initimations

Eternity poem 

How it happened exactly I will never know. Suddenly everything became worthless, everything human per se, that is. This veneer of generic pleasures and conventional raisons d’être became illusory, life taken at face value, submission to the established order; well, I was done with all that long ago. The magic began when my intuition fumbled upon a veritable prospect of infinity. How many different orders of life are possible, how many universes made of other realities must exist simultaneously, in such way, I began to break the biased assumption that this is the only world there is. What an experiment this life here is, to emerge from a field of interconnected activity, full of evolutionary processes. Humans begin to appear unreal and yet beautiful in their playing out the habits of their biology and history, their customs in this unique, relative mode of being we know as ‘life on earth’. From the way we speak, sleep, drink, dress – a rare collection of revocable attributes, a lonely arrangement in the infinite spectrum of eternity. I caught a glimpse only. Glimpses of just one dream unfolding in a god’s sleep; a god that never dies. That god has had an infinite number of dreams in the past and shall have an infinite number of dreams in the future, no two alike. In this ephemeral presence how can I regard anything as immutable, or ultimately, even as real? The very foundations of this world, with its geometry and physical laws, its life forms and civilizations, its space and time, are nothing more than an evanescent chapter in the phantasmagorically boundless ground of being.

So here I stand as raw nothingness, the happiest nothingness to ever breathe the cold air under a yellow winter sun, amidst the foundationless relativity of this dreamlike existence.

The rest I will never know.


 

Nihilistic Poetry

two words

i_exist_poem


there are attempts
at writing.


nothing more.


the combinations
are infinite.


yet I never find
any published thought
that will survive
the caprices of history
evolution and death.


I find two words
in one effort to capture
it all,
two words echoing
long after the writer
has left the earth.


two words that are as unlikely
as they are ridiculous
to have been written.


they are all
that needs to be said
by a poet…
 

 

 

 

  I exist…

 

 

 

nihilistic poetry

WIDER HORIZONS – An essay on experiential limits to truth

“The intellect [as] a local effect of evolution, a flame, perhaps accidental,

which lights up the coming and going of living beings in the narrow

passage open to their action; an lo! forgetting what it has just told us,

it makes of this lantern glimmering in a tunnel a Sun which can

illuminate the world.” Henri Bergson

 

 

Revolutionary insights are bound to occur every few centuries. Evidence for this is clear since we stopped regarding earth as the center of the universe nor our solar system as the only existent planetary system; the “island universes” discovered in the early 20th century later became proof that we float inside a great vacuum filled with galaxies and our position is not in any way advantageous: we are merely an anthill in a vastly greater desert. Revelations of this sort change the root of all our understanding of the human being and his position in this strange universe. The above discoveries lead to a re-conceptualization of our place in the material plane. There are other revelations that force us to reevaluate our previous conceptions at a cognitive or intellectual level. Kant believed to have transformed philosophy with the same impact that Copernicus’ theory revolutionized astronomy. However, his philosophy as influential as it is, couldn’t produce the radical transformation its author had anticipated. In more recent times Heisenberg dramatically redefined the future of physics with his Uncertainty Principle, setting a perennial barrier to the accuracy of information we can obtain at the subatomic level. It will be safe to speculate that world-changing insights will continue to appear throughout history.

Because we are so immersed in our own opinions and hold with unswerving faith our convictions, it is no surprise that it becomes difficult for us to accept, much less digest, what new ideas are pointing at. The evolution of human knowledge is constantly pushing for wider horizons, breaking free from assumptions that were once crowned as truths but are in reality only provisional scaffolds that permit the growth of more profound insights. Such may be that case with our idolatry to matter; ever since science usurped almost every field of knowledge proclaiming that epistemological certainty is only possible through objective (that is, physically oriented) evidence.  Steadily ever since Einstein tried to unify electromagnetism and gravity there has been an increasing wave of believers in a unified theory of reality; which in closer analysis is a pretension to explain the entire universe, or all that is, by physical mechanisms. It rests on an unproven assumption that can be summarized like this: because we are able to perceive the physical universe with our five senses and technical apparatuses, everything we perceive can be explained from that which we perceive. In simpler terms we are convinced that there exists nothing more than what we are able to perceive or deduct from our perception, and although this sounds like the plainest commonsense, we should carefully rephrase that assertion to: we can only discuss what we perceive. But we should not discard beforehand the possibility that this world, every phenomenon at the experiential level, may be simply a fragment of a vaster and greater reality. This does not imply that that greater universe which we cannot perceive should be a concern to science and philosophy but it simply comes as a warning to our proud advancement of knowledge. My case can be summed up in the following way:

 

If our awareness and intelligence arose out of earlier biological experiments, its persistence on this planet must only be explained by the advantages it has given to our species. Its function has been to assist the survival of our kind and not as we now presume, to solve the riddles of existence. Intelligence did not arise to survey all the scope of whatever exists but only to aid the organism in its survival with its immediate environment. This may be a total and insurmountable obstacle for the arrogance of science and philosophy; merely because there may be dimensions of reality we are not designed to perceive, causes that may influence the physical universe which are not strictly perceivable nor deducible from physical phenomena. This condition could set an experiential limitation to our knowledge –not unlike the uncertainty principle – forever and ever concealing absolute truth from our grasp and revealing us not as possessors of facts but merely as gatherers of illusions.

 

knowledge_in_21st_century

Return to Beyond Language

Fatalism

If we must submit to the irrationality of following all logic to its end, conclusions may turn shockingly paradoxical. I once heard that we have chosen our life from the very start and that our experience on this planet is simply the revelation of our original choice. If this were true then the absurdity of our suffering would be justified since we have chosen beforehand to experience it. The question that remains would be: why have we forgotten our original choice? Why does life present itself as an unknown unfolding instead of being the realization of one’s desire? By some obscure mechanism our original choice has been obliterated, life remains a permanent surprise. At first this seems like another form of fatalism except for the fact that we have chosen that predetermination. On the other hand, most people believe that the universe is a spontaneous happening and we must choose our way through the hazards of spontaneity. Our life is the result of all our choices, but how do we ever get to choose anything? I sat down the other day to think this one over and I discovered that my choices are really just reactions to whatever is presented to my mind. From the pettiest choices to the most important decisions I simply obey a feeling, logic or a whim. In all of these cases I am subject to what simply happens inside me. Should I buy a black or blue pen? I wait for a moment, experience a certain sensation of pleasure in black and I buy the black pen. Should I live in Costa Rica or in India, I wait for a moment, a logical-emotional labyrinth emerges in my mind and by the end of this involuntary frenzy, I make my decision. Naively speaking, thoughts are like emotions, they arise involuntarily and by a law of their own. Most people are identified with their thoughts, but if you ask them how they fabricate a thought they must inevitably answer: it simply happens. So, if my decisions are nothing but reactions to what is presented to my mind, what is allowing these perceptions? If we submit to modern scientific thinking, to explain a perception in the human mind we must pursue a long path through Psychology, Sociology, Biology, Evolution, Neurology, Chemistry, Physics, and we will end up with an ultimate theory for the universe as seen by man. In very simple terms, what we experience is the result of the whole arrangement of the cosmos, and if we knew every bit of information about this arrangement, we could predict ourselves. Again, we fall into an unremitting fatalism.

 

 

But what’s the use of all this reasoning and the contemporary compulsive adoration to logic and reason?

  

 I choose not to know.

 

 

“Puppet on a string” by Steve Whitney

Hopeless eyes

 

From this region here to that other geography
From this sober dream to that brittle philosophy 

From this silly present to that uncertain future
From this strange human to that evolving creature 

From this labyrinth life to that simple death
From this fleeting day to that final breath 

What consoles my hopeless eyes?

Poem in rain and cosmos

 

Why must raindrops fall
and stir my soul like Debussy’s piano,
delirium in an orchestra of round ripples
each droplet unites with the puddle
in this unknown street of Nygårdvej
Why can I not resist this temptation
Of studying the motions of a
                                           fluctuating universe

I raise my head a few meters
a different world comes into view
a realm so close but so inexplicable
of these men and women of modernity;
so you see two worlds bound together
One as ancient as numberless time
The other new by cosmic comparison

And worst of all, I must confess
this thing frightens me above all:
the road mankind has fashioned for itself,
that relentless evolution of man’s world
not long ago we lived flat on a finite earth,
now the cosmos has expanded to insane proportions
we are a micro-dot in a cold dark shadow

Are children aware of our ancestral roots
before we were in trees, but now
riding in motorized wheels
is there a Nostradamus among us
who will reveal the end of our obsessions,
or will it never come to an end,
like this puddle should turn into ocean
                                       if these drops from heaven
                                                                   never cease to fall.

The old man on the bus

 

His gaze was dismal. His face pale and furrowed by his old skin. And those eyes… almost inert yet burning with sadness as if they were looking straight into empty meaninglessness. What happened to him? Had he found irrevocable proof that the universe has no purpose, had he understood the absolute nonsense of existence? His face was like an ancient ape, the first animal in the history of the universe to become aware of mortality – the original simian that understood:

 

I AM

but I must die one day”

Oh poor old man!

Those eyes scanning the infinite indifference of the civilized world. Somewhere in the glimmering of his left eye I read his thoughts.

 

They were thoughts of a hopeful pessimist:

 

My life in shadows.
My life in this modern world
Splendid technological forms unfurled
Nobody knows the monster that’s been created
But who will listen to my voice recluse and alienated
If only we could invent a new auspicious religion
To bury our fears and escape ever-lasting oblivion

 

 

The old man stood up and got off the bus and sat by a tree. And then we rode off into other streets, other corners.

You, me & Montaigne

 

It bugged me. I was looking for a vague unformed idea with the same persistency as you would recall a forgotten dream, a dream you had vividly experienced and now all trace of it is lost except for a blurry intuition that claims it existed and was real. So in the same way, I am looking for an idea I’m not quite sure what it is; but I know that it exists and it is real. The idea has something to do with History. History has been on my mind recently. It is impossible to dismiss history when its presence is unmistakably obvious in the prints of books. There have been many before us. So many that the vast majority have perished within the confines of thier solitude and few or no traces are left of their struggles and dreams. I’m interested in how humans see themselves. It may be called their Interpretation of Life. The fact that we live is obvious and granted. But what we think about life changes dramatically from one skull to the next. With so many distinct opinions I do not worry of finding the correct one. All seem to have a likely possibility of truth. But what is truth anyway? A forgotten quest of ancient philosophers… Our age does not worry about truth. It has lost its relevance; we pay attention to other things. So I’m not looking for truth, I’m sure of that. It has to do more with an understanding of how the human interpretation of life changes throughout history. I’m gathering opinions rather the same way that an entomologist would collect beetles. No beetle is more precious than the others, each one of them exist and are as real as the entomologist that collects them. How to make sense of the numberless interpretations of life?

 

I think I’m getting closer to my forgotten dream: my unformulated idea.

 

There are many kinds of beetles in the world. There are more beetle species than there are fish, amphibian, reptile, bird and mammal species put together. How did so different types of beetles arise? Our age explains the varieties of species with the theory of evolution. The theory of evolution has been so popular and successful in explaining many aspects of our natural world that it has propagated over many other fields. Technology, ideas and the development of human societies can all be explained quite clearly from an evolutionary perspective.

The evolutionary perspective
 

 

Time is a bitch. We cannot define it, yet our whole lives are tyrannized by the ticking of the clock. Elusive in definition but very real and concrete in practice. Time is a fact. We live in time. Calendars and alarm clocks bind us:

 

“I need to wake up early tomorrow”

 

“I’m late for work”

 

“Let’s meet at five near the fountain”

 

“Next week is my birthday”

 

“If I don’t finish this in time, I’m in deep trouble”

 

And so on…

 

Time is very real. Listen to your own voices. We mention it every single day.

But we forget about time.

 

 

 

We forget that time is not only seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years. It is also decades, centuries, millennia, mega-annums, and giga-annums. The universe is a very old place. It’s been here long before any human ever stood erect. It will probably be here long after every human life has been exhausted.

 

Awareness of the long extension of time is important to understand the various Interpretations of Life.

 

 

That’s how I can begin to make sense of history. Through Evolution in the broadest sense of the word. There has been enough time for everything to evolve. Every atom on this planet evolved from the interior of dead stars, life arose for the evolution of simpler forms to more complex ones, and societies, language, ideas and technology evolve from rudimentary human communities spending enough time together to develop these attributes. Given enough time a lot can happen. This is the Evolutionary Perspective. An interpretation of life common among those living today.

 

We are bound by time. This interpretation of life helps me interpret the interpretation of life of others before me.

 

Thales surveyed the world around him and declared that it originated from water

Berkeley surveyed the world around him and declared that everything you perceived is not the real world but only your own mind.

 

Freud surveyed the world around him and declared that a blind unconscious force called the libido directs human life.

 

And so on…

 

Every opinion in your head has a history. Every hair in your body has a history. Every word you say originated somewhere sometime, and if you create something new the long chain of causes behind it supports it. If you adopt the evolutionary perspective, your every move is united to the most distant past.

 

Now I’m getting closer to what I really wanted to express. Not a theory but a melancholic reflection.

 

On March 1st 1580, Montaigne completed his ‘Note to the Reader’ for his long and voluminous essays. He set his pen (or feather) down and submitted himself to the currents of history. On May 11th 2007 I opened his essays and began reading in English his ‘Au Lecteur’ translated from the French. Something about that date shook me. 1580. Long time ago. A long time ago this man set to write down his ideas and experiences in countless pages. Four hundred twenty-seven years later I pick up his book and read in the thick darkness of midnight till my eyes dropped with exhaustion. Today I woke up with an idea on the tip of my tongue. Trying to shape it and give it a name. Montaigne, a man dead for four hundred fifteen years, influenced my Monday and if you are reading this, he managed to sneak into your life too; changing the course of your life ever so slightly, making you sit before your computer ten minutes extra than you had planned for.

If you adopt the evolutionary perspective, your every move is united to the most distant past.

Montaigne is an example of a life that has been recorded and has been able to influence people in the future. But the number of people that achieve this is negligible when compared to all those that leave no trace and return silently to the dark abyss from where they came. We like to think that life is Great. That it is worth living and that so much of it is special and worthy of commenting. That is why we meet up with our friends and tell them what we did, how we feel, what we hope for. It is sad and discouraging to think that our most troublesome struggles and our most dazzling joys will be lost completely and in five hundred years they will be of no use to anyone.

We are an island of consciousness engulfed in the ambiguous ocean of time.

I find something else discouraging. Of those millions and millions of lives, the lives of the masses that died in plagues, wars, and famines and remain in the history books only as a number:

8,000,000 dead in the Thirty Years War

 

75,000,000 dead after the Black Plague

 

100,000,000 dead during the Atlantic Slave Trade

 

and so on…

 

What about their Interpretation of Life. They had an equally valid opportunity of experiencing life, perhaps in the most atrocious circumstances. Their thoughts and yearnings are now lost under the memory of a number.

 

I’d like to compare all those opinions. The lush forest of conceptions that each skull harbors. There are as many as beetles in the world.

 

Is there a God?

 

Is there a soul?

 

Is there an afterlife?

 

Is there a purpose in life?

 

What is matter?

 

What are the stars?

 

What is happiness?

 

Every one has something to say. Every one has a right to that opinion. And every opinion is part of the legacy they inherited. The evolution of all forms and shapes; from the hair in your head to your thinking in verbs, nouns and adjectives. We are bound to the most distant past, perhaps too to the more distant future.

 

Whatever you do today, think what role it will play in the great course of things. When you pay for a pack of cigarettes, think of the journey the coin is about to embark upon. Perhaps a thousand years from now, that same coin is going to be dug up by a future archeologist and speculate about life at the beginning of the 21st century. Gaze up to the sky and imagine all those that have done the same, some seeing the wonderful creation of God, others the grand excitement of space, and others still, the unbelievable profundity of the human mind. Kiss your lover and wonder when the first human kiss was invented. Eat an apple and speculate from what distant tree it came from. Spit out its seeds and consider that in fifty years a child might be swinging from its tree branches.

 

Now go, and explore. Be part of the unrecorded history that unwinds daily…