Thoughts, Reflections and Stories.

One must have chaos in oneself to give birth to a dancing star...
Massoud Abbasi

Randomness and the Phenomenon of Goals

            The inherent structure of modern, human life is something that works against many of our innate psychological principles and constructs. For instance, we seek an item, whether tangible or intangible and call this a goal, for everything, however minute, can be looked upon as the establishment of a goal, and the exertion of effort to obtain that goal, otherwise known as intentionality in certain circles of philosophy and psychology. Upon so doing there necessarily follows a multitude of actions, efforts and effects which ostensibly are all a part of the whole – the goal. A rhetorical question but one that contains an important point: is this system viable for long-term sustainability of a ‘being’ and the fulfillment of their deeply influential and demanding psychology, their ‘man’ mind?  This observation, that  indeed  our way of life today as a continuous and relentless push minute by minute, day by day, effort by effort  toward various endless ends definitely does not produce the most happiest and fulfilling lives, is a predicament for many in our modern world, whether we are cognizant of it or not. Certainly the Hedonists and the Epicureans, though their philosophy is not the most practical and pragmatic judged by today’s standards, would be aghast at our mode of living today, and rightfully so. Life has lost its innocence and gained far too much automation in its place. This mode is altogether a rather disheartening and deplorable one, especially with a deeper understanding of it and a fuller grasp of its pervasiveness in the human being circa today. If in fact happiness is not the measure by which we judge the effectiveness of a life lived a certain way, a certain type of life, then what remains for us as stewards of the civil order by which we can gauge the value of our existence as it exists today? Perhaps happiness as a concept and end goal has been falsely positioned as the pinnacle of our species’ achievement and purpose? If so, does the conception of man change to one of a power hungry lunatic who seeks self aggrandizement as the basis of his actions and motivations? Both seem to veer too far to either extreme end of the spectrum. Although either end is untenable for a large group over a certain period of time, perhaps we lend ourselves to a happy medium along this way? Kindness and altruism are the rule for the many, it is said, but are not even these derived from a will to ‘self-serve’?

            Suppose for instance that one has a desire for a particularly grand ‘goal’ as discussed above. Then by virtue of setting out to achieve this goal, the more elaborate the system of achieving this goal the grander the illness as an after effect once achieved if what one presumed it would yield is in fact what is yielded by the accomplishment. Who hasn’t felt this before, the disappointment that arrives when something you have sought after materializes and it is hardly as fantastical as you imagined it would be. Can such a system provoke bouts of spiritual angst and distress, such psychological stirrings as has been suggested here? Yes and no. Yes if one accepts the truth of the matter, a subjective truth which is the only type of truth in the human world by and large, and its distinction only in degrees. No if you are shielded by conditioning and lack independent thought. A weak ‘will to life’, a flawed mentality and subjective philosophy coupled with poor constitution physically, mentally and genetically is not the inner drive that propels us all forward on this existential journey of consciousness. The real working of our life lived in the flesh is actually a ‘will to life’, the urge to fill each empty mental slot so as to view from a distance and rejoice in one’s own act of fulfillment, one’s own creation, the highest order of life.  If this is the real basis of a human life, as it seems to be, so imbued in to the workings of so many and the vast majority of all actions of man, then one can begin to see a rather disconcerting picture of reality arise. Our lives, seen as a collective of moments and instances, do in fact constitute a wholly fleeting and insubstantial one.  However it does not need to be as such. Human life certainly has the potential to be fulfilling, but there is no requirement that it needs to be. It could carry on either way, and sadly for many, it does so exactly like this, without any real adventure to call their own. Life as an organic phenomenon could be an apt title for this view of existence, a rather melancholy and tragic one. What exactly is it about this form of living, this day to day, action to action, event to event and desire for the fulfillment of the desire that makes it wholly unworthy to live as such? Consider perhaps the phantoms of yearning and desire for someone or something. Once they are fulfilled, or for that matter not fulfilled, they expire or transform into something else. In fact, once the object of desire is reached, arrived at, regardless of the outcome, it is already an altogether different mental paradigm and activity. As Heisenberg displayed for us the same conundrum in physics so elegantly, that by trying to decipher an electron’s position we inevitably shift it, so too with the human realm. Any state of mind or a pursuit of a psychological order inevitably changes along the way while it is being pursued so that at its conclusion you are seeking something other than what you started out searching for. This happens often in everyday matters. In relationships, for instance, where we pursue a person with vigour only to find out later that now that we have them, we were merely pre-occupied with the pursuit and not the person. It happens in the prosaic too, when we feel we crave a certain meal only to realize we craved another after we have consumed our first choice. The mind does indeed work in segregated modalities as the development psychologists revealed to us during the 20th century and this is in fact merely another one. It may be inferred at this point that the mind has an altogether cunning function and will at times unsuspecting to its subject, to us, pounce upon our moment and kidnap aspects of it. It is not after all one homogenous item.

              We are still at a loss as to how we might define consciousness and which part of the brain it emanates from. We don’t understand as much as our egos lead us to think we do! Life, beautiful as it is, remains somewhat absurd still in the sense that Camus positioned it to be: The absurd as a condition of truth, worldly truth, truth of this world, of the world and man as items. The divergence between our structure of life, of activities as goals whose underlying basis and drive is a desire for something, arises at precisely the same point in all time – the point of either reaching a desired object, person or state, or for that matter, the failure to do so. Some would then dispute this whole line of reasoning and ask whether this is in fact always the case and if so, how much liberty or power we actually retain. Let us at least make an important distinction. When certain few throughout history and today regard the human race as a mindless one, they are not all that wrong. This is an observation, not an indictment; the difference is crucial. Although waking up and looking forward to the day, and let us say its first activity, a shower or coffee can and is often a goal, whose obtainment produces an altogether necessary reaction or outcome, one must realize that a human mind is not all that simple and such a structure of equalizing every single activity is in fact unreasonable. In fact the mind is very advanced in its ability to categorize different objects actions and items and to do so while imbuing each one with a different degree of importance. Hence altogether a shower is not viewed mentally as an extraordinary event or an event of prime importance, one whose outcome will necessarily affect the psychological faculty of man for that day, for instance. Also, some aspects of life are perhaps outside the frame of consideration of this dynamic of goal and the resulting psychological effect we have painted here. Some things are in fact biological functions – the quenching of thirst, digestion, procreation, regeneration – and these can be classified as external to the mind’s pre-occupation and function of its other, conscious faculties. If in fact we live as such and the psychological outcomes are an altogether unfulfilled continuous drive and continuous failure, then what is to be our recourse, what shall set us free from this circle of insatiability and incompleteness? To answer in the singular and simple – negation of goals. Often when a statement of this degree and form is made nascent movements, movements against these statements emerge. This movement gathers momentum and the chorus follows, in fact it may all be just chorus. Think of what Socrates had to endure in Ancient Greece when he first started to suggest to the citizens of Athens that individuals may have discretion and rights of thought and question over government? They killed him for this heresy. Hence the initial noise and refutations of the latter is nothing other than disagreement and misunderstanding, nothing more than a reactionary measure set in force by the confines and trainings of a particular mind, of particular ways and truths, all too subjective truths. “Sure” the many say, “the goal, well, the goal, that is the goal, it has always been, must always be the goal, the way!” It becomes vital then to rid ourselves of this dynamic that emaciates us of life and meaning and throws us into disappointment after disappointment and ultimately despair and despondency towards life. We must negate the ‘goal’ itself. If that is done, then what will fill the spot of this more active part of our psyches? To live in breach of this most pervasive structure of life, one must come to quick understanding of its unreasonable basis so as to constitute the antibodies that will assist in defending against the inevitable resurgence of the disease.

             Consequently, a rational answer to the dilemma painted above may well be that we must begin to live in a way that denies goals and incorporates a life full of happenings and randomness; more random even than things already are. The Buddhists are in this respect much sager and advanced than many contemporary societies and cultures. For them the basis of suffering is desire and this is altogether hard to deny. One can almost always adduce suffering to an unfulfilled desire. Grief as desire for the prolongation of another’s life.  Ego satisfaction as desire for self-validation. Addiction as a desire for a particular and elevated state of mind. Examples abound. It is more improbable than not on a balance of scales that the actuality of a goal will actually be sufficient with regards to the fulfillment derived from the accomplishment of that goal As much as a movie is incapable of recreating the breadth of the story as does the book, the actuality, if ever achieved, is incapable of living up to the standards of the goal. This is not an attempt to apply universality to this fact and phenomenon that no end can suffice for the goal and desire preceding it. Food and music may in fact be two items which can come to terms with their expectations prior. It seems reasonable enough to say that we cannot create an idea of the taste of food and the feeling of music in ourselves that would be greater than those produced by the items themselves, for instance. One may attribute this divergence between goal and actuality as a goal of human greed and selfishness. Can we ever really be satisfied? What has hitherto had enough authority to suggest to us that we cannot have grand and unreasonable expectations of life? As suggested earlier there is a difference between the mode of having a goal and consequently the desire and yearning for it with the point at which one is face to face with either obtaining the goal or abandoning it. What is even more interesting, in fact sobering with regards to this idea is that there are times when a goal’s actuality is achieved in equal standing and greater than that of the desires, expectations and yearnings that preceded it. This is usually however the exception, not the rule. Nevertheless, even for the rare times in which we realize our goals and their counterparts in the second mode at least, the mode distinct from that of the yearning phase, even then we are left with similar feelings and psychological hunger where we desire more of the drive towards the object of gratification and not the object itself. It is thereby incumbent upon us never to forget that life, that which we are confined to and destined for may work in such a fashion so as to leave us often unfulfilled and unhappy and hence we must constantly resist and thereby define our happiness as resistance. Very much like Sisyphus, who was relegated to an eternity of rolling the rock up the hill only to watch it come rolling back down again, each time he did so, he scored a great victory over existence and won a short but great happiness for himself. All things good or bad require effort and work at least for us not yet enlightened ones and it seems painfully true that for those things we love we labour effortlessly towards often in vain and for those we do not, we labour still without any positive outcome. It seems that some are better suited for battle than others. Life appears to be a compilation of repetitive and familiar things but value exists therein in certain places, waiting to be mined by those who are clever and persistent. We live each day according to things we expect, hope for, dream of and which we often set a goal in respect to. This is often a futile methodology for life but also a pervasive one that must be accepted as part and parcel with our existence on this planet as such. The only conclusion and prescription that can reasonably be drawn, alongside more affirmative and liberal voices, is to live as much as possible in negation of goals. Reject and resist them where possible. Attempt to maximize living in harmony with the probability and randomness imbued in the fabric and material basis of the universe so as to maximize human self fulfillment, happiness and life. Where possible, exercise resistance and deny goals, set patterns and established protocols. In other words, be random and live randomly. It is a property inherent in every cosmic star, and therefore in the very fabric of life itself.


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Latest comments

08.12 | 10:21

Good reflexions and philosophy
Thanks for your site

25.01 | 13:17

Profound with a lot of philosophical insights. I love the admonition of never abdicating the future. Thanks for sharing.

06.07 | 17:41

Wow, this is so beautifully written. Thank you for sharing. Love & Peace.

19.03 | 03:49

Amazing to read and thank you for some beautiful insights.

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