Paraguay just qualified for the world cup quarter finals. It is the fourth South American to do so. For the first time in history there will be more South American nations than European ones at this stage. The five south americans did very well, The only one eliminated was Chile, and by Brazil, another South American. There is a possibility of the semifinals being Brazil vs Uruguay and Argentina vs Paraguay. That would be amazing. For the record, never a European nation won the World Cup out of Europe.
Freely translated from "Epitáfio" by Brazilian band Titãs I should have loved more Should have cried more Should have seen the sun rise I should have taken more risks And even made more mistakes Should have done what I wanted to do
I wish I had accepted People the way they are Each one knows the happiness And pain that brings in the heart...
Chance will protect me While I am distracted Chance will protect me While I am...
I should have complicated less Worked less Should have seen the sun set I should have cared less About small problems Should have died of love...
I wish I had accepted Life the way it is To each one the happiness And the sadness that happens to come...
Chance will protect me While I am distracted Chance will protect me While I am...(2x)
I should have complicated less Worked less Should have seen the sun set...
When I was a kid, I thought adults knew a lot. I thought adults knew nearly everything. That they had all the answers. It was a comforting thought. In case I had any doubt, I'd ask an adult and that was it. The doubt was gone. With this method any possible doubt could be eliminated very easily. The world was simple.
Today I'm an adult and I see it is not quite like that. At this point I ask myself what do we know?
We know a little about economy. Today I know why doesn't the toys store sell remote controlled car miniatures for 10 cents each, as I suggested my father once: "Dad, I don't understand why do stores sell toys for such expensive prices. Damn, if I owned a store I would sell each toy for 2 "Cruzados Novos" (brazilian currency at the time, witch was not worth much) each. I would sell so many toys in this way, so many toys, that I am sure I would make more money than all other stores." But my father patiently explained me how things work. He explained me how shops need to pay employees and buy toys from a factory which has more employees and has to buy raw materials and so on. In summary, he explained nothing is for free in the world. I, more or less, understood that explanation, that is, children can understand basic economics. From that to understanding the international stock market it requires just a little more reasoning.
We know some math, if we decided to pay some attention to those lectures at school. We know some biology (Darwin is the man!), a bit of physics (Newton and Einsten are also the men!) which we developed a lot to better bomb and kill each other. We know a little history, but not enough to avoid the same mistakes and wars to repeat over and over throughout the planet. We know how to program computers. Now I know a bit about such things, which I didn't know as a kid. But is that it? We invented economy ourselves. And we invented math, physics and biology. We invented computers and registered history. But what do we know about the world? About life? Damn, adults should have all of the answers. I think I have so few. Actually, we are not really sure of anything. Anything at all.
And we see so many obviously wrong in the world. Hungry children, people bombing each other under the archaic pretext of "religion", well paid shameless politicians stealing their own countries, wars for oil... just to state a few of the thousands of examples. And we don't see significant efforts to change all that. You know what, adults look like children! Children with guns in their hands and with the arrogant looks of adults with all the answers. Pathetic. Sometimes the world seems just pathetic.
No, I don't have any solution. This is just a grumpy text. Socrates was right when he said "All I know is I know nothing". And, since we mentioned Socrates, do you know what did he die of, dear reader? He was executed by poisoning under the accusation of having "corrupted the minds of the young in Athens". Responsible for his conviction were the politicians of the time. Adults who certainly knew all the answers... I honestly don't think I know so much more than I knew at the age of 12, if you know what I mean.
Dragon Boat, that's my new sport. It's a boat with about 20 people rowing. It requires strenght and stamina, but also technique and timing. If the 20 people row to the same pace, the boat goes faster. That's why some boats bring a drum on board, so that a leader can dictate the rowing rhythm. I'll be rowing in the next Tuesday and Thursday evenings, while both the summer and my patience last. The guys are talking about competing when we get properly trained. That might be interesting... Picture taken from here. Original post here.
The images below depict the size of the earth compared to some planets and stars. Labels are in Portuguese, unfortunately, but I guess the planets and their names are easily recognizeable. The pictures give us an idea of how small we are in such a huge universe.
And some people still kill and die for temporarily ownership and power over minimal parts of that small fraction of a pixel. People that fight for having influence and power for an ephemeral instant in time in a very small point in space. For some reason, I think a smile is more important. I think fun is more important. A hug and a kiss. I think love is more important. Love for people, not for things. "To be" rather than "to have". For some reason I think such things transcend our tiny size and influence in this huge and indifferent Universe.
I don't know who to credit for the images. I've got them from an Orkut community without any reference.
The video below is well related to this post, and actually inspired it, together with the images above. The video is by Carl Sagan, American astronomer and writer of whom I am a big fan.
Last night I was watching "Across the Universe" with my sister, my roommates, popcorn and beer. It is a pretty recent musical (2007) with Beatles songs. It is virtually impossible to do a bad movie with Beatles songs. And "Across the Universe" is quite good. The actors sing very well and, in my opinion, came up with great versions of the Liverpoodlian sound. I liked the film a lot. And I recommend it to everyone that, like me, enjoys the Beatles.
Most Beatles songs have a significant message. But, among the ones I listened on the movie, the one that tells me more at this point in my life is the following:
With A Little Help From My Friends (Lennon/McCartney)
What would you think if I sang out of tune Would you stand up and walk out on me? Lend me your ears and I'll sing you a song And I'll try not to sing out of key Oh I get by with a little help from my friends Mm I get high with a little help from my friends Mm going to try with a little help from my friends
What do I do when my love is away? (Does it worry you to be alone?) How do I feel by the end of the day? (Are you sad because you're on your own?) No I get by with a little help from my friends Mm I get high with a little help from my friends Mm going to try with a little help from my friends
(Do you need anybody?) I need somebody to love (Could it be anybody?) I want somebody to love
(Would you believe in a love at first sight?) Yes I'm certain that it happens all the time (What do you see when you turn out the light?) I can't tell you, but I know it's mine Oh I get by with a little help from my friends Mm I get high with a little help from my friends Oh I'm going to try with a little help from my friends
(Do you need anybody?) I just need somebody to love (Could it be anybody?) I want somebody to love
Oh I get by with a little help from my friends Mm going to try with a little help from my friends Oh I get high with a little help from my friends Yes I get by with a little help from my friends With a little help from my friends
Sometimes I wake up willing to philosophate. And this blog also has much of philosophy, even if it is "bar philosophy", which is also fine. So, I would like to propose here the classical philosophical question:
What is the meaning of life?
Not that I expect to find an answer to that in blog comments, but I think it is interesting to read opinions about it. Before, though, allow me to state some hypothesis. I've read a bit, I've travelled, I've met people and cultures and lived a few years. So, I have these hypothesis to enumerate, but I am still far from finding an answer to the question. If there is one. Take a look and tell me what you think.
The Bible tells me the meaning of life is God. I believed in that for quite some time. From childhood up to some point in my teens. But actually, in that period I did not care much about the existence of a meaning of life. Maybe it is best not to care. "Ignorance is bliss". Children are genuinely happy in this way. But today I do not believe that such meaning is in God. I won't write more about that, because people use to say we should not question religion, and I don't trust "unquestionable" ideas.
Many songs and poems say to me that the meaning of life is romantic love. Maybe it is. I think that hypothesis is valid and I still have not given up on testing it. But if that is the case, I still haven't found the meaning of my life.
Capitalism explains that the meaning of life is to accumulate capital, property, titles, influence, power. I am skeptical about this one. I don't think the meaning of life is to accumulate "things". Things can bring us some comfort, let our lives more practical. Maybe a little more pleasant, but I don't think they give it a meaning.
Others say the meaning is to work. "Work dignifies man". But what is, essentialy, to work? Except for very special cases, to work is to produce things. Produce knowledge, software, sofas, whatever. Things that satisfy the demand capitalism has just suggested. But we had already claimed that the meaning cant be in "things". At least not for me. Can it be for you? A life with more or less comfort is equally meaningless. Isn't it?
Others still claim the meaning is family. As a matter of fact, having a daughter gives great meaning to my life, and it is an immense satisfaction to me. But, in the other hand, families not always work out as a unity. There are often fights, people willing to divide rather than unite. Anyway, that is one of the strongest hypothesis, in my opinion. A family, at least, allows for some kind longer term future.
Freud claims life is meaningless suffering. An eternal conflict between man and nature. An eternal conflict between instinct and the superego. Between animal desire and the civilization that protects us and at the same time represses us. It is a bit pessimistic. Even sad. But sometimes it looks like Freud is right. If so, there is no meaning. Just a conflict man is destined to lose to death.
Existentialism affirms the meaning of life is the freedom of thought, of deciding what is best fore oneself. I appreciate this idea. It is very good to feel free. It is very good to be able to decide. Although, often decisions are hard, and our freedom is always limited, falling back to what Freud was saying above.
Hedonism says the meaning of life is pleasure. The search for pleasure. An interesting thought. But, after some time, maybe those things may seem a bit ephemeral. Happiness seems to be ephemeral. Maybe the meaning of life is a constant search for a few ephemeral moments.
Maybe the meaning is on social interactions. In a "chimarrão" or a game of poker with friends, a weekend barbecue. Maybe yes. Some of the best moments are like that. But again, ephemeral.
Many of the previous paragraphs can be summarized in the word "happiness". The meaning of life would be to live a happier life. But happiness is always ephemeral. Happiness are moments. Homeopathic doses. Would the life have an ephemeral meaning? Would it be something to be pursued every single day? Every single minute? An eternal pursuit of something that never comes to stay?
Would the meaning of life be all of the above? None of the above? I have no clue.
Why are people like that? Why does everyone in the train look so upset? Why doesn't anyone commute smiling? Why do people, in general, don't give a damn about each other? Why are there people whose goal in life is to harm other people? Why do so many believe in wrong, superfluous, stupid things? Why don't they make barbecues? Why don't they open a beer? Why don't they embrace a friend? Why the bombs? Why revenge? Why selfishness? Why jealousy? Why so many small, greedy things? Why? Why? Why???