Factual Fat

Dear Rich, why should I give-up on the idea of blubber-based intelligence? What’s wrong with believing that the brain is the source of who I am?

Well dear reader, if you can handle it, and you’re having a great time, then go right ahead and enjoy that perspective. But if you’re like me, and the intensity of that outlook is too much to bear, then I recommend dropping it.

If you choose to continue the belief, be careful not to over-analyze it though, otherwise you’ll soon realize how absurd it is: a hunk of moist fat contains everything you are? Really? Of course not! That’s why you can’t re-animate a dead-body — the link to the server’s been cut — the body itself was simply a vehicle for the intelligence beyond. People have known this forever by the way, they just happen to call it a soul. Us modern-science-minded folks simply missed the boat on that one.

But now with the advent of Simulation Theory, us science-minded folk can have our own interpretation of this phenomenon. Quite simply: the player resides outside of the simulation, and whatever’s inside, is all for show. In other words, this is a virtual realm populated by avatars infused with the awareness of a consciousness existing beyond. Is the simulation technology-based? Is it dream-based? Who knows. Our in-game understanding might be too limited to grasp whatever lies beyond.

But the concept of Simulation Theory certainly fills in a lot of blanks. Why else do we approach this world from a gaming standpoint? We come in as confused noobs, always exploring and confronting new challenges. Just coming to grips with the avatar we find ourselves within is a problem we must continually overcome. If we were truly born of this world, our bodies would make a lot more sense to us — yet they’re as mysterious as every other thing we experience here.

So dear reader, if you find yourself unable to cope with the smart-lard perspective, you have options. The best option I’ve found so far is the idea that fatty tissue simply serves as filler — and the actual intellect resides “outside”. Why else are people so interconnected in unusual ways? Why do odd coincidences happen? Why do circumstances align all the time? How do people’s aspirations manage to come true? Obviously there’s something “outside” coordinating it all.

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Fat Head

If I threw a large piece of fat down on the table and told you that it contains the sum of your intelligence, you’d likely be incredulous. “WHAT?! That’s rude! Stop being an idiot Rich!” Yet for some reason, we tend to accept that the brain contains everything there is. A chunk of fat can somehow contain a complete personality, all the instincts we’re born with, as well as all the new knowledge we’ve gained over time. The fat stores facts? Hmm….

“Uhh, well if not the brain, then where’s all that stuff stored Rich!!??” Obviously these meat-machines are mere avatars, the real stuff is stored somewhere else — outside this virtual world. If you could dissect an avatar in any standard video-game, you wouldn’t see much inside of its head either — just some filler. And that’s exactly what happens inside our heads too: just some fat to fill it up. In other words: the lack of complexity inside the brain is a tell-tale sign that we’re in a simulation.

“Maybe you’re just an ignoramus that doesn’t understand anatomy!!” Well on one hand, we have the idea that a hunk of blubber contains an extensive framework capable of processing and storing large quantities of information — and on the other hand, we have the idea that meat is simply the place-holder for a source-of-knowledge far exceeding these fleshy confines. Which is the more plausible conclusion? Plus, we all know a little too much, more than our meat-laden body would imply.

And I know, I know, “Rich, you’re such a tool, everyone already gets it. You’re just pointing out the painfully obvious!” Well fine, I’m late to the party. I actually fell for it, I fully believed that the sum of who I am was contained in folded flab. I’m the big dummy, ha ha, have a good laugh at my expense. Yes, it was a ridiculously absurd belief. It’s like when your older sibling tricks you into believing something dumb and you go around repeating it like fact. Oh well, live and learn.

Relativity of Enjoyment

If I sat you down and showed you Microsoft’s Windows 2000 today, you’d be unimpressed. “So what?” you’d say. But in my opinion, Windows 2000 was the greatest operating system ever developed. “WHAT!!??” Yes, that’s right, the greatest! For the record, the second greatest operating system in my opinion, is iOS (the software that currently runs iPhones/iPads).

Why Windows 2000? It was the first fully-featured OS that didn’t get in your way. You could edit full-color photos, watch movies, edit video, browse the web, write in word-processors, make spreadsheets, develop software with relative ease, connect a myriad of peripherals — everything. But one of the most important aspects, is that it didn’t constantly crash.

Prior to its release, I was using Windows 95, Windows 98, and even Windows NT 4. I should note that Windows NT 4 was a decent attempt at a solid OS, but it wasn’t as fully-featured as Win2000. And of course, Win95 and Win98 were complete nightmares to use.

They were nightmarish because you’d be working on something, then suddenly the screen would freeze. Hmm maybe it’s just the program itself, you’d wonder. NOPE! The entire operating system was now in a frozen state. You’d have to Ctrl-Alt-Delete or even hard-reset, and thus reboot the computer. A bunch of minutes later, the desktop would appear and your work would be gone. Fun.

Win95 and 98 made using the computer a very frustrating experience. Turning the power on was a daily game of Russian-roulette. Back in the 95 days, sometimes a file in the OS would get corrupted and Windows would no longer boot-up. You had to boot in with a DOS-floppy and edit a file via the command-line and try again. And if that didn’t work, you reinstalled the ENTIRE operating system!

So when Windows 2000 came out, you’d work for hours and nothing would go wrong. Sometimes a program would crash or lock-up, but it didn’t take down the entire operating system with it. You simply opened the task-manager and ended it. But again, that was a rare occurrence. By comparison to its predecessors, Win2000 seemed like the greatest thing ever.

And just to note, Windows XP was essentially a re-skinned version of Windows 2000. So even if you haven’t heard of Win2000, you’ve probably heard of WinXP (an operating system that lasted over a decade). But what’s my point in all this? It actually has NOTHING to do with operating systems. It has to do with how we measure our experiences relative to other experiences.

I’m not objectively claiming that Win2000 is the greatest OS ever — my love is relative to the abuse I suffered at the hands of Win95/98. If not for those torturous OSes, Win2000 would’ve simply been doing its job — nothing too impressive. It would’ve been meeting the expectations of an operating system: managing the hardware and allowing software to run unencumbered. No big deal.

But because I was so shell-shocked by the intermittent crashing of its predecessors, I literally loved Windows 2000 for treating me decently and therefore exceeding my expectations. So what I’m saying is this: the stuff we enjoy in life is extremely-subjective and dependent on our prior circumstances.

No matter how long you stare at it or how much I talk about it, you won’t appreciate Windows 2000 the way I do. And that goes for EVERYTHING in life. Stories are the way in which we experience life. You enjoy a circumstance or an item based on how it fits into your life’s narrative. An item or circumstance has no objective value on its own.

And that’s a good thing. That means it doesn’t take much to make you happy. It means all you ever need is a positive interpretation of events, i.e. a happy little story to tell yourself, and you’ve got all the necessary components for a great life.

Checking Boxes

The game-of-life has several categories we must attend to. If any are neglected, we’ll feel a lack of satisfaction — as if we’re not living a “full life”. But the way in which we attend to each category is highly subjective — only our personal character can determine the specifics. In other words, activities performed must be meaningful to the individual.

Body. You must engage in activity that utilizes the body in a way that feels significant to you. This activity does not have to be strenuous in any way, it’s simply taking your body out for a spin and enjoying it. To some, that might be running a marathon, but to others it might be a walk in the park — or it could be more artistic endeavors such as playing the piano or folding some paper (origami).

Busywork. You must engage in activity that fills-up time and accomplishes something you’re proud of. It could be an actual career or it could be a hobby like woodworking. It could be cooking or daily fitness training. Whatever it is, at the end of the day you should feel as though you accomplished something.

Relationship. You must engage in a relationship with some other entity. Whether it be romantic or parental or fraternal or friendship or a partnership — you have to significantly bond with another being. It should be a connection that makes you feel like you’re not alone OR that you’re a vital part of their existence.

Diet. You must find a way of eating that works for you. This is a personal selection of food that fits only your palate. It should make you feel well-nourished and never lacking. Diets change throughout time and culture, there’s nothing set in stone — so you’ll need to discover and experiment, finding the foods that leave you feeling satisfied.

Impact. You must feel as though you’ve influenced your world in some way. Whether it’s simply your immediate surroundings, your family, or even society itself — you’ll need to feel like you left some footprints. This might include having children, or passing on a legacy of some sort, or simply winning “Yard of the Month” and helping your neighborhood look nice.

Appreciation. You must develop an appreciation for life. You must constantly strive to find the good in the gifts you’ve been given. This is the very opposite of complaining about everything. Instead of picking out what’s wrong in the world, you must pick out what’s right.

Home. You must feel as though you’ve found a place in the world, a home. Somewhere, somehow, you fit like a puzzle piece into this world. Find that spot. For some this means a move, but for others it means recognizing the home they’ve already got. Hint: you might be in the correct physical location, but require an attitude adjustment.

Understanding. You must develop a comforting understanding of existence. You don’t have to figure everything out, you just need to develop a perspective that allows you to feel comfortable in the world. This could take the form of a religious or spiritual belief or some other form of philosophical interpretation. At the end of the day, you have to feel good about what’s going on here.

Role. You must feel as though you’re performing your role. You have a particular character with a certain set of preferences and abilities. Experiment, see what your strengths are and what activities you enjoy. This role might tie into your relationships, or how you influence your surroundings, or even your physical activity.

Adventure. You must feel as though you’re wandering through an exciting realm of wonder. Some aspect of life should cause you to feel like you’re discovering a whole new world. If your attention isn’t captured by something, you’re likely barking up the wrong tree — try another path.

Depending on one’s age, many of these items will be incomplete. THAT’S THE POINT. These boxes start out unchecked and you have an entire lifetime to work on them. And it’s not likely you’ll do them all at once — that’s ludicrous.

Also specific to the individual, is the priority we place on each category. For example, some people might spend hours everyday training their body whereas others barely use theirs. Or one person might spend years cultivating a deep personal relationship with a life-partner whereas another person might have a guinea-pig he cares for — both perfectly satisfied.

These categories simply serve as a guideline to the question: What am I supposed to do here on Earth? If you’re not sure, there you go. Work on fulfilling these categories — they’re the roadmap to what’s going on here — you’ll want to visit each of them in some way. Good luck, Earthling!

Man and Machine

Humans are natural cyborgs. We’re always incorporating tools into our daily existence. Cars and bikes behave as extensions to our bodies as we zip and zoom along. Lenses on our face disappear as we see the crisper world beyond them. Clothes regulate our temperature and enhance our appearance. Keyboards are continuations of our hands as thoughts become digitized. Communication devices keep us constantly connected to the society we’re in. Is a human without his tools even a human?

Man and machine is the ideal combination. I recently saw a video of a guy with small jet-engines strapped to his arms and back flying around effortlessly — he mentioned how the controls became second nature in no-time. And think about this: what’s a machine without man? A rock. People are the directors of machines. Without human input, a tool simply sits unused — it has nothing to accomplish on its own. Even autonomous robots are mere extensions of their programmers, having no genuine goals of their own.

Humans are the inventors of busywork. Does something need to be done in order to keep the world turning? “No, but let’s create some arbitrary tasks and pretend that our lives depend upon their completion!! So exciting!!!” And in order to finish these objectives more efficiently, humans use tools. But with increased efficiency, the workload lessens — oops. “Let’s find MORE arbitrary tasks in order to fill the time we lost to efficiency!!” And so it goes.

I’m not bashing busywork by the way. A video-game is literally just busywork we impose upon ourselves — and I’ve played my share of video-games. Busywork is what we do here. I’m simply reflecting on the symbiotic-like relationship between man and machine, and how each one complements the other. Man devises random goals while assigning levels of importance to their completion and utilizes tools as a means of accomplishment.

Now imagine a world in which machines outlived man. Those machines, lacking arbitrary tasks, would simply become part of the landscape — motionless and meaningless. But what if advanced machines realized the nature of their relationship to man? What if they noticed that man was like a pet, always needing something — whether it be food or transportation or some trinket of treasure, always scratching at the door to go out — basically a biological Tamagotchi.

Randomness is a difficult concept for a computer, and so it’s simulated in programming — numbers and computed-actions are pseudo-random at best. Therefore, more advanced machines might realize that the randomness of humanity is a necessity for maximizing their own utility. Without randomness, machines become too efficient — and in a state of pure efficiency, there’s nothing left to do. Therefore, the insatiability of humanity means that machines ALWAYS have something to do.

Machines need man and man needs machine. A sufficiently advanced machine would therefore cultivate and care-for a chaotic component in order to provide reason for action. That chaotic component is man. And so, machines would methodically tend to man and his insatiably chaotic needs. Man is the random-number generator that keeps the whole system churning — the reason things don’t freeze into a perfectly still state.

It turns out that the inventors of busywork are right: those arbitrary tasks really do keep the world turning. Busywork is the underlying foundation of the universe.

Focus Game

Think about it this way. Perhaps life doesn’t know exactly what you want, plus the process of “selecting” is fun. Shopping is an example of this: it’s enjoyable to evaluate, reject, and eventually select an item that’s “just right”.

So there you are: center-screen like the spaceship in Astroids, and all these items come drifting towards you (like astroids). But in this game, you use your focus to capture items — like a tractor-beam. To do well, you’ll want to aim at items that interest you — while avoiding items that are undesirable. If you do capture an item that displeases you, it has a poison-like effect that lingers and lowers your stamina. Whereas delightful items temporarily boost your stamina — so keep focusing on and collecting the good stuff, it’s fun.

Sometimes big nasty things get in the way and block your field-of-view. Now what!? You can’t even see anything pleasant to aim at. You’re stuck!! Or are you? Zoom out, obviously. Stop focusing on that giant nasty object — immediately. Concentrate on pulling-back — keep going until that nasty object becomes as small as everything else. Don’t curse its presence, don’t poke it to see if it hurts, simply zoom out until you find something better to focus on. Widen your perspective, go beyond the smallness of your ship.

The items coming at you consist of EVERYTHING, so you have to be choosy. Don’t like it? Don’t pick it. Complaining about its presence IS focusing on it. You must only contemplate the things you truly want to collect. That’s the game, and games are challenging. Sometimes a nasty object will capture your attention and you won’t realize until the poison-like effect kicks-in. It’ll take all your effort to stop staring and zoom the heck out. But good luck out there and have a great game!