Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Why I Live

This sounds corny, but to go to my next post "How I Live" I have to do this one. And I have been postponing it.

I live because I am alive.
I live because I am not yet dead.

Truism. Tautology. Obvious fact.

All so true. So, there is nothing more to it. I shall just accept it as it is. No argument about it.

The above statements are very profound to me. They describe plain and simple truth which I have no choice but to accept.

To ask why should I be alive, why should I live - to ask this question is to invoke a sense of ego which is the source of all the troubles which we face in life.

By simply accept things as they (naturally) are, I am allowing myself to be part of the natural world of which I am but a little part.

I live incognito within this larger realm of reality.


I am or try to be a-religious, although I confess I am deeply devotional. I accept all.

When I was studying in the UK, I was approached by evangelists. I was missing home, and my instinctive reaction to their strong sell was this:

"How can I love God whom I do not know, before I love my parents who do love me."

With that, I have come to realise that I had discovered a meaningful raison detre for living.

This has become crucial to me as I struggle through the puddles of this world.

Now, with a spouse and children, the meaning in my life has spread out from the parents to the larger family, and as the old disappears, the love I have gets spread out even more and defines the way I live or rather the things I do in life and things I try to achieve or the troubles that I am now taking in the projects I am undertaking.

At the end of it, there is nothing much to shout about in life. The quieter I live, the better it is for myself and for others. I find it incredible how everyone always seems to have something to say about everything all the times (and I reckon I am also guilty of it). Something it is good to lower the noise. However, it does nobody any harm if we try to do something positive for ourselves or for others (provided we know exactly what we are doing, rather than causing more harm than good).

So long as I have something that I want to do, then I shall live. Once I have done what I have set out to do, and I have nothing more to do, then I suppose I shall quietly go away.

I therefore live because I have something to do. (I suppose this brings me to How I Live.)


hishamh said...

Good post.

...but I have to ask - what's with the Vox?

etheorist said...


Playing it. Great fun especially with 70's Fender Stratocaster. Raw enough, but disturbs no one. Could elaborate on How I Live!

hishamh said...

LOL, I've got three basses (one fretless) sitting in my old room at my parents house. Sadly, hardly have time to play anymore.

Neil said...

The Spin Of Why We Die

Why we live is twinned to why we die.

Everything returns to nothing which returns to another everything which ends in another nothing. Symmetry.

Yet it has been mathematically proven that under observable experimental conditions, particles emit more to one side than to the other. Parity is not conserved. The Unseen One is left-handed.

Therefore, and also perhaps, it is this asymmetry which leads to symmetry. Thus the asymmetry-symmetry pair is itself symmetric.

So why the asymmetry? A signal out of the void of symmetry, maybe.

The above therefore provides trenchant proof that the blogger's incredulity about why people always have something to write about everything is not misplaced. In some unfortunate cases, magnified even.

With that excess put in proper perspective while adding another debit item to one's karma, we may proceed to answer why we die in order to answer why we live.

There is a mortality trigger in our system. By system we should not exclude non-body notions.

The physical body itself perishes in natural due course. Some may extend their lifespan by moderate consumption of certain beverages. Others may choose to shorten their lifespan by immoderate consumption of certain herbs.

It is about choice but the choice itself is limited by the shape and size of the mortality trigger which in some instances is determined by molecules passed down or perhaps it is karma carried forward. Like an invisible spreadsheet with endless tabs.

Why we die is because every life story must have an ending inasmuch a beginning. Even the movie/book called neverending story...ended.

Perhaps ends are inevitable because stories tend to get a trite stale over time. The plots gets repeated. Because the ranges of emotions and thought frequencies with all appertaining permutations in a single lifetime are themselves limited by the configuration of the molecules passed down add on the nurture built up add on the shaping experiences carried through minus the karmic deformations inserted.

And why we get bored is because we learn, accumulate and remember as we go along. Therefore the unlearned or those with short memories should live longer. Since one gets more forgetful with age, therefore the older we get the longer we live. But that's just logic, some may say.

We die because our individual diversities have outlived their cycles and need to give way to other occupants in limited space and diminishing resources. That may explain why a self-renewing nature has such diversified life forms. Life as a Malthusian venus-flytrap.

An egg cracks to reveal a little bird which grows feathers to spread wings to fly up to the telephone line so that it can sing its heart out to the sky. Just as one is about to wake up with a heavy heart that it will again be another same-old day. A signal from the symmetrical void, one wonders.

Everything wants to live. Birds, plants, insects, mosquitoes, mosquitoes, mosquitoes, politicians.

Neil said...


In the rich diversity we see in nature, we see that yearning to live. To tell the story. To sound the bell that presages a beginning within which the echo of its own end.

If the bell keeps on ringing nonstop and incessantly, the ringing becomes the very background that displaces the silence. And blanks out the signal we hope is there. If only we know the precise frequency to tune in.

Hope is the chord of drama. Discarding the lockset of logic, we thus fill the vacuum of life by dramatizing it with poignancies.

We die because we have lived. Delta life is always with respect to delta tau, or time. And the differential runs up the sigmoid curve until it reaches a plateau whereupon it automatically starts to slide until it comes to a stop. Some never even got the chance to climb that slope.

Yet we are if born normally are born with fairly robust bodies. Like an automobile, we just need proper maintenance. Good thoughts for healthy spirit. Good nourishment for strength and vitality. Good entertainment (to some, the WWS syndrome) to keep up flagging spirits to meet another day, secretly chiding ourselves that escapism is the only route left for those who have nothing else to be amused with in a self-repeating storyboard.

But the robust body is held together by fragile mechanisms. Take breathing. We breathe to get oxygen and expel carbon dioxide. The oxygen molecule enters and works it way through membranes under differential pressure to hook itself to an iron-clad hemoglobin carrier molecule. Like a faithful coolie, that carrier takes the oxygen to the cells where the oxygen is fired like ron-95 (at rm1.85/liter, presently) to burn food into energy.

But nobody asks how the oxygen molecule could in the first place get near enough to hook itself to the iron ion to be carried by the carrier hemoglobin which is shaped like a volcano with too narrow an opening at its top within which resides the iron ion.

Word has it the oxygen molecule transforms itself as it reaches the mouth of the volcano. Triggered by repulsive forces as it approaches the bounded atoms at the opening, it internally undergoes an Eg-T2g eigenfunction spin transition. It then squeezes itself like someone pulling in his stomach to be slim ... just by a few nanometers .. .but enough to fall into the opening to bond with the iron ion waiting for it. Like pollination.

If that damn spin transition doesn't take place, the entire human and animal kingdom, product of thousands of years, would asphyxiate and wipe itself out in sixty seconds.

All because of a little spin.

Perhaps that's why economic transformations and transitions to high-income economies must also have spin these days.

Aren't we elaborately witty today?

Religions and parents.

We learn religions from religious books. These are handed down through the ages and are presumably written as well as interpreted by sages and religious teachers as faithful records of what had transpired during the great times of messaging, awakening and revivalism.

Neil said...


What is the process of such an awakening for the uninitiated? First, the records contain moral messages in historical contexts. Second, the uninitiated, say alone, comes upon one such record. Third step, he or she opens the book and reads it. Fourth step, at certain passages, a chord is suddenly struck in the mind (or heart) of the reader who finds resonance in him or her with what was written. Fifth step, he or she likes it and that starts the next cycle called belief which is a new process of conscious adherence to a body of precepts that self-argues their totality and comprehensive application independent of the era one happens to be in.

Some have surmised it is possible to detect that chord on a Vox. Others however ruminate that since the chord or resonance precedes the belief, one should first ask where that chord or resonance comes from in order to discern the source of faith or belief.

They argue ‘if I read something for the first time and i immediately sense it is good, then i must already know what is good before reading it otherwise how can i identify it as good? Where did that notion of goodness come from?’

There are three schools of thought about the source of ethical values. One, it comes by divine intervention and this has been much recorded. People just get a spark in their heads one day and achieve sublime consciousness of an unseen order. Two, some get so fed-up with what life has dished them they will accept a new regime and suspend all arguments; it is like walking into a serene and cool hall from the sweltering and sticky heat outside. Three, the values were taught by or imbibed from one’s elders; grandparents, parents, siblings, friends, teachers and role models.

What cannot be ascertained is which source is valid. One or none or two or more. But suffice to say if we use lex parsimoniae, better known as Occam’s razor, we should just accept nurture, or guidance from one’s elders as the first source of ethical values. However that doesn’t explain how strongly ethical conduct could have arisen from weak parentage. Perhaps it is education. But in these modern days of compartmentalization, education is split into secular and moral disciplines, the latter falling under strict regimes of specific faiths. But for a more general moral education independent of specific faiths, perhaps mankind would not be facing the clash of civilizations today continued from previous ages. It is understood that Buddhism is not a religion but a science of ethical conduct amenable to conscientious study and daily practice. Like breathing in oxygen molecules.

These are the perspectives that evangelists, religious teachers and proselytizers have failed to address. Their own sources of ethical emergence and the historical lens of faith evolution.

Neil said...


Proving Genetic Ethics and Samsara By Observation

For the proofs, we need a brood of alley cats, and a truckload of pigs slated for the abbatoir.

The first alley cat was called Princess. Very elegant and well domesticated. Having seen better days in a household, it was left out to fend for itself. Promptly starting a family with a passing tom, it left behind a few generations. You can easily see how from one generation to the next, new and old traits came and went like how their skin colors and their behavioral patterns changed.

After nine years sitting in the backyard watching them come and go like some tv drama series, the latest one day appears. She is a white mixed with patches of light brown and as elegant as her great-great-great…Princess. She meows and looks at you with those bewitching eyes. Mesmerized, the source of goodness in your heart triggers itself. You give her a piece of your bread. She takes it hungrily. Encouraged, you give her your piece of tinned Rex-brand fish that you had saved for your reduced sandwich. It’s all about the source of ethical values triggered for the animal kingdom. She rolls over and stretches herself to show she is mightily happy while pretending to be cool about the fish. You are fluffed. A piece of nice fish and she just touches it with her paw? You wonder about consumer tastes these days, even for felines. Turning around again, you behold a surprise. Besides her now is an ugly small blackish and scrawny kitten. Her younger sibling, you wonder?

See, she has made a conscious decision not to have that repast even with only one small piece of bread for herself in order to save the fish for her sibling. He wolfed it down.

Neil said...


And people fall over each other at open houses. Genetics ethics is thus proven. From the viewpoint of cats, amoebas even, Man is probably at a lower rung in the evolution hierarchy.

The proof of samsara is equally poignant. Please don’t proceed beyond this point if it is too sensitive.

It is just daylight in the morning in the sixties. There is a truckload of pigs to be conveyed to the slaughterhouse. They are all weeping. QED.


Life is strife. We die the moment we are born. Because to live we must eat. And we take other life forms. If Life is all about the Unity of lives, then we break that Unity with even the consumption of a sesame seed, let alone animals, vegetables, and possibly minerals. Our fates are sealed the moment we live.


Sometimes we write more than we should. But only because we would like to help catalyze change. Whether it is change for the better of everyone remains to be seen. But if status quo is generally seen to be unsatisfactory, then writing more may generate interest to make changes. One cannot do it alone. It takes effort, confluence of ideas and common agreement on assessments, objectives and targets moving forward.

The alternative is to be quiet, do nothing, turn inwards and wait for the repeat of situations deemed bad because every body continues in its state of rest or uniform motion in a crooked line unless acted upon by an external force. In which case one should be born deaf and dumb so that one’s hearing and speech could be given to others born less fortunate. Sight too.

Nevertheless, there is truth that ultimately nothing matters. Including this overly chatty post. But that is possibly because not many people will get the chance to ride a mule into the desert only to have their sayings studied thousands of years later.

etheorist said...

As usual, exuberatingly expansive.

Neil said...



Neil said...