Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Wire wire in the wall

The intent of this write up is to define an equation to determine how much a bunch of wires get tangled when left to themselves. And to possibly figure out a solution to tangled wires or cables for ever.  Here goes nothing.

The factors I believe (based on millions of practical observations) are as below. I will attempt at link up the factors to real physical properties as we go along.

• length of the wire segment(l)

• thickness of the wire (d)

• degrees of freedom / planes of movement (f)

• elasticity of the wire (e)

• degree of initial intertwining (i)

• uniformity of initial intertwining (j)

• space in the enclosure to move around relative to other wire segments (v)

• energy provided to the wires to move around (c)

• time allowed to the wires to move around (t)

• number of interacting cable segments +1 (n) , i.e. if there is one wire segment, n = 0 if there are two wire segments, n = 1 and so on. Please note that a single wire can turn into multiple interacting segments if it folds into itself.

It would serve no real purpose for the number to have a unit attached to it, so we shall derive it as a pure number.

Degree of Entanglement (E) = f (l, d, f, i, c ,j, v, e, t, n)

Now to boil it down to something useful.

The initial intertwining ties back into the resultant number of interacting segments and space available for the wires to move around, so we can eliminate i and j as independent variables and let n and v represent their impact.

Length and thickness aren't relevant independent of each other, it's more the ratio that matters.

Logically the troubles would grow exponentially with the number of interacting segments.

The elasticity of the wire can be factored into the degrees of freedom, bringing the degrees of freedom to 4, i.e. movement along the any one of the x,y or z planes and elasticity.

Any one of l/d, f, v , c , t , n tending to zero implies no entanglement. SO the formula would be a product of the variable, n being an exponential variable.

So E= ((l/d)*f*v*c*t)^n

While I can boil the equation down further, make it more specific, it already is in a useful enough form to help us figure out how to prevent our wires from getting entangled and we can proceed to design new wires.

Space, Time, Energy are factors external to the wire, and hence not to be considered for design. But these are the factors that we can use to prevent existing wires from getting tangled up.if we minimise the space available the interaction space available to the wires, the time and energy will become irrelevant e.g. A tight wrap in a case, tape to prevent movement etc. are examples of how this can exploited to provide us with unentangled wires, which is already done by manufactures for wires out of the box.

The length and thickness of wires cannot be zero. That is just wireless. Elasticity should ideally be zero, but this wouldn't reduce the entanglement to zero.

Number of interacting segments can be influenced, but not by changing the number of segments, but by eliminating the interaction.

That leaves us with flexibility of the wire - the degrees of freedom so to say. A wire with zero degrees of freedom, i.e. a wire that cannot bend is a stick. So we need it to bend. That is what qualifies it as a wire. But if has a finite thickness, and a single degree of freedom / plane of movement, it cannot interact with neighbouring wire segments. To give you an idea of a single degree of freedom, try tying a motor cycle chain into a knot. then think about the odds of that happening by itself because the chain was in a bag.

So a design of a wire to eliminate entanglement would have the conducting core encased in a casing resembling a bicycle chain. A more practical but less useful design would be something like flat noodles, greatly restricting movement in all planes except one.

Voila! Unentangleable wires !

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Mileage

The only question an Indian will ask you about your vehicle is "kitna deti hai ?", referring to the mileage that your vehicle affords you. It's also the primary concern that any Indian has while purchasing a vehicle. The reason is simple - we're a poor people and for most of us,  our vehicles are a means of transport and nothing else. Hence we skim on the air conditioning, turn off our vehicles at every opportunity that presents itself, monitor the fuel consumption by resetting our trip meter at every refuel and try to do a other million small things that we believe will improve the bang per buck we spend on fuel.

But we continue to be disappointed. The reason is simple but it is a catch 22 kind of thing in the sense that our self perceived poverty which makes us monitor our mileage in the first place keeps us from achieving the maximum mileage that our vehicles and infrastructure can afford us. It will also prevent most of us from grasping or at least implementing what I'm suggesting.

Presenting the logic before the advice. Our mileage is higher by about 40 percent on a highway than in the city. This isn't because the road is smoother or the distance is longer. This is because we rarely change gears or apply brakes. Well, not rarely on Indian highways but less frequently than in the city.

And what makes us brake or switch gears in the city? It's not the bad roads in general. They play a part but the main cause is the traffic. Why is the traffic a problem?  Because it doesn't move steadily in one direction. People stop so people zig zag so people stop. It's a vicious cycle. Right from thoughtless motorists who try to enter the mainstream at an intersection, right this instant at any cost,  to thoughtless pedestrians who must walk or cross where they're not meant to. Missing indicators and broken brake lights, not getting to a side to pick someone up and parking incorrectly all pile up,  choking the flow of the traffic. And then we realise we're running late and do some more brain dead things. Overtake from the left, jump the lights drive above the speed limit for the few seconds that we can. All in all we choke ourselves up.

Selfishness. Stemming from a deep seated sense of poverty and insecurity. How can I let someone pass when I'm late for work? Why should I let someone pass, will that not be granting him a dominant status? Why should I look where I'm walking, isn't that the responsibility of the motorists?  I'm so cool how could I follow any rules? Heck why should I know any rules? Do they even apply to me once I've made it so far in life that I can actually afford a vehicle?

It's almost as if part of the down payment on the vehicle is a scoop of the owner's brain. The part that controls logic on the road.

Anyway. Back to the point. I'll keep it simple. One rule - 'I will never obstruct the path of a vehicle going faster than mine'.

Let it sink in. Explore the possible scenarios. Let your brain throw up the loopholes. Let your being revolt at the thought of giving. How can I give someone a right of passage? Doesn't that make me a lesser human being? Doesn't it being my motoring skills into question?

It's that simple really. If everyone is letting everyone else pass, someone will let you pass.
You will not cut lanes or into flowing traffic (and make vehicles slow down.) You will not keep inching forward at signals effectively cutting off half the road (and make passing vehicles slow down). This will mean more vehicles get through each green light and hence fewer traffic jams. You will not pack your vehicles (bikes) like a can of sardines at a red light so you will not need to disentangle before you and the traffic behind you can move. Which will again mean more vehicles get through each green light. You will stop to let vehicles pass at a crossing where a signal is absent or powered off and hence avoid traffic jams. You will not go down into the lane meant for oncoming traffic when your lane is backed up, thereby avoiding a traffic jam. You will get to a side and turn on your harazard lights when you're parked so you don't obstruct traffic. The scenarios are innumerable, but if you want to, you will get the point.

Traffic flow smoothens. And voilà! Better mileage!  Unless you let your rotten core get the better of you and try to become the faster vehicle right before the moment of contention. It's not a race. It's not a competition. It's a matter of cooperation. Everyone wins.

While I couldn't care less about the pennies you'll save on fuel, we as a nation a 5 percent reduction in crude oil import would mean about $7 billion. That's money that could be spend feeding people instead of egos. Treating infection and ailments instead of accident victims. Building roads instead of regulating them.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Democracy

I do not pretend to understand. Anything. Either I know it, or I figure it out as I play it out in my head or I admit upfront I don't understand.

I don't understand politics.

But I do understand the basic premise of democracy. The ballot and voting. And election and decision. The dependence of the system on intelligence, culture and choice.

Also, I'd like to mention here that I avoid mass media news (newspapers, 24 hour news channels etc.) like the plague, and that affords me the luxury of sifting through a select few distilled views and opinions, from sources I have established as reliable for a variety of reasons over time. So while I may have the social awareness of a tapeworm, I have a firmer grasp on the political reality than the average person who is acutely aware of every breath every politician draws. Based on this grasp, I firmly believe we as a nation do not deserve the power that a democracy affords us.

As always let me elaborate.

I witnessed the response of one of our mini metros, Pune, to a little challenge thrown our way yesterday. The Palkis (you might have to look that up) arrived, like they have for hundreds of years and threw the ill prepared traffic totally out of whack. A city which does see a lot of traffic but rarely a jam, was suddenly very still. Noisy, irritated and restless but still.

When I joined one of the hundred traffic jams in the city,  I wasn't sure what was causing it. A collision blocking the road? A power cut turning off the signals leading to a free for all? Turned out it was the worst - an actual traffic cop trying to direct traffic. The primary skill set of a Pune traffic police person consists of exactly one skill - levying fines on bikers for riding without a licence. They choose to be clueless about everything else a traffic cop needs to know.

The next junction was worse. No traffic cop, so the motorists were left to their own device. Traffic flowing from a side road had blocked the flow on the main line for a few seconds, so the vehicles had to wait till they could get in again. Did we stop one behind the other like we should have as responsible motorists?  No we chose to start going down the wrong side just to keep moving and get to the front. Soon the T junction was choc a block because there was no where for any one to go. All because we couldn't wait in line for a few seconds.

I explained to a motorcyclist adjacent to me how he'd caused a traffic jam. He was aghast at the suggestion. "Me?" He asked. "I was just going that way." He did eventually understand that he was on the wrong side of the road, effectively blocking off traffic with the aid of numerous like minded idiots.

How we behave on the road says a lot about us as social creatures and about our level of intelligence in general. We choose to violate speed limits. We choose to drive down the wrong side of the road to save a few seconds. We choose to wear seat belts and helmets, not to save our lives, but to avoid a hundred rupee fine. We choose to not use our turning indicators. We choose to ignore other's turning indicators. We choose to drive on high beam even if it blinds motorists on the opposite side. We choose to zigzag and create chaos. We choose to keep creeping forward at red lights. We choose to jump red lights altogether. We choose to terrorise pedestrians and cyclists. We choose to violate lane discipline. We choose to overtake from the left. We choose to enter main line traffic without warning. We choose to refuse anyone the right to stop to ask for directions or get out of a parking slot or to make a u turn. We choose to fuel up insufficiency and drag our vehicles around. We choose to jaywalk. We choose to ignore pedestrian bridges and walkways. We choose to use our phones while driving and even text while riding. We choose to hold conversations with fellow bikers while riding effectively blocking the road. We chose to park like retards. We choose to stand around and eat and chat while vehicles make their way around us. We choose not let an ambulance or fire brigade pass. We choose to bribe traffic police. We choose to intimidate traffic police. We choose to ignore accident victims. We choose to get into a fight if we survive an accident. We choose to not maintain our vehicles. We choose to get into and out of running buses. We choose to get drunk and try all of the above.

Coming out of the traffic to day to day life. We choose to litter. We choose to not learn how to use a toilet. We choose to take a piss on walls and in the street. We insist on spitting gutka and pan on walls and in lifts. We insist on repeatedly pressing buttons in a lift. We choose to cross train tracks. We choose to not learn which button we need to press when calling a lift. We choose to destroy deface, abuse and steal public amenities and property. We choose to not stand in queues for anything. We choose to use electronic devices when prohibited in aircraft. We choose to have obnoxious ring tones and to yell when speaking on our phones. We choose to violate safety and hygiene norms wherever possible. We cut corners with everything. We choose to cheat on our taxes. We insist on writing on our currency notes. We choose to ignore a rape or robbery in progress. We choose to haggle with a poor vegetable vendor and in the same trip donate money to Calvin Klein. We choose to equip our tool kits poorly and never cleanup after ourselves. We choose to run CSR projects so that they look pretty on our annual reports. We choose to cheat and rob tourists.  We choose to be racist and narrow minded. We choose to mock people with special needs. We choose to go through our education and careers on autopilot.

And we choose our leaders. This time we seem to have accidentally got it right, but do we really deserve to a have a say in anything?

Monday, June 2, 2014

Fractal

Started off as a doodle, but I think it certainly qualifies to be a fractal....

Monday, April 21, 2014

Tetris

I've played a lot of tetris. A lot. I started pretty late (at 21), with the Linux Red Hat version, moved on to the Facebook variants (both the single player and the multiplayer versions), did a bit of the hand held monochrome variety and finished off on my Android phone. I am pretty good at it. In those long intense hours, I couldn't help but notice parallels between the game and my life. So here are a few life lessons I've learnt from tetris, most of which apply to most of our lives....

1. It all starts with a single block.But odds are, at the end you will not remember which block you started with. Or any other block in particular.

2. You have no control over what you are given. But you do have control over what you make of what you're given.

3. It's important to plan. But it's more important to know your plans will (at least eventually) fail.

4. Mistakes made early may lead to a long painful life. But they may also lead to unexpected opportunities later.

5. Mistakes made late usually lead to a swift, painless end. But mistakes by definition are accidents, don't engineer them.

6. Everyday is different. Every life is different. But they're so similar. 

7. To each his own. But there are only a finite number of correct ways to do anything.

8. Friends come in all shapes and sizes. But so do enemies.

9. If life allows you to save for a rainy day, save. But if you hang on to your savings indefinitely, you'll take them to an early grave.

10. Calculated risk is essential to growth. But knowing when to pull out is critical to survival.

11. Life will give you a lot of stress. But you don't have to take it.

12. Celebrate every block placed well, celebrate every line cleared. But play for the tetrises.

13. Plan around and learn from, but don't grieve over a block placed wrong.

14. A fresh start always feels good. But each fresh start may be the last.

15. There are no do overs. But there can be breaks.

16. Know your options, and use them shamelessly. But do live by a code.

17. It's only the score that matters in the end. But it helps to know the moves that give you a better bang for your buck.

18.It just doesn't get any easier. But it does keep getting closer to the top.

19. Everyone must wait for the elevator. But you can always take the stairs.

20. The new kids will be quicker and better at the game. But treachery and old age will overcome skill and youth.

21. No matter how good you are, in the end life always wins. But it isn't over till it's over.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Happiness

I'm delving into this matter because I have claimed in one of my favourite write ups (Cherophobia http://poetry-prose-and-more.blogspot.com/2012/02/cherophobia.html)  that the pursuit of happiness is the only driving factor behind every human action, inaction or reaction. Also it has been a source of major confusion and hence a source of significant power to those who choose to feed off it. Time to demystify it.

Compared to the soul and God, happiness is a tangible thing. Not measurable, but tangible. Tangible because you don't need to believe in it, model your entire life around that belief and wait to die to see if you were right. Tangible because there are people, alive and kicking, young and old, across cultures and geographies who have experienced it, in varying measures. Hopefully that'll make the matter easier to decipher.

Happiness is defined as the state of being happy. Happy is defined as a state characterised by pleasure, contentment or joy. Pleasure is the state of being pleased due to gratification and satisfaction due to recreation amusement, diversion or enjoyment. Contentment is defined as satisfaction. Joy as happiness, elation etc. I guess it's clear that the dictionary will only serve to drive us in circles in this matter. Listing synonyms as meanings and generally being unhelpful. I guess that would be the case if I explored the meaning of any feeling or emotion. You would need to have experienced the particular feeling to understand the dictionary meaning.

I define happiness as what you feel when you get something you want.

It feels stronger or weaker depending on a lot of factor such as how badly you wanted something, your self-perceived degree of entitlement and you level of expectation to name a few. It could be a want in any form, ranging from a food you've been craving to the attention of a person you've been wanting to mastery over an art or a vice or your body to professional recognition or financial success to intoxication in its many forms. You may not even know that you wanted something till getting it makes you happy.

The only common thread here is that the event that brings happiness embodies an elevation from your previous state defined by the coordinates of the degree of presence of a particular factor.

Consider an extended stay at a luxury hotel. Initially the quality of the amenities makes you happy, since it's usually a step up from what you have at home. The positive delta (incremental betterness, for the lack of a better word) is what makes you happy.  Hey who doesn't want a better bed and shower? The the law of diminishing marginal value comes into play and you stop noticing your bed and shower. They're alright, but they don't make you happy anymore. As a certain Mr Kano would say, the delighter has turned into a dissatisfier. Then one day the hotel, feeling indebted to you because of your patronage upgrade you to the presidential suite. The cycle restarts.

It looks like the positive delta is the only thing that keeps the happiness going. Yes, there's this other thing some people like to talk about, called 'inner happiness' which is independent of external stimuli, but it's usually either a scam,  a misnomer or (with a significant probability) something I do not understand. So I'll fit it in as I best can,  and leave it for them to decide which of the descriptions fits it best.

Coming back to the positive delta. If you plot human happiness on a graph it would resemble a non uniform sawtooth wave, with the happiness representing a spike and the following period where we get over the happening representing the decay (logarithmic, not linear). Now the graph represents your happiness, but there are hundreds if not thousands of things that can make one happy. So every time you experience a positive delta on any one of the factors your happiness graph should show a spike.

By extension of the above concept, happiness is dependent on contrast and change. Permanent happiness sounds like a delusional state of mind. No one can realistically keep adding up positive deltas without hitting a patch of decay.

So unless there's a massive overriding reason, which outweighs everything else in your life, and nothing else matters, happiness (and on the other hand, sadness) will be intermittent. It's putting all your eggs in one basket. Maybe you won't live long enough for things to go wrong, but most of us do. And then all hell breaks loose.

So what I recommend is the clinical approach of self induced delusion. (You'll forget that the delusion is self imposed with the passage of time). You can impose control limits on the movement of your happiness, and assume you're happy as long as you're within that band, thus replacing the fine sawtooth curve with a fat line, which must stay afloat at a certain level representing the degree of happiness we have accepted to be realistic.

This state would be defined as contentment - an acceptance of the realistic state of being, without being bothered by it. The key of course is to keep the fat line afloat, because if you're not doing even that much, you're probably dead.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Why

Why? It's a question of spectacular importance. Something we club with the other 'w' questions, but it has infinitely more significance than any other question that we ever ask.

"Why so?" you may be thinking. Let me explain.

'Why' gives us the power to question and understand the functioning of everything around us ranging from celestial bodies to the alarm clock to the government to safety pins. It enables us to question status quo and to bring about (at times) much needed change. It is versatile enough to actually substitute most of the other 'w' questions if used appropriately.

We ask, and in most cases we get a definitive answer, since most of us don't bother to question things that don't bother us or cost us money on a regular basis. Some of us whose gamut of operation requires more skill than having a pulse, frequently encounter theories in response to their 'whys'. And sometimes there just isn't an answer yet, not even a theory, so the rational admit to this fact and get to work figuring out the why.

This is where the regular rational use of why ceases. And things get very interesting.

The fundamental assumption that was made when presenting this potent thought weapon to us was that we would use it to drill down into matters that do have a known and understood underlying cause, having taken into account all the assumptions (even unstated ones).  When you ask why and you're questioning something and stop short in your inquisition of the matter because you accepted the first answer that came along or worse still, you forget that either your question or the answer are riding on unstated assumptions you have to be lucky to wind up with just the stigma of having done something idiotic. In most cases it causes people to lose track of reality, develop delusional behaviour and do something idiotic on a regular basis, without even being aware of the degree of idiocy. The best (or worst) part is they have plenty of company.

For example I may ask 'why is my skin wheatish?' The answer I would receive is 'because you're Indian', coming from an extrapolation of the probability of finding wheatish Indians with confusing the Indian subcontinent for India. But I'm still okay. Now this is the part where the system has averted its eyes, and is hoping that I have the good sense to follow up correctly. A correct follow up question in this case is (and yes there is a need for a follow up question because a lot of Indians aren't wheatish) 'why does being Indian mean my skin is wheatish?' I would hear a variety of responses, most of which would factor in the genetic make up of Indians and the environmental factors which lead to that range of skin tones, and the initial answer would be refined to include Pakistan and other neighbouring regions, and exclude the South of India, where wheatish complexion isn't very common. So I'm home safe, with my rational mind intact, and a little tidbit of information added to my mental database. I could drill deeper still, depending on my reason for asking in the first place and wind up tracking population mixing and movement and eventually continental drift. But this line of questioning is safe.

The Hatter joins the party when I ask a follow up question like 'why was I born Indian?' What I would have done to the scientific process here, is akin to moving manure with a ladle before stirring my soup with it. And as is the case with every process known to man, garbage in garbage out is the one clear rule of the game. (I'm choosing to ignore processes specially designed to deal with garbage because this isn't one of them.) The only real thing one can compare this with is probably a random number generator, where essentially the output is required to be (what can be easily mistaken for) garbage. The key factor to be considered here is that there is no machine involved in most cases. A human does the answering. And the second most dangerous human tendency (second only to asking questions and accepting random answers as correct without question) is the complementary one - the need to appear more knowing and intelligent than one really is, by denying the fact that some questions cannot yet be answered. If random bullshit must be conjured to fill the gap, so be it. If more random bullshit must be conjured to fill the holes in the previous theory, of course it must be done. And if entire mythologies must be created to simplify and reinforce the underlying 'lessons', even  better. What could be better than vague and equivocal stories about pretty women and strong men, and magic and non existent places and creatures, supposedly meant to drive home a lesson ?

The right response to the question would be to explain that the question draws from the misguided belief that 'I am actually the immortal soul' which was the malicious response to a similar question many millennia ago. In many ways the soul is equivalent to the imaginary number 'i', the square root of negative one, which is used to explain many a concept. Except scientists are very aware that they cannot buy 'i' apples or divide their estate into 'i' parts or travel 'i' kilometers. Hence 'i' serves the very useful purpose of serving as a catalyst in the process of explanation and demonstrating many physical and mathematical concepts, without talking over our lives. The soul on the other hand, well we all know how that one went.

The Kings of yore were wise. They understood that men stay busy in times of war, but with nothing to make them feel heroic and keep them occupied in times of peace, they needed distractions. Or they would create their own, ones which would more often than not end in the death of the royal family (SIC Tyrrione Lannister from Game of Thrones). They also couldn't make it obvious that they were the source of this distraction, so an entire class of holy men was born.

They started need basis, replying to stupid questions with stupid answers. Slowly but surely they wove all their stupid answers into a single web called their religion. They created a God, an omnipotent being creating and running the whole show. Of course no mere human could be assigned credit for all the collective mess. Also someone high up in the sky and no one has ever seen, is the best candidate for assignment of blame, since he's that much harder for the mob to lynch.

They used the made up entity to explain everything, right from why there is light in the day, to why there is famine in the land, to inconsequential personal descriptors such as poverty, stupidity, disability etc. Thus the angry God took hold of the people. The vengeful God whose arbitrary whims and guidelines had to be followed. The God who would smite you if you disobeyed, and leave you alone if you obeyed.  The God you could 'pray' to and have your petty issues resolved, without needing to seek audience with him (of course there was the matter of the medium's fee). People's sense of purpose was back. There was peace in the land again. There was a need to celebrate. How does one celebrate someone one can't perceive? Idols were born. The more passionate men grew about their own idols, the easier it was to convince them to go destroy the idols of others (and to waste their men and rape their women). The balance was restored again.

There was just one issue. Men started to notice that more often than not their prayers went unanswered. And the holy men never ran out of freshly farted logic or stories to explain misfortune. There were always explanations, but no action, so the God who was now one immobile piece of rock, was swiftly dealt with. But the comfort and convenience of having someone to blame everything on, and someone to pin your unreasonable hopes on is very addictive.

The holy men realised this right under the rocks that they were hiding beneath. They quickly modified the deal, repackaged and came out to sell again, like nothing had happened. And men who were reeling under the withdrawal of having their God taken away, quickly ran in to buy, like nothing had happened.

This time the package was different. They had  made up stories, to make it easy to relate to and to give the theories some roots in ancient civilization. And most importantly, the God now was benevolent. He was your friend and he would reward good behaviour and would always be around to guide you through your life. (The fact that he supposedly put you in this position for a variety of arbitrary reasons was to be discounted. As was the fact that he would screw your happiness, with no chance for redemption if you died, even by accident without having met the requirements). We of course had to invent the soul, else how who would the benevolent God be talking to at the time of judgement, since you were long  deceased (or recently, depending on the shape of your particular holy man's hat).

Things have undergone a little change, but the large picture remains the same. People still ask stupid questions and and we run and find answers in the vague texts of religious scripture. What happens when we die? Correct answer - no one knows. But where's the fun in that? Where is the drama, the possibility of control and manipulation? How do I look smart when saying something like that? No. That cannot do. Let's cook up a story. Let's make up a thing called a soul (because we've all seen the body isn't very responsive post mortem, and definitely not very mobile), which goes to one of two imaginary places, post judgement by some imaginary self appointed judge. If we can weave control of people's entire lives in by pretending that they are a soul, which either plays harps sitting on clouds in the company of innumerable half naked, spectacularly beautiful women (or whatever makes your holy man tick) or is boiled in oil and/or roasted in fires at regular intervals (or whatever your holy man thinks scares you shitless) depending on whether they acted in accordance to a set of rules that they created on whim, or for the benefit of the realm, why not?

Of course with the advancement of science, the earliest set of questions that were provided a stupid answer to have been covered. Questions like the nature of the sun and stars and the earth have been answered, as have a lot of other questions that we were utterly clueless about in the beginning.

So may we give time a chance? Wait till we actually know answers before we go about announcing them? God forbid, No!! Let's make some up! Should we not intelligently question responses to our questions, especially when they concern matters like death which no one has come back from yet, and others like the meaning of life which may not have a one size fits all answer?

Sadly, most of us would rather be misguided than lost.