I wanted to write about language for a very long time. The irony, however, is more I learned about language, the ignorant I felt. I always thought ignorance can only be lost but lately, I am discovering that it can as easily be acquired. Here is a three-act process to achieve ignorance:
There is usually a lot to learn, unlearn and re-learn when we zoom out of our routine and refocus. Some lessons are counter-intuitive and baffling, some visceral and fantastical. Here are some of the most paradoxically ridiculous lessons I learned working on projects at my dime and time.
The best part about December is our hardwiring to revise our past and reflect in hopes to reform our future. Much like filing taxes at the end of financial year—I dig into this year expecting returns and reasons.
Below are 5 personal reforms from 2017 in no particular order.
Year-2010, Craig Venture had just created the first synthetic organism. He held a press conference to announce his achievement. The crowded auditorium got silence when he was asked, ‘Aren’t you worried that you’re playing God?’
He replied, ‘Who’s playing?’ *
It is a personal struggle every time I sit in front of the screen, to choose between chasing the horizon or marking an axis. One requires you to fly broad and later demands to drill deep. This choice pushes my thoughts onboard a swing bound in perpetual motion between freedom and restriction.
We are naturally inclined towards freedom. We are conditioned to respond with glee to its utterance. We can empathize with people struggling for freedom. It evokes mostly positive emotions among masses across culture.
The theme of this post is to probe the idea of untethered freedom.
I am a generation raised with muffled questions. I am a generation whose inner monologues also whispers in an interrogative tone. I am a generation where the luxury to personalise virtual worlds, mask my inert dogmas of social conformity. I am a generation trained to binge it all, but never educated to digest it.
We are a generation of submarines, but our corps are scared of depths. We consume, but are scared to poop. We are the matchsticks, too shy to ignite. We are trained to overlook anomalies. We are a generation comfortably tailing the red light, always driving through a fog.
Last year, I was fascinated by the constellation Orion. It’s a very easy to spot constellation, if you have a generous view of the sky. It supposedly resembles the shape of a hunter with four bright stars defining its shoulder and legs. The other three stars forms the belt of his skirt. It was conceived as a constellation about thirty centuries ago, when hunters wore the skirts and belt. I was especially fixated on a star at the centre of the belt. It is 26 light years away and is called Tabit. I was 26 and that made Tabit a very significant, symbolic and recurring inspiration throughout 2016.
Our society unwittingly gave us–among many other things– the most paradoxical gift of all: a confusion about heroism. Human beings are naturally anxious because we are ultimately helpless and abandoned in a world where we are fated to die. Since the terror of death is so overwhelming we conspire to keep it unconscious. We defend our natural impotence by creating a hero system that allows us to believe that we transcend death by participating in something of lasting worth. We achieve ersatz immortality by sacrificing ourselves for a timeless cause.1
“One of the history’s few iron laws is that luxuries tend to become necessities and to spawn new obligations” – Yuval Noah
Our tools simplify our lives. We design the world with these tools. The world we create ends up designing us. We shape the world and world shapes us. It’s a feedback loop that started from the first time we held a stick to reach a fruit on a really high tree. Since then we have used tools to constantly redefine the boundaries of who and what we are. Today, creating a portrait of a contemporary man, without a hint of wart in the pocket suggesting a cell phone is unrealistic.