Counting. Playing music.

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Photo by Rafael Serafim from Pexels

Bees can solve seemingly clever counting tasks with very small numbers of nerve cells in their brains, according to researchers. (1)

Scientists have developed a 3D-printed robotic hand which can play simple musical phrases on the piano by just moving its wrist. (2)

Everyone feeling so important when counting. But every animal can do it. Even bees. And what makes us special is that we may choose not to count even though we can. Everyone feeling so amazed when seeing a robot playing the piano. And yet we are not important because we play music, but because we may choose not to and listen to the silence instead.

In the future the world will be full of bees and robots.

Buzzing through chattering humans.

Playing the piano between soundless men.

But within the dreaded noisy night, a child will suddenly stay silent.

And under the scorching midday sun, an old man will stop to listen…

Beyond the robots playing perfectly…

Past the bees counting seamlessly…

Looking at the cosmos.

Crying, for it is so full and perfect.

Laughing, for it is so flawlessly dead…

OCD. Living. Loving. Dying.

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No one knows what drives people with obsessive-compulsive disorder to do what they do, even when they’re aware that they shouldn’t do it, and when it interferes with normal life. That lack of understanding means about half can’t find effective treatment. But a new analysis of brain scans from hundreds of people with OCD, and people without it, may help. Larger than previous studies, it pinpoints brain areas and processes linked to OCD’s repetitive behaviors. The largest-ever functional imaging study of the brains of people with obsessive-compulsive disorder, and healthy comparison volunteers, shows significant differences in activity in regions involved in error processing and inhibitory control. The study suggests that the brains of OCD patients get stuck in a loop of “wrongness,” that patients can’t stop even if they know they should, because the brain responds too much to errors, and too little to stop signals. (1)

Stop.
Wrong!
Stop!
Wrong again!

Trapped in a loop of error. Unable to stop while wanting to. Does this sound familiar? No, its not only OCD. It is life itself. How can you stop doing anything if you have already started doing it? Do you stop eating? Do you ever stop breathing? Sure, these are not the same as checking the oven over and over again. But why do we limit our analysis on specific actions alone? Surely the closing of the oven is trivial. We should not worry about it. But what about thinking of your loved one? Is that more important? Yes it is. But why? Because you say so. Is working day and night for a career that will cost you your family important? Yes. Because they say so. Is checking for ways to please others important? Sure. If you are giving importance to what others say. Is looking for ways to save the planet important? Sure. If you really believe that you are important and that it is you who kills the planet and not the big corporations.

At the end, it is us (or the others) who define what is mundane and what is not.

And there is no way to stop if you believe that what you doing is important.

Check the oven.
And again.
And again.
Accept the importance of what you are doing.
And stop when you are ready to.
Not before. Nor after.

The oven is closed now.
And I can go play with my kids.

Look at all those people without OCD.
Working. Saving the planet.
Free of error loops.
Able to stop when they say so.
No, they did not check the oven twice.
But not because they were more certain.
But because they didn’t even care.
And in the same manner they leave with the oven closed, they can leave with the oven open.

Check the emails.
Go to a meeting.
Speak with your boss.
Over and over again.
Can you accept the unimportance of what you are doing?

Look at all those people with OCD.
Checking the oven.
Will you ever be able to focus on such a mundane thing?
Will you ever be able to see the importance of a single button?

The world is here and now.
Check it out.
Again.
And again.
And again…
And again…

Drawing with or without lenses and mirrors. Craving for meaning in life. Science as a dead-end.

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In a paper published in the Journal of Optics, Mr. O’Neill lays out a theory that Rembrandt set up flat and concave mirrors to project his subjects – including himself – onto surfaces before painting or etching them.

He is not the first to suggest that old master painters used optics for their famous portraits. The theory, known as the Hockney-Falco thesis, generated controversy among scientists and art historians, some of whom took the findings as an implication that old master painters had “cheated” to produce their works.

The new research also drawn criticism. However, its writer says that the goal of the research was to show how the use of optics “makes us look at artists as scientists” and not to discredit Rembrandt.

“People have accused me of being jealous, or trying to discredit Rembrandt, but that’s not at all what I’m trying to do”, he said. “If you gave a projection to someone on the street and told them to make a masterpiece, they would never give you a Rembrandt”. At the same time scientists had just started using lenses to look at things invisibly small through microscopes and at the stars through telescopes, artists were using lenses to study the world around them, he said. (1)

Rembrandt drew masterpieces. Because of some inner need he had. Because this filled his soul with pleasure. People saw those masterpieces. And they liked it. Because they filled some inner need they had. Because these paintings filled their soul with pleasure. Or perhaps (and more… mysteriously) for no reason at all.

And yet.

Did he use mirrors?

Did he use oil?

Did he use lenses?

Typical scientists.

Always wondering for the how.

Leaving the important questions (why) for the big boys (Philosophy)…

Imagine a world where all “scientific questions” are answered. Imagine a world where we know and understand all the “how did that happen”. Look at the mirror.  Now go and drop dead. Out of pure boredom.

Explain THAT science!

What if you died in the next minute?

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Would that make what you do now more important?

Would that make your words more meaningful?

Would that make your love more true?

Would that make your hate more honest?

Would that make your joy more fulfilling?

Would that make your misery more petty?

Humans…

Always judging things as if they will live for ever. Always thinking of fixing things later. Always thinking of saying sorry tomorrow. Always postponing their happiness until they have more money. Always afraid to do things in case something happens in the future. Always living while they are already dead.

Who would have thought that you have to die, in order not to die…

The world is us. Alive and conscious.

Take the smallest action of kindness. Take the smallest moment of true pain. Take the smallest tear or love. Take the smallest moment of true joy. Ephemeral and yet eternal. This is who we are. Still in time, what we do echoes in eternity. Because time does not exist but in our minds. What we do every passing minute, stays “there”. Literally. Go find a time machine and go “back” to that moment when your child smiled at you. Look at your self. You are smiling and crying full of joy. For ever.

Going away. Coming back… (Society vs. Love)

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A little child cries and tries to stop her dad from leaving for work. Dad leaves because he “must”. How many times the “Must” of the many (society) overshadow the “Must” of the few. But what if that few are the most important ones? What if the needs of the many are illusionary ones? What if one day no one went to work because they wanted to stay with their loved ones? What if one day the few realized that they were the… many?

I am back now my little girl.

Love you.