October 31, 2010

Climbing Up the Penrose Stairs

Stuck in a Paradox.

The first question which will pop-up in your brain right now is “what the heck is Penrose Stairs!?”  To quote from the world’s best source of answers, ‘known as the impossible staircase wherein it is portrayed as a two dimensional object with four 90-degree turns, like an endless loop with the person climbing the stairs for eternity and never get any higher’…Fancy huh?

But wait! Don’t runaway! This is not about me trying to explain the illusion of the Penrose Stairs nor am I going to describe how the Penrose Stairs was used in that jaw dropping staircase scene featuring Arthur, (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) in Inception..

This is about me asking questions to myself, the answers to which are either unknown or is beyond logical comprehension. I’m sure that when we were kids, we all pestered our parents with a barrage of questions like “Why is the Moon like an idly amma?” or “Why can’t I fly like Superman daddy?” or even bolder questions as how to how we were born and so on...

Personally, I’m curious and amazed by the things which are above and below us, things which others have not thought about. Take the Human Race for example, what are we doing here? Why are we here? What is the purpose of our existence? Of the billions of stars in the so called infinite universe (which by itself is a paradox) why is that the Earth has complex life forms with a species so volatile and unpredictable? Isn’t it fascinating to think about all this?

A few years back, I had this really wonderful and at the same time an atrocious imagination. As abstract as this may sound, I asked myself the ‘What If?’ question. I asked ‘what if the human race did not exist?’ ok fine I said to myself and I asked ‘what if the Earth did not exist?’ and so I kept rewinding to the solar system, galaxies, clusters and finally to the mother of all wonders. The Universe. And then it hit me like a roller coaster. My mind stopped thinking. The thought flow stopped. The brain refused to churn logical data beyond that particular line. It was as though the Hand of God had programmed us to not understand certain things. I asked myself,

“What if there was no such thing as The Universe, No Big Bang and hence nothing?
What is this void I’m stuck in?

The shock and magnitude of this thought brought me back to the beginning of it all,


Like the Penrose Stairs, however hard I tried to climb, I ended coming back to the same place I had started like an endless time loop.

Speaking of time and the Universe, the concept of time travel and parallel universes has fascinated me a lot and made me ask further strange questions. I’m sure most of you have heard about the Grandfather Paradox and the Grandson Paradox. It has been debated upon for a long time, but like all tangent thinkers, I wondered why nobody thought about the present self.

According to the Grandfather Paradox, if I went back in time and killed my grandpa even before he met my grandma, then one of my parents would not have been conceived which in turn means I would not have been born too! BUT, this means that due to mysteries of the fourth dimension, I could not have traveled back in time at all, which means my grandfather would still be alive and I would have been born allowing me to go back in time again and kill my grandpa again. Don’t get it? Hang in there.

Now coming back to the present, what if I kill myself right now, this second? What then?
Obviously I will die and you will come for my funeral! But, think! Why can’t I be alive in a parallel universe which was triggered due to my actions in this universe!? Fantastic isn’t it! I personally believe in the existence of infinite parallel universes triggered due to choices made in this universe. To quote one of my friends,

“The past is part of some present and the present is part of some future”

Even the dreams we have could be alternate universes by themselves! Why Not? These dreams could influence our choices, leading to a hundred possible effects. Call it the Butterfly Effect if you want to!

My Take on Parallel Universes

Also, there would have been some point in our lives, when we felt we have already witnessed a present event in the past. Yes, I’m talking about Déjà vu, that strange phenomenon which keeps happening to all of us. My question is, is this phenomenon occurring because we already know what is going to happen or is it because we had a glimpse of our past self copies? We will never know...Atleast for now.

Like I said, it’s the Penrose Stairs. Some things just cannot be comprehended. And I cannot stop asking weird questions. To me, we are part of a never ending game of Age of Empires, with the Almighty whacking away at the keyboard commands with glee. The quest for life’s simple and twisted answers may seem like an endless climb. But then again, it’s all about perspective. The light at the end of the tunnel is what I’m heading towards. Now don’t ask me what that means! Go figure.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are my own and not meant to reach any scientific conclusion.

October 30, 2010

Starting Off the Right Foot

Dear Nice-Person-Who-Visited-My-Blog,