘healthy’ as there are no clear standards for psychical health)

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And I think, this is the problem people such as Dr. Peterson are trying to address in all earnestness and with a certain level of honesty which is quite absent from the other new age religious types with their mumbo-jumbo. Even though, professor Peterson himself is trying to derive some emergent meaning from the old religious stories and is making a case for it not in its literal sense, but it’s biological and evolutionary implications.

Tony Soprano was in Hell all along

The last episode of the legendary show “The Sopranos” has been dissected and analyzed to no ends about what fate befell Tony at the end of the show and what it all meant.

Well, I have a theory about it. Tony Sopranos has been in hell all along. If not for the whole run of the show, then at least for the whole last season. The dream sequences which he had during the first few episodes of this season were him getting the closest to get out of the purgatory but he lost on to that. And why was that? Because he heard his daughter’s voice calling him back. And it was the daughter he was never able to see when he was shot in the back of his head at the diner.

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The closest Tony was to Heaven. But Heaven and Nirvana are not one and same

So well here is how my theory unfolds. Remember that surreal Tim Robbin movie, “The Jacob’s Ladder” from the 90s, where Robbin’s life seems to be taking surreal twists and turn and he has these weird dreams where he sees himself living this entirely different life and he is haunted by literal monsters and all creepy and weird shit? In that movie, there is this dialogue, where his doctor, who is always ready to help him, tells him, “Eckhart saw Hell too. He said: The only thing that burns in Hell is the part of you that won’t let go of life, your memories, your attachments. They burn them all away. But they’re not punishing you, he said. They’re freeing your soul. So, the way he sees it, if you’re frightened of dying and… and you’re holding on, you’ll see devils tearing your life away. But if you’ve made your peace, then the devils are really angels, freeing you from the earth. It’s just a matter of how you look at it, that’s all. So, don’t worry, okay? Okay? ” Well this jells so well with that last season of Sopranos.

When people die, they are drawn back to the physical realm which is called “Maya” in Indian spiritual traditions. The same theme appears in a lot many other eastern traditions. When people die, they are unsatisfied that they were not able to make their life ‘perfect’. They were not able to do good by their loved ones, or take different decisions that could’ve changed their lives in a major way. Because nothing is ever perfect and there is always this regret, people keep coming back on earth to live and suffer through existence. But if you can let go of those attachments, those things which are pulling you down to earth, you would reach the state of ‘nirvana’ or a freedom from these earthly longings.

Well, the whole of Sopranos, specially the last season was, just about that. He trying to strike a balance and make things perfect, or the best he can to his ability. He might’ve lived through this cycle, in this purgatory multiple number of times, without knowing about it. And no matter what he did, it resulted in him ending up at that diner where he would get shot before he gets a chance to see his daughter and then has to relive through the whole cycle all over again majorly because of this regret.

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Tony at the Diner, the place where he would be shot and killed

This seems a weird conclusion, but a lot of unusual things happening towards the end of the season, point towards it. One thing that I can just recall from top of my head is that co-inmate of uncle June at the insane asylum. When Janice visits him(Junior), and hassle him for the money, we see, in the very next scene, this co-inmate of his uncle’s visit him(Tony) at the Bada Bing, dressed in suit asking him to do something about the situation. But that is impossible, I mean, how could he? He is also an insane person just like his uncle and why would he be allowed to visit outside,  unaccompanied and that too to a strip club? Another weird thing that happens is that Phil Leotardo gets shot and killed randomly at a Gas station where he was supposed to be making use of a payphone which are now so very few in number around the tristate area that Tony’s man is able to find him and kill him? I mean what kind of coincidence is that? Also, the sudden truce the New York family have with Tony’s men feel eerie and out of place, especially in that cold and dark, and grey place,  and so does his unaccounted trip to Las Vegas, his luck getting back on his side, him talking about parallel realities and stuff with his psychiatrist, FBI agents helping him with his cause just because he randomly came across a couple of Arabic men whom he helped long back,and who are now meeting and congregating in traditional afghan dress and beard, in middle of New Jersey, that too when “The War on Terror” is at its peak(remember in the show timeline, going by real world timeline, it is the year 2007). and a lot other strange stuff.

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Tony exclaims, “I get it” after he takes peyote in Las Vegas

My theory goes something like this. Tony is in purgatory, and the closer he comes to the end of this “dream sequence” which he is mistakenly taking for his real life, the “real aspect” of his experiences become entwined with the “dream like” parts in this state. So much so that he ends up, in the final scene, to see himself from a third person’s viewpoint, at the diner, which in itself, might not be the same diner in which he might’ve been shot and killed in the “Actual world”, but only a representation of it. Somebody mentions how it (the diner) has all the symbols of “The American Dream”, in form of American football posters, the dream that brought Tony’s ancestors from the old country to this new one. The diner also has a couple enjoying a great time, the kind of relationship Tony always envisioned for himself. There are kids sitting there. The place in itself is the architype of the “Best Diner” for him.

The song that plays in this last scene is also of great significance. Have a look at the lyrics of the song, Don’t Stop Believing’ by Journey, which goes something like this,

Strangers waiting
Up and down the boulevard
Their shadows searching
In the night
Streetlight people
Livin’ just to find emotion
Hidin’ somewhere in the night

Workin’ hard to get my fill
Everybody wants a thrill
Payin’ anything to roll the dice
Just one more time
Some will win
Some will lose
Some were born to sing the blues
Oh, the movie never ends
It goes on and on, and on, and on…”

It is made clear that Tony has done everything differently in every other iteration of the loop and no matter what he does, or how perfect he makes his life, and the ones close to him (which is btw never perfect as even in this iteration, Carlos is going to testify and a major RICO trial coming his way in near future), he ends up at this diner where he would be shot and killed.

But there is something different this time, instead of reaching there unknowingly and as part and flow of his experience in the purgatory, this time he is aware, where he enters the diner and sees himself sitting there, from a third person’s viewpoint, which is strange, even for dreams, where this kind of viewpoint is hard to come by. This might explain the long darkness after the last ring of the bell, there is no loop after this one. This is the end. This is the final loop, and he is totally ready to give up and move on. This is Tony’s “Nirvana”.

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What is True?

(Note – This is my opinion on the discussion Dr. Jordan B Peterson and Dr. Sam Harris had on the nature of truth on Sam Harris’ waking up podcast. This would deem sensible only to those ,who have a prior knowledge about this conversation and its content.)

 

         Dr. Jordan Peterson was wrong in insisting that scientific truth is true only if it is evolutionarily beneficial. There is difference between empirical scientific truths, and pragmatic truths Peterson talks about. I know I am not very coherent right now, so I would start off by raising this question, “Can ideas exist in vacuum?”

 

          Let me expand on what I mean by that. So, my preposition is that ideas cannot exist without an originator. A bible without Jesus, would not have the authority it holds today. Some might say that, that authority is derived from the fear of hell and promise of paradise. Those people would be true, but the significance and worth, and the raw value of biblical ideas, like any idea, lies in its originator. If I present an idea to you and would say to you that I was not the one who thought it up, neither anyone else, not even an artificial computing AI, you would say that, that is absurd. even the most insane of ideas must have someone to think It up. A being capable to do that, we can model it, a fully functioning, self-improving AI, in the future, to do just that, but then also, we would be the ones planting the seed, the idea, that such machines should exist, which cannot come into existence on its own.

 

          So, now let’s say, we might claim that whatever thought that comes to us, whatever idea which originates in our minds, is 100% purely, truly ours. But that is very well not the case. We know we don’t have any control on where ideas come to us from and surely we don’t know the source of such origination. Here, I am not saying those thoughts come to us from God. No, not at all, I know thoughts are a byproduct of external stimuli from our environment and our response to it, where our response is made up of and influenced by a lot many number of things, our conscious thinking mind, our subconscious, our collective societal conscience, hereditary factors, immediate body chemistries etc. etc. But we owe our existence to our parents too and hence those thoughts, ideas that we have, also have their origins in our ancestry. We can trace it back to our primate ancestors and from them to our much older ancestors. But can we say our ideas have any form of connection, to let’s say, a marsupial life forms trying to survive the KT extinction event…? Well it might very well have.

 

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Clearly identifiable parts of brain, as clear markings of evolution and stepping up from one state to another advanced one

            So, let’s consider this experiment. Baby geese are bred in captivity generations after generations where they are kept in abundance of food and away from all predators. Then one day, a Hawk is flown overhead their enclosure and the babies run hither thither for shelter. These animals have not seen the predator in generations, still the imprint of one, is so strong that it makes them move in actual physical ways. Now I know this memory would wither away in absence of predators for a long amount of time. But till the generation it exists, it owes its origination, the thought or the idea of ‘fear’ in the animal, in somewhere behind in the evolutionary line when Hawks actually existed. “HAWK IS DANGER” is a truth for a goose, even when it is not, statistically, scientifically, if just in case, Hawks have died out from their natural environment during the course of the experiment.

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The shapes which make baby geese shiver

 

             One might be inclined to reject this as a hard-coded instinct in a goose and not a thought or idea in its consciousness. But resent research have shown that a lot many number of animal life-form have some or other form of consciousness. Now we would never know what it actually MEANS to be a monkey, a goose, a horse. Because those experiences totally exist in their consciousness and to replicate and ‘live it’ subjectively, would be impossible. This is something which is called “the hard problem of consciousness”. So, we can’t be sure that the goose running away from the hawk over its cage, is feeling fear or not, and if it is, then to what extent. I remember, as a kid, I once, got into habit of throwing rocks at a crow’s nest just in childhood jest. The crow couple recognised me and whenever I was around their nest, they used to try to attack me. Even after I stopped throwing stones, they used to crow aggressively and try to attack me nonetheless. This showed they had a memory, and a sense of danger, a fear, which used to turn into anger, guiding them to attack me when they saw me. In fact, I was so scared of the prospect of them actually harming me that I started leaving food for them, and it was then after a while that they again went indifferent to me and in course of time, even a point reached that they used to come to me in expectation of food.

 

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The Wheel engraved in the Konark Sun Temple in the Indian state of Orissa. The temple dedicated to Sun God, the wheels of the temple are sundials which can be used to calculate time accurately to a minute. The wheels also represent passage of time and are known as Kalchakras in Buddhist traditions.

               Now we may assign all these actions as reflexes and my interpretation of it as speculative afterthought. But that is quite obvious, because we are trying to assign motives and actions to whatever they did in our own linguistic terms which are product of our minds, millennia ahead of them in terms of evolutionary progress. A higher life form might look at us and see almost all of our experiences futile and our own actions no more than mere reflexes, but that would never negate our own experience of what we feel when we do such act.

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The evolution of species

 

                Now you may say, yes yes we all know this metaphysical bullshit, but in the end, we are all a bag of mostly water, flesh and chemicals and there is nothing special about us. Yes, we are a consortium of different chemicals, but we started off as a single cell amoeba and there the inorganic transformed into organic. How? We are still not sure, and it was at that point, a single thought, an idea was implanted to grow. I think the magic happens on the boundary of where Sam’s truth reign supreme and from where on, Peterson’s truth starts gaining traction. The limit of inorganic and organic forms in universe. How the transference happens? We are still not able to understand it fully. We don’t know, and in that how, is hidden the mysteries of all of our existence.