Struggling with Meaninglessness

searching meaning in meaninglessness

Archive for December 2007

World of Probability

leave a comment »

I already had this idea for several years.

I was thinking – My father produced billions of sperms in his life time while my mum produced hundreds of ovum in her lifetime. But the fact is, it was this particular one sperm out of billions, and another particular one ovum out of hundreds which created me. Therefore, everything about myself at this moment, my looks, voice, height, gender, talent, etc. – is a result of probability. (One out of trillions?)

If i’m a product of probability, that means, this applies for my parents, grandparents and my ancestors too. Hence, the entire family tree of mine is governed by the World of Probability from the start.

However, in macro level, this randomness worked under a strict restriction of human genetics in order to keep probability under control and also for evolution purposes.

Genetics worked just like a six-faced dice. Despite getting random results by rolling the dice over and over again, i could predict the result would be somewhere from the number 1 to 6. However, without the dice, the probability would have been between 1 to infinite. Hence, our genetics is important to keep probability under focus. Because of this, every human born have a perfect pair of hands and a pair legs, mouth is located on the face instead on the buttocks, and we have 2 eyes instead of 5, etc.

Our genetics also serve to ‘amplify’ and to ‘decrease’ the probability on certain elements in our life such as our chances to get chronic diseases, the level of intelligence and our physique features. I had an interesting discussion with my friends and i got to learn that chronic diseases are 80% inherited and 20% factored from our own habits. For instance, even if Mr. A consume optimum amount of bad cholesterol everyday, but if Mr. A’s family have high cholesterol history, he would have an extremely high chance of getting the disease.

PS: I’m still working on my Chaos Theory post. Patience my friends 😉

Written by elan85

December 30, 2007 at 7:22 pm

Posted in Evolution, Philosophy

My Theory of Free Will

leave a comment »

I love creating hypothesis on almost every interesting stuffs i’d came across. However, there were 2 subjects which i have hard time coming out with my own conclusions all this while due to contradicting logics. Number 1. ghosts and spirits and 2. human’s free will. I’m still pretty undecided on the former, but for the latter i think i already have the answer for it. My theory is pretty complex, so, hopefully i’m able to convey it well.

First of all let’s define what is free will. Free will is basically the ability of a person to freely exercise control over his/her thoughts, actions, and decisions. Sounds simple, isn’t it? Most people will not think twice to declare that we have free will. There is a cake on the table. We can choose either to leave it, eat it, throw it on a cat or smash it with a hammer. Nothing so difficult about it, right?

However, by principle, we have absolutely no free will. Why?

  • We can’t choose our parents. (everyone can only have 1 mother and 1 father)
  • We can’t choose our looks. (if you are born ugly, tough luck to you :P)
  • We can’t choose our motherland.
  • We can’t control our genetics. (You can’t say no if your genes say that your head is going to be bald by 50 years old)
  • We can’t control our instincts. (You can’t make a goat to eat meat)

 

The mentioned items on the list are absolutely the most fundamental things in our life. But we can’t control it. And so, i dare to make a very bold assumption that – everyone in this world is not born equal. You see, you can’t argue how a starving kid in Africa and a rich European kid living in a multi-billion family are born equal. (Yes, that means the world is unfair to begin with). I have always been asking myself, do these poverty-stricken Africans have free will? Wait a second, do they even have any choices?? It looks more to me it is probability and chances of where and how they were born. And so happened, they were born on the unfortunate side.

Therefore based on the arguments above, in order to create a logical aargument, i will make another bold statement – both FREE WILL & NON-FREE WILL BOTH DO NOT EXIST! My idea is if probability governs the fundamental stuffs (the listed items above) in our life then our ongoing life should also work around the world of probability – i believe the law of probability rules human just like how it rules over atoms (quantum mechanics) but in a more structured manner.

My Theory

Think of the paths of our lives is as complex as like the highway below.

highway2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If i want to get from point A to point B, i can choose from many different routes to get myself there. But each route will give me different experiences while i’m traveling on them. Let’s say there are 5 different routes and i can expect the consequences on each of the route:

Route 1: Takes me 45 minutes to reach point B but the road condition is very poor.

Route 2: Takes me 1 hour to reach point B.

Route 3: Takes me 2 hours to reach point B but has beautiful scenery

Route 4: Takes me 3 hours to reach point B due to bad thunderstorm.

Route 5:  Takes me 4 hours to reach point B due to extremely heavy traffic jam.

By default, the chances of me choosing a particular path are:

Route 1 : 20%

Route 2 : 20%

Route 3 – 20%

Route 4 – 20%

Route 5 – 20%

However, there are conditions which will alter the probability of which route i will be taking. And these conditions are based on the circumstances in our mind and environment around us.

If i’m in hurry, the probability of me choosing Route 1 or Route 2 will be higher. Hence, the probability of me taking each route will be:

Route 1 : 45% ;

Route 2 : 50% ;

Route 3 – 3% ;

Route 4 – 1% ;

Route 5 – 1%

If i’m in the mood for some sightseeing, the probability of me taking Route 3 will be higher than other options.

If i try to be an idiot, then the probability of me taking Route 4 or 5 will be extremely high compared to other options.

Conclusion: Regardless of which route i take, i will reach point B for sure. The routes are fixed and i can’t change it. However, i get different experience from the different routes i take, hence this gave me the illusion that i can make choices, thus having free will. The reality is i’m not consciously choosing, rather i’m merely trapped in the game of probability based on circumstance on my mind and the environment around me.

For the sake of simplicity, i’m only using 5 routes as examples above but the truth is we have much much more options than we can ever imagine. Each tiny variation is a different possibility. So, there can be million, billions or trillions of options in each event.

Now, let’s apply this back to our everyday life. Let’s use back the cake example we had earlier. I see a cake on the table, what will i do next? I may just leave it on the table, i may throw it to a cat, i may smash it with a hammer, i may smash it with my fist, i may eat it 1 minute later, i may eat it 1.5 minutes later, i may eat i 10 minutes later and billions and billion of other options.

Let’s just keep things simple, i will only use 4 options instead of billions. The default probability of each next action is :

1. I leave it on the table – 25%

2. I eat it – 25%

3. I throw it to a cat – 25%

4. I smash it – 25%

As i have said, the state of my mind and the environment will influence heavily the probability of my next actions and decisions. If i feel hungry, i will most probably choose option 2 more than the others. Otherwise, if i’m not hungry, i would most probably chosen option 1 instead.

If i see a cockroach on the cake, i will most probably choose option 1 or 4. However, there’s a chance i may choose option 2 and eat it. The probability is extremely low but there’s still a chance of myself doing it. From our human mind’s perspective, this action is what we labeled as ‘Insanity’ as it is the most improbable thing we will want to do. But … it is possible that it would happen.

In my next post, i will talk more about how our lives revolve around Chaos Theory.

To be continued …..

Written by elan85

December 25, 2007 at 1:31 pm

Posted in Philosophy

Nature’s Way of Balancing

with one comment

Have you ever got struck by the fact that there are almost an equal amount of men and women in the world population? Well, it seems nothing at first. But when you take account of the infinite number of wars we had, no matter big or small, it make sense to say that by today the number of females should be way higher than the males.

For example – The casualties in World War 1 reached 40 million people,  while in the World War 2, 50 to 70 million people perished (including civilians). Since the entire military were made up by mostly men, safe to assume, men were always the highest casualties in wars. And these are just 2 of the many many major wars we had in history. So, what is nature’s trick to harmonise the sex ratio?

First of all, statistically, there’s a 5% higher chances of mothers giving birth to a boy than to a girl. And how does the nature balance things up for the female? By allowing female to live longer than male and gave more protection to female from premature death.

This is only part one. Part two – according to a research, the more stressed a mother is, the higher the likelihood of her giving birth to a daughter. Why so?

First, let’s imagine a scenario where there are only 10 people in this world – 1 man and 9 women. The law of nature allow this one man alone to ‘fertilise’ all 9 women. That means, there will be nine new lives coming through in the next 10 months time. Now reverse the condition to 9 men and 1 woman. As you could imagine in this scenario, there will only be a maximum of one life coming through in the next 10 months time regardless of any circumstances. Therefore, going by this logic, it makes sense that the nature will want to quickly replenish the population by having more girls during the post-war period. More women equals to higher birthrate. But here is one big question – how does our body know when and when not to activate the boy/girl switch? How does our body sync with our environment?

Here is something which i believe but can’t prove. It seems to me Evolution is tied directly with our subconscious mind. To humanity, war is a depressing and stressful event because lives are at stake. Civilians were living in worries as they do not know when a stray bullet will catch their head or when a missile will hit their shelter. There are so much uncertainties and perils – and this is one trait of human being – human always have hard time coping with uncertainties. Uncertainty = Stressful. Hence, when we are stressed and perceived humanity is in turmoil, our brain subconsciously send signals to our entire body saying “we need more babies!”

(Is this the same reason why men have natural tendency of being polygamous? Or maybe i should rephrase it – Is this the reason why men SHOULD BE polygamous? Haha, i’m just kidding)

As mentioned, today, there’s a 5% higher chances of mothers giving birth to a boy. Why? Simply because we are living in peaceful times. I will quote it from the magazine –

“That, in turn, would explain why women in rich countries, who are less likely to suffer from hunger and disease, are more likely to give birth to sons.”

PS: This post is inspired by an article in the Economist magazine (November 2007) titled – ‘Stress City’

Written by elan85

December 18, 2007 at 7:37 pm

Posted in Evolution

Right or Wrong?

with 3 comments

In heaven all the interesting people are missing

Friedrich Nietzsche (an atheist philosopher)

 

I have several good friends who have tried convincing me to believe in God (Christianity). Few years ago, i took some effort for myself to understand religion better which led me to read some basic stuffs of theology. Apparently, i learned that non-believer will not be accepted by God in afterlife. That’s why, i knew where my friends were coming from. They have good intentions (from their point of view) and i sincerely appreciate that.

But honestly, i couldn’t imagine Albert Einstein not to be in heaven. More importantly, i do not believe in something coming out of nothing. I believe in cause and effect. If God exist, then He must have some history – something must have brought Him to existence in the first place. If ‘something’ created God, then what created this ‘something’? Then we will have an infinite turtles all the way down paradox.

At the end of the day, religious people think i’m an ignorant for not believing in the Truth and i think religious people are ignorant for believing in Illusion. So who is right and who is wrong?

Surely, it is not easy to argue against omnipotent power, something which has far greater power than Superman. That’s the reason why many arguments made by Creationist or religious people sound ‘logical’ and convincing because omnipotent power is …. well .. omnipotent. You can conveniently link some of the toughest questions like the origin of the universe to God. I will draw a parallel comparison – if i have infinite money in hand, i could buy the whole world, build the cities to how i want to and make every world citizen rich. What makes you think i will not be the most richest, powerful and influential man in the universe? But that’s pretty irrational.

I believe complicated questions always require complicated answers. God’s answers is over-simplified. I don’t buy that. 

Written by elan85

December 16, 2007 at 3:18 am

Posted in Philosophy

Pessimism : Dark Side

with 2 comments

I do not know why, but i do enjoy reading writings which have strong pessimism views of humanity and the world… writings which have the ‘dark’ side perspective of the nature such as from Arthur Schopenhauer , Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Marx (to some extent), Buddha (to some extent) and Adolf Hitler

Although not accurate all the time, i always bet heavily on my intuition. If pessimistic view of the nature is so appealing to myself, then i guess it must mean something. And so i ponder ….

  • It is easier to become an average person than to become a top student in school. (Easier to be ignorant than to be wise)
  • It takes only 1 minute to spill oil on the sea but it takes several weeks to clean it (Easier to damage than to repair/rejuvenate)
  • It takes only 1 second to kill a human but it takes many many years to grow up another human. Same goes for trees. (Easier to destroy than to create)
  • It is easier for politicians to tell lies and trick the citizens than to tell the truth.
  • It is easier psychologically, of having tendency to create stereotype and discriminate than to giving benefit of the doubt.
  • It is easier to play hard than to work hard

 

Why does the nature operate in a dog-eat-dog environment? Why isn’t human born wise by default? Why is it not within our own instinct to think about stuffs which are improbable such as flying at light speed or having super keen eyesight to see microscopic stuffs but we always have the instinctive intention of killing (animals, plants or maybe even human), deceiving, hurting, manipulating and being cruel? If so, does it mean that human being and nature are inherently on the ‘dark’ side? In other words, we and the nature by default are supposed to have zero morality?

And this made me think even further. Perhaps, the concept of morality is something created and defined by human being? That in reality, morality does not exist? Human define what is right and what is wrong and make it as law. Right or Wrong, Moral or Immoral my just be a representation of human being. In nature’s law, there is no such thing as right or wrong.

An example that morality is a human thing – if i kill someone, i will be given a death punishment. An eye for an eye. But during warring period, soldiers are permitted to kill. What’s the difference? Killing is still killing. War is just a circumstance. I do have my own circumstance when i kill someone. But what makes me more immoral than the soldiers? Just because soldiers are allowed to kill, does that justified the intention of killing?

Adolf Hitler mentioned something which up to this day, is immensely intriguing to myself – Siegerjustiz – Victor’s Justice. In this context of morality, i will redefine it.. i will call it Human’s Justice… a system where human are allowed to redefine morality based on our own interest. 

At the end of the day, law is just a system which work to reduce down the raging dark side of humanity. But the underlying nature of the world, as how Schopenhauer put it –

The natural world is a cruel and savage place – A world of violence and injustice, ending in death.

Written by elan85

December 14, 2007 at 7:23 pm

Posted in Philosophy

8 Random Facts About Myself.

leave a comment »

Working on SocialRank has allowed me to look deep into bloggers’ activities, interests and thoughts. One popular topic i noticed recently is “8 Random Facts About Me” where bloggers randomly tell eight things about themselves. So, i guess i will join the bandwagon and write something about myself too. The following is the summary.

1. I talk to myself… all the time…. vocally. And no, i’m not weird … many people have this habit too! *covers up*

2. I have two inner voices in my head. 

3. I always have the feeling of an invisible hand massaging my brains and a swift flow of stream traveling around my head and forehead whenever i’m in deep concentration. From a scientific perspective, some people said it is the electromagnetic field, and we could feel it when we meditate as we lower down our body defense system. On a spiritual perspective, that is ‘Prana’, some life-force thingy. Hmm …

4. I have an inflexible tongue and I can’t speak clearly in soft tone.  Whenever i speak, i not only have to concentrate on my thoughts, but also i have to place a piece of my concentration on my tongue so that i can pronounce the words properly. That’s why sometimes talking is tiring to me.

5. I have a little difficulty in writing. I always wish i could write more fluently. I still do not understand why – i could effortlessly articulate an entire idea in my head but whenever i’m gonna write it down in words, it will not be as a fluent.

6. I can semi-control my dream occasionally… or am i not? I thought maybe so since i could conceived ideas out in my dreams (with critical thoughts) and sometimes i could call myself to wake up from my dream. I just feel my consciousness is semi-linked with my dream. Perhaps, it is just my illusion after all?

7. My ambition – to become an accomplished thinker by 26 years old.

8. My ambition# 2 – to live a decent life without working hard. i still believe there is shortcuts in life and i’m seeking them.

Written by elan85

December 7, 2007 at 6:44 pm

Posted in Personal

Science isn’t Strange. We Are.

with one comment

I like watching TED’s talk and one of my all time favourite videos would be Richard Dawkins’ – Queerer Than We Can Suppose.

Before i go deep into Dawkins’ message, i will digress a little first. Let’s talk about some classical philosophy. Let’s talk about Immanuel Kant, one of the most influential philosopher we ever have. The following quote is one of his ideas in his work Critique of Pure Reason (1781) :

“Everything we apprehend in any way at all – whether it is a perception, memory, feeling, thoughts, or whatever it may be – is apprehended by us through our bodily apparatus, namely our five senses, our brain, and our central nervous system. Therefore anything that this apparatus can deal with is capable of being experience for us. Buy anything it cannot deal with can never be experience for us , for we have no way of apprehending it.”

This didn’t make sense to me at first. There are things which we can’t see or feel, but we are very damn sure of their existence and we are equally capable of apprehending them – Things such as gravity, magnetism, radiowave, atom, anti-matter and etc. I read them in books and articles and scientist gave some concrete and convincing answers to all these unperceivable entity. So how could this idea of his became a groundbreaking idea? Nevertheless, i changed my mind once i watched Dawkins’ TED talk. Once and for all, i understood the meaning behind Kant’s idea. It is indeed a profound philosophy.

Take gravity for instance. We can never feel and perceive gravity with our five senses (eye, nose, ear, mouth and skin) and our brain. Since we can’t feel and perceive it directly with our bodily apparatus, therefore there is no way we can  apprehend gravity. It doesn’t mean gravity doesn’t exist, just that human will not be able to 100% apprehending it. Scientists can only create theories of how this unperceivable entity behave. As we learned it school, the earth sucks everything towards the center of the earth. This is an extremely common theory and is already accepted as a conventional  explanation. However, a theory is still a theory – it is not a fact. Even if the answer is 99.99% convincing, there is still a possibility of 0.01% chance that the truth will be another different answer.

Bear in mind that gravity is a very kind and simple example. If other examples are taken such as string theory, quantum mechanics or wormhole, these theories are far from being clear-cut as the likes of gravity. Every different scientist may theorise his/her own subjective ideas and interpretation of how these things work. At the end of the day, debate and arguments of who having the better theory is inevitable. That’s why Kant argued – if we can’t experience something with our body senses, then we could never tell for sure how it behaves and what are the features of it.

Let’s get back to Dawkin’s video. The main message of the video is simply about – the limitation of our five senses and brain in perceiving the reality.

According to Dawkins, this universe is consist of 3 worlds – The small world (quantum and atomic world), the big world (stars, blackhole, planets) and the middle world (human). In the middle world, our brain spontaneously evolved accordingly to allow us navigate and adapt to this world. However these three worlds are operating in different set of rules and conditions. Hence, mentally, we are trapped in the middle world’s logic. It is extremely difficult for us to perceive and grasp the reality beyond the middle world because our brain had decided that it is not necessary to understand the small world and the big world. Why? Why would the brain need to wire itself to understand the small and big world when it does not bring us any benefit in surviving? Understanding how atomic works will not bring us any significant changes in the way of our survival – at least this is what our brain instinctively believe. An example Dawkins gave in the video – rocks. I will quote him here.

“We never evolved to navigate in the world of atoms. If we had, our brains probably would perceive a rock as full of empty space. Rocks feel hard and impenetrable to our hands because objects like our hands can’t penetrate them. It’s therefore useful for our brains to construct notions like solidity and impenetrability because such notions help us to navigate our bodies through the middle-sized world in which we have to navigate.”

This is why, i think 9999 out of 10000 people on earth find theories such as string theory, quantum physics and time-travel confusing – human simply are not inherently adapt to other world’s logic. Take for example, the quantum world. According to quantum mechanics, there’s a high probability where an atom will go through the wall. And since human is also made up of atoms,  there is a probability we can go through the wall too. Hence, if a person pushes against the wall for billion of years, there’s a probability where his/her whole body will be able to go through the wall at some point (it takes longer time since we are composed by an enormous amount of atoms – the more atoms in a single entity, the more improbable it is) Now, if you apply this logic back to the middle world and insist to everyone there’s such possibility of human going through wall, don’t be surprised to receive some middle-finger gestures accompanied by W-T-F cries. No where in the human imagination we can visualise the logic of this.

To gain understanding of other world, the rule of thumb is to detach our middle world logic before embracing the small and big world. Easier said than done, this is actually something which is extremely difficult to do, and that’s why great scientists such as Newton, Heisenberg, Einstein and Bohr are special – they have the ability to defy human logic and produced some audacious thoughts of how the world really worked.

At the end of the video, Dawkins proposed a crazy idea – put children to play games which operates in quantum logic and accustom them to quantum mechanics in the long run. Then in the experiment, observe them whether are they able to adapt and think in quantum logic conveniently. Sounds interesting, no?

Last but not least, people who don’t really understand science always perceive science as strange. It is a fact that this is an extremely confusing and complex universe. Human conveniently labeled science as strange because we can’t comprehend it. But you know what, the state of actual reality has already been this way since billion of years ago. The reality is already here and we just gotta uncover it. At the end of the day, I wonder who are the strange one….

Written by elan85

December 3, 2007 at 10:35 am