Wonderful Wizard

It was less than two-months ago that I discovered I’m a masochist. I’m still trying to reconcile it. I don’t want to hurt myself, yet I constantly do in terms of insults and aspersions and lots of negativity. Basically I keep trying to bully myself into believing that I’m a weak, ineffectual, and fatally flawed creature that is subject to the whims of a harsh and random world. I can plainly see that the claim is not true, yet I insist on trying to convince myself it is. What’s up with that?

At this point, I am beyond certain that this world is dreamlike or simulated in some way. This is in no-way a natural earth — yet something wants me to believe it is. Why? I think the “why” is obvious: a simulated game wants to be believed, the fun comes from the sensation of full-immersion. But I think the problem I’m having, deals with the mechanism trying to be TOO convincing. “YOU SUCK AND YOU’RE POWERLESS!!! YOU’RE LOST AND YOUR SITUATION IS HOPELESS!!!”

And for the first few decades, the message was completely effective — I believed it whole-heartedly. But now it’s dumb. It’s like Dorthy in the Wizard of Oz: “Uh, I can see you’re just an old man behind the curtain talking into a microphone, your threats are meaningless now”. But there he goes, loud as ever, blaring those negative ideas through my thoughts. Shut-up already. I know you’re full of sh*t and I’m ready to appreciate the good-life now.

But if you recall, Dorthy and the gang had to rebuke the “wizard” to get him to capitulate. So I guess I must rebuke these negative thoughts that are trying to convince me of a falsity. They’re merely the result of an overzealous mechanism whose job is to convince me that this isn’t a fabricated world. “Stop it already! I’ve had enough! The curtain’s drawn, let’s move on! I’ll tell you what I want, and you fulfill it! Do you hear me!!?” Well, I guess we’ll see how that goes.

Glinda: You don’t need to be helped any longer. You’ve always had the power…”
Scarecrow: Then why didn’t you tell her before?
Glinda: She wouldn’t have believed me. She had to learn it for herself.

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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.

Peek-a-boo

Dear Rich, why would you base your worldview on a late-90s action movie? That sounds kinda dumb.

Perhaps that’s backwards thinking. Perhaps The Matrix was designed as a subtle introduction to the underlying nature of reality for those that could only imagine in the images of action-movies. Even Neo had a hard time accepting the true nature of reality when he left the matrix. How can you explain to someone that grew up in the 80s and 90s that they’re living within a simulated world? Morpheus said regular people would typically fight against the truth while desperately clinging to the only reality they knew.

Therefore, you create a movie based in the modern-day using modern-day iconography and explanations. Those who see it, see it. And those that don’t want to see it, simply perceive a sci-fi movie. No harm, no foul. It’s a not-so-subtle clue for those seeking answers. And the movie’s theme is dank and dark because that’s the only way to draw in pessimists who will say: “I knew it!!! The world really IS a post-apocalyptic hell-scape filled with sheeple!!”.

But eventually, if you really take some time to think about it: what doesn’t work in The Matrix, what fails to be adequately explained, is the nefarious nature of the matrix. The enslavement of humanity doesn’t make sense and causes all sorts of debates. The so-called sequels don’t make sense either by the way. And that’s because life is NOT a nefarious affair. The Matrix itself demonstrates this, by failing to create a convincing villain.

And again, The Matrix was simply an introduction, it wasn’t meant to explain everything. It drew-in certain people that couldn’t be drawn-in by other means. God and spirituality and all that stuff makes no sense to pessimistic realists — so the only option to reach them was through sci-fi action flicks. Ultimately, the world wants its players to have a good time — but in order to have a good time, a player needs the right balance between fact and fiction.

A player must be invested enough to care about in-game outcomes, but not overly invested to the point of perpetual worry. If you only believe in a harsh and brutal world ruled by random-chance, then you’re going to have a bad time. You need some perspective, some distance, you need to see yourself as a player engaged in an enjoyable adventure. But when you’re too lost within the game, you can’t comprehend this. And so clues are provided, alarm clocks — The Matrix simply serves as one of the ways to help you wake up.

Simulated Lifestyle

So imagine this world is just a computer simulation. What do you do now? How do you live life?

Hm. I suppose I’d wonder what my limitations are. Although, I’d have to be careful about identifying limitations because they might not be well-defined or might change over time depending on conditions. I’d also wonder what resources are available to me. Will they replenish? I’d also wonder about my character’s skills and abilities. And I’d wonder whether I should wait for developer updates to fix some of the “bugs”, inconsistencies, and poor game-mechanics I’ve found (although most likely, a lot of that stuff is just user-error on my part).

I’ve been playing a couple of pretty-involved video-games recently: Minecraft and War Robots, and I can characterize my general game-play in those games, and use that as a guide.

For Minecraft, my efforts typically tend towards building a shelter, adding stuff to it, expanding, decorating. Whether I’m in survival-mode or creative-mode, my shelter scales accordingly — but either way, most of my time is spent enhancing my home. So in this world, I’d likely do something similar, which is: get a nice home and keep enhancing it. And sometimes after a bit of exploring, I’ll move to a nicer place in a nicer area. I’d collect rarities and trinkets I stumble upon and I’d upgrade my tools whenever I find something better.

Whereas in War Robots, which isn’t as immersive because it’s just a battle-simulator, I spend a lot of time upgrading my bots and their weapons. Some people tend to deride the consumer-lifestyle, but I find that’s precisely what I’m drawn to in video-games. Yeah it’s a constant upgrade-cycle — but what’s wrong with that? Perhaps it’s a problem if you start to look at people as products. I don’t think we should look toward upgrading the people in our lives. Improving relationships is fine, but trying to find “better” people tends to push the problem down the line (the problems we have with people usually begin within).

In both games, I enjoy innovation — when the developers come out with new stuff that expands the known universe. As a player, that kinda stuff seems beyond my control though. The Internet was certainly a major update when it came out, for example. I’m excited about innovations in transportation too — I like the idea of getting places with less fuss. And, I like ever-expanding options for entertainment. Shopping has gotten a lot easier too.

So just to sum up and answer the question directly: what would I do in a simulated world such as this? I’d find a great home, enhance it, explore a bit, collect stuff, upgrade tools, and improve relationships with my companions. I’d also keep an eye out for innovations in the game and try them out when they’re released.

New Book

It’s been a couple weeks since I paused this blog to write a new book. It ended up being super-short, but perhaps it’s a work-in-progress at this point (I do appreciate brevity though). And since it’s so short, I’ll just keep it as a dedicated page on this blog for now: Virtual Enlightenment.

It’s a non-fiction simulation-based self-help book. It explains how the adoption of “simulation theory” can actually lead to a more enjoyable existence. It’s a concept that helped me tremendously, so I figured I’d write it in a book. Of course this blog says the same things but the book is a more succinct format.

Alone in the World

I think solipsism has its advantages — it’s the idea that I’m the only player in the game. It puts all responsibility on me, which may sound daunting, but I don’t take it too seriously. My primary takeaway is that everything that happens to me is MY fault — which sounds bad, but also means I can fix it. I’m not a passive victim of my surroundings, I’m the guy in charge. I may be a masochist that likes to hurt myself — but anytime I want, I can change those circumstances.

So when I think of my childhood for instance, I did it, I caused all that nonsense. WHY? Well apparently I’m a masochist that enjoys freaking myself out. There was no other perpetrator but me, not my mom, dad, siblings, relatives, schoolmates, teachers, strangers — no one but me to blame. Within that context, I never even deal with the concept of forgiveness — there’s no one to forgive. I made the mistake, I was in a negative mental-state and caused myself to have an unpleasant experience — that’s it — done.

So nowadays, if I’m having a tense interaction with another person, I say to myself: “whoa, I must be in a bad mood, I’m even manifesting an unpleasant scene. I better calm down and get in a good-mood, obviously my attitude is causing this negative scenario to develop right before my eyes.” And it works, I don’t blame anyone but myself — and when I further analyze my mental state, I find that I WAS in a bad mood prior to the tense interaction. The evidence is there, I DID do it.

I’ve had this perspective for awhile now, and it’s worked wonders. It’s allowed me to leapfrog over that whole “coming to terms” with people stuff, I don’t have to hash anything out, I don’t have to “forgive” anyone. It’s like it never happened. I suppose it’s a cheat-code of sorts — but I’m fine with that. And who knows, it might even be true.