Struggling with Meaninglessness

searching meaning in meaninglessness

Archive for April 2008

Biased

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I attended Kenny G’s concert at Genting Highlands last night and i can tell you, it was really a marvelous performance. All of my friends really loved his performance and nobody wanted it to end. But a small girl, i guess around 6-7 years old, sitting behind me asked his father – ‘Daddy, why is the show not ending yet?’ Ok, i guess this girl was bored. LoL.

When i reached home, right before i went to bed, I stumbled upon 2 videos of BBC Hard Talk over YouTube – Two separate interviews with Malaysia’s ex-Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed and renowned biologists Richard Dawkins. I was really impressed with the host, Stephen Sackur as he really, i mean really, knows how to ask proper tough questions.

After watching the two videos, i spent some time digesting the conversations in both of the videos. I asked myself – Both gentlemen were very firm with their respective ideas. But what allowed Stephen to unleashed such stinging questions on them? There must be a gap or hole in their ideology which Stephen could exploit and attack.

This is what i realized – both of them have bias elements in their ideology – a biased ideology which built up their belief system. When someone is biased with an ideology, you could easily kicked up a contradicting idea to attack his/her belief system, putting a big question mark to their arguments.

For example, Dawkins believes that religion bring violence to the world. So, Stephen asked – “There were also atheists dictator who committed violence such as Stalin and Mao, so how could you just singled out religion?” There you go, a counter-argument which uses contradicting ideology to attack the idea, something similar to Socratic method. (However, Dawkins did gave an excellent answer to counter the counter-argument. Historically, many people used the name of God to justify war and violence but nobody uses the name of atheism to commit the same degree of violence. Stalin and Mao were just so happened to be an Atheist, just like Hitler was happened to be a Roman Catholic.)

My point here is – if you have a biased ideology, you will surely have gaps or holes which allow people to attack. But let me tell you what – you can’t avoid being biased. Let me tell you why.

In my previous post, i highlighted the fact that there are very little things in this world where we ‘KNOW’ but rather, there are more things in this world where we ‘BELIEVE’. Why so? The reason is simple – because there are very little facts that we know … only interpretations that we believe on.

For instance, when we see a small boy snatched away toys from a small girl, what do we see? Do we see this as merely a pure naive child’s play or do we see this as a rude behaviour? Now, different people view this situation differently and this is what it is all about – Interpretations. The fact is people do see things differently. There was an experiment where there were 10 witnesses to an accident, and strangely all 10 of them gave a different descriptions of the accident. Interpretation and subjectivity do come together hand in hand.

Therefore, unless you have totally no opinion on any subject or else, you will bound to make a biased statement or two. Even when asked a simple-basic question such as – which is better, apple or orange, you can’t escape of being biased in your opinion because there are surely elements which will make you choose/prefer one over the other.

Hence, i conclude that to develop the ability to think, to a certain extent, you can’t avoid of being biased. However, i supposed it is wise to maintain an open mind to other possibilities while accepting the fact that you may be wrong with your thoughts.

And i mentioned the word wise. Yes, i supposed the wise are always aware that they are bias with their ideology while the ignorant take their ideology as the truths.

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Written by elan85

April 27, 2008 at 11:22 pm

Posted in Philosophy

Possibilities

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Ronn: I believe we will have a teleportation technology in the future.

Friend: I don’t think that’s possible.

Ronn: Why not?

Friend: Don’t waste your time reading about those stuffs. How is it possible that we could instantaneously transport our body from one point to another without traveling physically? I can’t imagine that.

Ronn: How about this. Imagine yourself living in the year of 4000 B.C. Now, would you have imagined that 6000 thousand years later, we could communicate with people on the other side of the earth wirelessly using a tiny box called as mobile phone? Maybe a few people would envisioned that, but i’m convinced the majority are extremely skeptical and would not have thought about this. So, you see, what deemed impossible 6000 years ago is already a reality today.

Friend: But isn’t it self-evident that we have radio wave frequency technology to allow existence of mobile phones?

Ronn: It is self-evident because it has already happened. What makes you so sure that we will never master the art of physics to bring teleportation into reality? Perhaps one day it will be self-evident that teleportation becomes a common phenomenon.

Friend: You seemed certain about it, don’t you?

Ronn: No, i’m only just positive of the possibility … you know … possibility.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

One of the most amazing thing i’d came across few months ago was a quote from my favourite philosopher, Schopenhauer. He said this …

All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is strongly opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. – Arthur Schopenhauer

Precisely reminds me of Evolution…

You see, human being are skeptical by nature. Psychologically, our mind do not like to grasp or explore concept or idea which are beyond our apprehension. We only feel comfortable in accepting common ideas when it has become self-evident and accepted by the majority of people.

Every time i observe someone (myself included) dismissing an idea in a very biased manner, that’s because we are either …..

1. Bias and take sides, hence rejecting every idea coming from the opposite side. (eg; ID vs Evolution)

2. The idea is too outrageous to be true. (eg: Scott Adam’s hologram theory)

3. We do not fully comprehend the idea, hence dismissing it as ‘not possible’. (Teleportation)

And may i suggest that there’s a very thin line separating point 2 and 3.

Healthy skepticism is very good and …well yeah, healthy. But hardcore skepticism on any topic is bad. We should not practice irrational rejection of idea for the sake of rejecting. Here is my argument on why we should not close our mind and becoming a hardcore skeptic.

Firstly, we are observing the world through our limited five sense, which means there are many things around us that we can’t discover, observe or apprehend without instruments or tools to aid us. For example, we needed the Hubble telescope to peer the sky and discover that the universe is expanding. But we didn’t know about it before that. Now, does that means the sky wasn’t expanding before the Hubble was invented? No, the universe was expanding since the start of the age and is still expanding today. We simply didn’t know about it until the day we used the Hubble Telescope to glimpse the heavens. There are many more things which are still yet to be explored and discovered out there, and that’s exactly the function of science – discovering the answers to the world mysteries.

Hence, secondly, there are many things which we are not aware or do not know, yet. But it does not mean it will remain the same in the future. If there’s one thing history had taught us, it will be the consistent progress we have experienced throughout humanity’s lifetime. Stagnancy, therefore, is an illusion. Nothing in this world is permanent and we are living in a world where we strive on progression. If progression is the answer, shouldn’t we be a little open-minded in accepting possibilities on things that we might have uncovered as time progresses?

Thirdly, there’s a difference between KNOWING and BELIEVING and many people are confused between these two. There are more things in life where we BELIEVE than we KNOW. When you KNOW something, that will be a universal truth – nobody can debate with you about it. For instance, you KNOW that 1+1 = 2. You KNOW that an apple is either red or green colour. You KNOW that you will die if you jump down from a 20th floor building and hit the ground.

However, you cannot say that you KNOW of the topic when a topic is subject to debate and discussion. Rather, it’s a BELIEF. For example, i BELIEVE Naruto is the best anime ever produced in history. You may not share the same opinion as mine. . I BELIEVE Einstein is the greatest individual ever graced the earth in our mankind history. You may not share the same opinion as mine. I BELIEVE teleportation is possible. Again, you may not share the same opinion as mine.

Beliefs are beliefs. Many people take their beliefs as KNOWING, treating it as universal truth and tried to impose it on other people. When you BELIEVE in something that means there is a chance your belief will be wrong because what you BELIEVE is not a truth you are 101% certain. If there’s a chance that our belief is wrong, shouldn’t we be a little tolerant to other people’s beliefs, have an open mind and accepting other alternatives of possibilities?

Who is to say what’s possible and what’s not possible? I think it is a rather bad habit for a person to dwell on his/her belief system without questioning it and treating his/her beliefs as the truths.

Written by elan85

April 19, 2008 at 11:40 pm

Posted in Philosophy

Dreaming

with 3 comments

For the past 2-3 months, i had several unique dreaming experiences. I will share 2 of them with you.

1.I dreamt of falling in love with an unknown girl, yes, literally in my dreams. I dreamt that i met my perfect girl, stunningly cute and with a bubbly personality, and i immediately fell in love with her in the first sight. While we were having some interesting conversations, suddenly poof, i woke up and came back to the real world where she doesn’t exist.

So imagine my feelings the moment i woke up from my dream. I can tell you the feeling was really sour. I felt really awful. It was like, suddenly the love of my life has vanished to nowhere. Gone. The first few minutes after waking up was a pretty traumatic experience because the confusion was really crazy. In reality, this girl do not exist, yet the lingering feeling is real. And she is gone. But she is not real. What the heck, i fell in love with my dreams?

Just like a typical dream, as minutes go by, more and more memories attached with our dreams will slowly go off. And after 15-20 minutes ,it finally went off to the point even my emotions attached was also gone. Suddenly, i do not love my dream anymore. And i was like, hey, what’s going on here?

But thinking about it, isn’t this is what happening in our real life? When we are in our teenage years, we fall in love with someone good looking and as we grow up to adulthood, we most likely will change our mind and fall in love with another person who seem to suit our taste better. I always believe the emotion of love is just something temporal. (But respect is eternal)

Therefore, I’m basically fooled by my emotions even in my dreams…. and my subconscious mind too. It really shows the incompleteness of how human brain is wired.

2. Lately, i have been dreaming many situations where i always asked myself Why-What- How-Who-When-Which sort of questions on random things. But each time, i will always give myself an incomplete answer.

Let me share with you one of the dreams I partially remember.

I dreamt that I was walking under the rain on a roadside while holding an umbrella (in real life, I love walking under the rain for some weird reasons minus the thunder and lightning). While I was strolling around, I contemplated the rain and connects it with God’s existence (which I have forgot what the thoughts were). The next thing, I saw there were many dead big fishes lying on the grass. I asked myself – why are they all dead ? And I reasoned myself, the rain must be so heavy just now the whole area was flooded. Now that the water has subsided, the fish was stuck on the land and died on the grass. Then I asked myself again – if so where does these fishes come from? And i figured it out again – they must come from the drain.

This dream was so interesting that the moment i woke up, i spent a few good minutes  contemplating about my dream. The most important issue here is- Why did i gave the answer that the fishes came from the drain? That’s the most intriguing part.

You see, dreams are not totally random. Just like what Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud believed, there’s a system of how dreams work but so far, we have yet to connect the dots. So, we are still not 100% sure how dreams work.

I could always feel that i was thinking hard in my dreams. So there are two issues here:

  1. In reality, it is impossible for wild big fishes to exist in a suburb area. Hence, to see big fishes in my dreams on a roadside is not meaningful. In other words, this dream of mine is absurd. Therefore, why does my mind do not tell me that this is an absurd dream while i was sleeping, but once i woke up, i immediately know that this dream was absurd?
  2. It seems as though i just randomly pluck the closest answer i could find within the boundary of my dreams when i asked myself a meaningless question which have no answer. I figured the process is something like this – since drain contains water and have close resemblance to river, therefore the fishes come from the drain.

My hypothesis is that there are some parts of our brain which are not fully connected while we are sleeping. And this part of our brain would have something to do with logic. That’s why the details of our dreams are often incomplete and absurd at times.

I do not know whether other people have such unique dreaming experience, but i think most people will just take dreams with a pinch of salt. But i think it is extremely interesting to ponder on such interesting phenomenon. What is exactly dreams?

Written by elan85

April 12, 2008 at 4:41 am

Posted in Psychology

My Favourite Music

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I’m a big fan of Electronic and House music ever since the day i chanced upon these two albums – Royksopp – Melody AM and Hed Kandi : Beach House 04.03. So, yes, i have stopped listening to mainstream music and dedicated my life in searching for the best Electronic and House music since 5 years ago.

Forget about American’s Electronic and House music. Their style is kinda boring and monotonous all this while.

Also forget about the new European’s Electronic and House music. They have been following the American style of Club music lately which is very disappointing. Just look at Hed Kandi and Bargrooves. I used to worship these two record labels when i first started with House music. But now, i can just throw their new albums into drain. They no longer have the melodic and creative elements in their music anymore. It’s all just big and rough bass and catchy tunes which is utterly boring and disgusting.

My Recommendations:

Listen to Japanese and Korean Electronic and House music. As you would expect from the Japanese and Korean’s music, they are creative, melodic, and you can feel the sincerity of theirs in producing these music. Borrowing Jeremy Clarkson’s magic word – They got ‘Soul’ in their music.

Japanese: Fantastic Plastic Machine (House, Electronic-Pop), I-Dep (Electronic Pop), Makai (House), Jazzida Grande (House), DJ Kawasaki (House), Chieko Kinbara (Soul House), Kentaro Takizawa (House), Nujabes (Electronic + Hiphop), Pizzicato Five (Electronic), Mondo Grosso (Electronic, Soul House), M-Swift (Soul House), Studio Apartment (House), Naoki Kenji (Electronic Lo-Fi), Jazztronik (Electronic Jazz), Kyoto Jazz Massive (Electronic Jazz), Daishi Dance (House), FreeTEMPO (House), M-Flo (Mainstream Electronic-Pop)

Korean: ClaZziQuai (Electronic Pop), Humming Urban Stereo (Electronic Pop), Casker (Deep House), House Rulez (Disco House), Peppertones (Electronic Pop, Indie-Pop), Melting Holiday (Electronic Tweepop), Towa Tei (Electronic)

It’s kinda suck WordPress doesn’t allow users to embed Imeem, my favourite online application to conveniently share my music over here. I guess i would resort to use YouTube instead. Click on the link below (Continue reading….) to view some of my favourite songs.

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Written by elan85

April 8, 2008 at 3:26 am

Posted in Uncategorized

We Are No Ants

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According to the bible, God created 4 other creatures which are so called “exceeding wise” besides human being – They are spiders, locust, badgers and ants.

And i thought dolphin is unique. Oh well … I think ants are interesting creatures too. But i’m not going to waste my time debating whether ants are any wiser than a dolphin or not. 

Actually an ant alone is insignificant and has limited capabilities. There’s absolutely nothing amazing to experiment with when dealing with a single ant. However, what make ants so interesting is the colony it is living in – The colony is a single complex organism. It seems we are fascinated with ants with their great ability to function together even without receiving any instructions from anybody. This is basically called The Emergence Theory – how simple actions of individual add up to the complex behaviour of a group.

Currently there are on-going studies by scientists on ant colonies in order to solve our world road traffic problem. You see, unlike ants, human need traffic lights and road signs to help us navigate around so not to end up in mess on busy and complicated routes. The answer could be by producing automated-driving car which do not require the driver to steer the machine. So, by creating  the ability to communicate with other cars and automatically avoiding obstacles, cars could travel up to 150KM/H on a busy road yet avoiding accident. But i will not go deep into this topic.

Another interesting stuff about the ants is the ‘socialism’ culture they are practicing. There is a strong sense of equality among the ants where every unit works together for the colony. There’s very little reward factors to motivate the ants and they could work all the day long to ensure the survival of its colony. Not only that, ants also could function perfectly well even if it exceeds millions. I’m sure Karl Marx would be more proud of the ant than human.

I always hear of people talking about rights and equality. I drew a conclusion that equality in every sense between human being is practically impossible and will just remain an ideal concept because we are:

1. Although human being is a social animal, things will go slightly out of control when we are in a big group. We are basically not programmed well to handle a situation in an organization or group once it exceeds 8 people.

2. Not intrinsically self-managed. Each of us have different motives and objectives, hence different directions.

3. Inherently born with different set of talent, abilities from an extremely diverse environment.

4. Great discoveries, breakthrough and advancement often came from individual brilliance.

5. Human being is bound by Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

If equality and rights are inherently flowing in our blood, cells and neurons, we would not have so much problems today. It simply shows we are not born to champion the idea of equal and not programmed to be equal.

It’s a common idea that ants have hierarchy within their colony. We think that they have foragers, worker, cleaner, fighters, etc. But the fact is, we human were the one who defined the hierarchy. Ants could effortlessly swap and switch tasks when they are required to depending on circumstance. Hence, apart from the queen, they live in a flat hierarchy.

What about us? Now, if one of our public toilet requires a cleaning, how many of us will be willing to do it? We will most likely leave it to the people who are at the bottom of the pyramid chart.

To govern a huge number of people, we certainly need hierarchy. Unless all the individuals in an organization share the same desire, goal and objectives, i will be very surprise if a flat hierarchy could work well in an organization. There is one thing though which we have upperhand against ants – we could work well together among inter-race while ants generally ignore and fight against other ant species …well, if we could brush aside the fact that racism still exist today.

It is a waste God didn’t gave higher intelligence to ants or else, they would have surpassed us in many areas…. whatever.

Written by elan85

April 6, 2008 at 7:44 pm