MathJax example

On confusion...

The Master Work could be simply written on emerald. But men began to reject simple things, and to write tracts, interpretations, and philosophical studies. They also began to feel that they knew a better way than others had
– The Alchemist

We’re born into a confusing world. And as we grow up, we start building upon what we experience to make sense of things around us. Nature seems far more simple. It is the imagined order of humans that is complex. Animals are true to their nature. We must’ve been too at some point. But at some point that changed. Stars, computers, education, jobs, god, communities, caste, art, culture, science, drugs, home, laws, love, relations, present, past, future, illness, disease, marriage, politics, war, history geography, nations, defense, rain, sun, moon, fashion, music, movies, money, life, death. It gets ever more difficult trying to make sense, coming to terms with things as they are.

A good way to look at things is to boil em’ down to the basics and start your reasoning up from there. An analogy to knowledge, I feel is the Age of Empires ‘explored map’. You start at the middle with dark abyss in all directions, you hardly know anything. As you explore more, you make a coherent story true to the things you’ve seen and experienced. As you keep exploring, “your story” of existing things is either changed or reinforced. “Your part of the story” that is. The world was and remains the same. Thus, it is wise to know that you don’t know.

Now, based on what we, humans have explored so far, “our part of the story” is, that since space is expanding everywhere in every direction in the universe, everything must’ve once been but a point. From a singularity, says the current best experimentally validated theory, the big-bang theory, a theory.

A theory is a model of a part of the universe such that if true experimentally, since truth of knowledge is experiment, certain laws can be applied to find the state of that part at some other point, given we know certain conditions at a given point. And 13 billion human years later, we say, at some point in the grand universe, conditions became favorable enough for life to exist. We exist because the universe is the way it is. Anything else in the cosmic drama, it probably wouldn’t be the case.

Our part of the story then says that, it all started in water in a chemical circumstance, and in all shapes and sizes, spread to places favorable to its existence, life that is. What is left of it now, what we see around us can be surmised through a principle, principle of natural selection, that says “each slight variation [of a trait], if useful, is preserved”.

There is no meaning to life. It’s just there. But on the level of humans, the meaning of life has a different meaning.

Humans? Species, ‘sapiens’, the only one to survive amongst the many in the genus ‘homo’. We’re at the top of the game. Because we can co-operate, in millions if needed. That is usually achieved through one other capability, abstraction. We can think of things that don’t exist. And so we multiplied and prospered like no other species. From foragers, we went on to become farmers and from farmers, to machine-men.

As foragers, moving from one place to other, we hunted and gathered food like other animals, attacked intruders and defended territories. As farmers, we could grow food, and hence settle in one place. Even then we needed to defend territories. Other animals were no threat, only humans were. So things like god, money and law came into existence sooner or later. Who knows. They are nevertheless imaginary things that exist in our cumulative imagination.

There is no meaning to life. It’s just there. But on level of humans, it’s about satisfaction in one form or other. The word satisfaction is not to be misunderstood as something shallow though. Satisfaction of love, of learning, of creating, of exploring and what not.

Is this some ultimate truth? Nope. This is how I perceive “our part of the story”. My mum will perceive “our story” in a different way. So will my dad, and my sister and my friend, everyone of them. And so will each individual in this life sustaining planet we call Earth. The way you perceive “our story” is equally true. One of the most important things in life is to realize that everyone is unique, sum of their own unique experiences. And thus the confusion. What you think is your part of the story, true to your experiences, true to your explored area of the map. Hence, one should be humble enough to know that they know nothing, and be unassuming. Love life in all forms. Have as much fun/satisfaction as you can. The cosmic drama doesn’t care about life and it’s meaning.