10 Photos, 10 Life Questions And 10 Answers That May Change Your Life James Hawk October 5, 2017 Lifestyle, Photography 39 I use my art/photography to tell stories and project messages which I hope will enable the human condition and answer some of the most pertinent questions we have as human beings. Most of my images are purely inspired by certain life events whilst others come to me spontaneously. It is the spontaneous ones which I am most intrigued by, they will be the basis of this article. I was recently curating art pieces from projects I’ve done over the past couple months when I noticed that my work fell into two categories. Those which are inspired by specific life events and those which are seemingly spontaneous ideas. I shortlisted these images and soon realized that each of them posed a significant question about life. I did some research on these questions and here are the results along with the 10 photos. Some of these answers are subjective and not entirely conclusive. More info: Instagram Why must we die? We die because we were born, otherwise there would be no need for births if we didn’t – we die to give way. Think of it this way, you cannot be an immortal being in a world filled with mortality- the suffering you’d endure would be exponential. We are here to play, and a part of playing is the essence of constantly being amazed by the wonders of life. How long before you’d lose that sense of wonder? How long before the familiarity of everything bores you and then you start to lose this sense of play? You’d start to get depress, wishing you could die so you could experience something different, but only you didn’t want to die, remember? So you see, the hypothetical scenario of not dying actually answers the question of why we must die. Let me go a bit further. This existence would essentially be nullified by the process of not dying. Imagine an empty cup on a table, now if you fill that cup with water until it eventually overflows and goes where it should not, eventually it would lose its purpose. The water was meant to be in the cup where it would be suitable for consumption. You could try sipping it from the table it has settled on, but then that would be unnatural and perhaps cause you great discomfort. After-all the cup of water is right there, it is the quintessential scenario, so why deviate? It seems to be in our nature to always want more, but life is a beautiful enigma and the beginning and the end of our brief existence here seems to be sealed, almost deliberately. We came here with nothing except a primitive consciousness of self to develop, so it can easily be deduce that we’ll only leave with this consciousness of self. But why? Does this mean we are here to acquire something and take it with us? Most likely you are here to acquire a sense self, and perhaps you are coming out of this life rather than the popular notion that you came into it.The consistent thread that runs through every aspect of life is the development of self through life experiences. That is why you must die, because if you lived here in this life and in this scope of existence perpetually, your sense of self would perish within the confines of this limited reality. An infinite being trapped in a finite reality, the statement ridicules itself. Take a look at the image again, we are already there even though we are here-mirrored. Life and death are ordered sequences, where one ends the other begins. The transition is like a seamless handshake. So why are we so worried about shaking the hand of something so inevitable when we have no choice either way.Were you worried before you got here? No. You didn’t even know you were coming here because if you did you would have chosen a life ideal for yourself. Our fear of death is as a result of losing our sense of self. Die, so you may witness the work that you have done and who you have become. Do I have enough time to achieve my goals? There is something peculiar about the structure of our lives and this is it. Imagine you are in the starting blocks of life and the gun has just gone off. There you are running your race, you occasionally get tired and so you stop to catch your breath, and that’s ok. The coach, a metaphor for “society” yells at you, “Hey get up, get going!” Or perhaps he says, “Just give up you don’t have it in you!”Now you look ahead of you and the finish line is just in reach, just another 30m, and so you get going again. Soon enough you get there and now you’ve acquired your goal. The coach walks up to you and gasses you up once more, he tells you that there is more, that you have another 200m to go. Soon enough you are back on the track running down this 200m goal and so it continues. You find that you keep barely getting there and the feeling is not quite the same as before, so you continue running for more; why has it become so elusive? Soon you become weary and your burden unbearable, you can’t run anymore so you give up. Your body cries out in agony, your mind wanders and your heart starts to fail, you’re dying. As you are taking your last few breaths you reflect on the races you’ve ran, you won a few in record time but you never really got the ones that mattered the most because you wanted it all; you were trying to focus on everything when you should have just specialized. Now you are dying in disappointment because you kept running even after you got to the finish line.If you allow society to dictate your purpose in life you will never win your race on your own terms. The idea that there should always be more creates a restless soul that’s unsatisfied in all aspects. You’ll never find peace. Yes, you have time to achieve your goals but take it in strides, you can’t do it all at once or else it will elude you. So as long as you are able and willing, there is time. Is it enough? This depends on how badly you want it. Do not let life pass you by and most importantly do not allow your regrets to catch up to you on the tracks of life. This moment is all you have, it is all there is! It is what you do now that creates tomorrow. Start chasing your dreams now! Where does inspiration come from? Inspiration is primarily extrinsic. Even the word, “inspiration” is a derivative of the Latin word “inspirare” which means, “breathes life into.” There seems to be instances when we do in fact get ideas that have no current link to anything we’ve experienced or perhaps certain ideas seem to come from an unrelated concept. Studies have shown that despite some forms of inspiration not having any direct link, it is all stimulated by some external trigger. In psychology there is a theory known as “transfer relationships” where everything is essentially an analogy for another seemingly unrelated concept. You may get an idea which seems pure and absolute in nature but it may just have been triggered by the sting of a bee or the sound of leaves rustling in the wind. That begs the question, is everything somehow connected and are we all just leaves on the tree of life? Perhaps inspiration could be likened to a sun ray and our minds photosynthesize such and create these wonderful ideas and concepts we value in life.After-all, if subject A is expected to communicate with subject C, it must first pass through B in an ordered sequence, otherwise such communication would have been a chaotic aberration of misinformation. Regardless of how you are inspired, whether by nature, objects or just life itself, remember, the manifestation of inspiration occurs in the mind. Who am I? All your suffering in life is because you lack knowledge of self because you do not know who you truly are. This question is truly an elusive one because the more you attribute tags to self and the more you ask, the further it takes you away from the question being asked. Are you a lawyer, a friend, a father, an uncle? Perhaps you are the culmination of all of these or perhaps on a deeper level of consciousness you are none of these. The truth is, who you are also answers the question of what your purpose in life is, or perhaps it is your purpose which determines who you are. However, I don’t believe you can find your purpose without knowing one’s self, how then would you know it is your purpose, truly? Til the day you die, you will be a perpetually developing soul, and if you have discovered the purpose of your life then you already know who you are because there is no getting to that point without the unbiased approval of your soul. You are the manifestation of consciousness itself. What is the purpose of my life? This is a question in which the answer is only innate to you. But to answer in a general sense, your purpose in life is to play! Yes, like a child, because life is about dancing to the beautiful melody of your beating heart whilst fulfilling your soul’s desire in a morally outstanding manner. The sun shines while the rain falls. You are ashore but still in the ocean. You are a Paradox, a Maze… No, you’re Amazing.You are cosmic dust, the constellations, the universe; hmm…You are everything and so you can be anything. There are many routes but only one destination which is self fulfillment. It is only through experiencing as much as you can that you will be able to discover and discern the true essence of your life. So play until you discover your favorite game, that will be your purpose! Is love real and can it last a lifetime? Yes and yes! Though current trends would have you believe that true love is a dying concept of some sort, it certainly is not. Love is alive and well and it is here to stay! Studies have shown that love is much more than just a seemingly beautiful and overwhelming emotional attachment, it is actually a real thing, biologically! It involves a sweet cocktail of chemicals that lures us into it. Here are some of love’s best friends- Adrenaline, Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin and Vasopressin.Whew! They all have such cool names, what a concoction or perhaps I should say “squad.” Oh I almost forgot, be careful, there’s also Lust who is Love’s wayward cousin who often hangs out with Testosterone and Oestrogen, you’ve probably heard of them- the three amigos. So there you have it, love is indeed a real thing but like anything in life, if it is not sustained and taken care of, it flees, literally. I have seen couples who have been together far longer than I have been alive which I’ll admit is just a little under three decades, but the point is, yes! Love can last a lifetime and has throughout the ages for many people. So cherish your love, compromise whenever possible, bask in each other’s presence and eat from each other’s plate! How can I become the best version of myself. By starving your weaknesses, watering your strengths and being brutally honest with yourself. It will be difficult at first, but you have to grow through the pain. Growth is a process both beautiful and painful, but be careful of certain types of growth and what you are growing towards. The same route upwards could also be your route downwards because growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell. Is there a God? Are we just cosmic particles that have been accidentally assimilated into beings of consciousness? Or were we created by a supremely intelligent being with a singular purpose in mind? This is perhaps one of the most widely debated topics when it comes to existentialism. The truth is, it’s more likely there is, than not. Albeit it may not be the conventional concept of God that has been depicted throughout the ages. My answer will be as a result of personal experiences and research conducted. Before I even got to this point in life, this image was already a placeholder in my mind. It came from a dream I had when I was 18. I saw a woman clothed in the fabric of the universe, she was painting, not only with her hand but her entire body, it was a like a graceful dance to a euphonious and ethereal tune. However, it ended as soon as it began and I was suddenly jolted from my sleep with an overwhelming sense of energy. It was the most vivid, peaceful and enigmatic dream I’ve ever had. This was a decade ago, way before I even knew I would have become a photographer today, but even then I understood the essence of the dream. Allow me to divulge, I will be short and concise. We were created and the big bang was caused. It is not all random and perhaps God is cloaked in the fabric of the universe. I will not say God is the universe, why? Because the universe was caused so it cannot be God, such would have to come from an uncaused source. You could try making sense out of it all, but you are too small and the picture is too large so I will scale the resolution down as best as I can. Let’s start with the obvious, the big bang was caused. Now what caused the big bang? Another cause? And what caused that cause? Another cause? See where we are headed? Now let’s diffuse this. We were heading down a path of infinite causes which is a means to no end, hence no beginning. An infinite assemblage of causes make no sense, science confirms this. You cannot have a chain reaction of infinite events without an initiator, without an uncaused, without an unconditioned factor. Cosmologists are still trying to understand what CAUSED the big bang because they know it was caused, but this only pushes the original question further back. The cosmological argument has two parts, one is to establish the existence of a first cause or necessary being and the other is to deduce if this necessary being is God. One of the fundamental principles of science is based on cause and effect. We cannot have infinite causes, this concept implodes on itself. To solve this, one must invoke something other than the cause, there must be the uncaused. Steven Weinberg, a Nobel laureate in Physics, said at the moment the big bang occurred, “the universe was about a hundred thousands million degrees Centigrade…and the universe was filled with light.” So the universe began? Yes! So there was a cause? Yes! Can we officially confirm or identify that cause? No! As a matter of fact most scientists agree that we will never be able to see the big bang because the region of space where it occurred is so far away and is traveling away from us at such an exponential rate that the light has turned to microwaves. Now here’s where you are at mentally if you are still in denial. You are now wondering what caused the uncaused or this creator. This is where the picture gets too big, but there is hope through deductive reasoning. If you were asked where you came from perhaps you’d say, “I came from my parents.” Then that begs the same question and so it continues. This brings a simple philosophical statement to mind. If a child draws on a piece of paper, do you ask the paper what its purpose is or do you ask the child? Now we cannot just walk up to God and ask this question, but, what we do know is that by looking at the paper and what is drawn on it, we can deduce that an actual artist is behind this masterpiece. Are we being desensitized? To some extent yes. You’ve seen it before in your daily dose of memes. They yell, “worldstar” whilst fighting for the best angle to record varying conflicts. It’s the new wave which this generation seems to be surfing. A wave of desensitization so overwhelming that we hardly feel dejected by the carnage and abuse we feed our minds. What’s this cancer that is killing the humanity in us? The pursuit of virality, popularity, likes and social presence just to be the next it factor. But IT is nothing but a superficial vacuum, it…. is literally nothing. People are rewarded for being vain, trivial and glorified for extremism and projecting ridiculous behavior, “Cash me outside how bow dah?” We are taking this a little too far. You are being gassed up to burn. Your soul is already on fire and you aren’t even in hell, damn. See the world isn’t actually getting worse, we have already gotten a lot better in comparison to the past but now we are on a plateau in limbo not knowing whether we are devolving or evolving. This constant inundation of biased information is in bed with us and as soon as our eyes open it kisses us good morning. We have been zombified thinking we are on our own path yet we are only following the Knight’s King to Westeros.You know what I hope for? I hope we’ll get tired this. Are we all hypocrites? Yes, however…Since we can say there is certainly not a perfect human being, it would be safe to deduce that there is no person who can absolutely act in consistent agreement with his/her beliefs or actions in every single instance. Hence we are all hypocrites in greater or lesser degrees. Our hypocrisy could be described as a by product of our nature to survive or even as a result of something as simple as our privileges and cultural biases-cultural hypocrites. There are two type of hypocrites: The Inadvertent and The Formal. The first speaks to the general nature of selfishness within us. In one instance we are this and in the next we are something else, inadvertently. Sometimes it comes down to something as simple as our mood. Such is not a destructive form of hypocrisy rather I see it as a premise for our survival and individuality. The Formal hypocrite is a completely different story and you may know a few persons who are such. Their duality knows no end and they revel in the presence of dissonance. Their deeds are bittersweet, they’d willingly fake the sacrifice of their own happiness just to experience your misery so they can take “pity” on you properly. As human beings we often times judge then seek clarification later, such is often counter productive in certain instances but we do it nonetheless. Sometimes we are being blatantly hypocritical and we don’t even know it, thereafter we claim ignorance – that’s my very point. We are sometimes conflicted, we change perspectives, we grow, we ascend and we descend, some of us are pro life and pro-guns at the same time. The English man curses the Chinese man for eating dogs whilst his favorite dish is pot-roasted beef. The police that steals, the doctor that eats unhealthy food, that one friend who keeps badgering you about your lame pick up lines yet he has no game himself. Are all these persons deserving of being called hypocrites? No, not necessarily but to some degree they all are. But let’s talk a bit more about the real hypocrites, the career ones, the formal ones.They are neither hot nor cold, heaven nor hell, ying nor yang. The dust which never settles, the storm which never ends and the corpse that perpetually rots. They are the poison that never kills, the wound that’ll never heal and the pain you’ll never feel. Be wary of those amongst you who are lukewarm for theirs is The Gospel of Hypocrisy.