NYTimes’s The Life Report by David Brooks.

David Brooks has requested his septuagenarian readers to write a small biographical essay on their achievements, their failures and things they wish they had done better. He says that we learn many things in colleges but we fail to learn something important – How to live life.

My own personal experience has been similar. I have hardly seen anyone say to me, to be what i am. I am always told to be something i am not. I am always told to struggle. Struggle mostly to prove my worthiness. In a way, weird dress up of Lady Gaga or nude paintings by John Currin, their aggressiveness, is a natural self-defense against these people who want us to be like them.

We go to school for at least 25 years yet i have never attended a single class where i am told to be natural and in flow with nature. For some reason we have developed into a weird race. When we engage in a conversation. We mostly are in conversation with ourselves. Other person is needed only for manners of conversation. If you write down and analyse the conversation, we will see that two people are just talking about their own take, they don’t listen to each other. We feel victimized. We can’t listen absolutely. Our listening is comparative and mostly feel demeaning to us.

Alexander Supertramp.

A vast silence reigned over the land. The land itself was a desolation, lifeless, without movement, so lone and cold that the spirit of it was not even that of sadness. – Words quoted by Christopher McCandless from Jack London’s White Fang.

Their are only a few among us that can appreciate the beauty of these words and even lesser will ever experience it. Our lives are more about filmy things that pass quickly. What fire was burning in Christopher’s chest? What was his longing? What made him dissatisfied? What was so disturbed in him that he need the reign of silence to confront it.

It seems to me that we have heightened perception of pain and misery. It has almost become our nature. I would call it our first nature. As long as our source for happiness is outer approval, we will be on journey of self deprecating dark humor.

Stargate Universe – The Negative Review.

I have been watching Stargate Universe for some time now. It is an interesting TV show. It shows both broadness of our thinking and it’s limits. TV show airs in North America. Consequently, most galaxies are shown to be inhabited by English-speaking-christian-white-folks. Aliens have been shown to have faith in many real and fake gods but their ways are too christian.

The director also failed to imagine touch screen small handheld devices. All the gadgets show in the show are just too big and tacky.

Black ops military personnel are mostly seen in lose pants and joking around. Scientists are seen to be coming up physical laws bending theories pretty much everyday. Archaeologists take only a few minutes to decipher ancient and alien text.

I have watched all ten seasons and have grown to to respect the lighter side of this sci-fi show. I am going to need another blog post for a more positive review.

Vincent Von Gogh’s Incompetency.

Vincent Von Gogh was the most celebrated artist and painter of last century. He lived life of extreme mental and physical agony. He had to live off his brother as people of his time failed to recognize his brilliance. He was mentally unstable. He often use to visit brothels. A recent article on New Yorker suggest that he had feelings of incompetency. It is not very clear but either he cut his ear lobe and presented to a prostitute or his house mate, another legendary painter did it but they hid it from public to maintain bravado of Von Gogh. Not that Von Gogh was a brave person but he liked to think so.

It is very curious, why do we fall for this cycle of low-self-esteem and then some work hard to overcome it and other live in misery. Is their an end to this misery? I would like to think so. Their is no absolute end to it. It almost seems to me that world was created to criticize you. It arises out of deep feeling of self hatred. Anything you do outside will be criticized. A point can be achieved in yourself where you can retreat back to yourself. All actions after this point are worthless.

Libya and the New World.

I certainly do not share agony that Libyan people have faced for decades under Maummar Gaddafi. I was not even aware of him a while ago until he started showing up in international newspaper for obvious notorious reasons. I have welcomed much needed international efforts to support fight against atrocities caused by Gaddafi on his own people.

I was amazed to see angry people dragging his bloodied body on the street. I can never understand like corrupt are not caught for corruption but for greed, similarly dictators are not often caught for their long problematic stint at power but their thought of themselves as invincible. They are later or sooner crushed by their own people. Hopefully, people of Libya forget this bloodbath and embrace a new progressive world.

Worlds.

We have built a marvelous world around us. Dickens and Shakespeare endeavored to write. Vincent Von Gogh and John Quin did painting. Einstein and Stephen Hawking solved a part of scientific mystery. Beatles and Pink Floyd brought music in our life. Yet it is hard to believe at times that this world really exist.

This world mostly exist in our minds and the only time we perceive its physical aspects when we are in pain. We carry another several worlds in our brain. The ones with where we are crazy rich party animals. And their are those who have no clue of world above ours. They might be right.

Greed

Money, sex and drugs is the most valuable piece of history of our times. Most important in a sense that it keeps on repeating itself every couple of years in different forms. Businessmen, musicians, artists and common men, we all have had taste of it. Some more than others. And those who have not had it in day, dream of it in night.

Galleon founder Raj Rajaratman was arrested earlier this year and has been sentenced to 11 years of imprisonment. To my knowledge, most of these greedy businessmen get caught. Of course, the caught ones are the only examples that i know. They are the most talented and revered among us. Yet they all commit same sin – greed.

The most intriguing thing is that their is limit to what you can spend, then why go on rampage of fraud and get caught.

Battlestar Galactica

I am recently done watching Battlestar Galactica. Pity that it lasted only 4 seasons. It is full of action and philosophy. Thirteen races – twelve human and one Cylon, that originated on planet Earth have embarked on an inter-galactic voyage. They consider each other their nemesis and fatal to their own survival.

The story continues as they cross each other – mostly Cylons following humans on their course to a safe land. Cylons are intelligent robots made by humans to serve them. Cylons grew intelligent and sexy (in case of ‘Number 6’). They took control of a territory. An agreement was forged to not to cross each others territory. Curiosity of humans commit the act of war.

Their are five nerving characters in the show. Commander Bill Adama, Lee Adama, Laura Roslin, Kara Thrace and Gaius Baltar. Their were other important and consistent characters like Athena, Tigh Helo, etc.

Gaius Baltar is a dandy scientist with ‘Caprician accent’ and is a womanizer. He was the origin of destruction and he has to carry on the race of humans on Earth. He is often shown meddling philosophical questions in a fantasy world of a beach house with the Number 6. He becomes President of a new colony. Cylons attack. He spends some time with Cylons and later trialed by Laura Roslin. Lee Adama heroically saves him. He becomes a Preacher and holy man for a clam of women. In a sense he confides publicly that he is not a preacher. What is most striking is he is not affected by ethics and morals. He is a self preserving man.

Music and the New Experience.

A couple of hours ago i was at Capitol Theater in Salt Lake City to attend Jeff Hamilton and trio – the first Jazz concert of the SLCJAZZ season by GAM Foundation. Jeff Hamilton played a mix of groovy, slow and a closing Blues composition. The music and ambiance was just great.

I was more interested in my own ability to not to be able to completely relax and absorb the music. I wonder if music or any other form of art has any deep meaning. Perception and understanding is built upon old experiences. How can i experience something subtle like music when i have to use my past experience?

Learning

The space between learning for learning and skills for working have seriously declined. We have schools which let us gain skills for working but fails us when it comes to learning. The present system is designed for a mass of people of same age. In my understanding, these three things are totally unrelated , that is, learning, age and working skills. On top of that we make everyone learn same thing at same point of time in same amount of time.

I have no interest in going to classes. I bet most people don’t. Those who go to classes realize it as an important thing to do in their checklist to get good grades and later a great job. No learning can happen if you are not amazed about thing you are trying to understand. Leaning is a quality with which you come out with new knowledge about the subject. It is not something that you memorize from standard textbooks.