The Zeroth Thought

The first before the first.


Why do we exist? Why does the world exist? Why? When? How? What? Wait!!!

Hold your horses! Yeah, I do have the indulgence of free time to pose these languid questions and pen or in this instance type out a few thoughts regarding the same. More importantly, you too should earn some time to invest some for these thoughts.(Nah! Who am I kidding?!) This is too vast a topic in scope for me to do justice in a solitary blog post(or any number actually), never mind that I am free for a couple of weeks now before my final semester exams break down my door to continual procrastination. Thus expect to be inundated by a series of such posts from me as long as this blog remains alive and kicking. Of course I promise to intersperse other content as well as I slyly just did, so you won’t be bored by the vapidity of monotonicity(!) as is another name for existence. But I deviate. And we see that therein lies the problem.

It is difficult to answer those questions primarily because they are not the primary questions we seek to ask. It’s better to know about the weather and what’s for dinner rather than bother with such arcane questions anyway. Perhaps if these are resolved we can give each other black eyes for having the gall to differ from the “correct” racial, religious, political line of thought and point of view. Or perhaps we can follow some sports and support and question support for Federer or Nadal, Ganguly or Dhoni, Messi or Ronaldo. Or we might want to know what the Kardashians wore for a party or perhaps what Narendra Modi had for dinner. Pakistan might be aiming “more” nukes at us and some bomb blast or earthquake might have killed a few scores of people somewhere in the 1/4\times 4\pi \times (6400 km)^{2} of land mass. (Politically correct disclaimer here: I sympathise with all deaths. Yeah these days, legal suits can be thrown at anyone. Also I’m glad I hail from the right (I mean left) side of Bengal. Also skip). North Korea and China might be getting aggressive (against the US media probably) and Donald Trump might have said something immature(and more importantly irrelevant) in an offensive way. Either way we have to know. We really do. When we are done with that, we can go back to our jobs and schools and colleges and work our asses off trying to complete our next assignment. Or reading my blog. But this is different(!)

If you notice, those slightly better off in all of these places are also slightly more immune to the bullets of news. Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that one shouldn’t salivate to cuisine from roadside dhabas. But that doesn’t mean that we lift the stall (and others along with it) and bring it home because our eyes and nose found it tasty! It’s not that most of us don’t know of the above facets and lack the judgement. It’s just that we lack the resolve.

But that is the average, regular and mediocre life cycle. Even a slightly less congested daily routine was enough for Siddhartha to found Buddhism about 2000 years ago while relinquishing his family and Lumbini and yes, gulp, his kingdom! He found solace in equating the Universe with Nothing and claimed that we needed to obtain nirvana from these desires because an universe of nothing had no value in the first place. I don’t necessarily buy such a point of view and in fact opposition to a like point of view led to the Reformation and eventual Renaissance in Europe. So abstinence to all desires is not really the answer. We have on an average 80 years to live if you are one of those privileged enough to be reading this post. We might by some freak of nature live less than that, be maimed for half of that or perhaps even be robbed of “happiness” for a majority of our lifespans. But either way, 80 years is a speck on the timeline of the human race. And as Edward Norton and Peter Weyland mumbled and persuaded during one their soliloquies:

On a long enough timeline, the survival rate of everyone drops to zero. The trick Potter is not minding it hurts.


(BTW some help here for the dim witted here: first quote from The Fight Club. Last line from 2023 TED Talk: Prometheus.) I’ll add another spicy quote here. One shouldn’t be locked inside because life is a tragedy of a play (even Shakespeare would agree)! In fact, that is what should set us free. (For the slow ones reading this, that was not a quote!) Picking up lines from another Brad Pitt classic:

The Gods envy us. They envy us because we are mortal. Because any moment might be our last.

And that is what makes our lives special. You may agree to disagree with me or Achilles on that one. But it’s an irrefutable fact whether you choose to acknowledge it or not. That we have limited time. Thus it’s never how long but just how we live that’s ever always going to matter. To us. And to those around us. And if you are lucky enough, to a few more people not around us and who never knew us.

I ended the first paragraph of this post saying that “therein” lay the problem. We are way too distracted. Our attention spans are so small that it was flitting between so many different things that we  didn’t notice that one of the sentences I typed out had an obvious grammatical error. Okay it didn’t! (It might though; I don’t really proofread everything). But, yes, I rest my case. And trust me, it’s pretty heavy.

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