Sep 18, 2012

I don't believe in anything anymore


There was a time I believed in things. There were these stories and this knowledge and understanding of things that it didn't need questioning. Those times I used to be happier.

I believed in some sort of God that ruled over us all. I believed that my grandparents were ghosts who came to visit and look upon us from time to time. I believed that there was no reason not to believe that there was, or could have been a Santa, or at least I went with the story in Miracle in 34th street. When I watched that movie, the new version, and the argument that Santa was real was proven by showing a dollar bill where it was written in God we trust, saying that we don't see God and still we believe in him, why not believe in Santa, I agreed with the argument. Today I think the opposite of what that argument tried to prove, that believing in God is as ridiculous as believing in Santa, instead of believing in Santa is as rational as believing in God. I don't think I believed in Santa, or even in God for that matters. I just used to think that those things were true, the things that people talked about to be true. I didn't think critically over the "facts of life" that were injected in my little brain from the moment I was born, by family, society, and mum TV. The Italian television with all the God and Christian obsessiveness helped a lot too. My world was not the real world, but the world I saw on the telly. I believed in things I saw on TV, or at least I made myself believe in those things. 

Romantic films, Disney fairy tales, even Sailor Moon and the person she loved, all made me believe that there is such a thing as a soul mate. Till recently a few years ago, I read a Paulo Coehlo book, Brida, and I believed in the idea of life and the universe being connected, and love being magical, and soul mates, and life and after life. When I was a kid my favorite shows were the Charmed Ones, that made me love witches, and I waited for the time I'd get my charm, my powers (even if it wasn't a real belief, just an imagination to make life interesting), and Rosewell, waiting for the aliens among us to show me a world of very advanced powers that the humans will after centuries and millennia be able to have as well. I loved to think about magic, and powers, and soul mates, and all the interesting supernatural things. I was rational from an early age, always questioning who is God, and where does he come from, and if he has a mother, where does she come from, how big is the universe, and if the universe has an end how many other universes there are; if they are infinite, what is the meaning of it all, what was there before there was life. I made these questions from a very early age, and these questions would keep me up at night. No wonder I became a depressive (not depressed) but really dark kind of emo, before emo was invented. I did question my reality, and my injected beliefs, but I liked to believe that there was connectedness, and there was something in the air because of music, Christmas decorations, a connectedness between me and the green trees and plants, a connection between all of us together and with the earth. I believed in "all is one, and one is all" law of the universe. I believed in balance. And I believed in purpose for it all, in a meaning, in an end, in some sort of meant-to-be, and determinism of existence. I believed that my future was full of things that were to happen and my life was full of something bigger than me, bigger than life. Or at least I let myself dwell in imagination, and believing, as to me all of this fantasy, irrational explanation, fantastic explanation, going one grade over what can be understood, was like music, like air, and I couldn't live without it. 

Today, I have stopped believing. I don't believe in anything anymore. I haven't believed that there is a God, or any kind of Godly entity in a long time, and I don't pray to any such thing, nor do I hope for its existence. I don't care about that. I can live with my death. I know I will die, I know my loved ones will die, but I can live with that. I can accept my mortality; without extensive fear. I can accept my mortality and I do not need to lie to myself about the existence of life after death. I can accept that there is no meaning or purpose and I can live without the idea of a systematic, organized universe with a center called God. I can accept and live with my loneliness, having the knowledge that we are all born alone and we all die alone as Grandma Death in Donnie Darko had said to Donnie, and I don't need to cling to the idea, that there is someone out there for everyone, a soul mate, someone meant for me so that I can't be alone. I can live with my loneliness, so I don't need to further lie to myself about the idea of the existence of such a thing. 

I can live with the idea that all will end, that all has no purpose, that I am alone. I can live with all of that as I discovered after demolishing all of the towers of fantasy, imagination and beliefs, all the childhood and adult fairytales that I used to have and most people still have I have learned to live without them, and frankly I do not need them. I do not believe anymore in anything that goes beyond an explanation of facts proven and reproven. I have no ecstatic moment of high realization of something bigger floating around me. I know that everytime there is a feeling, it's all chemical, hormonal. I know there is a reason for everything even when science has yet to explain it. I don't believe in magic anymore. Magic has completely died in me. I am empty. 

If I could gain it all back, if I could one more time experience the magic of letting myself go in the big sea, and feel my body float and be transported by the waves of stories of beginning and end, and culminating middle, if I could find that appendix I have surgically cut out of my existence, I wouldn't, I don't want it, it's unnecessary. 

I am nostalgic of what I used to believe in. I am nostalgic of the sweetness of naivety  and I am nostalgic of faith, of magic. But that doesn't mean that I want any of that back, I have learned to live with truth, I have by myself killed the dragon, and come out of the tower, and the world isn't as I pictured, but it IS, and that is enough. 

I wonder what I will do when I have kids of my own. Will I teach them something to believe in, knowing that they will lose it like I did, or teach them just the truth, knowing that they will never experience the sweetness of ignorance? I don't know, really. I like being rational and I would certainly love my offsprings to be rational as well, but being rational is lonely, and empty and sad. 

I don't believe in anything anymore, and that might seem quite depressive if it wasn't for the fact that we are so primitive as a civilization, and there is so much unknown that you can never be bored. I will replace my immortality with the infinite knowledge, because there is so much to know and to discover that there is no end to it, till the moment my physical body will be unable to give my brain the ability to function and work and absorb all the knowledge out there. I will replace my divine purpose with my chosen aim and goal to achieve what I want, and do what I like, and live the day as I want it to be lived. I will replace my soul mate with the unending will to meet new people, and love new people, and experience new experiences, and the freedom to say hello, and goodbye, and be in constant movement. Being unable to believe is not the end of the world. I don't believe in anything anymore, but this opens new doors to me and my future, doors that the fog of magic and stories, and faith were occluding. 

I don't believe in anything anymore, but I am alive, so I might as well do something with it!

Sep 10, 2012

Back to School Nostalgia


I woke up this morning feeling unhappy. It is the first day of school, but that is not why I am unhappy. I am moody as I am not a student anymore, not a parent either, so I cannot partake in this mass hysteria of the first day of school. A few scenes from my past came passing by me as I daydreamed on my way to work. Those old notebooks with parallel lines, or squares that we used to call literature notebook, or math notebook when we looked for them at the store, were the first thing in my mind, and somehow, this random memory, made me both nostalgic and nauseous in the same time. I remembered knowing what date it was because I wrote the date in the right side at the beginning of each homework, and it’s so sad that I haven’t done it in years. Will one day seeing the date at the home screen of my phone, or at the far right below side of the computer become also nostalgic? Now it seems so routine, and random, like everything we are used to do each day, and yet, it is always the little things, that we miss when we are separated from them. Somehow that random gesture of writing in the notebook became something I deeply missed and at that moment my whole day was ruined, knowing that those kids walking with their backpacks to school could do that, and I couldn't.
I used to always love September. Every year I would buy the books that looked so fresh and unscathed with so much new information I couldn't wait to go through. I would cover them with white paper or plastic to protect them from time, label them with my name, class, and the name of the book. I would visit the store with so much happiness, buying my childhood drug: Pencils, pens, notebooks, rubber (the erasing kind), and many other things I wouldn't need or use, but I just couldn't help but buy. I would arrange my desk and have all books in front of me. I would go through the first pages, and be excited that once again I could learn more things about biology, philosophy, math, psychology, geography, history. I would be once again immersed into that world of knowledge, and working, and practicing, and improving myself in an environment that praised me and enforced me for it. I would get better grades this year. I would study at this hour to that hour, right after school, without opening the telly to watch that Digimon show, or that Italian show where women and men would scream at each other for who knows what again. I would sleep early, wake up early, not be late for school. I would not ruin my books with scribbles. I would not waste notebooks. I would repeat each week the lessons learned. I was so excited that I had a chance to have a new beginning. I would buy a new agenda. I wished they made agendas that began in September, instead of January. To me September was the reset month: the chance to start anew again. It was my happiness. It was my drug. It was a fresh nonscribbled book, a fresh unwritten notebook, a fresh unused eraser. To me September was the month of rebirth.
The other things were good but secondary. Meeting my friends, the new clothes I would wear the first day, and being suddenly in the eighth grade, or in the third year, they were all good. Life was so clean, a tabula rasa of some sort, where I could write my life anew, and forget the past.
I don’t know many people who miss school for the reasons I did. I don’t care much for the friends, or the parties or the easiness of life that I had those times. I miss it for the studying. I could go in different worlds within the length of one day. Explore the stars and the depth of the universe in the third hour, and calculate equations that made use of my logical skills in the next, only to explore how our metabolic system worked, and later how electricity worked. It was fantastic! I could learn so many things. How can anyone not appreciate the great gift that school is? The money that I have to pay now for what was given to me for free…really how can anyone not enjoy the knowledge and the work behind acquiring that knowledge?  It was easy back then. If I studied, if I did the homework, I would succeed. Of course at work it’s different. It doesn't matter how much work you put into something, you don’t know if you will succeed or not. There are other parameters, more unfairness, and the skills acquired are usually random. I used to feel like a renaissance woman, having knowledge from many fields, while now I have to work in a cubicle, specializing only in one small fragment of the universe. I had the whole universe at my hands, and now I have a box.
I never wanted to leave school. The academic world has always interested me more than anything else. When I heard about this Venus Project and the idea of a future world where people wouldn't have to engage into meaningless work, as they would have housing, and food, and energy no matter what, and they could have time to study and research in the fields they were interested in, I thought that it was brilliant, brilliant with a British pronunciation nevertheless. What scholar wouldn't want a future like that? A world in which all resources could be used, all talents, all time, in an effective way. Of course I don’t believe that that world will come in my lifetime, if ever, but the idea of that world made me realize how unhappy I was in this one. I woke up understanding I was a robot, convincing myself I was doing something meaningful, and my labor was important in the great scheme of things. The biggest lies we tell, are the lies we tell ourselves. I realized I was never happier than the time I was studying, and all that mattered to me was to go back to my dream, having the time and the energy again to explore the worlds of knowledge. It is so sad how much mankind knows today, and how little the general public does. I would like to remember again the things I have forgotten, how the lights work, how the bridges work, why planes can fly, what are the physical laws behind it, and the formulas to calculate them. Adults need to earn a living, but why waste time earning money for somebody else when there is so much work online nowadays that can free me from the framing into a robot for an office, for a company, that requires of me to strip my personality, and to give my time, while giving up on the things I love the most. There are ways I can escape from the world I hate, and create for myself the world I love. They are not as perfect or easy like the Venus Project, but still they are existent. Once you wake up and you see the Matrix, you cannot fall back into the illusion, and hypnosis.
What I see in my future, is my past, the time I was happiest, when I could learn and know things, and even teach them and share them with the others. I wish one day the same for humanity: the time of Ancient Greece, when there were the schools of Plato and Aristotle, and people would sit around the whole day and discuss theories, laws of politics, and physics and language. There was a time like that in human history; I wish it can come again. I wish my future, and our future, could be once again our past. A time when we used knowledge to live effectively, and we weren't in an auto-mat pilot like we are today. I wish for humanity to wake up, like I did. 

Sep 1, 2012

On the oneness of the mind and the whole


There are as many stories as there are people. Everyone experiences an event, a story in their own way. Nothing is shared. We walk in parallel ways, and our perspectives are never meant to cross. Every being is imprisoned in their own minds. We try with books of fiction to escape from this one-person reality. In books, in films, in fiction, we most often see the perspectives, the thoughts, the worries, the stories of each of the characters. In reading or watching a work of fiction, we become Gods, who oversee the whole, and we are liberated by the cages of reality, where we can only know, narrate the linear story of our own selves.

We are entrapped by the self. That is why we are born alone from nothingness of thought, we mirror other beings from what we perceive, and we develop our own selves from genetic memory, and social mimicry. We forget that what we create, our own personalities are even though so universal, so unique, and most important so alone. We find the need to share our thoughts, our art, our work with others, so as to combat this bleak loneliness of thought. But no matter how we find in conversation how much we are alike, we still are trapped in the cage of the self, in the cage of the mind, in the cage of the oneness. We can never know what the other thinks, feels, how they see the world. We can compare and agree that we see the same world, but we cannot really share entirely those perspectives. We see things from our own eyes. There is no other point of reference.

When we dream we may see the self, or what we appoint to be the self as from above, rather than from within. Only when we dream we are the Gods of the universe, the universe of the dream land. We are not trapped by one perspective, we see the world as in fiction, as in books, as in films, free to see ourselves and others, and free to appoint thoughts and agendas to them. I am not talking about a lucid dream, but any dream at all. When we dream, the way we see the self, is the same way we see the other. Unbound by the reality of the one, we can see the whole.

We do not have one shared consciousness. Empathy is merely fiction. Two twin siblings, or siblings of any kind are thought to have sometimes some kind of telepathy, but that is mere familiarity of paths crossed. The paths are the same, but the perspectives, even though so near to each other, are still alien to one another. Every human being is a new world.

What about multiple personalities? I wonder how that might be. Does one invent friends to share the head, to fight the loneliness? I feel that still there is loneliness in that world, for the world is shared in turns, no two personalities appear at once, at the very same exact moment. They might remember the other, but they share one body, one brain, but not one mind.

The mind is meant to be alone. It is loneliness, its inherent quality. The universe can’t start from another point, but from our mind. There are as many starting points in the universe, as there are intelligent lives. Each mind is a shining star that makes the whole, the vision of the whole. But this vision, transcendent, is never seen. If there was a point that saw the whole, that other point might be alone, and another point is seeing it, and many points again make a whole, but they can never see that whole, of which they’re part of. The whole is existent, but never perceived by any point of light in this existence.

A mind is thus alone, always alone. And that is what makes the world a common playground. We crave to share what we see, and find what the other sees. We try to piece the pieces of the puzzles together by sharing the self with the other. The whole is something we can’t see, but we know it’s there. The whole wouldn’t be if our minds were not alone. The whole is pieced together by the desire of each piece to know about the other. We fall into the gravity of the need to know what we don’t know, what we will never know, and even though lonely forever; unknowingly, we create the union that keeps us orbiting around the existence. It is the oneness of the self, which makes the whole.