a.nihil

the smallest triviality can become the vision that wipes out the world.

Every sentence is composed of words that can go in their own tangents of knowledge. A simple search for “every”, “sentence”, “composed”...“knowledge” opens its own can of worms, again tangents of knowledge that build on the base of meanings we assign and know. To read or react in a conversation is composed of the selective suppression of these arcs of knowledge and generating meaning through a tunnel vision of absorption and translation.

It is similar to how we see, the world around is made of multiple components that each demand a life-time of inquiry into themselves. We do not wonder about the orange on the table or the technology that makes the screen come to life with what we do. The chairs we sit on, the skies we see and the houses that surround us all invite us with their temptation of meaning but we are limited in what we can react to.

When we interact with other humans the same process takes over, we see a face, we hear some words and we draw our assumptions. The depths that stare back at us when we look into the eyes of other people is quickly filled by their physical dimensions, the limits to our thought paints them into shiny boxes of fixed attributes, an art that we have even taught our computers in the classification of people. Simple definitions make us human, do we like cats? Do we like to sing and hike? Attributes, tastes, definitions all used as meshes to find a meaning, our soul an intersection of infinitesimal tangents off the globs of knowledge. This gives a shape-shifting narrative to the nature of truth as understood by us, absolute facts lie in the relative vantage of our minds.

As Proust's narrator wonders “And wasn't my mind also like another crib in the depths of which I felt I remained ensconced, even in order to watch what was happening outside?”, what we know of the outside world is a scratch of what can be defined. In the waxy darkness of closed eyes, meaning exists without words.

#life #knowledge

In our world there's little scope for expressing primitive thoughts. Violence has been relegated to fantastical role in popular culture, civility is the pretense of a working, conformist population. The way we eat and live are several imaginations away from our foraging, agrarian past. Our everyday actions are far removed from the jungles we've risen from, with very little that reminds us that we are nothing different than the other living beings that populate this planet.

Our replicating behavior however, has remained the same. Though the attitudes around sex have shape shifted far from their biological purpose, the act of creation still calls for the primal in-and-out between two people. To create a being out of nothingness, in the shape and form of oneself requires a deep sense self-love or the total ignorance of the all the inputs that make our outside world. This is the element of thoughtlessness that is embedded into the creation of new humans, we do not think of ourselves or the banality of our existence.

The procreation goes without comment, it is a desire we share with all living beings. As our languages become more sophisticated and our ways of expression complex, the ability to diffract our thoughts into the outside world take the shape of a thousand mirrors. To avoid this confusion of over quantification of thought, sex lies as the real communication tool to express the unexpressed, An act to take solace in a state of thoughtless deep passion for existing.

#sex #love #time

Do we ever know what it is to love? Love is one of those things that everyone has an opinion on but no-one can define. It is an abstraction we are made to believe, often confused with sex as we are product of one or both. Love is that sunny photograph embalmed in memory, always enshrining a fleeting moment of happiness to permanence.

Love seems to require a reflection outside ourselves, the ability to touch, feel and talk. To know that humans outside oneself can feel the same way as we do, come to the same conclusions or learn in seeing life through the same pair of eyes. But all this happens through the eyes of the singular lover, what appears to be shared is still an independent byproduct of one being. The haze of love confuses these connections, the independent overlaps the dependent, the effect overshadows the cause. Programmed to fetishize the imaginations of impossible love, we are caught in an oxytocin frenzy of emotion and legalese of commitment.

In moments of deep harmony where one is aware of their sense of loneliness, love manifests as an inverted mirage, a weekend bender on the finest grain alcohol. All languages, description, romance and actions are for the outside. The mind when alone does away with social conventions, seeing that it is after all an inconsequential being walking a negligible part of the universe. This realization is in a silence that no words can describe. In the vacuum of existence, love is that pale blue dot, improbable yet possible. Is this a source of hope or of claustrophobic detention? This meaning is lost to life.

#love #time #philosophy

Rihanna, Greta Thunberg and a few other influential global celebrities put out a tweet calling for attention to the farmers protesting against the New Farm Laws passed in India and the entire BJP/RSS/Indian government propaganda machine comes into power play mode, amplifying the government's POV. The government's statement released on the Ministry of External Affairs twitter handle stated that “facts have to ascertained” before making “sensationalist social media comments..especially when restored to by celebrities..is neither accurate nor responsible”.

One starts to wonder, why do the tweets of a private persons trigger the government of a sovereign nation? What is it that the government fears that simple pointing of a fact culminates in a full fledged propaganda campaign that is ironically hash-tagged #IndiaAgainstPropaganda?

The problem is that of image perception. In India it is easy to silence critics of the BJP government with paid trolls and TV journalists. Coordinated smear campaigns and plain old intimidation work, which makes it easier for the government to control the narrative. But with Rihanna's 100+ million twitter followers it is hard enforce control as it would prompt global scrutiny that the Modi government cannot bully or bulldoze over. The BJP government knows that the easiest way to get out of this soup is to play its favorite the nation is under attack card which has proven its potency in the past years. By making simple criticism an issue of National Security, the BJP government invokes both paranoia and patriotism to deflect the attention of its citizens while muzzling its critics.

Whether it is the near coup attempt in the United States or the actual coup in Myanmar, voicing out one's opinion is a matter collective responsibility that goes beyond the allegiance to a State. The BJP government behaves as if there is nothing that it does that warrants criticism. On paper and in propaganda BJP is the best thing that has happened to India, period. Anyone that criticizes any of its policies or political high-handedness is an anti-national, a comic insinuation when it was first used and now a very valid threat. India is not some kind of magical superpower where everything is hunky-dory, the mythos that the BJP sells is ignorant, egoistic dreaming, a political acid trip for the weak.

For now we found a small opening in BJP's self-inflated armor: relentless international criticism. For a government that is lauding itself to be atmanirbhar (self reliant) it definitely is behaving like a narcissistic lover needing a lot of external appreciation. The country is riled up and that the farmers who are protesting against corporatization of Indian agriculture are seen as terrorists, traitors and every other identifier except as farmers. The way to reverse the narrative for now is to put the focus back on them and deny the narcissist the positive attention they demand.

As for Rihanna, Cheers, I'll drink to that

#FarmersAreIndia #BJP #India #propaganda

Preamble

The 26th of January this year marks the 71st year of the Indian Constitution coming into existence, the longest written document of its kind in the world. For most Indians it is when ceremonial Republic Day Parade takes place on Rajpath before the President of India, showcasing the diversity of India's cultural and military heritage. The unfurling of the Indian flag signifies that the nation is already independent, followed by the President's speech to the nation.

All this tradition to mark that India is a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic, assuring its citizens justice, equality and liberty, and endeavours to promote fraternity. Certain of these adjectives are losing meaning in today's New India, where a plutocratic, religious elite want to dominate the cultural and political futures of the country. Consider the word secular, a word that lacks little mention in the BJP's national conscience. In the past seven years, the word has been ridiculed by online trolls as being equivalent to pseudosecular, meaning that the laws of the country are biased towards minorities more than the Hindu majority. The initial occurrences were pushed away as a blip on the radar, now the Hindu mobs are in full force on the television and the internet, leading trails of hate, willing to distort opinions one comment at a time.

The BJP high brass are spiritually guiding the mobs by themselves actively dismantling the constitution that brought them to power. Last year Mr. Modi went to the ground-breaking ceremony of the controversial Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, the leader of a democratic, secular nation sitting in a place that instituted bloody sectarian violence across the country for over three decades now. New laws brought into force also remind the minorities of their place in the country and there is the silent approval from most of the country as it pits Hindus vs. the Rest, giving potent, irrefutable political identity. To oppose against the policies of the BJP is to oppose Hinduism itself.

The word socialist, as safeguarded by the constitution is under fire as well. Though a bit archaic in a country that has embraced free market capitalism with open arms, there is a certain myopia in the country's rich and middle classes of not acknowledging the privileges they possess. The word leftist has taken the form of a slur, any discourse against the conservative elements takes on the polarization popularized by the Republicans in America. For the comfortably rich in India there is no poverty and inequality, there are only lazy people and imbeciles. This denial of the country's vast levels of poverty is further encouraged by the rosy pictures of development that Mr.Modi and his party love to portray. For the average urban voter, India is already on its way to become a superpower, if it isn't already one.

The past years have seen the pluralism of India that were once hailed in its textbooks to movies has waned away. The Hindu-Muslim bhai bhai ethos has almost completely vanished, it is confined to memory, with no-one daring to speak it out. It is important to own the idea of the nation back from the Hindu nationalists, a nation is an imagined entity where one has the virtue of belonging through birth or adoption. Each person is free to attribute the idea of the nation for an entity of their choosing, the nation could be the cuisine, the trees, the mountains or just the love of the home one is born in. It does not need to accumulate the gargantuan threats peddled by the politicians to keep themselves in power.

The Constitution of India that gives the country its democratic backbone is on the verge of total erosion in the next decades putting the lives of over a billion people at the risk of religious anarchy. As mechanisms of protest are being undermined and a complacent educated class are lulled into a comfortable jingoism advocated by the government, it is imperative that the idea of “what it is to be a nation” has to revised and re-owned by public intellectuals, academics, the Opposition and the general citizenry. The momentum that BJP amassed is on the back of the narrative it has managed to control in the past seven years, it is time to not answer the questions it asks but ask questions it has no answers for.

#India #Constitution #democracy #governance

Life happens in an anomalous interpretation of time where moments of bone-crushing slowness are spliced with the ones where time flies. The average perception lies in between, at times waiting for a year to end and at others wondering where all the years went by.

History tells us that our lifespans are blips on what has happened before us and what is to follow. Though during our lives we are presented with a highly important version of our selves, it does not take too much imagination to debunk this importance. Dead people are forgotten, their memories fade away and all that remains is a name on a gravestone or a mention in a family tree. Our final deaths happen when our identities are lost by all forms of history. With no-one to remember our face or utter our names, we are dead, forever. The greatness that we are programmed to achieve is nothing but a short-term preoccupation against the confusion of existence.

When confronted with the beauty and scale of the things we are surrounded by, the awareness merges with our sense of self that can be termed as a transcendental experience. In this experience we are in the center of the universe, becoming the universe itself. The self is stripped of identifiers only to return a moment later, consuming us till there is nothing left. We try to extricate from this consumptory chaos with a variety of distractions but there is no recourse from the little voice in our head that creates both these urges and the cures.

Living is to endure these contradictions while trying to escape them. Everything outside our own existence is for our pleasure, to complain and to celebrate. The feelings we hold so dear and the emotions that we cherish are the fluctuations of the little voice which we confuse with our whole selves. We think we live in a world and its projections though our real homes are inside our heads. A home which we can never escape.

#freedom #life #boredom

on rules

To live is to have an assembly of atoms react in randomness which when seen through the lens of consciousness manifest as order. The consciousness arises from within the domains of the individual atomic components, meaning the order is hallucinatory while giving a framework of comfort and control. This order helps us take stock of our everyday actions by categorizing them, lending predictability in a void of randomness. Rules by themselves are arbitrary, falling victim to the whims of consciousness and constrained by the randomness of existence.

When interacting with a person or a whole ecosystem of living and non-living things this randomness becomes exponential, neccesiating codes of conduct. Society is a good example of this and within it the the social, familial and work units which are all comprised of their own system of rules to reduce the randomness of interaction. Taking these rules on their face value shields from confronting the chaos of consciousness. But what happens if we follow all rules? We become homogenized with small personal quirks as the only distinguishing element for self identity.

The established rules need a medium of trust, a unit that can be analyzed and measured for an optimal design society. One of the loci of these rules are the moral codes of conduct that govern our social life. These rules are easily disseminated and executed but they lack the ability to be quantified. The quantification is necessary to enforce one of the unspoken rules of human existence, the drive for constant betterment. This where the stricter employ of law comes in tied to every human across the world.

Designed to preserve order, the rule of law constraints each person to set courses and predictable outcomes. Only cool, rational thought becomes accepted at its exalted gates and in return we apply the principles of law to our moral code of conduct as well. There is no deviation from this exactitude, it is the common currency underlying all our transactions. To create any kind of system this notion of order is necessary which is not surprising that our financial system is also built on a foundation of order which is mathematical at its heart, finally, everyone has a quantifiable value.

It only takes a bit of disillusionment to let this nascent order evaporate along with our sense of identity. Living in a false identity, like a fish in a bowl – we accept everything that is given to us without question, fighting tooth and nail for its preservation. Who we are is imaginary. Our faiths, our hopes, our worth are all misguided attempts of creating a caricature of humanity we all relate with, a relation that has connections in its atomicity than the ideals of thought. The blind trust of rules is myopic, perhaps that's the only reality we have to contend ourselves with.

#philosophy #life #thought

Pickpocket

A decade ago purchasing a book involved driving to a bookstore, browsing for the book, placing an order if necessary, making a payment with either cash or a card and driving back. Getting cash meant finding an ATM, withdrawing money and getting back change after payment – a tactile act that gave a tangible value to the book being purchased. Card payments in those days without instant notifications from bank apps lead to mysterious declines for either hitting the spending ceiling or having no funds, a problem cash from the ATM solved in an instant.

Making a bigger purchase often involved more deliberation over financing and transportation which created additional hurdles to the whole act of spending. This left enough leeway to abandon a purchasing idea and resume it at a point of one's choosing. Cash was both a consumption gateway and inhibitor, the safety check against spending money was money itself.

Now, I go on Amazon and make a single click purchase and the book is in my mail the next day. The price on Amazon feel like points in a video game and my bank app deducts my purchase from my balance in a whirr of numbers that make it look like a slot machine. The sensory translation of the purchase into pings and notifications in different apps adds to the satisfaction. The sleight of hand that Amazon pulls is making the value of all things homogeneous, the act of buying a book is no different from that of buying a refrigerator.

Added to this is the rise of modern banking apps that talk about a simplified, seamless transaction experience. The experience part of spending comes with all kinds of enticing UI/UX interfaces that appear to make a transaction cool. The seamlessness of these apps lies in removing the weight of money making the price in an online transaction like a second thought, a formality to look over. This fundamental shift on how we shop and the mode of spending money makes it easier for us to be stripped off of our funds at any moment through the day. The greatest trick the devil ever pulled is convincing the world he did not exist and like that my wallet goes empty.

#capitalism #finance #shopping #internet

For all the chaos COVID-19 managed to wreak, it has not changed much about the way we live. At the start of this year there was a great deal of hope that the world would realign itself to some Utopian ideal but all the virus managed to do is increase the demand for face masks and hand sanitizers. Governments around the world struggled at containing the virus and internal dissatisfaction, usually relenting to the latter at the expense of the former.

The virus is a reminder of the nihilistic virtues of life. For most of us the pandemic is a once-in-a-lifetime event and serves as a measure of our worst collective fears coming true, reminding us of wars we will never see and catastrophes we won't experience. The pessimism came over pretty quickly, amplified by thoughts of others pouring over endless Twitter streams and live feeds from newspapers. The fear of being alone and sick was the underlying tension masked by the talk about the economy, the society and other manufactured subjects.

With the news of an impending effective vaccine, the pandemic gives us a chance to reflect upon the cynicism of human existence altogether. Not for once did we meditate on our lives and how live them, but rather it was a test of the will to live. This survival instinct took over so quick that we forgot to ask ourselves, why are our lives so important? The pandemic proves again that the mythos we construct around our lives has greater appeal than our lives themselves. It is hard to imagine a standalone human without the greater society projecting itself into it. Businesses, schools, the economy.. these are all a consequence of being alive but not the reason to be living.

Our lives are not that important. We know this somewhere in the bottom of our hearts long shielded by visions of humanness handover hundreds of generations. It is a good node to start self-reflecting from. The virus has proved that an external agent cannot tame our arrogance and the onus for this rests upon the inquiry distant from other human chatter. There is no brave new world waiting to happen, just a recycling of the drab one we inhabit.

#COVID19 #society

From radios in mid-ocean transit to the war rooms in Yemen, the whole world awaits the New President. His voice will boom in far corners of the earth, bringing in a new term the whole world will be aspiring for. We see him in the eyes we are trained to see, the new Emir, Raja of Rajahs, the democratic dictator. But we all wish for the same – let the American Dream of wealth, fame and power be for the whole of mankind.

America is our country, we by the virtue of global capital, are all American. The President has overshadowed COVID-19 in a year of little star power. Our eyes and ears have become sore at the idea of what our America had become. Now there is hope from the doomsday news cycle but what America has inspired has spread all over the world. Brazil, India, Turkey amongst other countries grapple with populists of the Trump variety. The tamasha that the sitting American President unveiled is irreversible. The notion of reason has taken a hit, the abstraction of the Constitution

Can this new god dispel the thought crimes of the past regime? Does the new Imperial King inspire the world and help us dream about America again? America has the brand advantage over China and what America does, we can expect the whole world to imitate. Make America Great Again, Mr. Biden. You are the President of America and in extension, the President of the World itself.

#America #democracy #capitalism

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