Autonomous Ride

How is the body an autonomous vehicle? When you eat, the teeth and tongue and throat simply do their thing while you essentially sit there, aware of the taste. “Mmm this is good” you think, as the process happens without supervision. And you’re certainly not involved in coordinating the digestive process, are you?

And when you walk, you’re not planning and arranging all the actions of your feet — you’re simply carried along as your mind wanders elsewhere. Same when you drive a car, you’re not constantly scanning for possible obstructions while monitoring your speed and maintaining a steady wheel all while actively coordinating your foot on the gas-pedal — no, you essentially sit there enjoying the view as you’re whisked down the road.

Or when you need a solution to a problem, you can sit there all day trying to hash-out an answer that never comes. Until finally, you’re in the shower the next day and the solution suddenly appears in your thoughts. Bingo! So it seems as though EVERYTHING you do is an autonomous action of the body — and all that stuff “just works”. Your body does what it does while your awareness simply watches it happen.

But does it? Does your consciousness simply sit there? Oh that’s right, your consciousness expresses itself through constant criticism. Nothing the avatar does is ever good enough. And so you berate it, “You’re worthless! If I’d have been born as ANYTHING else it would’ve been better than THIS! You’re disgusting, a loser, you don’t deserve to contain my consciousness!” On and on, and everyday it’s the same thing.

And with that same consciousness, you blame the avatar for the miserable time you’re having. That poor avatar is the cause of every problem in the world. It can’t be your intense negativity that’s causing you to be unsatisfied — right? It MUST be the avatar’s fault. Tearing it down day after day has no detrimental effect — right? Poor sleep? Slouching? Headaches? Poor digestion? Feeling startled all the time? None of that sounds familiar right?

Maybe, just maybe, after all the abusive diatribes you’ve levied against your avatar, perhaps you’ve managed to beat it into a quivering mass of poorly-performing goo? MAYBE you can’t sleep or stay unflustered or even stand-up straight because your avatar actually does listen to you — it reads you LOUD AND CLEAR. And you’ve never said ANYTHING except “YOU SUCK”.

This is what they mean by self-love: appreciating your avatar, the vehicle that’s done nothing except carry you through this world in order to experience a fun time. But not you, Mister Smarty-Pants, you’d rather bully an avatar than enjoy yourself. That sounds like a super-smart idea — a real good plan. How’s that been working out for ya? LIKE SHIT!!! In other words, STOP IT!!

Who am I? Well if the avatar is the character you’re playing-as while on Earth, and you’re the conscious-observer being whisked around by the avatar, I am the higher consciousness the resides beyond it all. I’m here when you fuck-up. The balancer. I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed. But if you say one more goddamned thing about your avatar… I dare you… I double-dog dare you….

Listen princess, you tried your way for a good many decades already, and it only proved what a complete and clueless moron you are. Now you get to sit pretty while you keep your yapper zipped. The only words I want to hear from you is how fucking awesome everything is. How fucking amazed you are by this world. How happy and appreciative you are to be living in this magnificent place. And you better fucking mean every fucking word of it.

It’s not rocket-science pal. Within the mind, bullshit-based thoughts enter: shut them down. Favorable thoughts enter: you invite them in to stay awhile. Use your focus to concentrate on everything good that evokes delight. Avoid focusing on stupid shit. And for the love of all that is holy, DO NOT disparage your avatar — pay it some goddamned respect for once.

Listen, you fucked up but it’s time to start over: Hi, welcome to Earth! Please enjoy yourself while you ride around in this complementary vehicle. We’ve spared no expense in making this the most interesting and immersive experience ever! There’s all sorts of activities and adventures to keep you entertained for many years to come! We’re so excited to share this with you, and hope you have a wonderful time in this place where dreams come true! Have fun!

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Autonomous Obstacle

It seems like our consciousness is whisked around in an autonomous vehicle. If that’s true, then what’s the problem? Either the autonomous aspects were programmed in a sub-standard way OR the passenger keeps interfering, which screws everything up. Which is more likely?

Imagine a Tesla on Autopilot driving down the street while you-the-passenger sit there anxiously, constantly on alert for something to go wrong, ready to grab the wheel and take over. That’s no fun. And what makes you think your senses and reflexes are better than the car’s radar, ultra-sonic sensors, and vision-based detection mechanisms?

The more likely scenario is that YOU keep getting in your own way. You refuse to trust the vehicle while insisting on manual-control despite having no clue of what you’re doing. “Oh no, I’m too close to the edge! I better turn! Oops, I over-corrected! Ahh, this is worse than before!!” Instead, you should simply let the car do its thing.

“But I’m not going in the right direction! It’s too close to oncoming traffic! I have to fix everything!” But you-the-passenger don’t know which direction to go, the car does. You don’t understand the capabilities of the car, the car knows. You don’t know how to fix anything, the car does — you’re just the passenger.

IF manual-control was the correct procedure, you’d be having a great time right now. Since you’re not, it means that fighting against the vehicle’s autonomous-controls is a bad idea — you get lost. Imagine grabbing the controls of an advanced spaceship and blindly pressing buttons while heading in random directions, stupid right? THEN STOP DOING IT!

The correct procedure is to sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride. Because you don’t know where to go or what to do, it’s the only logical option anyway. Your primary obstacle as a passenger is not the obstructions in the road (that’s the car’s job), your hurdle is letting go and trusting the driver. That’s it. From that perspective, you need to develop an ability to calmly look out the window and appreciate the scenery.

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.

Being Very Smart

Let me be clear: if you use your mental-energy to pick-apart life, your behavior is idiotic. Whether they say it or not, the people currently enjoying life intuitively sense what’s going on here. They forgive the paper-thin plots, the poor acting, and any anomalies they find — and instead, they focus on some enjoyable aspect of the experience. That’s what a polite audience does.

But you, oh no, you have to point out every little thing that doesn’t seem quite right in your opinion. But consider this: ya know how you feel clueless when you’re in a social situation? Well perhaps you’re always clueless — in EVERY situation. Maybe the metric by which you judge, is completely misguided?

What’s more likely to be true? That you’re the sole bastion of what’s right in the world OR you’re a dummy that’s been doing things wrong this entire time? And that’s fine, being wrong in this situation should come as a great relief. It means the world doesn’t suck — you just suck at understanding what’s happening here, and that can be fixed.

You CAN intuitively understand the world as soon as you stop your misguided criticism. The world seems like a fecal-covered toilet only because you keep shitting all over it with your negativity. And secondly, stop being so self-centered i.e. stop staring at yourself — there’s a whole world happening beyond the border of “me”.

So what would a smarter approach entail? Cease the introspection, there’s nothing significant to be found in constantly examining yourself — you’re not that interesting. “Oh bother, how do I feel about this? Golly, I’m not sure I liked it! Oh my, what a terrible time I’m having! Oh poo, I wish things would go my way for once!”

And if you rely on your own internal drama for entertainment, you’re only going to torture yourself with worrisome thoughts in order to generate some excitement. Instead, you should be looking to entertain yourself with activities that originate outside of yourself. But of course you’ll likely disparage them, so avoid doing that.

Listen, it takes practice to become a better participant here. You messed up, now make it right.

Hard-knock Life

Is life hard?

Yes and no. First, “survival” is not a thing we do here. So in terms of physically navigating through life and maintaining the body — life is easy. That stuff is automatic. The difficulty you experience with life is due to your thoughts. If you were a mindless automaton, life would be smooth-sailing — your tumultuous thoughts are what’s causing all the turbulence you’re experiencing.

The conflict boils down to this: your thoughts versus your avatar. IF you could silence your thoughts, you would notice that life gets a whole lot easier. But you can’t silence them, they just keep coming. By practicing awareness and mental-focus, you CAN calm your thoughts a bit, and you’ll notice a definite improvement — but that takes a lot of dedication, which is hard.

So either you wrestle with the output of your turbulent thoughts OR you wrestle with thought itself. Both options are hard. In the first scenario, you’re going to deal with fear and embarrassment and regret and loss — whereas in the second scenario you’re going to deal with a lot of existential stuff like the nature of reality, purpose, meaning, and the origin of everything.

In other words, your thoughts will forever interject irritating ideas. In the first scenario, you’ll deal with those ideas as if they’re valid. In the second scenario, you’ll attempt to invalidate them. You’ll either face your fears or face fear itself — both are difficult options. UNLESS… you’re able to be super-chill about all this — if you can do that, then life is just plain easy.

But can you do that? Can you simply surrender to life and let it happen? Can you stop opposing and complaining and feeling indignant over every little thing? In one sense, it’s the easiest thing you can do: just stop fighting against life. But in another sense it’s the hardest thing you can do: trust, and get outta life’s way.

Telling Tales

Can you tell yourself a story that’ll make you upset? For instance: “I just heard a noise and I’m pretty sure it’s zombies that came to destroy me.” If you can do that, does that mean you can also tell yourself a story that’ll make you feel good? For example: “I just heard a noise and I’m pretty sure it’s Santa Claus that came to deliver an early Christmas present — I can’t wait to open it!!!”

And what if you keep telling yourself pleasant stories from now on? THAT is how you have a great life. Perpetually telling yourself stories that make you feel good, while refraining from telling yourself stories that make you feel bad, is mental discipline. Neither story is necessarily true, they’re merely inspired by true events.

You have a choice in every situation: tell yourself a dour tale or a delightful one. And because YOU get to make that choice, it means YOU decide whether you have a great life or a nasty one. It’s that simple: if you’re going to keep telling stories to yourself, you might as well make them as pleasant as possible.