Reality

Shubhasya Shighram – A Pocket Sized Mantra

Philosophy

Nature too believes in this mantra.
[Source – Pixabay]

शुभस्य शीघ्रम अशुभस्य कालहरणम।

Shubhasya shighram, ashubhasya kaalharnam.

Translation – Do not delay when planning to do something good, but when inclining towards the opposite, think twice.


Contemplation is good and needed. Action is better and a must.

Plans in a potli-mind take time to come out, yes, for they are grand ones, created meticulously, weaved with love.

Inspired thoughts build this glass minar with intricate designs, colours of hope and success and appreciation and a little bit of all that is magical in this universe. We fly high when planning in a potli-mind.

Now how to fabricate such a tall glass minar in reality? Where to start from? How do we know if the time is right?

And what about all the ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’? Oh, and our dominating ‘know-it-all self’ that loves to put a stamp on every new thought, issuing summons, calling the poor thought a fraud, out-of-our-league or an impossibility, come what may?

Or worse, comparing it with the giant called the OTHERS?

Maybe this is the moment to tell yourself, shubhasya shighram, why wait to do something good.

Maybe this is the time to take the first step towards that glass minar, an overwhelming act it may feel at the beginning, but by the end, whatever the result is, we get enriched, we understand the rotating world and our bumbling selves a little better.

What a brilliant mantra then, a pocket sized mantra!

So, my friend, go ahead with that plan… because shubhasya shighram, shighram shighram.


Potli – bag, bundle, parcel, packet.

Minar – a tower or turret.


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The Matrix, Our Home and The Second Option

Article

Have You Ever Had A Dream, Neo, That You Were So Sure Was Real?

Morpheus (The Matrix, 1999)

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The ‘sci’ route.
[Source – Pixabay]

Our world, our home, this table, that apple forms our reality… what we experience is the reality and déjà vu is déjà vu… or is it?

What if the funky sci-fi stories are correct? What if we are living in a simulation?

Taking just the ‘sci’ route for now, we move ahead.

Definition says – “A simulation imitates the operation of real world processes or systems with the use of models. The model represents the key behaviours and characteristics of the selected process or system while the simulation represents how the model evolves under different conditions over time.”


Nick Bostrom, a contemporary philosopher, in his seminal paper ‘Are You Living In A Computer Simulation?’ published in Philosophy Quarterly (2003) argues that at least one of the following propositions is true –

(1) the human species is very likely to go extinct before reaching a “posthuman” stage; (2) any posthuman civilization is extremely unlikely to run a significant number of simulations of their evolutionary history (or variations thereof); (3) we are almost certainly living in a computer simulation.

This galvanizing thought, also explored in literature, reached the masses, in leather-overcoat-black-shades defining manner, via the 1999 blockbuster film, The Matrix.

In a cyberpunk style, The Matrix, fantastically paints a futuristic grim image of us all ignorantly trapped/living in a simulation. But this world fluctuates as there is a ‘Neo’ hero and an ‘Agent’ villain and also a Polestar named Morpheus; while the villain manipulates, dulls and destroys, the hero trusts the revolution and liberates.

A journey with a final destination, the film knows where to end.

A hypothesis doesn’t worry about endings, it is simply and honestly a hypothesis; like one shared by Nick Bostrom, a straightforward, happy philosopher.

He states –

Proposition (1) doesn’t by itself imply that we are likely to go extinct soon, only that we are unlikely to reach a posthuman stage. This possibility is compatible with us remaining at, or somewhat above, our current level of technological development for a long time before going extinct. Another way for (1) to be true is if it is likely that technological civilization will collapse. Primitive human societies might then remain on Earth indefinitely.

There are many ways in which humanity could become extinct before reaching posthumanity. Perhaps the most natural interpretation of (1) is that we are likely to go extinct as a result of the development of some powerful but dangerous technology…

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Converging naturally.
[Source – Pixabay]

The second alternative in the simulation argument’s conclusion is that the fraction of posthuman civilizations that are interested in running ancestor‐ simulation is negligibly small. In order for (2) to be true, there must be a strong convergence among the courses of advanced civilizations…

What force could bring about such convergence? One can speculate that advanced civilizations all develop along a trajectory that leads to the recognition of an ethical prohibition against running ancestor‐simulations because of the suffering that is inflicted on the inhabitants of the simulation…

Another possible convergence point is that almost all individual posthumans in virtually all posthuman civilizations develop in a direction where they lose their desires to run ancestor‐simulations.

This would require significant changes to the motivations driving their human predecessors, for there are certainly many humans who would like to run ancestor‐simulations if they could afford to do so. But perhaps many of our human desires will be regarded as silly by anyone who becomes a posthuman…

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Palpable and true…?
[Source – Pixabay]

The possibility expressed by alternative (3) is the conceptually most intriguing one. If we are living in a simulation, then the cosmos that we are observing is just a tiny piece of the totality of physical existence. The physics in the universe where the computer is situated that is running the simulation may or may not resemble the physics of the world that we observe. While the world we see is in some sense “real”, it is not located at the fundamental level of reality. It may be possible for simulated civilizations to become posthuman. They may then run their own ancestor‐simulations on powerful computers they build in their simulated universe.

Such computers would be “virtual machines”, a familiar concept in computer science. (Java script web‐applets, for instance, run on a virtual machine – a simulated computer – inside your desktop.) Virtual machines can be stacked: it’s possible to simulate a machine simulating another machine, and so on, in arbitrarily many steps of iteration.

If we do go on to create our own ancestor‐simulations, this would be strong evidence against (1) and (2), and we would therefore have to conclude that we live in a simulation. Moreover, we would have to suspect that the posthumans running our simulation are themselves simulated beings; and their creators, in turn, may also be simulated beings. Reality may thus contain many levels…

In the dark forest of our current ignorance, it seems sensible to apportion one’s credence roughly evenly between (1), (2), and (3).


Talking about the second option, how wonderfully sublime, explicit yet indefinite it is? “Ethics”, Nick Bostrom, matter-of-factly, talks about ethics. That the post-human civilisation may find it ethically wrong or simply may not be interested in undertaking such “ancestor-simulations” is superbly intriguing.

Flood-gates of what is bright and reverberating distinctly, incessantly somewhere, suddenly leaves us with a promise – its nature and terms we know not as yet for we are too far away.

But this gratifying simple thought present as the second option balances and bridges the other two, quite possible, extremes, as if it knows the truth, as if it is the truth … while we wait and work our way towards…

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Fate, It Seems, Is Not Without A Sense Of Irony.

Morpheus  (The Matrix, 1999)

Download and read Nick Bostrom’s complete simulation argument now –

Are You Living In A Computer Simulation?

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Read a comprehensive article about the simulation theory here.


Also, listen to Stephan West’s coverage of Nick Bostrom’s simulation argument.


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Those Seekers

Short Feature

#NoWar
[Image by Alexandra_Koch from Pixabay]

How powerful is a melody! A melody struck in the past, struck so beautifully that it broke free.

Timeless! A timeless piece of music rings true always; ten times truer in those moments when the courageous stand tall.

A single spark then is enough to change the narration. The narration that once appeared fixed and firm now burns and melts, making a new path, creating a new reality.

How powerful is a spark! A spark… perishable and yet unfading, tiny celebratory moments in embers, collected often by those seekers.

Those seekers who can also create a timeless melody… a timeless melody that even if buried under rubbles, surrounded by war cries, awaits the moment to be struck and break free once again.


Inspired by and dedicated to Irina Maniukina and all the wonderful seekers in Ukraine.

#NoWarPlease #standwithukraine #StopWarInUkraine


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Journeying Backwards and Forwards and Sideways

Review

 “The time scheme of the epic is somewhat puzzling to us who are habituated to a mere horizontal sequence of events. Valmiki composed (Ramayana) as if he had a past tale to tell, and yet it was broadcast to the world by Kusa and Lava, the sons of Rama, who heard it directly from the author.

One has to set aside all one’s habitual notions of movement and get used to a narrative going backwards and forwards and sideways.

When we take into consideration the fact that a king ruled for sixty thousand or more years, enjoying an appropriate longevity, it seems quite feasible that the character whose past or middle period is being written about continues to live and turns up to have a word with the historian.”

An excerpt from R.K Narayan’s book ‘Gods, Demons and Others’, Chapter 3, Valmiki

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The myths, the legends, the folktales, the epic victories and defeats, the deaths and rebirths simplify the reality of the extraordinary spirit – confounded and weakened often by tribulations or lulled by indolence – that resides within us all.

These stories take myriad routes, journeying from the world of Gods to the world of Demons, concluding on a high and happy note, introducing one to the game of life, entrusting with the secrets to winning.

Every emotion makes an appearance here; ego clashes until it shatters to accept change; Gods create obstacles almost breaking one’s spirit, but blesses the resilient one in the end with immortality and splendour.

These unfathomable, and at times a bit ridiculous, tales are the means to measure the unfathomable, ridiculous reality we live in; these tales, the bases of our culture, our rituals and an amalgamation of past societies, lead us.

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Journeying through the circle of life.
[Image from Pixabay.]

Splendidly well-adjusted to change, it accepts deletions, additions, revisions without much hullaballoo. It revels in various versions and shades read throughout the country. Same gods-goddesses, demons, sages, avatars… often playing different roles, but embarking on similar journeys.

Written in a playful and ambitious tone these valued legends, retold by storytellers in every generation, are our inheritance; it holds a secret for every tenacious individual.

It is not a particular theme that is the moral of the story here but the journey, the journey with its endless possibilities and absurdities, twists crafted by the capricious fate and the supremacy of time that gives us insight into our understanding of life.

And such has been the role of the myths, legends and epics and of course, the storytellers and it continues.


The renowned author R. K Narayan’s Gods, Demons and Others is an interesting and engaging read, one that opens the gate to Indian mythology for one and all.


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The Fall – Seeing Through a Screenwriter’s Eyes

“Nothing is easier than to denounce the evildoer; nothing is more difficult than to understand him.”

Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Stories – every well-told journey – give us a chance to understand different characters – the hero as well as the villain. But who wants to partake in the villain’s journey…? And yet we do, very keen to know her fate. We are thrilled, appalled and disgusted to see her commit a crime, knowing faintly and accepting quietly the destined end.

Stories are cathartic and a key to understanding the difficult, the “stranger than fiction” reality.

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The Darkness Falls…
Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

The Fiction Route

A crime thriller TV series set in Northern Ireland, The Fall, is about senior investigating officer Stella Gibson’s search for a serial killer, Paul Spector, who is targeting white young professional women in the capital city of Belfast.

The show is very well written, interestingly shot and credibly performed; a multi-layered plot and pacy structure make it an engaging watch.


Series 1, Episode 1 Analysis

The episode one is titled ‘Dark Descent’ and indeed the darkness falls engulfing not only the protagonist but also the antagonist, for the serial killer’s identity is revealed to us from the very start.

When we see Stella Gibson, who works for the MET (UK), working on an unsolved murder case, we also see the murderer visiting his next victim’s house. He is way ahead of the protagonist and is ready to attack again; the audience knows more than the protagonist and thus, stays engaged to know even more.

What is fascinating is that we are not told much about Stella Gibson’s personal life, rather the questions are left unanswered to be solved by the viewers gradually and thus, she remains Metropolitan Police Superintendent Stella Gibson who is smart, strict and brutal when it comes to dealing with murderers.

And on the other hand, we meet the antagonist, Paul Spector’s entire family – his wife and his two lovely children. Yes, the serial killer is a family man and not only that, but he is also a Grief Counsellor (a form of psychotherapy). We are repeatedly shown how particular he is about things in his personal and professional life, quiet in his demeanour, but always ready to pounce back if pestered. Paul Spector is an intelligent criminal.

These details show what Stella Gibson is up against, it makes the antagonist stronger, raises tension and keeps the viewer on edge.

One does not see scenes of murder or violence scattered impractically in this series, but the fact that a serial killer is on the loose, someone whose psychology the audience has now started to understand, creates another level of dreadful yet gripping mood.

We understand that two equally clever and fierce personalities are steadily moving towards each other, but we also get to know that the other characters, the side tracks, will come in their way – either to help or to obstruct. Such intricately are all the characters crafted that they stay with you.

One such character is Olivia, Paul Spector’s little daughter, who gets night terrors and is unable to sleep properly. In the first episode, it is established that Olivia is a bit too sensitive and picks on small things. In another scene, one of Paul’s patients, who recently lost his son and had come for counselling, tells him that his son died because “a son has to pay for the sins of his father”. Though Paul does not agree with him, we understand that this scene is a foreshadowing of what is yet to come.

In the first episode, Stella Gibson finds out a link between the case she is investigating and another murder case but struggles to convince her seniors that they are chasing a serial killer and not just a murderer.

Meanwhile, Paul Spector executes his plan, the darkness within overpowers him completely.

Gillian Anderson as Stella Gibson, Jamie Dornan as Paul Spector.
[Source – fanart.tv]

Highlights

  • The multi-layered storyline unfolds bit by bit, not at all diminishing its impact in any way.
  • The antagonist’s world is drawn with much more clarity than the protagonist’s, allowing the audience to know the villain’s psychology and to maintain a mystery around the hero.
  • Every subplot is in one way or the other linked to either the hero or villain, thus, keeping the interest alive throughout the show.
  • Both the hero and villain are presented as vulnerable characters; both have weaknesses and can be defeated.
  • The grey side-characters give the show a realistic feel.
  • While mobiles, laptops and cameras in a thriller can make things too simple, here the advance technology only supports the story and does not override it.
  • The gritty, ominous music that sparingly plays in the background adds to the overall tone of the show.

The Fall, a character as well as a plot-driven show, is an engrossing watch that leaves you wondering about how psychological complexes possess a human mind.


The Fall

Written by Allan Cubitt; Directed by Jakob Verbruggen and Allan Cubitt

Watch the tailer –


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Transient Permanence

Spirituality

Anicca (Impermanence).

That the dark clouds will pour heavily and ceaselessly, that the rainbow will nurture joyous moments, that a true feeling is there to stay forever, but only to forsake rudely with lessons to accept and time as a remedy, making a revelation that such is life, does this change what is transient into eternal?  

Incessant thoughts enjoying the make-believe forget what is real and adhere to what is smooth and comforting and familiar and dear and satisfying.  

Transience is a reality, but is this the reason for its permanence?

The world says a yes, the individual says a no.

This fleeting life knows the truth. It lives and dies to prove it.

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Buddha in meditation forever.
Image from Pixabay.

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Illusion is the First of All Pleasures – Voltaire

Ocean eyes, an illusion or a reality…
[Image by 愚木混株 Cdd20 from Pixabay]

All that you see, all that is in your mind, all that you have experienced, all that which breathes within you, exists only because you are.

The inevitable change assures gently that illusion is reality and the rest a seeming.

The carousel of life goes on; from the darkest night to the brightest morning, from black and white to the rich spectrum, you pass by. Humming a single note, you pass by.  

The end, the beginning. Remember?  

You created the rainbow as you saw it, you replied to the mountain when you echoed, you walked ahead to make it happen, you looked behind to say goodbye, you stopped to realise and what was beyond came to you with an epiphany.  

Illusion is a friend. Fathomable, it is the reality.


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Dream And Reality

She was sitting and doing nothing. The usual was happening. She wasn’t working and her mind wasn’t stopping.

Oh! All the noise around her irked her. Still, she kept still. In her mind, a slide show was playing time and again.

Images after images; her friends, her family, her dog, the food she loved and her favourite white dress that was still in the shop and the green lawn.

She didn’t stop the slide show, maybe there was a switch to it or maybe not.

This happened with her a lot and so she didn’t bother about it anymore. At that moment, her mind got overpowered by an image and she observed it.

The image showed a pond with many dry leaves floating in it. Green colour was prominent; green trees, green sky, green earth and green water.

Finally, she was with her mind. She touched the green water and saw the ripples with love in her eyes. When the ripples disappeared, she saw her face in the green water.

Without wasting much time she immersed herself in the water. It was soothing. She saw a sea of pink flowers and tried to get hold of one.

In less than a second she was in that sea of pink flowers. She wasn’t swimming, but the pink flowers were taking her along. She accepted them.

What seemed like infinity to her passed and she saw a white light coming through the pink flowers. The sea of pink flowers started disappearing while she stared at the white light.

She had to swim herself now. She was slow as the white light faded away and she couldn’t reach it. She was swimming on the same spot in an ocean of black space.

She felt as if she was dangling there when suddenly a strong thud woke her up.

Same seat, same table and some more files welcomed her back. She looked around and saw that no one had noticed her.

Life was the same.

Sea of pink lotuses.
Image by CryptoSkylark from Pixabay

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