Category: Uncategorized

Is this real life?

Around a year ago I wrote the following on my .pages journal:

My life lately feels like a dream. Like, it doesn’t feel real. Nothing feels really real, does that make sense? Probably not. It’s like it is all a dream and days are passing. The city became sunny this weekend, adding to the ethereal feeling of it all.

The dreamlike sensation has not vanished, but by now it feels rather familiar. Like how sometimes when I am alternating between my screen and the street, I briefly see those passing by as grotesque shapes and faces. It’s normal, right?

What do others do, in their free time? I often remain in bed thinking about the accelerated expansion of the universe, a grid expanding, black background, white lines. The universe, doy. Yes, I trained myself well, I can spend hours and hours in my head without emerging back but I am not sure if I like it, I can no longer detach myself from certain technical thoughts as easily as I detach from reality. I imagine myself as a sheet of paper that folds into itself when I am in this state. Eventually I roll out (rather, someone stretches me out), but it’s like if you leave yourself in this particular state for too long, you’ll inevitably carry the wrinkles and the biased tendency to fold back.

Recently I have been trying to feel things, rather than think things, and it turns out it’s damn hard and non intuitive. When was the last time you sat down and looked around, without listening to music, without looking at your phone and without rearranging terms or code in your head?

Man, honestly, I don’t remember.

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unfamiliar

this time around
when the wheels hit the ground
it felt like some unfamiliar road
switching off the airplane mode
no one i wanted to reach to
so guess the news will do.

26

I was washing my hands yesterday and I saw a knife. The first thing I thought about was to jab it in my neck. But I guess growing up means you learn to manage these harmful behaviours. Like how I constantly want to drink and do heavy drugs, but limit myself to cigarettes. Like how, now I go for runs and eat healthily, go to bed at sensible hours and never abuse sleeping pills.

I guess, with growing up comes better control and judgement. It sure seems so. Taking responsibility of one’s actions.

Just like 2016’s theme was loneliness, a prevalent theme of 2017 was letting go. I will never fully understand other people. Without exception, I will never gain access to the internal vocabulary, states, and experiences of others, making it impossible to understand exactly what actually drives other’s actions and desires. Thus, spending too much time hypothesising why other’s actions is useless. Things happen, people do things, and that’s it. I learned that it’s useless to keep thinking about certain things and that it is ok to have unanswered questions.

This idea of letting go is not only with respect to people, but also to possibilities. One’s life is made of a series of choices and compromises. If one had infinite time, resources and energy, one could attend to all their wishes (or none as one could end up eternally debating between options), but the reality is different. You have a set of options and decisions have to be made. The trick is, decisions are made regardless of whether one makes conscious, deliberate ones.

I’m soon to be 26.

Mantras

– you will never understand others fully.

– nobody is waiting or holding a place for you.

– it’s not “in the end, you are alone”, it’s more like, you are always alone – so, I guess, cherish the few times and those who make you forget about this fact.

– you can’t unsee / unhear things. point proven below.

 

Directing action

Few days ago, in between cigarettes, I got into a brief discussion about the immorality of making a lot of cash, in particular in financial markets. It’s a very popular stance, to hate bits of capitalism while enjoying the benefits coming from it.

I think it has to do with what you do with the money. It makes me think, sometimes I do consider going into finance. Said friend told me about the possibility of getting between a quarter and half a million per YEAR (minus tax) in some countries, utilizing the skills we have.

Imagine how much you can do with that money. I don’t mean buying shit or a house. I mean, fuck, would it be possible to fund research or relevant projects with let’s say, a chunk of your salary – around 100k? In Switzerland, this is the salary of 2 PhDs per year. In the UK, probably you could fund 5 PhDs per year.

Lately I have been thinking what can you do to become an influential individual. With the outcome of these elections in the U.S, I think a lot of people are wondering the same. My friend’s post on FB makes me think:

“While at school I always wondered what the German people must have felt like when Hitler was progressively taking on more and more power. Could they see? Were they scared?
I am and yet I’m short on ideas on what to do next. Should I be protesting? Should I be getting into politics? Should I be seeking to get citizenship? Should I be volunteering at schools?”

Protesting? Politics? Volunteering? I don’t know. I have a bad impression of politicians and politics in general. We need several things – putting it in words of Zizek, we need the closening of the class gap. Furthermore, there’s the need to somehow make a cultural impact, promote the right values, fix real problems such as climate change or world hunger. I can’t see this happening in politics, I see this happening despite politics through scientific, technological advances and philanthropy. (Of course I am biased as fuck.)

There are two realms so to speak: the soul and the objective – for the lack of better words. The soul concerns things such as ethics, values, etc – and it’s my belief that these things are better addressed through cultural movements – in one word, arts. The second real, the objective, are material things, engineering questions, like how can we exploit the resources of the Earth in a sustainable way, how can you  better distribute and deliver medicine and food to places, how can you curb the CO2 emissions, etc. These are scientific-engineering questions. Both of these things are important, and furthermore, I believe the possibility to efficiently tackle these objective problems comes from the fixing of the soul too – i.e. you need to give a shit – to have an irrational emotional response to drive you to tackling the problem.

Anyway, I brought the idea to a friend, about selling out and making money (even if it’s by exploiting financial markets) with the ultimate goal of philanthropy. However, they remarked that whatever problem I come up to solve, I might just end up widening the gap between the rich and the poor – I  don’t mean Europe poor, I mean the exploited third world country poor. So another question arises, how can you figure out what needs to be solved if you never come in contact with these problems in the first place?

Reverberating my friend’s question, what the fuck is one ought to do?

Moments

I smoke my cigarette silent. I know it is a cliché thing to say, but there’s a lot of content in silence.

“I want to kill myself.”

Your sentence, uttered what it feels like half an hour ago, expands and fills up every volume of empty space, penetrates to our bones. I want to tell you that things will be okay. But honestly, I have no idea. Odds are, things won’t be alright like before these events happened – I can’t tell you that you will be happier in the future. I am not – things didn’t necessarily get better for me – they more or less stopped bothering me because reality continued. Is it not worse, if I told you, instead of empty comforting words like “things will be okay”, that I said “you’ll get used to it – to the void, to the loneliness, to giving up?”.

Yes, sometimes it’s better to say nothing.

I never got over these thoughts of suicide either, so wouldn’t be hypocritical for me to tell you they will go away? In my silence, you know that I have nothing to offer. I wish I could help you, make those who hurt you stop, shelter you from pain, but who am I to do any of these things? All I can muster up is:

“Reality sucks.”

You smile. What else can you do? You know I can’t make miracles. No one can.

I want to tell you I will miss you if you go. But isn’t this egoistical? So my sentence hangs in the air. You are finishing your cigarette and keep looking at me, searching for some meaning. I wish I was one of those people who know exactly what to say – who can give a hug at the right time – I mean, sometimes nonsense, unverified statements work for people.

I stare at the concrete and feel this bubbling up inside me. Something seems so absurdly comical in this exact moment. The awkwardness, the inability to connect, to act like a human being, despite our meat suits. It’s all so absurd. Suddenly, I start chuckling and you look at me horrified.

“Dude, yea, it’s gonna suck, maybe for a while, maybe for a long time. But that is obvious, right? When bad shit happens, you feel shit inevitably. It fucking sucks to think about death and to feel alone. But that’s part of being a person no? I dunno, I can’t say nice things, like, we both know, life is completely pointless and all, that’s not new at all. But, in the end, even if meaningless, there’s exciting shit happening in your life – stuff that you love doing, even if it’s work or whatever. And I guess that’s worth something. Death is nice and plain. But since when are you into nice and plain things?”

There is a silence after this stupid potato philosophy. I am tired, you are tired – but your smile opens up.

“Ehe, that was truly terrible.”