Friday, 28 October 2016

Some Things ...

Life so far was series of struggles, done with much hesitations.

I'm not so confident, not humble either.

Passion pursues many things. Sometimes, it was fiction.... sometimes, psychoanalysis.... sometimes, simply dreaming... movies... mathematics... machine learning... algorithms... pornography... politics... culture... history... yoga... and so on.

Latest is vedanta.... The very weird logic that everything emanates from same thing that nobody ever claimed understood: Brahman. Stuff like ayam atma brahma, aham brahma asmi, sarvam khalu idam brahma, and so on. The thought that life requires some kind of control... some internal mindfulness... and so on....

To be honest, everything is stupid from a universal perspective. Yet, not everything is universal; no need to be so. Some things are mine and mine alone. No other sentient being [Haha, from Buddhist literature] can feel them, but me. That's the subjective aspect of life I'm talking about.

Meditation is an experience, an experience of depth, of silence, of calmness, of a feeling that the world is not what I see, of illusion beyond five senses and intellect. 

Yoga Asanas are another experience. The easiness or energy experienced around the spine after a good session of Asanas is something so nice.

May there be light!

If not, I'm not responsible. It may be some technical fault. Call some guy. Maybe, God.

27-Oct-2016
Bangalore

Thursday, 27 October 2016

My Son's First "Show and Tell"

It was on 26-Oct-2016.

Teacher said we (actually my wife) chose very tough lines for him, yet he managed to a good extent!

Below were the lines, adding here just for the record.

Good morning!
My name is Vijual Sandeep.
I am going to talk about elephant.
Elephant is a very big animal.
It lives in the forest.
It is also seen in the zoo.
It has fan-like ears, small eyes, long trunk, four large legs and short tail.
The male elephant has two tusks.
Elephants eat plants and banana.
It is a good friend of man.
Thank you!

Thursday, 17 September 2015

The Book of Disquiet ("I am Someone Else's Dream")

We, humans, are people who by and large live and behave conforming to our social identities. A waiter who looks and behaves truly as a waiter; a priest, truly as a priest; a manager, truly as a manager; and so on. You can often see a Brahmin, whose appearances, behaviour, habits and the symbols he is wearing gives an unmistakable look of a Brahmin. So does a Muslim, and so does many others. Barring the social identities, which we conform to, what are we? Merely humans? I don't know if I can say that. But I always feel I have to assume an identity externally to fit into situations, social expectations and my profession, although internally I feel differently. Yet, how others look at me, the identity they assume in me, which may be expressed in their occasional, unsolicited feedbacks, suggestions or remarks, is still something entirely different. This difference between what I internally feel what I am, what I have to assume and show externally, and what others assume about me, this suffocating rift between different identities of mine, is, what I think, Fernando Pessoa's writings try to express. Maybe, Pessoa is much more complex than this; maybe he is much more different. But I am talking about what I could capture from his writings.

What I feel internally is not very coherent. It always drifts freely. I feel differently at different times. I have altogether different and often conflicting thoughts at different times. For that matter, none of my identities are the same. None of them are coherent. I have no integral identity. This lack of integrity is confusing and the root of a lot of existential anxieties. Normally, people may not take it seriously. Many may not even be aware of this. Some might be aware feebly, but would not have thought about it. What if I take it very seriously? What if I try to analyze myself and my identities so seriously? Then I will become Pessoa! Can I say that?

Pessoa identified his different kinds of thoughts and he realized they were even different types of thought processes. He was crazy, he gave different identities to them, inventing different names and biographies for each of them. He allowed each of them to write poetry, creating varieties of poems. Each expressed different philosophies, different themes. He called his different identities 'hetronyms'. 

'The Book of Disquiet' was written by Bernando Soares, one of Pessoa's many hetronyms, and this book is perhaps the only prose Pessoa has written. Written as a series of daily journals, the book expresses the core of Pessoa's inability to conform to an identity, or his lack of identities. If no identity is assumed, I feel myself only as a consciousness through which thoughts, dreams, imaginations are flowing incessantly, incoherently, discontinuously. What can I make of them? What do I perceive as the center of my thoughts? The thoughts and dreams are not part of any identity. So, I may feel they lie outside me. Everything I see, sense, perceive is me. I am in the clouds, in the horizon, in the wind. My life just pass through and my experience of it is quite detached from me. This detachedness can be sensed in every line in the book. Moreover, when I write it assuming an identity – Bernando Soares – what do Soares feel? He does not have a body for himself nor any sensory organs. What he sees, hears, experiences, are all through Pessoa's body. This makes Soares feel more detached from the experience than he should be. And that makes the writing more abstract and beautiful. For example, Soares feel he is imprisoned inside an infinitely large prison, which, because is infinite and hence is as large as the world, cannot be escaped. His inexpressible desire, which is repeated throughout the book, is not to have been existed. He does not desire to exist nor cease to exist, for both for him are meaningless. He desire not to have existed, to have been saved from the emptiness that he is experiencing. He is very keen in observing everything, living and non-living, around him. Perhaps, he is helpless in that he can't help observing all that happens, even the minute and insignificant experiences and sensations. A sight of the sunset, clouds, rain or the blue sky creates uncontrollable flow of thoughts in him. Thus he feels connected to the world around him. He is so alone yet connected to everything around. That makes his loneliness more suffering. “Whether I like it or not, in the confused depths of my fatal sensibility, I am all these things,” he writes somewhere. He also writes, “I look for myself, but finds no one.” And he is disturbingly aware that he doesn't really exist but his whole experience comes through some one else's body. Thus he writes, “I do not know if I exist, it seems possible to me that I might be someone else's dream.”

All the dreams, imaginations, thoughts, all uncontrollable, makes Soare's mind always noisy. This disquiet is what the name of the book implies. The Book of Disquiet. I am only half-way through the book. It is abstract, disturbing yet addictive.

Sandeep
Bangalore
17-Sep-2015

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

On Music

When I have nothing to hold on to,
I hold on to music,
Which helps me to be unaware of
The abyss of existential absurdities.



Thursday, 2 July 2015

Lost Speech of the Nature

I love closeness of the nature. I always thought the nature taught me something. I always thought the nature spoke to me. I always thought I could hear the nature's speech.

When the cool breeze caressed my face, I listened to it, to understand what it was saying to me. When I saw a lone white cloud in a large empty blue sky, I thought the cloud was smiling at me, rejoicing in its own solitude.

I realize. A new knowledge comes to me. I decipher, from the silence of nature itself.

It was an illusion. Nature is just dumb. It teaches me nothing. It does not have its own speech.

It is I who learns from the nature. It is I who speaks to me as if nature speaks. It was my speech that I was hearing all the time. Nature thus lost its speech in front of me.

I am relieved. No more outside speech I have to listen to. It is my speech; it is my own responsibility.

It is my own radical responsibility.

Sandeep, 
Chennai, 
2-July-2015.

My New Tumblr Blog for Excerpts from My Readings

I have just created a new writing space for me. Here I'll keep posting interesting excerpts from things I read, which will include books, websites, papers, etc., and topics can be general to engineering to psycho-analysis. It can be Malayalam or English. Keep tuned if you think you'd be interested.

Link : http://sandeeppalakkal.tumblr.com/

-Sandeep

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Evening At Kotturpuram Tree Park

I have lived in Bangalore a couple of years back. It was my lonely days. I loved Bangalore mainly for its small parks in some nooks and corners. After work, while I return to my room, I used to go to some park and spend some time there. People come there for evening walks. I go there with a book and read it. Those were some serene moments in my life. I remember reading Kafka, Sartre, etc. in parks in Bangalore. That was an exciting feeling. Exciting times too.

Chennai has less parks. But there are a few. There's one near my apartment in Kotturpuram: The Kotturpuram Tree park. The place was a waste yard a couple of years back and an organization, Nizhal, in collaboration with the Chennai Metro Corporation built this amazing park by planting trees and nurturing them systematically. Now it has a lot of trees and walkways for morning or evening walks. You can go and sit there and forget that you are in Chennai. The breeze coming from the nearby Adyar river cools down your body as soon as you enter the park.


I go there in the evenings for a walk or just to sit and look at the river to ponder upon the existential aspect of everyday life. There will be boats in the river rowed by people. Possibly they are from the Adyar boat club. Sometimes, I take some book with me to read. I'm reminded by those Bangalore days. Today, while I was reading, I took an occasional glance at the river. I felt that the top edge of the wall between me and the river was moving. Was it some kind of an optical illusion? I looked again. There you are! A snake slowly advancing along the net tied above the wall. My immediate reaction was, naturally, fear! Now I am not a child, but a grownup adult. I said to myself, calm down, it is just a snake and sits a few meters away from me. Instinctively, I looked around me, on the stone chair I was sitting and under it, to check whether there was a snake lurking around near me. Because I was so lost in my reading!




Thursday, 18 June 2015

Trauma of Knowledge

"Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale her infinite variety!"
--W. Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra 

This is what I feel about knowledge. The more you know, the more unsatisfied you become. You want more and more knowledge. You want to learn everything about everything. There is no particular motivation for learning. Learning itself is the motivation. The desire to learn is a fire within you, which you cannot quell in any manner. 

Perhaps, this very inability to disengage myself from learning, the very fire within me that torment me all the time, this unquenchable thirst for knowledge, to master new and advanced knowledge, the guilt that arise within me when I am aware that I have not learnt enough yet..... Perhaps, this is my psychological trauma, the chaos within me. 

But I am powerless. I give up the struggle to be stable, sane and calm. I submit myself to the fire within me. I imagine that I am a machine, a learning machine. I am a machine that continuously learns. Only limit is the limit of my brain, intellectual capacity and ability to imagine and remember.

Oh, my non-existent god!** Please watch over me and save me from being eaten by wolves.


(**"Oh, my non-existent god!" is my copyrighted phrase. Don't copy without prior permission. You will be executed prosecuted.)

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Friday, 20 March 2015

Philosophy Out of Nowhere

I am not a pervert. What I meant is I am not religious and I don't care a damn about god (Why don't the god care for me instead?). I love those cognitive psychologists and neuro-scientists who declare that the Self (or rather the sense of having a Self) depends just on how the way the neural network in your brain has evolved. The most mysterious fact about neural network (at least the artificial neural network) is that we don't know how it works, but damn! it works! That is, I think, materialism at its best. In a way that is the Kantian materialism (transcendental idealism), which says one cannot ever know what is the essence of things, but only the physical, empirical phenomena that one can experience through ones own senses. It justifies the attitude that I enjoy even though I don't understand [it]. That is how I do engineering. I don't understand any of it, nonetheless I am good at it (Ain't I?). But at the end, I think, it turns out that pure materialism such as neuro-science is boring. Things get more interesting when we interpret them. In neuro-science, there is no interpretation (I don't know, but I am just shooting. Isn't it worth a shot?). Only psychoanalysis interprets and it does it so beautifully. Why should we care if the interpretation is true or not? Why should we care if it represents the true essence? I don't care. I enjoy the interpretation in spite of my ignorance about its true nature. Pure materialism is dis-interesting. I am not a nihilist, but one who traversed his own nihilism. So I like fiction. Fiction adds meaning to empty materialist life. In a way, our thoughts constitute a form of narration. It narrates our own story to ourselves. That is why we feel life is meaningful. If you feel that your life is meaningless, then you must understand that meaninglessness is the narrative trick your mind uses to find meaning in meaninglessness.

That is all for now. Good bye!!!

-Sandeep