Definition – A study of “Now”

It would be a presumptuous yet fair statement, to say that we all have a preconceived notion of what we want from our time in this life that we perceive as ours. An idea of what it would take for us to reach the plenum of existence, and consider ourselves “fulfilled”.

And yet, if you were to stop for a moment; put a pause of your life as best you could, and write a list of exactly what it is that you want from your time on this Earth, and make a conviction and a promise not to change that, you would run into two distinct problems.

One: while it is perfectly easy to suggest you pause your life, you obviously and unfortunately cannot. If you were to take your time and write this list, with the intention of completing it in totality and never changing it, you would encounter a problem based on an assumption you would have had to have made, in order to even begin writing the list. The assumption would have been that you, unlike everything else in the universe; are static. An assumption that while your body grows old and tires, YOU are always YOU.

When in reality, YOU are changing all the time. You are not some steadfast rock grounded into foundation which a river works around, rather you are part of its water. It just becomes difficult to define the water part, in the same way you can point to the whole river and say “water”, or pick out a single molecule and say “this too is water”.

It’s a result of a struggle to separate the “I” of the mind and the “I” of the body. Assuming they are not one thing, because one part thinks, and the other part is physical matter. We forget the physical matter provides the means by which the conscious thinks, and can therefore perceive the physical part.

The two are cyclical; perfectly chicken and egg. And the two are changing at every second of the day as you flow from one moment to the next. A great example of how ever fluctuating both your mind and body are; is you may have a memory of a time you were brave, and so you could define yourself as courageous – that you put your body in harms way to save another in some form. And yet, you will probably also remember a time when you were cowardly. When you stood and watched a bully, rather than intervene, for fear of reprocusion. So are you brave, or are you cowardly?

Or were you simply brave in one moment, and cowardly in another?

But while you think of that; you will come to:

The second of the two problems: you can write down the words, “I want to be happy” or “I want to have wealth”; but you must remember that these are just words, not the feeling as they are themselves.

That is to say, that to physically say the words, “I am happy.” is not the same as being happy itself. Being happy is an indescribable feeling, because once you are in a moment of happiness, you’re not thinking about how happy you are; you just are. Like all else, it’s like a flow. You lose track of time, and you simply are the experience you are living, and it’s one which through one way or another evokes happiness. If you are to stop and think “why am I happy?” or “how happy am I?” you have begun to detract from the experience, and may actually think “how could I be more happy?” which decreases the intensity of the experience further so that actually you can’t describe your feeling of happiness just now, because you’ve lost yourself trying to define it, and by comparing it to future or further happiness it’s now not as happy as you imagine you could be.

So you’re defining nothing.

In the same way you could say you “want wealth” and in one moment mean “money” and in the next mean “purpose.”

In summary; what this effectively means, is a “You” which is no longer “You”, is defining an experience of say, “Happiness” which you cannot define, because the “Happiness” you are trying to define has passed to the variation of “You” than you were, and the “You” that you are now because you spent the time to define it.

Classification and definition are traits of the intelligent entity; perhaps experience is the trait of the wise entity.

To live the moment; is better than to define it, for in defining it, you surrender it.

And while you could define a moment, retroactively, this is defining a memory of a moment, and not the moment itself. So it is subject to infinite complications and inaccuracies.

Definition enables comparison. Rather than experiencing temperature, you are now experiencing hot or cold, or hotter or colder. This applies to happiness and sadness.

Rather, live in the moment as it is. Do not fear it or long for changing of circumstances, simply bask in what is. And while you can choose to define, at least understand what you are doing to the moment by categorising it. Take the moment as it comes, as it is in its purest form. Do not long for more or less of it, or a greater or lesser intensity of it. Simply; be.

Regardless of what you do; I hope the moment you find yourself in now, is a happy one. Just try not to think about it.

 

There Isn’t Enough Time With You

There was a time when as the stars passed by in the night outside my window, I would stare out at them with hopeful eyes. They were most beautiful thing I had ever seen. So full of potential, so full of life, so grandiose and yet so small in comparison to the black sky. I saw my future in them, every star a new possibility and awed at their very presence. And they filled my heart, with such great wonder.


Isn’t it amazing that we share the same time as every other person on this planet Earth, and yet when we are together, each passing moment seems to move so unforgivably faster.

How ironic it is, that no matter how much time I get with you, each second still seems to shorten its length, and that the time I do get vanishes, more fleeting than he last. The more I love you, the more that time seems to slip away from me without my permission. And as I love you more, each and every day. And each and every day I come to realise, more so than before, that no matter how much time I get with you, it will never be enough.

How remarkable it is, that mundane tasks are now no longer taxing. As I make coffee in the morning; if it is for myself, my feet scuff along the carpet and my eyes roll around my head uncouthly. I loosely lift the kettle and the weight of it clashes against my mug. I rub my eyes and shield them from the light of day, as I consider returning to bed instead, and snoozing until I no longer can.

But when I make coffee for you, when I have the pleasure – my heels lift off of the floor as I walk to the kitchen. I select ground of coffee that look the freshest, I stir for longer than usual, to make sure the sugar that you like does not settle at the bottom of the mug that I bought you. I clean the rim with a dishtowel, to ensure it looks as good as I hope it tastes and then I carry it slowly, and I bring it to you with a smile on my face.

I will never tire, not for one day, at the look you give me when I enter the room. The way your resting body seems to come to life, and your eyes meet mine. The way your body rises, with new air, and the way you seem to brighten up the room with every breath. That smile that you give me… that beautiful smile that appears from nowhere. It renders me vulnerable every time.

As the day begins to pass with you, never once is there a moment when I am not completely and utterly in love.

Never before, could I imagined that a human so beautiful, so thoughtful, so kind, and so wonderful could exist in this world, let alone choose to spend their time with me. Never before, could I have thought someone could be so delicate and fragile, and yet so strong and fierce all at once. So caring, so clever, and so determined as you are. Never before could I have dreamed, that a room could be brightened, and that the grey of colours could dissipate into the background, just by your very presence. You bring about the sun to shine the smiles of faces. You are the warmth, through the night.

I could watch the hair fall over the corner of your glasses a thousand times, and still catch my jaw in awe of falling strands. I would watch as your curled fingers grasp around them, and pull them back into place behind your left ear. If I’m very lucky, you’ll smile at me as you do it. And just as in the morning, it will take me by surprise. Suddenly I’m smiling too; although I think I have been for a while and not realised it until now.

At night you sit on the couch with a blanket cradling your toes. Your legs are folded underneath you, and if a book is not in front of your eyes then you hand rests gently against your chin as you “watch” something on TV. Really, we’re both just trying not to stare at one another. Still, I play the game. I’ll watch random iridescent images flash in the iris of your eyes. A slightly skewed version of those images on your eyes reflects onto your glasses, dancing. You close your eyes. Slowly, your eye lashes begin to open, and you look at me.

I still melt. Every time. If I’m lucky, you’ll give in and look at me first. You’ll shake your head – same as I do. We’re laughing; we’re smiling. Because still it is unbelievable a concept to us, that we love each other as much as we do.


There was a time when as the stars passed by in the night outside my window, I would stare out at them with hopeful eyes. They were most beautiful thing I had ever seen. So full of potential, so full of life, so grandiose and yet so small in comparison to the black sky. I saw my future in them, every star a new possibility and awed at their very presence. And they filled my heart, with such great wonder.

But that was a time.  Now, as I walk to bed, I do not stare up at the sky, and the splendour of the great beyond outside my window. I close the curtains; I don’t need them anymore.

I lie in bed, and struggle to stay awake for as long as I can; for the dreams I’ll have, could be no comparison to the reality of you. My eyes begin to falter, and I stare at your face as they do. I wish for just one more day; so that I can spend it with you.

And as sleep comes over upon me, I do not miss those days when I gazed out at the sky. For I no longer see my future in the stars, but instead I see them in you.

What Is YOUR Meaning Of Life? AND; What Is The Meaning Of YOUR Life?

There is a reason the question, “What is the meaning of life” has been around since we could perceive our own time and existence – it’s essential to the driving force that keeps us moving forward, purpose. People have perished, their minds withered to self-flagellation over the pursuit of the meaning of life. People cannot enjoy the now, without consistently returning to the question, what’s the point of it? What’s the end goal? Where’s it leading to, and what will tomorrow bring as a result?

“What good is today, if there is no tomorrow?”

But the fact of the matter is, the question itself is inherently flawed because it assumes we are basic creatures, that any one of us is required to be remotely similar to another, or that we are confined and constrained to order and discipline – when in fact, we can do whatever we God damn feel like, as long as we possess the will to do so. It is basic science that some of the primitive drives that define life, are a need to consume, and a need to reproduce. These are literally two of the seven common concepts that an organism must exhibit in order to be classed as life – and yet we have all known people who have no desire to have children, or have known people who have suffered great anguish in midst of a hunger strike, to support something they wholeheartedly believe in. We are no longer even required to abide by basic laws of biology, because we have the capacity to protest it.

It seems then, that once consciousness can perceive itself, and perceive what it means to be itself, as long as it possesses the ability to alter this, it can be anything it wishes to be. And so life, becomes a little blurry, especially to the individual whom despite being surrounded by many lives, will only ever experience one perspective, one life.

There is a reason the question has been around since the dawn of our time and yet remains unanswered. The question, what is the meaning of life, is flawed, because it assumes life is a constant. When in fact, life, can be whatever you believe it to be. There can be life in a painting, or in a glass of wine, or a good book. There can be life in a dance, or a memory, or in the beat of a drum. And yet simultaneously, life is the here and now. It’s the flora and fauna as far as we can see in stretches touched and untouched by the Sun, and further out lights of the universe.

Instead, rather than asking yourself a fundamentally unanswerable question, it may be better to consider rather, what is YOUR meaning of life? Perhaps with that you may reach a consensus in your mind as to, what is the meaning of YOUR life?

While the questions sound the same, and are similar in syntax, they probably require a second read to even see there is a difference; they are very different indeed.

The important distinguishment being:

Perhaps your meaning of life is to help others achieve their optimum goals. But the meaning of your life, is to teach. Then again, the meaning of your life could be to doctor others instead, so that they may go on to live their best lives.

You must not look for an answer, what lies beyond that which you care about. First ask yourself what you wholeheartedly believe in as a human being, and use that to create your own meaning of life as a whole, and then decide in which way you will play your part towards it. To assume you are some kind of omnipotent being that can simultaneously be the meaning of life, and fulfill it in whole, is really rather hubris.

So, perhaps you come to the conclusion you just care about “Good”. An idea of “Good” or “The Greater Good.” Well not that your meaning of life needs defined by a set definition, but that would come under Aristotelianism. You could then decide the meaning of your life is to disparage iniquity and greed, and redistribute wealth among your community/country to be more equal and fair. Perhaps this does not interest you at all, and you feel you must simply do your bit to get by, that you are required to just do your bit and play your part. Well this could come under Kantianism or Confucianism, “Do as you’d have others do” and “Live an ordinary life” respectively. You could then decide to get an ordinary job, and raise a family, same as many others have before. Perhaps you believe there is no true meaning, and you should do whatever the hell you god damn feel like, this could come under Nihilism, Absurdism, or Cyrenaicism. Perhaps you wish to believe in god, and higher powers; Theism. Or perhaps simply and nobly, “Learn more.”; Platonism. You could then dedicate your life to becoming an accomplished scientist, or a literary scholar.

The irony being that while this is article is an attempt to be impartial, I am approaching this particular topic with Logical Positivism, an idea that “Life has no meaning, until you assign it one”. But I believe it an insurmountable truth, as there is no other who may give you an answer. They may steer you towards one, but ultimately you must choose it.

Then again, I also approach my own life with a mix of Aristotelianism, Platonism, Logical Positivism, StoicismClassical Liberalism, and the idea that you are under no obligation to be the same person you were five minutes ago – so the guide by which we follow and the path in which we have defined can equally be changed any any given time for any given reason should we ever decide we don’t like it.

The fundamental point being – stop looking for the meaning of life. Stop looking for tomorrow. Life is that which you define it to be, because you are an intelligent creature, in an extremely intelligent universe, of which you are part of and simultaneously the same as. If you wish to find the meaning of life, you must first create it in one’s own mind. An idea in the mind, is worth more than all the treasures on Earth.

 

What Lies Beyond

As you look into the night sky; and remark on the beauty of the universe in the shape of stars and nebula, you may at some point if given enough time, come to a realisation. These beautiful wonders, that have guided humanity since the dawn of our time, that have inspired poetry and created great works of art; may no longer be there. Light is the fastest thing that we understand. Nothing we perceive is greater than the speed of light. And yet even it, is finite. And the great span of distance from where we are, to where the stars lie beyond, is so great, that it takes finite definable light considerable length of time to reach us, and display to us the grandiosity of the stars, and nebulae, and everything beyond our world.

Potentially, these works of awe may have existed a length of time so greatly long ago, that the stars have not only died – but have dissipated and spread the elements of life into the universe since then. They may have brought about life in other parts of the universe, a life that may be so intelligent they too have used it to guide themselves through the dark, and used it to create light in works of art. How fascinating it is to think, that balls of light, crucibles of elements and life may have in turn brought about more life in new form, in places we cannot even hope to see. They may have inspired entire civilisations worth of culture, in what lies beyond.

Image result for pillars of creation
Pillars of Creation – A long dead mix of star and nebulae. This is a real image, taken from the Hubble telescope. Courtesy of NASA.GOV

They have done this, and they have done it so long ago, that cultures we may never meet, have already came and went based upon them. Yet still we see their awe. With certainty – stars will come and go – and yet still they inspire long after their implosion. It serves as evidence – that long after something dies – it can still be experienced.

Imagine you are in a room, and you are with one other person, facing them directly, as it would not be uncommon for you to do. You’re talking about something trivial and generally just spending time with someone you enjoy. You may smile and feel so in the moment with someone at that time, which is beautiful and remarkable in every way. But on a scientific level – there is a delay.

There is a delay between what happens for the self, and what the other person will see. There is a delay in sound. Sound travels at the speed of about 345 m/s, meaning that if this was a particularly massive room, a ball room perhaps in some large palace in Germany, that was this distance from one end to the other, if you stood at one end and your companion at the other, then there would be a one second delay between what you said, and when they heard it.

Now, when we actually experience this in reality, talking to our friends in close proximity, this delay is remarkably small. So small in fact, that relatively it is negligible. However, let’s not forget… it is still there. There is a similar delay with light – except that light travels significantly faster than sounds, at about 3 * 10 ^ 8 m/s (30’000’000’000 m/s), meaning that the delay is even more negligible. However, it IS still there.

To reiterate, what this means is that every time you talk to someone. there is a delay in when they say it, and when you see and hear it.

The complexity intensifies however, when our understanding of the universe and technology increase greatly. Let’s suggest that some far away intelligent being can view that conversation you are having with your friend; that they can view it on their version of a telescope which can see unimaginable distances away, and perhaps even translate what you are saying via subtle movements in your mouth and vocals cords, into whatever language they speak, effectively meaning they can see and hear you. The problem is, that if they are doing this millions of light years away from you – by the time they see it, it will have happened a long long time ago. Millions of years ago in fact.

But they are seeing and hearing it right now, to them, and yet you and your friend would have lived and died millions of years before. So how can this be?

Well… actually… this is exactly what’s happening with humanity and the stars. The two examples differ in negligible ways. So why even provide the two examples to say the same thing?

The reason being, it is necessary to humanise the following question; if everything we do is technically in a delay – if everything that we see and perceive is technically a memory – if all of time is relative to the person observing it, and there is no definite point of certainty – when does something, or more specifically someone… die?

If your friend perished in some terrible accident, to you they would be “dead” and naturally you would be very sad about it, and yet at the same time, this intelligent being could be observing them in their now, and viewing some certain events that happened before they were killed off in the third act. So they are dead to you, but not to this other being, who still sees and hears them, millions of years later.

It would seem then, that as the problem continues, the true crux of the issue – is that the general person still views time as an absolute constant, rather than simply constant – to you. In other words, relatively constant. Which is of course is an oxymoron.

What lies beyond, is not only new worlds, homes, discoveries, people, and cultures, but also the past, present, and future, simultaneously and all at once. It’s all just based on the perspective by which you view it.

Some comfort you can take from this, is that friends and family whom you have lost, some time in the past. No matter how long ago it was, they are not truly gone. Sadly, they are only gone, to you. But they are still smiling, and being happy, and looking at you with adoring eyes, from someone’s point of view, somewhere. Someone, somewhere, may be looking at you both in the past, with wondering eyes, and thinking, “They look happy.” And if some future technology could transport you an unimaginable distance away in an instant ( perhaps some quantum entanglement one day may teleport us ) then you could too, sit and view this person and you, watch each other with those same adoring eyes.

What lies beyond, is the past, future, and present; it’s the now and then; it’s the you and I.

Think of that, as you look into the night sky.

 

 

Memory Is The Key.

Your memory is the rationality, by which your reason is based upon.

Everything that you are; is a result of that which you have experienced up to this point in your life. Perhaps you are not a trusting person, because at no point have you ever been provided with a reason to trust someone. Perhaps that trust always been broken in heart-aching ways; unfaithful partners, unloving parents, gossiping friends – and so as a result, you have no reasonable discourse for attempting to form a bond of trust with anyone.

Equally, perhaps you are a very trusting person because of these things happening to you, and so you understand how important trust is to you in your life, and will only surround yourself with people whom you feel will share a similar passion for loyalty and integrity.

To say which of these you would become if similar things happened to you is trying; because these decisions too are based on some rationality from all your previous decisions and experiences, and so on.

No one, just is. There is no whole without the sum of the parts which form it.

You can use this as a way to empathise with others, whom you believe harbour difficult to understand or difficult to agree with opinions. Perhaps someone maintains particularly racist, or homophobic views – it may be because their entire childhood consisted of expression of opinions of an old generation, whom had opinions that were based on misconceptions, fear, ignorance, or a lack of education. Perhaps, instead, they wrongfully correlated a problem in society to a particular niche of people, just by simple human error, rather than maliciousness. Perhaps a misinterpretation of data, or a personal experience which skewed their thinking.

It does not necessarily mean the person who believes these things is bad, or wishes bad upon people who fall under one of these scopes, but just that they lack an education on why those thoughts and feelings are either objectively incorrect, or subjectively harmful to a larger, peace-driven society.

Perhaps if you take time to educate people, you will remove the aforementioned ignorance – rather than getting yourself hot and bothered and into a shouting match with someone, normally behind a keyboard. If someone shouts “Fatty!” to someone from a car, it has never convinced them to lose weight, it has only darkened their day. So don’t be that kind of person.

Remember, everything that has ever happened, has happened as a result of the events that came before it. The spark began the fire, the rock begat the mountain. Just do not assume that every rock you find, means that one day a mountain will form in its stead. Equally do not decide that it could not. memories can be difficult; keep them. Somewhere. In the back of your mind. From time to time revisit them. While there are memories that sometimes you may wish could disappear, they won’t. They did happen, and they brought about you that you are today. They will be in the you that you are tomorrow. So instead, think what effect a time passed might have had on you.

Maybe you snap too quickly at people, and you can find why that may be, and begin to deal with it. Perhaps you’re not as romantic to your partner as you once were, so remind yourself of why you fell in love with them, and reunite with romance.

Most importantly, begin making new memories. Positive ones. Experiences that help you to grow, to learn, to be passionate, and to love; so that in time, when you look reflectively at yourself, this will be your point of rationale. If we are what we do habitually, make it so. If you’re lucky, at some point on an idle Sunday, you will reflect on yourself and see that you have become that person you tried so hard to be, by doing.

That everything you did, in what will then be called your past, was positive – because you made a conscious effort to take the baby steps that would form you into the person you become.

Because if you’re trying to unlock who you really are; memory is the key.

Pressed for time.

You will always be aware of the passage of time. As leaves around you turn amber and crumble, as trees wither and rivers shape mountains, you will be well aware that nothing can escape its grasp.

Man – is the only animal on Earth that pertains a concept of time; and with that comes an equally unique fear; what happens when it stops.

Rather than spin this in dim light, rather – look at it with unhinged beauty. Time is based on our own perspective. Five minutes to someone in an excruciating interview will crawl its way along, while the same five minutes to new lovers will pass in the snap of a finger.

While you can be certain that your life will expire as it is at some point in the future, and while you can say with relative certainty you will not live to be as old or much older than a century, equally, you could unexpectedly perish tomorrow of some unnamed disaster. While you know your time will end, you do not know when. You do not know how worth your time will be, or how quickly it will pass. The time on your clock may tick for the last time, in the following heartbeat.

So… run. You are pressed for time. And if you wish to leave some part of you in this universe, act with haste. Do not put up with situations that bring you unhappiness. Relish in those that do. Do not bother with people who are toxic to your well being, in any way. Rid their weight from your shoulders and press forward linked in swinging arms of equally enthusiastic runners. You owe nothing to anyone, and are bound by nothing but that which you yourself will accept to be bound to. The thing about the great social contract (where we conduct ourselves uncharacteristically for the sake of  the acceptance of others) is that we do not have to abide by it at all. And just because we have spent so much time on it, does not mean we must continue to do so.

“You are under no obligation to be the same person you were five minutes ago”
– Alan Watts

Rather, do what brings you joy. With happiness being forever fleeting you must pursue it as though fire burns at the back of your heels. You must dish it out and lend a helping hand to those you can. Kindness and happiness can be shared without depreciation. So, do.

Put nothing on hold – because it can be dropped at any point – no matter how securely you imagine yourself to be holding it.

Let no anchor tie you to the shoreline, because adventure awaits beyond the horizon. To find new land, you must watch traverse stormy weather, and watch as the horizon obscures the security of where you came from.

Plan; but do not fret if the reality of the situation alters so much you cannot use it. While your sail can steer, it is still influenced by the wind. And the changing of that wind, is anyone’s guess. But that does not mean you should opt to float on driftwood, just because the sail may fail.

And so with that in mind, equally do not judge. Others or yourself. This will only stifle your release of endorphins from your runners high. In fact, do not concern yourself with the achievements or the decisions of others. Comparison rarely every bring anything other despair.

Instead… run, and beat the clock.

And while you will always be aware of the passage of time – you will slowly start to realise you no longer fear it. And the time you spent on the race will no longer matter, only how far you ran, and all the things you saw along your way. How you turned the leaves red, and shaped the mountainside.

 

 

 

Shorts: The Call of the Void – (L’appel du vide)

You’ve had a great day at work. Perhaps someone complimented your appearance, or your hard work received the recognition you feel it deserves. You’re going home to your favourite meal, and since you’re ahead in all your chores, there is little to do but put your feet up, and relax the night away. You stand at the train station, as a light rain pours down, with a smile on your face as you think of all these simple delights that await you. At some point, you glance over, and see that a train is approaching. It is not your train, and it does not stop at this station so it’s going at a fairly high speed. And although you are happy, a coldness washes over you. You stare blankly at the lights on the front of the train. And from somewhere in the attic of your mind, you suddenly think, “Jump.”

It’s a thought and a whisper and a command all at once. “Jump… Jump onto the tracks. Right. Now.”

The train blazes by. It’s gone undisturbed. The train driver is still smiling, completely unaware of what you just thought about doing. You watch the train for longer than usual, before staring blankly ahead. What just happened? Why did you think that?

L’appel du vide. The Call of the Void.

A french term, referring to that feeling we get, even for a brief moment, where we just think – “I could do something terrible in every sense of the word right now. For no particular reason at all.”

It can range from the example I’ve given above, to thinking you could just crash your car into a tree while the kids argue in the back. Or perhaps that you could push your beloved friend over a mountainside as you both stand enjoying the view. It could be to cause damage to yourself, or to a loved one, or just generally do something horrible, like knocking an ice cream cone from the hands of a child, simply because you can.

While this is a scary thought to think about, and we often feel at our most insane in these moments, the good news is… we all have them. You are not bad. We’ve all thought about doing something like that, and sometimes frequently. But most importantly… it’s completely normal. You’re not saying you WILL do them, or even thinking you should. It’s just a combination of a sudden feeling of power revealing itself at an opportune moment. It’s a sudden realisation that in this moment, you have control, and a power to do anything, regardless of whether it’s good or not.

It’s actually beautiful in a way, because for a brief second, we feel truly empowered. It just manifest’s itself negatively, because thankfully we don’t often think these thoughts, and so we seize our brief moment to do so.

The next time you do have one of these moments, be comforted by the fact that it is so common place, the French have a name for it. Be comforted knowing the kindest people you know, have thought these things also. And be thankful that while you thought them, you did not do them.

Instead, watch the train, or the tree, or the shrinking mountainside go by, smile and laugh to yourself, “L’appel du vide…”

What Are You Worth?

What are you worth?

It’s not a thought that often crosses the forefront of our mind, but I’d wager that for many, an arbitrary value exists somewhere in the recesses of thought.

This topic was brought about by a conversation I had with some close friends, where I proposed them the following scenario with a single question;


 

“Suppose you are diagnosed with a chronic illness. And unfortunately, the doctor informs you that this illness will bring about your imminent demise. In fact, you will die, tomorrow.

However, the doctor informs you that while there is no cure, there is a treatment, in the form of a single pill. Now what this pill does, is keep you effectively staving off the effects of the disease, for one day.

There are many of these pills, and they are readily available to you. The pill cannot be stacked, but it will work continuously.

i.e. You cannot take six pills and live for six more days, but for every pill you take, you get to live for one more day, specifically the following. So you must take this pill every morning, to continue living for the rest of that day.

Now for the question; at what cost, do you STOP paying for the pill?”

*Perhaps answer the question for yourself, before reading any further.


 

I found this such an interesting question to pose to my close friends, particularly because of the first response I got, when I had asked a clearly startled colleague

Although I am not afraid of death, and in fact, I struggle to identify when you can even call someone truly dead (a topic for another day), I still would always answer – “I would pay anything for the pill.”

I assumed this was an obvious answer, that everyone has the same zest and desire for life, and that my colleague would respond in kind. But instead she replied, “Nothing. I would not pay anything for that pill.”

I was shocked. This completely bewildered me. My colleague doesn’t come across as an unhappy person, and yet I must confess, this was my immediate reaction, although I did not vocalise it. But then immediately, she followed it up with, “I wouldn’t want to leave anyone behind, with a burden of paying for that medicine.”

In a roller-coaster of emotion, I now felt incredibly selfish. I had not even considered the people I would leave behind. In my mind, I thought I would do anything to continue paying for that pill, in the sense of I would accept every inch of the responsibility. But then on further examination of my conscience, I think even if I did leave a burden upon the living… I don’t know. I think my answer still might be “I would do anything for that pill.”

While I cannot know for certain, and it is indeed all a thought experiment, I cannot think of a time when I would condemn myself, to my final day on Earth, voluntarily.

And yet, I then decided to propose a different scenario upon myself alone, based on the famous trolley question;


 

“Suppose I am working in a laboratory, and there is an accident with a spilled contaminant. This contaminant bubbles and breathes gas into the lab. This chemical is lethal when inhaled.

You and your lab partner, the only people in the room, rush to the two hazmat suits in the corner. But unfortunately as you get there, you discover one suit has been ripped, and is rendered useless.

The person who does not wear the suit, will not die a painful death. But they will die over the next minute. There is no cure as of yet, and they will not be revived.

Your partner has abstained from making the decision, and will readily accept yours.

Do you take the suit for yourself, or do you give it to your partner?”

*Again, perhaps answer the question for yourself, before reading any further.


 

Now with this question, my answer immediately would be, “I would give the suit to my partner.”

But again upon closer and initial inspection, it seems that there is a bit of an oxymoron between these two answers on my part. It doesn’t rightly make sense for me to fight so unyielding for my life, and yet on a different breath, give it up so readily.

Now perhaps I am perfectly willing to sacrifice my life for another’s. And I’m sure most people would like to believe this also. Hopefully we will be fortunate enough never be put in that situation, and have to even find out.

But here is where I am torn. I believe you should work hard to leave some part of you on this universe. That you should leave it in some kind of better state than when you found it.

And the idea of granting someone a life, by sacrificing mine helps me fulfil that. But just giving up on my life, doesn’t necessarily fulfil it for me. I think that’s why I fight so hard for the pill. With the pill, I can still try. I can still try with every second of my life to make the universe better in some way. But what if in doing that, I actually make it worse for those I leave behind?

What I’m also concerned with, is I think I would fear the idea of my last day, and my last thoughts, not being good ones. The idea of going home, putting on some TV, calling up far away family members to tell them the news, and gathering with closer family to be with me, and then just passing away – I don’t think it makes the cut for me. I could not have, an ordinary day be my last, without knowing if I truly made the world a better place with my time spend on it. But with the chemical spill thought, I can at least die a hero. Regardless of what I’ve done, some of it may be redeemed, and my successor can continue to do good in this world, because I gave them that chance.

Ultimately; I don’t know.

I don’t believe for the time being I have an answer to these questions both. I think it will take many more conversations and much more time thinking about this before I could propose an answer. Maybe by the time I come to the conclusion, my thoughts on the whole thing might have changed. This, I really do not know.

But with my thought and opinions as they stand today fully out there, let me ask you; What are you worth?

Do You Think We’ll Ever Meet Them?

As you look up at the stars, in the dark of the night, you notice how many there are, and although they seem to go on indefinitely; you begin to count.

And after a while of counting, you will at some point, begin to wonder.

The observable universe is unimaginably gargantuan. The actual universe, is even larger still. Although, as sight fails us, we know only of a larger universe’s existence by the effects that outwith our sight is having upon objects, celestial or otherwise, that we CAN see. i.e. Perhaps a massive object outside of our range of sight, is so large that it’s gravitational pull is affecting objects we can see. But since we can’t physically see an un-observable universe,  for now, for the sake of the following analogy, let’s consider what we CAN see.

It’s estimated, by different sources and reputable scientists, that the number of stars in our observable universe amounts to anywhere between 1 to 100 million… for every grain of sand on Earth.

Think about that.

For just one beach, your favourite beach you’ve ever been to, imagine counting the individual grains, and multiplying it even by the lowest of that scale. You’ll no doubt theoretically devise a number so large you could not write it down in tiny numbers of chalk on any road in the world. Then add every other beach, and every other grain of sand on Earth; and be amazed more, still.

Then consider what stars, in a sense, represent. They represent a section; a little order in the large chaos. For where there are stars, there are clusters of planets. And as such, we can count a little more conveniently. But we’re not looking for convenience now, in fact we are tackling the big.

In our Solar System (The Sol System) there are 8 planets (Sorry, Pluto.) If we assume then, that every other star COULD have that many, of course they could have more and they could have less, but let’s just suppose they could – you could theoretically multiple your number again by anywhere up to 8. By the time you’ve done this, you have ANOTHER inconceivable number. A number that is so large, it actually has nothing we can compare it to.

We cannot compare it to grain, to salt, to blades of grass. To letters written, or perhaps even to thoughts, thought. We are now, astronomical.

But then… consider this. That inconceivable number… is a snapshot, of now. Stars, like we, go through stages of their life. And same as they are born, they age, and die. When they are born, their sheer scale grants them a gravitational field. All mass has gravity, it can just be so small that its force is negligible. However a stars gravitational pull is exquisite, and its existence will force them to inherit planets along the way. These too age and die. When a star dies, it guarantees the death of all other planets which orbit it.

This is because when a star dies, it enters a supernova state. This implodes the star, and at its most dense point, it bursts out again and explodes its heated guts containing gases all across the the solar system, and out into the universe. This crucible of gases, of planets, of minerals, and all of the elements that found and support life, is continually exploding and spreading itself all over the universe, every day, as time goes on.

So this crazy number, that when we last left it was a rough estimate of all the planets in our observable universe, is now only a snapshot. Think of all the planets that have been, since the beginning of time. The number is now not only incomparable, but it’s actually grown meaningless, for we can’t understand it whatsoever.

In keeping with the unimaginable, let’s expand our thoughts to the non-observable universe which could be infinite… and then expand our supposition to more than one universe. In fact… an infinite number of universes. Why would there be more than one universe? – Because the universe does not make anything in sets of one. There can be no action, without reaction.

What is the point of all this? What’s the point in even understanding or dreaming of these numbers. Of how the universe works. The point of all this; is consciousness.

There was no reason for the universe to give birth to life. It could have continued existing just fine without it. And yet, it did. Not only that, but even life itself could have stayed as small as bacteria. But it didn’t. It grew. Which means atoms, which had until that point all been working independently, now decided to work together to form something larger. And why might that be?

I would wager, that the universe was compelled to observe itself. And the way to do that, is consciousness. Perhaps my last statement a paragraph ago was incorrect, perhaps the universe couldn’t have went on fine without us, because without anything to observe it, it wasn’t able to exist anyway.

The universe couldn’t even have written this article, had it not made that decision at that time. Now let’s not even delve into the different question of how it could even make a decision or have a compulsion; let’s leave that for another time.

The most important thing we can take from this, is that the universe desires consciousness. A chaos that can in turn, decide to do things it should not or normally could not, and a chaos that can conceive of things which do not exist, and therefore expand the theoretical universe indefinitely. Perhaps life was just the universe’s attempt to continue growing.

This consciousness as we know it on Earth, consists of the elements of life. These are Carbon, Oxygen, Nitrogen, and Hydrogen. Which are four of the five most common elements in the universe. Which are found in every star in the universe.

If the universe never makes anything in ones, why would it make consciousness in one?

It’s just a case of it could be ANYWHERE in this universe… and at ANYTIME in its existence. Each consciousness has its own perspective. Its own take on the universe, and itself. Its own thoughts, desires, opinions, loves, hates, fears, and dreams. And if these conscious beings can dream, I bet they too, sit down, stare at the stars, and count.

So with that being said, do you think we’ll ever meet them?