yes Gods are crazy


with 8 comments

“How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?

Bob Dylan must have been a big pain to his parents, there are only so many questions that one can answer without losing it. Pontifications over the futility of existence don’t usually lead to Bob Dylan. But as they say, stuff operates in mysterious ways… mistaken ways too as I am being forced to realize, forcing the questions:

How many mistakes must a man make before he grows any wiser? How many times must a man repeat a mistake before he grows through it? How often must we be reminded of the schism, between `what we do’ and `what we believe in’, before we accept it? And how many repititions of this does it take for us to evolve? Does it have any implications regarding the unnamed quesions of life?

That our actions are determined by habit, but not by reason, is what stops me from taking solace in the expectation that the questions of life can be answered by mathematics. While it is true that mathematics is the one infallible achievement of mankind, it raises at the same time the possibility that it may not be of much help in answering our most fervent questions. Our most accurate understanding of any natural phenomenon is in the form of nonlinear equations. Even for the most seemingly trivial processes, though we know the equations predicting anything with `reasonable’ accuracy takes us atleast a 1000 times as much as the entire duration of the actual event itself! Same goes for most of the fundamental constants, starting with “pi”… Even if math provides us the answer, can we understand it? Or, are we at that stage of evolution where there is a significant increase in the role of reason in the behaviour of living beings? Is mathematics just a continuation of the series of changes since the loss of our tails? Is it the case that we have the right tools, but we don’t know what to do with our tools?

What does this outlook have on my favourite topics: “Is there a point to life?”, “Is there a point in wondering about whether there is a point?”, “What if the best way of life is that of persistent introspection?”, “What if it is a path of uninterrupted observation: Introspection – Analysis?” “Is such a life any better than an `unexamined’ one?”, “Our thoughts are only as real as we ourselves are, should that be of any consequence?” etc. I don’t know, either that or I don’t want to know! Think as much as I can, I can’t seem to escape from the fact that I am still a creature of habit!

As Bob Dylan himself concludes, “The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind”

Written by kowsik

March 2, 2008 at 10:02

8 Responses

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  1. I think that the path of persistent observation is worth only when you progressively reach closer to the truth. I am not sure what ‘progressively closing in on the truth’ means for a boolean question like ‘Is there a purpose’, but if it means refining your beliefs so that you can one day answer the question, I think its worth it. You know what I personally feel though 🙂

    But when all is said and done, if your habit keeps you happy, its good enough. Mainly because its not an open and shut case.


    March 2, 2008 at 11:06

  2. Looks like the concept of “drunkard’s walk” operates at many levels…


    March 2, 2008 at 23:56

  3. 1. There is a little boy inside every man (as far as I know)
    2. What’s the point of asking whether there is or isn’t a point to life? You’re going to live it anyway, right? If suicidal thoughts seem plausible, I think perhaps it is all the beauty in life that are worth us keep living for.



    March 3, 2008 at 09:57

  4. @ aporia24:

    Thanks for your comment. I don’t know about the first point, I never thought along those lines. As to “You’re going to live it anyway, right?”: I was only wondering about the efficacy of imagining any noble purpose to life, not about whether to continue living or not. Hope you are not a psychology major!

    Is the ‘beauty in life’ that you talk of similar to the colloquial understanding of ‘beauty’?


    March 3, 2008 at 10:41

  5. Kowsik! so many questions 🙂 try to find some answers 😛
    Don’t fall in love with unanswered questions and their intrigue 😉
    Habits are inertia. Reason has always been central force in adapting. Not just now. Mathematics is part of evolution, to build a good map of nature to be able to deal with it better. Bad habits fell away by reason, or evolution by survival of fittest. Good habits stayed on sometimes just by their merit, without people understanding reason behind it. It is always good to find a reason behind habits, so that we can change them for better. Point in life? everybody has to find his own. Nobility is a made-up concept. Its best to think in basic terms. Introspection/ unexamined life again is a choice. Depends on whether one is happy leading one way or the other. Usually people introspect when they hit a crisis. Its also important not just to think, but also act out things, so that experience guides you rather than than mental simulations, which can be wrong..

    Ameet deshpande

    March 23, 2008 at 13:56

  6. Pande bhai, that appears to be the general drift nowadays:) I don’t know if it is here to stay, or is merely a transient


    March 24, 2008 at 07:09

  7. In fact, I Am a psychology major.
    I sound doomed from your perspective.

    Beauty is a continuous term that cannot be defined but only felt for me. I believe the intellectual understanding of beauty cannot be superior to the colloquial understanding of beauty – it is somehow like love, equality, peace. Or even the sum of all those.

    Why did you ask?


    March 24, 2008 at 12:24

  8. @aporia:

    My post was in response to a momentary thought that life is not worth fighting for. I don’t know if it’s a suicidal thought, I hope it’s not! So, I felt ‘doomed’ by your comment (or what I understood of it). So I asked.

    As to beauty, I can’t describe it anymore than: ‘the more we observe nature, the more we feel the beauty in it’. May be it works at the level of society too, but what we call beauty seems to be the source of as much pain as happiness. Since all these are only our feelings, they are nothing but parts of ourselves, so they shouldn’t be a big deal for us(?) And that makes the difference between rational thought and actions/obsessions depressing, we are still animals who make up justifications for their impulses.


    March 25, 2008 at 00:11

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