How Do We Reconcile Change with Remaining Authentic

I suppose it’s the modern day, Self-Help paradox: to change or to remain¬†authentic? There seem to be certain platitudes bandied about amongst self-help aficionados.

“Be yourself!”

“Growth is change, and change is life!”

“Be AUTHENTIC!”

Details aside, how do we reconcile this seemingly antagonistic pair? The very phrase, “Be yourself!” implies that there is one “self” to be. And if that is so, how can we know if we are being authentic to this self, or growing?

People spend an enormous amount of time thinking about who they are, and more often than not, who other people think they are. Yet, this leads us down a self-destructing path. It is doubtful that it can be said that there is even one self. In¬†Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman brings up the idea of the memory self, and the experiencing self. What is more true, the self who remembers, or the self experiencing the now? How we remember things is often more true to us than what we actually experienced‚ÄĒeven Kahneman thinks of himself as a man made up of memories. Therefore, even when we look to how our mind operates, there are multiple selves.

So is it much of a stretch to say that throughout the passage of time, we have multiple selves? Looking back on their lives, most people would say that they’ve changed in unimaginable ways, whether it be from outlook, personality, interests, or goals. This does not mean a departure from the authentic self occurred, but it does mean that there was growth.

Perhaps the saving grace for reconciling these two is to drop the idea of the “self.” Ideas of the self lead to stunting the growth of the self, for in order to grow, one must change. If someone thinks that they are funny, they will be encouraged to act funny. Soon, something that was a complement given from another, becomes the prison of expectation from which one acts. To put a label on the self is to limit the self, taking away the one thing that will always be a part of the self: Change.

To be authentic, without limits, is to act in the Tao‚ÄĒeach moment calling to action that is the most natural. It is the constant awareness and mindfulness of the self that allows one to observe changes, while inhabiting the self of the moment.

Reverse Engineering “The Meaning of Life” Question

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At some point, most people today have been confronted with the elusive question of the meaning of life. Recently, this has been bothering more so because I couldn’t understand the meaning of my life–or rather what to do with my life–and wanted some sense of direction that I couldn’t seem to find. So when I was browsing around my local bookstore and spotted Terry Eagleton’s¬†The Meaning of Life: A Very Short Introduction, I snapped it up despite the tiny size that didn’t seem to justify the $11.95 price tag. But this is the secret to the universe here, people, so I relented.

Well now I’m done with it, and surprisingly I wasn’t bestowed with the secret knowledge of time and the cosmos. However, I was presented with the next best thing: a different way of thinking about it.¬†Eagleton compiled information from so many great thinkers on this subject throughout history in a neat little package. What I talk about here is just what I found the most interesting, and my thoughts on that. I highly suggest this book to anyone who has struggled with “the meaning of life.”

Before anything, it is useful to provide the context surrounding this entire inquiry: the meaning of life is not some sort of question that has plagued all peoples in all societies for all of time. For example, most ancient Hebrews would not ask this question because the answer is given through their religious beliefs, and the matter of meaning is woven into the society just as much as the religion is. Now that most of us live in a world where one religion is not a given, even those who do follow a certain faith are not immune to feeling adrift when it comes to meaning. The idea that we ourselves can determine the meaning of our lives can at once be empowering, but also lessen that very same sense of meaning. I also know that even my parents, who are only one generation ahead of me, are not harassed by this question as much as my peers are. They give little thought to it if any, as even asking this question seems foreign to them. Although there are always people who have this question in whatever time, the finding meaning or finding your “passion” are like epidemics nowadays, where once there was barely a whisper of it. One might think of the question presently more as a litmus test for the society that we live in today, rather than something that can objectively be “solved”.

The problem with trying to find an answer to the meaning of life is that there is no answer. At least, not one that we can possibly know of. Someone once said (as vague as this all is) that if you can’t find the solution to a problem, change the question. On one level, this seems like a blatant avoidance of the question and moving on to something else more easily solved. However, in many cases, the problem is not the problem–the real problem is a poorly framed question!

When people ask the meaning of life, they are rarely asking the same thing. Sometimes you could be asking about what is the meaning or direction of your life, other times you could be asking if the progression of the universe is moving towards something, and other times you are asking about the meaning of the suffering in your life if there is one at all. What are you really wondering about when you ponder about the meaning of life? Simply rewording the question could lead to an answer.

Beyond that, the question of the meaning of life could be a question of semantics. Eagleton sources many, most prominent to me Ludwig Wittgenstein, that ask what is actually meant by “meaning” and “life” and comes to various conclusions. When it comes to meaning, it could mean (ha) intention, significance, and “the act of intending to signify something” (35). Even these categories are not mutually exclusive and the edges of their definition are blurry. So then comes the question of if life is in a sense predestined and moving towards something and that is the “meaning”, or if it’s all accidental, but there can still be “meaning” attached to that.

Then we have the nebulous word, “life”. This may lead to questions like, “What is the good life?” But even then,¬†the good life may not be¬†a good life, objectively. What is the meaning attached to the actions we take? Is there an overall narrative to our lives that “makes sense”? Many people like me would tell you, no, our lives are just a series of unfortunate events. I’m just kidding. Sort of.

This only begins to scratch the surface. They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, but in this case one word is worth ten thousand words and then some. Eagleton covers far more than this and I would venture to say that there is no superfluous words in his 101 page book. Each page packs new ideas and findings into every free space. 

The question of life must be juxtaposed against the fact of death, something which we all face. The fact that our time in this life that we know of is limited, yet all we know of is this, urges us to find the significance of anything. The question of the meaning of life would not exist if we were one of the immortals and had a cycle of events continuing on for all of eternity. Our limits are what cause this question to become pressing or of any interest. It could be said that this question is just asking what our lives are adding up to. Of course, another nebulous statement.

With proper framing “The Meaning of Life” question however, the necessity for some sort of one answer fades away, as Terry Eagleton is able to do. To me, I don’t want to spend my time turning over ideas in my mind that I know will lead to nothing. Therefore, the most important thought I can take away from this conversation to bring to action in my life, as the act of living life is arguably closer to the meaning of life than thinking of the meaning of life, is that any sense of meaning (or whatever it is that allows us to live our lives with a sense of contentment or fulfillment) lives in between people. The meaning of our lives are not singular to us, it cannot exist only within ourselves. Rather, the meaning we can take from life is from the relationships that we have, and how we impact those around us and how they impact us. It is about the collective efforts of people and finding your place in society.

When you look at nature, everything has a purpose or a reason. However, it could also be said that they do not exist to move something towards something else. It is all happening in time, in this moment. There is a reason a mountain looks purple from a distance or stars twinkle at night. However, they are not doing this to fulfill some sort of role. They are doing that because that is just what they do. You do not question if it is necessary, it is just something that you enjoy.The trees have their role to fulfill in the ecosystem, but they are not doing it for any reason, they just grow. The reason trees are what they are is because of time and the surrounding ecosystem, but also the surrounding ecosystem is there because of the trees. That’s why I think children rarely ask themselves the “meaning of life,” or rather the meaning of their own life–because they are having too much fun! And they don’t question it too much because they are too busy enjoying it.

Therefore, although it seems trite, it seems to be that the best thing to do is to live a life in which you don’t reach for answers from some outside meaning. Rather, in living a life with and for others, the feeling of meaninglessness disappears. And the best way to live a life with and for others is to delight in the world around you and what others bring to it, while using the best parts of yourself to contribute to that delight.

What I Wish I’d Known

“What am I supposed to do?!” is the main undercurrent thought in my life–and that probably will not change until I make up some relatively satisfactory answer.

Ergo, I spend much of my time looking for this answer. One of my methods is to browse random sites on StumbleUpon. I wasn’t expecting to find anything that useful, but I did: Paul Graham’s would-have-been high school commencement speech, “What You’ll Wish You’d Known”. On one hand, the material was a little too apt not to sting, since I did indeed wish I had known this in high school. On the other, it isn’t¬†too late for me to utilize this (she said unconvincingly).

I’ve distilled the main points that I found to be useful to a college student, and encourage you to read the short speech for yourself.

“The best protection is alway to be working on hard problems. Writing novels is hard. Reading novels isn’t. Hard means worry: if you’re not worrying that something you’re making will come out badly, or that you won’t be able to understand something you’re studying, then it isn’t hard enough. there has to be suspense.¬†

Well, this seems a grim view of the world, you may think. What I’m telling you is that you should worry? Yes, but it’s not as bad as it sounds.It’s exhilarating to overcome worries. You don’t see faces much happier than people winning gold medals. And you know why they’re so happy? Relief.

I’m not saying this is the only way to be happy. Just that some kinds of worry are not as bad as they sound.”¬†

George Sheehan wrote something similar in his book,¬†Running and Being. That we find pleasure in stretching ourselves over and over again no matter the strain–or because of the strain. I read a lot, but what do I create? I consume without offering my gains back to the world–and that is the problem. We will not be able to consume and learn more if we are not going to offer something back and complete the cycle. One may think that I would be satisfied with contemplating life and just traveling around the world my whole life. But I doubt this. I would like to do that, but will I not miss the pleasure of the chase, of the risk of putting yourself into something and possibly failing? I can’t say that I fully understand the reason for the necessity of this cycle, but I do sense that it is there. I don’t like to fail–that’s for sure–but I would rather fail than have my soul withering away inside of my seemingly young body from the disuse of my potential. It is in the overcoming that I may remain alive in this life.

“When a friend of mine used to grumble because he had to write a paper for school, his mother would tell him: find a way to make it interesting. that’s what you need to do: find a question that makes the world interesting. People who do great things look at the same world everyone else does, but notice some odd detail that’s compellingly mysterious…

If it takes years to articulate great questions, what do you do now, at sixteen? Work toward finding one. Great questions don’t appear suddenly.¬†They gradually congeal in your head. And what makes them congeal is experience. So the way to find great questions is not to search for them–not to wander about thinking, what great discovery shall I make? You can’t answer that; if you could, you’d have made it.

The way to get a big idea to appear in your head is not to hunt for big ideas, but to put in a¬†lot of time on work that interests you, and in the process keep your mind open enough that a big idea can take roost…

Put in time how and on what? Just pick a project that seems interesting: to master some chunk of material, or to make something, or to answer some question‚Ķ Do something hard enough to stretch you, but only just, especially at first. If you’re deciding between two projects, choose whichever seems most fun. If one blows up in your face, start another. Repeat till, like an internal combustion engine, the process becomes self-sustaining, and each project generates the next one. (This could take years.)”

Sometimes we try to put the cart before the horse and think of what we want, and do what we think is necessary to get there. However, in my experience and studies, this is rarely to case. We need to do what we want, and this will lead us to the things that we want–whether we knew it or not. That is the only sustainable model. If you like running a business, it will lead you run more of that business and you will be happy and wealthy. If you want to be wealthy and think that running a business is the only way to get there, then you will do that, but perhaps you don’t like running a business. You will not be able to sustain this action for long and the wealth will have been short-term.

So before you start plotting and scheming ways to get what you think you want, why don’t you take a look at what interests you? Before giving up on the world, try to remember when you were young and interested in everything. This curiosity is the reason people get up in the morning and have any sense of meaning in life.

Experience as much as you can each day–something new–if you can’t find or remember an area of interest. It is effort, but not in vain. This question and thirst is what will sustain you throughout this life and lead you to your greatness.

I find that university wants me to already have this question when I have not even had experience yet. I know absolutely nothing of the world and my interaction with it is limited–how am I to know which questions I would like to ask? Sometimes we might have to break away from the system even if it pains us so that we may reenter later with the sense and conviction necessary to make that system grow our potential.

“Your life doesn’t have to be shaped by admissions officers. It could be shaped by your own¬†curiosity. It is for all ambitious adults. And you don’t have to wait to start. In fact, you don’t have to wait to be an adult. There’s no switch inside you that magically flips when you turn a certain age or graduate from some institution. You start being an adult when you decide to take responsibility for your life. You can do that at any age.”¬†

You can do it at any age, or never at all. I do wish that I had realized the full immensity of these words while in high school, yet it is better late than never. Some people live their lives already dead, with self-imposed restrictions or restrictions that they could easily cast off. Being an adult is not just the actions that you take, but the internal conversation that you have with your life. Are you making decisions for yourself? Are you doing what is necessary to live the life that you want to live? We have control of our lives, but it takes some effort and breaking away from the normalcy of the rut of despair that we have put ourselves in. Be conscious of whatever situation you are in, and take responsibility for the actions that you need to take to live this adult life. Do this, or forever live with the shackles of your own making.

I implore you to read his would-have-been-speech (the link to which I have provided below) no matter your age. There is something about the unpleasantness of life being put into words that makes our fears a little less pressing and change a little less daunting.

 

Paul Graham’s¬†“What You’ll Wish You’d Known”:¬†http://www.paulgraham.com/hs.html

So, You Have to Make a Decision…

Being a college student, there are naturally multiple high-stake decisions that I have to make. For example: What college to go to, to stay or to go, what major to pursue. All of these decisions deal with setting up the rest of my life basically, or so it seems. Even if things go a different way in the future, a smart decision still has to be made now.

These sorts of decisions continue the plague us throughout out lives: Should I change careers? Should I marry? Have a family? When? Should I move? And the list goes on. One thing stays the same in this life and it is that everything changes. Stress introduces itself to us when we have more options and are aware of our responsibility to instigate the changes in our own lives.

Therefore, I have spent hours trying to find answers and trying to figure out how to make these decisions, so I’ve decided to compile a nice little list of decision-making tactics:

1. Be psychic. My best case scenario is that I encounter someone who can tell me these answers or somehow become endowed with these powers myself.

2. Use my subconscious. By now, we all know that the subconscious is the part of ourselves that actually wears the pants in the relationship. Reading through The Power of Your Subconscious Mind, I came across a chapter regarding having your subconscious aid in your decision making process. One way is to think about the question and the options before sleep and to affirm that you know the answer. Hopefully after a week or two you wake up with the answer through your dreams or clear knowing.

Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/68984.The_Power_of_Your_Subconscious_Mind

3. Change perspective on decision-making. I recently watched Ruth Chang’s talk on TED, How to Make Hard Choices, and it provided a completely new look at making decisions. I have found that when making decisions that carry quite a bit of weight and consequence, I become filled with anxiety. I try to analyze myself, include lessons from the past, integrate all components that affect the decision, and also try to predict to the best of my ability what will happen. However, there are sometimes so many options and factors that it would be impossibly to weigh everything out and come to a sensible conclusion in that manner. And as mentioned, I can’t predict the future. Her video asks us to change our perspective from one of trying to make the choice that will yield the best outcome with a bucketload of anxiety. To her, making decisions should be one in which you GET TO construct your future. You make the decision not with a fear of making a misstep because as we all know, things go wrong. You make a decision with the excitement of being able to shape who you are. After looking at my choices this way, the useless feeling of anxiety that hindered my decision-making process left me.

Link: http://www.ted.com/talks/ruth_chang_how_to_make_hard_choices

4. Pretend you are in a video game. Some people say that our experience of reality is actually simulated in a sense, and I agree with this because I think that there is a bigger picture than this. However, you do not have to believe this to use this technique. Playing a video game or board game is very similar to the game of life, or so its called by some people. In the game, we are removed yet also engrossed. The main point is to use strategy. Sometimes we get so emotionally invested in our issues that we don’t focus on utilizing logical process to make decisions. Take a break out of your day and pretend this is a video game, just more complex. Look at your objectives and then look at the problems. Breaking it down in this manner can actually make it much easier for you to make better long-term decisions– then you can go back to living your life as life.

5. Pretend you are giving advice to a random person. I find that when we are confused and ask for advice, we actually know what we want to do and are just looking for an outside opinion to confirm our thoughts. Nobody knows you or your life better than you. In many cases, you are fully equipped to make a better decision for yourself than anyone else. So here is the process: write down your questions, answer it objectively as if it was someone else’s problem, and lastly integrate this advice into your own life.

And it cannot be said enough, no decision IS a decision! As my dad says, “Make a decision, whether it’s right or it’s wrong. You can change it later.” If you find yourself paralyzed by decision-making, use some of these tips and remember to MAKE THAT DECISION and don’t be scared of making a wrong turn. If you do, you can weather it and get back on track, because that is what we do!

Good Morning Starshine, the Earth Says “Hello!”

This is a quote from Johnny Depp Willy Wonka.  Although this may be regarded as utter blasphemy to some of the theatre or movie people out there, I actually prefer the newer version. Johnny Depp! Explosions! Eating bugs! But even better than that is a crazy character that is actually wiser than everyone else. This quote became one of my signature quotes to say circa 2005.

Each day can get quite monotonous if we let it. I admit, I have often felt like an octogenarian in the past– skip the golden years and straight to the sun set. Sometimes, life throws you some shit-cakes and if enough smacks you or if a big enough one does, it can be hard to get out of the funk you are in. Everything seems to be a bit duller and life doesn’t hold any promise or excitement. You look at the years ahead of you as a chore to drag your feet through instead of a challenge to enjoy, or at least something to hold your interest.

Each day, you have to greet the world with the same excitement and enthusiasm that you did as a child. Logically, the world is a large place with much to offer. So why is it so hard to realize that and live it? Sometimes you have to give yourself a good kick in your pants, and this is the time to do it. There is an infinite amount of potential in life and it is our part to wake up and feel uncomfortable and realize this! Wake up and say, “Hello World! Give me what you’ve got and I’ll give you what I got!”

Philosophy of Philosophy

Considering that my last two posts have been on philosophy, it may come as a surprise that I am not actually a fan of philosophy. Granted, I do not find it useless or boring in all cases–but I have never really quite latched onto it and its fundamentals. In my own life, I have found that I am more concerned with feeling my way through my own life instead of reasoning my way to discovering the principles of a perfectly organized and categorizable universe. Thinking about philosophy and defining it in its wholeness is no easy feat; as Luc Ferry’s book¬†A Brief History of Thought makes clear. I’m neither an expert in the field of philosophy or how one is “supposed” to live life, but like everyone else make up this world in which we live in, and do have some sort of grasp on it.

Much of the philosophy that is really the groundworks upon which the field of study is built upon is based on words from Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, etc. Much of their works in turn have to do with how our universe can be explained, categorized, and understood. Much of philosophy is akin to somewhat of a precursor to the sciences and their discoveries. Philosophy is something like the Nanny McPhee of the sciences in that because of the charming philosophy, the other sciences were able to straighten themselves out and grow up to be the respectable adults that they are. Philosophical inquiry often leads to scientific inquiry and discoveries. Therefore, it is not merely the practice of intense navel-gazing adopted by the eccentric fringe of society, but something that is the basis of human thought and actionРsomething necessary to human development.

However, I found that the way that I approached life was much different than a philosophical approach.

For one thing, I do not care for thoughts on what is a part and what makes a whole or when a thing stops being itself. I really find no joy in asking these questions. I found one answer as apt as the next, but clearly there was no possibility of finding a clear and definite conclusion. Each person had a correct answer; and so perhaps there was something wrong with the question being asked.

Many of the questions in philosophy have no answer and merely thinking about them proves to be a futile search. What is important is how the thoughts that you generate affect your life. For example, I think that we cannot really know whether anything outside of ourselves exists or that what we know to be true is actually the truth. There simply is no way to prove we are not being deceived or are in a dream and that there is an entire reality that is more real than this that we simply cannot comprehend. Acting on these thoughts may lead one to depression or madness. However, what is the benefit of that?

At times, these questions simply do not relate to our lives which we are living in. Regardless of whether anything is real or not, we are definitely experiencing something–that is as clear as the nose on your face! Why not make the most of it? There is the possibility of feeling the highest of highs and the lowest of lows so why not at least choose something and see where the ride takes you? We can try to think that we understand how everything works, but it is simply not possible. Here, our questioning leads us to one big questions. Yes, now what? Now how will you proceed? What do you value and what will give you the greatest reward? Do the thinking and question everything–but at the end of the day learn to live your life, as this is what has been placed in front of us.

 

Descarting Away Certainty: Why We Don’t Know Anything

At some point or another–whether it was while taking a shower or engaging in a dull conversation– you have probably thought of the possibility that none of this is real. ‘This’, of course, is the reality that we are in and consciously experiencing. This idea is quite common, especially when you think of creative pursuits based of off this idea, such as¬†The Matrix.¬†The details change, the concept remains the same. Although we could talk about this for quite some time going over all of the nuances, I decided to write about what Descartes had to say about the issue. Let’s get to know our Doubting Descartes a little better, first.

Descartes insisted upon Methodological skepticism, in which he would doubt anything that could not be proven true without a doubt. More so, he thought that we should apply this to all of our beliefs that we inanely and na√Įvely adopted from childhood. Is this extreme? Quite so–but anything to save us from the clutches of a society functioning off of their semi-ossified heads! So Descartes said, but don’t source that…

One of the primary reasons for doubting everything we know is that what we know is based off our senses. Our senses are how we understand the world around us, but we can’t trust them. And so begins Descartes trust issues–and all of your trust issues. Because really, how can you tell you are in a dream? Perhaps what we are experiencing is a dream to a higher reality. What about color-blindness? The types of sight and sensing across animal species? Each experience the world in a different way, neither is true nor false. Our lack of perception shows that the world is not only what we perceive. Look at an insane person; their visions are real to them, but seem crazy to us. So Descartes finds that because we are deceived by our senses, we cannot accept reality to be absolutely positively true.

He also writes about the Evil Genius Argument– the idea that an Evil Genius whose control over everything is so absolute that he could be tricking us about reality. Because it is possibly that the Evil Genius exists, we must doubt everything else.

Except one thing.

Descartes comes up with the Cogito Argument. This essentially states that because he doubts, he IS. Cogito ergo sum: I think, therefore I am. Very tricky, Descartes. Very, very tricky. So Descartes now has this one thing that he can count on for his life span. Of course, this thought relies on the principle of non-contradiction. Although we cannot conceive of how something can be and yet not be, it is possible that an Evil Genius, for example, is deceiving us of some reality in which the principle of non-contridiciton does not hold. As long as there is this possibility, I cannot really accept Descartes’ argument. But I’ll go along with it for argument’s sake, just like everything in this world-non-world.

Descartes goes on with his yada yada and soon somehow proceeds to use cogito ergo sum as the basis of proving that God exists.

Yes. Yes, that did escalate quickly.

The main argument is that he clearly and distinctly perceives God, so God exists. Therefore he knows God exists as a non-deceiver, and so he knows that he clearly and distinctly perceives. This is what we call a Cartesian Circle, kids! When you see this shady individual, scream and get to an adult as quickly as you can! There is much more leading up to this argument from the Cogito, which I implore you to research if it wiggles your squiggly-bin–tickles your fancy, catches your interests–so to speak. Because the argument does crumble more than a metaphorical wall in a random hipster indie-song, I did not feel the need to delve into that argument.

So at last, we have come to the conclusion that we cannot trust anything (as if you didn’t already have enough reasons not to trust anything) with the help of our dear friend Descartes. I would like to end with a poem:

~A Completely Arbitrary and Facetious Poem About Descartes but More About Writing Whatever Will Rhyme~

Descartes, oh Descartes

How you make art

With your philosophical musings

and Cartesian coordinate system on chart.

Your reasoning fell apart,

Alas, we must part.

 

Circling Around the Circle: Plato’s World of Forms

You probably think that you have seen a circle. In fact, there is something on this screen right now that you think proves that you have seen a circle (ahem ahem– the WordPress logo). But alas, the circle and you were never meant to be–at least, not in this realm of existence.

You see, you and the circle have quite the Romeo-and-Juliet relationship; lovers fated to be apart, only able to reconcile their love beyond the veil. Admittedly, you may not have as strong of feelings for the circle as Romeo had for Juliet, but the tragic tale remains. You cannot be with the circle because it does not exist as you do; the only place where you too can be is in The World of Forms. Let me explain.

We see a pencil drawing of a circle and are comfortable calling it circle. But is it really?

A circle is a 2D object with an infinite number of points equidistant from the center. This causes two problems for our example. For one thing, it is impossible to have every point ¬†equidistant from the center. It may be a drawing looking like a potato or one in which there is only one atom off– in either case, that rendering of the circle is not a true and perfect circle. Now let’s think about the mark that was made to draw the circle. Let’s say someone used a pencil to draw it. How was it drawn? A layer of graphite–many layers of graphene– was put down to make that mark. ‘But’, you say, ‘a circle is 2D!’. And you are right on the money. That layer means that the “circle” (despite it not being perfectly round) is actually a cylinder, which is a 3D shape. Let’s get real; that thing may as well be power plant smoke pipe for how much of a 3D cylinder it is.

‘So, I’ve never seen a circle? How do I know about it then? How do I know it exists?’

Well, although we’ve never seen it, it definitely exists. The circle is the concept that is behind us calling things circular, drawing circles, studying circles. We just can’t bring it into our reality or form of existence in its pure form, much like how the resurrection stone from Harry Potter can never fully bring back someone from the dead. The perfect, pure circle exists in what Plato calls the World of Forms–something like a VIP section in a club for abstract forms. The real circles are perfect and get free drinks while the imitations of the circles–the things that we have seen–are still in line outside of the club.

So there you have it. The tragic tale of why you and the circle never were and never shall be. Plato goes on to give you more reasons why this could never work out, but I didn’t want to crush your spirits. If you feel up to it, take it up with Plato on what’s keeping you and your true love apart.

You’re probably wondering now what you can even trust in this world anymore. Don’t worry, we’ll go over that in the future. Maybe. If I’m still here. If I ever was here. If anything was here. If here exists. If existence exists.