Living As If

This is something I’ve been told, dunno if it’s real: if you put everything in place as if it’s true, life will simply follow through. In other words, “if you build it, they will come”.

A quick illustration: if you assemble a lemonade stand, put out signs, mix up some drink, stack the cups, and sit behind the counter, people will actually show up and patronize your business. In a natural world, there’s no reason anybody should ever show up. But in this world, the one we’re living in, customers come when you expect them.

Whereas if you do something half-assed and don’t expect much of it, you’ll see a return on that investment too i.e. nada mucho. If you don’t want customers or profits, don’t worry, they won’t come. That’s just how it is in this world: you find what you seek.

After decades of living here I suppose I can corroborate this theory. Although, I’d add that fulfillment oftentimes sneaks up when I least expect it. But because of my desire for delightful surprises, I guess life is correctly fulfilling my wishes by catching me off guard.

A word of warning: establishing a particular situation by whim-fully buying-on-credit can be a bit dicey. I’d reckon that borrowing is workable if there’s real collateral behind it, but it shouldn’t feel like gambling. Gambling is basically an expectation of loss — remember, you find what you seek.

I’ve been living as-if for the past eight months or so. For the most part, I’ve successfully eschewed thoughts of lack and worry. I’ve been earnestly enjoying myself. I find comfort and joy in my current surroundings. It hasn’t been perfect, but I wonder if I would’ve accepted it if it was.

In a natural world, I should’ve been using my time to establish a viable income to support my new lifestyle. But that’s not what I did. For whatever reason, I’ve been dedicated to establishing the best attitude I can muster. Now THAT hasn’t been easy and it certainly highlights how bad my attitude was.

But my feeling right now is that I can handle the next step. I also recognize that my old attitude could not have supported the lifestyle I want to live. When you have great things for example, sometimes you’re afraid of losing them or sometimes you feel unworthy of having them or sometimes you realize that “things” don’t satisfy like you thought they would.

I came into this world with a messed-up attitude, expecting the worst experience ever. I ignorantly perceived a nefarious nature underlying everything, disparaging all I saw. I was a straight-up hater and sower of negativity. I appreciate that fact now and apologize for it. I further recognize that this world is a paradise providing all that I need, it’s simply up to me to accept the gift I’ve been given. Thank you — and I, for one, welcome our new benevolent overlords.

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Non-physical Improvement

In a non-physical world, the way to improve your life is through the practice of mental discipline. Given the situation you find yourself in, you need to find the fun and extract whatever enjoyment you can from it. Acceptance of what-is plays a big part in this. But the best part, is that your situation will vastly improve once you accept your current state. When you prove that you can handle a little, you’ll receive a lot more. Whereas if you refuse to play along and reject what-is, you’ll receive even less (having shown yourself incapable of handling things).

Mental discipline is mostly about practice. It’s maintaining an awareness of your thoughts and responding appropriately. Negative thoughts must be dealt with and defused. Negative thoughts are identified by the way you react to them. If you feel bad or behave poorly, then you can bet such negativity was preceded by a negative thought. You must identify and undermine that thought — find a way to make it false. You’ll need a new way of looking at the world in order to do this effectively. If you already had an effective perspective, you wouldn’t be having an issue dealing with negativity in the first place.

The most efficient perspective for this purpose is achieved by dropping any semblance of an absolute physical reality. In other words, you should develop a perspective that explains the world in a dreamlike way. From that standpoint, the world becomes infinitely alterable as well as a direct reflection of your thoughts. Whatever is happening within your mind, becomes the world you experience. If you have a turbulent mind, then you’ll live in a turbulent world. In the same way, a peaceful world begins with a peaceful mind.

Additionally, this dreamlike perspective makes everything your fault (you’re the dreamer after-all). This is good because you can no longer be a victim. Forgiveness becomes unnecessary because your lack-of-discipline is the only thing to blame. The world never attacks you, you attack you. And you will attack yourself — you’re a bit of a masochist. The only thing between you and the best life possible, is your attitude and the acceptance of life as it happens. Despite anything you think you’re experiencing, trust in the world’s benevolence and maintain an appreciative attitude — do this by utilizing discipline. In this way, you travel the path to a better life.

Natural Earther

I was a Natural Earther for the first two decades of existence. Then I saw The Matrix when it was originally released and started to question things. Ten years past while I slowly began to accept the notion of a simulated world. Ten more years past since I accepted virtuality and became a Simulationist. For those not doing the math, that’s a total of forty years.

I was a zealot when it came to being a Natural Earther. Science, evolution, survival-of-the-fittest, germ-theory, genetics, politics, economics, psychology, history, randomness — these concepts perfectly explained how the world worked, and that was it. God, religion, spirituality, magic, destiny — those were dumb concepts adopted by shallow-thinkers i.e. dummies.

It does seem stupid on my part to fully commit to a set of concepts, only to reject them later on. But to be fair, I was a Natural Earther because I was following the trend. “Smart people” believed in a natural earth whereas “dumb people” believed in a mystical realm — at least where I grew up.

But if you’ve been paying attention, the trend shifted already. You’ll hear “smart people” tending towards Simulation Theory nowadays. So I seem to be “on trend” again. The funny part is, that Simulation Theory overlaps very-well with “spirituality”. It’s basically two ways to describe the same thing. So the “smart perspective” is actually a spiritual one.

That means the new “dumb people” will be the ones believing in a natural earth. This is the Natural Earther perspective: sick and diseased bodies stuck roaming around a dying earth struggling for survival amidst a harsh and brutal landscape. Sounds fun doesn’t it? No, it’s a gross misinterpretation of existence.

Whereas a simulated world is more dreamlike: the world we experience is shaped by our thoughts and expectations — the external is a manifestation of the internal. It’s not an absolute reality, it’s an environment that’s transformable. With a negative attitude, it can seem like a punishing hell-scape — but with a positive attitude, it can form into a heavenly place filled with joy.

Work for a spiritual person entails honing the mind to manifest the best world you can muster. Whereas work for a Natural Earther deals with trying to thrive despite all odds against it. The world will accommodate you if you’re a Natural Earther, but the question becomes: why would you make things so hard on yourself. From my experience as a Natural Earther, it wasn’t worth it.

I can say without doubt that I’ve been much happier as a Simulationist. I was an anxious wreck as a Natural Earther — how can you not be? It’s basically a high-intensity belief system. Perhaps that’s why it was developed, for those daring thrill-seekers among us. Maybe I thought I could handle it — I couldn’t. So from here on out you can catch me drifting down the lazy-river.

Narrative of Existence

You’re painting a picture with your thoughts, a narrative of existence. Tell me, how do you like it? Are you enjoying what you see? Hm, I sense an underlying unpleasantness in your response. Perhaps you’re unsatisfied with your work. Maybe you feel yourself unable to design a delightful experience. Maybe you’re resorting to the sensation of looming-doom to make the story seem more exciting. It’s a rookie move for sure.

Let me suggest some improvements. First, you’re perfectly capable of coming up with something pleasant AND entertaining. You don’t need “fear” or “pain” to feel alive — scare-tactics and cheap-thrills are the junk-food of storytelling. Characters don’t require fear or pain to feel motivated into action — love is enough. Wake up to a vibrant new day filled with creative potential, feel the vitality of life flowing through your body. As an artist, approach the canvas before you and select the brightest, most brilliant hues and apply them generously.

There’s no reason not to be enjoying this experience of existence. You’ve been haphazardly slapping on the gray tints and somber tones all this time. But let’s change that. Put those dour colors down. And as easy as that, they’ll dry up and you can cover them with colors that evoke merriment and contentment. As Willy Wonka sang: “If you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it. Anything you want to, do it. Wanna change the world? There’s nothing to it.” If you think it’s just a song, it is. But if you think it’s more than that, it is.

Think of your imagination and your thoughts as the programming interface to life. What begins in the mind ends up in the external. It’s actually a pretty simple interface: think bad, see bad — think good, see good. That’s all there is to it. Potential content for your narrative comes from a constantly refreshing catalog of thoughts circulating through your mind — your job is to select only the items that evoke a delightful reaction. It’s just like shopping. You simply leave the unpleasant items on the shelf and wait till you see something you like, select it, and in that way you form the story you experience.

Premise of Pretend

You are fully within your abilities to reject this world and everything in it. You’ll suffer obviously, but it’s possible. So your job, is to simply accept this scenario as valid. Accept the simulation as actually happening. Buy into the premise it presents and have fun. Don’t overdue it though, don’t over-invest and act all crazy and super-serious.

Think of it this way. You’re a child meeting up with your friend and she starts pretending to be Optimus Prime, leader of the Autobots. She keeps calling you Bubblebee and telling you that you have to defeat Megatron and his evil Decepticons. But you’re like, “Huh!?” And she’s like “Come on Bubblebee!”. And you’re like, “I don’t want to play this, it’s dumb.” She’s obviously disappointed at your choice and you both sit there bored for the rest of the afternoon.

You could’ve just accepted her premise and played along, eventually having fun with the game-of-pretend. But no, you had to be a wet-blanket and ruin her good-time as well as your own. Great job, sport.

Or scenario two: you DO accept her premise but take it too far. You’re like, “Holy sh*t, Optimus!!! The Decepticons are everwhere!! They’re going to destroy us!!” And she’s like, “Whoa calm down dude, it’s just a game.” But you’re like, “A GAME?!! We’re about to die!!! Take cover!! Hide!!”.

You could’ve accepted her premise a bit more lightheartedly, and got into a groove that generated some entertainment for you both. But no, you had to turn the dial up to eleven and ruin everyone’s fun again. Great job, buckaroo.

So here’s the deal: yes you’re in a simulation that’s essentially one giant game of pretend. And just like a game of pretend, you have the ability to delve into your character — or not. It’s obviously in your best interest to get into character, or else you’ll be bored-to-tears while waiting for the game to end. But don’t take it too seriously either, it’s a game after-all, don’t freak out when you’re presented with surprising scenarios.

And remember this: just like any other game of pretend, you’re free to add your own ideas into it. You don’t have to live with the scenarios you’re initially presented with. You can morph them into scenes that suit your tastes. So if you’re not enjoying yourself, there are two things you need to check: how invested you are in the game (too much or not enough) — and whether you’re focusing on the parts you personally enjoy. Plus, helping playmates have a good time is a great way to pass the time too.

Realist Fantasy

So you want to live in the “real” world huh? Okay, let’s take a quick look at the “real” world then. In the real-world, you could die at any minute of the day due to accident, natural disaster, disease, organ failure, homicide, etc. But thanks to your knowledge and cunning, you’ve managed to survive on a daily basis despite the many dangers that surround. Congratulations, you are amazingly adept at survival. Unfortunately, the moment you let your guard down, you’re dead — and because of random-chance, there’s actually no way to protect against most of the situations that’ll kill you. Hopefully you’re feeling lucky.

That world is a recipe for anxiety. I know because I tried living in it for a few decades. It sucked. I was obviously living a lie too. The world is not a big-scary place in which you must fend for yourself or-else. In terms of life-skills, I’m ignorant as well as incompetent. I couldn’t fight my way out of a wet paper bag. I don’t have any survival skills — if pushed, I crumple. Yet here I am. Everything I believed about the “real” world is completely wrong. Not a little wrong, COMPLETELY wrong. It’s clear that I’ve been carried through life all this time — because if it were up to my own ability, I’d be long gone by now.

My advice to you is this: give up those dumb ideas about the “real” world. Save yourself the trouble of having to deal with anxiety for decades until you finally figure it out. This thing you’re experiencing is not an absolute reality, it’s more like a dream. You’ll be okay. And you know you’ll be okay because you’re here, despite your inability. A natural world demands the fittest specimens, quick reflexes, split-second death-defying decision-making, and constant vigilance — whereas this world… not so much. We’re all inexperienced novices to some extent.

Yes, it’s exciting to think you have to “struggle” and “survive” to make it through this world. But there are so many counter-examples to prove this isn’t true — it’s a silly thought. Think of life like a lazy-river in which you’re gently floating downstream. If you simply allow life to maintain your buoyancy, and you remain calm without struggling, you’ll easily drift with the current. Whereas if you fight the flow and thrash around like a madman, then yes, it will seem like you’re drowning. That’s not life’s doing, that’s your doing. If you refrain from freaking out, then things will go a lot smoother. From there, you can finally perceive actual reality and enjoy the ride.

Swiping Thoughts

I’m a loser. There’s just no doubt about it. I’m short, I have bad teeth and terrible social skills, I’m rude and self-centered, pompous and patronizing, I have no career, I have to ask my mom for money, I’ve got nothing going for me, I’m just existing because it’s easier than not existing. I’m such a weak character, it’s so embarrassing to be me. If I compete at something, there’s a better than average chance I’ll lose — I’m clearly a failure.

The above paragraph represents a thought. What do I notice while having the thought? I notice that I feel pretty bad. Based on my reaction, I can tell it’s a negative thought. Negative thoughts MUST be managed. Thoughts are not real, they’re mere mental-suggestions. It’s like a buddy throwing out ideas: “we could split a pizza, we could eat our own feces, we could order some chinese-food, we could insult ourself until we cry, we could go to the movies…”

But this buddy has no filter and is kinda psycho. You have to think of him more like a five-year old just spitballing ideas. He’s not leadership material. His suggestions should never be taken without proper evaluation. Whereas if you take what he says with a grain-of-salt, then he’s kinda fun in a wacky way. Again, the way in which to evaluate his ideas is by noticing how they make you feel. If it feels bad, it is bad — don’t accept the suggestion.

If he’s persistent, then you be persistent. Don’t entertain that nonsense. Whenever you hear “You’re a loser, you suck!”, don’t take the bait, don’t play that game. It’s a trick to engage your attention, a way to thrill you through the feeling of pain. There’s other ways to alleviate boredom, just keep rejecting the unpleasant suggestions until a more pleasant option pops up. The great thing about thoughts is that there’s millions more in the pipeline, you’ll never run out, just keep swiping for the next one.