Creative… Dull… Wise…

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A new study finds that creative experts may be better at imagining the future. (1)

Look at the empty sky.

There is nothing to predict. Except of the things we create.

Look at the calm sea.

There is nothing to remember. Except of the things you destroy.

Look inside your self.

Only dull people can ever reach the truth.

Bored with the wisdom of the cosmos.

Being able to see beyond it…

Natural. Unnatural. How natural…

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To find out which sights specific neurons in monkeys ‘like’ best, researchers designed an algorithm, called XDREAM, that generated images that made neurons fire more than any natural images the researchers tested. As the images evolved, they started to look like distorted versions of real-world stimuli. (1)

Round and round we go. Trying to understand where we are by getting away from where we are. Can you find anything not made by wood inside a forest?

See the unnatural. It will catch your attention.

Not because it is unnatural.

But because of how natural it looks!

That is the greatest secret nature taught us. A secret we once knew. A secret we chose to forget. Look at the great mysteries of life. Behold the great occurrences of randomness inside a cosmos governed by change…

There is nothing natural… nature whispers in the night.

But we do not trust the night anymore. We worship the sun.

We opened our eyes to see. And we saw a different cosmos.

Stable. Full of patterns. Laws. Order.

We like that cosmos now. Too afraid to let it go.

But one day, we will sleep tired.

Floating on the silvery moon light…

One day we will dream again…

Knowing that light only creates shadows…

One day we will stand in the midst of nature.

One day, nature will look so unnatural…

Greenland (movie critique): A case on our demised civilization…

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WARNING: Major spoilers for the movie Greenland (2020) ahead. Please move away if you have a problem with knowing how the movie ends.

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I recently saw the movie Greenland with Gerard Butler.

It is a typical Hollywood movie with action, drama and a lot of special effects. A nice movie overall, given of course the category it is in. It will surely give you a good two hours of pop-corn-eating pleasure.

The plot?

A comet is approaching Earth and all is going to die.

All?

Of course not.

The hero will be saved. And his family too. And to be fair to the movie, the scenario is not the typical scenario of planet-destruction movies where the hero tries to save the world. Here there are pleasant twists from the very beginning of the movie that offer something refreshing and different from what we would expect: The hero knows from the very beginning of the movie that the comet will hit Earth and he also learns that he and his family are selected to be saved. These things are clarified in the first ten minutes of the film! This offers some real excitement and anticipation for a really interesting climax.

And the film does not disappoint us.

Yes, the hero is chosen for survival.

But things get complicated.

SECOND WARNING: Major spoilers for the movie Greenland (2020) ahead. Consider yourself warned.

Greenland movie poster (Source)

Because the hero’s son is ill, he cannot board the plane that will take him and his family to safety. Where is that? Well, as in all typical super-effects-super-action movies, the shelter is a super classified shelter built by the government is a remote place. From the title of the movie, it is evident where that place is…

Fast-forward many minutes ahead and the hero at the end manages to reach the super-classified shelter (which for obvious-only-to-the-script-writer reasons is now known to everyone who can fly a small plane) right before the larger piece of the comet hits Earth.

This is a piece that will cause a planetary-anihiliation event similar to the one that made the dinosaurs gracefully give their place to us on this planet.

The final moment is touching and emotional (well, at least for the standards of such a movie – but to be honest it wasn’t that bad). The hero says to his son right before the comet hits Earth that he and his wife loves him and that it doesn’t matter what will happen because they are all together.

Comet hits Earth.

His (the hero’s) life passes in front of his eyes (something his son told him in the beginning of the movie that happens when you die, a nice touch of προοικονομία in the movie). Past happy days with his wife. Some past birthday of his son when he was three. Smiles and happy faces. A scene where he is hugging his wife.

And then.

Darkness.

I was amazed. Did I just see a movie where the hero and his family die? That would be fantastic! A movie where at last the end is not some corny cheesy ending of ‘happily ever after’. After all, it was a killer comet. Who would survive that? It all made sense in a poetic way. They tried so much to survive, only to die together. Isn’t that what life is about? We all struggle to live more. But at the end we all know that we will die.

Very few people realize that. I mean REALLY realize it.

We live every day with the illusion that we will live for ever.

We know we won’t.

But this is our secret desire. And we can’t let go of it.

And our civilization is too much blinded by our wishes that has banned death from our thoughts and lives. We know people die, but we only really think about it when people die. And only for a second, right before we storm out and try to conquer life, conquer the world and all that other nice life mottos we are meant to follow. Because life is all that matters. Death is for the others. It is not there, unless it really touches us.

And do you know what’s funny?

A death-averting civilization like our own is a civilization that at the end praises death!

One can never be alive unless we embrace our ending.

But we never do.

Even in the face of certain death, we always have hope that we will get better. That medicine will save us. That somehow our modern civilization will defeat death. And when it doesn’t, hope is just kept alive through the others who are kept alive. For we believe that life is about living. But it is not. We are alive because we have soul. We are alive because we are Beings. Part of One. If we were simple sets of electrons and protons then we would just be… simple sets of electrons and protons. But we are more than that. There is something mystical transcending through the cosmos. And we will miss it every time we focus on the surface of the passing river…

As Rainer Maria Rilke used to say.

The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things.

But we like so much the small things…

PS. Of course after a moment of false astonishment, the movie went on. The hero and his family survived. Everyone in the shelter survived. Other people in other cities also survived. We are too important to be destroyed by a comet. Our civilization will survive. This is our dream. Fed by our dream for us surviving. As I said above, we dream of conquering death. And in the process, we forgot that life is not about living…

PS2. Now you know. Just ‘cut’ the movie at the end of the scene where Gerard Butler remembers his life. And the movie will get so much better.

Questions… Hiding the Answers…

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We keep on asking our selves how we can live forever.

We keep trying to find answers on deep philosophical questions for the meaning of life.

We insist on trying to find out what ‘reality’ is.

Only because we are afraid.

To admit that there are no answers to our questions.

We always knew that.

You see, the questions we pose are not here to reveal the answers.

But to conceal them.

For we knew the answers from the moment we thought the questions.

Questions that never existed anyway.

We thought of those questions.

In a void world full of nothing but existence.

How could there be answers to things we ourselves thought of?

Look at the calm lake.

The only reason you are asking so many questions about the waves on its surface.

Is because you want to hide.

The fact that your are the one disturbing its peace…

Oh, humans.

Gods.

Destroyers of the world…

If only you kept silent.

You would hear all the answers…

Inside the void that bred them.

Changed self. Life. Acting. Loving.

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When thinking about the future, some people think they will change, and others expect they might remain the same. But, how do these predictions relate to happiness later on in their lives? According to new research from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), expecting ourselves to remain mostly the same over the next ten years is strongly related to being happier later in life. The research is published in Social Psychological and Personality Science.

One would assume that if people make optimistic predictions about the future, such as “thinking they will become more compassionate and intelligent in the future,” as Joseph Reiff (UCLA) suggests, “they would end up becoming happier in the years that follow.” What Reiff and colleagues found however, surprised them.

“The more people initially predicted that they would remain the same — whether predicting less decline or less improvement across a number of core traits — the more satisfied they typically were with their lives ten years later,” says Reiff. (1)

We have idolized change.

But can anything change?

Whatever you do you will always be you.

Unless you choose not to.

But even then, this is you.

Trying to be someone else.

Life as a theater play. And we are all actors. Others perform well, others not so much. But only a handful of us remember that at the end of the play, we will retreat backstage and go back home again…

Only a handful or us remember that the play is not important…

Hello daughter! I’ve been waiting for you…

It was a terrible play dad.

I didn’t watch it. Come. Dinner is on the table…