‘The Latency Effect’ – Why your life goals won’t align with your life plans

If we had to pin point one major achievement from our generation, it would be the pace at which we have built instant gratification. We post an opinion or an article online & we get likes and shares within seconds. How do you suppose anyone could possibly read, understand and evaluate within seconds? But we don’t care. All we care about is how soon and how many of these gratifiers we ‘earn.’ Earn being used so loosely that it almost loses its true meaning. We have apps and specialised services, all claiming to get us what we need a little bit faster than the other. All of them aimed at reducing our apparent “work load” & put more time in our hands.

To think about it, we now have technology and automation to do most of our menial, mundane work. Heck, there are apps to even automate the aforementioned online posting. So it only makes logical sense to say that we now have more time in our hands, but do we? The answer to that is a resounding NO! No one has any time and everybody wants more of it. This age of instant gratification has made us believe that we can excel at almost anything because 40 people liked that post/comment you made on Bots & 10 others shared it. So now you call yourself a Bot Enthusiast and want to pursue a career in something like Bot Management or Bot Development. You make a 3 year plan on how you will achieve that- online courses, networking with people in the industry, the works. But at the end of those 3 years you still don’t get that dream job in Bot Management. What do you think happened?

In order to ensure that I don’t get carried away with these virtual-pats-on-my-back, I regularly conduct reality checks for myself. These checks are severe and downright mean. I strip down my personality, one layer at a time. Facing all the harsh truths about myself till I cannot do so any more. The night is filled with echoing voices of the harshest kind but when the morning arrives, I wake as a new person. A person only mildly touched by this virtual world and its delusions. With this mindset, I learn again and I learn better. No pretence.

As fool proof as this practice of reality checks might seem, the past few months have been especially challenging for me. The troubles, well they just kept piling on- to such an extent that I felt it in my bones, the pressing physical pressure of my world coming crashing down. Fortunately for me I had spent the time, before I got caught in this personal tornado, reading and studying philosophy. At the risk of sounding a bit loony, this seemed to me almost like it was a test. A test for me to fully explore the depths of my grasp on philosophy and also to realise a school of thought that is most aligned to my personal leanings. Two schools of thought resonated the most with me. They became this life-saving ship that would carry me through the tornado and help me see the proverbial “light at the end of the tunnel.” These two schools of thought were of Zen and of Daoism. Both alike in some ways and extremely distinguished in others. I’ll be writing more on both of these philosophies in some of my upcoming posts.

But today, today I wish to talk to you about how you can definitely get that job in Bot Management by paying attention to a recurrently occurring phenomena that we overlook everyday –

The phenomena of latency and its pervasive presence in all our lives.

I have devoted time to study philosophy, from the Pre-Socratic era to Socrates and beyond. A common theme amongst all ancient philosophers has been to answer the pressing question of What constitutes the universe? Followed by an inquiry into the justification for all our actions. Who decides what is good, what is bad? Is there a God? Is there a supreme authority on what is ethical and what is not? Whilst these inquiries led to their individual streams of discovery, the central theme encompassing all of these inquiries was an undying effort towards grappling this elusive concept of “a larger truth.”

It seems that I have digressed a bit but it was important to set context regarding the history of philosophical inquiries and how there is little to no exploration around the much prevalent latency that exists in all our lives. Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Daosim, Zen, Stoicism and all other religions & spiritual philosophies, in some capacity, propagate the ideology of having patience. That everything happens in its own time. However all of it sounds a bit vague and outside of ourselves. We need a concept that is real to us, to our own inherent lives. From the inception of a dream to its realisation, the road is long and lonely. It’s filled with rejection, disappointment, failure et al. But what we need to be wary of, at all times, is that-

The efforts we put into something right now will reach fruition with a latent effect that is personal to our lives and one that cannot be predicted.

How many times have you set a timeline for achieving something, only to revise it over and over again until it basically just happens at its own time? What do you think is at play here? Is it some mystical law of the universe that you have not aligned yourself to? Or is it some God that you may have possibly angered?

It is none. The only thing at play here is the underlying PROBABILITY of your life and the time it takes to turn the tide in your favour. The problem with the human consciousness is that we love to complicate things. Because if it’s not as complex as a math problem, we probably won’t take it seriously, right? Well, it doesn’t have to be so complex. Hence, as a fundamental instinct we need to factor this latency effect in our decisions, goals and life plans.

I can see how this could probably be one of the most daunting things to do in today’s day & age of instant gratification. Especially when we are constantly exposed to the superficial achievements & gratification of others. I say superficial because we only see them as they are projected on social media. We don’t see the hard work, the time, the disappointments and the failures behind each achievement. And most importantly we don’t see the difference between the actual time it’s taken someone to achieve their goal vs the projected time. Paying attention to this evermore latency in our lives and being wary of it in the lives of others can propel us to accomplish our goals and not give up in that crucial last mile.

So, keep trying because the moment we stop making these efforts is the moment the manifestation of our dreams stops too.

Now, more than ever I can see with full clarity this latency effect at play in my life. It’s the cause and effect of life that Buddha spoke of – only with a greater emphasis on the non-immediacy of the effects. If you give it a thought, can you observe this pattern in your life too?

How Do We Articulate The Existence of Our Soul?

Our soul, it exists. But it exists in a form distant from our being. We comprehend the idea of a soul as part of us but not limited by us. The elusive thought that our soul is an energy, it can neither be created nor be destroyed, throws up some light on the otherwise vague topic but not enough to enlighten us in any way. Pondering on the constituents of our soul draws up a blank slate or maybe some images of psychedelic renditions put into our minds by the media. But do we really understand our soul?

Is the soul the driving force behind all your conscious and sub-conscious actions? Or is it the electricity that lights up your bulb? Or maybe the soul can never be defined as being something but only as not being something. We know what the soul is not, its not our rationale mind, its not mortal and its not tangible.

To explore the existence of our soul, Jawaharlal Nehru in his book “The Discovery of India” references parts of the Upanishads (which are a collection of texts that contain some of the central philosophical concepts of Hinduism) and creates a metaphor to attempt comprehending the vastness of the immortal soul. A metaphorical explanation, was the only way to help understand a concept as vague and profound as our soul. The metaphor created here, is one wherein the soul is likened to a fire. But before that we need to understand the concept of an absolute soul. The absolute soul, is the one which drives our entire universe. The absolute soul is the energy behind the all encompassing macrocosm, much like a everlasting fire, and this leads into the concept of monism. Monism is the ideology that all existing things and beings can be explained as emerging from one reality or substance.

The individual soul, is like a spark that is thrown out by the fire of the absolute soul. This spark, once it enters the world, takes the shape of whatever it burns. The shape and strength of the spark of fire is dependent on the things it touches and burns. This then decides how long the spark will burn, how strongly and luminously will it burn and whether it will give rise to other sparks of flame or burn out on its own. The burning flame of our soul is shaped by the things we burn – the things we burn, metaphorically, are the families we are born in, the environment we thrive in, the social interactions we indulge in and every other aspect that shapes our mortal being. When we use the word “burn” in this context it is not so much it’s explicit meaning but its implicit rendition. What we burn is simply what we touch or come in contact with, which is a domino effect- one thing leading to another and another much like the spread of a fire.  Now, how vehemently we burn the things we touch that is up to us, growing the fire from a twig to a log this ability can be attributed to the ever growing consciousness of the mind and the zeal for survival. For if we don’t grow this fire, we burn out.

So our soul, it is a spark of fire that is shaped by everything we come into contact with as we transcend the sphere of life.

The ideology of monism and the concept of an absolute soul perpetrates the cause of oneness amongst all human beings, caste, creed, sex aside. The Upanishads consider the highest form of knowledge to be that of the individual mind, the objective external world is considered as not unreal but real in a relative sense, a projection of the inner reality.

Dwell further on the concept of an inner reality by reading Plato’s take on what constitutes our reality in Plato’s contemplative thought on the composition of our reality and stepping out of the oblivion.