Struggling with Meaninglessness

searching meaning in meaninglessness

Penang Jazz Festival and A Journey to Complication

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Penang Jazz Festival

I went to Penang (320 kilometers away from Kuala Lumpur) during the weekend for a Jazz Festival. Overall, it was a good Jazz Festival. I’ve told myself that if this festival is 70% as good as Kenny G’s concert I attended last April, then I will be satisfied. Well, I would say it pretty much hit the mark. Kenny G’s performance is still the best live Jazz performance I’ve watched to date, so it’s normal I would want to benchmark against it every time I go to a Jazz concert/festival.

Out of 12 performers, I was really impressed with 3 groups – Jaume Vilaseca Quartet (Spain), Jeon Young Se Trio (Korea) and Ray Harris with Fusion Experience (UK).

I bought Jeon Young Se Trio’s CD and managed to get their autograph! Woo Waa! But the best performance over the 2 days was from Ray Harris. It blew me off .. totally. However, their music weren’t consistently great. Only 2 out of 5 was brilliant. Jeon Young Se Trio on the other hand, is consistently great throughout.

I will certainly want to attend the festival again if they are going to hold it next year.

A Journey to Complication

When it comes to food, my friends dislike going to popular tourist areas to eat (eg. Gurney Drive) because those hawkers often overcharge the prices. (But hey! We ARE tourists too! =P ) Hence, we often search for authentic local food places to eat every time. Well, being a guy who has no opinion when it comes to food, I let my friends to decide all the time.

On the second day, we’d decided to visit a really famous place in Penang for lunch, well known as the best ‘Asam Laksa’ in the country. However, we weren’t sure of the directions to the place, so we just relied on the signboards to guide us. We went around on and on, stuck in the traffic jam, took the wrong turn, then stuck in more traffic jam again. After 2 hours of searching, I mildly suggested – “Should we give up the plan and eat somewhere else since we are in the town anyway?”

But my friends insisted to go on. Naturally, I asked myself why? To me, that’s a really strange decision to spend more time searching for the place considering we have wasted 2 hours. (I wasn’t angry nor agitated, just curious.)

Right away, it reminded me the behaviour of a typical gambler in the casino. We can safely assume that every gambler goes in to the casino with an unshakable belief that he will win, or else why would he wanna go there in the first place? So, imagine the gambler has $10,000 in his hands. He plays roulette and keep betting on the number 18 every round. After losing 10 rounds or so, he is left with $5,000. Some rare gambler may think – “I think I have no luck today, so I better get off now before I lose everything!”  But for hardcore gamblers, they usually think the other way round – “I believe I will eventually win, all I have to do is to keep trying”. Well, unless the gambler is lucky on that day or else, usually this is the typical mindset of gamblers who will lose all their money to the casino.

I realized that when individuals invested a huge amount of resources (money, time, effort, etc) into something deemed important, they will naturally see it as an ‘investment’. For many people, to give up half way the journey is a taboo because it is equivalent of pointlessly throwing all the investment into the sea – There will be a sense of unsatisfactory or a mini-grudge inside us, an unwillingness to give up all the things we have put in to accomplish the journey. I feel this refuse-to-give-up-investment can be applied to a wide range of area especially to our belief system (superstitious belief, ideologies, mindset, etc.), hence, explaining why many people always resist to changes and also resist to contradicting beliefs.

“We have already spent 2 hours looking for the place, why not keep looking for it, so that the 2 hours spent is justified at the end?”. I can feel that’s the voices in my friends’ head.

After another hour, we finally found the place. But the place was packed like hell. We have to wait another 30 minutes before we got a place to sit. And another 15 minutes before the food arrived, 15 minutes of eating and another 30 minutes to get out of the area once we were done. Total damage – 4 hours and 30 minutes spent for several bowl of noodles … and several cups of sugar cane drink.

I was thinking, looking from economics point of view, was the decision efficient? Did the resources spent (cost) justified the benefit we got at the end? I guess for most people, psychologically, it’s hugely rewarding to spend large amount of resources to attain huge satisfaction, just like a guy who will get a huge satisfaction after spending huge amount of resources to chase a girl. But again, was the decision to keep going on after 2 hours really efficiently justifiable? I don’t know, I’m not a person who live to eat, so it’s not fair for me to judge the value of good food.

Again, I wasn’t agitated with the whole scenario. I just find it curiously interesting on how our mind works…

All in all, it was a really fun experience, we had some really really funny moments in the hotel where we laughed till our tummy hurts. I always enjoy all these humorous experience.

Trivia Conversation

A friend of mine shared a very interesting story with me. There was a species of baboon (or was it monkey? I forgot) which already thought be extinct since the early 90s due to overhunting by human being. But recently, it was actually discovered that there are many of them left in one forest. So how did these baboons evaded human radar and stayed in stealth from human eyes all these years?

First they recognized that human was a super threat, so unlike other primates which will make loud noises to alert their tribe of danger, these baboons will remain silent instead. They ‘know’ making loud noise is futile to escape from human (as we use guns). Secondly, they are using a very primitive form of sign language to communicate with their tribe whenever they encounter a human to plan an escape.

Natural selection and Evolution has forced these primates’ psychology to up one notch. I’ve long envisioned that there will come a day when human being may enslave chimpanzees and primates to do labour work for us once these primates intelligence reach certain level.


Written by elan85

December 9, 2008 at 12:22 am

Posted in Personal, Philosophy

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