science

Progress

What do we want?

We want faster phones, scarier horror movies, underwater restaurants, everlasting bacon, science-based religions, edible flight food, educated politicians, non-addictive drugs, human libraries, three-parent babies, self lacing shoes and of course, pocket pussies. We want to talk to cellphones when we feel lonely. We want to learn to play the piano in one day. We want to wear computers. We want to simulate roller-coaster rides. We want everything right now.

I used to wonder what’s the point of these endless desires. But I kind of get it now. This is how we evolve. I think it is this unstoppable want for new and better things that makes us progress in life. It is what makes us inventors and travellers.

However, things can get confusing along the way.

Goddammit Dolby. What if we get bored of this too?.

I’ve been thinking about what we want vs what we need. Its funny that most of us have a clear idea of what we want but have no clue about what we need. We don’t even know what we need until it is invented by someone else. Some good examples:

Kickstarter

Photovoltaic cell

Having said that here are some things that I know for sure that I don’t need:

Animated emojis.

News in 100 words or less

“New” Jumanji movie. I hope they don’t ruin a great movie

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Conversation

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Mind:

I was walking on wet sand when I noticed the water drying up wherever I stepped. It felt very strange. As I walked further I saw bright red crabs running back into their burrows. I have to say their sense of vibration is pretty good! This is where it starts to get weird- I felt sad seeing them run away from me! Questions started to emerge. Do I really belong here? If I do belong here then why is everything running away from me?

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Brain:

Good old depression is back! The first thing about water and sand is pure physics. You know that. So stop whining.

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Mind:

First of all, fuck you. Second of all, how are you still alive? I thought you were paralysed from all the sleep deprivation I gave you.

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Brain:

Yeah about that, we’ll be shutting down tomorrow sometime between 4 and 6. So don’t be in a meeting or whatever. And stop talking to that girl after midnight. Its not worth it. Pretty soon your organs will start to shut down. And by the way, stop eating all that junk before you sleep. I’ve been trying to contact Liver since last week. Dude is not even picking up. And by the way, start talking to people. There are good people out there. Stop being such a whining looser all the time.

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Mind:

How dare you you fucking slimy ball of noodles? Wait… you’re right. I’ll take care of it. Hang in there buddy. In the meantime, take a look at these pictures I took. Damn! I am a pro!

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IMG_20170514_152645Henry’s Island, West Bengal

The idiot box?

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Look into my eyes! Worship me!

The idiot box. That’s what they called the TV when it started to ruin people’s lives. They believed that it created dumb people. Maybe in some cases it did. I always thought of the TV as a doorway, a medium of communication that transcended all boundaries. There is no denying the fact that it helped spread knowledge. It might have been biased knowledge but still it did something. It invoked curiosity in people. I don’t know if TV was the result of evolution or if the TV affected evolution in some way. I know for sure that it has affected people’s lives. It has tremendously affected mine.

Having said all this, I have to acknowledge the fact that I don’t watch TV anymore. In fact I kind of hate cable. I am very happy with the internet. I get to watch, listen, read whatever I want, whenever I want. Here’s the problem- sometimes it sucks.

I read a magazine the other day. I hadn’t read any print magazine for a very long time. As I read it I thought to myself,” Everything here is very well thought out, neatly laid out and properly researched. This is frikkin great!”. I don’t get the same feeling when I read about something on the internet. The search results are tailored to satisfy me. The results I get are the ones that I want. Not the ones that I need. We’ve all internet-diagnosed ourselves with cancer at some point in life. However, it depends on how much I am willing to delve into the research. There is no hiding from the truth after all. I am also curious about radio. There is something cool about the randomness. There is something cool about the presentation, the radio edits, etc. I sure as hell don’t miss buying cassettes and CDs. It was a whole different experience though.

I think there is something strange about the way people take in information depending upon how it is presented. The other day, I saw an ad for an app. It said,” Don’t like reading the long boring news articles? Well now you can read every top story in 60 words or less!”. What the fuck has the world come to?

What’s the next step?

Let me first make one thing clear. I love space. I am fascinated by it and I can’t stop thinking about it. Maybe its because I feel like I don’t belong here. Any way… in spite of my fascination with the unknown, I don’t know anything about it! I haven’t read any books about it nor have I tried to study it. All the information I’ve gathered is from watching scientists talk on YouTube.

What intrigues me is the general public’s disinterest in space and space exploration. If you go up to a person on the road and ask him what he thinks about space and the importance of space exploration, this is probably the answer you would get-“There’s a sun and planets revolve around it. We have a moon going around us too. No one really knows for sure what goes on out there. We’ve got more problems here on Earth to deal with”. And I totally agree with this. We’ve got a hell of a lot problems here. There is suffering, pain, injustice, torture, climate change, overpopulation, poverty, unemployment, crime, disease, etc. They are all very worrisome. A normal person would ask why the hell should we spend money and put in effort for space exploration if it has no guaranteed results? Instead, why don’t we solve the problems here on Earth that might have practical solutions?

I’ve asked myself these questions several times. There are fundamental questions that each and every one of us have in our minds. Who are we? Where did we come from? Why are we here? From what I understand, the answers to these questions lie out there in space. I don’t think meditation is going to give us the answer! The amazing thing is that we make discoveries all along the way. Necessity is the mother of all inventions. You will be amazed to see how space exploration has indirectly affected our lives. Most of the technology that we use on a daily basis have been developed based on the research undertaken for space exploration. Read about it here.

It is said that life began in water. Then it moved onto land. It started to crawl, walk , hell! it even began to fly! That’s all good. Here’s what’s bothers me though. What if the fish never left the water? What if the aquatic animals decided to better their living conditions rather than trying to move into land? How different would the world be? Are we still fish in a pond and just don’t realize it yet? What if the next step in evolution is out there in space?

We’ve been told in science class that we live on a planet that revolves around the sun. We’ve also been told that planets, stars and other celestial bodies are “moving” in space. I accepted all these things because I was child. But I never stopped thinking about it. Just “floating” in space wasn’t good enough for me. I wanted to know how and why. What surprises me is that everyone else in my class was fine with this vague explanation. Not me. I don’t understand how people can just blindly believe what they are taught in class and not want to know more about it. How can one not be curious about the cosmos?

This is why I admire travellers. I think they follow the gut instinct without any hesitation. They work hard to experience the unknown. They have no boundaries. They are the real explorers. Can you believe that there are people willing to take one-way trips to outer space? Curiosity has no limits. Curiosity rules!