Nonfiction - Page 3

Human Labyrinth

Lídia Borbála Szabó

The heart of a human might be the most interesting and twisted thing we could ever encounter.

It has no map that could help us through the labyrinth of emotions that in one corner embraces us in a hug and in another attacks us with its claws. These feelings that we meet along the way could invite us in with a smile and a tap on the shoulder or could make our sturdiness and confidence evaporate. Most of us are scared to even enter our own labyrinth, let alone set a foot in someone else’s. And yet, in order to get a closer look at someone we love, we have to understand the root of their emotions.

The fascinating part is that there are people who find their way through this maze with their eyes closed. They know exactly what to do or say to force a door open. They waltz through the complexity as if it were nothing. For them, a human heart is just a straight labyrinth, almost too easy to solve. Between two chuckles, they solve riddles that others have to work on for years.

I’m not one of these people, but some part of me appreciates that. Even though it is hard to sometimes have no clue of what I feel or what I make others feel about me, this mystery is nothing but entertainment.

Straight Labyrinth (for me)

Petra Varga

It’s a really strange fact that we are always thinking of something. There is no such thing as a state when nothing goes on in our mind. During quarantine, I was alone. All day and every day. Only me and my thoughts. I always believed they were disturbing me because I was told what to think most of the time and my own off-topic stuff going on in my head confused me about what I was told to think. After a few weeks, I had gotten tired of reading, petting my dogs, watching films, etc., and all of my leisure activities. I lay down on my bed and afforded myself the luxury of thinking whatever I wanted. As time passed, it turned out that my thoughts were pretty interesting. I tried to experience all the little details of my mind, and they started to straighten up for me. I just watched my lamp for hours, having some conversation with myself, a little projection with my memories, some laughing and crying together. A whole program was created with no one, nowhere but at the same time with everyone from anywhere, whenever I wanted. My mind became a straight labyrinth for me, and that became the biggest gift that I could give myself.

 When I first saw this assignment, I had an idea of writing a haiku, but then I saw the word limitation. I’ve always wanted to try one, so I started to think of another meaning of straight labyrinth, and I had an idea that I could identify it as overthinking (my sport :-)) . When we are overthinking we have a statement, we start to complicate it as far as we can, but in the end, we go back to the roots of our thought process.

Straight labyrinth (for me 2.0)

I had a thought,
But then another came.
Just overthinked.

Pink Clouds

Lili Dorottya Galics

You see him or her somewhere, maybe you think he or she is sympathetic or whatever. You introduce yourselves to each other; this is followed by a common and awkward conversation mainly about nothing, but that nothing is something. Both of you feel that something that you want to continue, mayhaps there could be more in it. Slowly a never-ending story starts, including talking to each other 0-24, sharing every inessential moment in your day, time travelling in both of your pasts and future dreams. These conversations and this time period feels amazing, but in many cases people do not show their real faces. Most of their behaviour is just excellent acts and colourful pretty coated lies. In turn, at this point you have totally fallen in love with each other, you got in a relationship. You love and also you feel loved, but love is never this easy to understand. The pink clouds disappear with time, now you know every habit, small signs and the real love language of the other person. From now on you can go through many many doors, each one bringing unforgettable memories, but walls could come up against you. You decide that you break into them and see doors again together, or you let the walls stop you and the never-ending story comes to an end.

What to Write?

Laura Móra

I asked many of my classmates what they were going to write about, because I had no idea at first. Most of them said that they just compared the straight labyrinth to life, but it was too ordinary for me. So I kept thinking about what I should write about, even in other classes. Every time I had a good idea, I overthought it and it became a bad idea, as it wasn’t special enough or the answer didn’t suit my personality and I always found some mistake in it. Then I realized that it was the straight labyrinth itself: I have an idea of what to write, and I know what I want the end of the story to be, but I don’t know the middle of the text. I could go so many ways, I could go in one direction, but after a wrong sentence in a story I couldn’t continue it, just like dead end in a labyrinth. So in the middle of the story I have to find the way out, just as in the labyrinth, but after reading it, it is straight: it has a beginning, a middle part and an end, yet it is more complicated than that.

Crazy Garden Pipes

Kázmér Ádám Kaposvári

We have all seen pictures and videos of gardens that just blow our minds, maybe because of their beauty, complexity, the variety in the vegetation, or the many many exotic plants. We all wish we had a garden like that.

I live in a house with a rather big yard, but let me tell you, it is not even near the standards for being on a magazine page. When we take a look at these perfect landscapes we never think of the hard work that goes into them and the struggle of the people who tend to them. Even now I can remember the renovation of our lawn as it was full of burnt-out yellow patches. My father and I thought we would be ready after a few days of work. Well, it turned out to be a whole month after all. First, one of the automatic underground sprinklers was not functioning. After digging it up and patching up a little crack in the pipeline, we removed the top layer of dead grass, then filled it up with fresh humus and new grass seeds. At this point it seemed so easy and we had a straight plan. But as soon as we began to test the water systems, the real search in the labyrinth began. At not one, but multiple points over the field of dry land, circles of darker dirt appeared. This meant the worst: we had made leaks in the pipes while removing the top layer of grass. It took us weeks to uncover and dig up every last one of the cracks, but furthermore, we found many old pipe connectors that were already leaking some water as they had been degrading over time.

As of today it looks fine, but back then it was like a crazy maze that had no way out no matter how hard we were searching.

Causal Determinism

Gergely Sülye

If you have ever pondered life’s greatest questions, you have most likely stumbled upon the topic of free will. This question has a lot of branches, most commonly popularized by Libet’s, very flawed, experiment, which focused on disproving free will via explaining how consciousness itself is a fake phenomenon. True or not, that’s still not the most exciting direction to take; after all, it doesn’t take much to realize your brain is a really complicated string of dominoes reacting to stimulus in intricate processes, and even if we can’t pinpoint what’s really going on, we can still reasonably guess everything works based on cause and effect. No need for experiments there.

Now, what would make things really exciting would be to broaden our horizons and look at a bigger picture, the universe as a whole. Well, actually, to explain things fast let’s shrink back our perspectives just for a bit.

In this very moment imagine you held a set of dice. Now throw it. Now, with a bit more creativity, imagine a time machine that can turn back time. One that has its own set of rules, mainly that it can’t bring anything back, so it can only roll time itself back to a specific point. Let’s say that point was a few seconds ago when you first threw the dice. Unsurprisingly, the number you get would be the same. Of course the “past you” wouldn’t be aware that time was rerolled.

Now roll time back to yesterday, or earlier, and so on and so forth, even to the beginning of the universe. If we let it play out, since we have not changed absolutely anything about the past by rerolling time, everything would turn out exactly the same if we waited enough time. You would roll the same number.

Your life plays out the same, everything is unchanged. This means that at the earliest point we can rewind time to, the beginning of the universe, whatever that event might have been, at that exact moment your entire life, or more broadly the fate of the entire world was determined. Your every thought, movement, down to the exact location of every atom or particle in the entire universe.

So the next time you think you are about to face a life-changing decision, contrary to what popular science fiction might have you believe, you aren’t about to create split-realities where alternate things have happened. Whatever conclusion you arrive at will be the one and only possible choice you ever had. And now you can make peace with that fact or have an existential crisis about it.

The Confidence of Simplicity

Áron Antal

We are born innocent and unknowing of our surroundings, and we become who we are by being exposed to the world. At least that’s what I think, even though some of my elder family members might disagree with me on this issue. My grandpa always told me that all people carry some of their personality traits when they are born, and nothing can change them. He thinks this because my mom and her brother differ greatly; while my mother was helpful, understanding, clever and followed the rules, my uncle always got himself into trouble, didn’t play by the rules, and barely finished secondary school. Still, both of them grew up to be great adults, exceedingly good at their jobs.

But when my mother and my uncle were growing up, well, life was much easier back then. For me it would have been. No rat-race life, fewer things to worry about, more freedom, no cellphones, and the list could go on. Yet our long-forgotten ancestors would say that when they used to live, there were no cars, no trains, no airplanes, no public utilities. The fact of the matter is that circumstances have become more comfortable yet more complex over time as human civilizations thrived and progressed. And with great comfort comes great dependency.

In today’s society, we have less free time, rush here, go there, buy things and so on. We want happiness, friends, people that admire us, fame and beauty in true 21st century fashion.

What greatly disappoints me nowadays is the fact that more and more people are becoming so self-centered, maybe thanks to radical improvements on the one hand and quarantine on the other, that they stop caring about each other. Or maybe these people show caring sometimes, but mostly so that they can get affection from others. Such people are manipulative and greedy. They always try to come across as the best, the cleverest, the most beautiful, and they know they are not, but still, they can’t bear the slightest kind of confrontation or being faced with the sheer reality of situations, though their methods of “self defense” might differ greatly. They are lost in their imaginary worlds, where everything is perfect, nothing they say is wrong, and they are totally in control of their lives. They usually rack their brain for hours on end over things that in the long run will not matter, and they love to complain.

Maybe my emotional intelligence is just too high, maybe I am more advanced in mind than I should be for my almost seventeen years spent on this little wet ball of mud, so unimaginably small compared to the universe. Yet, maybe I am wrong, why should I be right, because no one can truly understand life. It just seems to me that a lot of people just waste this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Because life is much more simple than most people interpret it to be. Unlike anything else, such as banking, relationships etc, life has one big certainty; if you were born, you will die. That is life basically. However, between you being born and you dying, only uncertain events will unfold and happen, uncertain events that are non-predetermined, and you will get the chance to turn them into opportunities towards living your life as truly as possible. Next time you go on a trip, travel, or do something, just try to admire what is happening to you, and try to grasp the fact that each and every nanosecond of your life cannot be repeated. Try to focus, understand, help others, learn to love yourself, accept failure, learn to express yourself, explore what life has to offer and make your choices dependent on only the people that really matter to you and to yourself. Don’t worry about everything, don’t be afraid to back out of things, do something that other people disagree with. Just one important thing that you should bear in mind: try not to hurt anyone. And remember: whatever happens, happens. These are the principles that I live by.

Yet it would seem that some people are incapable of changing, and I accept that. But I just feel a bit lost in this world, and always ask myself the question: how can people live, with their minds so closed? Maybe I will never understand, and I am fine with that, as long as I am confident in what my life stands for.

Ignoring What We See and Know

Veronika Török

In today’s society, people are so quick to jump to conclusions and judge other people based on things they don’t even have a clue about themselves. Or blame others for things they do as well.

Environmental problems are really close to my heart, so I’ll try to explain with this example, but I think this can be adapted to basically anything you can think of. Where should I even start? I’ve always been curious about our planet, but as I grow older and hopefully smarter, deciding to dig my way down various rabbit holes, reading about stuff nobody talks about (or to be honest, nobody dares to talk about), I see how big the issue is. But still, people do take it for granted, and sometimes I wonder, does anyone even care? Such little things could change everything. Just being a little more conscious would help so much. Yet people rather just ignore what’s right in front of their eyes. The fact that nowadays you are unable to to take more than five steps without seeing litter on the ground. The fact that you are unable to smell clean fresh air if you’re anywhere busier than the countryside, and you don’t even notice. The fact that you are unable to buy anything to eat or drink without plastic waste. It’s clear that it is an issue, but people just choose to look away, because it’s easier. It is, it is easier for now. But will it be this easy in approximately twenty years? To turn things back to normal? 

Did reading this make you feel bad? Did it make you think of all the things you do or don’t do for the planet? Did clips of whether you turned off your sink this morning start playing in your head? But do you remember what I said in the beginning of this little story? I said that we are so quick to judge others for things we’re also guilty of. And that’s exactly what I did. I made you feel bad for something I also don’t do. Or let’s just say I don’t always. I’m not the perfect person, I do forget sometimes to recycle, I do sometimes forget my reusable bag at home, and I do end up buying a plastic one that will just end up in a landfill for a couple thousand years. Am I proud of it? No, of course not. But I’m trying to change for the better, I even try to encourage others to do the same. And in the end we all realize that maybe rather than judging people, let’s just try our best to be the best version of ourselves and follow our own advice, and if possible help others become the best version of themselves as well.

The Meaning of Life

Bence Polonkai

When someone mentions the universe, the first thing that may come to mind is how enormous or  how old it is, or perhaps its galaxies and suns and planets, or maybe even the empty darkness that makes up most of it.

Have you ever wondered what purpose it all has? What’s the meaning of it all? Sure, suns are there to provide heat and light to the planets orbiting them. Perhaps occasionally, in some remote corners of the universe yet to be discovered by humans, they accommodate life. Furthermore, it is conceivable that a portion of them harbor intelligent life.

Nevertheless, whether Earth is the only place in the universe to house life or not, the question persists. Why would all this vast emptiness exist, all just to contain life on one or more planets which are minuscule compared to the rest of the cosmos? Another question might emerge in us, namely: what is the purpose of  this life?

For a very long time in human history, religion was there to address this question: this life is merely a temporary phase of existing, after which you pass into the afterworld. The first “basic” religions didn’t really give meaning to life, as you simply passed on to the afterworld after death, without your deeds in life influencing anything. As civilization progressed, religions started adopting a worldview—still commonly held by modern religions—that this life is merely a test, so that the gods or a god can decide which afterworld you go to (e.g. Greek mythology, Christianity), and/or what happens to you after death (e.g.Buddhism, rebirth). The question remains basically the same in both cases: whether you believe in an afterlife or rebirth, or that you can become a god if you live in such a way. Why? What is the point? What meaning does a heaven have, where souls go and just chill about until eternity, or a hell where they suffer forever? Why would you become a god, which is, again, just another being that maybe occasionally does things, if you have no incentive to do anything at all?

Nowadays, biology gives us a different explanation. You are born to later reproduce, pass on your genes, and die. Not a very satifsying explanation, is it? On top of it not being a satisfying answer to our existence, it still doesn’t explain the purpose of those parts of the universe we will never reach before going extinct as a species.

However hard we try to think of a reason for it all, we will realize it is meaningless. Our existence is as meaningless as a thing can be, but that’s why it’s so beautiful: you must make it meaningful for yourself. The world doesn’t care about meaning, yet the best life is a life of meaning. And that is, perhaps, life’s greatest contradiction.

Double Discomfort

Lilla Kassai

I hate being a contradiction myself. I always have this duality between being nice, kind and caring, and being rude, sarcastic and hostile.

As a matter of fact, I really dislike this duality, but I also find it useful sometimes. Being rude, sarcastic and hostile keeps unwanted company away, but at the same time, it scares away those who could have become good friends.

Being kind and caring also has its drawbacks. To be honest, it makes people more vulnerable. Even if this mindset and characteristics can attract lots of people who may become loyal and excellent friends, others can use the kind and caring people for their own benefit, without good intentions.

What is more,  people seem to admire the sarcastic and brutally honest individuals, but meanwhile, they can’t handle them face to face.  Speaking from personal experience, I see that my classmates admire the loud, sarcastic and uninterested complainers, but meanwhile, if I act like them, they become uncomfortable and shut me out of conversations that I would gladly be a part of.

The same thing happens when I try to bring out the real me, the kind and caring one. It must be a surprise for them, but I can be very kind and gentle. I just don’t show this face of mine so often, and when I do, it also makes them and me uncomfortable. For them, I look like someone who contradicts herself: someone who is usually sarcastic and brutally honest trying to act like the complete opposite.