Today’s Role

Who are you today? In a simulation, you have no actual origin story. You can be a new “you” each and every day. For example, today I am Richard the Renowned, a man known for his great insight into the ways of this world. I am admired and respected by all as I impart wisdom upon them.

Even outside this world, you have no grand narrative either — you’re just pure awareness. If you had an actual origin story, you wouldn’t need to be here, the place where drama comes to life. Therefore, you’re free to imagine a brand new narrative any time you like.

And you should! If at any moment you’re not enjoying yourself, it’s time to rewrite the scene. “Oh no, I hope a horrible thing doesn’t happen!!” As you feel the unpleasantness develop, you should interrupt the unruly mind. “Cut! I can do better than this vulgar trash!”

It is here where you scrap the crap and select better thoughts for crafting the scene. You can make yourself out to be a hero or simply change the focus to something more amusing. The original circumstance was merely a fiction created by the mind — you’re free to create something new.

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Simulated Satisfaction

How to be happy within a simulation.

Step one: pixels.

You don’t need to acquire anything, it’s not real — it’s just flickering light. Attainment is simply an updated entry in a database. Nothing changes but a value — sometimes coordinates are modified or a boolean is flipped from false to true.

Step two: perception.

If nothing’s real, then everything’s mental. Solidity is imagined, therefore your focus determines how permanent something is. If you believe in a particular obstacle, that obstacle will become a fixture in your life. And if you maintain a memory through constant recall, it’ll remain as a constant companion. So the most logical option, is to focus your mind on things that evoke delight and refrain from recalling the repugnant.

Step three: practice.

Your mind wanders. Your satisfaction within the simulation is directly tied to how well you can steer it. Think of this world as a driving simulation: thoughts come racing by and you have to steer clear of all the ruts in the road that’ll send you reeling. Negative thoughts are the source of all misery — avoid them as they enter your field of view. Not all thoughts are unpleasant though, some are downright delightful — stop the car and take some time to visit with them and appreciate their presence.

Wrap-up.

The pleasant perception of pixels takes practice. But as your skill grows, your life within the simulation greatly improves. Whenever your life is less than awesome, you can be certain that you’re smashing head-on into negative thoughts. Slow down.

In fact, you should pull over to the side of the road and sit still. You have the ability to take a break. Simply watch all the thoughts racing by on the adjacent road. For right now you’re no longer part of traffic. Thoughts come and go, but you remain motionless.

Happiness is a state of mind: you are provided the raw-material of random thought, “happiness” is the careful cultivation of this resource. Whereas misery is the consequence of allowing random thought to run rampant. The choice of pursuing happiness is yours to make.

Origin of Species

Being that I believe in Simulation Theory, that kinda kills the whole Darwinism thing. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted. That’s not to say that evolutionary-like patterns and inheritance aren’t fundamental parts of this world — but those things are done behind the scenes, in code — NOT by means of an ongoing struggle for survival.

As a programmer myself, I reuse code all the time. It’s common to use previously devised patterns and algorithms as the foundation of new stuff. So if you examine the codebase of my various programs, you can see undeniable similarities and an evolving design. And by building on previous code, each iteration grows in complexity.

Darwinism presumes that an epic competition occurred over the course of millions of years and WE, along with our cats and dogs, are the end result. But not truly the end, for the battle rages on in an endless quest to develop the most suitable beings for this harsh and brutal environment — a place that provides no quarter to the weak.

Except I AM weak. I’m quite inept in fact. And the people I’ve known throughout my life are pretty weak too, no offense. Physically, emotionally — just dealing with life, as well as lacking in self-control and determination — it’s a sad state of affairs I’d say. The “struggle for survival” just isn’t there.

Are we the anomalies? I don’t think so. I think this world was created as-is to be a playground for bodiless beings. WE are NOT the sum total of organic evolution, WE are what happens when the incorporeal dream. With a spark of inspiration, an entire world with ever-branching narratives filled the void.

Oh a big-bang happened alright — it was the moment the dream began. The storybook opened and pages began filling with tales of embodied beings living outlandish lives filled with chaotic circumstances. The crazier the better, each iteration trying to outdo whatever came before. So it is THIS, this silly whimsical dream, that is the origin of species.

Challenge of Enjoyment

Why should it be a challenge to enjoy existence?

Have you ever tried to do something that’s really hard? Something that takes a long time to get the basics down?

Consider this: if someone sat you in the cockpit of a giant airplane and said “have at it!” You’d probably stare at the dials, switches, and screens and “nope” the heck outta there. I’ve tried flight simulators, and they can be daunting. You CAN fly, but it’ll take patience, practice, and a desire to learn.

So, imagine being a bodiless being that’s suddenly provided a body. You’re disoriented, you’re shocked — you feel sensations all over your new body. What the heck is happening?! Is THIS hell? Is THIS what eternal damnation feels like? Someone get me outta here!!

Therefore, the problem is NOT that existence is horrible, it’s that existence isn’t intuitive to a bodiless being. Now what? Well for one, don’t just flip every switch in-front of you. Yes, you’ll see and hear some action happening, but good luck if you actually get the plane into the air.

YOU cannot fly a plane nor can YOU control a body. YOU are a bodiless being. YOU are the consciousness, the observer. YOU have no idea what’s going on here. And that’s fine. Your avatar in this world DOES know what it’s doing. Your avatar is perfectly capable of navigating this world without issue. Lucky you.

Whereas if YOU attempt to flip switches and turn dials, you’re going to mess things up. Whereas if YOU sit still and enjoy the ride, you’ll have a fine time as your avatar whisks you around this world. You’re not supposed to know what’s going on, that’s the avatar’s job.

YOUR job, is to develop and maintain the right mindset — that’s it! YOU must strive to find the full 5-star experience in every circumstance. Is it challenging? Only if you insist on maintaining a negative attitude!! Otherwise you simply watch and play along as the scenes unfold before you. “Oh wow! Ha, what fun! Isn’t this great!”

The challenge therefore, is in disposing of your initial interpretation of existence. You were surprised, then you rejected everything afterwards. It’s like showing up at a surprise party thrown in your honor, but instead of feeling delighted, you feel betrayed by each and every guest for startling you in the dark. Essentially, you have to get over it and join the celebration.

Step back and see the greater party happening all around you. Accept and appreciate the avatar you find yourself within. Let go, allowing yourself to be transported around a magical world of endless entertainment. That’s all. It’s a dream come true, enjoy the experience.

Simulated Realization

Does knowing it’s a simulation spoil the experience?

For some, I’d say the opposite is true. Believing life to be a completely organic experience, ruled by chance, is anxiety inducing. Imagine having the belief that the world will randomly inflict chaos upon you, your family, and the larger population at ANY moment. Yikes. How can you live like that — feeling as though doom is waiting around every corner. I tried it for decades, it sucks.

So for those types of people, knowing that they’re experiencing a fabricated adventure can come as a great relief. And again, having learned this myself, it’s true — I’m much more at ease. And relatedly, my experience of existence has improved. I’ve always known that movies are fabricated adventures, yet I enjoy those — same with games. It’s easy to suspend belief, so knowing the simulation is a simulation isn’t a problem.

And even though the obviousness of the simulation is readily apparent, I’m sucked into dramatic productions all the time. The mind doesn’t focus very well and often takes the observing consciousness on frivolous adventures. The trick is to derive some form of amusement from these little excursions. To be fair, I didn’t enjoy much before, and I still find it challenging to enjoy myself now.

But think about it: my biggest obstacles in life used to be catastrophic global annihilation, armed bandits, spreading germs, oppressive totalitarian regimes, rampant corruption, and a world that simply didn’t care. Nowadays my biggest obstacle is finding the fun in every moment. I can’t always find it, but big-deal right? I live in a world that cares so much, that it creates a never-ending narrative to keep me entertained.

That’s pretty cool if you ask me. Thanks, simulated reality!

Matrix Preloaded

I was just re-watching the 1993 Ship in a Bottle episode from Star Trek: The Next Generation. It predates The Matrix (1999) by a few years, here are some tidbits:

[Data was telling Barclay about a problem he was having with his computer program:]

DATA: Sherlock Holmes program, 3A, has demonstrated some very curious anomalies.
BARCLAY: There must have been a glitch in the matrix diodes, but I’ll track it down, don’t worry.

[A conversation between Picard and Moriarty:]

MORIARTY: When this is over, you will walk out of this room to the real world and your own concerns, and leave me here trapped in a world I know to be nothing but illusion. I cannot bear that. I must leave.
PICARD: Professor, you are a computer simulation.
MORIARTY: If I am nothing more than a computer simulation, then very little will have been lost. But if I am right?

[At the end of the episode, after Picard tricked Moriarty into believing he actually left the holodeck:]

TROI: You mean he never knew he hadn’t left the holodeck?
PICARD: In fact, the program is continuing even now inside that cube.
CRUSHER: A miniature holodeck?
DATA: In a way, Doctor. However, there is no physicality. The program is continuous but only within the computer’s circuitry.
BARCLAY: As far as Moriarty and the Countess know, they’re halfway to Meles II by now. This enhancement module contains enough active memory to provide them experiences for a lifetime.
PICARD: They will live their lives and never know any difference.
TROI: In a sense, you did give Moriarty what he wanted.
PICARD: In a sense. But who knows? Our reality may be very much like theirs. All this might be just an elaborate simulation running inside a little device sitting on someone’s table.

As we can see, this episode actively suggests that the reality we’re experiencing might be simulated. It also suggests that knowing the simulation IS a simulation has a detrimental effect on the experience. It is therefore in the best interest of the experiencer to be tricked into thinking he is experiencing an organic form of existence.

Grind to Win

How do you want to win? Grind to win, pay to win, have luck to win, or use skill to win? In gaming, I’ve typically employed the grind to win strategy. Not all games offer pay-to-win and I’m not very lucky or skillful — so I just keep at it with dogged determination until I gain so much that I become a force to be reckoned with.

It seems I prefer an unbalanced gameplay — one stacked against me. It’s always the same: I start out slightly over-skilled for the beginning levels, then I get roughed-up throughout the intermediate levels, until finally my perseverance pays off and I achieve a dominance that can’t be denied. But being at the top gets old fast — it’s time for a new challenge.

It’s weird because I quite enjoy the idea of having indomitable power, yet in practice I don’t appreciate it. Whenever I get good at something, it’s time to sabotage the experience or move on. That could be a symptom of masochism, a tendency to thrill oneself through pain and suffering — it’s a nasty habit I’m trying to quit.

Grinding-to-win is itself pretty masochistic: it’s the act of accumulating minimal gains over a long period of time. I want that to change. Now I want to win by skill, luck, or even paying — I really don’t care. There’ve been times I’ve won upgrades in games and I was thrilled by the experience — I don’t mind that route.

I don’t want obstacles on the way to the top — I just want to be at the top and see if I can enjoy myself there — that’s the challenge. I suppose I’ve played this game long enough that I’m sick of grinding. But here’s something weird: although I’ve been grinding away, I’m not sure at what. I’ve certainly been doing stuff, but nothing related to any in-game roles as far as I can tell.

After all these years, I’m not particularly qualified to play a specific role. It just seems as though I’ve been grinding away at shaping my perspective — like a guy on a spiritual journey. And the conclusion of the spiritual portion of that quest is this: lighten up and have fun in the physical realm. But I’m still sitting around wondering what I should do here.

In essence, I feel as though I want to buy stuff and play with toys. Which given the world I’m in, seems to make a lot of sense (i.e. this is an amusement park filled with thrill-rides, snacks, and shopping). I was so serious early on that I couldn’t accept it. I had believed the world to be a realm of gloom and suffering, and fun should be the LAST thing on my mind.

Well, it’s too late now — it seems as though I’ve already done the grinding. Decades have passed and my indomitable status is imminent — I can sense it. The only thing frustrating me is my impatience for what I know will be. Oh well, the struggle was fun while it lasted, but I’m on to new adventures and fired-up about the future: “An exciting future, full of wonder & possibility, out among the stars” — Elon Musk

P.S. Things to Come (Last 3 minutes)