I am not very verbose. I am more of a thinker than a speaker. Usually you will find me reading something or the other. For me its an addiction. because reading opens up doors to a world very different from my own. Books give me an opportunity to ponder on the thoughts of other people and experience life from a different point of view.
I have been reading this amazing book by Gregory David Roberts, Shantaram.
I am sure many of you might have heard of this book.
This book with really small font size and a whooping 933 pages is based majorly in Mumbai of 1980s. Bombay as I would like to call it in this context.
But for me, this book means a lot more than a well written novel about the city I love. You see, each character in this book has a past, has something to say, a lot to share and the little that is written and of what I understand seems to give me a much better perspective of life than anything I have read till date.
I would like you read the following excerpt from Shantaram.
This is a conversation between a very, very influential man, Khaderbhai and his apprentice, the author of the book (here, Lin)
“The history of the universe is a history of motion,” Khader began, still looking at the boats nodding together like horses in harness. “The universe, as we know it, in this one of its many lives, began in an expansion that was so big, and so fast that we can talk about it, but we cannot in any truth understand it, or even imagine it. The scientists call this great expansion the Big Bang, although there was no explosion, in the sense of a bomb, or something like that. And the first moments after that great expansion, from the first fractions of attoseconds, the universe was like a rich soup made out of simple bits of things. Those bits were so simple that they were not even atoms yet. As the universe expanded and cooled down, these very tiny bits of things came together to make particles. Then the particles came together to make the first of the atoms. Then the atoms came together to make molecules. Then the molecules came together to make the first of the stars. Those first stars went through their cycles, and exploded in a shower of new atoms. The new atoms came together to make more stars and planets. All the stuff we are made of came from those dying stars. We are made out of stars, you and I. Do you agree with me so far?”
“Sure,” I smiled. “I don’t know where you’re going yet, but so far, so good.”
”Precisely!” he laughed. “So far, so good. You can check the science of what I am saying to you–as a matter of fact, I want you to check everything that I say, and everything you ever learn from anyone else. But I am sure that the science is right, within the limit of what we know. I have been studying these matters with a young physicist for some time now, and my facts are essentially correct.”
“I’m happy to take your word for it,” I said, and I was happy, just to have his company and his undivided attention.
“Now, to continue, none of these things, none of these processes, none of these coming together actions are what one can describe as random events. The universe has a nature, for and of itself, something like human nature, if you like, and its nature is to combine, and to build, and to become more complex. It always does this. If the circumstances are right, bits of matter will always come together to make more complex arrangements. And this fact about the way that our universe works, this moving towards order, and towards combinations of these ordered things, has a name. In the western science it is called the tendency toward complexity, and it is the way the universe works.” …
… “To continue this point, the universe, as we know it, and from everything that we can learn about it, has been getting always more complex since it began. It does this because that is its nature. The tendency toward complexity has carried the universe from almost perfect simplicity to the kind of complexity that we see around us, everywhere we look. The universe is always doing this. It is always moving from the simple to the complex.”
“I think I know where you’re going with this.”
“The universe,” he continued, “this universe that we know, began in almost absolute simplicity, and it has been getting more complex for about fifteen billion years. In another billion years it will be still more complex than it is now. In five billion, in ten billion–it is always getting more complex. It is moving toward … something. It is moving toward some kind of ultimate complexity. We might not get there. An atom of hydrogen might not get there, or a leaf, or a man, or a planet might not get there, to that ultimate complexity. But we are all moving towards it– everything in the universe is moving towards it. And that final complexity, that thing we are all moving to, is what I choose to call God. If you don’t like that word, God, call it the Ultimate Complexity. Whatever you call it, the whole universe is moving toward it.”
“Isn’t the universe a lot more random than that?” I asked, sensing the drift of his argument, and seeking to head it off.
“What about giant asteroids and so on? We, I mean our planet, could get smashed to fragments by a giant asteroid. In fact, there’s a statistical probability that major impacts will occur. And if our sun is dying–and one day it will–isn’t that the opposite of complexity? How does that fit in with the movement to complexity, if all this complex planet is smashed to atoms, and our sun dies?”
“A good question,” Khaderbhai replied.
A happy smile revealed the run of his slightly gapped, ivory-cream teeth. He was enjoying himself in the discussion, and I realised that I’d never seen him quite so animated or enthused. His hands roved the space between us, illustrating some points and emphasising others.
“Our planet may be smashed, it is true, and one day our beautiful sun will die. And we are, to the best of our knowledge, the most developed expression of the complexity in our bit of the universe. It would certainly be a major loss if we were to be annihilated. It would be a terrible waste of all that development. But the process would continue. We are, ourselves, expressions of that process. Our bodies are the children of all the suns and other stars that died, before us, making the atoms that we are made of. And if we were destroyed, by an asteroid, or by our own hand, well, somewhere else in the universe, our level of complexity, this level of complejxity, with a consciousness capable of understanding the process, would be duplicated. I do not mean people exactly like us. I mean that thinking beings, that are as complex as we are, would develop, somewhere else in the universe. We would cease to exist, but the process would go on. Perhaps this is happening in millions of worlds, even as we speak. In fact, it is very likely that it is happening, all over the universe, because that is what the universe does.”
Tendency towards Complexity.
What a beautiful thought. And very precise too.
You may or may not have been able to relate to what Khaderbhai was saying.
“How is universe giving you meaning of life?” You may ask.
But if you haven’t already, think it from my view now.
The bottom-line of their conversation so far was that everything we know, or we don’t know, in the universe is getting complex by the day. We all are getting more and more complex with each breath we take.
The first life on earth was merely a cell, a prokaryote, or something even more primitive than that. And here we are, more complex beings, us Homo sapiens sapiens.
Even if you observe your own life, how simple it was when we were kids. Just school and little homework. And with age our life is getting more complex. More complicated.
We try to live a comfortable life with all this technology. We try reduce our problems but all we are doing is adding fuel to fire.
So far I have only stated facts. But what has been troubling me, what the real question is, that, “Does it has to be this way?”
Later in this chapter, the author asks the same question to Khaderbhai.
And I ask this to you.
In one off my previous posts, Stress, I’ve said that how we humans force ourselves to take stress or to give stress. To make our Lives complicated.
But rule of universe is complexity.
So is this how it is suppose to be?
Are we on right path? Complicating things for higher good?
Or are we going wrong somewhere?
Is this Stress going to eventually wipe out our species?
But then, why?
Because that’s how its suppose to be or because we are stupid enough to cause it to ourselves?
No species survives forever. We too will either evolve or go extinct.
In the light of recent events happening around the world, both options are equally horrifying.
But in my opinion, the latter one is better for everyone.
Leave your opinions on this topic below.
You ideas, suggestions and arguments are welcomed.
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The above excerpt was from Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts, which is an amazing book trust me. Surely check it out.
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