Point Blank

None of us knows how long he shall live or when his time will come but soon all that will be left in our brief lives is the pride our children will feel when they speak of our names. You carry these words in your head as long as they make sense to you. You heard them from a set in a movie forty-seven Ronin. Their gusto enthralled you and their mission made you realize how vain life can be.

You are a promising and ambitious twenty-seven-year-old chap working in a slum school. On a daily, you wake up early while the grass is bleeding dew. You commute quite a distance to your workstation. And you earn a consolation. Since you want to prove to your employers you are a smartass, in your resume you wrote something like you can read, translate and teach music. Like you thought you can. Among many other lies thrown around in desperation for the magic paper. The moment comes when you are handed five pieces of music in sheets. You try to read them in the middle of the night when no one is listening to you. You sound horrible and off-key. You regret that one statement in that god-damned resume that got you the job. And sure enough, you lament it.

A colleague helps you out and teaches you how to use Noteworthy Composer. Where you can place the hammer-like symbols on staff lines and make them sing. Your little musical background also comes in handy. A great relive indeed. Your computer mastery skills help you out and soon you can sing alongside the machine albeit with some stammers. You are good to go. 

You gather a group of incompetent midgets who have never uttered anything musical apart from their unremitting childhood crying and yelling. They are smut even in their school garb. You commit to washing their lewdness and desperation musically. Music will calm their souls. And so you promise them. You are supposed to train them until their vocals can lure a snake out of a hole. You get frustrated along the way but you fight on.

Over the weekend you sign out a laptop claiming it would help you refine your musical and computer skills which you were hired for. Taking full responsibility, you sling it on your shoulder in its strap bag, and the weekend begins. Something you later wish you never did. 

Saturday morning you spend time on the machine. Keying in musical notes and copying some of your written stuff that is in an old floppy disk. When the staffing becomes tiresome, you write something just to pass time. You are lost in thought that you forget to check the battery level of your laptop. It suddenly goes off. You reach for the socket and there’s no power. The power men are busy repairing a broken transformer. Some thug had siphoned its oil. You once heard that they use the oil to fry tubers in the city stand-in cafes. No wonder the fries transform lives and bodies. Since you did not finish your work, you decide to carry the laptop to your kin’s place on the other side of the road where they have power. 

In the afternoon, you have to rush to the village for a local welfare group meeting. You leave the machine there and catch the next jalopy headed homeward. You reach the village in the evening and into your house. You spend the night in the thought of the job, the music the machine, the transformer oil, and the meeting that brought you to the village – an attempt to remain relevant. Village relevance for fucks sake.

The following day after the meeting you find your way back to the city. Your brother asks to follow you and maybe find himself something sensible to do in the city. The village sucks, and so he tells you. He has lived in the village for as long as you can remember. He claims he hasn’t boarded a vehicle in the last ten years. He is worn out and malnourished from doing the menial village jobs like well digging. Maybe you can find him a job at those French fry’s cafes; his life would be transformed. Together you canter back to the city. You have to pass by your cousin’s place to collect the machine. The next day is a workday and you are supposed to be at work very early. You find him home and have some small banter. You share a meal and off you go. 

The time is 9.30 pm. Outside it’s fat dark. He sees you off and tells you that you will catch up later. You bang the gate behind you and you disappear into the darkness. You take the first turn into a very dark alley with live tall kai apple fences on both sides. From a distance you see some chaps approaching you. You assume they are fellow road users. On meeting them, one of the chaps stops under a dim long fluorescent security light, raises a short gun, and metal clicks. You wonder how a young man his stature can have an actual gun. You assume it is a fake gun.

“Sit down!” he barks at you.

You raise your head and ask him to just say what he wants and you will oblige but not a freeking sitting down on the red earth dust.

“I said sit down!” only this time louder.

He is now very close and you can’t see the gun due to the darkness. Your brother who was walking ahead of you is on the ground.

You are doing rounds with this gun-wielding rascal. The other accomplice is trying to reach for your waist and maybe searching for a gun thinking you could be a cop due to the courage you have in front of a deadly weapon.

Boom! The gun goes off with such a deafening sound. The neighborhood goes still. Crickets and nocturnal stutter. Glowworms go off. Bats scamper for safety.

You see the gun-fire and from the distance the gun-wielding thug is, you oblige. Two other thugs who were walking a distance have now closed on you. Before you reach for the ground, you are grabbed by the neck so hard. Then a blow lands on your chin equally hard. It’s now a tussle. The gunman who you are now watching his movement is standing at a distance. Maybe, aiming to fire at your head; but an accomplice is holding your neck. He doesn’t fire since he may kill his accomplice. He aims at your chest but another thug is working blows on your face. The one who was ransacking you reaches for the bag and you try to hang on it. 

“Take the bag!” the gunman roars.

You hang on it so tightly that the chap pulling the bag shouts to the gunman, “Shoot him again! He has refused with the bag!”

But who wants to be killed, you let loose the bag and the machine which you claimed you were responsible for. You reach for your back pocket and feel your wallet. You hold it tightly from outside your trousers pocket. 

A thug reaches for it and serves you another blow amid shouts of, “Kill him! Kill him! He has refused with the wallet!”

You release the wallet and off they run. You turn and call the thug who took your wallet and tell him to take the cash which you explain runs into some loose hundreds for the sake of your personal documents.

He stops and looks at you and he takes off without doing what you asked him. You lay on the dust, finally, devastated and robbed; your possessions and that of your workplace and your virility.

Your brother is still on the ground waiting for the commotion to die down. Dogs begin barking irately towards the escaping thugs. Women scream and children cry at the sudden noise. The neighborhood is terrified. The yells and cries die down slowly. (I went back to the scene of the robbery the following day and heard women say, a man was killed there the previous night. That man was me. I smiled amusingly.)

Your brother comes to his heels and off you walk back to your cousin. You are limping a bit. One of your feet feels numb. The gateman is hesitant to open for you. On speaking, he flies the gate open.

“What the hell was happening out there?” he asks you stuttering.

You tell him you were being robbed.

“Did they hurt you?”

“No, they didn’t,”

“What has happened to your thigh? You are bleeding!”

“Oh shit! I’m shot” you shout upon seeing the bleeding leg and the blood-soaked jeans.

You strip fast. Your heart pounds almost blowing off your chest. Your face is terror. And there a bullet hole punctures your flesh. It ruptured through your flesh leaving a hollow passage; enough to fit a tube. You turn your leg and realize the bullet went through your thigh! You take off your T-shirt and tie your bleeding wound like they do in movies.

Tenants are out and around you in horror, speechless, their mouths agape. You are sure they pity you. You abhor the misery on their faces. They are probably thinking you are lucky to be existing. All this time your cousin hasn’t opened his door. He hasn’t even heard the increasing voices outside. He slept dead the moment you left his room. He must have suffered a tsetse fly bite. People sleep. It takes the initiative of the gateman to wake him up. He wakes up shocked. He claims he heard the gunshot which you believe he heard in his dreams. 

He dresses up and a good neighbor takes you in his car to the police. Upon narrating the ordeal to the blues, they pity you. You are now getting pissed off by this pity while everyone stands far from you like you are a zombie. You record statements and the police allow you to go to the hospital talking behind your back that you never fight the chap on the other side of the gun.

Arriving at the hospital, you walk out of the cab and into the casualty area. Your leg is now totally numb. You are dragging it from behind. From a distance you see the sign to the morgue and slowly think that is the place you should have been taken; at least according to the police and the scared tenants. A nurse meets you and startles you from your thoughts.

“What is the matter?”

“We have brought a person who has been shot by thugs.”

From her face, she is visibly terrified. 

“Where is he?”

“It’s me.”

This is a true account. The follow up was a bit fictitious. Check it out in the next publish.

This story was written while I was starting out here. I published it on facebook. The brother mentioned in the story has since passed on under unrelated circumstances.

Transience

If you are depressed, you are living in the past.

If you are anxious, you are living in the future.

Well, I suppose that makes me a bloody time traveller. But in all seriousness, before we can finish this quote we need some understanding about transience. Sometime referred to as impermanence or change. This idea of transience is one of the fundamental questions in philosophy and has been tackled in the East and West alike.

One of the first philosophers to write about transience in the West was the Greek philosopher HERICLITUS 500BC. He’s notable for having the word clit in his name which is hilarious if you come to think of it. Hericlitus was known to have created only one work in his lifetime so knowledge about him comes from what others have written about him. Including that public wanker Diogenes and Plato. Though Hericlitus provides a rich account of the nature of the world, his famous idea both then and now is that of UNIVERSAL FLUX or TRANSIENCE.

For Hericlitus, the most fundamental characteristic of the universe is change. It is the idea about his famous quote, – No man ever steps in the same river twice -. The river might have the same appearance from the banks travelling along the same path across the land but it is changing as it flows from the mountains while the particles that make up the water are shifting in their position and so the water will be different from the one you stepped in with your first step.

Hericlitus saw the world as a stage for opposing forces which battled in mutual rivalry. The fundamental stuff that made the world was not so much material matter but was characterised by change. At the bottom of everything was not things but processes. The river is not an object but the flow of water. A tree is not a thing but a totality of all the life processes in it which need I not mention. All of nature is defined by process, activity and change.

This metaphor of the river can be implied into the rest of our lives as well. We learn to think that the universe is immutable and fixed but this could not be more incorrect. If we introspect in our minds is not concrete in itself but a stream of ideas and thoughts and sensations. If you hold your minds hand and allow it to wander, its amazing how many times it can leap from one thought to another, from one moment to the next. There seems to be no fixed state into which the mind can rest. Likewise for the body which appears like a stable entity with a concrete reality but in fact the atoms that constitute you are in a constant state of flux and shifting their positions and conditions almost constantly. That explains feelings in short. Both physical and emotional. Every 7-10years the body replaces all its cells with neww ones. So there’s really no basis which you can call your body the same one which was a decade ago. Just take a look at your picture a decade ago. The infamous cliché denoted Tbt.

On the atomic level there is not quite any difference between your atoms and the atoms that make up the rest of the world. You are continuous with nature and and just as changeable as Hericlitus river. And the same goes for the people around us. We like to think that our loved ones will stay and be around us forever. But unfortunately that’s not the case. People come into and out of the world all the time and at some point we’ll all have to bid farewell to some of our friends and family as they dissappear from this world into whatever comes next.

Humans are no more permanent than a sunrise in the morning or lightning in a thunderstorm and, that can really hurt sometimes. If lose is like a choir then our feelings of lose is like a cathedral where the sound echoes and reverberates off the walls until it builds into something almost unbearable. How difficult it is to live in a universe knowing that all the things that we learned and all the things we love will sometime be taken away.

Even as we move away from the earth, transience affects the rest of the universe too. We used to think that stars are immutable and unchanging and that all of them were fixed to a massive celestial sphere in the heavens. Can we really blame our ancestors for thinking that? Within the span of a human life, the stars indeed appear to be fixed in their position. How the more we learned about them and their motions, we found out that this wasn’t true. Each of them is traveling in their own orbit through the milky way at incredible speeds but their extreme distances make them impossible to detect. If the stars could see, they would be able to see our entire history unfold. And with it the birth and death of each human being that whatever was. Even in their unimaginable stretch of time from the time of homosapiens and now, their positions would have shifted only a little.

However even the stars will die in a predestined time in the future in a massive explosion that will outshine the entire galaxy called a supernova that can last for days, months or years but these ones too we shall refer to them as transience astronomical events. When compared to the timeline of the universe, these supernovas are barely even worth mentioning. They just serve to remind us that nothing in the universe lasts forever.

The universe itself will also die at sometime in the future when it succumbs to heat death or whatever theory of the death of the universe is correct. From a small and insignificant scale of human life to the grand structures like the universe itself, everything will at sometime come to an end.

The totality of existence can be referred in terms of transience and lose. And despite of however much we want to avoid the tragedies of existence, nothing can be done to prevent it.

This idea of universal flux or transience was something well-known in the East especially to the Buddha where transience is one mark of sentient existence along with suffering and non-self. Ignorance about these three characteristics in the course of our lives and interactions with the environment will lead us to think as individual beings. In reality, that’s not the case. This appropriation will then lead to the formation of attachments, where we desire to obtain certain things and to get rid of certain others. This cycle then repeats and strengthens our initial ignorance about the true nature of sentient existence and the three characteristics that comprise it. It is a never ending cycle that compounds our suffering until it becomes unbearable.

However there is a way in which one can escape from the cycle. Buddhists say the key to this escape is to realise the truth of our sentient existence that is characterised by first and foremost by transience, suffering and non-self. This realisation is not an easy task and all appropriations about our lives that are far formed habits that are deeply entrenched in the mind. So the Buddhist teach that we must rethink the way we live and train ourselves to replace these habits that help us to see nature as it really exists. For example meditation can be helpful to arrive at greater understanding of our minds and psychological states and help us to realise the transience of being. Fundamentally there’s no such a thing as self that underpins our experiences and acceptance of what will allow us to free ourselves from the attachments we made. Once this is achieved there’ll be no such thing as desire or aversion that destructs us to fall back into our bad habits. We must follow the middle path and seek to achieve enlightenment as entrenched in Buddhist teachings. This doesn’t mean that I am a Buddhist but that I draw inferences from it.

So whatever it is that is getting you down, if there’s something you can do about it, then there’s no need to worry, if there’s nothing you can do about it, then there’s no need to worry either.

The knowledge that nothing lasts forever can hurt and life likes to remind us that sometimes actually a lot of the time. But it can still bring a lot of comfort to whatever is afflicting you will not last forever. The quicker we realise this, the quicker we can release ourselves from the iron columns that keep us tied to the ground and we can live free.

To finish the quote by Lao Tsu at the beginning of this narrative…

If you are depressed, you are living in the past

If you are anxious, you are living in the future

If you are at peace, you are living in the present.

Peace ✌ and love 💘

Dear Mom,

Dear Mom,

You died fifteen years ago in the blaze of a strange illness when it fell unceremoniously into our living room where you sat napping. There was a funeral, it was quite packed up, the death of a great woman, and they gave me your potrait. And I didn’t know what to do with it.

I just left it on top of the bookshelf, and wished your image goodmorning and wished your potrait goodnight, kidding myself that if I didn’t put it away nothing of this would have happened.

I gave out most of your clothes and slept next to the rest. Your smell has faded from them already. And I think soon enough I wont remember how you smelt like at all.

I performed the standard rituals, I fed the cows, I dreamt liberally, I watched the meteors fallout from the horizon at night. The war goes on. I’ve surrendered already.

Sonate.

Dear Sonate,

It is strange, and good, and strange to get your message, though on this side it was you who died fifteen years ago in the fire of that strange illness as it came streaking into not the living room, but the kitchen where you stood cooking. At my request you weren’t buried but cremated.

You can imagine what a thing it is today not to visit your grave and come home and find your message waiting for me. But, I’m glad you wrote. I told a friend about your message and she called it a seons. A seons is for the dead, and you are not dead.

It’s horrible to think of that fateful day. The war is distant on this side. I haven’t seen the falling meteors in weeks. And I am not in a potrait. Thank you for your message.

Mom.

Dear Mom,

I am trying not to cry at my keyboard. I wasn’t even sure you’d reply. Your love friends told me that the bridge between us should stay open for a few more years but they can’t guarantee anything.

When I got permission to use these skills, they warned me not to get my hopes up, that even if I found you, you probably won’t be from a world line I recognize. You won’t be a mom I recognize. But I do recognize you. Your words sound like mine Mom. I hope that’s were you are.

Whatever the strange messages you left, it’s your legacy now. On this side they talk about you like you were a great martyr but now I know you were the best kind of mom. You are missed. The dog doesn’t sleep in our living room anymore but waits for you at the door.

You still get letters sometimes too. I’ll scan and attach them with this message. It’s just very, very good to hear from you.

Sonate.

Dear Sonate,

I think maybe you are not clear how this works. You told me the war is still going on strong from your side. It’s over for us here. I don’t want to make you sad but that means our worlds are getting distant already.

I don’t mean to be cold, but please understand this gift for what it is. It’s not the beginning of the correspondence, it’s a chance to say goodbye. Your dad isn’t in that graveyard, your siblings are not in those potraits. Neither in those graves. Please don’t sent me your sister’s posts again, I am not near her.

Mom.

Dear Mom,

Well in this world line you did like scrambled eggs, so how’s that for more evidence you are who I think you were? As things are different from this side. I am sitting in our garden writing this staring at our roses and our worldline where maybe you are sitting here too right next to me this very moment.

When you built this thing, whatever hell the  technique is, what did you want to use it for? What better application would it be? A second chance. We are just a universe distant. Don’t throw this away please. It was til death do us apart and you are alive and I am alive, and don’t throw this away.

Yours devotedly

Sonate.

Dear Sonate,

There aren’t any roses in our garden, not here. You are still not getting it, are you? Even if the only difference between our worldline is the wind that gushed above our house fifteen years ago. That difference has changed to everything.

We have many bridges to many worldliness on this side. We’ve heard from some and never heard from many more. I’ve spoken with them, with some of the survivors, I’ve offered my condolences and then I have turned off the magnetic field so that our ties collapse and that I can never talk to them again. Because I have nothing to say that will help them, because they are not us. I am not from that worldline where the skies burst open where the ties fallout. I am not from the worldline where you lost me.

I found Marie’s body, we’ve never lost her to cancer. She’s eleven now. I found her now, she has your stupid sentimental streak, she has my pragmatism. I spoke to her for an evening, just like you and I are doing now. I told her that I missed her, and what did she say? She said ok, because what can’t she say. In her worldline she still has her parents she still has her life. I let her go and you need to let me go now.

I believe one day when this technology will bear to fruition that human beings will develop a new sense and an evolutionary adaptation for seeing ourselves as one among billions of branches of our possible selves. Intuiting that we are not individuals but simultaneous traveller’s across the atlas of if.

You and I don’t have that adaptation and we are seeing oursleves as periscopes into parallel worlds. But they are not, they are mirrors, cracked distorted fare ground mirrors. You are the first of a million of you to contact me and you are the first one I will inform that I miss him because I am severing the bridge now. I can’t stop you from contacting the other widowed moms near me.

Maybe there’s a softer kinder me out there who would keep up this game with you. Who would sent letters to a ghost. I wish you luck finding her.

I wish you luck with the war. I wish you luck moving on. Take comfort knowing that beyond our greying half lives, a worldline away, you and I are still swimming together.

Yours probabistically
Mom,

Dear Mom,

That’s very metaphorical, but I think you are just hurting like I am. Grieving is horrible but don’t do anything rush with the connection. I will be sitting right by my inbox through out the day. Just write back as soon as you can.

Sonate.

Dear Mom….

It’s been a week of nothing from you now. I know you are upset. Things are getting horrible here. I wish you’d write. You always did!

Dear Mom……

They’ve started everything now and I don’t think it’s long before it reaches us now. Please tell me how you are. Please tell me you are ok. Tell me something! For the sake of an iota of decency please write back! Hell, you built all of this, you can’t just take a year, a month!

A MONTH of nothing! You were right maybe there are differences in the worldlines! My mom was never this stubborn or myopic! Who’d never have toiled so hard for those around her in, her heart.

In any case please write back. I have made a request in meeting you in person.

Sonate…..



Dear Apathy,

I really don’t know where I should start. I never was good at writing letters especially the important ones. You are the one with all the words and you always knew just the right combination of them to make me feel better. That’s something I’ll never forget. But I can’t keep quiet about this any longer. And as though I can’t write this letter as well as you could, well perhaps that’s the point.

I’m sorry, Apathy, but I have to leave you. I know that must have come as a shock and believe me, I never imagined I’d have to write those words, least of all to you. But it’s true, I can’t be in this relationship with you anymore. I suppose that requires some sort of explanation when I haven’t totally convinced myself that this is the right decision. The least I can do is to tell you how I arrived here.

Over the past few months, I have been doing some searching inside myself. I knew something in my life wasn’t right and haven’t been for quite a while. And I want you to know what that was. There was this deep unhappiness an emptiness inside me that I knew I could have been right. I felt like a seed. So much potential inside me for something greater. And yet something was preventing me from breaking out of the hard casing. I couldn’t stand this any longer, so I went for a search of what it was.

Each time I did this, there was some truth bubbled up from my subconscious and each time I didn’t want to listen because I didn’t want it to be true. But we have to listen to our subconscious as it knows far more than we care to admit. And once I did listen, I couldn’t deny that truth any longer. It was you Apathy. That was preventing me from flourishing into a tree. Sorry, I am talking in metaphors. I did say I wasn’t good at writing letters. But you understand what I am trying to say, you always did.

Please don’t take it too personally, if it wasn’t for you, then I wouldn’t be the same person I am today. You taught me so much about the world, and protected me from all sorts of things that could have otherwise killed me. You helped me navigate the tangled web of the outside world without being caught into them. It is really a jungle out there and I can’t thank you enough for all you did for me so far.

But for over these few months, I have come to realise something else. Maybe it’s just me, but, I feel better without you. Like my life has meaning again. When you go out to smell the roses, it is normal about worrying pricking your fingers on the thorns. That is something I have come to realize on my own. It’s a scary place without you, no question about that. And there are thorns around every corner but I can’t remain with you forever. And everyone leaves the world with a scar or two.

So that’s why I am writing this letter. There is a cigarette on my left hand and more than tears on the pages of this paper. And I am leaving you, I truly am sorry, and I will miss your warm embrace more than anything else in this world. But this is something I have to do for myself. If I want to survive, I know I have to be strong enough to take the steps necessary for my own survival. And if those steps involve leaving you, then I know deep down that that is what I have to do.

There could be something else out there for you, some people remain seeds their whole lives but not me. I am a tree. And one day I am going to look at my brilliant foliage and strong roots and I’ll know that I made the right decision. Thank you for all that you’ve done for me, but I’ll live my own life from here. All the best.

Hate is not the opposite of love; apathy is.

Ps.

Apathy meaning :- lack of interest, enthusiasm or concern, an emotional detachment. It can affect your ability to keep a job maintain relationships and enjoy life. Everybody experiences apathy from time to time.

Meaning makers

You are going to die! Sorry, about that starting line, I am sure no one wants to be reminded that but read on. Most of us know that death is the worst thing that can happen to humans. Indeed across all cultures and societies the fact remains the same. Death is the thing that we humans fear the most. We might not think about it most of the time but somewhere pushed far back into the subconscious, that fear lurks in the depths. We might fear the death process itself. That we might be inflicted in pain and loneliness in our final hours. And when the actual death occurs, we return back to dust from whence we came. And that’s that. A human life forced into one final moment of suffering and then snuffed out forever. This fate or something similar awaits all humans at somepoint or other. No matter what happens to us in our lives, we live in the event horizon of a blackhole and at somepoint that barrier is crossed and we fall into nothingness.

The Epic of Gilgamesh is considered as the oldest surviving work of literature and was written in 1800 BC in ancient Mesopotamia. Over 12 stone tablets, the story tells us about Gilgamesh and his friend Enkidu. Both are two thirds gods and one third humans and so both are mortal. Gilgamesh is an oppressive and harsh ruler. And never really thinks about death until the gods sentence Enkidu to die. When this happens, Gilgamesh is distressed and he’s quickly consumed in fear about his mortality. He wanders about the forest rumbling about how at some point he will ultimately die as well. Infact the idea of death frightens him so much, he embarks upon the quest for eternal life and an immortal man. He undertakes a long and dangerous journey and finally he founds this immortal man, Utnapishtim, and asks him for the secret to eternal life. Utnapishtim was granted his immortality because he survived a great flood that was supposed to destroy all humans. To test Gilgamesh’s worthiness, Utnapishtim commands him to stay awake for six days and seven nights. However, as soon as he finished speaking, Gilgamesh had fallen asleep. Gilgamesh, who had come here to conquer death himself, found that he couldn’t even conquer sleep. He accepts that he’s failed in his quest for eternal life and went back home. It seems that even him could not escape the jaws of death.

Viktor Frankl was an Austrian neurologist. In the early 1930s, while he was still a medical student, he organized free counseling sessions to address the high numbers of student suicides. And in the year following his sessions not a single student committed suicide. Later in his career, he worked in a psychiatric hospital and in the four years following his work, he treated over three thousand suicidal women per year. When the second World War came about, Frankl worked in the only hospital in Vienna that was still admitting Jews and helped mentally disabled people avoid the Nazi euthanasia program. This was until Frankl was eventually deported to a concentration camp himself. You know what a concentration camp was, right? yeah? While he was at the camp, he noticed three distinct reactions that were experienced by all Jewish inmates. First there was the initial shock upon arriving at the camp and experiencing its conditions for the first time. Then came in the acceptance and adjustments in their lives. Finally most or some of the inmates experienced detachments from themselves. Sex and morality became twisted and deformed and even those that survived the camps became disillusioned about their freedom. It’s difficult to imagine the suffering that Frankl must have endured while at the camp existing right on the edge of the event horizon. And where one wrong move could push him over the brink and into the dark. In 1945, Frankl was liberated from the concentration camp and learnt of the deaths of all his immediate family members except his sister. Frankl had experienced first hand the disillusionment that he had described and hope that sustained him had threatened to dissappear forever. That same year, he started work on his book, Man’s search for meaning, which details his experiences from the camps and the Nazi Germany and also his ideas on how one can find meaning in their life. This became the local therapy that humans are motivated by the search of meaning. Viktor Frankl having literally lived through hell on earth concludes that ‘meaning is found within every moment of our lives, even through suffering and death.

He writes,’ If we were immortal then we could legitimately postpone every action forever. It would be of no consequence whether or not we did a thing now. But in the face of death as an absolute finis to our future, and boundary to our possibilities, we are under the imperative of utilizing our lifetimes to the utmost, not letting the singular opportunities pass by unused. ‘

So after failing to pass the test of life, what happened to Gilgamesh? Well, when he arrived back to his kingdom, he looked at the massive walls that sorrounded it and had a sudden realization. The walls that were built under his leadership will endure for centuries to come. Even after his death, the walls will still stand to remind people that he was there once upon a time.

Even though as humans we are mortal, we can transcend our mortal limits through our actions and what people would remember us for when we are gone. However useless that sounds. It was only after his quest for immortality that Gilgamesh realised that the meaning of our lives comes precisely from the fact that our lives are finite in the first place. That our lives are only meaningful because there is an ending.

Some deadlines can be missed without any actual consequences. That thesis that’s half finished or that book that is your mind that you’ve been putting off. But for the most important things in our lives that’s our dreams and ambitions. If we fail to complete them while we are alive then we will have wasted a one off opportunity to do so.

Death is terrifying! But if Viktor Frankl who lived under Nazi Germany for chrisake can still hold hope that we can find hope in the meaning of our lives even in the face of death, then, what’s your bloody excuse? And yet we still manage to convince ourselves that death was stuck with us from the beginning. Like rolling a trillion sided dice and landing on the same number like two and a half million other people. That’s roughly the probability of you being here and now.

We are the meaning makers. Our existence gives us purpose. If we were immortal then it won’t really be the case that nothing really matters but we are not. You have one lifetime, what are you going to do with it?

A guide to worrying

So, you are worried about a thing? Are you? Maybe a bill you can’t pay, maybe a job interview, might be your career falling apart, whatever. But the best thing you can do in that situation is just to think about it as much as possible. Don’t do anything about it, just make sure that you keep worrying, because that always makes problems go away.

Look at people in a bus, in a market, in a church, in a club. Whatever you are worried about must be a million times worse than anything they can imagine. They definitely had never faced something like a personal crisis. I am sure they have never felt lonely, been sued, lost family members, spouses, children. They probably never been fired or been in love with someone who didn’t love them back. Or panicked about their career or anything most humans go through in a lifetime because whatever you are worried about is definitely the biggest thing that has ever happened to anyone ever. 14 billion years ago.

No one has ever been to war, so they won’t understand what you are going through, never been approached from the top, never been trapped in a spacecraft thousands of feet above the earth and running out of oxygen, no one has had to face constant bombing from the air that turned up without warning. But you. Only you.

Somehow, whatever it is recently you’ve got in your mind, that justifies you losing your sleep and being a total idiot to yourself. Just keep worrying. Well, luckily humans live forever and never age, so dont worry, you’ve got infinite time to hold yourself back with doubts. And actually it’s worse than that, you know.

If a bad thing does happen, or you don’t get the job, or you embarrass yourself somehow, we are all gonna be laughing at you, all the 7 billion of us. We don’t have our own lives, or relationships, or children or career, we are just waiting for you to fuck up! The entire planet is will turn up into your house and write LOL on your door. And even after you are dead because of worrying, we will erect a shrine on your grave that says, this person here never made a mistake, worried so much and he is still worried about us down there, up here, we will then place flowers and not even the nice ones but the ones we found on a bin by the road side.

And don’t even think about taking any creative risk, that project you are working on, that book you are waiting to write, that movie you are planning to shoot, or video, or whatever, if you screw any of them, we gonna laugh at you because we are busy not worrying about our lives but yours. Beethoven, Tolstoy, Kafka, Da Vinci, Michelangelo none of them ever worried over their careers but you.

Just keep sabotaging yourself because you feel that you are not doing something original. That’s the safe path. Same with doing what you love. Actually no one has ever taken a risk before. You are the first one to do it ever. And I am sure the universe cares if you screw up, or take a risk, it definitely isn’t busy regulating the speed of light or keeping the galaxies safe from colliding. In fact the entirety of creation was designed to watch you fail personally. That’s what we are all doing here. That’s what gets us up in the morning, to watch you fail.

Maybe just spent the rest of your life fixated and worrying instead of ever doing anything. Instead of maybe becoming the best possible version of yourself and being kind, emphatic and compassionate to people and taking wild and bold risks that scare you and will probably pay off some other time leaving a lasting legacy to your great grandchildren, so that they can say one of their ancestors was undeniably unbelievablly, unequivocally, a quintessential great person. He stroke she did something brilliant. Or maybe he was a half decent human being who decided that the point of being alive was to worry as much as possible before the lights go out. And just to be nice to other humans. And better just to keep his head down and not rock the boat because he couldn’t risk embarrassing himself.

But none of these really matters, but your worrying, just keep worrying, because what you are worrying about is really important and no one has ever been in a bad situation like you before. And I am sure whatever it is, it is very important and won’t never go away, just like all the other things you used to worry about before and now you can’t even remember.

Go on with worrisome life!

Instructions to a (happy) life.

  1. Take a long walk now and then.
  2. Eat several servings of fruit a day.
  3. Don’t drink caffeine before bed.
  4. Attempt to sleep at least 7 hours a night.
  5. Accept he/she is never coming back.
  6. Accept that the past is irreparable and dwelling on it will change nothing. Dwell on it anyway and then move on.
  7. Travel, alone if you can, avoid traps, learn 1 to 10, please and thank you, in the local language and you’ve already surpassed 90 % of all tourists who have ever been there before you.
  8. Acquire new talent for the sake of acquiring them, if you are young learn an instrument if possible, you will never have this much free time ever again.
  9. Exercise atleast 3 times a week vigorously.
  10. Buy clothes that fit properly, you will notice the difference in your dating life.
  11. Accept there will be whole weeks when you will understand nothing and everything hurts.
  12. Accept that stupid people get lucky and that smart people never make it.
  13. Accept that girl in class likely isn’t going to strike up a conversation first but if you do, it would probably go alright.
  14. Accept that just because it’s weird, doesn’t mean it’s clever.
  15. Accept that there is a set point in the future, after your death, when you’ll be thought about for the final time by a friend or family member and then forgotten from history forever.
  16. Spend more time with your parents if they are alive even if they are no bends, there will come a time they will be gone and there will be no one to phone home to, no more hugs, no more bickering no more memories from your childhood.
  17. Argue about politics, if you must…but accept the other person won’t change their view if you stop being a dick! Besides being nice is likely to persuade someone anyway.
  18. Accept that expensive whisky is almost always worth the money.
  19. Accept that running shoes are not always worth the money.
  20. Accept online personalities are often people who couldn’t get into the field they wanted to. Do not take their word as gospel especially pretentious advice like this one here, from disembodied smart ass bloggers whose life is probably, considerably duller than yours.
  21. Attempt to tolerate meta humor.
  22. Come to terms that there’s probably no absolute truth that you will grasp in your lifetime. However, if someone at the party tries to tell you everything is relative, invite them to exit the building from the fifth floor and see if gravity is also a social construct.
  23. Do not be intimidated by people who use long words, they are likely more insecure about their own intelligence than you are. Instead afford them your most effervescent magnanimous approbation.
  24. Before tiding up, make the bed, and certainly everything else will seem easier.
  25. Visit the dentist on regular intervals.
  26. Do not purchase cheap stuff.
  27. Embrace your own eccentricities, if you were a freak as a kid it will likely make you an interesting adult.
  28. Try to eat less salt, try to eat more vegetables.
  29. Try to accept that happiness isn’t a constant state nor does it come for free. It is a chemical reward for hardwork and if you need more of it, one has to do more hardwork. This applies to careers, relationships, friendships and so on.
  30. Diet if you want to, but acknowledge that all diets however elaborate are all variations of eat less, move more.
  31. Keep a journal if you have time, it will serve as a snapshot of how silly your life decisions are right now. And you can read it in ten years and chuckle and write some more and then you can read that in another ten years and have another chuckle.
  32. Attempt to locate your passions, when you do, see if they can be monetized, if they can, congratulations, you’ve just discovered your career.
  33. Prepare for crippling failure, it is the ultimate character building and no one successful has ever avoided it happening multiple times.
  34. If something terrible befalls you, and you think nothing as bad has ever happened to anyone ever before, remember… has, was, happened repeatedly and to almost everyone has to go through it. Some of them are probably going through it right now, they just have not told you. You will almost certainly be fine.
  35. Resist the appeal of depressing nihilism, if everything is pointless, you may just be in a good mood anyway.
  36. If you go home with somebody and they don’t have books don’t fuck them.

P.s. Ignore all these instructions. This was just me having fun.

Extras for those who will read up to the end.

  • this post will acquire the least viewership than your death.
    -if this post had, was accompanied by a beautiful pic of a lady it will attract more views, less than your death.
    -being born in the first place is ridiculous, we are born without our consent and it’s an insult to injury to work out what you are doing here in the first place.
    -for those in art, you will face a lot of critiques but they will be forgotten as quickly as your failures.
    -it took 14.5billion years to create the first human and it will take you, me, just less than a a hundred years to waste it.
    -you, me, are another version of your sibling, offspring distant relative.
    -it took a pandemic for human to learn basic Hygiene stuff like washing hands. You can imagine how else disgusting the world is out there.
  • you will never do anything remarkable.

The Future we will all miss out on

Let’s say, you are parent to two children and the human generation cycle is 30 years, by 2080 we are 2 generations down the line. You are now a grandparent and six humans have inherited your DNA.

2110, another generation later and assuming that the average human has two children, your children have grandchildren now and you have 14 descendants. It’s quite possible they attended your funeral. Don’t worry everyone got smashed at the pub afterwards and said nice things about you. The world’s population is about 11billion having jumped by 4 billion in just a century.

The 2140s, 4 generations later, all things being equal, 30 humans now carry your genes.

2200s, and we are in the 5th generation, Halleys Comet has just reached its perihelion, you have 62 descendants.

The mid 2200 hundreds, 6 generations later you have about 126 descendants.

At by end of the century, still at 2 children per human, you now have 2050 descendants, we can longer even speculate  how culture and technology will look like.

So, year 12000 AD, 240 generations later, if sex is still a fashion, you have several millions descendants. The star Antares has just gone super nova and is now visible from the earth even in day light.

Year 52000AD, 1500 generations later of your progeny and the earth has slowed down a bit courtesy of the moon and we have to add a leap second so as to preserve time keeping.

Year 100,000AD, 3000 generations later, you might still recognize the constellations but they maybe a bit altered, the handle of the big dipper or the plough getting a little relaxed at the back, for example.

Year, 250,000AD, 7500 generations later, Loihi, currently the only submarine volcano in 2019, has exploded and now it is a volcanic island in the pacific.

2,000,000AD, the great riftvalley has sunk and split Africa into continents and thousands of islands in between. The Congo River has become the African Ocean if there’s still a Congo river left.

50,000,000AD, Eurasia and Africa collide, forming an entirely new mountain range.

5-600,000,000AD, it’s possible the earth’s continents have fused back into a single super continent. A day on earth has atleast gained an hour, the moon is now so distance, solar eclipse no longer occur.

1,000,000,000,000AD (1bn AD), The sun is now 10% more luminous meaning the oceans have began to evaporate, plant life is unlikely. We can’t even speculate how many of your descendants there are.

4bn AD, the milky way, our galaxy and our neighboring galaxy 2.5m light years from earth, Andromeda collide forming a Milkomeda.

10bn AD, the sun is now 256 times its current size and has most probably swallowed mercury, venus and earth.

1trillion AD, it’s possible the Big Crunch has now began, the remains of the universe falling back on herself, galactic clusters will begin to converge, stars will collide resulting into an explosion, illuminating the heavens nearby, eventually, the blackholes of the universe will collide by themselves ammersing into a single super massive black hole, consuming itself.

1 quadrillion AD ( 1,000,000,000,000,000), it’s also possible no Big Crunch will occur, and the universe will continue to expand indefinitely. And if it happens the current universe will have achieved its final resting energy, uninhabitable, uninhabited, barren, perpetual limitless dark with no recourse to the fecundity that once beamed within the boundaries of creation.

P.S. The world is just as fantastic as it is horrific, and it is so arbitrary to lose hope as to find it. If everything was forever without anything changing be it 80 years or a trillion, beer would still taste the same, wasps will still be pricks, and maybe tomorrow we will have to kill time and stay the same. But because we have no such power or science yet, God fearing or not, we have to find something to make peace with. For you it may be religion or spirituality, that’s fare enough.

For me, what works, is when I am asleep and can’t find sleep and the abyss starts whispering how I’m gonna go in the dark one day, I keep in mind that whether I like or or not, I am part of something bigger; an experiment conducted across the entire planet, across all history called us.

Just to have been anything, it is a weird honor. We won’t last forever but what a silly decision it would be to waste our day out in the cosmos; that brief period of time when matter woke up in a world as interesting as this one, with all the other talking carbon units (humans) around us, that we can hang out with, and be fond of and talk shit to, to keep the abyss at bay. 😉😉😊

If tomorrow starts without me

If Tomorrow Starts Without Me…

If tomorrow starts without me, and I’m not here to see,
If the sun should rise you find your eyes all filled with tears for me;
I wish so much you wouldn’t cry the way you did today,
While thinking of the many things we didn’t get to say.

I know how much you love me, as much as I love you
And each time that you think of me, I know you’ll miss me too.
But when tomorrow starts without me please try to understand,
That an angel came and called my name and took me by the hand.

He said my place was ready, in heaven far above
And that I’d have to leave behind all those I dearly love.
But as I turned and walked away a tear fell from my eye.
For all my life I’d always thought, I didn’t want to die.

I had so much to live for, so much left yet to do.
It seemed almost impossible that I was leaving you.
I thought of all the yesterdays the good ones and the bad.
I thought of all the love we shared, and all the fun we had.

If I could relive yesterday, just even for a while,
I’d say goodbye and kiss you and maybe see you smile.
But then I fully realized that this could never be,
For emptiness and memories would take the place of me.

When I thought of worldly things I might miss come tomorrow
I thought of you and when I did my heart was filled with sorrow.
When I walked through heavens gates I felt so much at home.
God looked down and smiled at me from his great golden throne

He said, “This is eternity and all I’ve promised you”
Today your life on earth has passed but here life starts anew.
I promise no tomorrow, but today will always last
And since each day is the same there’s no longing for the past.

You have been so faithful so trusting and so true.
Though there were times you did some things you knew you shouldn’t do.
You have been forgiven and now at last you’re free.
So won’t you come and take my hand and share my life with me?

So when tomorrow starts without me don’t think we’re far apart,
For every time you think of me, I’m right here in your heart.

-David Romano

BORN INTO THIS

Born like this
Into this
As the chalk faces smile
As Mrs. Death laughs
As the elevators break
As political landscapes dissolve
As the supermarket bag boy holds a college degree
As the oily fish spit out their oily prey
As the sun is masked
We are
Born like this
Into this
Into these carefully mad wars
Into the sight of broken factory windows of emptiness
Into bars where people no longer speak to each other
Into fist fights that end as shootings and knifings
Born into this
Into hospitals which are so expensive that it’s cheaper to die
Into lawyers who charge so much it’s cheaper to plead guilty
Into a country where the jails are full and the madhouses closed
Into a place where the masses elevate fools into rich heroes
Born into this
Walking and living through this
Dying because of this
Muted because of this
Castrated
Debauched
Disinherited
Because of this
Fooled by this
Used by this
Pissed on by this
Made crazy and sick by this
Made violent
Made inhuman
By this
The heart is blackened
The fingers reach for the throat
The gun
The knife
The bomb
The fingers reach toward an unresponsive god
The fingers reach for the bottle
The pill
The powder
We are born into this sorrowful deadliness
We are born into a government 60 years in debt
That soon will be unable to even pay the interest on that debt
And the banks will burn
Money will be useless
There will be open and unpunished murder in the streets
It will be guns and roving mobs
Land will be useless
Food will become a diminishing return
Nuclear power will be taken over by the many
Explosions will continually shake the earth
Radiated robot men will stalk each other
The rich and the chosen will watch from space platforms
Dante’s Inferno will be made to look like a children’s playground
The sun will not be seen and it will always be night
Trees will die
All vegetation will die
Radiated men will eat the flesh of radiated men
The sea will be poisoned
The lakes and rivers will vanish
Rain will be the new gold
The rotting bodies of men and animals will stink in the dark wind
The last few survivors will be overtaken by new and hideous diseases
And the space platforms will be destroyed by attrition
The petering out of supplies
The natural effect of general decay
And there will be the most beautiful silence never heard
Born out of that.
The sun still hidden there
Awaiting the next chapter. – Charles Bukowski 1993.