We stayed the weekend in New York City at the Radisson Martinique Hotel on Broadway. On Sunday, the day we were heading back to Seattle, we decided to find a coffee shop close by to get breakfast and pass some time. After a quick detour to buy a comfortable pair of shoes – that had nothing to do with breakfast – we tried to locate this place called ‘Gregorys Coffee’, which was well-rated online.
Alas! Gregorys was not to be found. Certainly, it was supposed to be on the corner of W 31st St and 6th Ave, but perhaps Google Maps was wrong? Had they closed shop and left? We walked up and down the street several times, and I would have been persuaded of a mistake if it weren’t for the fact that I actually recalled seeing the name just a few minutes earlier in big bold lettering, as we were making our way to the shoe shop.
It was a complete mystery…until I realized that we had been walking on the wrong street. We had been looking for the place on Broadway instead of 6th Ave! And that’s how the case was finally solved.
Nothing beats the peace and calm of walking around in your own garden in the early morning. There is nothing perfect about these flowers, but for a while I thought they had dried up and disappeared, but now they are back. Resilience is the defining characteristic of nature.
Allow me to introduce what I have decided to call the ‘Wikipedia Effect’.
The Wikipedia effect is the feeling of desperation and bewilderment caused by trying to read up on any technical topic at Wikipedia and traversing too many links on the website to other related pages. After about a dozen clicks, the reader begins to realize that each topic leads to deeper, more complex topics and they are walking down a deep cave with nothing but a dim flickering lantern.
A casual observer might mistakenly believe that the prime directive in life is the pursuit of happiness. In reality, I believe the ultimate goal of the conscious organism is the pursuit of meaning.
This pursuit takes many shapes and forms, and is often described in different words. People talk about wanting a sense of fulfillment or accomplishment. Others want to be challenged, to feel, to overcome obstacles and emerge victorious. And at times, they ask why – why should I do what I am doing right now? The answer to this question takes a philosophical turn – if you keep asking why, you are eventually forced to come face-to-face with the ultimate question – why does something exist rather than nothing?
Many years ago, I asked myself that very question, and kept hitting a very frustrating dead-end in my chain of logic, until one day I had an “Aha!” moment. I finally had a key insight, and it was this: the question of why anything exists is entirely meaningless unless there is someone to ask the question. The question of why is therefore entirely subjective, and it is the subject’s responsibility to define the answer.
In simpler terms, if you are a conscious – self-aware – organism, you are obliged to set your own goals and objectives, rather than look for instruction from elsewhere. Ironically, most self-aware organisms learn early on to conform to existing frameworks of goal-setting, and seldom venture outside of their bounds. Whether it is religion, culture, tradition, parents’ teachings or society’s laws – the conscious individual must make conscious choices in walking down the path.