Friday, November 23

Butterflies

Sometimes when you look back on a situation, you realize it wasn't all you thought it was. A beautiful girl walked into your life. You fell in love. Or did you? Maybe it was only a childish infatuation, or maybe just a brief moment of vanity. - Henry Bromell

The butterflies of infatuation can be deceiving little rascals. I am tempted to believe it is the only way I've known them so far. If love is blind, having a crush on someone is losing your senses completely - making me feel very much impressed about someone who's really not that wonderful at all, but actually rather plain, or worse. And I can only see it afterwards, at which point I thank the heavens above for being completely unable to seduce men at the snap of my fingers.

I dislike being unsettled in such a way. To me, this thing we call 'falling in love' (for lack of a better expression) is meaningless and silly, consumes all my attention, and always seems to be heading for disappointment. At one point I just had enough. Well, it wasn't the first time I realized that, but suddenly something odd happened. It stopped.

I have to admit that being in control of my butterflies is great in many respects. But it also gives rise to a somewhat peculiar situation; feeling deep affection for someone but not being 'in love'. Everything is like it's supposed to be, but the feeling is different. Not less than what it should be, just different. Why don't I just fall in love, you ask. And I wish I could be completely deluded, as blind as a bat again.

Wednesday, November 21

Nothing beats losing

Often it's hard to fully realize what you have until you lose it. As long as life is going smoothly you're never forced to stop and think about it, but when life gets tough you remember how easy it used to be. I try to realize how lucky I am, though, to appreciate the good things that come across my path. But nothing beats losing.

Something good was there for the taking, but I was not quite sure if I wanted it. So I doubted, and postponed making a decision. But right after the very moment I did decide to go for the gold, it all started to fall apart. I did decide, didn't I, or is that just what it seems like in retrospective? At times I only want something when I am about to lose the possibility of gaining it, as I see the last bit of light peeping through the closing door.What is beyond my reach attracts me more; the pattern repeats itself.

Life can be unyielding. You struggle with it, you try to bend it your way, but it just won't. As if everything is conspiring against you. Some believe that when you really want something, life will help you get it. At the moment it feels like the opposite is true.

I can't have it, so I want it back. Maybe that doesn't classify as real desire.

Saturday, November 10

An open book

A few days ago I met a man who knew all kinds of things about me. We had never talked before, but simply by interpreting my body language he was able to pinpoint my key character traits. I knew myself quite well, he said. If I tried my best I could really get somewhere. Then he pointed to some boys and a young woman near by and told me what the differences were between myself and those people. "You are happier than most people here in this pub," he said, "why is that?"

The whole conversation was quite remarkable, and it would have been creepy if I wouldn't have felt like I'd known him for ages. This man wasn't some obscure oddball. In fact, he was a rather imposing big black man who'd been a high-up in some company, before quiting his job eight months ago to become a stay-at-home dad. "Reading" people had been very important in his former function, he explained. I was amazed all the same.

Perhaps we are less mysterious to the outside world than we tend to think; we communicate subconsciously by sending out all sorts of non-verbal signals. But few of us are able to pick up these signs in such an effective manner.

Saturday, November 3

The evolution of consciousness

Usually, though not always, complex things develop out of simple things. Some branches of life developed a nervous system, then a brain, and at some point some brains were complex enough to develop the notion of an inner world. They were able to process more information than necessary for their survival. The increased chance of survival would have been the cause for their increased brain capacity. To be able to answer the question “How do I get my next meal?” in the best way possible is very useful in surviving. And surviving means that the genes responsible for those superb problem-solving skills have a chance to be passed on to the next generation.

But being able to ask yourself “Who am I?” and “What is this consciousness thing anyway?” does not increase your chance of survival. Seen from the perspective of evolution, this form of reflective thought is an utterly useless byproduct of the complex brain. Yet we cannot help but to seek answers to our questions. To solve problems is in our genes, it has always been rewarded. In need of answers, we developed our philosophies, religions, and indeed science. I am not trying to say that these, and many other products of the human mind - tradition, art, modern society - are meaningless or redundant. They are unique and valuable. What we tend to forget is that worth is a subjective, human notion.


Evolution is just simple logic; the organisms best fit for survival and reproduction pass on the genes that made them that way. There is nothing valuable about natural selection, no good or bad results, no direction. Just logic. Therefore, I will not assert that finding your next meal is more important than finding the answer to the question of what consciousness is all about. Just that the success rate is higher.

Friday, November 2

Buddha and Dylan

According to an important Buddhist scripure, the Dhammapada, on one occasion the Buddha spoke: "Our life is shaped by our mind; we become what we think."

Twenty-five hundred years later, in a 2005 interview on US newsmagazine 60 Minutes, Bob Dylan said: "The picture you have in your mind of what you're about, will come true."

In many ways, people from different countries, cultures, and times think very much alike.