This post has been stewing for quite sometime and I think if I don’t just write it up as it exists in my mind, I would never come around to it. So, here it goes.
Recently my boss mentioned a very dear book to my heart – GEB and it kinda triggered the thought that I need to write this up sooner.
Ok, so Godel is my hero. For some unknown reasons I stumbled upon GEB couple of years back and since then I am a big fan of Godel. Recently while we were on vacation in Hawaii I read the novel – “Mad man dreams of Turing Machines“. A fascinating book. The writing style is filled with metaphors and it will be an extra twist every para you read. It also show cases how *crazy* like literally Godel was. I don’t care about it. I think all Geniuses are kinda crazy and all successful people are kinda psychopathic. That’s fine.
Here is what Godel’s theorem says – in very basic terms. Geometry arose based on certain assumptions which are called ‘axioms’ in mathematical lingo. Theorems are proved axioms. So, geometry has this set of axioms which were crafted some 2000 years back and based on those axioms there have been further Theorems proved and accepted. This is an exception to Mathematics. Nothing in mathematics is based on pure axioms.
So, a lot of people took a look at it and said, Oh that works well for Geometry and I wonder if we can do something similar with another part of mathematics – say Logic. So, a lot of work has been going on either to prove the basic axioms to be true or to transfer this methodology to other areas of math in 1930s. Whitehead and Russell just wrote an epitome on Mathematics and basically tried to apply the Geometry’s method to Logic.
Godel comes around and proves that any system built on assumptions/axioms will never be complete. In other words – screw you Geometry and Bertrand Russell. This was phenomenal. A lot of people were pissed because this means that it’s useless for them to try to perceive their ideas and make the system complete.
So, where do I come into picture here? All my life, I have been striving for something. That something is “Perfection”. In every aspect of my life, I have always wanted to be perfect. I know, I know – it has it’s roots in my childhood. My dad wasn’t happy with my education. If I close my eyes, I can see that day crystal clear where I was in my 2nd grade and we were doing some kind of show at school. I was part of this show we were doing. I think we were showcasing the animals. I was dressed up as some animal, I don’t recall. But we were supposed to go up on the stage and say something and stand back. I was nervous probably or confused – heck I was just 6 years old. They gave these soda drinks to us to drink before we went on stage. I still had mine in my hand and I wanted to drink it. My turn came in and I walked on stage with my soda and froze and forgot what I had to say. Someone stepped in and pulled me back and the next kid came up.
That night – my dad, mom and sisters were in the crowd along with all other kids’ parents. I am sure my dad was disappointed. I knew something was off and I know he would be mad. As we walked back home that night. I can still recall the path we took to walk home. My dad walked in front of me and talked to me how disappointed he was to see me froze and how unhappy he was about it. It went on and on. I know there have been many other put downs throughout my life but this incident is still fresh in my heart.
What happened after that was and is much more painful than that actual incident. I have always felt this gap, this incompleteness within me. I am never happy with myself. I am always thinking that there is more to do and more to achieve. I always talk to myself that I am not good enough – just like my dad used to. This is the prime chatter that goes on in my mind. I am never enough or perfect. I know it sound terrible, but believe me I have pushed myself to do some crazy things only because of that talk. Even still I don’t think I am perfect or complete.
Recently I started to notice the other effect of this. I would have normally lived the rest of my life with this chatter but I have noticed that my chatter is expanding to the most dearest thing of my life – my daughter. I have observed that I am using the same critical lens which I inherited from my dad and use it on me, onto my daughter. I was shocked. She is 16 months old!
I had to think really hard and shrug that scary moment off. I am becoming my dad to my daughter. I was shocked. I put it on a back burner and let it on and have been thinking. So, this is where Godel steps in. I think Godel’s theorem not only applies to Mathematics but to any system in the world. This system of ME. If you think about it, my self-image is based on the perception I have about myself. This is subjective and highly volatile. Which means that I have to assume somethings to be true to just live. Which in my case is – I am not perfect. And all the rest of my life has been setup in such a way that I am trying to prove that I am perfect. But if I apply what Godel said, I can never be COMPLETE.
This made me realize the fallacy of my logic. This shattered my illusion. Today I drop this assumption. I know it’s going to be very hard since I live with this every moment but I am bringing in awareness that I am not perfect and I can never be complete in a sense I want it to be. I am human and I will be a mix of success and failures from my point of view. And that’s fucking OK.
It’s like all my life I have been trying to be something like ‘Sri Chakra‘, but now I realize that it’s actually a ‘Mandelbrot‘. Oh if you think beauty is in the eye, then perfection is in the mind.
Today is Father’s day and I have been thinking of my dad too. I know I just portrayed my dad as the villain but he was the best. He is the sole reason why I am what I am – in all ways. The open mindedness he brought to me, the learning he encouraged in me and the faith he put in me are all allowing me to be the person I am. I am proud of myself and I am proud of my dad. His only thing was – restraint love – which he believed to be good for various silly reasons.
I am thankful for you dad. I accept the way you were to me. I release all negative emotions tied up with that day and every day onwards. I need to let go of it to become the person I am to be to my daughter. I need to step out of that perfect circle I have been trying to built around me.
I am what I am and I love every part of it. I will be the best dad to my daughter because of all I am and because of all I am not.
Happy Father’s Day People.