Life in Space

I’m still experimenting with an ethereal perspective. Lately, my mantra’s been: “I’m not a human, I’m a whimsical dream”. It’s been going well. It does feel closer to the truth. All that physical-world rigmarole just seems like a half-hearted attempt at busy-work. Whereas floating through the day improves the experience.

For the most part, I’d say the external world cooperates. For times it doesn’t seem onboard, I just ignore it – and it tends to fade away. Essentially, you just show up for the day expecting a good time. I suppose it’s like going out to a movie. You don’t bring any assumptions about the world, you start fresh. You don’t tack on a backstory – not even for yourself. You don’t consider future ramifications – every day exists as a world in and of itself.

All that “stuff” that happened in the past is just “Lorem Ipsum” text – filler so the current narrative doesn’t appear to be floating in space. What happened in childhood? Eh, who cares – it simply exists so that references about “childhood” are relatable. Don’t read into anything. Don’t dredge up any “memories” and bring them into today.

Today is brand new – perhaps it’s the first day of existence – who knows. If life’s a dream, the dream could’ve started this morning or even 5-minutes ago. It certainly can be an odd sensation to know you’re dreaming – but it explains the circumstances of life much better than logic ever could.

Dream Life

If reality’s a dream, how should I act within it? Intensity is controlled by focus and perspective. For instance, zooming into something “disturbing” causes intensity to magnify. For example, you could be sitting there all day saying “Oh dear! Poor me! Poor me! I suffer so!” or you could daydream about soaring through vineyards and snacking on grapes. So, steer your focus and adjust your perspective.

Think of it like a magnifying-glass or telescope. Your consciousness is the person viewing through the eyepiece, your focus is whatever you aim the device at, and perspective is the magnification setting. For example, I could aim the device at a wound I have on my hand, zooming into it at the exclusion of all other matters – considering all the things that went into cutting my hand, the mistakes, the potential for infection, even the road to recovery. Or, I could go have a cookie and forget about it. I could turn my focus to treats, zooming-in on the cookie, savoring each bite as chocolate morsels melt in my mouth.

But here’s the thing: the knobs aren’t obvious – and they can stick. And, your device might scan across some things you don’t prefer. Then you’re like, “huh, what’s this?” and before you know it, you’re like “EW!! I didn’t want to see that!! Gah!” Sometimes you gotta fight to change the channel. Keep in mind that it’s never the images themselves you’re fighting, the struggle is for control over your own focus and perspective.

Deny, deny, deny: “This isn’t happening!” or “This is fine.” Because in fact, it IS fine – it’s only a dream, remember. The fanciful images floating across your gaze are yours to ignore or accept. Wrestle your attention away from the unpleasant then coax it towards the things you prefer. Persist in this disciplined approach and you should witness a vast improvement in your experiences.

Off to Space

I’m not a human, I’m a whimsical dream. I’m “The essence previously-known as the physical-form of Rich”.

I have relieved you of the burden of body, now how do you feel? Lighter I suppose. No longer real, but ethereal. Floating through 3D scenes, I skate the frozen surface. I witness far-off reflections of forms glistening amidst a golden glow against boundless backgrounds of flickering spectacles.

I am beyond the scene, as a viewer of TV resides on the other side of the screen, glass in-between. I can experience momentary distress from the images I see, but it’s really not me. Ultimately I don’t care. Unless I can alter the drama before me, then it feels like someone else’s handiwork. All I can say is “okay cool” in an apathetic way, shrugging my shoulders.

So recently, I’ve been testing out a very zoomed-out perspective. It’s weird to perceive all “this” as a complete fabrication – yet it feels closer to the truth. The Earth I know, is absurdity all the way down. Life is pure parody nowadays – which I’m fine with, I like parodies (the joke-version of something).

I’ve noticed the changes, the lightening of my experience flashing before my eyes. I laugh more, my annoyances are minor, I joke more, my responsibilities are less – things are different. The degree to which my world fundamentally altered suggests it wasn’t built on rock, but sand. It WAS a dream after all.

The transient nature of experience, filled with choreographed scenes designed to evoke emotion, demonstrate this. Hello dreamworld, I see you – hiding behind drama in your chaotic camouflage.

Insulting Perspective

After many years of observation and analysis, I can tell that my initial assumptions about existence were wrong. This is not an organic experience – things didn’t “just happen” according to some “natural order”. The concept of “humanity” is completely fabricated – people and civilizations didn’t systematically develop over time. Nothing about humanity suggests that it’s capable of maintaining itself – people are essentially helpless. Based on their daily activity, the primary activity of humanity is to engage in drama.

On the whole, rudimentary survival is not a facet of human existence. Whereas slinging insults at one another IS a primary pursuit. Insults can be seen throughout every echelon of society. From families, to schools, to businesses, to media, to government – everywhere people exist, insults are sure to follow. If you were training to be a better human, you’d be foolish to focus on raw-survival – instead, you’d want to sharpen the verbal-barbs you fling at others when you cut them down.

This is NOT a condemnation of “modern society” by the way. This is simply what it means to be a human living on Earth. This world exists as a space to create opportunities to insult each other. Offending and being offended is the very foundation of humanness. It doesn’t even require effort to participate – just existing is a way to cause insult to others. There’s an endless array of ways and reasons to not like someone.

Realizing all this, the question becomes: am I supposed to participate in this drama? Am I supposed to rebel against it? Or: even though my current perspective shows this analysis to be true, can I simply change perspectives and see another side of life?

Close-up Annoyances

So here’s what happened. After a few decades, I finally solved a bunch of mental hangups. Everything should’ve been peachy from there on out – right? Yet, “bad days” still happened. And unfortunately, I no longer have easy scapegoats – having spent the previous years eliminating them as suspects. I thought I was doing everything right!? “Bad things aren’t supposed to happen to good people!!”

Okay, but let’s examine this a bit more. If you asked me to list all the actual circumstances that transpired to make a “bad day” into a “bad day” – you’d be underwhelmed and non-commiserate. They’re mostly tiny annoyances and pessimistic thoughts. The day just feels “bad” and multiple things go wrong, evoking feelings of defeat and a deep pessimism.

Most of my problems are so minuscule, they’d be imperceptible if I wasn’t so zoomed-in on myself. I’m too close-up, always scrutinizing every little detail going on with my character. “Aw! Does sweetums have a stuffy nose? Aw, does him have-um twouble sweeping? Aw, is a single hair out of place? Awww.” If I had something else to focus on, I wouldn’t even notice that little stuff. But here I am, always looking in.

Think about it this way. Imagine you just came into possession of car. Now what? You could walk around it, wash it, sit inside, run the radio, turn on the A/C, recline the seat. Wow, you’re really exploring every aspect of that vehicle! Opening the glove-box, adjusting the air-flow outlets – wow look at you go! But is that what a car’s for? For sitting-in and playing with the environmental controls? No, it’s meant to be driven, it’s a means to an end, it’s a tool used to get somewhere.

You don’t just stand around polishing tools until they shine and leave it at that. You use tools. You get ’em dirty, run ’em in the mud, put ’em through their paces, ya get somethin’ done – right? Tools are sad and meaningless unless you put them to use. It’s not a tool anymore, it’s just a trinket sitting on a shelf, decaying the days away. To respect a tool is to use it, to wear it out through everyday wear and tear.

But you, you’ve put yourself up on a pedestal – annoyed by every speck of dust that lands on you. Every patch of tarnish ups your ire. A spot of rust is enough to send you over the edge. By imagining yourself so precious, you’ve taken yourself out of commission. You’ve done yourself the greatest disservice by being overly protective. “Put that wrench down!! If you use it on a bolt, it might get scratched!” That’s crazy talk, but that’s exactly what you’ve done.

I hereby abolish “bad days” and rename them “the consequence of navel-gazing”. It’s like all those times you get eye-strain headaches from staring at things you’re working on without taking a break to rest your eyes.

Okay, it’s a few days later. As an experiment, I’ll accept that verdict. But this means I have to “zoom out”. I’ve tried many times focusing on hobbies and such – but that never panned-out. So, for the time being, I’m going to zoom-out so far from myself, that I’m even leaving physical existence behind. I am now known as “The essence previously-known as the physical-form of Rich”. I am not a human, I am a whimsical dream.

Well, we’ll see if that gets us anywhere.

World of Amusement

Thought experiment:
Imagine an artificial world created with the objective to evoke delight in its inhabitants. An amusement-park, but it’s a lifetime – beginning to end. Now, describe some aspects of this place:

Perfectly tailored and encouraging responses on social media to anything you upload. For example, an essay posted online would be showered with “Likes” and thoughtful, appreciative comments. “Oh wow Rich, what an interesting idea, I never considered that before, you’ve provided an amazing insight into this matter.” Or, “That’s an amazing video Rich, it really brings out the essence of your subject, I see it in a whole new light now!”.

The news would be filled with technological innovations that inspire fascination and childlike wonder. “An amazing breakthrough allows for the development of human teleportation.” Shops would contain devices that advance human capabilities – like exo-skeletons and flying vehicles. Streaming apps would provide access to an endless library of interesting, amusing, and even nostalgic shows, videos, and movies. Robotic talking animals would serve as companions and digital assistants (the iPet).

Whether in person or in online forums, interactions with others would be enjoyable and often enlightening. Your words would be heard and your input respected. There’d be those to feel smarter than, those to relate to, and those wiser than you providing guidance to ease the burden of choice.

There’s no annoyance of ailment, as the body simply functions – feeling like the sleekest most well-constructed piece of organic machinery ever devised. Your form is pleasing and your abilities fluidly pour forth from a symbiotic relationship between physical-movement and mental-consciousness. You are awareness dancing, frolicking through 3D space.

The best of what the senses perceive is paraded before them. Daily life is a mix of appreciation, creativity, and praise. Appreciation of the sensations evoked by the three-dimensional world. Creativity expressed through the interaction of ethereal dreams and tangible objects. Praise from the world, a gentle pat of acknowledgement imparting a sense of belonging and purpose. You are loved and you know it.

To Intervene

Would a creator create creatures that are fully autonomous or ones that require his help? In other words: does a creator want to be needed, happily intervening when asked – or does he want to sit-back while proudly observing the self-sustaining system he launched?

In one sense, a self-sustaining system might make him feel powerless as flaws reveal themselves and suffering ensues. Would he fix some things along the way or just let the system devolve until it destroys itself? But in another sense, there’s a thrill in seeing whether your creation can sustain or not.

Whereas if a creator chooses to be needed, the creatures would have to be placed in losing-positions. For him to fix anything, problems need to exist. And the more intense the suffering, the more significant the repair (and the greater the gratitude). Stepping-in with deus-ex-machina solutions would surely inspire a creator to feel godlike.

Or perhaps there could be a dual-mode mechanic where those that ask, receive – and those that don’t ask, muddle through on their own accord. Maybe there’s a safety-net in place for those afraid to fall. To intervene, or NOT to intervene – that is the question. Must we suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune? Or can we summon the open-arms of a creator to end our woe? Not with death of course, but with divine intervention – our prayers answered?

Imagined Success

Thought experiment: imagine the most successful person in the world. Someone you admire in every way. Someone whose success you’d readily want for yourself. Describe that person and how they live:

He’s not in a constant state of struggle. He doesn’t strain through the day, barely holding it together, just getting by. He is “calm” personified. As currents flow, he’s not caught up in them, but decides which streams to ride.

He’s in a position to help whoever he wants. If someone’s distress strikes a sentimental chord within him, he can offer aid to alleviate their woe. He doesn’t feel a responsibility to fix the entirety of the world, he simply improves and beautifies whatever’s in his reach.

He laughs at life, amused by its absurdity. He takes lighthearted interest in the narratives and wishes the characters well. His interactions with others evoke delight, he’s always welcomed, and missed when absent.

He creates things that feel significant, things that people appreciate. He experiences joy from the creative process and from the recognition his work receives. Many find enjoyment in his efforts.

Component Status

Let’s do a systems-check and see where I’m at in terms of the components that must be managed.

In terms of belief, I dedicated much time and effort towards the process of coercing myself into accepting and adopting a non-physical understanding of reality. In short, “life is but a dream”. Overall, I think this helped tremendously, to the point of eradicating my anxiety.

For attitude, that’s been a bit of a struggle. My mind is full of ideal images depicting how things should be, yet my senses perceive scenes that don’t match up. Therefore, my experiences tend to feel subpar, allowing room for pessimism and cynicism and ungreatfulness. But perhaps the key to this is a lighthearted attitude. Things are supposed to go wrong in a sitcom for example – that’s what makes it funny. So, I’m still working on this.

For calmness, I dedicated myself to becoming calm and applied tons of effort. For instance, I inflicted actual physical punishment anytime I overreacted (holding my breath until it was uncomfortable). As a result, I’ve noticed I’m much calmer. I’ve also noticed that when you’re calm, the overall intensity of life lessens. Therefore, cultivating calmness seems to be worth the effort.

As far as lightheartedness, I’m working on it. I tend to take everything too seriously. And as mentioned, I think lightening-up would help with my attitude.

For focus, I’ve put in a lot of effort here too. I actively ignore things I don’t prefer. I’ve had enough practice from meditation to be able to change my focus quickly when I notice my attention’s on something unpleasant. This has been worthwhile – I tend to see less of what I dislike nowadays and more of what I like.

As for feelings, I previously didn’t put any effort into this, but it’s on my radar now. Essentially, I’m trying to cultivate the feelings I prefer.

With thoughts, I’ve been watching them for a very long time – so it’s made me see what a dumpster-fire they are. I tried playing-nice, but overall I’ve found they’re just toxic-waste polluting my experience. Nowadays they go straight to the spam-folder.

In terms of perspective, I’m way too zoomed-in on myself. Most of my problems are so minuscule that they’d be imperceptible if I wasn’t so close-up. This needs work.

I assumed I could eliminate “bad days” by doing everything right. Yet no matter how well I was doing, “bad days” still happened. Because of that, I thought my overall efforts were worthless (i.e. I might as well give-up on self-improvement). But it seems like “bad days” simply exist – and I have to get out of the rain, get cozy, and wait through the storm. I’m actively working on this.

In this context, “recipes” are the regular things that must be done in the physical-space to keep the body comfortable. First, the concept seems contradictory to my non-physical belief-system. But maybe it’s just a built-in mechanism to encourage participation – providing reason to explore and experiment. Recipe examples: the foods that nourish, the activities that envigorate, the potions that provide optimal energy. These recipes might even change over time – what suits at one point might become caustic later on.

I haven’t figured-out much in terms of recipes – I’m still working on it. For example, it was only a few years ago I realized my body reacted negatively to the consumption of pasteurized milk. Whereas my body behaves better when I eat bread. And my body requires at least a bare-minimum fitness regimen. And despite years of avoiding them, it turns out that coffee and caffeine actually improve my day.

Managing the Experience

At this point, I don’t think there’s a catch-all component that controls the experience of existence. I think there’s a bunch of aspects that require scrutiny and supervision. In no particular order:

Belief. Cultivate a set of beliefs that explain life in a palatable way.

Attitude. Dump pessimism and cynicism, adopt hopefulness and appreciation.

Calmness. In all circumstances, remain calm.

Lightheartedness. Don’t take yourself (or life) seriously, lighten up, have fun.

Focus. Don’t focus on what you don’t like, steer focus to what you DO like.

Feelings. When you feel bad, imagine a scene that inspires you to feel good.

Thoughts. Ignore your thoughts, they’re a waste-product of consciousness.

Perspective. Zoom out, lessen the intensity of life by stepping back a bit.

“Bad day” response. Bad days come and go like stormy weather. They’re not the new-normal, just get cozy and wait for brighter days.

Recipes. Activities, foods, medicinal potions – there’s a personal puzzle to piece together for keeping your physical form comfortable.

All these components influence each other and your job is to manage them like an orchestra conductor.