a.nihil

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

Hanging out with people in their late 30s and 40s, a common conversation topic that comes up is the account of their ageing and the constant grunting about how they are older than they seem or how the fruits of youth are beyond their reach. It's interesting to see the decline people perceive in themselves while it's also sad to see it's an inevitable part of life to age. No one in their right mind thinks about ageing as something that happens to them when they're younger, which in essence is the folly of youth. But this is a choice as well, to accept one's ageing with grace and not finding ways to compare and complain shows maturity and also avoids the pitfalls of vanity. Sure, youth is all hyped up with all the popular media around us serenading us with images of nubile bodies or hunks of meat but is that really a true representation of the world around us?

Age segregation serves the interests of capitalism: with children shielded in schools and the old people isolated in their own communities, a wedge is driven deep into all the people in-between in their prime working years. These are the consumers, paying for services throughout their lives. Keeping this working group away from children or ageing people keeps them in ripe productivity until they can be discarded and the next group takes over. The atomization of the family unit contributes to this further, as the irrelevance of the being old reflects back into our faces day-after-day, along with the cognitive and physical decline that are inevitable with every passing year.

Ageing reminds us that we're all replaceable which goes against the conditioning that everyone is special and has an unique place in this world. this paired with the idealistic images and stories we're surrounded with of “perfect” humans that we have a short while to live up to, even as our faculties slowly fade into oblivion. Everyone is isolated in this suffering where individual pleasure is placed at a premium while everything else is irrelevant. Instead of complaining of the missed opportunities and losing abilities, it perhaps worthwhile to twist the narrative around: to be alive is to suffer and to die is to cherish. Party at graveyards for the dead have gone and cry by the maternity wards for the pain we choose to bring in.

#ageing #capitalism #philosophy

2020/3

2020 by all means was a fancy year, the number had a clang to it. Being the start of a new decade brought an extra spice to our collective dreams and desires. For anyone who listened to a politician’s speech pre-2010 can confirm [1], 2020 was the cool sounding year that politicians and planners projected latent utopias to the simmering masses where problems of the present were cured by a taste of the distant future. 2020 came and went but its memory still lingers in the air, waiting to go through our bodies to the back of our lungs and minds. The times between 2020 and 2021 were a blur, they finished before they even began. Time suspended itself between the lockdowns with an existential weight, its heart beating to the constant deluge of health data from across the world.

A tiny report from the end of 2019 ballooned into the greatest catastrophic event that our current generation witnessed, a shining by-product of globalized dreams and dismantled national identities. Borders became important in parts of the world that pretended as if they didn’t matter and the full force of the State flexed on to unassuming populations burdened with peace. The following three years have carried the various shocks of the virus, kick-starting a new epoch of atomized living symbolized by our faces plastered to our screens. The markets fluctuated, people quit jobs, socialization has become hard and the aged and the sick have been shuttered in. The consequence of the virus is a population that is further aware of its geographical and mortal boundaries as they fiercely tried to keep the enemy at bay,

2023 brings the promise of slow shift away from the COVID narratives, the virus has taken a backseat in our minds [2] while the policy effects are still strong in their presence. While we still live under a cloud of the past, for the fourth year in a row it serves as an important reminder of our frailty hidden behind a muck of ego that helps us march through the days.

[1] – Utopian goals always come with cool year numbers, 2025. 2030. 2050.. by this measure nothing important is to happen this year, 2023 is as drab a number can get.

[2] – The whole vaccination hullabaloo involving the development, approval, the backlash of the crackpots, to the actual inoculation has faded from memory. The vaccination drive remains to be the greatest achievement science has had so far, fighting an otherwise unwinnable virus. It’s hard to imagine a world that has not yet had the vaccine but the problems faced by the economy would be magnified to a much larger degree.

#NewYear #Covid19 #philosophy

internet sun

A grouse with the current state of the internet is the centralization, with only a handful of players controlling most of the information traffic. Though this monopolization has economic welfare and privacy concerns attached to it, there's a brighter side that's often not talked about by digital doomsday predictors. The internet has opened a level playing field for people all across the world with a relatively cheap investment of a phone and an internet connection, inspiring art, commerce, political activism and everything in between.

Can this level of citizen autonomy in self-expression be possible without the current tech gatekeepers? Social media though has enabled rampant hate speech and growing tribalism, it has also given voices to people traditionally rejected by mainstream media and global events take the same importance as events in one's backyard. It's hard to imagine the #MeToo or Black Lives Matter or Mahisa Amini movements springing up in an age without the internet and the positive spillovers are questions about sexism, gender and race that start conversations on an individual level. The internet also makes it possible for the idea of the global village reach to the rural hinterlands otherwise devoid of information inflow. A curious mind whether in the jungles of Venezuela or the desert plains of Jordan have the same access to quality content as their more developed counterparts.

The internet has eroded a sense of privacy we've had before, now the intricate crannies of our thoughts and fears are up for exploitation, as the gatekeepers have understood as the essential link between desire and commerce, where money is the invisible adhesive for creation and exploitation. These desires have to be resisted but with a conscious call of not mixing capital with creation, though it's too lofty a moral to ask. But the internet needn't be a corporate junkyard creation, as Mastadon has shown after Elon's unplucking of Twitter, but rather a space for people with the capacity to build information bubbles to help curious minds from across the world question what makes their daily existence unique. What about all our information flowing before the all seeing intelligent eye? Though the fear of governmental repression is always on our shoulders, the eventual judgements will reflect the fallacious nature of the human condition to begin with. The computers pass no judgements but humans do. Without fear let's embrace the short-term warmth of the internet sun, before it departs into forms we have no control over.

#internet #philosophy

on procrastination

Staring at an empty screen when having to finish something has it's own poetic quality, making the passage of time a physical feeling to embrace and experience. Procrastination has to do with purpose. On an elemental level do any of the acts we choose to do have any greater purpose? If I choose not to make any music, the world wouldn't end and even if it did, what is the point? Being a cynic goes hand-in-hand with procrastination because the pointlessness of existence makes the human endeavor to survive and find meaning, meaningless.

Such a view does put oneself in the dregs of society, as the majoritarian view is to add value and accumulate as opposed to the rejection of participation and a free dissemination of choice. If this dispossessive nature were to be the norm of society then much of the pleasures of the modern world would not be accessible or even imaginable, as curiosity and being unable to sit still are essential human qualities. Procrastination signals a different problem, the repetitive performance of an act which one doesn't necessarily want to perform and where there's always a greater temptation than the work on hand. A shorter-term predictable high always trumps over the long-term unpredictable win, unless a mind is tricked or trained. Our lives are also filled with endless distractions that play whack-a-mole with our attention spans, with each direction our senses take having a million other possibilities to elevate a moment.

A salve to these situations could be elementary. In knowing that the cynic has an eventual victory and yet choosing to fit in and fake a purpose as we go forward. The temptations with their endless rewards have always existed but if we look at them close, have any of our temptations have any real rewards than the ones on offer from the tasks that we're actively procrastinating from? Does this essay serve any better purpose than the tasks it keeps me away from? This is as much a question to you dear reader, as it is to me.

#procrastination #boredom #philosophy

sisyphos

Human life as we know now is dependent on each other for absolute survival. The days where we dream of living as hunter-gatherers in disjointed tribes is a fantasy and so is the modern equivalent of living in an individualistic society where the “personhood” of each person is the most important thing. This identity is sanctimonious and is a “brand” that we carry ourselves in, marketing ourselves with our names and faces and the illusions they have to offer. We are disconnected from the nature around us and in a way formulate our whole dependency on other beings and in this case humans. We can say “we are not dependent on anyone” but the supermarkets have to be open, produce must be cheap, and our rooms clean. But we forget that outside our windows, far beyond the cities there are worlds where even our descriptions are void exist. The complexity of observing our interdependence reveals a magnified struggle with nature itself [1], in this case, with other humans (aren't humans nature after all?). To acknowledge the labor it takes to live this life is a starting point in reformulating our struggles against oppressive systems, philosophical ennui, and rebuilding a purpose that seems largely absent from modern life.

[1] This interdependence was largely ignored in the last 10,000 years of human civilization, leading to the near irreversible destruction of the planet we're living on. Could it be that we as humans do not possess this trait to see consequences beyond the immediate and strive for nothing except selfish goals?

#labour #philosophy #boredom

Send a message over Telegram and the weed is at my doorstep in 20 minutes. 10 sour gummies of concentrated edibles that can be stretched into 40 doses that give a high for 8 hours apiece. It's subtle to the point that no one notices that you're high, it's discreet enough to be smuggled onto a plane, into a movie theater, to office parties or to handle calls with my mom. Every occasion calls for its consumption – a long train ride, a walk in the park, a potential date, a club night, reading books, listening to the latest podcast that dropped, ticking off movies on the watchlist, or watching porn in an immersive mind theater. A malleable pleasure that can be tinkered with for a greater part of the waking day, with all moments wanting, wishing, dreaming for the next high.

Marijuana addiction is considered an easy one to beat, compared to the turbulence poised by opioids, benzos or nicotine. The physical withdrawal symptoms are meek: A sense of pervasive boredom and disturbed sleep patterns which are whooshed in by hyper-real dreams that blur the demarcations between the real and the imaginary. The psychological withdrawal symptoms are harder, where one's ritualistic consumption of the drug and the habits formed in the post-drug haze which form the foundations of the drug user's personality wither away, leaving a dark vortex of thoughts and emotions that have no place to coalesce.

Five months after refraining from a prolonged multi-year habit, life feels alien and all activities from sex to a simple walk are plagued with a sense of detachment for which there seems to be no cure. Marijuana consumption has a lot of pop culture and general public acceptance, with the bud being legalized in many parts of the world, though research into its negative effects is scant. Intensive, prolonged consumption of the drug has altered my perception of the world where everything plays out like a film, reality itself superimposed on myself as if filtering through the lens of a camera, where the cameraperson is the drug itself. This skewed perception has become the static viewpoint from which I experience the world, an effect that remains hard-coded in my mind even post-quitting.

I believe that everyone has several beings in them, the notion of a single personality domineering is an assumption upon which society is built. Marijuana gave me the tools to foster several facets of myself and bring them to the creative forefront. There's the gourmand, the music aficionado, the cineaste, the general observer of the world around them, and the sexual being, all of which co-exist within me and waiting for suitable conditions to expand and explore. Through the withdrawal process, all these beings are held in limbo and become a garble of personalities that shape-shift when needed for precision. Ideas that germinated through weed binges now seem like distant possibilities, while the feeble mind tries to construct life as seen from a high lens it finds itself deprived of the necessary sensory aids provided by the drug. This incapacity leads to devolution of basic experiences, food has become tasteless, film and music have become monotonous without the spatial depth that THC flavored it with, the world moves by at a quicker pace than my taste allows for and sex is something I had to relearn by being mindful, understanding it's a dance in togetherness rather than a singular point of pleasure.

The perception of time is skewed, at times a few hours feel like seconds and a few minutes out for eternity. At what notes these perceptions play out is still a mystery to me. In the moments of skewed time and with omnipresent triggers of the addiction, even five months in I get deep pangs to get back to my dealer and get a month's worth of dope. The addict's mind is a terrible master, it can deceive the rational mind into believing it's irrational and then let the irrational, unconscious mind take over. ” Just this one-time “, “You can try it for a month, and then stop”, “Who said being sober is the norm to existence?”, “Better be addicted to weed than to money”_.

I wrote this last month going through a bout of psychological withdrawal and succumbing to the irrational reasoning in my head. Called the THC taxi and since then not a day has passed without being in a cloud of thoughts, I have to reset the cycle again and endure boredom in another soulless loop.

#addiction #marijuana #thc

Boredom and Real life

Human achievement is everything. Be successful, own a house, and propagate more of your kind onto the planet. Happiness, success, smiles, and ambition. Radiate and flex, wealth shining in the sinews of your forearms gleaming with a Rolex or an iWatch, photograph to venerate, bow to the masters of success. Us, in the dream, toiling, imagining the greats: The capitalists, the artists, and people immortalized through pop culture and collective memory. People who have given words to our words, meaning beyond any meaning can derive from our problems of existence.

“I know you, I know you. You're the only serious person in the room, aren't you, the only one who understands, and you can prove it by the fact that you've never finished a single thing in your life. You're the only well-educated person, because you never went to college, and you resent education, you resent social ease, you resent good manners, you resent success, you resent any kind of success, you resent God, you resent Christ, you resent thousand-dollar bills, you resent Christmas, by God, you resent happiness, you resent happiness itself because none of that's real. What is real, then? Nothing's real to you that isn't part of your own past, real life, a swamp of failures, of social, sexual, financial, personal...spiritual failure. Real life. You poor bastard. You don't know what real life is, you've never been near it. All you have is a thousand intellectualized ideas about life. But life? Have you ever measured yourself against anything but your own lousy past? Have you ever faced anything outside yourself? Life! You poor bastard.”

These words had a stronger effect on me than the morning double espresso as they put a mirror to my thoughts, the only part being off was one of being a college graduate. It made me wonder about the cynicism that has gone under my skin, finding connection with other cynics wandering over the dense clouds of social media or public art. These words from William Gaddis reflect my face filled with the faces of thousands of humans, I exist as the fragments of all those who have lived before me who themselves are fragments of the people before them. These thoughts, the endless permutations of words and ideas that permeate the deep recesses of our everyday life mean nothing, our brains whittle away in idle chatter over topics both real and imaginary. An endless news feed, problems that require our attention and re-attention, the world going to shit and back, our hooplas and hurrays after day's work over a beer.. all events where our thoughts parse invisible meaning feeding into the shadow of our selves. Who are we? Thought processing, carbon-based machines have turned their lenses elsewhere.

What is real life? At what point do the vagaries of the everyday structured around capitalist ideals of efficiency and profit blend into the metaphysical aspects of living? The ethics and moral considerations of living in societies, our traditions, and our lives are synthesized to a point there is nothing beyond the artifice of these systems to imagine our place in the world. Our hope is through the passive rejection of what we're offered and waiting in meek silence for a natural ending to the boredom we've trapped ourselves in.

#boredom #civilization #philosophy

In my last essay, I talked about demolishing places of religion as their place in the world is done, but the blanketed destruction of these places of worship will create a further circle of violence that well into the future. One idea would be to convert these spaces into museums of “what-went-wrong-with-the-world”, museums of archaic thought whose cultural and moral relevance can be talked and debated about, without the central authority of a God or in extension, a cabal of humans propping up a mythical demagogue to further their interests.

Religion through the ages shaped our culture and paradigms , which in a scientific world can be distilled through means of reason and calculation. It is important to know our history and where we come from and in this sense religious institution can serve as existing set-pieces of knowledge of times past. Stripping these spaces of all power and converting them into places of real education will serve as a net positive for society, for when the dust settles the world will be a better place without imaginary control. What will become of such a world is a mystery, but it requires a belief in the total renegotiation with the ways of life as we know them now. These actions cannot stem from smaller ones, as the forces that wield this power will not yield their access to them. Cumulative, coordinated radical action is the only hope, erasing millennia of human inquiry (worthless for our age) in hopes of a better time to come. The moral learning from these religions have now formed the core of our social character, it is time to move on to pastures that can help us unveil our true potential.

As I write this, there's a new conflagration in India regarding Hindu temple remnants in the Gyan Vapi mosque in Varanasi, another burning flame to further fuel the right wing Hindutva ideology of the RSS/BJP. Issues like hunger, reducing power of democratic institutions, inflation, income inequality have all taken a back seat in the big dick competition of which stone has to be worshiped. Though the current batch of hyper-religious, politicized Hindus might want to avenge for past wrongs, the future will not be so kind for their misgivings in other fields.

#religion #politics #philosophy

A few days ago I wrote an essay about the plight of the Indian Muslims and the perils of rising Hindu majoritarianism in India. Though it was a small slice of refracting India through a religious lens, the basic point remains that a State should be free of all religious influence, no matter how hard it is to shake individual religious beliefs before getting into political office. Can religion stop being a performative act, with thousands upon thousands and of temples, mosques and churches, each vying for a growing market share? Are the subliminal metaphysical beliefs be outsourced to a cheap god, expending our collective energies in the worship of the unknown unconscious? Can we dream of a world without the weight of idle stones and crosses, our beliefs extending to the primitive beliefs from nascent past civilizations?

A true land of for the people will not harp over imaginative pasts and glorious futures, our dreams should structure around what is possible, through work that is legitimate not mythical. Break those temples, stone the mosques, raze them churches, what is political is not hidden in the confines of a book or that appeals to the lowest common denominator of the human self. A true leadership will rid of the ills of past lives we cannot shake off, our culture is worth only if there is space for us to live within it. For all the blood spilled over the name of religion, let's shun ourselves from the intoxication from a false set of beliefs.From the dust that will remain in our public spaces, let us fill our amnesia with rational knowledge. A desire for a sip from the fountain of knowledge must remain, but the methodology shouldn't be outsourced to abstract gods created in our identity. As long as these archaic institutions remain in our midst, we will be draining our precious mental resources for stone cold pieces that have no interest in our lives. Burn them, break them, bury them, their job here is done.

#religion #politics #philosophy

Gone are the days when religious representation in India meant “Ishwar/Isai/Allah” or “Hindu/Muslim bhai bhai”, where textbooks and movies had references to the religious unity encouraged post-Indian independence. It has been replaced by the sinister saffronized version of the Hindutva, propagated without an end on social media platforms and state-approved private media channels. It's hard to believe that in 8 years of the current BJP government the secular ideals the country was built on have been reversed, leaving little room for imagination except for the much-exhorted Hindu state. This does not bode well for the Muslims that constitute 14.2% of the Indian population, who have become an involuble scapegoat for the otherization which is the bulwark of Hindu politics. The Indian state which on paper is not supposed to take any religious form is being splintered into an India that has to identify with its Hinduness, a doctrine that has seeped into the unconscious of the people, ripping apart the tender filaments of the social fabric of the country resulting in unnecessary bloodshed and generations of shame. On this day of Eid, one can only pray that the future of this country's minorities does not resort to an Untermensch status in ghettoes and camps. A new inclusive political thought that is more imaginative than the boring, fascist Hindu terror that is the flavor of the season is something to hope for.

#India #Hindutva #Eid

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