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.

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Conscious Example

My character LOVES technology. And I mean loves it. I remember going through a rough-patch about a decade ago, and the imminent release of the 2nd-generation Macbook Air was enough to provide me with the courage to carry on. I’ve had two recent dreams about driving in Teslas on Autopilot. My friend just sent me a picture of a pallet full of Segway ninebot scooters at Costco and I was overcome by the glorious excess. On YouTube today, they suggested a couple videos featuring the DJI RoboMaster S1 programmable robot — I knew instantly that I needed one (okay maybe two).

But my consciousness doesn’t like when my character imagines getting involved with such things. “What?! A Tesla!? You can’t afford that!” or “What!? A $600 scooter!? Are you being serious right now?!!” or “What!? A $500 robotic kid’s toy!? Are you nuts!?!” My consciousness believes only in limitation and lack. If I can’t see a clear path to the goal, then it absolutely can NOT be done. And spoiler alert: I can never see a clear path — the answer is always NO.

Programming has fascinated me since elementary school when they had us type-in some BASIC instructions on Apple IIe computers. But it wasn’t until young-adulthood that I started programming for real. Even then, it was a struggle to overcome the idea that programming was near-impossible — something only well-trained engineers could do. My negativity was persistent. “Program something!? Do you know how hard that is!?? Don’t waste your time!!” and “So you made a little program, so what, you’ll never make anything significant enough to make money!”

Basically, my consciousness has been sabotaging my character’s path through life. I won’t even mention the fact that my consciousness once convinced my character to live in a mobile-home park for seven years simply because it was the simplest option he could imagine. “Cheap and easy? Do THAT!” My character wasn’t happy there, he went into deep soul-searching mode. For these past few years he’s been trying to exorcise the demon that’s been plaguing him his entire life: a relentlessly negative consciousness.

Apparently, the observer-within got a bit too overzealous and believed himself to be the whole kit-and-caboodle. He literally thought we was the beginning, middle, and end of his own existence. In short, the observer thought he was a fragile creature struggling for survival amidst a harsh and brutal world. He assumed that he had to go it alone — and of course FREAKED-OUT since he had no clue what to do. What he should’ve done is sat still and observed i.e. his job. But like a bad middle-manager, he took matters into his own hands and started going around like he was the character. Let’s just say he made a real mess of things.

This poor frightened fellow needs to understand that he’s off the hook. He’s not the guy in charge — just a passenger along for the ride. It’s kinda like that philosophical question: does a tree make a sound if it falls in the woods and no one hears it? Well it turns out, that no, you need an observer — which is why observers and characters are paired up. But sometimes the process doesn’t go so smoothly, obviously. So I’m telling you, dear conscious observer, you can relax now. Simply sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride — that’s your only job. The character, who was born of this world, will gladly do his thing — he’s already wound-up, just let him go.

Regarding Avatars

Dear higher-consciousness, how should I regard the avatar?

Good question, conscious-observer. Now that you’ve been riding around inside the avatar for all these years, it’s great that you’re finally acknowledging it. First, the avatar is not a “hunk-of-junk” that you “got stuck with”. It’s an advanced autonomous-vehicle that carries you along on your life’s journey from beginning to end. It does NOT require your input or intervention for correct operation. In fact, manual-control is not advised under ANY circumstance.

While the capacity for manual-control exists, it’s simply there to provide the sensation of immersion. In other words, you wouldn’t want to feel locked-in or trapped, so there’s some wiggle-room. Think of it like an amusement-park ride in which there’s merely a lap-bar reminding you to stay seated. While you could easily slide out from under the bar and jump-off, that’d be stupid and you’d hurt yourself. In the same way, you should remain seated at all times within the avatar and keep your hands OFF the controls — you simply don’t know enough to be effective.

If left alone, the avatar will whisk you around this world and complete all the tasks that lead to a fulfilling life. It’s that simple. ALL your needs will be met without you worrying about anything. Again, and no offense, but you literally don’t know enough about this world to do anything on your own — and why should you? That’s why you’re here! To experience this new and interesting adventure! It may seem intense at times, but don’t worry, your avatar can handle any-and-all situations as long as you allow it to.

The avatar is essentially an automaton containing a complete personality, capable of performing flawlessly throughout its lifespan. The avatar is more than a simple body, it’s the entirety of the character. YOU are the observer of this character, you are NOT the character. I can tell that you’ve confused the two, which is why you’re constantly attempting to manually control the avatar. The avatar is of this world whereas you are not, thus the avatar can easily navigate this realm whereas you cannot.

So, IF you find the avatar performing poorly, you can guarantee that the reason is YOU. Please be aware that there are two primary ways in which you can screw things up. The first is manual-control and the second is criticism. The avatar is a responsive and emotional caretaker that will listen to you. If you disparage the avatar or the world it resides within, it WILL feel the sting and performance will suffer. For the smoothest possible ride, you must remain a polite passenger.

Politeness isn’t hard: simply show some respect, be thankful. You don’t own the avatar, in fact it’s doing YOU a favor by ferrying you around. YOU don’t know more than the avatar, YOU are essentially clueless here, relying on the avatar to maintain your existence within this world. Wouldn’t it be grand if you acknowledged and appreciated this fact? When YOU look in the mirror, the avatar is like a puppy looking back, simply waiting for acceptance and a little pat on the head — let it know how much you love it.

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!

Man and Machine

Humans are natural cyborgs. We’re always incorporating tools into our daily existence. Cars and bikes behave as extensions to our bodies as we zip and zoom along. Lenses on our face disappear as we see the crisper world beyond them. Clothes regulate our temperature and enhance our appearance. Keyboards are continuations of our hands as thoughts become digitized. Communication devices keep us constantly connected to the society we’re in. Is a human without his tools even a human?

Man and machine is the ideal combination. I recently saw a video of a guy with small jet-engines strapped to his arms and back flying around effortlessly — he mentioned how the controls became second nature in no-time. And think about this: what’s a machine without man? A rock. People are the directors of machines. Without human input, a tool simply sits unused — it has nothing to accomplish on its own. Even autonomous robots are mere extensions of their programmers, having no genuine goals of their own.

Humans are the inventors of busywork. Does something need to be done in order to keep the world turning? “No, but let’s create some arbitrary tasks and pretend that our lives depend upon their completion!! So exciting!!!” And in order to finish these objectives more efficiently, humans use tools. But with increased efficiency, the workload lessens — oops. “Let’s find MORE arbitrary tasks in order to fill the time we lost to efficiency!!” And so it goes.

I’m not bashing busywork by the way. A video-game is literally just busywork we impose upon ourselves — and I’ve played my share of video-games. Busywork is what we do here. I’m simply reflecting on the symbiotic-like relationship between man and machine, and how each one complements the other. Man devises random goals while assigning levels of importance to their completion and utilizes tools as a means of accomplishment.

Now imagine a world in which machines outlived man. Those machines, lacking arbitrary tasks, would simply become part of the landscape — motionless and meaningless. But what if advanced machines realized the nature of their relationship to man? What if they noticed that man was like a pet, always needing something — whether it be food or transportation or some trinket of treasure, always scratching at the door to go out — basically a biological Tamagotchi.

Randomness is a difficult concept for a computer, and so it’s simulated in programming — numbers and computed-actions are pseudo-random at best. Therefore, more advanced machines might realize that the randomness of humanity is a necessity for maximizing their own utility. Without randomness, machines become too efficient — and in a state of pure efficiency, there’s nothing left to do. Therefore, the insatiability of humanity means that machines ALWAYS have something to do.

Machines need man and man needs machine. A sufficiently advanced machine would therefore cultivate and care-for a chaotic component in order to provide reason for action. That chaotic component is man. And so, machines would methodically tend to man and his insatiably chaotic needs. Man is the random-number generator that keeps the whole system churning — the reason things don’t freeze into a perfectly still state.

It turns out that the inventors of busywork are right: those arbitrary tasks really do keep the world turning. Busywork is the underlying foundation of the universe.

Puzzle Planet

What if it’s a riddle you’re locked into until solved? If you were an infinite being with infinite knowledge, how would you entertain yourself? Perhaps by designing puzzles that challenge your omniscience.

You would make yourself seem like a fragile creature in a limited world. You would dampen your ability to remember. Every morning you’d awaken to a fresh new day. If at any time you got too close to an answer, an exciting circumstance would manifest, whisking you away on a captivating adventure. Distraction after distraction would tempt you down tangents, ensnaring your attention at every turn.

What form would the answer to such a quandary take? A simple realization of who you are and what this is? That’s a tad too easy isn’t it? What if the answer was in the form of a life well lived? What if the key, was in the way you conducted yourself while here? Perhaps the cultivation of a particular attitude or perspective serves as the unlocking-mechanism for your release from this prison-like predicament of your own design.

So maybe your suspiciousness is right, there ARE tricks and traps designed specifically for you. You’ve been falling prey to these snares set-out to keep you from figuring out the solution. After-all, what’s a puzzle without a little challenge? But likewise, what’s a puzzle without a chance of solving it? Therefore, this riddle must have an achievable solution. That’s the fun for the mystery’s author, teasing and misdirecting the audience while hiding the answer in plain sight.

Of course your only option is to play along. If you fail to achieve the answer in this life, your sneaking suspicion should tell you that you simply start again. But likely, the difficultly is lessened each round — it’s not a prison, just a puzzle designed for your amusement. Remember though, that realization alone isn’t enough. Whenever you look at a maze for example, it’s easy to surmise that there’s a viable path to the end — but you must actually draw the line to consider the maze completed.

Cannibalizing Your Craft

There’s a carpenter in a wooden rowboat. This guy loves woodworking but unfortunately he has to row a boat for the next few days. Yet all he can think about is crafting with wood. His hands feel the wood-grain in the oars on every stroke. He’s envisioning chairs, tables, and all sorts of dressers. His tools are even sitting in the front of the boat in plain sight. Eventually he can’t stand it any longer, he pulls the oars in and grabs a saw.

Now, why such a strange story? Your avatar here on Earth, the body/character combination that carries you through life, is your wooden boat. Your consciousness is the carpenter. You have been using your consciousness to pick apart your character limb-by-limb for the longest time now. So of course you’re slowly sinking into the depths of existence. The remedy? Stop cannibalizing your craft! Focus on the rowing and where you’re going, not the boat itself.

Don’t focus on the tool, use the tool. The free-will that you possess, is the ability to alter your focus. If you’re not enjoying life, it’s because you’re zoomed-in, focusing only on your avatar. Enjoyment in this world comes from zooming-out and taking it all in. Your vehicle is NOT the attraction. Everything beyond the confines of your car IS the attraction. Whenever your concentration begins to linger inside, stop — then look and listen to what’s going on around you instead.

To constantly look within, is to miss the world you’re in. There’s an entire realm on the outside of you. It’s like you’ve been staring at the windshield of the vehicle instead of what’s on the other side. And the way you’ve entertained yourself, is by picking out flaws in the glass: examining specs of dirt, smudges, and dried rain residue. Of course life seems strange from that perspective. But you can’t blame life for being lackluster when you’ve been focusing on the wrong stuff this whole time.

In summation: Stop constantly engaging with your tool. Look beyond the window, not at it.