Random Stuff #012: Lonesome Dove

Vaguely quoting one of my favorite motivational speakers, you can be in a stadium with a thousand people by your side, even ten thousand, but still feel uniquely alone. Like you are the last person on earth, the sole survivor of an apocalypse that is your loneliness. 

Aloneness – this basically describes your alone time that you need to reflect or think. Every human should do this. Helps a lot to figure out your baggage. 

On the other hand, loneliness isn’t about self prescribed alone time. It is about longing for friendship, loved ones, companionship, romantic and/or sexual relationships, psychological urges, absence of a social circle, confidante (someone you can confide in), etc.

Being lonely is toxic and bad for your psychology. You end up spending more time thinking about what you want without ever making a move to get it. Whereas you could spend more time trying to fulfil your psychological needs. 

Loneliness is a state of mind. A lot of things contribute to it. Some people aren’t great communicators, others just shy, others too smart, some don’t fit in society, some are victims of racism, sexism, and sheer discrimination 

I feel for those who go through these kinds of mental torture. Yes, loneliness is mental torture. Even psychological torture. As humans we are social animals with a craving for acceptance and validation. So I understand that. I don’t know much about how to break the chain of loneliness (hell, I can’t get rid of it too) but if you are out there, you feel lost, you feel perfectly alone in a stadium of fifty thousand, you feel like the last man on earth, I want you to know I’m with you, I see you, I feel your loneliness, because it resonates within me, I am part of you, and we shall get through all this together, we shall come out stronger than we were before. 

Peace. I’m out.

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Random Stuff #011: Gun control

So what’s my opinion on gun control?

Well if your constitutional rights dictate that you should have them  all for it. But if you are all acting like kids and shooting each other up then your constitution needs to be revised.

Majority of countries with a no-guns policy have much lower rates of gun violence than those who have the right to bear arms. This isn’t by coincidence. 

No guns means no cruel death, no mass shooting sprees, no mentally disturbed person shooting up people, no mob standoffs, a few more people still alive, and everyone is better off for it.

Guns are supposed to be for protection but if a few people misuse them then everyone has to suffer the consequences. Just like if one guy gets drunk and drives into a mob of people, then everyone has to conform to driving only when sober. 

My proverbial “coming out”

My coming out is not in the sense of sexual orientation.

Well I’m coming out to say I’m not a Catholic anymore. I don’t buy the whole story of Jesus being up in the clouds. I’m not a christian per se either. I’m a de facto atheist. Although I didn’t want to identify as such initially because I had a negative perception of atheism stemming from my staunch Catholic upbringing. But I have learnt over the last few years that you don’t need to worship a deity so as to fulfil your life or have a yardstick for morality. 

As far back as I can remember, I always found church frankly boring. I enjoyed these scripture and preaching. Partly because literature was my first love. After movies and TV shows. And also because I have a keen interest in history. I found most masses tiring and used them as a time of reflection and personal thought. Up to now, if I want to think clearly, I go to church. 

In 2012, the chaplain at my school said something that started me on my way to atheism. 

I asked him, “Some sins aren’t specified in the bible or anywhere but they are still wrong. At times you have to sin so as to protect someone else. You could have to lie to your friend that you aren’t sick so as to make sure he doesn’t worry about you. Stuff like that”

He replied, “Whatever you do, wherever you are, whoever you represent, whenever you are going to do something always ask yourself this question, ‘Is it fair?’. And you’ll always know whether what you do is right or wrong.”

Afterwards I thought long and hard about it for days and weeks. I applied it to every situation I was in. I always asked myself, “Is this fair to my neighbor or to me or to the people around me??”

It wasn’t long before I discovered there were some loopholes when it came to fairness in the church. For instance, is it fair to have only male priests occupying superior positions? Is it fair to allow or condone sexism in the church? Is it fair to not allow LGBT people into church but keep letting murderers and rapists in after repentance? Is it fair to perform fake miracles to sell people a fantasy that has never been real? Or is there any fairness in the mass genocide perpetrated by various religions allover the world? Keep in mind, I always thought the church was infallible, and I was living in Michael Shermer’s bubble of positive reinforcement (Shermer references the bubble while trying to explain the closed environment created around children in religious schools and communities where you don’t hear a thing from the other side). But just a quick perusing of church history swiftly, and decisively, disproves the assertion. 

It wasn’t an instantaneous flip of a switch. It was a slow gradual process. It took time. I went along with it. Patience was the key. I asked big questions about my belief and read and looked at Catholicism deeply. I separated the things I liked about it and those I didn’t. I’ll talk more on that in later posts.

So the journey started in 2012, by the start of 2014 I had serious doubts about my religion. By the end of 2014, I had lost my sense of belief. In fact after some swift book reading about belief and unbelief, I realised, for a long time, I was a deist. Early 2015 I was already a part atheist. Though I didn’t want to be affiliated with atheism and religion. I wanted to be free of arguments about religion or atheism. I didn’t want any of it anymore. I realised I had spent too much time on things that didn’t matter. 

Mid-2016 saw me run into my first Richard Dawkins literature – The God Delusion. Suddenly I could explain exactly what I felt, I understood better how I felt about organised religion. I realised I had always been an atheist but I was foolish/in denial about it. Dawkins talks about how religions recruit kids before they even have an opinion about it. I was a victim of that. I was baptized before I could even say a word. I grew up Catholic but as soon as I could make a decision out of sound mind, I concluded, as a thinking being, religion has no purpose (except psychological torture) in my life. So I dumped it in the dustbin. 

Although I still have a revulsion toward the term atheist, I don’t avoid it. Instead, I prefer the term skeptic or nonbeliever. This is partly because I’m a natural skeptic. About everything. I suspect where I shouldn’t. I see uncertainty where everyone is certain. I see order where there’s chaos. I see peace where a pacifist sees peace. I see beautiful where a scientist sees mathematics and unknowables. I am a skeptic. 

Random Stuff #009: Sleepless on a cold tropical night

This is one of those nights where I think a lot. I reminisce on the missed chances, past bad decision making, unfulfilled pleasures. I resist an urge to go completely wild, instead I reflect on certain aspects of my life I regret. This sort of night is when I’m most vulnerable. I’m not alert enough. Complacency is dangerous in the wild, says Bear Grylls. Its not really my fault. Its the hormones and that biological juice mixing up to give me a sort of temporary high / mind fuck. So I understand. Its not me in the right mind. I know that. 
I think our bodies were rigged to give us some sort of high deep in the night. So instead of thinking about it, I’ll enjoy this high. Life’s too short not to.

Random Stuff: 008: The flaw in the plan

We are all humans. If you can read this, we can unanimously agree that you have a developed adaptive brain (unless you are an AI). We can as well say we are the rightful kings of the earth. At least we think we are superior to every species. Whether you are religious or not, you aren’t much different. When you are sub rosa, when you are masked by darkness, your true self  comes to light. You are seen for who you truly are. You become fearless of everything, you let go of your inhibitions, your insecurities and you are stripped nude for everyone to see.

Everyone has secrets. Its human to have secrets. Everyone does. We hide these secrets like precious gems. These secrets define us as humans and they show our level of intellectual social complex. If you have no secrets worth telling or keeping quiet about, then you have not experienced life.

Once again, I remind you we are humans. We breathe the same air, eat the same food, live varying though fundamentally similar lives. We are unpredictable and inconsistent in everything. We are random. All these characteristic qualities make us who we are. None of us have done nothing wrong. Even the pope is guilty of something. Your parents aren’t always right. Your best musician or actor or role model has done things he doesn’t want you to know.

We have secrets, we are flawed, we are humans. Its normal. Its who we are. We are not perfect. The only we experience is in obeying the physical laws of nature because they are imposed on us. You can’t refuse to fall when you trip or jump off a skyscraper. You can’t tell a bullet not to hit you. When you jump off a building nature takes precedence like a hostile takeover. From that point you lose control to nature. Nature is perfect because it has the freedom to be. We are flawed because we don’t have the freedom to control nature. In the end, everything on this planet obeys a specific set of predetermined laws and a well established order however random events may look.

Random Stuff #010: The philosophical ‘why’

This thing called life is way too serious and complex. I feel I don’t want it anymore but I can’t return it to whoever gave it to me. Its like that person you hate to love and love to hate. Many things make me question why I am here, why I was born, what happens after death. What started life as we know it? No answer. What is my purpose in all this? No answer. Are we part of some superior being’s jigsaw puzzle? Maybe or maybe not. I question myself, my mentality, my identity on a regular basis. And on a regular basis, I’m left stunted, depressed and lost. I have no motivation to take me through each day. Some days I’m so tired and I need to relax. Instead of using drugs or alcohol I use a natural stress killer. Literature. 

See, I didn’t ask for this – I’m talking about life. It was given to me. It was handed to me. I don’t know what it is. Nor do I know how I came to possess it. I don’t understand it but at least I get to live in it, to revel in it, to thrive like an autumn flower in the midst of dry leaves. I get to enjoy this wonderful experience. But still why do I have this philosophical ‘why’ in my head? Why do I have this itch I can’t scratch out with religion or any scientific explanation? Why do I keep asking ‘why’?

Random Stuff #007: The finality of life

Last year, an EgyptAir jet that vanished from radar, was said to have been brought down into the Mediterranean by Paris-based terrorists. Terrorist groups regularly behead people on video (then post the videos on social media platforms) who are regarded as “traitors” or those who are not supportive of their agenda. Millions of people have perished in brutal wars fought in the Middle East against Jihadist militia and suicide bombers. Over a hundred Kenyan soldiers were killed in an Al Shabab offense in Somalia that their govt attempted to cover up. All these events have an effect on me differentially tending to zero. 
Yet last year, when I was informed of the tragic death of my uncle, the feelings I had were indescribable. Its like I felt the pain, the sorrow of a thousand deaths. I hope you don’t lose a loved one and feel these emotions because there’s a finality to life that engulfs you in these moments. You once again realise life is not infinite. 

Newton’s third law is pretty clear. Every action has a reaction, equal and opposite. That’s why you jerk backwards when you fire a shotgun or propel a canon. To have energy in your body, you must eat and stand in sunlight. When you eat delicious food, something equal but opposite to that must come out of your body. When you work hard in a determined focussed manner you will be rewarded with benefits. In the same way, because we were born, we must die.