It’s Good Friday. In silence, I am met with the sobering reality of life, the fallout of the novel coronavirus, and my disconnection from everything I long for.
I look out the window for the thousandth time. It’s covered in pollen, as no one has cleaned it since the house’s construction twelve years ago.
I check my Facebook notifications, to see if anything has happened with my pokes. A post appears on my feed about a friend and his girlfriend and their celebration of their togetherness.
Without turning the light on, I look at myself in the mirror and gather up another summary of who I am. A man who sees life as it is at face value, unaltered and unblemished. But everyone knows too well what life really is: an endless struggle, a war for meaning. They want something supernatural, something magical that lets their minds run loose with imagination. To this effect, the stern look on my face has little new to offer.
I don’t think the market (the relationships market, the business market, the job market) is particularly interested in reality. Reality is static; it describes how things are right now. It imposes constraints on us. Though some choose to accept these constraints, while others blissfully ignore them, the constraints are there.
The sobering truth of human society is that we may never find an objective, universally accepted purpose for our existence – that is, a specific, concrete purpose that all of humanity will agree on. We tick like clockwork in our thought, though primitively we are animals influenced by feeling. In the mirror, my eyes reflect a dense emptiness, the result of a battle between this rational self and animal self. I know much about the world and its governance by mathematical processes, but my mind continues to wonder for what all of it is useful for.
But if people can be offered evidence to just believe in something, then they invest their mind into it accordingly. Apple products, at the time, were magical in the public eye – people were convinced they could do anything, and at every release they bought them religiously. Likewise, stock market prices reflect people’s beliefs on how successful a company will become. People enter relationships, believing that their partner is really the one person they need in their lives. Jurors write “guilty” or “not guilty,” believing that the verdict they have chosen is the most appropriate one. Chess players make a move, believing that the move they have made is the one that will let them win the game.
It is the illusion of opportunity that entices one to make a decision, and the illusion of objectivity that confirms the decision.
If I continue to strangle myself in the constraints of reality – a reality that sees only cold facts and not opportunity – then will people ever see opportunity in me? They will see what I saw in the mirror – the face of a boy anxious about his future, longing but seemingly unable to find some shred of hope to cling onto. But people want to see what they might enjoy with me, what jokes I might laugh to, what advice and experience I might have in store for them, even if I myself do not believe I have anything at all to offer. After all, is the reality that I have nothing to offer, or that I have far more to offer than I have ever given myself credit for?
So screw reality.
Looking back, I think that my thoughts may be mistaken as a foray into nihilism. Far from it. Humanity constantly strives to seek the truth, and if I eliminate that, then I am rejecting essentially all intellectual study.
When I think of reality, I think of all of the facts of the present day. In a distributed system, all nodes are striving to synchronize with each other to achieve a consistent state. However, there are some events that occurred in the past that did not make it to the consistent state; this is an unfortunate side effect of forcing a distributed system into consistency.
When I went to Japan three years ago, I wrote about some events and took pictures of others, but others yet remain solely in my mind. They cannot be reproduced, and there probably is little further evidence that they occurred. At some point, we must make a binary conclusion – that’s how the courts work, that’s how scientific inquiry works. Is it true, or is it false.
We need to take in the intricacies of reality and not allow ourselves to be constrained by mere “true” and “false.” Rather, we should take the time to explore the world and appreciate the things that we may never be able to put a “true” or a “false” on – arts, humanities, film, writing, sightseeing.