Why Is It So

Why’s life so hard?

Because if it wasn’t, you wouldn’t care. It’s as simple as that. At what point do you most appreciate something? When you’re about to lose it.

Why’s such a stupid condition true?

It is and it isn’t. If you can muster the discipline to appreciate something in your hand when you have no fear of loss, then such a condition isn’t true. Only when you fail to appreciate what you have is it true.

Why’s it so easy to be an undisciplined fool that can’t recognize the value of what’s at hand?

Is it easy? It actually sounds like a very difficult condition to live with. If you’ve ever appreciated anything at anytime, then you have the power within you to appreciate what you have right now. Shift your focus away from things you don’t prefer and onto things you value. That sounds a lot easier than staring at unpleasant things all day long.

Why’s it so hard to remain focused on pleasant things?

Perhaps you have a penchant for bitterness. When you see something you don’t like, a surge of energy rushes through you, the outrage is electrifying.

Why’s such a terrible condition true?

Have you ever tried to appreciate the energizing aspect of unpleasant things? Imagine it, you’re surrounded by an infinite supply of energy in the form of nastiness. You’re so repulsed by the contents of this world, you could glow like the sun if properly harnessed. Energy is often the byproduct of incineration, perhaps you could embrace the process.

Why’s it seem like you’re leading me to the dark-side of the force?

It was merely a suggestion. But you’re right, just as junk-food is a low-quality source of calories, so too is outrage a low-quality source of energy. Ideally, you should seek to find something that inspires, not enrages.

Why’s it so hard to find that vitalizing path through life?

Is it hard, or do you simply stop yourself, too anxious to proceed on a path that requires trust? Your suspiciousness of life and its motive keeps you locked away.

Why’s it so easy to mistrust?

Again, that sounds like a difficult way to live. Constant anxiety about what’s going to happen next? Feeling weak and powerless, a perpetual victim of life’s whims? When all you really have to do is let go. Life has been carrying you along this entire time — imagine how much easier it will be once you stop struggling against the current.

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Aware Avatar

An avatar is born into this world, it’s a part of it, perfectly formed to fit like a puzzle-piece. The piece is unique, containing attributes that allow it to fit within one particular spot. And like a puzzle, a greater picture is revealed when all the pieces assemble together. But what use is a creative process, especially the final product, when no one is around to appreciate it? And so consciousness comes in to observe the events taking place — from beginning to end, a watcher-within witnesses the existence of the avatar.

But this merging procedure can be a bumpy one. At around four years of age, a child goes from pure-automaton to an avatar with a passenger. This passenger, this observer, is oftentimes shaken by his sudden awareness of humanness. He imagines himself as a creature existing within a turbulent world in which he must struggle to survive. He believes that HE is the human. But not being of this world, he’s frightened beyond belief. How can he survive!? He knows absolutely nothing about this place!

If the merger had went well, the consciousness would’ve simply observed the life of the avatar, the character he’s assigned to watch. The avatar knows exactly what to do in this world. But instead, the consciousness mistakenly believes himself to be the human and is scrambling to get a foothold. The avatar simply wants to live out his life, but the observer shuts everything down, too afraid to act while busily fighting against the avatar’s inclination to participate in an active life.

Everyday, the consciousness forbids the avatar from acting. “Are you nuts! I can’t go out there! It’s dangerous!” And so the avatar is hidden away, restricted from fitting into the puzzle he so desperately wants to be a part of. Eventually the avatar gives up. From this perspective, depression is the avatar’s protest against the observer-within. The consciousness is forced to stop and think, forced to consider what’s really going on here.

But oftentimes, the observer doesn’t quite get it and returns to his old habits as soon as possible. The lesson he SHOULD learn, is that the avatar is an autonomous vehicle that’s fully-capable of proceeding through life — all while showing the consciousness a good time. If he’d simply observe, the watcher-within would be whisked around as a spectator to the character’s story. If he’d stop believing that HE is the human, things would go a lot smoother.

And so the two must reconcile, otherwise they remain at odds — a cantankerous pair in constant combat, each with an ability to damage the other. The two reach a harmonic bond when the consciousness realizes his place: to be an appreciative audience to the avatar’s existence, always encouraging the avatar as it travels through a series of entertaining experiences. Under his control, life was boring and unimaginative — but now with the avatar as captain, the consciousness finally enjoys himself as a grand narrative unfolds.

Programmed Autonomy

I’ve been obsessed by automation lately. I’ve had two dreams about riding in a Tesla on Autopilot. I fantasize about owning a Spot robot from Boston Dynamics and taking him out for walks. I’ve been browsing programmable robotic arms, robot parts, and lidar systems. I even got back into programming as a hobby, making little simulations of self-driving cars and autonomous-ants finding food — nothing fancy, just rectangles on the screen doing their own thing.

Ideally, I’d like to get some actual robots and program them to do stuff. The idea of having a small commercial-quality robotic arm to program seems like a fun hobby. I went so far as to order a Windows-based laptop recently, in-case I need to interface with some electronic-components. It hasn’t arrived yet, but I think it’s been about a decade since I used one. I’ve been exclusively using an iPad Pro for the past few years. I happened to mention a laptop to my mom and she offered to get me one, so that was that.

Until robot-parts magically fall into my lap, I’ll probably be using the PC for more hobby-level programming projects. I have the software lined up and I’m itching to go. Who knew it would take over a week for the laptop to arrive!? Excuse me, I thought this was 2019! I ordered from Dell because it’s all I know — I used to configure PCs and order from them in the late-90s/early-2000s. For this build, I wanted a solid-state hard-drive and a dedicated graphics-card. I can’t believe they still sell spinning hard-drives.

Oh and just to mention, I’ve been using Codea on my iPad for programming. It’s a neat app that allows you to program with the Lua language to create on-screen interacting sprites — it even includes a basic physics-engine for motion and collisions and gravity and such. It’s not really a beginner’s app, so you kinda have to know what you’re doing. And for the PC, I’ve been looking at Godot, which seems like a super-charged version of that. I’ll also take a look at Visual Studio and C# to see what’s new there as well.

But that’s not the point. The point is this: what interests me, is attempting to program something to navigate its world autonomously i.e. based solely on the initial instructions I provide. Basically, wind it up and let it go. Then, I observe it interacting with its world, evaluating how well I did with the programming. That takes me to my larger point: if I was an infinite-being, I would probably do something similar i.e. create a character and let it go within a world while observing and evaluating how well I did with the initial programming.

I’d see him attempting to navigate a path through life, interacting with others, and even just walking through the world using his body. And perhaps I’d see where I made mistakes and try to correct them for the next time around. Maybe some parameters were tweaked a bit too high, some too low. Perhaps my buddy sent her character in too and they linked-up for some squad-play — who knows. But I must admit that I’m not impressed with how my character’s performing — hopefully some hot-fixes can boost his abilities.

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.

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!