Wednesday, August 28, 2013

philosophy ft. art, for once.

I disgust myself. No blogging for 10 days straight?! Get a grip, Victor! God!

I guess you could say I've been busy. Or, busier than usual. I've got less on my plate than ever before, school-wise especially, but still I find my days too short. It doesn't make much sense.

I believe the problem stems in the fact that I've been neglecting productivity in favour of easy fun. Perhaps a lingering of the summer's carelessness and laidback days.

While it may seem that living in the now and just doing whatever makes you happy right now is the perfect stress-free way of life, that's not the case. It's called hedonism, living for the day. Present-tense joy is both the father, son and holy spirit for the hedonist.

It's not a perfect way of life, because it's not sustainable. While you can always afford to lay back and take it easy, and prioritize time to relax, the degree to which it's possible to be happy while relaxing varies, and long term nonproductivity becomes unsustainable.

The tendency to prioritize recreational things, relaxing, and not being productive, is called being Lazy, and doing productive things now so that you can enjoy later is called building a Career. A healthy bit of both makes for a stable life.

Anyway, it's like the earth. No, not made of dirt and filled with lava, but in the respect of the climate dilemma. We have a hedonist's attitude towards it, we keep living for the day, because we can't bring ourselves to see the bigger picture, and the fact that all we are doing is poisoning our dear Tellus, killing it slowly, though surely. In time, we will no longer be enabled to enjoy the day as we do now, because the day will be different.

In the same way, this Carpe Diem-attitude is bad for individual humans. Every day that you neglect your career, health, social life, is a day when you make your life shorter. On the other hand, every day you prioritize happiness is a day when you know you were as happy as you could have been.

You could be doing drugs right now. I wouldn't know, but it would probably make you happy right now. But it very well might bite you in the arse later. Worth it? I have no idea.

It's an age old philosophical question. Live fast, or live long, arguments for both can be found but there is no answer. There is no perfect way of life, whatever someone may claim. Our lives are but a pursuit of maximum happiness, like a high-score game. Living a hedonistic life is no better or worse than a life that spans a hundred years, because I believe it's all about the sum of happiness you accumulated rather than the rate of happiness experienced.


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Death and our ultimate "rest"

Sometimes, maths can be very interesting. I recall how I wrote about the insufficiency of mathematics in rendering the abstract and philosophical, and I still hold this stance. Maths can very often prove inadequate.

But the brilliant thing about Maths is that in certain things, it gives very straight answers. There's really no discussion about whether 2+3 is 5, or 5*2 is 10 rather than 11. In that way, Maths is wonderfully precise.

In school, I've recently embarked upon a course in Philosophy, and already I grow weary of the way it succeeds in giving so ultimately vague answers in our impossibly big questions. Maths may not have answers to those questions either, but Maths meets us halfway and gives us full answers in the smaller questions.

I'm reading this book by John Green (Who is also an amazing inspiration as a blogger...), called The Fault in Our Stars. As the story tells about the lives of a group of people broken by cancer and sickness, the subject of Death is never too far away.

In the book, it was mentioned that there are fourteen dead people for every living person. Naturally, that sparked some questions. I looked it up, and according to THIS article, about 107 billion Homo Sapien have ever lived. It's a swindling thought, especially in connection to my last entry. 107 billion people lived just as fully as you do, right now. 

Thats 107 000 000 000 people that have lived. That's over 21 THOUSAND times more people than are alive in Finland right now. It's every single person you know, times hundreds of millions. The amount is completely incomprehensible.

Naturally, Religion is also another subject very entangled with Death.

Say every soul that ever lived, enjoys a communal afterlife on earth. Well, if that were so, enjoy wouldn't be the word I'd use. Think about it. On earth, there is roughly 148.94 million square kilometres of land not covered in water. If we calculate the population density of the earth, that gives us ~42 human lives per square kilometre. Thats quite comfortable, right? It leaves each and every one of us with (1 000 000 m^2 / 42) 22000 square metres for ourselves. It's a surprisingly big number, but the fact is that while the human habitat basically spans the earth, we actually inhabit a very small portion of it. 

Say that we include the unliving. That's 107 billion people to share a measly 149 km^2, and the population density rises dramatically to 772 ppl/sq km.

What does that mean? It leaves us with only 1295 square metres for ourselves. That's not so bad? There will be privacy..? 

Given that privacy was something all the dead wanted, the distribution of souls would be quite uniform. Everyone would get their own 1295 m^2.

I'm just going to go proclaim that none of you can estimate how small this area actually is. r^2*pi=1295 sq m . Solve the equation for yourself. What you'll find is that the radius of our privacy only spans 20 metres in all directions. 

That's anywhere on land, earth. On Antarctica, in the desert, in those woods behind your house that no one ever visits. There will be a soul, the living death of a passed human, no less than twenty measly metres away from you. No matter where you go. 

So that's that, then. So much for the eternal peace in death. 

If we presume that dead people don't want to live in Antarctica, or the woods, but in the same places humans are living right now, then you're in for a bigger shock. Think of all the pictures you've seen of busy streets in India, or any other packed place. The beach, some show, just anywhere. Now picture that place with 18 times more people in it. Where there stood one, now stands 18. Where stood a hundred, now stand 1800. 

There could never be any rest if the afterlife resides on Earth. How many beds are there in the world? Do dead people sleep? How many human souls then sleep beside you every night? It makes "Heaven is a place on Earth" the most ironic statement. A place of no privacy, no escaping intimacy, no not being around people, this is not heavenly in the least.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

implications of life

The enormity of life and the ramblings of one deprived of sleep, is that too long of a title? I think so.

So I saw this movie, Warm Bodies. In essence, it's all about this world where there has been a zombie-outbreak, where the living are a minority and the entire human race seems at peril. It's romantic, it's funny, it has the living dead, and while that may sound very cliché, it's different in a couple ways.

For one, it's all told from the perspective of a zombie. A zombie who feels, thinks, and falls in love. You wouldn't tell, though, because he couldn't tell you. In fact, none of the walking dead express any feelings, but the hint is that they're all capable of compassion, feelings, pain, love, the whole spectrum. They just can't talk about it, because, well, they're zombies. The main character walks among them, thinking about this, pondering their animate lifelessness, their shallow appearance.

But when you think about it, this reflects the real world quite well. We bump into people, we walk by others. It's something we don't think about, but that guy you stood next to in queue at the local grocery store lives a life. We don't think about it, because we don't know this person. But just think about the implications. The entire world that exists within your head is mirrored by an equally large perception of the world in his head. This guy, buying frozen pizza and cigarettes, he loves, hurts, he feels things exactly as vividly as you. He might not have the same problems, the same joys, or the same mediocrity as you, but he feels, and lives, just as strongly. So many things happen in a life, a tale of a million words and more, and just as you have experienced all sorts of things, so has he. 

The thought is humbling. There are seven billion people alive, and every single one is just as aware of the world as you are, at this very moment. There exists 7 billion lives, and there is no reason to think that any of these lives contain any fewer feelings than your life does. You just don't think about that, when you meet people. To you, they could just as well have been zombies, a barrier of only unfamiliarity separating you and another sphere of thoughts that is just as large as yours.

The symbolic is actually insinuated twice. A large wall stands between the living and the undead, and this wall symbolizes the unfamiliarity that keeps the two apart. The wall is torn down in the end, as the living start to understand that the zombies have feelings, can think, which leads to a melding, an understanding where the zombified and living can live together. The humans never recognized that the walking dead had feelings, until they were explicitly shown otherwise. 

Another wonderful thing about this movie was that the undead regained their humanity through love. Love, the strongest of feelings. It was wonderfully depicted that their hearts started beating again as they watched pictures of couples, of romance and of love. And what's a heart without the love that we so often say exists there? The symbolic becomes dreary, as all that remains is a clock, a countdown steadily ticking down, every second closer to our demise, the end of our physical lives.

It makes me think about how I choose to study maths and physics at school. Academic pursuits that mirror my interests, that's what I would say they are, but it's sad. It's sad, because to a physicist or mathematician, only the ticking exists, not the proverbial warmth of the heart. I need to get into humanities.

Anyway, I haven't been drawing a ton lately, and I really was feeling quite dry in terms of inspiration tonight, so I skipped the art, for a second entry in a row... Have faith, though, when school starts I can stock up on two years of previously unseen artwork that I've drawn in class, and my entries won't be all text.