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Pointless to change the past

There are a thousand things about the past, I think to myself, that I would change if I could. But I am mistaken, thinking that then something better might happen instead. There is just no way to know what might have happened instead. Hopefully something good, possibly something bad.

Some would go back and kill Hitler. Why? There is no guarantee that killing Hitler would be better, because we cannot possibly know. There is every possibility that someone even worse than Hitler might appear as a direct consequence of killing Hitler. What then? You just cannot know.

Changing the past makes absolutely no sense, because we cannot know what we are changing the future into. We cannot be so naive as to assume that anything would’ve been better. It could be worse.

Perhaps it doesn’t even matter if we alter the past. Suppose the universe is in some sort of equilibrium. It would then counter any changes we made so that the future stayed the same. It’s not unthinkable. Nature is full of different equilibria. Some would call it destiny. I wouldn’t. Destiny is meaningful and final. There is no meaning, and I see no reason as to why existence should ever end.

If there indeed is an equilibrium, then traveling forwards and changing the future should change the past.

Not wanting to change the past, no matter how horrible, is a step towards accepting it. With that comes maturity and growth. When something bad happens, part of the pain is the thinking that it would have been better not having happened. If one can deeply understand that this thinking is false, it might not hurt so much.


Trick: Checking how much you know about anything

Suppose you have a physicist holding a doctorate in his field, and beside him an everyday Eddie that knows just as much about physics as any average Joe. You assign both of them the following task: Make a list of all the things you don’t know about physics.

Who’s list do you imagine will be longer?

I believe it’s the physicist’s list, but as you know, that doesn’t mean he actually knows less than everyday Eddie or average Joe. Here’s why:

The more we devote ourselves to any subject, the likelier it is that we discover it’s seemingly unsolvable mysterious. We learn that there are things we do not understand. We are faced with different equally valid explanations that seem mutually exclusive and contradictory.

It has to be so, I think, because it’s unlikely that we are ever able to grasp the entirety of any subject. The missing piece, that we are unable to comprehend at the time, is what connects the two otherwise contradictory pieces. There is every possibility that for every missing piece, one or more pieces might not even seem to belong in the puzzle.

Remember, the puzzle of truth is one we do not know what is supposed to look like. Usually with puzzles you know, because it’s says what it is right there on the box. But with truth, there is no knowing what it’s suppose to be like. Impossible. We are looking, but we can never really know what it is we are looking for, or if we have found it. We can only know if we have not found it. That’s it. Enjoy.

It’s easy to overestimate what we really know about anything. That’s because we’re trying to gauge it directly. Perhaps an indirect measure is more meaningful.

If we wish to get a feeling of how much we understand anything, then perhaps it is better to ask ourselves “What is it that I don’t know about this?”

It might seem backwards, but, the more you don’t know, the more you do know.

 


Thoughts on judging others

I see myself in others, and I discover others in myself. Therefore, casting judgement upon anyone becomes pointless and almost impossible. They are like me, and I’m like them. The most virtous and the villain, both, I’m them, and they are me. The hero, the hell-bound, and the indifferent – how can I speak of them as “others”? Whenever I look closely, there I am. And if you look closely at me, here you are.

It’s strange, people often think I’m judging them, condescending even. They don’t know that’s impossible for me. As I understand myself, I understand them. Perhaps it is they who consider themselves, in all secret, above me. So much so that they are offended when I force them to stand as my equals. It’s possible. They are just like me, and they don’t like it.

My flaws fascinate me. They are glitches, I suppose, in a system which if it was working flawlessly would leave me little more than a robot. If there can be freedom, imperfections must be allowed. So I readily admit my errors, and I seek them all day. Some say I overthink, or some may say I’m too hard on my self, but is through these errors that I will find my essence.

These imperfections, I also see them in others too. Sometimes I will see something disagreeable in someone, and then soon after find it in myself. It always fascinates me. It’s a moment of growth. It’s silent. There is a sense of foolishness in the air, and there is wisdom, both dancing with each other. How could I have been tricked into thinking “That is not me”? It is me, of course it is me. Everywhere I look, there I am!

But people get angry, should I share with them what I see. “Who are you to judge me, are you perfect?” Such a strange question. Who would I be to judge anyone, even if I was perfect? It’s not about anything perfect. It’s all about everything imperfect. It’s where we exist. The imperfect is the very substance of life. Here there is growth and opportunity, and room.  Why do people then hide their imperfections?

In all abstract conversation, everyone will say “Oh, I am not perfect.” Yet, should anything specific be pointed out, then there is trouble. We like being imperfect in theory, it’s just false modesty.

I never ask anyone to look inside themselves for something I haven’t got right here.  If I tell someone that they are mistaken, it’s because I know the mistake, and I know it as my own mistake.

If you think you are better than anyone, look closely, and you might see yourself. Then no judgement can happen. What happens instead will be mistaken again and again for judgement, but is not, it is more like recognition.

We all think we’re better than someone. So go find that someone, and look closely, and see if you can’t see yourself in them. I have done it many, many times, and I will do so many more times.


We judge others too easily

She would not dare judge a game of ball,

but this man,

on the other hand,

she has declared insane.

 

She would not dare rate the price,

of  any antique thing,

should it shine or cling,

but she’s confident he’s worthless.

 

She’s afraid she couldn’t learn,

the few facts it took,

to fill a little book,

but she’s got him all figured out.

 

 


On not caring what others say

We do care and it does bother us, what other’s say, especially when we claim it doesn’t. Those who truly do not care, say just the opposite. They know it’s okay to be bothered, it’s alright. They set aside a little space just for that pain. When you are real, when you are authentic, there has to be room for pain. To be honest is to see that others can hurt you, and to know it has to be so. Not to pretend, “I’m so cool, I don’t give a shit.” You are not, and you do. I have noticed how emotional people are just as they are saying this. Either there is anger, or there is surrender and defeat. You have “I don’t give a fucking shit!”, and the “Well, I just don’t care.. *Sigh*”. Sometimes the possibly convincing, but actually merely constipated “I don’t care, really”. But there is never calm. There is never involvement. Why not let it hurt for a moment? You are real, and you must hurt. It’s okay. Let it in, and it will only stay for a while. Lock it out by pretending it’s not there, and it keeps knocking.

Supposedly we do not care what others say, yet, we stiffen if we are about to give them something to talk about. We hide from them under the cloak of normalcy. We are all hiding in the same closet of normalcy. Trying not to stand out, except in approved ways.

I used to shield myself pretty well. No one but a select few could hurt me with nothing but words. But then I dropped the shields, for the same reasons anyone drops those extra wheels after learning to ride a bike. It doesn’t mean that they know they’ll never lose balance and get hurt, but that is a risk their willing to take to be better bicycle riders. I want to more skilled at being all that I am, and so I must allow myself to be hurt. Each time I will care and each time it will be worth it. If it isn’t, it means I’m trying to be someone else.


On love for what you love doing, and other thoughts on love

There is something special about the love for what you love to do. You want to be the best at it. At the same time, however, you’d like everyone else to be just as good at it as yourself. It’s a little paradoxical. That’s a good sign. I think the closer we come to something true, something pure, the more paradoxical the whole thing becomes.

For years mathematics was my great love. I wanted to be the best. At school I was usually ahead, and would spend a lot of time helping others. There are many aspects of this that I enjoyed: Being admired. Being useful and needed. The attention. Yet, there is something I enjoyed even more. Showing someone what they had never seen before. My journey through the magical land of mathematics had shown me so many wonders. I couldn’t keep them to myself. I had to share them, show them to as many as possible. No part of it would I keep a secret. I truly wanted everyone to love mathematics as much as myself.

You know how it is. If you looked up at the sky and saw a shooting star, would you keep it to yourself? Could you even enjoy it all by yourself? The urge to share is too great. The whole experience has been so good to you. Out of nowhere, a shooting star. Such joy. Without notice. Completely undeserved. Completely effortless. Suddenly, there is a little happiness. You want others to have it. You want others to see as clearly as you see. This kind of happiness is so rude. It comes unexpected. Whether it’s convenient or inconvenient, it doesn’t care. It comes at no cost, and there is no loss in sharing it. This happiness is deeply involved with the love for what you love doing. It’s a great discovery, and it needs to shared.

Such love is a paradox. You want to be the best, and you wan’t everyone to be at least as good as yourself. Actually, there is no paradox. Just a little misunderstanding. It’s just that something about love has gone unnoticed. It goes unnoticed very often. Perhaps because it cannot be noticed while love is happening. There is no one there to notice it. Whenever love happens, and for as long as it lasts, there is no you or anyone else. We do not melt into a single soul or anything of the sort. We are still separate, still individuals, but it just doesn’t matter in those moments. Whether it’s me or you or someone else, it seems so unimportant. Identity seems unimportant. The whole distinction: me, you, and them seems for a few moments without purpose. Love is happening. Then love let’s go. You become you and they become they once again. It becomes important again. Lines are drawn and they make sense now. We become fragments. It’s okay, it’s practical. There’s nothing wrong with it. A look is all that is needed. Just look. Sometimes you’ll look and see love happening, other times you must be practical and all you see are fragments. Both are fine. Master both. It’s like this lady:

Sometimes you look, and she is going one way, and other times she is going the other way. The change is sudden, but you can learn to control it.  There is no wrong way. You must simply see that the whole thing is an illusion. If you get stuck in either direction, then you are missing out.

There are pieces, a puzzle, and you can make a picture. Once it is complete, there no pieces. If there are pieces, there is no picture. If you think so, know it’s only your thinking that makes it so. Either there are pieces, or there is a picture. They cannot exist at the same time. Think about it. One can become the other, but both cannot be at once. Even if only a single tiny piece is missing, the other is still not a picture, but just a larger piece. This is how love is. You, the very you-ness, is a piece. You are a fragment. When love is happening, you are no longer a fragment, but a whole. That’s why you cannot exist when love happens.

Pieces stop being pieces when they lose their edges. When you are a fragment, you have all kinds of edges. Your name, your gender, your job, your culture and nationality, your religion, everything that is you is just an edge. All edges are dissolved while love is happening. That’s why you cannot love. It’s practical to say so in speech, it’s okay, but sometimes it can be useful to be reminded that it’s not really so. You cannot love. There can be love, but then there cannot be a you. You can try it. It will simply look ridiculous. Like wearing slippers in a snow storm, or thick jackets in the summer. It will be problematic. Completely out of place. But this is what you are doing. Just look.

 


Homosexuality: Choice or not? Shouldn’t matter!

I see over and over again the debate on homosexuality circling around choice. But it doesn’t matter. It’s perfectly fine to be gay, either way. The question of nature vs nurture is completely irrelevant. Whether you choose to be gay or if that’s just who you are, it’s alright. “So what if I choose to be gay? I’m perfectly free to do so.”, is what homosexuals should say and kill the debate right there. But I fear that even homosexuals believe that their orientation needs to be justified, excused, explained. That is not needed. Be gay, if that’s what you want, but don’t excuse it. If you do, then it means you’re ashamed. It means you’d rather not.

It’s truly sad when gay people argue “I didn’t wake up one day and decide to be harassed, bullied and beat up. I just didn’t choose this”. The whole line of reasoning is pointless, unnecessary, and flawed. Gay people who argue this way really undermine the whole effort for equal rights for homosexuals. I’ve made choices my whole life that got me beat up and bullied, and I’m hardly alone. Political prisoners are not born with the opinions that get them persecuted, they freely choose to hold those opinions. The whole argument is flawed, but more than that it’s not needed. Drop it. Do not excuse yourself for being gay, enjoy it.


Nadeem J. Qureshi

http://nadeem.no