A World of Patterns and The Limit of Language

In computer science, divide-and-conquer is a common technique applied in both practical programming and abstract algorithm to solve complex problems efficiently. In other words, a complex problem is continuously and/or recursively broken down to simple workable chunk to be managed, manipulated, and calculated individually, and finally re-combined to get a solution for the original problem. What a wonderful tactic!

Well well, does that sound kind of familiar? Maybe. Maybe not. I find it quite similar to the way we do things in life.

As humans, to make sense of life, to navigate through human community/society, and also for convenience, we break down reality into small chunks.

In nutshell, with our scientific mind, our logical mind, we analyze reality, break it down into “things” and give “things” names through words/language. As society and civilization become more and more complex, so more “things” and words are developed, and we begin to put many “things” and words together to develop patterns.

So in the beginning, there is reality but no thing.
Then we created things with language.
Then we create patterns of life with things and language.

And as days go by, we create more and more things, more and more words, and more and more patterns. And we are still going at creating more!

Patterns are like boxes.

So now, we are all given birth, and as we grow up, our parents and society would put us in boxes… and we grow up to put ours in boxes (perhaps some newly created ones)

Oh, you must be an upstanding citizen. Patriot who protects the countries. Muslim who worships Allah. Christian who preaches in the name of Jesus. You must be successful. You must make others happy. You are to love your parents. You should never lie. You must not have sex before marriage. You must obey the filial piety according to Confucius. You will become a doctor, lawyer, engineer, hedge fund manager or whatever. Work hard and you will succeed. Eat non-fat and you will be healthy. You need to get married, have a family, and have kids. Max out 401k and IRAs and you can retire. Oh my oh my! Boxes!

So you may be thinking now, “Are you saying we need to destroy and abolish “things”, words, and all patterns of life?” My answer is, “No”.

So what am I trying to get at?

My point is we are missing the point of living the whole way along. It is almost like we used divide-and-conquer without ever re-combining the simple workable chunks, but instead, keep on dividing the chunks into smaller chunks… On top of that, we completely forget the original problem we wanted to solve.

Surely, we all choose to live however we want. Here, I am entertaining the idea that there could be a more favorable experience of living. More specifically, to get better in touch with reality, and hence lead to the result of being able to find harmony with ourselves and our environment.

We have forgotten that we had created things, words, and patterns from the very beginning to navigate reality but they are not the reality. Yes, they are now part of our human reality but still, not THE reality.

Think of it this way, when you see a banana, you can call or think of it as banana. But if you don’t know the word, “banana”, is the banana still reality, or is it not?

You know it.

Reality is more than just words and patterns. When we lack the words and patterns to label and define parts of reality, it does not mean it is not reality!

And so we miss the point.

Us modern people since industrialization, let our logical minds completely dominate, to the point where, words and patterns ARE reality. When reality is something outside of the realm of our words and patterns, we get completely insecure and to make us feel alright again, we invent new patterns to try to force things the way we like, and if unsuccessful, we twist and bend words to conceal and cover the reality. That is, in a most simple example, we would deny a banana is there if we lack the word to call it.

As such, we are often either in denials, or in complete ignorance of reality to do what we need to do as real solution.

We take our patterns too literally. We take ourselves too seriously. Seriously!

Therefore, instead of tips, techniques, or methods, I write what I do here — mostly for my own enjoyment but also — it will be much more substantial for each of us to shift our fundamental attitude of life, of reality to bring about real change.

If I shall put it more strongly, beyond the limit of our rules and language, lies truth and enlightenment.

The one crucial step, to mature as a human being, to become wise, and probably even to enlightenment (if you are so inspired) is to learn the patterns but be able to set them asides, knowing that they are artificial.

Do no abandon words and patterns. Do not fight them. To make use of the patterns (as our original intent of creating them), we just need to re-understand them as patterns. As invention for our own convenience, words and patterns — developed through thoughts and conveyed by words — make good servants but poor masters.

Originally posted 2009-11-18 00:07:05. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Two Sides of the Same Coin

Reality is actually very simple. It is so simple that almost all of us miss it all the time.

It is simply the experience of being in the now. Really, indescribable. Once you start describing it, it is no longer. However, continuing from past post “A World of Patterns and The Limit of Language”, patterns are a necessary facts of the human life for convenience, for communication.

Most fundamentally, we can view everything as a play between 2 sides of a coin (or more eastern and traditional, the symbol of Taichi including the yin and the yang).

The key to remember, is that it is ONE coin. But we forget, so we play against ourselves saying, “crap, the head is going to beat the tail”, or vice versa. So it is said, we live among illusions [that we created].

Thus, once you have full realization of the said key, you can see through illusions and learn to observe the play between 2 sides of the same coin. And ultimately, begin to see through most things in life. What you do with such realization, it’s your choice.

Two points to be taken as to how we get lost in illusions.

1. We mistaken all the complex, artificial patterns that are derived from two sides of the same coin, or the coexisting opposite yin and yang, are indeed reality itself.

2. We forget the two sides are indeed the same coin, or that yin and yang exist only because of each other. Or put another way, we believe the seemingly opposing forces are mutually exclusive when they are really two of the same thing. And then we tell ourselves, “Uh oh, we cannot let tail wins. We must beat the other side”.

The results are — We forget reality. We desire illusions. Furthermore, we desire to make illusions real and permanent. And we desire so badly that we’d do anything, leading ourselves into a incessant losing proposition. And we feel unfulfilled and insecure.

Some of us had taken sides with the head, and some of us had taken sides with the tail. Now we battle each other. Over and over and over.

Imagine we keep this up, what happens to the coin? And what do you think will happen after what may happen to the coin? If you can sense the answer, you are getting warmer.

Originally posted 2009-12-08 20:51:21. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Moderate Income Resident House… Really?

My dear friend D told me that his friend has purchased a house somewhere in the South Bay Area. Of course it is something to congratulate about as we all know how steep the housing prices are here. But something really confuses me…

Basically the area that is selling the newly constructed homes is only aimed and restricted to moderate income households. The restriction roughly goes something like this: 129k for 1-4 people household, 135k for 5 people household and so on… I asked D for a number of what the house costs his friend. The answer is a little over 800k.

This immediately leads to the next question… how the heck can something with moderate income afford these houses! Mind you, the 800k is the lowest priced model home. The others cost up to 1mil+.

Let us do a bit of calculation with the assumption of a 800k house, a healthy 20% down payment, and an interest rate at 6.05% for 30 years fixed mortgage. The payment comes out to $3,857.72 a month. Also assuming a household with max. income allowed of 129k, it results to around 6k after-tax per month. If we tag on utility, property tax, living/food expenses on top of the 4k~ payment, it is really walking the edge!

The fact is, I have played down the price tag, assumed a healthy 20% down payment (160k!), and also assumed a average interest rate. Let alone there are other living expenses (eg. insurance…) I did not mention.

In a nutshell, I’m just lost how they calculate the income restriction with houses priced like this… can anyone explain? I would love to hear :)

Originally posted 2007-06-04 23:39:55. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Having Alone Time and Feeling Lonely, What is Your Comfort Level?

With today’s hectic life style, it’s hard for us to have alone time. I am talking about authentic alone time, where you are all by yourself (alone physically) and completely in the moment with yourself (alone emotionally), not distracted from doing or thinking about other things. True one on one time. Just be there, with yourself.

How much one has mastered himself and his own mind directly shows in the comfort level when he is truly by himself.

“Oh my god, I’m bored, I need to…
… call someone on my cellphone!
… check Facebook!
… browse the web/YouTube/blogs!
… go out somewhere fun!
… go shopping!”

And BAM, you end up spending money. Therefore, to be comfortable being alone and lonely will help both yourself and for you to save money. Follow me.

I dare to say a majority of people are not comfortable with themselves. Look at the rampancy where people are constantly, and I do mean constantly, talking on cellphones, texting, writing emails, browsing social networks, etc. Never a minute to be truly by themselves.

Being alone and lonely. To get used to themselves. To provide quiet moments for the mind to digest information. To simply let the mind rest so to stay calm. Through which, they can come see things as they are. But no, people are way too busy. They even try very hard to stay busy. They must fill every moment in time doing something. They must succeed! But remember, what is success?

Consumerism is probably a result of this, where people fill their moments with the excitement of buying things, owning things, bragging about the things they own. They fill their moments and physical space with things, things, and more things as distraction.

Existing common knowledge says aloneness is bad. People avoid being alone. They even get depressed. “Oh my god, oh my god, I am all by myself!” Is being alone so bad? Is being lonely so bad? In reality, we are all alone since birth because nobody can fully be you, and nobody can fully understand you.

Like avoiding people they do not like, people avoid being alone. If you never get time alone, how do you ever understand yourself? Without such understanding, your action may or may not align with what you truly want out of life.

Do you want your life to be like rolling the dice? Or do you want to choose to be who you want to be? Is such busy life worth it?

Originally posted 2008-06-05 00:16:57. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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