Re-reading some of the angst-y introspect-y stuff from yesteryears, found something I’m not fully ashamed of and something about which my thoughts haven’t changed a lot. Dates back to June 2009.

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I was re-reading “Seize The Night” by Dean Koontz the other day (it’s a sci-fi) and I think the only remarkable feature of this book is an idea he describes, which while not central to the book, is a very interesting one. (Frankly, if it weren’t for this idea, I’d never finish the book or read it again. It isn’t that great). Anyway, in the book, for some convoluted reason, animal species gradually become more and more intelligent, finally attaining human intelligence while preserving their link to nature. Now contrary to what you think happens (super-smart, super-strong lions and gorillas taking over the world), every species eventually reaches it’s own “awareness threshold” – the threshold of how much it can bear to know – beyond this, any knowledge becomes unbearable, making life miserable to the point of driving the species to mass suicide. That is what actually happens in the book – animals, driven by the knowledge they now have and the knowledge that they can never know more, push themselves to extinction.

I thought it was an amazing idea, the idea that if one is aware of a greater purpose and design to life, but is also aware that the knowledge or comprehension of that design is now and forever beyond him, then life must truly be miserable for such a person. What a cross to carry that would be, to forever know there is a grand scheme of things, and forever know that he will never find out what it actually is! In the face of such depressing enlightenment, other than suicide, the only course of action would be to put one’s faith in that inscrutable grand scheme, and do what one can with what he has. Perhaps this faith is what Voltaire had in mind when he said we’d have to invent God if he didn’t exist – the alternative is acknowledging our awareness threshold and following through with the other logical next step – suicide.

Personally, I don’t think there is a grand scheme of things. There isn’t a blueprint of our lives inter-meshing with each other, powered by causality, pushing us unrelentingly towards inevitable outcomes. I think we try to give meaning to our lives because we need to believe it all happens for a reason – we need to believe that the cavalry will come in the end, bad guys will suffer for their sins, the righteous will be rewarded for their virtues and suffering is to lead us to salvation. We need to believe that because the alternative, that there is no first prize at the end for being a good little boy, will mean one can truly do as he wills without fear of retribution. Why I dispute the notion of The Grand Plan is a different post in itself, but that is my opinion on the matter. I disbelieve there is a reason for us to be here, but I believe there is something primal we do not know – again, food for another post.

I get the feeling that each successive generation is a step closer to the awareness threshold for mankind. On a philosophical note, Wittgenstein once said “What we cannot speak of must be passed over in silence”, and Godel has long proven the existence of indeterminable truths in any system – and both are men far more wise than I can hope to be – it seems clear there are questions humanity is incapable of answering, now and forever. Closer to real life, the mid-life crisis of yesteryears is now being replaced by the quarter-life crisis of our generation – more and more people confounded by what it is they should do, or worse, what it is theywant to do; more and more youth not quite fearing, but certainly puzzled with the freedom suddenly at their disposal after say, graduating. There seem to be more and more people being disillusioned at earlier points in life about so many things in life that our parents and elders seemed to be sure of (sure of for whatever reasons) at similar points in their lives. I realize at this point you’re all deflecting everything I’m saying on to me, and it is all true – these things are on my mind a lot. But I’ll sell my soul if they haven’t been on yours. I have many moments these days, when a brief look at myself and those around me suggests at such massive untapped potential, it is heartening just to imagine the world that could have been had that potential been realized – and it gives me some hope that a day will come when what could have been will become what is.

I wonder if before our lifetime we shall see one last generation railing against the questions we face today, eventually reaching the flashpoint where the collective consciousness of that unfortunate generation will cut through to what life is truly about. At the very least, on that Day of Revelations I hope they will cut through what life cannot be all about, and maybe they’ll be a step closer in finding out what that primal something is.

Our generation, I’m sure, will see many miracles – curing cancer, human cloning, colonizing space, eradicating hunger,  etc. – I hope that the Revelations come while we are still around to appreciate them.

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  1. September 22, 2011 at 5:07 am

    What if the eventual awareness is that there is no purpose, and you’re free to define it the way you want? The pursuit of knowledge might end some day, but that doesn’t necessarily define our purpose. Suppose we get to the day when we know of all of science and what not, but still there is room to play with it to make and build better things? To use the knowledge not to gain more, but to actually utilize it in new and amazing ways…

    Won’t that be a sweet outcome?

    I sincerely hope though that we don’t ever come to the point of time where each one of us knows what our purpose is. I agree, that’ll for sure drive me to suicide. And to be frank, quarter life or mid life crisis’s are a good thing of sorts – feels like that means people have more options to do things, more time to really contribute to the ‘collective awareness’ instead of being caught up with other stuff.

  2. Ishani Ahuja
    September 23, 2011 at 9:48 am

    honestly, If you ask my views on such things;they have completely changed from 2009->2011.
    But whats there in a discussion :P. They always come and go. They change or stay the same for some time, but you forget and move on.

  3. May 16, 2017 at 7:10 am

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