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.

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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.

Changing Course

It’s obvious once you see it, but otherwise it’s not something we typically consider. Yet if you look around, you’ll notice a significant amount of masochism taking place. And in this context, masochism means seeking-out pain on purpose as a source of amusement. I would go so far as to say that masochism is a primary form of entertainment here on Earth.

If the world is influenced by our thoughts and focus, and if we experience discomfort — then ipso-facto, we are engaging in masochistic behavior. In other words: if we craft the life we lead, and that life is difficult, then we are purposefully injecting pain into the process. Why? For amusement i.e. masochism. “No you can’t have that! You don’t deserve it! You haven’t worked hard enough! Life doesn’t work that way! You need to struggle! Test yourself! Push past the pain!”

So what? A lot of people seem to be enjoying themselves riding the masochism-train to the end. And that’s fine, it really is. But what if you’re not a masochist? Or maybe you’re too good at it. What if you were such a smarty-pants, and so dedicated to the endeavor, that you were able to inflict so much pain into your life that you couldn’t derive any delight from it? What if you denied yourself EVERYTHING and filled your existence with so much lack and loathing that the experience wasn’t worth it? Hmm….

You done messed up. Some is fun, but more ain’t better. It’s time to try something new. You need to cut out the lack-minded thinking, the merit-based reward nonsense, the struggling shenanigans, and the scaring yourself silliness — all that stuff you’ve been using to beat yourself down. STOP! You’re too good!! You won! Sheesh. The brutal and punishing hazing regimen that you devised for yourself was too effective, congratulations.

Whether you’re proud of your accomplishment or a tad embarrassed about torturing an avatar for your own amusement — it doesn’t matter. It’s time to head into a different direction and experience another facet of gameplay. Now it’s time to focus on maximizing merriment and engaging in some lighthearted fun. Of course you’re used to pulverizing yourself into an anxious ball of crushed dreams — but this new direction will be an interesting and possibly challenging path to take. Welcome to you, round-two.

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.

Paint on Plywood

I used to believe I was very smart. I could see through it all. I saw how everyone was full of crap. I knew society to be a charade. This world wasn’t what it purported itself to be, and I was one of the few who recognized it. I was surrounded by simple-minded fools that just didn’t get it. “Don’t you see!!? You’re being deceived!!”

It turns out, I was the dunce that didn’t get it. It’s like I’m at a stage-production filled with painted sets and actors in-costume reciting their lines — and I’m sitting there pointing out how fake everything is. Of course it’s fake! It’s a play! But I’m the “smart guy” letting everyone know how the trees are just paint on plywood. “Ha! How can you people not see that!!??”

And all the while, they’re looking at me like I’m some kinda loon. “Uh, yeah Rich, that’s what they do here, those are actors and you’re an idiot”. Whereas everyone else was simply enjoying themselves, I thought the stage-production was a form of trickery trying to fool the audience for some nefarious reason.

I thought I was the “good-guy” letting everyone know that those people on stage weren’t who they claimed to be. I was dumfounded when people wouldn’t listen. “But it’s so obvious!!” The plots are paper-thin, everything is so flimsy, you can poke the sets and they’ll fall over. But people didn’t get it. “What’s wrong with you!? Wait, are you in on it too!!??”

“These sheeple are so brainwashed by society that they’ll believe anything!” But again, it’s like I was getting mad at an audience for enjoying their experience and losing themselves in the show. My belief in my own cleverness didn’t allow me to consider the idea that I was the one out-of-the-loop.

So beware, my fellow geniuses. The fact that we contemplate existential intricacies does not make us “smart”, it means we’re the dumb ones that can’t quite grasp what’s going on here. Of course you can see through the veil of illusion — it’s see-through! You’re just the chump taking the game too seriously when all you really have to do is play-along.

Gaming Analysis

My ideally imagined gaming scenario is this: game starts, I stumble onto an immense stockpile of resources that I use to attain dominant levels of strength and power. From there, I proceed to use my supremacy and innate skills to conquer the game and everyone in it. Done.

Yet that’s not my typical gaming experience. It’s more like: game starts, I saunter-out ready to do some damage, feeling like I’m gonna crush the competition, but I get picked apart like Thanksgiving dinner, can’t find any resources, and I hide, focusing on some non-confrontational aspect of the game.

There’s always a mismatch between what I believe I can do and what I can actually do — and this obviously leads to a lot of frustration. After all these years, I still can’t reconcile the mismatch — how come I’m not dominating and crushing the competition where they stand?

My perspective is obviously off. Everything is telling me that I’m a noob, yet I refuse to accept it. I fully realize that a subtler approach and a smarter strategy can be used when facing tough competition — but that’s not my way — I am the embodiment of supremacy, and that’s the only way I know how to win.

In other words, if I could think of a better strategy, I’d use it — duh. But for some reason, I’m provided with the perspective that I’m a thirty-foot tall demi-god with absolute knowledge and the ability to manifest my will unto the world. Perhaps I’m a tragic character like Sisyphus, forever cursed to lose despite my grandiose expectations. So what can I do about this predicament?

Well, why are you thinking in terms of competition? That’s a finicky concept that isn’t easily achieved. For starters, if one side is clearly dominant, there’s no actual contest taking place — the outcome is certain. So right off the bat, it’s clear that you want no part in an actual contest, you simply want a demonstration of strength — a charade.

And second, who says there’s even any competitions taking place? For example, it’s like seeing a man walking down the sidewalk, and you go up beside him and start walking faster until you “beat him” to the end of the block. There was no contest, you just superimposed one over a regularly occurring event.

So get the idea of “competition” out of your head, it’s dumb. It’s the same nonsense as thinking you’re a fragile creature struggling for survival amidst a harsh and brutal landscape with nothing but your vigilance and skill keeping you alive. IF life had actual competitive aspects, there’s no question you’d have lost already — experienced players would camp-the-spawn and blow you to bits.

Competition in any form is an untenable situation unless there are lots of rigorously maintained rules. But that means competition has to be so regulated, that there’s barely a contest anymore. Competition is more of a choreographed dance than anything. Repeat after me: You’re not competing against anyone for anything.

What you seem to be struggling against isn’t other people or the world itself, you’re struggling with your strange ideas about others and the world you’re in. You’ve come in ready for a fight, but there’s no fight to be had. Oops, wrong place. But now that you’re here, let me show you around…

This is Earth, it’s a safe-space. Your food, shelter, activities, transportation, and companionship are all taken care of. You most certainly don’t have the ability to exist as an actual physical being in a natural world. You’re essentially experiencing the sensation of what it’s like to be an embodied being in a pseudo-physical world.

There’s no pressure here, no “survival of the fittest” — stop trying to scare yourself. Relax. Think of this not as a first-person-shooter, but as a creative realm in which you build things with whatever resources seem fitting to you. None of it matters of course, it’s more like building sandcastles that wash away when the tide comes in. You can build relationships, crafts, art or literary projects, culinary delights, businesses, technological creations, collections of stuff, libraries of knowledge, ways of thinking — there’s so much to do.

But you… you want to fight stuff? You want to struggle against some imaginary opponent? And so you setup scenarios where you’re on the losing end and thus validate your sense of struggle. In your mind, you’re the inexperienced upstart that needs to push through in order finally defeat a more experienced opponent on the field of battle. Oh, bravo… bravo….

Yet your enemy is a windmill. You’re Don Quixote fighting imagined dragons. Sorry, but the only fight you need to win is the one against your strange and outlandish thoughts. You’re projecting sinister visions onto an innocent world. The reason you never win is because there’s no race!! There’s no challengers, no finish-line, no trophy — yet you keep running as though you’ll eventually cross into a winner’s circle.

Take a breath and realize the truth of this situation. The world can’t be the way you believe it to be. The reason things don’t work out for you is because you’re completely wrong about how things work. It’s NOT because you’re “losing” and need to “train harder” and “overcome” a whole bunch of “obstacles”. You’ve come for a battle and you’re trying to force one wherever you can. Instead of that nonsense, simply accept the world as it is.

Stop looking for a fight — although as we already established, you’re actually looking to put on a display of strength solely to evoke feelings of supremacy — a silly game of pretend. But it’s not working because it’s dumb and goes against what’s already established here: “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” It’s done, they won, now have fun.

Invincible Deduction

Could invincibility be real?

If the world is a simulation or a dream, then yes, the concept of invincibility could be true. In the case of a simulation or dream, my consciousness likely resides outside of the world I’m experiencing. At some point, my consciousness might even imagine the death of its in-world avatar — but so what? My consciousness would likely begin a new game or have another dream. Eventually, every game or dream reaches its natural conclusion (or the player/dreamer gets bored) and the game/dream ends.

Although the world is made to feel like a concrete physical reality, it can be deduced that my in-world character is being helped along the way. Either my consciousness, or the world itself, is purposefully keeping me alive so that I can prolong my experience here. If this were an actual physical reality, I would’ve contracted a deadly-disease or tripped and cracked my skull or simply starved to death already — in other words, physical survival is not something I deal with here.

In one sense, invincibility is the most logical conclusion at this point. In my own personal example, I’ve been alive for several decades and I’ve literally done NOTHING to ensure my survival. Well-prepared food just happens to appear everyday, I’m living in a nice place, I’m well-dressed in appropriate clothing, I’m utilizing advanced technology to type these words, the weather’s warm and inviting — all these things are gifts given to me, I’ve done nothing to earn them.

Perhaps I’m a clueless moron that fails to appreciate everything that’s done on my behalf — but that doesn’t change the fact that I’m able to thrive without any effort on my part. The only hardship I’ve been afflicted with, is the inability to appreciate all of these gifts. And that makes sense of course: who is the only enemy of the invincible? The self. And it’s true: my greatest enemy is myself and my greatest obstacle is trying to feel gratitude for the gift of existence.

So at least from my perspective, invincibility is real. Despite my complete and utter inability and ignorance, I haven’t lost — in fact, I’ve only gained as I’ve wandered through life. And the only thing that has come close to defeating me, is myself. Yet why would I want to defeat myself? Why should I reject this world? Why not simply appreciate existence? I should really stop trying to sabotage my experience here — it’s a dumb thing to do. And seeing that I’m actually invincible, there’s nothing to be scared of.