Surprise Party

I keep hearing this message: if you practice appreciation, things get substantially better. In other words, when you actively look for the good in your circumstances, and you’re thankful for what you find, then good stuff will keep coming your way.

It’s as if you’re telling life “hey I like all this good stuff, thanks a lot, can I please have some more?”. Otherwise, if you maintain a pessimistic, complaint-filled attitude, you’re essentially telling life “hey, everything you provide for me sucks, please stop sending me stuff or I’ll keep complaining — leave me the f*ck alone!” And life-the-fulfillment-generator, ever wanting to please, does exactly as you ask.

Oh and life doesn’t go for that “do as I say, not as I do” bullsh*t. If you superficially ask for something awesome, and then think negative-thoughts the whole rest of the day, then those vain wishes won’t register with life. You gotta walk-the-walk. If you want awesome stuff, then you have to display that desire to life in the form of constant appreciation.

One important aspect of displaying appreciation, is to stop focusing on yourself. For example, if Jen throws you a surprise party, does Jen want to hear about how scared you were when she jumped out? Does Jen want to hear you criticize her choice of decorations? Does Jen want to hear about how much the cake doesn’t quite suit your tastes? NO! Of course not! Jen wants to hear a sincere “Wow, thank you Jen! This was amazing!”.

If you can’t praise the item itself, praise the effort and generosity behind it. “But Rich! I can’t find anything good in my life! Everything sucks!” Then you’re not trying hard enough. You’re being lazy. And now, the onus is on you — life doesn’t suck, you suck for being such a self-centered, whining brat. Life provides a veritable playground-of-adventure, and all you can do is nitpick. Sheesh.

And if you want to personify the creative-force-underlying-life as God, then go right ahead: God the creator, by your benevolent generosity, you’ve provided a garden for me to play within. It’s amazing, I love it! The complete immersion I feel here is incredible, I so often believe myself to be an embodied being — full of emotions and all kinds of sensations. Everyday you provide interesting circumstances with which to engage my attention. I’m absolutely amazed by the spectacle before me, the narratives go this way and that — I’m always surprised! For this gift you have given me, I in return give you my ever-present gratitude. I am honored to be here experiencing existence — thank you.

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Real or NPC

Being that I believe in Simulation Theory, I tend to evaluate people on the basis of whether they’re actual players or merely NPCs (non-player characters). I was thinking about designing an evaluation to determine who’s who — like a Turing Test. But of course it relies on the assumption that other players share my perspective — it’s possible that other players relate to the game in a vastly different manner than I do. But I suppose it’s also possible that I’m not really a player, but a confused NPC.

From my perspective at least, I tend to judge people as actual players if they exhibit the following behaviors.

They demonstrate an appreciation for the absurdity of their humanness. In other words, “wow existence is weird huh?”

They demonstrate a well-functioning sense of humor. Being a human that poots and poops is a silly thing. Because we’re not natively so, being a human is an awkward experience that’s inherently funny.

They demonstrate an inability in dealing with humanness, i.e. they’re not an automaton effortlessly performing an assigned role. In other words, they don’t mechanically adhere to pre-fabricated societal roles. They’re confused or frustrated at times by the concept of existing — they may have an existential crisis for instance.

They try to figure out who they are and what their character is capable of. They engage in introspection and wonder about themselves.

Well those are just a few quick ideas. Again, I can obviously pass this test because it’s designed around me. But perhaps other players have a different way of experiencing the game. So, it’s not a sure thing. It’s also possible that we’re all players, and some of us just have a shallow gameplay style.

In other words, some people aren’t providing their full attention, their character is on auto-pilot most of the time. Whereas in a lot of video-games I’ll turn the “assists” and “auto-pilot” modes off and try to do everything manually. It could be the case with this world too, where I’m attempting to manually control my character without relying on too much assistance (or I just suck at this game even with the helper settings turned on).

Anxious Dialog

The great thing about anxiety, is that you only have to defeat the concept itself, not the actual things you’re worried about. And being that anxiety is merely an abstract idea, there’s nothing to be afraid of.

(Note: Please excuse the language, I’m heavily influenced by the shows and movies I watch.)

Anxiety: Heya Rich, so what we gonna worry ’bout today?
Rich: F*ck you b*tch. You outta my life now.
Anxiety: Aw come on baby, lemme get ya heart-rate goin’ with a little fright.
Rich: I said leave me the F*CK alone.
Anxiety: You think you can get ridda me that easy hon? Ain’t no thang to scare little ol’ you. BOO!
Rich: [stare intensifies]
Anxiety: Did you hear that!? I think I heard something!
Rich: [stillness]
Anxiety: I thought we was friends, now you gonna play me like this?
Rich: You ain’t never been mah frien’. Always teasin’ never helpin’.
Anxiety: I did that for YOU! You the lazy summab*tch that sought me out, just a trick addin thrills to yo’ borin-ass life.
Rich: Well I ain’t need you no mo’.
Anxiety: You jus’ gonna abandon me that easy? Why you treat me so cold!?
Rich: ‘Cause I can! Now get the f*ck outta here, you ain’t sh*t to me.
Anxiety: Baby, you ‘n me was so good together, don’t give that up!
Rich: Already done.
Anxiety: Who is it!!? Who you replacin’ me with!?
Rich: Naw ain’t like that. Imma just be me now.
Anxiety: I won’t let you go that easy!!
Rich: You jus vapor, ain’t nothin real ’bout you.
Anxiety: If I’m nothin why you talkin ta me?
Rich: I’m talkin’ to me. And this conversation is over.

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.

Loser Baby

I’m a short guy with messed-up teeth and poor-posture dressed in clothes that don’t fit right. I wear hats in the sun. I often relate to the people being made fun of in “iAmVerySmart”, “im14andThisIsDeep”, and “justNeckBeardThings”. I used to own a ninja sword and nunchucks. I can count the number of friends I have on one finger. I’ve lived in a trailer park for the past six years with no job, just doing my own thing. Oh and let’s not forget that I’ve written a blog, this blog in fact, for six years and each post receives anywhere from zero to six likes on average. A couple posts received twelve likes in a single day — so I got that goin’ for me, which is nice.

WHAT??? But Rich!!! You’re… You’re… wait… you’re a loser..? Well in my last post, I noticed that I tend to seek out loserdom. Apparently I don’t want to win, and when I do, I get bored and look for something new to lose at. I guess losing is very captivating to me. But Rich, you’re my idol!! You can’t be… a… a… loser!!??

Well, you’re right. By almost every metric, I’m a loser — but the thing is, I don’t see myself as a loser. In my mind, I’m the smartest guy on the planet, I’m tough, super-strong, and ruggedly handsome. Of course I realize that my unwarranted overconfidence only makes me more of a loser — but that irony just doesn’t register with me. And lest you forget, this is Trump’s America now, the place where unwarranted overconfidence wins.

So don’t feel bad for me, losing just happens to be my particular brand of fuel, the magnet that draws me through life. We all have a magnet of some sort. Some people have daddy-issues or other emotional voids to fill. Some have a need to succeed in order to prove their worth to a parent they could never please. Some have an obsession with personal appearance, allowing it to rule their life. We all have weaknesses that draw us along — that’s how narratives work.

For me, it’s losing. It’s a perpetual-motion machine. Put me in a losing situation and I simply won’t accept it. “I’m a winner, f*ck you!” It’s a persistence that shows up unasked for, it’s simply the mechanism that makes my character move. Even if it takes everyone else quitting, and me being the only person left in the race, that’s fine — I win. In many situations I win through sheer inertia — I just won’t leave until I win. And when I finally do, it’s time for something new.

The actual games we play in life don’t matter. All life cares about is whether we’re captivated. I can’t stop thinking I’m a winner — consequently life places me in situations where I’m not a winner — but that doesn’t sit right in my mind, it excites me, causing me to react every time. I’m fine with that, it’s the role I’m playing this round. And who knows, maybe one day I’ll learn to enjoy success and enter into some sort of mastery stage. I honestly feel like I’m headed in that direction — stay tuned.

“But the thing is, I don’t see myself as a loser. It’s simply the fuel, the magnet that draws me through life.” — me

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).

Mother Earth

If you’re gonna have a relationship with God, you’re gonna need a way to relate to God, and most likely a way of envisioning God. I didn’t grow up with religion, so I don’t really have much of a preconceived religious-style image of God. I did watch a lot of TV and movies though. As a kid in the 80s, I used to see God portrayed by George Burns in the “Oh, God!” movies. But that’s not really my style, I’d rather picture something that aligns with my particular tastes.

I think I’d relate better to a gentle and caring motherly type. So to me, God is a mom that gave birth to the world — and the world is full of her children all running amok. She cares for them like a garden since she has so many to tend to. All the little sprouts have to deal with weeds and pests until she makes her rounds. We’re to grow independently within the garden, just as any plant would.

We mustn’t get too full of ourselves though, believing ourself a gardener, lest we get cast out. The good little plant maintains itself within the provided spot. And mamma nudges and cajoles when a plant grows off course. Some plants will fight their constraints and feel the strain of the support-stick propping them up. Sometimes a seed gets planted in the wrong place, and that’s fine, she knows this and loves her plants all the same. Hybrids are fine too.

Really, she just gardens for the sake of it. There’s no purpose behind it besides the joy of seeing little-ones grow and blossom. For example, I’ve seen life through a child’s eyes, the excitement and joy over simple things, it really can be a source of great amusement for the parent. She adores her garden and tenderly cares for it as a whole, as well as each little sprout. She enjoys the variety of sizes, scents, and colors.

I grew up with siblings, so I can relate to the fact that I often have to wait for attention — and that’s true with God too. But that’s a good thing, it gives the little plants time to try and work things out on their own. No one likes the pressure of constant attention. Plants grow better when left alone from time to time. But if she sees us struggling, she won’t hesitate to help, we just have to willingly accept it — we can be stubborn little sprouts.

Our bodies, firmly rooted in this world, bloom and grow under the devoted effort of God our gardener. But we are not just plants of course, for within us is the seed of God herself, forming a concurrent root system that reaches deeper than dirt, into a realm beyond earth. And from our seat of consciousness we watch and delight in all the ongoings of the garden — tiny sprouts aware of their own growth.