Solely In Black and White: October 2011

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Anonymously Superior Reality

This post is in response to this bizarre anonymous post found on Yedid Nefesh's Blog.

Inevitability. It can said that In some ways there always is an inevitability. An action sets in motion a chain of causal and proximate event that are going to transpire. While we may not know or understand them, we know these eventualities to be nearly certain. Parenthetically, we all know that we are all eventually going to die, but that generally doesn’t alter our lives in any particular way. Granted, that’s not to say that said knowledge shouldn’t.


As per the question whether the pavement in Canada will swallow one whole, I believe that to be a farce. Hello, it’s Canada?! It is in the best interest of it's socialistic doctrine to keep people safe in order to avoid providing unnecessary medical care! And clearly if the pavement were to swallow one up in Canada the victim would probably be best sent to glue factory anyway. Quicker service for the same result…

I do dissent in part with the sentiment that denying the inevitability of life will lead one astray. Ignorance is most definitely bliss. It becomes rather difficult in ascertaining who is happier; especially when considering that we neither objectify happiness nor read another’s mind. I suppose that is the philosophical sacrifice that must be made; with intelligence comes pain and with knowledge comes hardship.

BrainI find the story of barista peculiar. Personally, I have never heard brown in my life, except maybe with regards to diarrhea or a sound that precludes smelling a foul odor emanating from a baby’s diaper. Then again, I don’t make coffee for a living soperhaps I am missing out on something here.

Nonetheless, I don’t believe that the barista in his capacity was any happier than anyone else. He was happy with “his” reality however relative it may have been. It can be equally argued that others in comparable situations are not happy their relative realities. Some people will see the walls closing in on them as claustrophobia while other will find them to be cozy and snugly. Seeing and or feeling a higher reality can be both a blessing and a curse.

If you have read this diatribe thus far, you must have realized that what I am writing in my prose is rather argumentative and lacking in coherent substance. So let us take a holistic approach in our analysis.


First off, I don’t know what the author of this piece really intended but here is my take on it. It is known and well understood that we as humans block out emotions and stimuli. We have to. Our brains are inundated and bombarded with stimuli constantly. That doesn’t mean that all the information isn’t processed or decoded in some way. Alternatively, those who cannot perform said task are typically classified under an umbrella or spectrum disorder. Hence, why the human body is considered more of an art and less of a science; no one knows how or why, just some facts. That’s not to say that any given stimulus is not apparent in nature just because most people aren’t aware of it.

Here is another explanation along the same lines of reasoning. It said that people who are lacking in one of five senses have heighted sensitivity in at least one of the other four senses; such a blind person having a keen sense of hearing. Does that mean that blind fellow is crazy because he or she can detect stimuli that others can’t, most definitely not!

So what does all this mean to the average person? Basically, the idea is that as healthy normal humans we are “missing” a lot of stimuli, some good and some bad. Knowing that that these stimuli exist, or even that these stimuli can affect our inevitability, is something that we subconscious and unknowingly incorporate into our everyday lives. Practically speaking, these “things” do not make a difference in our day to day lives. However, think back to a time of personal extreme happiness or sadness. Try to remember the most minute detail or obscure stimuli. What do you find? You might recall a lot more details then you might have otherwise... 

To conclude, it’s the state of mind that determines one’s ability to attain a superior reality. How one choice to get there is a different story…

Sociology and the Internet

Via SMBC Comics

Well, at least the internet gave us some intellectual and aesthetic stimulation... 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Too Much Yom Yov…

Rafi Skier

You know how it is professed that too much of a good thing is a bad thing? Well, I couldn’t agree more that said epithet applies to Yom Tov; especially those of the three-day variety that come in close succession.  Personally, I am of the cynical opinion that no one really "enjoys" Yom Tov, we merely tolerate it. 

Anyway, I am utterly exhausted from Yom Tov and now quite lacking in free time. I'm not sure why eating, sleeping, and going to shul (over and over again) is so exhausting, but it is. Well, to be fair it was simchas torah, so I suppose we can attribute some tiredness to that. It's still bizarre that I find myself tired from being on holiday. 

As per the purpose of this post, I just couldn’t resist posting that book cover, mainly for two reasons. First, I literally grew up on The Berenstain Bears. Second, I’ve been waiting forever for someone to finally make that cover! I am very tempted to write an accompany story to that cover, but unfortunately that task might have to wait a bit. Too much to do and not enough time, although the idea will probably make it to my post-to-do list so keep your eyes peeled.

In conclusion, I hope your Yom Tov was enjoyable. Nonetheless, I leave you with a sentiment through a quote from a family member, as to which I wholeheartedly agree,: “So excited for regular life to resume!” 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Random Question on Succos

I really have a ton of random questions I would love answered by you, the reader, but only one for now. Do you eat in the succah on shemini atzeres? 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Thoughts on Steve Jobs’ Demise and Yom Kippur

To some, the departure of Steve Jobs was jarring. A revolutionary iconic legend was taken from humanity. But one thing he was not, at least it is unknown as pointed out in the NYTimes, was a known philanthropist. There are many thoughts and opinions that have been written about Jobs. His work and ideas are undeniably innovative, but what can we learn from his passing? 

Being that is right before Yom Kippur the first thought that crossed my mind was that nothing is set in stone. Life, and by extension happiness, is dependent on so many factors; many of which we take for granted every single day and many of which aren’t within our control. We rely on the status quo and take a laissez-faire attitude towards almost every aspect of our lives. We know deep-down inside ourselves, however, that such beliefs are but a mere fallacy. Furthermore, this specific knowledge is the underlying mechanism of our greatest fears. The what-ifs that plague us all; yet, for some those what-ifs become their realities… 

The other thought I had was something along the lines of power. It is often believed or said that people of power: either through money, fame, intelligence, or influence can control their destiny. That being assumed, one would be able to classify Jobs as an individual of immense power. I suppose the same could be said (in another context) for the other “greats” amongst our own who were taken this year as well. Regardless, power or greatness is of little importance when it is decided who is to live and who is to die. Or more simply, one can’t outrun death. By deduction, if the most powerful amongst us can’t stave off death, nor does their power necessarily go with them onto the next world, what does that mean for us who aren’t? 

If there is any solace in this piece of dreary prose it is that the world is a somewhat brighter place than how I make it sound. G-d wants us to live and succeed; to be happy and content. 

It is often asked why Rosh Hashanah, the Day of Judgment, comes before Yom Kipper, the Day of Atonement. Logically, one should be pure of sin and then judged as all inequity will be voided before judgment. While there is a myriad of answers to this classic question, the one which often cited and one which resonates with me, is that one can’t attain forgiveness from another if they do not have a relationship. Thus, the purpose of Rosh Hashanah, and by extension the days preceding and succeeding it, are for us to realize our relationship with G-d and to become closer to him. Similarly, the way we become closer to G-d is realizing how dependent we are on him and how much we need him, avenu malkenu, as our father and master. 

On a final note, it often said that attaining a complete teshuva is a very arduous task. That is undeniably true. However, doing a small yet meaningful act to show that one desires to become closer to G-d is a very valuable tool in getting a Gmar Din. 

May we all be zocha to have Gmar Chasima Tova!

Monday, October 3, 2011


We are told that someone who is rich is happy with his or her lot. But who is one who is truly happy? Alternatively, what is happy? While I suppose happiness isn't easily defined once you take into consideration the subjectivity of the matter, nonetheless, there are assumed characteristics of happiness. Regardless, I suppose how one defines happiness would be a byproduct of their perspective on life. Mainly, I surmise that a person’s disposition with regards to pessimism, optimism, or realism would alter their interpretation of happiness. Being that my wife, TAW, is an avid optimist, I couldn’t resist (and at her request) posting this picture which defines her understanding of happiness.

Anyway, even I, someone who is arguably not an optimist, would agree that the statements professed above contain some element of truth.... Just some food for thought...