Simulated Start

It was about a decade ago, shortly after my father died. I was reading a cartoonist’s blog that I happened to stumble upon — in a post he mentioned the world being a simulation. Of course I had seen The Matrix a decade earlier, and so did he — but what struck me this time, was the idea that probability-wise, it just had to be true. If it’s ever going to happen, it already did. In other words, if humanity will ever reach the point of living simulated lives, then they’re already doing it, perhaps for millions of years already.

Although I had been intrigued by The Matrix when I first saw it, it painted a pretty dark picture and seemed only kind of plausible — so I only casually entertained the idea of living in a simulation. Then after I started thinking about the inevitability of living in a simulation, I accepted the idea even more. It probably helped that I was a computer programmer at the time. Then in the last few years, I pretty much adopted the concept of simulation theory completely.

I suppose we all need a belief system. More traditional religious belief systems just didn’t make sense to me. So for all the decades before this, I believed myself to be a fragile creature struggling for survival within a chance-based physical reality. Long-story short: life sucked, it was scary as heck and I tried to hide from everything — I was racked with anxiety, obviously. But I couldn’t just become a Buddhist or whatever, I needed something I could easily grasp.

Technology, gadgets, TV, movies, computers, video-games, and now the Internet — I love that stuff. So why wouldn’t my foundational beliefs be tailored to what I can relate to? I don’t really care about astronomy, biology, or chemistry — you can take your big-bangs, your evolution, and your primordial stew and shove it! Those theories had their chance, now it’s technology’s turn!! (to be read in the voice of Dr. Zoidberg from Futurama)

No, but seriously, everyone is welcome to the belief-system that suits them best. Personally, I think simulation theory should be popularized and spread and accepted as a valid belief system among the many others. What’s strange to me though, is the way simulation theory has allowed me to grasp the God/spirituality stuff. For most of my life I thought all religions and their related beliefs were kinda dumb, honestly. But when I began looking at life in a non-physical way, the God/spirituality stuff started making sense.

Simulation theory opened up a whole different way of looking at life — I could see a layer I simply couldn’t perceive before. And frankly, it took away my worry, curing my anxiety. Now I see life as an experience designed for my amusement. I finally feel safe and cared for. It’s a funhouse after-all! Of course it’s possible that this world isn’t virtual, but in a sense, that doesn’t matter — it’s my faith in the belief that provides me with comfort and the power to act.

I really do believe it’s true though, that this life is a virtual experience of some sort. Whether it’s an actual computer or whether it’s merely a dream — who knows. As with any belief system, the more I look through its lens, the more I see evidence in support of it. I realize too, that I’m often in a minority position when it comes to philosophical positions and tend to be a natural contrarian, I also realize that I quite easily fit into mockable categories of thought.

I have no point here but to summarize and cement for myself the belief system in which I’m currently invested. Because of the confounding nature of this world, we have to regularly remind ourselves of the things we want to believe in. And I want to maintain the belief in virtuality because of the good it’s done me. It’s too easy to fall back into my old pessimistic patterns of thought, so the more I convince myself of life’s virtual nature, the more cheerful and appreciative I become.

If anyone else is wanting for a new lease on life, I highly recommend giving a new belief system a try. It doesn’t have to be simulation theory, just something that paints life in a pleasing way, one that’s suited to your particular preferences. It’s a fool’s errand to believe we can ever discern an ultimate reality — I tried and failed. It’s beliefs all the way down — so you might as well pick a pleasant one that turns life into a picnic. It took me decades to realize this, but luckily in my world, time is malleable — it’s never too late.

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Matthew Commentary 01

I just spent some time putting together a factual summation of Matthew. I think the biggest take-away is that the writer is not the best storyteller — pretty bad actually. My favorite part is the Sermon on the Mount near the beginning, but the end of the book is weak and paints Jesus in a negative light.

To characterize Jesus as he’s depicted in the first third of the book, he’s a guy that’s excited to get out there and help people and change the world. He truly cares about the common man and he wants the system to care too. He’s all about changing everyone’s perception of the world, helping them to experience existence without sickness and suffering. He wants everyone to get along and appreciate the world that’s been provided for them. He’s like a proud son that wants people to understand the great thing his dad made, and he’s doing what he can to fix any problems he sees along the way.

To characterize Jesus as he’s depicted in the last two-thirds, he’s a guy that’s disillusioned by the people he’s trying to save. He’s surrounded by incompetent followers that can’t understand him. He’s bordering on petulant at some points. Plus he constantly argues with, and outright insults, the religious leaders of his day — they may be wrong, but his methodology runs counter to his earlier message. Instead of a proud son, he seems like he’s given up and just wants to head home. It sounds like he had the highest of hopes when he arrived but the people’s rejection of all that’s good in life just sent him reeling.

Overall, way too little time is spent on his actual message and frankly it gets overshadowed by the dour ending. The final scenes are undramatic and anticlimactic, they’re over too quickly and lack significance. If I had to recommend the best section to read, I’d say chapters 4 through 9.

Addendum:

Although, the more I think about it, perhaps that’s the author’s point: the dejection Jesus feels because of the people’s unrelenting negativity. We the people blatantly choose negativity despite the available alternative. Jesus tried and tried to make people see the light before them, but they kept turning again and again toward darkness. People aren’t necessarily choosing evil, but they’re choosing pessimism and hopelessness.

Jesus kept saying that the kingdom of heaven is at hand — which can only mean that it’s literally within our grasp right here and now — it’s not a fantasy realm that awaits us in death — THIS is the fantasy realm, the one we’re experiencing right now. And when we realize that, the world can fulfill every wish we have if we simply allow it, all we need is faith the size of a mustard-seed.

But no, what do we choose? Barabbas, the notorious prisoner — again and again. Yet by choosing so, we imprison ourselves within bars of our own negativity. A gift given yet we reject it, criticize it, look for the worst in every crevice. Yet this gift-giver doesn’t give up, no, but provides us another chance — His son, His messenger comes to make us aware of our error. This world IS the garden He created, we’ve been in paradise the entire time, yet our perspective has poisoned the perfection that surrounds.

And all that is required of us, is to receive — graciously and with appreciation of course. When we read Matthew we should be shaken-awake by the sight of a light so bright extinguished unceremoniously by mankind’s pessimism. The message Matthew brings is that it’s not too late… Christmas isn’t over yet! We’ve received the greatest gift imaginable and we still have time to enjoy it.

Matthew – Factual Summation 01

Foretold by prophesy, Jesus descended directly from God. Seeing the underlying foundation of this world, he was not tempted by materialistic trappings. He told others of this foundation, relieving their confusion and healing their ailments. He said, the kingdom of heaven is at hand, they need only grasp it. The hopeless and the sad, the weak and the wronged, the caring and the good, the peaceful and the abused — all can experience the heaven they seek — comfort and satisfaction are theirs when they shine their light into the dark world.

But to enter this state, one must excel beyond the ways of mortal justice. Anger, impatience, cruelty, carnality, treachery, blame, vengeance, and intolerance — these are the evils that plague men’s minds, injustices that must be eradicated by those seeking the abode of God. Be warned though, that this perfect path should not be used as a means to impress other men.

Know this: that God already knows what you need — and God provides. By God we are forgiven, thus we must forgive as He does — God’s ways should become our ways.

Whatever you treasure, wherever you focus, that is what defines you. Therefore, put no faith in the physical world, but have faith in God the provider. Whatever nourishment and care you require, trust that God supplies it. Worry, only shows your lack of faith. Seek closeness to God, for by Him all things are given.

This world is not for you to judge and criticize. If by a condemning eye you see the world, then you shall find the negativity you seek. For whatever it is you ask, you’ll get. Knock, and it’ll open! Or do you believe God so inept that He would give less than your heart’s desire? To have others see the good in you, see the good in them.

This is not an effortless path without dangers. Beware those that claim closeness to God yet truly hunger to catch prey by trickery — differentiate them by their results — the wholesome produce what is wholesome, the rotten produce what is rotten. Know those that simply say they are holy, are not so — only those that follow God’s ways enter into his abode.

Let these words be the foundation upon which you build your life and you will weather any storm. Whereas those that fail to act upon these words will lack strength, crumbling under the storm. And so it was that Jesus spoke, having an insight beyond that of mortal men.

By their faith in what he said, many were healed of their afflictions. The diseased, the disabled, those tormented by darkness, and even the recently deceased — it took but a word to heal them all. Jesus regularly demonstrated the immaterial nature of the world — that which exists in the physical, doesn’t have to be — belief makes it so. Even the wind and waves obeyed his command. While others trembled, he calmed the surrounding turbulence.

The religious leaders of the day looked to undermine him and accused Jesus of wrongdoing, but he saw through their wickedness. What Jesus taught was a new way to perceive the world, an outlook where forgiveness and compassion prevail. Jesus was concerned for the people, as they were so lost to the world, and he wanted workers in great numbers to help them all.

But what he had were twelve, twelve disciples he told to travel by faith, relying not on their own considered preparations, but on what God provides along the way. Jesus told them to cast God’s light, healing those in need, those lost within a darkened world. Yet he warned them of the persecution they’d face by predators holding power in this world. But he told them to be fearless against these foes. That although this is truly a battle in which lives will be lost, lives will surely be won. That their service is of the utmost importance, and the reward great for such dedication and faith.

As Jesus spoke, the people as a whole did not listen. Despite the miracles performed, they could not grasp that the goodness of life, heaven itself, was within their reach. And as he predicted, the predators sought ways to convict him and his followers of wrongdoing. Yet he continued to tangle with these religious leaders, debating the supremacy of mercy and compassion over the law, and whether it was he or they with the best intentions.

Jesus explained to his closest followers that heaven is hidden from those that do not seek it, and so he spoke to the crowds with analogies that were difficult to decipher. The goodness of life, God’s kingdom, is entered into by a dedicated faith — a trust in its presence. And those that ignore these directions, give up easily, or succumb to negativity, will never see it. All these types of people exist together, but only those with faith truly see. And truly, the kingdom of God is worth more than anything already owned.

Jesus continued speaking to crowds and healing their sick. And at one point, in a remote location, having only a few loaves and a couple fish to feed them, Jesus blessed the food and all were fed until satisfied. Later on while he was praying near the shore, his boat-bound disciples found themselves tossed about by waves — seeing his form walking on water, they were afraid, yet he reassured them. One even attempted to walk to Jesus, until his faith faltered.

Jesus continued debating the religious leaders about their hypocrisy and how they teach the laws of man as if they come from God. He warned his disciples that those leaders were like blindmen leading blind followers into a pit with their dangerous teachings. Oftentimes Jesus would rebuke his closest followers for their lack of faith and inability to understand what he meant by his words.

Jesus then warned his disciples that he would soon suffer at the hands of the religious hierarchy — and if they continued following, they too would suffer. But if they continue, great will be their reward. Soon after, Jesus took a few followers up a mountain where he glowed like the sun before them. God himself spoke and confirmed that He is pleased with His son.

A man with an unwell son came before Jesus and said he first went to the disciples but they were unable to cure the illness. Jesus rebuked the entire generation for their unbelief and proceeded to cure the boy. He told his disciples that they were unable to offer a cure because their faith was so minuscule, yet if they had but a little bit more they could move mountains — nothing would be impossible.

At one time when Jesus was asked to pay a particular tax, he told his disciple to go and catch a fish — within its mouth was found the necessary payment.

Jesus spoke with his disciples about the supremacy of children, about attempting to win over those that sin, and forgiving those that sin against you. He told them of the difficulty in seeing God’s kingdom for those so heavily invested in earthly treasures. He also debated religious leaders about divorce, proclaiming a couple that joins together becomes one flesh through God and should not be separated by man.

Jesus warns that those seeking power and position in the kingdom of heaven come in last, whereas those that serve others come in first. And as Jesus went on his journey to Jerusalem, he healed two blind men with only a touch. Once there, he flipped tables and cleared the temple of those using the house of worship as a means to make a profit. And upon returning to the city the next day, a hungry Jesus permanently withered a tree for its lack of fruit and told his disciples that such powers are possible through faith, and that those lacking doubt have the power to cast even mountains into the sea. With belief, all things asked for are received.

In the temple, Jesus debated the religious leaders that challenged him. They tried to trick him into admitting fault but he saw through their wickedness — and with analogies, he rebuked them for their poor stewardship over the people. He told them their preeminence over others is coming to an end. When asked which was the greatest commandment, Jesus said it is to love God completely — and the second greatest is to love your neighbor — these form the foundation of God’s law.

Jesus then told the crowds that those leaders were nothing but hypocrites that held their positions for the esteem given them by men. He told the crowds not to seek status and titles, placing themselves above other men — you are all brothers and there is but one father, teacher, and leader above all. The greatest among you is he who humbles himself and serves others.

Jesus says the religious leaders prevent the people from entering into the kingdom of heaven, nor do they go in themselves. He calls them blind fools that care more about the superficial aspects of religion rather than the deeper meaning. They appear well kept on the outside but inwardly are full of uncleanliness. They willingly persecute and even murder God’s messengers.

Jesus then went out and spoke with his disciples warning them not to be misled, but hang-on till the end despite the suffering they may endure. He said they should remain alert for his return, ever faithful. They must do good with what they’ve already been given and by their stewardship they’ll be given even more. For when you care for and comfort those in need, you care for me. Yet woe to him that cares not for those in need.

As the religious leaders plotted to kill Jesus, he warned his followers of his impending crucifixion. One follower went to the religious leaders and offered to betray Jesus if they would pay him. During his last supper, Jesus made mention of this betrayal. Afterwards, he became troubled while awaiting the appointed hour. Eventually his betrayer came with an armed group ready to seize Jesus who offered no resistance because he knew what had to be done.

Jesus was brought before the religious leaders and asked whether he was the Christ, son of God. When he answered, they convicted him for blasphemy. And as Jesus had earlier predicted, one of his disciples denied even knowing Jesus when he was asked by a bystander.

Jesus was bound and delivered to the civil authority. The disciple that betrayed Jesus felt remorse and returned the money he was paid and hanged himself. Due to a tradition, the crowds were given the choice to release Jesus or a known criminal — the crowd chose to crucify Jesus. Prior to crucifixion, Jesus was whipped and mocked by the soldiers.

While hanging, those that passed-by mocked and insulted Jesus. Even those hanging next to him hurled insults. Eventually, after hours past, Jesus let go. A wealthy follower of Jesus came and asked for the body and had it placed within a rocky tomb. Because Jesus had said he’d rise again after three days, the religious leaders demanded a guard be placed upon the tomb so that disciples couldn’t steal the body and claim it had risen.

On the third day an angel came and removed the rock from the tomb and frightened the soldiers. The soldiers were paid hush money by the religious leaders to claim that disciples actually stole the body while the soldiers slept. But in truth, Jesus had returned just as he said and appeared before the remaining disciples. He tasked them with making disciples of all nations and said he’d be with them always.

Choosing Density

There are two primary competing theories of existence: physical versus ethereal.

In one theory, humans are fragile creatures struggling for survival within a chance-based physical reality. The things we see and touch are real — our senses regularly revealing reality to us as we explore through the ever-expanding fog-of-war. But watch out! Who knows what monsters lie within the darkness! Lucky is he that makes his way through the danger. And lucky is he that finds worthy companions amidst such happenstance. And lucky is he that dies a death quick, sans suffering.

In the other theory, humans are but characters within a grand spectacle of light and sound, creations of a creator that designs for the amusement of an eternal audience. Narratives abound as players interact and follow-through their varied stories. Oh monsters do exist, but only for those that summon them. Every possible dramatic element is included as storylines play out in parallel. What we see is created as we think it — the root of reality is within, and projects outwardly.

In one, reality is outside ourselves, our imagination mere fiction — whereas in the other, reality is on the inside, only illusion exists beyond the realm of thought. Choose! In choosing the concrete sets — or dissipates into dreams.

Perspective and Focus

When we take the spiritual path, what are we actually doing? I’d say the spiritual path is the process of refining our perspective and focus. The perspective we need to develop is one that presents life as benevolent and without limitations. The focus we need to develop is actually an unfocusing, no longer zooming-in on particular aspects, but allowing life’s scenes to pass through unmolested by our otherwise grabby mind.

For those of us that start with the perspective that we’re fragile creatures struggling for survival within a chance-based physical reality, the idea of a limitless and benevolent world is quite the leap. It’s tough, but I was able to get there through the idea of simulation-theory, by believing that the world is simply a computer-simulation created for the enjoyment of its players. Once I got that down, it served as the inroad I needed to allow me to understand other aspects and viewpoints of spirituality.

It turns out, all this stuff was written down! But of course the material is impenetrable to a mind unwilling to receive it. For instance, the Bible and the Bhagavad Gita started making a whole lot more sense to me, Christian Science too, plus I’d hear preachers on TV and I could finally get what they were saying, and all that Secret and Law of Attraction material was no longer nonsensical. Here was a whole perspective I previously thought was proliferated by the mentally insane — what were these people talking about?! — I just couldn’t see it, my focus was too narrow.

And that’s the other part I needed to work on, my intense focus. All I could perceive or believe was whatever was right in front of my face — which obviously adds up to a very limited worldview. It’s downright claustrophobic. And from that tight little spot I could only criticize, picking out every problem I saw — life was a miserable affair. Whereas when we zoom-out, seeing the grand spectacle of existence with all its coordinating lights and sounds, we’re able to appreciate the cavalcade of characters and circumstances passing by.

It must be noted that we are affected by a persistent cloud of confusion, meaning this stuff has to be practiced and drilled, otherwise we remain lost in the everyday ongoings of the world. That’s why spirituality is a path, not a one-time revelation. For a game to be captivating, players require a gradually revealing fog-of-war or else they’re able to see everything at once — and where’s the fun in that? But for those of us completely lost in the fog, yelling for help, our voice is heard — that’s where the Admin comes in and we find ourselves heading towards the light.

Spirituality To-Do, Item 2

Putting the Bhagavad Gita into practice.

I must infuse this artist’s eternal all-pervading essence into my thoughts.

Besides snips and snails and puppy-dogs’ tails, what am I made of? Flesh and blood? Meh. A mechanical explanation of reality seems a bit too limiting to adequately explain what’s going here. Although for many years I assumed myself such, I no longer think I’m mere mechanized meat. I’m not even sure my human form is anything but flickering pixels.

And if I’m just an illusion, then this world is too perhaps. But it’s not a random jumble of pixels flickering on an off, it’s a grand spectacle of coordinated light — a show so dazzling that we can’t take our attention off it. Yet who’s the programmer that produced this wondrous extravaganza. If ever there’s someone to be grateful for, it’s that guy. Amazing work buddy!

Yet how unappreciative I’ve been, never acknowledging his handiwork in everything I experience. Just look at all the characters, the cast is huge! From strangers to close companions, their narratives put on quite a show. Then there’s the breathtaking high-definition scenery — um, amazing! And what about my own story? I have to admit I’ve been about the worst audience member I could be, constantly complaining as the story unfolds — but despite all that, I wasn’t even thrown out for my disrespect, life has been persistently carrying me along without much effort on my part. The producer is apparently very patient and forgiving.

It would do me well to infuse appreciation into everything I experience. When I find myself within a particular circumstance, I should see the scenery as the artist’s craftsmanship and the drama as part of a grand narrative skillfully written to include me. When I find myself faced with a dilemma, I should see it as an interesting challenge made just for me. When I have an idea, I should know it to be inspiration direct from the artist. To be truly appreciative, I should relate all things to their underlying creator.

Perhaps many of the problems in life are just engaging obstacles whose job is to provide entertaining resistance upon my path. And perhaps the other so-called problems are just flawed-thinking on my part, self-imposed obstacles readily removed by a spiritual perspective. Through my pessimism, I’ve often wished for the worst, yet thankfully this fulfillment-generator called life regularly denys my requests.

I must accept the artist’s benevolence and presence within all people, places, and things — including myself. What’s there to be afraid of? Everything is the sustainer-of-life himself. The borders between are simply variations in pixel color created for dramatic effect — it’s really a unified whole, art created by the artist. And so that I may render my utmost appreciation and wholly participate in this interactive experience, I infuse this artist’s eternal all-pervading essence into my thoughts.