Dramatic Overlay

Just think about the ongoings of life for a minute.

Let’s use my mother as an example. Her day consists mostly of smoking cigarettes, handling animal poop, some light landscaping or interior-decorating, applying makeup, shopping, watching sentimental shows on cable, listening to my sister, babysitting her grandson, eating some quick-to-assemble food, napping, watching prime-time TV shows, and going to bed. I’ve known my mother my entire life and we even lived in the same house for several decades — in other words, I’m pretty familiar with her narrative. She’s in her seventies and doesn’t expect much more out of life at this point.

Although I described her current routine, her routine from several decades ago wasn’t much different. Externally, her life hasn’t been too exciting I’d say. Internally, she’s very anxious and worries a lot. Every phone-call has the potential to be a life-changing disaster. If I dare call her outside of my normal routine, well then something MUST be wrong. So internally, I’d say her life has been very exciting. She’s captivated by the fear of terrible things happening in her life (despite the fact that so little has happened in all those seventy-plus years).

My point is this: I’ve directly witnessed a few people’s lives. And I gotta tell ya, from those examples, existence seems like a pretty mundane affair. Do some people have super-duper exciting experiences? I dunno, I don’t know those people. The lives I’ve personally observed are boring on the outside and a veritable high-intensity electrical-storm on the inside — my own included. So what’s the take-away from this?

From a simulation standpoint, that means the rendering and scripting of daily-life can be simple and repetitive. If everything interesting happens in the imagination, well that’s easy-peasy. That means life is more like a book than a movie — a scene is suggested and you simply picture it in your head. In the external world, just follow a basic pattern of activities — but inside your head, infuse some drama into the mix, add some fear or anger and suddenly a basic interaction becomes so much more.

How many times do we find ourselves lost in thought, imagining the motivations of others? These people have literally done nothing, yet we craft an entire soap-opera around the way in which they did or didn’t say “Hello”. In the external world, nothing happened — but in our internal world a grand epic just took place. This is very convenient for players that lack skill in maneuvering their character through the wider world — a noob can basically stand still while experiencing an entire range of intense emotions.

We wake up, eat, defecate, perform some mundane tasks, interact with others in a minimal way, talk about everyday topics, travel to and fro in short uneventful trips, read some stuff, watch some stuff, sleep — our external experiences are almost nothing compared to the excitement on the inside. The dramatic overlay we place upon these very basic activities is amazing. We’re authors writing our novel each and every day.

And here’s the thing… if so much of life is written inside our heads — maybe 90% or more, then we have the ability to control 90% or more of our life through the shifting and directing of our focus. By writing our novel in a way that fills us with delight, we can craft the best possible experience imaginable. It’s within our power as soon as we realize we can do this — and actually apply it. All lives are essentially boring, it’s the same stuff everyday — they all suck UNTIL you place a dramatic overlay that you enjoy on top.

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Life is Suffering

“Life is suffering” is a fundamental misunderstanding of existence. I think there’s a truer statement: life is captivating. And to be captivating, life is oftentimes hard. Furthermore, if everything is mere flickering pixels, there’s no actual body that suffers, it’s only ever a suggestion of pain — and we the consciousness can choose to accept or reject that suggestion.

For me, an engaging video-game is one that stretches my limits and beats me down. I lose often. It’s a drive to resist this subjugation that pushes me to play again and again despite my seemingly futile attempts. But then, for no good reason, or perhaps the game literally tires of my persistence, I start winning. All that anticipation finally pays off in a feeling of glorious triumph. Sweet relief comes as I finally conquer my foe. But that only means it’s time to find a new game.

Life knows what pushes my buttons and so, pushes them. As players we should expect nothing less. Of course not everyone has the same pattern of pushes — some are satisfied with the simple life, I’m a glutton for feeling like a loser, and some are downright freaks that bathe in blood and gore. Whatever it is, life will find a way to captivate us all.

Of course that can seem overwhelming. It IS overwhelming. It’s nuts — life is the ultimate video-game, reading our thoughts and customizing itself in a way that tantalizes us to our core, turning up the intensity until we literally think we’re part of it. You gotta admit, that’s pretty cool.

Life is SO overwhelmingly intense in fact, that even if you realize it’s only a game, you’ll STILL get lost to it. You’ll think, “Haha I got this! Whee! So fun!” — but all that goes out the window in the next roller-coaster drop. “OH SH*T!! WHAT THE F*CK WAS THAT!!??”. That’s life baby, and it’s got your attention — and you wouldn’t have it any other way.

Universal Mind

Why do we know things — individually and as a society?

From a purely physical perspective, all knowledge is held within the collective minds of mankind. In other words, every individual is a redundant data-storage module, that when combined with all other individuals, contains the sum of human knowledge. Society’s memory is simply stored in the memories of individuals. No one person contains everything, but multiple people hold the same information for particular areas.

There is a slower archival-storage mechanism, in the form of books and videos and such. But this still requires an individual to know enough to seek out such books and know where to find them and how to follow them. So primarily, society’s memory is stored in the active memory of individuals.

We also know that memories decay over time. As new things enter our mind, old things become less relevant, the past becomes even more distant and details fade. And memories aren’t stored digitally, but in an analog format. For example, when I try to recall something from decades ago: I kinda remember, I know it sounds like “mara…” no, no, it was “Sara…” wait no, “Kara…” that’s it! But I might be wrong and the memory becomes corrupted.

The details of not-so-popular things are probably corrupted the most since less people hold them in memory. But what if my own memory contradicts the memory of the collective mind? When a few individuals share the same contradiction, this concept has been termed the “Mandela Effect” or sometimes “Retroactive Continuity”. Some adherents claim there’s evidence of archival-storage contradicting the memory of the collective mind (sometimes called “residue”).

Since I believe in Simulation Theory, I don’t adhere to the purely physical perspective. My belief is that knowledge is held in a Universal Consciousness located beyond the confines of the physical world. When inspiration or understanding comes out of nowhere, I assume it comes from this Universal Consciousness. In other words, parents and teachers do not impart the knowledge we possess, it’s simply unlocked at the appropriate time when needed.

In my experience, there is no wisdom of the crowd. Instead, an individual is instilled with an inspiring idea that subsequently influences the crowd. And this inspiring idea wasn’t passed down, it didn’t come from society’s memory, it was fresh information that radically altered society as a whole. Spiritual leaders, political leaders, philosophers, inventors — the things these people knew didn’t come from rehashing old stuff into something great — aging leftovers don’t make the best meals.

And I don’t believe the simulation is absolute and concrete in its ways. It’s more of a dream that flows and forms based on feedback from the player. And in dreams, continuity doesn’t matter, corruption of concepts is a regular occurrence — so in my thinking, things like the Mandela Effect or Retroactive Continuity could readily occur. (I’m mentioning these concepts because my friend mentioned them to me this morning and I’m writing this to help clarify my thoughts on the matter).

Collective Data Corruption

In memory management, when the last reference is severed, the object is trashed. This is one method of keeping a computer’s memory from getting bogged down with instructions or data that’s no longer needed.

In our collective memory, we all hold references to certain ideas. When there’s nobody left that remembers a particular topic, it’s gone — poof. From a logical and practical standpoint, this is true. Old ways of doing things are long forgotten. Ancient languages and the manner in which they were vocalized are zapped from memory.

But are irrelevant items truly gone or are they simply written off onto long-term storage? Can certain topics be recalled, albeit at a significantly slower rate as they’re read from outdated storage media? Yet sometimes old media weakens with age, and the stored data becomes corrupted — resulting in inconsistent output.

My friend was talking to me about the Mandela Effect (or collective false memories) — and like usual, I was quick to dismiss it. But then I framed it within the context of Simulation Theory, and it started to make more sense. I think it’s possible that inactive topics are frequently flushed out of our memory when there are no current references left.

But when a topic re-surfaces sometime in the future, we have to go into the archives and retrieve the relevant data. But of course this is stored in a lower quality format, making it prone to corruption errors. And for that reason, clusters of people have varying ideas about certain long-term remembrances.

Although I suppose it could all be just a dream, where fact isn’t any different from fiction. Where one minute you’re holding a glass of lemonade and the next it’s a bumblebee flying from your hand. Where any backstory is simply manufactured on the spot. Where our commingling imaginations ebb and flow and some visions take precedence over others at varying times.

Who knows. The one thing I know is the unknowableness of life. Whenever you strive for the answer… poof… it’s gone. Life brings you back, envelops you in the spectacle of bright lights and distracting sounds. You become overwhelmed by the sensations that surround. You’re no longer an ethereal thinker floating through lofty spaces, but a creature of this world, grounded by gravity.

Advanced Controls

So if we’re in advanced-mode, how do we control the car? Not with a hyper-focused conscious effort, that’s for sure. Think about walking for instance, do you analyze every foot-placement and muscle-action? Of course not, you simply allow your body to walk unencumbered — whereas if you constantly examine and manually direct the movements, you’re likely to trip.

It’s true for any game: you sync with its rhythm, take a lighthearted approach to winning, and enjoy the experience itself. And no, you can’t wish your way through — you have no idea what’s in store, how could you know what to wish for? Instead, you gratefully accept the obstacles and surprises as they’re presented to you.

But keep in mind that you influence the obstacles and surprises by your attitude and outlook. If you’re suspicious and full of complaints, you’re simply not going to enjoy what’s provided. Whereas if you’re in the mood for fun, everything becomes a party, an entertaining adventure, a grand ol’ time.

So, the controls are easy. What’s hard is maintaining an awareness and a focus that allows you to implement them. The “advanced” part, is that your mind is allowed to wander anywhere and everywhere — you’re allowed to think anything you want. If you want to contemplate the worst stuff possible, then go right ahead (that’s the equivalent of crashing into a wall by the way).

But if you want to tame advanced mode, and become a decent player at this game, you have to stop trying — simply flow along with a cheerful confidence. This game, like any game, is made for your amusement. You have ample ability to excel: just allow life to take you on a ride — let go, that’s all you need to know.

Advanced Mode

I don’t believe life is optimized. I think the long swaths of boredom, the unending uncertainty, the frustration, the frequent break-downs and repairs, the repeating storylines, and the cross-exposure to other individual narratives all demonstrate this.

If life was optimized, our personal narrative would be programmed and tuned precisely to our tastes. We’d have goals and a vision leading us down a specific path. We’d be confident in the direction we’re heading. Our chassis would chug-along trouble-free. The overall narrative would be full of interesting surprises — happy twists and turns that excite and delight. And upon our path we’d be surrounded by scenery and extras that only serve to support our journey.

Instead, I think we’re thrown into a big open-ended game-world in which we just have to make do. So either this is the best the developers could come up with, or it’s an “advanced mode”.

For instance, I was just playing a racing/driving game in which I turned off all the “helper” settings. There’s no auto-braking, no assisted-steering and no anti-skid — in other words, I crash into the wall a lot. But I didn’t like the auto-settings because it feels like I’m not doing enough. I opted for advanced-mode — I literally said, please make this harder for me, I want to crash and burn a lot, I want to experience failure. And it’s true, I do prefer the feeling of control more-so than having my hand-held all the time.

If I so readily opt for advanced-mode in games, then perhaps I opted to turn-off a lot of the auto-steering mechanisms in this life. While I do think life is obviously supporting and encouraging my existence, it’s definitely not optimized. As a being beyond this earthly abode, believing so strongly in my abilities, did I decide to do this to myself? Subject myself to an extra dose of chaos and confusion just so I could demonstrate my ability to control a bucking bronco?

Although, it would be quite embarrassing to later learn that I had ALL the auto-steering mechanisms ON, and I just completely suck at this game.

Mental Gourmet

Man, I’ve been too involved in everyday life stuff lately. I want to go back to thinking about bigger things. I gotta be honest, I’m not really a fan of daily human activities. I hate the hygiene-stuff for instance, whereas I know some people absolutely love bathing, “getting ready”, and dressing in nice clothes. And I never even liked eating until I met my friend — she introduced me to the concept of food as a hobby. I’ve always found my fun in the quiet moments with thoughts drifting through my head — or by watching shows and playing video-games.

But if I wasn’t in human form, and had infinite knowledge, there’d be nothing to consider since I’d already know the answers. Not to mention, there’d be no path to travel since I wouldn’t be an embodied being. Having a human existence provides me with unlimited limitations — there’s obstacles to overcome, information to learn, information to forget and relearn again. I mean, as a thinker, being a human is as good as it gets. I can rediscover the same ideas as soon as I forget them!

Of course that sounds weird, but it’s the same way with eating. It’s always a new and exciting feast despite the fact that we already ate a similar selection a few days before. We eat the same types of foods over and over and over, and similarly we think the same thoughts over and over and over. If you’re a connoisseur of food, you’re going to seek out selections that delight your palate. Similarly, if you’re a connoisseur of thought, you best seek out ideas that delight your mind.

If you’re a gourmet, you’re not going to accept whatever crap is placed in front of you — no, you’re going to find the best of the best. So if you’re a thinker, you can’t accept just any random thought that flows through your thought-stream — gross! You have to refine your thoughts until they provide the satisfaction you so desire. And like with food, it’s good to take breaks from similar thoughts until they seem new again. So with that in mind, I guess it’s good that I was involved in everyday life stuff for a bit.