a.nihil

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

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 immerse 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, and 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

A bird went in search of a cage

The world's richest man has brought a social media app for $45 billion, a number far beyond the imagination of us ordinary people. Communication which was earlier in the public domain through the post and state media has now gone into the centralized hands of a global few, where our inner desires, thoughts, and opinions are analyzed and monetized. We do have a herring of having free communication and global reach with these tools, but at what cost? Social media has increased polarization and is modeled to increase addiction and interaction where our attention is the fodder for a new capitalistic machine whose implications no one understands yet. Things we are scared to share even with our therapists are hidden in databases, fuelling our inclination to buy and buy more. To be disconnected is to be poor, our social fabric is hidden in black-box algorithms, another hidden variable to the mysteries of life.

It is to wonder if our collective data has value in the billions and can be mined for profit, why is it that we the people do not get any incentives for that? Sure, money can be made through these social interactions but at the cost of one's mental health and degrading freedoms. A proponent of free speech, this billionaire has forgotten the vileness that Donald Trump's Twitter feed launched in the last decade. We the people are powerless against these juggernauts as our governments are feeble enablers in the toxic transactions that control the very words we use. A handful of companies decide on what we read and what we see, in effect controlling who we are and what we feel. The internet came with a promise of unbridled freedom but now we are yoked to the whims of the powerful. Now ancient regimes of the Stasi are replaced by the overseeing panopticon, a devil veiled in a cloak of invisibility. “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled is convincing the world he does not exist”, modern-day Keyser Soze's are celebrated as heroes, and the propaganda campaigns for future ghettoes are lined with the pocket linen of the haloed billionaires. The critical agencies of what makes us people have now been outsourced to our super-tribal leaders, is this how we imagine future societies to be? Questions can be asked but our depersonalized selves are complex data points in a feverish social order. Researchers from another time will write biographies from our carefully compiled data, perhaps showing that beyond profit, we've been the same people as our ancestors brimming with vanity and little wisdom under the veneer of modernity and prosperity.

Perhaps it's okay to walk naked and shit with the door open when there is nowhere to hide there is nothing to hide. Relax, this won't hurt.. until it does but it won't matter anymore.

#twitter #privacy #capitalism #socialmedia

A recent trip saw me losing a memory card with over 60 GB of photos and snippets of the internet I found interesting, along with other media whose existence I do not remember now. I would've assumed that my first reaction would be panic and beating myself for not having proper backups but my stance has been one of relief: What I do not know, I cannot miss. This brings the volume of data consumed and generated by me in the process and a reflection of history to a greater prospect.

We are generating data at a pace greater than any point before in human history, with our collective dossiers piling up in the server farms of internet companies and dusty hard drives at our homes. Our memories are now secure in storage devices that we often can pull up a certain past from photos and texts, where re-imagining our life stories without hard skeletal evidence almost becomes a thing of disbelief.

Certain histories must be forgotten, in particular, if they're the boring and the mundane to let us color the voids we left in the pastels of our vantage today. Harsher realities can also get a fluid makeover to give a dramatic tuning to our past which might be hard to do with reminders of exact happenings of events. A common belief is that the internet remembers everything, but will it remember everything forever? It seems to be improbable, what incentive will for-profit corporations have for sustaining our digital selves into perpetuity? Neither do we have any incentive to do the archival on our own. Will having a complete record of the past help us live in the present? The diaries of our forepeople gather dust in termite city, with an odd page or two finding their fifteen minutes of fame during a lazy news cycle.

This leads to a bigger question, what if we did not look at data as the things we've created on paper and in our heads but also the things that invade our physical spaces, something we see as being more absolute. Aren't 5000-year-old ruins of a city, the statues of a Stalinist leader, or temples and mosques of national importance have the same value as individual memories of ourselves? Aren't our associations with them as absurd as the random clicks that line the profits of a mega-corporation? Can we imagine a world where are pre-histories no longer define us, where our memories are malleable by immediate happenings – would it also mean a resurfacing of all the horrors of the past? Burn all books, destroy all the monuments, go back to the glory of the Stone Age, there's nothing to worry about here as there's nothing to remember. Waking up in such a world would be confusing, where we have to start from scratch again and perhaps endure pestilence and the capacity to interact with the world. Will it give us a deeper connection with our surroundings and distance ourselves from the anthropocentric worldview we've become comfortable with?

Another question is who will have the power to destroy our shared pasts and histories and what agendas will drive them. It shouldn't be motivated by politics but by idealism, where voices with an emotional attachment to memory should be coddled by the hard actions of transition. Another debate will be about what should be erased, would our weapons go, and everything we know about the world? A new start will give us possibilities that we do not know exist yet and with that comes the fear of the new. The 60 GB is out in vapor for now, I go on to generate more data including this piece and if there's any history to destroy, perhaps starting with this essay is a good idea.

#history #philosophy

note to self

In certain moments of living a strange thought pops up, who am I really? There is this body in which I carry myself around and I think for myself and other vessels like me. Under the hood of my body, thoughts come from nowhere and as time passes this vessel shrinks and perishes. The body moves through a 3-Dimensional space which in the context of the universe is largely lifeless. Other forms of life around me have long been conquered and shown their space. Trees forms beautiful shapes and dogs march behind owners. Rules, like straight lines appear everywhere. There is a pattern in which vessels must interact, there are strict sanctums that are not to be violated. I have an identity, a name, a photo and a passport. These are all external, summoning bits of personality when called upon or identified.

On this same planet, dinosaurs ravaged and early life forms emerged through single-celled organisms. A past where my kind were not even the heroes, a hostile planet when lived in the wild. This human life of mine in the same line-of-command of the forces that have fought against an unkind world, braving heat, famines and disease. This illusion of human civilization from a vantage within it seems invincible, yet my fossilized self will have a different story to tell to a yet unimagined species that will rule this planet a billion years from now.

Within the deep silence of myself there is no name and there is no face. I look at my hands and wonder, who is the one looking, who is the one wondering and whose hands are these? Looking around, I belong everywhere and to everything though that is not the case with the world of straight lines and rules. I have to obey and I have to display necessary characteristics of a normal human. Inside me are urges that are at odds with each other. There is a nonsensical attachment to the immediate human world and then another that is far removed like the view of the planet from the a rocket that has achieved terminal velocity.

Why am I even alive? What final purpose does this being alive bring forward. Amongst other vessels there is the question of sanctity, which arises from a self-importance that is illogical when dug deep. Humans telling other humans that they are important. Humans worshiping other humans, these vertebrate, two-legged animals whose nascent evolution has morphed into an inflated, cocaine lined self-worthiness. I am a human but only because I am classed as such. Within the silence of my head there is just confusion of how all signals convert into the live video feed of my day. In this day I have to assume my avatar and give it dialogue, I have to stand for my character and perform day after day.

Chatter, chatter, chatter. Words, faces, smiles, ideas, improvement, skill, focus and perpetuation. There is a cardinal boredom we are all endowed with, a constant tinkering as a mass of animals we have to endure. There is no escape from within this body and this society, the straight lines run in infinite parallels with all of them leading to everywhere and nowhere. Do not ask too many questions, ask the how but not the why. There is a great peace in knowing that there is an upper limit to curiosity. Be curious but within approved domains.

I look at my hands and I wonder about the I. There is a cold breeze and the synapses fire automatically, clenching my jaw and my fists. I take a deep, involuntary breath and the icy breeze works its way inside. For a moment the whole world disappears and in its void, I am free.

#self #philosophy #living

Part One

on anarchism

Anarchy or anarchists have a lot of bad reputation in the media, with constant association to chaos, stone pelting and acts of vandalism. It is often misunderstood with protestors on both sides of the political spectrum labelled as anarchists in American media and in extension, world over. Anarchism has for long been a hard political concept to define and to accept, the question remains what events in the past decade have morphed from anarchic ideas and helped bolster democratic participation and principles. The word anarchy is etymologically derived from the Greek work anarkhia, which means “without a ruler”, strives to be a political thought which functions with hierarchies of power. The definition explains why anarchism does not sit well with established analogies of power and the modern democratic State which has hierarchies built into its bureaucracies and decision-making clusters, making it hard to imagine a system without the structure of hierarchical leadership.

Roughly 2.4 billion people live in electoral and liberal democracies across the world with the rest living in a mix of electoral, mixed, and other kinds of autocracies. Of this, India is the largest democracy with 1.3 billion people which has been classified as an electoral autocracy as of 2020. Inequality, democratic discontent, and populism have been identified risks for democratic backsliding. The gap between the richest people in the world and everyone else has been widening in the past 30 years, where the poorest half of the world population have seen only 1% increase in global wealth while the richest have seen a 50% increase.

Some studies show that economic inequality is a barrier to the democratization process because of the economic elite’s fear of excessive re-distributive reforms under democracy. Through the competition between different economic elites’ democracy emerges, thus positively associating income inequality to democratization, though they do hint that the elites are more powerful when they control more of society’s wealth.

Here the definition of democracy serves as a handy principle, where democracy is a method of collective decision making at an essential stage of the decision-making process where all the participants have a kind of equality. Depressed voter turnouts have been linked to economic inequality, with all income groups voting less. This points to a reduced democratization, with the power concentrating in the hands of a few who profit from the non-participation of a sizable majority of the population. The effects of economic inequality and loss of democratic principles is a problem that cannot be ignored.

According to the Russian revolutionary anarchist Bakunin, a State without the domination of one class by another is unimaginable and as a result a State without slavery is unthinkable, while a more modern interpretation of anarchism based on the critique of liberalization argues that all States are criminal organizations. A common misconception is that chaos and anarchy go together – but that does not relate to the social thought of Anarchy, as anarchists typically believe in high levels of democratic organization, just that it is constructed with bottom-up model. States level societies on the other hand are relatively new introduction in the human political organization, having existed only for the last 5000 years, a recent development when considering modern humans existed for over 300,000 years. This suggests that modern States should be considered as a mixed experiment than an absolute structure. Thus, anarchic activity focuses on refusing to recognize the legitimacy of the structure of power, as the participants acknowledge that they are inherently free from any kind of State obeisance. It is in this case that anarchic principles of collectivized groups forming to serve their immediate interests, invested in good of the people.

Changes to inequality are rare occurrences and they're often associated with other dramatic consequences such as wars and economic depressions. Also, policies to reduce wealth inequality are rarely enforced as the can result in a total upheaval of the entire political system and can lead to severe political events such as wars. This entrenches populism, as populists’ message that elites are corrupt and that the people need better representation, a key indicator in countries such as India under Modi, USA under Trump and Hungary under Orban. The voters supporting the populists want a radical change from the usual politics without their untoward repercussions, that is losing cultural or economic status.

One way to oppose populists is to vote and the other is to take principles of anarchic thought and question the very idea of obedience. This brings forward the question if obedience is simply a pragmatic choice or a strategic one but on the ideas of loyalty to the State and identification with its laws. If the State itself is illegitimate, then participation is merely a choice and not one of a duty. Some might argue that anarchism is incoherent but the issues it brings up are deep, questioning the traditional notions of sovereignty and political obligation, making one wonder about things taken for granted. Anarchism provides scope for organization based on voluntarism and mutual help as well as consensus. From this vantage, anarchist communities can work well if they can shield themselves from coercive authority.

Given the challenges to democracies around the world, it helps understanding different forms of collective organizations and their role in the democratization process, and anarchic movements with their focus of individual freedoms and collective participation can be a healthy paradigm against the oppression of the elites.

#anarchism #democracy #politics

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