Sunday, January 13, 2013

Flip flop

Generally speaking, I think I am a happy person. However, sometimes I get really depressed with the state of existence that I inhabit. There is nothing noteworthy or significant in this very unremarkable history of a guy like millions of other guys.

To be sure, I have nothing to complain about. Everything is well taken care of. Health, family, profession, material wealth - all are present in abundance. Indeed, often I think of myself as a very lucky person. Yet often I find I am not happy. Or at least I am not as happy as I could be.

What would make me happier? I have tried to analyze this problem, hoping to find a solution. I am an introvert, so most times I am happy just being with myself. Indeed, I am most often happier by myself than in company. But really, deep down, I think I have become very lonely. I have been told I come across as arrogant and aloof. Aloof, yes, certainly. I don't try to influence or change things or people's thoughts beyond a point. So maybe loneliness is what prevents me from perfect happiness. What else? The lack of a goal - something big and meaningful to look forward to. Something to stop me from just drifting along - something to propel the oars of life's boat along the sea of events that make up every moment. What else? Courage. The courage to stand up and make a difference. Or at least the courage to tell it like it is. What else? Generosity. I try to be unselfish, and to help people close to me. I am the guy who always will volunteer to suffer adverse conditions so that my loved ones can be comfortable. Yet I dont think anyone notices this enough to let me know that it is making a difference. Perhaps the aloofness comes in the way of good intent.

I don't believe that I can change anything about myself now - after all, I'm in the mid thirties, my hair have grayed, and the best part of my life is done. So what is the solution? How can I be happier more often than I currently am? Do I really care enough about myself to try to be happier? Or am I just a lucky guy who is too lazy to turn fortune into an enduring legacy?

We shall never know.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Time travel and God particles. Also, the biggest illusion of all

For a change, I am returning to my roots. On a hunch, I bought a book called The Big Questions in Physics, written by Michael Brooks. This book is a masterpiece, and also a mind bender. It has enough material in it to amaze even a reasonably aware person like me, and is written simply enough for a totally out of touch person to understand the key points.

The book tries to simplify and state what the current cutting edge thinking is on fundamental questions like Can we travel through time? Is any one of us unique? How large is the universe? What is reality? and so on.
It is astounding, or so it seems to me, that modern day physics is so close to metaphysics or religion. Spooky, in many ways.

Sample this - matter (the stuff that anything is made of, including you and me) exhibits duality. It behaves sometimes like a wave, and sometimes like a particle. What it actually is, depends entirely on the observer!! And not only on the observer's current actions, but also the observer's future actions!! Confused? Read on -

In an experiment where a single photon is passed through a double slit (you may remember this from class XII physics practicals!), the resulting pattern exhibits interference, showing that the photon is a wave (or that it passes through both slits simultaneously). Now, it we add apparatus to the experiment to measure which slit the photon actually passes through, the interference disappears! The photon starts exhibiting particle properties. In other words, the photon is at multiple places AT THE SAME TIME. Only the observer's actions (past or future) determine which of the millions of possibilities it will actually exhibit.

I may not have explained this very well, but I highly recommend a read. If nothing else, it will remind you of the Matrix, where all reality is an illusion. 

Another year passes

I'm looking back to see what I was thinking at the beginning of that brand new year 2012. I find I was not too sanguine about things, and was full of good intentions.

Well, the year is done, and what do we have to show for it? Personally, 2012 was, for me, the year of repair - repair of my thought processes, repair of placidity, old thoughts discarded for new, and new directions set in the GPS box of life. All in all, it was a year like any other, kind in parts and cruel in others. Maybe the mix was a bit biased, but nothing to write home about.

So what does 2013 have in store? Lots of promises, for sure. New purpose, new opportunities. The uncertainties are narrowing down, which is good, but so are the possibilities. One thing is for sure, that the year ahead provides tremendous scope for trying out new things. Professionally, personally and health wise.

How will it all pan out? We hope for the best, but prepare for the worst!

Here is wishing you a very happy new year!