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.

tumblr_o2nddb28tK1u62ozeo1_1280.jpg

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)

sermon-on-the-mount-carl-bloch.jpg
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)

774abe0a4bc497ff252978ec7e671315--yin-yang-art-yin-and-yang.jpg

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.

Advertisements

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.

o-THE-SOPRANOS-900

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.

primary_Sopranos_-_Season_6.2_-_Gandolfini__Falco___Iler

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.

tony-vegas-sopranos

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”.

kevin-finnerty-sopranos.png

 

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.

 

ev2.jpg

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.

husserl-talk-10-728.jpg

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.

 

Konark_Sun_Temple_Wheel-56a484033df78cf77282cbf5

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.

800px-Geological_time_spiral.png

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.

Unrequited Love

          There is a certain aura to love that didn’t last, or even didn’t take off, to begin with. There are so many possibilities… , unknown, untraced, left back in an uncharted territory, which was never explored, never came to be, never materialised in the real world. No wonder, it has been of so much importance in lives of people all throughout the ages. Right from poets of such repute as Dante, to writer of such stature as Marquez. This chimera, has attracted attention of, and consumed many people in its liar, over the years.

People are generally drawn towards the unknown, towards places they couldn’t go, to things they were never able to do. We are wired to explore the chaos of existence. And such relationships are our forays in that domain. In the domain of the unknown. If you were with someone and now no longer are, that fact in itself, represents to you , deep down in your subconsciousness, all other worlds you could’ve inhabited where you could’ve been with the person whom you are no longer with. All those unknown worlds beckon you. They draw you towards them. And you feel enticed by them, entangled in them, unable to and unaware of the need to, move on.

Something similar happens when you love someone and he/she doesn’t love you back. That person become the representative of unknown, or in many cases, unknowable, in your world.He/she represent everything that you are not. They represent a world so far removed from yours that you think of all the things you could be in their world, or they in yours. But nevertheless, they signal to you the chaos that lies outside the boundaries of your knowledge, of all the things outside your field of existence, that which you are not, and probably could never be. Places you could never be at, or hardly reach. OF STRINGS OF FATE WHICH YOU CAN NEVER EVER IMAGINE TO UNDULATE.

Magnet.jpg

But that is where we go wrong.. in my opinion.. Because improvement is an unending process and perfection never comes, and even any proximity to it doesn’t come at snap of a finger, but sometime might take generations. There is that saying which goes something on the lines of, “Opposites attracts, same repels”, but in the search of people who are too much different than yourself, you are in a way, challenging a dragon of chaos which is far much bigger and stronger than you are ready to handle, and that dragon could eat you. And that happens with a lot of people,.. in their relationships, the dragon of chaos swallows them alive. So, not to say that the struggle is futile, the search meaningless and the feelings that you feel, unreal.. but sometimes you have to recognise your current boundaries of being and the the limit to which you can stretch them. And yes, that limit might be infinite, but this life is very short, and time is running out fast, and you have already lost a lion’s share of that.

So better move on?

Sopranos Existentialism

Sopranos shows us that only if those people ,who are living the most accomplished of lives in fields where they are confronted by the existential suffering of being much more acutely than the rest of the population, could have the insight and the vision, or develop one to become self realised enough to become aware of their “condition”, then the idea is presented with much more authority and rigour than when being pontified by a pot smoking, pot bellied virgin, nobody , who lives a miserable existence.

The Nature of the Immortal

Is there any everlasting,unchanging entity in the world..? Is it truth,love,god or lust…? Is there something like that out there or not? Or it is just a figment of human imagination which exist just to assure us that even after all the changes our mind and body undergoes,there is still a part of us,something inside us,or something out there which we hold on to,that never changes. And hence,this unchanging entity act as a reference point for us,a standard which we keep in the back of or head so that we can keep telling ourselves that even though scientists would say that a person becomes altogether another person within a short span of 7 years, from most of the cells in his body to most of his thoughts and beliefs… We don’t change,that we are actually our own self only. The need for this everlasting entity is very strong, it is very important variable in whole equation of things as this defines our very existence. We need these … things,.. everlasting love,everlasting truth.. to fundamentally define our own selves.

For example,when a man finds the love of his life,he says He loves ‘the one’ he has chosen. and no matter how many years pass,this would not change. That means if we ask this man the same question after 10 or 20 or 30 years,his answer would be same…that He loves her. And this becomes,fundamentally,the definition of his own self. Its the constant amongst all the variables in life. No matter if all else inside his body and mind changes, this one thing,this everlasting,indestructible love would never end and this would help him define who he is.( those who would have watched the famous U.S series ‘Lost’ would remember the episode “The Constant” where Desmond Hume would hang on to this thread,this ‘constant’,for survival.)

Again the same thing can be said about the other ultimate,indestructible things,we set in our lives. Lets say,ultimate everlasting truths, we find it,or are very eager to believe and internalize one,…because again,it acts as something which becomes the reference of our very own existence,as I would believe in one ultimate truth now,and also at any other point in time,even though all  this while,every other thing might change in and around me,I’d be fine,I’d be,well… my own self…because I’m holding on to this immortal entity,which is ‘truth’ in this case. So,just like ‘love’,this external everlasting factor defines me and hence I always search for it.

Life is very complex and there is a no clear answer to any question. Our consciousness tries to make sense of its own biological suit,i.e our body and the surroundings of this suit. In the process of this ‘making sense’ of things it devise ways,like the one I’ve(tried to)explain above for its own continued existence and to keep the balance in the universe maintained. But i think outside of this ‘act of understanding’,there is no existence of any ultimate,indestructible,immortal entity,physically tangible or abstract. Objectively seeing,the only things which exist are our consciousness(also called soul,spirit etc.) and the physical world. And these two are also not inseparable but intrinsically interwoven in a complex web where both affect and get affected from each other. And the world which we see and don’t see is the byproduct of this interaction.

The Empty Spaces

Between Mondays and Saturday our life runs and that is almost all of it. Your whole adult life is nothing but a daily robotic routine which is not only mundane but also at times feels meaningless and useless. But we live on,with the hope that something great might happen tomorrow,or the day after tomorrow,maybe next month,surely next year… sometime.. in the future ,where everything would be perfectly peaceful and interesting at the same time. In this hope we lead our life,going through the motions from Mondays to the next weekend,from one holiday/outing to the next… all the time suffocating,crawling on our knees as the years pass us by and we complete our pitiful,pathetic existence in this world.

Many would argue that I’m a depressed cynic writing whatever shit here. This is not how life is for majority of people. Many live their life to the fullest,enjoying every moment ,achieve great successes in life and die a content man. But I would like to reason against this, I don’t think even 0.01% of whole human population on this plant live their life to their utmost satisfaction. Most of the people,for all their life,are not able to know what their purpose is or where they are going. Most of the people are unsure about themselves,insecure in their own cocoon,driven by other people’s life which they presume perfect. Ask yourself this question… Your own conclusion that the world is a wonderful place filled with rainbows is not because you feel fulfilled in your own life,but because you look up to the lives of those whom life you think is perfect,and are always trying to make your life as much similar to these individuals as you can… So,in fact most of the people live a life chasing a mirage which is somewhere at a distance ,somewhere far away,in the future…

What is my aim in writing this article…?Its not about creating an existential problem where there is none, but to  motivate people to live more life in the moments which they pass as ’empty spaces’ during weekdays,during the office hours,during an average adult’s day … because life is in these empty spaces.. when we are alone with ourselves… where we can learn more about ourselves,where we can learn to love ourselves,where we can explore our true potential in absence of negative emotions such as jealousy,pride or selfishness.. and by doing this only,we can create a world really filled with ultimate bliss and everlasting rainbows…!