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.


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).

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.

Life is Suffering

“Life is suffering” is a fundamental misunderstanding of existence. I think there’s a truer statement: life is captivating. And to be captivating, life is oftentimes hard. Furthermore, if everything is mere flickering pixels, there’s no actual body that suffers, it’s only ever a suggestion of pain — and we the consciousness can choose to accept or reject that suggestion.

For me, an engaging video-game is one that stretches my limits and beats me down. I lose often. It’s a drive to resist this subjugation that pushes me to play again and again despite my seemingly futile attempts. But then, for no good reason, or perhaps the game literally tires of my persistence, I start winning. All that anticipation finally pays off in a feeling of glorious triumph. Sweet relief comes as I finally conquer my foe. But that only means it’s time to find a new game.

Life knows what pushes my buttons and so, pushes them. As players we should expect nothing less. Of course not everyone has the same pattern of pushes — some are satisfied with the simple life, I’m a glutton for feeling like a loser, and some are downright freaks that bathe in blood and gore. Whatever it is, life will find a way to captivate us all.

Of course that can seem overwhelming. It IS overwhelming. It’s nuts — life is the ultimate video-game, reading our thoughts and customizing itself in a way that tantalizes us to our core, turning up the intensity until we literally think we’re part of it. You gotta admit, that’s pretty cool.

Life is SO overwhelmingly intense in fact, that even if you realize it’s only a game, you’ll STILL get lost to it. You’ll think, “Haha I got this! Whee! So fun!” — but all that goes out the window in the next roller-coaster drop. “OH SH*T!! WHAT THE F*CK WAS THAT!!??”. That’s life baby, and it’s got your attention — and you wouldn’t have it any other way.

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).

Falling Trees

“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

I was recently in Minecraft playing around with a homemade TNT cannon. It was such an effective cannon in fact, that the TNT “cannon ball” shot out of view. When I traveled over to inspect, there was no damage. Yet when I chased after the cannon-ball and actually observed its flight, there WAS damage done to the landscape. In other words, a tree is NOT destroyed if no one is around to observe it — in Minecraft at least.

I just completed some additional testing. Even if you have a solid line of redstone-dust coupled with redstone-repeaters going all the way to a distant block of TNT, it will NOT ignite when switched on UNLESS you travel over to the TNT and actually observe it. In fact, you can cycle the switch on and off, and as long as you leave it in the OFF position prior to observing, there will be no explosion.

Obviously Minecraft doesn’t bother rendering something until someone is there to observe it — which makes sense. It’s a more efficient use of resources. In other words, Minecraft adheres to the “Biocentric Universe” model in which the observer is actively creating the world he experiences — through exploration, the world renders in whichever path he travels. Stay still, and the world stays still — explore and new things are created as needed.

Therefore, if this world is a simulation, who’s to say the same thing doesn’t happen here. Perhaps situations and circumstances wouldn’t occur if we’re not there to witness them. Importantly then: whichever path we walk is the one that forms. What ideas are we focusing on, which details are we examining, what route are we on — we better be a bit more selective or else those avenues will form before our very eyes.

Does a negative interpretation of life actually result in an existence filled with negative circumstances? Does an interest in the worst aspects of life literally bring more of the same? And likewise, does a positive and hopeful attitude bring good things to pass? Does focusing on the best-of-life bring more of it? This line-of-thought helped to cure my anxiety by the way — I don’t dare think about worrisome or pessimistic thoughts anymore for fear of them coming true (I used fear to defeat fear).

Good God

Within this blog I’ve tried a bunch of experiments. Here’s another one. For the time being, I’m going to adopt a God-centric perspective. Having been raised in an atmosphere devoid of religion, I’m somewhat new to this concept. “God” doesn’t roll off my tongue for instance, it feels strange to say the word.

For most of my life, I would’ve identified with atheism and the supremacy of popular scientific ideas about existence. But after a few decades of living with that perspective, I found it too anxiety-inducing and abandoned it. Consequently I’ve been in search of something new. For the last few years I’ve been a big believer in “Simulation Theory”, and that’s done a good job of allowing me to develop a non-physical interpretation of life. For the most part, all of my worries went away.

But of course a simulation must have a programmer — and I suppose it’s time to delve deeper into that aspect of existence. This concept is already well established in religion obviously, so there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. The programmer, is God. And from what I’ve seen, religious/spiritual folks have relationships with God. They often thank God, love God, speak about God, heck they even eat God if I’m not mistaken. So, that’s what I’m planning to do… develop a relationship with God. (Yes, that still sounds awkward to me).

Really though, it’s like I’ve been invited to a party and I’ve been ignoring the host the entire time. How rude is that? Obviously I should head over and thank him for everything and tell him how great this is. But instead I’ve been hiding in a corner, complaining about everything and lamenting my invitation. Well, it’s time to suck it up and do the right thing.

Hey God, it’s me Rich. Awesome party you’ve got here — quite the spectacle. Hey if you need me to help out with anything, don’t hesitate to ask. Sorry I’ve kept to myself for so long, I guess I was a bit overwhelmed. I mean you gotta admit, things can get pretty crazy around here! Ha! Haha! ha…. Well anyways, thanks for the invite, I appreciate it, I mean what else would I be doing with my time? Heh. So… yeah I’m going to checkout the food table, outstanding selection by the way. If there’s something I can get you, lemme know. Thanks again!