This Chance Life

If you don’t write, it doesn’t get written.

So I decide to write again, picking one topic among many confused and overlapping things I keep thinking to write about.

This one is about how life unfolds out of control, and has some overlap with my post about butterflies.

Of late I’ve realized that many of my posts could be written in a far more condensed form, preserving most of the content and almost all of the point I am trying to make, with perhaps a surprising advantage that they’ll hit home harder as they force you to think to fill in the gaps. So hopefully this post won’t be long.

There is a widespread infatuation with the illusion of planned-ness in the world. We like to believe that things happen in life with a purpose, or that there is a purpose to life. You’re here to do something, to build your life towards something. Indeed, if you take away that from many contexts, many belief systems will collapse. Our lives unfold in a certain way, and when something very fortunate happens, like a relationship or success at work, we immediately think of it as the consequence of actions and events. The lover thinks they were meant to be. Even if not all of them think that, they still see inexorable direction and justification in having arrived at their current choice. It is not imaginable to them that this other person is someone who just resulted from the unpredictable knocking around of the universe and could as easily have been a completely different person, resulting in a completely different life for themselves. But that is how it is, as I discussed to some extent in the butterfly article. Where you are born and where you grow and chance encounters in chance situations, these are what shape your life. Despite our incessant planning and method and ambition, much of the important structure of our lives owes itself to chance. If you see meaning to everything in your life, you are pasting retrospective direction onto it.

It is not true, I have noticed, that hard work always pays off and slacking off makes you pay. In order to resolve this bug in the image of an otherwise planned world, there are terms like ‘playing is more important than winning’ and so forth. Sure, work builds character, but that only ups the chances of success. In this world with numerous conflicting flows all out of your reach, success cannot be tuned like that with a dial of hard work. Don’t always expect genuine hard work to pay off. More important, don’t always assume that your success was a direct consequence of your hard work, unaffected by factors completely uncorrelated with it.

This attitude of removing purpose and determinism is depressing. It takes away the dials from your life. Man likes to be in control. That is why he is always looking for patterns. Science, Art. Think about it, that’s all we are looking for. If every single thing was one of a kind, there would be little meaning to these disciplines. We group according to pattern, and then we try to formulate what’s working inside the things in the same group. It works well in many cases. Consequently we can predict and exploit the system. But then we make an easy but dangerous mistake of extending that attitude to more complex systems where we have no a priori evidence that this works, like life.

With the little knowledge of nonlinear dynamics that I have now, I am becoming increasingly aware of why this pattern-finding algorithm shall be a complete failure in life. You shall see patterns in life, no doubt, but then, as you generalize them, you’ll make a mistake. There are no dials you can tune to get predictable results. There cannot be. You cannot control the chaos of life. This is not philosophy or literature I am mouthing; this is science. Be wary of any life advice you get. There is no way anyone could have figured out the whole machinery. And until someone does, which they won’t, there is no evidence that such advice works. In fact, this attitude of I can tune this will get you in more trouble.

It takes away some beauty and solace from life, true, this absence of purpose and direction. But I feel an excitement from it, to imagine my life being carried by unknown currents to places where I with my puny foresight could never have planned to be.

Therefore I accept, life, whatever you gift me from the great knocking about of the universe. I don’t need dials. It’s better this way.


So I was thinking, when dawn breaks, what really happens?

There’s a blueness before dawn, on some days. Everything, the streets, trees, the pavement, is blue. Take a deep breath, it’s like inhaling life.

And night, I wanna talk about night, and perhaps darkness.

Isn’t it magic, and how thoroughly strange, that there was a round blue rock going around in an inert universe of dead atoms, a universe unconscious and unobserved. Excuse me, I’m a bit unfocused today.

Then there were molecules sticking to each other in a soup. Of course there was nobody to see or report, so it could well have been different.

But let’s say there were these long sticky molecules, and those molecules changed over time, and now here we are, those molecules, with our smartphones and cloud computing.

Isn’t the universe inert, dead and unobserved any more? What’s changed?

I believe there’s a strange sphere in the Oort cloud watching over us. It’s only a few millimeters across, and with a wall of liquid radon. Inside it there goes on something that our Physics cannot explain, because our Physics was written inside that orb.

I think event horizons are like dying. We’re all curious about what’s on the other side. You can go across, but cannot come back. You cannot pass any information through about what it’s like. And you don’t wanna go in. Watching someone go across feels like forever. Yeah, that sounds like death.

Guess what, the blueness is breaking outside now. Another sleepless night.

I once tried to imagine a world without time. This is the way I thought:
If there’s a world without the x-dimension, it just means everything in the world has the same x-coordinate.

Do this with time, and you’ll forever be stuck in a moment. If you try to move around, you’ll create infinite copies of yourself. Worse, they would already be there, because there is just one moment. All your thoughts from all points of time will always be simultaneously present in your head. You won’t be able to tell which point of time it is. There shall be no causality, no doing anything for any purpose, no stories, no loss or grief. Either you shall never grow old, or your pre-birth, life, your death and beyond shall coexist in you.

There will be no blueness when dawn breaks. If there is any, it’ll always be blue with the dawn breaking, and you can’t tell it’s beautiful because you haven’t seen anything else, and so cannot imagine anything else. It shall be obvious, like an axiom.

This obviousness about things is something I wanted to put in a word about.
I believe that this world is too strange to take for granted. There is a pristine, virgin, unbelievability to it that we rape everyday with our nonchalant attitude towards it. A rock, a plant, a star. Don’t bat an eyelid. But go glassy-eyed over the latest PlayStation.

Laugh about it today. Laugh at mankind. At society, the whole lot of which goes to sleep at the same time.

We have left ourselves no time to be surprised at clouds and ants and bicycles. The unliving, the living, and the unliving born of the living. Don’t you think the idea of spectacles is peculiar and funny, forging bits of metal to hold bits of silica always in front of your eyes to bend the light off objects differently? Don’t you think it is marvellous? Wake up! Tear out that skin of frigid obviousness into bloody tatters and climb out. Let the magical molecules of the fresh air of this magic world pinch every point they touch. Feel the unbelievable world raining down on you.

Now the blue has given way to white. It’s morning, and I have no more business staying awake.

Take care.

Something So True

How could something so true
Become something so false?
It takes me by complete surprise every time.
This, my life,
It’s turning out like a dream.
Where everything rests firm
On an unfirm rest.
Where friend and lover are a flicker of transience
To float across the scene
and disappear as a twilight to remember
And be forgotten among the twilights everyday.
This, my life,
Here you must learn to uncare,
Here you must let it be.
Just let it be.

I know this all, I keep telling myself.
But this night is closing in now
All around me,
I fight to hold it off, and I am losing.
It happens every night, my love,
And I don’t know
I just don’t know
How to let it be.


Turn Around

This time

I finally
turned around

You don’t
know what it’s like

To live in
fear of your own self

Fear of
your failures

So much,
you forget to breathe.

But then

I turned

Not quite,
for this is real life.

And I know
I just have to drag this on for some more time


But I know,
I just know

There was a
transient glimmer somewhere there

Of turning


And that’s enough,
this time

For me.




Something hard is pressing down on me.

Part of it is myself, pushing me every moment, to make every moment useful, productive, to not become a time-wasting degenerate. It’s getting me down because I am going to waste this evening.

But the most part is not that. It’s something counter, in a vague sort of way I can’t remember.

I was up there with the wind blowing and making those tall limbless trees by that house sway like crazy. And I realized again how I had voluntarily sworn myself to servitude. Servitude to an idea. An idea that a guy is better than me, that he is doing stuff and getting farther away, slowly. Actually pretty fast. I am troubled all the time by images of not becoming anything. I miss peace and reassurance and faith in my self.

About my self, it seems to have taken a long vacation. I really can’t find it like I used to. And all I am as a result is irritated, with a headache.

I need it so bad. I need those scary thoughts about One Life and the rest. I want to feel sad like I used to. Let them bring back the stuff I don’t want, at least maybe they’ll cut short my self’s trip.

There goes the fuck again. I don’t wanna write any more.

Why is it always 7.26 PM when I look? Or 8.26 PM? Is it Murphy’s Law?