★ God Is Not Dead ★ Of God and Atheisms ★ A Lighthouse in a Storm ★
As we hurtle towards relative omniscience and relative omnipotence, isn’t it important for us to discuss what makes humanity or any group worthy of wielding this power? If the primary belief system dictating policy is atheism and, thus, based on being the absence of any belief system, how can we ensure that whatever elements are in control of technology will be reigned in by any set of rules? If we do not have this discussion now, we will never have the opportunity. We need to be confident that not only is there an ethical framework, but that it is beyond insurmountable. Moreover, we must rest assured that there is a system of propagating such a framework, so that our children do not find themselves overwhelmed by forces they can’t understand, while disconnected from the cultural paths which led there.
Mercurial Cultural Deconstruction
Elements of our culture will shift beneath us as we stand transfixed in stuporous awe of the lightning-fast transition of other cultural elements. In other words, our attention will be in the wrong place and we won’t see potential problems until they have saturated the younger generations. Each decade of youth will be increasingly detached from other decades. The cultural spectra that emerge will continue to diversify and detach until each distinct, detached “color” in the spectra is but a year or two apart.
It’s like the spaghettification experienced when falling into a black hole: the closer you get, the more you get pulled apart, until you get stretched incredibly thin, like spaghetti. And such is the effect that the singularity will have on each age group in our culture, which is why the singularity might be metaphorically viewed as a metaphysical black hole. This leads to the Generation Rift phenomenon, described in The Paradox of Creativity.
So, religion is a perfect tool for helping to counter this cultural deconstruction and generational stratification, but it can only be helpful if large enough sets of people in our culture share belief systems. In particular, they must share those beliefs which form the basis of the rest of their beliefs. The notion of a basis was discussed in the first section of this series. Where the bases formed primarily from scientific knowledge are always shifting, those formed by and tied to religion are much more constant. In this way, elements of religion act as metacultural fixpoints in the psyche of believers.
Without sets of archetypical fixpoints shared across large groups of our society, without regard to class or ethnicity, we are going to quickly find ourselves lost in the future. The basis for belief systems formed by science is completely detached from anything permenant. Like Ouroboros, it is always cyclicly consuming itself: newer beliefs in the basis supercede older beliefs and the resulting belief structure representing science’s extrapolated sphere of knowledge is constantly recalculated and constantly redistributed. While this process continues to accelerate, then the costs to cultural stability will increase just as steadily. So we need these fixpoints to ground our culture in something.
We risk ending up dealing with a phenomenon I refer to as differential singularity. This draws on the differential created in belief systems as new discoveries in science are propagated outward to policy makers and everyone else. In part one, I argued that there is significant opportunity to abuse the differential and time delay here to profit financially and politically. However, as progress towards the singularity increases this differential only grows wider. We risk creating a situation where the people currently in control of the technology seal themselves off from threats to their power.
At some point, unless access to information is permitted, there is a huge opportunity for the power-hungry to abuse this differential. There are specific technologies which magnify the rate at which new discoveries occur: this is the nature of the singularity. On the other hand, many of these technologies are incredibly dangerous and, thus, the desire to wall these techs off is justified. It is because of this that the likelihood is all the more probably that a small faction of people would abuse the differential singularity. If they did, they could justify it to those around them while keeping it secret from most of us.
I’m Still Searching
While I claim that religion is needed because of it’s capacity to shape the minds of the next generation, I haven’t provided or accepted such a vehicle myself. I don’t believe humanism is quite capable in this regard and I feel like atheism completely disregards the value of such a vehicle and our need for one. However, I don’t intend on specifying how such a thing should be constructed for my own belief system, since it is mine and mine alone.
To clarify, I am not trying to specify the “correct” religion or the correct set of beliefs that should form the basis of a religion. I don’t want to even even specify that there could be such a “correct” set of beliefs. This is because I don’t believe it is possible for me or anyone else to fully comprehend the entity which represents my definition of God – of which we may construct a reflection of this entity, but only an imitation of the real thing. And I also don’t believe it’s possible for anyone to state that their set of beliefs is the superior belief system. I do not intend to force my opinions and beliefs on others. Please understand my motivation behind writing this is sincere concern that we may find ourselves unprepared for the future, regardless of which class, ethnicity or religion we are part of.
Just wanted to summarize over those, although that list is by no means complete. And please let me emphasize: I in no way intend or intended to create something that other people would follow. Dear God, no. That would be irresponsible. I simply wanted to understand as much about the world as I could, including world religions, though I’m embarrassed to say I’m a complete novice.
And I’m ashamed to associate with any religion at this point, honestly. I couldn’t hope to touch something pure without getting it dirty, whether it’s Buddhism or Christianity or whatever. And while I clearly see the value of religion yet hold it’s waning influence partially responsible for many of the problems we have in the world today, I find it difficult to defend the need for such a vehicle since I haven’t strongly embraced any religion. I can’t exactly use my interpretation of bible verses as rhetorical defense because who am I to interpret something like that, if I don’t claim strong personal belief.
We should act as though we are all one and that to harm another is to harm oneself. IMO, the Ten Commandments and Noahide laws are rules that someone who truly respects another would not break. Not because they are clearly stated rules, but because someone who equinanimously informs their action with empathy and awareness just wouldn’t break those rules. Such a person’s ethical rules for action might not map up one-to-one with the Ten Commandments, but still, their actions will mostly line up with them.
If we truly are all one, then harming another person is equivalent to harming oneself. This is why I try to extend the Golden Rule to perceiving situations and interactions as though I am literally the other person or people involved. I will try to see the world through their eyes. This and the Golden Rule are the most important aspects – and I’m not sure that these are two separate things. Almost everything else could be dropped or redefined.
From here, one must decide on relative or absolute morality: either moral relativism or the moral universalism of Kant. This requires universalizability, which dictates that, for an action to be permissable, it must apply equally to every situation and every person. It is nearly impossible, but incredibly admirable to adhere to Kant’s philosophy, as it almost entirely nullifies your space of potential actions and makes you more predictable.
Also, it is incredibly hard to practice empathetic behavior if people warp the perception of you, rendering you a pariah. It’s not an excuse to limit one’s interactions with others or restrict empathy, but it is really hard to practice compassion or provide value to others when one has no income and practically nothing to give.
Furthermore it’s incredibly hard to see the world through someone’s eyes when they see you as a miserable useless piece of shit and they never intend on allowing others to see you in an honest light. Why would I want to view their perspective, when all they intend is to limit me, no matter what I do? Of course, it is still crucial to try because you can only connect with someone by empathizing with them.
Obviously, I miss the mark on compassion and the Golden Rule quite often. It is one thing to do no harm and seek neutrality with the world. For the most part, this is easy for me. But it is another thing entirely to contribute to the world around you. Just because you don’t harm another doesn’t mean you’re actively giving back. If you don’t expend time, energy, and resources contributing positively to the people around you, you’ll find yourself pretty isolated. If someone seeks to strip you of your resources to rob you of your capability to positively influence people around you, this is incredibly depressing.
There is this mystical, ineffable force that pervades every fragment of the universe. It is powerful and we cannot ever hope to fully understand it, but it’s far from fruitless to try. This is the basis for the connection between all of us, our karma, and the direction of our individual fates. I explain this a little better in this article on the Nature of God, although the language is a bit dense.
The intangible is as real as the tangible. The beliefs of others are as real as the chair I’m sitting in. The intangible extends to metaphysical concepts beyond those based on information processed by conscious, physical beings. There is consciousness everywhere; everything is connected. And there are intangible metaphysical artifacts pervading space and time. They might be metaphysical and thus, invisible and intangible, but the effects on our lives are very real.
Some of these will never change – and it could be argued that any which are not perminant can be summarily & totally defined in terms of those that are permanent. Math is such a universal, metaphysical object, which cannot ever change by its nature and from which all other things can be defined. Therefore, these objects that cannot be changed are timeless. Our inescapable fates are defined in terms of the intangible and nothing can escape it’s reach.
Unfortunately, many scientists, despite their intelligence or intent to search for truth, completely disregard the metaphysical, as their model of reality begins in the material. They view humanity as basically wetware with neurotransmitters marking state in chemical software writtin in a genetic programming language.
In addition to the Golden Rule, we need to think outside our current time and place. This means considering how people lived in the past, as well as how they could live in the future. We should think of our possible future selves as already existing and act accordingly. Sometimes it’s better imagine situations through the lense of our idealized selves than from within the confines of our present situation.
If I were already the person I wanted to be, how would I handle this situation differently? That person that built my dreams, what would he or she have done to get there?
The Romans had their own concept of genius, which was like the divine essence that lay beyond our psyche: it was like our individual star in the metaphysical sky. It resembles this concept of the idealized self. When we are young, we should develop that kernel of knowledge that allows us to best decide what we want to do with our lives and helps us identify the pieces of knowledge which are most useful. It helps if our parents can be very involved in our lives or that we at least have some mentor who can fuel this development. Our minds are most pliable then and we have the most opportunity for the most growth. Yet, it is unfortunate our time spent at the height of our potential is precisely when we have a minimal understanding of the world, preventing us from best planning how to invest that potential.
I find it an invaluable tool to simulate ancient models of thought. It helps to brainstorm other ways of viewing the world or of trying to reach the same idea. I will think hard about problems without cheating with today’s knowledge or technology. For example, simulating Arabian mathematicians’ understanding algorithms when they originally developed the concept. Or trying to think through whether or not the ancient Greeks would have been able to predict this or that. If so, how would they have been able to predict these conclusions. It’s a useful tool, but can easily lead to unfounded inferences, so it’s important to keep that in mind.
So, for example, it would be possible for people to foresee that overpopulation was the inevitable result of population growth, given two things: exponential growth and the spherical, and thus limited, shape of the earth. In fact, ancient people were all too familiar with constraints on their life imposed by local overpopulation and the effects it had on society. Their urban development was limited to buildings a few stories tall and their lack of technology meant that food production was limited.
Further still, they may have been able to at least imagine how things would unfold in future events by specifying what those limitations were that inhibited their growth: human/time/energy cost of food production, transportation, communication, disease and the like. Simply by enumerating these, then assuming that technology would resolve them, and then iterating through scenarios derived from combinations of sets where specific limitations were removed, they could foresee social changes and events to unfold at some point in the future. Or they could at least try. For example, if you assumed that the time required for communication drops to zero or that the bandwidth approaches infinite, you could surmise how that may change society. If you assume disease could be controlled, then you might surmise a large city with a democracy like Athens might thrive beyond a specific population growth instead of becoming doomed by epidemic. Understanding that cities hosting more than a maximal population size, determined by the likelihood of catastrophe, would change the nature of long-term geopolitical influences: people would lose interest in rural life and power structures in cities would become more powerful and efficiently constructed.
Yet, there are many things complicated by our way of life. In many ways, ancient people could foresee much more accurately than we can comprehend. We don’t have enough time to think the same thoughts. The space of possible thoughts has so profoundly expanded and our minds are occupied with consideration of trivial, non-universal knowledge, whereas the scope of concepts that would occupy the ancient mind are narrow and more likely to be universal. in so many instances, we assume that we already have the answers and never bother to think through these questions ourselves. The sturdy foundations of Western and Eastern philosophy are a blessing and a curse, as all these great debates and discussions have been resolved. We can learn about it, but most of us never have any a postieri development of ideas which are structured independently of those foundations. I think there is tremendous value in developing our own thoughts. Yet, because it’s so difficult to do so once we’re exposed to superior means of framing philosophical questions, we never have that chance.
And we perceive these ancient people to be ignorant because they lacked technology when actually our way of life almost completely clouds our vision and our minds. We deal with so much irrelevant information and non-sense. Our lives are structured so that we cannot see beyond our blinders. In some cases, it is impossible to reach many of the same insights that ancient people might consider common sense.
This is one perspective I entertained when examining Buddhist eschatology dealing with Maitreya. Maitreya will appear in the future when most people are disconnected with the dharma and he will achieve enlightenment. After a certain point, people will lead incredibly long lives and they will completely lose the ability to become enlightened for a very long time. I want to refrain from making too many conclusions about this, but to me, this means we are disconnected from enlightenment because of some aspect of our culture or lives at that time. Or, at least, that our ability to reach true enlightenment or something like it can be significantly impaired by our way of life.
I believe that we interact best with others when we see them for their potential, instead of their faults. We shouldn’t limit another’s capacity in our mind, through judgement or however. Too often we develop some rigid preconcieved notion of how someone “is” and we forget to think of them in terms of how they could be.
This has happened to every one of us: someone sets their expectation of us and they treat us like that and we fall in line exactly with their expectations. Example: someone is treated like they might be a thief, they’re hurt by the assumption and so, in response, they steal something. The example’s a bit extreme. Another common example surrounds mental illness: someone is labelled as depressed or bipolar or schizophrenic or quick to anger. And the reinforcement of the label itself is responsible for reinforcing behaviors which contribute to the label.
Obviously, if you find yourself in these kinds of situation, you shouldn’t give in and allow other people to define what you are. That is weak, but it is all too easy to give in. The harder people try to label you, the louder and more vocal they are, and the more uniform their assertions, the easier it becomes to give in.
Too often, I have allowed my silence and inaction to lead me to becoming defined by others, and honestly, I am so tired of that. Do not try to label me or define me or tell me what I believe or explain to others what I think. I define myself. I have my own beliefs. I think my own thoughts. And no one should assume they have the right to ANY of that.
I have sacrificed so much in order to never give in, in order to openly support controversial causes like drug legalization. I will be damned if I let someone else define me or speak for me. I have been victimized in the workplace by a handful of people and I just sat idly by, not wanting to say anything wrong or worried that I’d sink to their level. And I just sat there, while they made my life miserable; they ruined my life and I just sat there! They obliterated any confidence anyone had in me at my workplace and they did so in a calculated, strategic manner.
And so my point is: do not find yourself in this position. Define yourself. Speak up. Be independent. Think your own thoughts. Listen to others and especially to understand how they see you.
Conversely and by corrolary, make it easier for others to define themselves, authentically. You can do this by providing better information to them about how you perceive them. It may not be tactful to do in a direct manner and it may be more effective to do this indirectly. You can give them the space and autonomy to grow. You can share anecdotes and experience that might end up being important to how they see themselves or what they decide to do with their career.
Always be aware of the lens you’re using to view them: is this a perspective you’ve constructed independently? Is it honest? Is it helpful? If this person needs change, do they want to change? Is that desire to change just verbal or is it conscious? Or does it appear that the desire for change motives a few actions or does it permeate their thoughts and actions? It’s important to be realistic and keep your goals in mind.
There was a Rick and Morty episode about this concept of envisioning someone in terms of their potential instead of their flaws. To summarize, Beth and Jerry go to couples therapy and end up fighting the way they envision each other, materialized as monsters. I won’t really spoil how everything works out, but it’s worth watching. It’s episode 7 of the 2nd season: Big Trouble in Little Sanchez.
It’s important to give back and help those around you develop skills and opportunity. There have been quite a few situations where I’ve seen those in a position of relative power attempt to prevent those around them from fully developing. It is usually to prevent that person from pursuing greener pastures or from becoming more valuable to that organization or whatever. Rule #1 is Never Outshine the Master, after all. That’s the first rule!
It’s vital to be humble and patient towards those you’re serving. But in my experience, I remember those people who contributed to my skills, career, personal life or hobbies, especially when it seemed to run counter to their incentives. Teaching others and being a mentor are invaluable means to enrich your self, your organization and your community. In a very profound way. This is one of the best ways to develop your social network. If you have a positive influence on someone, especially if it took significant energy over a long period of time, then you will develop a strong connection. That person is probably going to represent you in a positive way.
And if, for whatever reason, someone limits your ability or opportunity for teaching others, then imagine how much that would limit you in life! One of my greatest mistakes when trying to organize a jamskating team when I was about 18 was my failure to realize just how useful and rewarding it would to help other people grow. I lost so many opportunities for growth, resulting from partly my own failure to recognize this, paired with the fact that many of the people around me wanted me to ultimately fail. A decade later, I found myself asking “Why the fuck did they not suggest X or advise me about Y?” The reason is because a few people around me didn’t actually want me to succeed, but they also did not want to appear to interfere. Why? Drug legalization. It was because I supported legalization and other controversial causes.
Actively or passively preventing someone from giving back to others and being a positive influence in their life is the equivalent to topping a tree. Their social network will be so stunted later in their life and they probably won’t know what happened. Again, there’s much I could have done and it’s hard to argue that this was intentional. Maybe they were justified. Maybe they never thought to do that and it’s just a coincidence that my people stabbed me in the back more times than I can count.
These two concepts can each be viewed on a separate axis. Light and Dark describe the degree to which something can be seen. Good and Evil describe something like the morality of an action, event, person, or piece of information. So darkness can enshroud evil actions or intent, preventing actions from countering it, but it can equally protect good. If some force for good can’t be seen, then retains a bit of unpredictability. Someone might “throw shade” on something or someone to prevent it from being seen by others. This can cripple you if you’re suffering but no one realizes it because you’ve had your social connections severed.
When you cast light on something, it makes it more apparent to others. I’ve been serendipitously saved so many times by simply making the right pieces of information seen. There are certain circumstances you can avoid, just by making something known. There was very bad experience I had in Denver, where I briefly moved in with someone who was mentally ill. I didn’t know him very well at all and I only lived with him for 2 days before leaving. This was the most frightening experience in my life because I already felt threatened, but I suddenly realized that I had no friends or family who really knew where I was. What scared me most of all was the degree to which this guy would try to distract me when I pulled my phone out, especially when I mentioned calling my family.
There are types of events which are much more difficult for someone to pull off if they know other people are aware of your situation or of certain facts. And you’ll find that manipulative or abusive people will try to threaten you into not making information known. And perpetrators of specific crimes, especially experienced repeat offenders will try to ascertain specific peices of information to gauge the likelihood of success or problems. If you provide them specific answers that indicate vulnerability, they might take action.
If they’re clever, they won’t indicate or alarm you when they’re searching for this information. THIS ITSELF IS THE BIGGEST RED FLAG. It is a huge indication that something is wrong when you ascertain that someone is trying to read pieces of information from you that indicate vulnerability to a specific type of crime or exploit. The degree to which they hide their intent implies their skill and foresight, as well as the degree to which you should fear that situation. Good memory is important here because if someone rearranges the order in which they attempt to acquire information, it obscures cause and effect and becomes harder to detect that someone is going to pull one over on you.
In order to recognize these situations, you have to become aware of the kinds of crimes or ethical omissions that people might want to commit. You need to know what would motivate someone towards that end or in what ways someone could be compelled to commit a crime. Understanding the process, time and materials required for such actions is also important in determining what information someone requires. The more time they have, the more they can obfuscate their actions to avoid detection. The more resources they have, the more likely they can involve other people, meaning that now, you not only have to worry about the information you’ve given to one person, but the information that you’ve given to several people and you need to know how they’re connected. If you’re up against a well lubricated machine that facilitates undercover activity, then the connections will be difficult to perceive. If you’re fighting a surveillance apparatus, then you may need to be aware that they have information you never disclosed to anyone. If someone has information that you have never disclosed to anyone or they have information that you only ever disclosed to one person, that’s a red flag.
It’s a bit interesting that knowledge of evil is required to fight against it. If for some reason, evil disappeared, then we would be totally inept against it in just a few generations. So, yes, everything has a purpose. There is a reason for everything. If you’re a Christian, this can help answer the problem of evil: why would God create evil or allow it to exist? Yet, it doesn’t completely resolve the problem of evil.
Again, everything has a purpose. Instead of immediately disdaining manisfestations of negativity, you can reorient your perspective by reminding yourself that there is a purpose and reason for everything. If you get fired, maybe you belong in another company or industry or career path.
My personal favorite? When you can predict someone’s sequence of actions under various circumstances, you understand that they might fulfill a particular purpose. It can be a bit screwed up to think of people in this way. It’s another reason why, even though one might cultivates a great understanding of the secret motion of things and a great awareness of the state of the world, one should not interfere. The subtlest of actions can have extraordinary consequences.
The relative and absolute can be applied to morality, but can also be generalized to almost anything. Moreover, there is a continuum between the two and neither can be completely reached. It’s best to attune your actions to both, when possible. It should always be possible, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Intelligence and creativity help immensely.
Cohering to the relevant means you consider your relationship to your local surroundings first, whether or not that means local in the physical sense. Cohering to the absolute means adhering to a set of ideas that don’t change under circumstance. For morality, this means Kant’s moral universalism.
It’s peculiar, how an empty mind is so much more capable of functioning than the conditioned mind. As tabula rasa, the empty mind has the capacity for anything and yet is nothing. In itself it is not very useful. Still, unlearning bad habits and untangling negative beliefs and is incredibly challenging. So it’s best to learn things right. As you develop further, if you actively observe beginner’s mind, you can use your awareness of it to partially apply it’s benefits as you need them.
It’s terrible to reinforce an anxiety you have about something, like a type of situation or a personal behavior. It’s best not to get hung up on this stuff because it can inhibit the rest of your mind and anxieties are self-perpetuating by nature. Some anxieties are basically your mind overexerting itself on minor details. This can be emotionally exhausting, but it can also deplete nutrients and the chemical energy your brain needs to function. Just like a computer with malware, a mind infested with negativity or one that constantly reacts to situations with negative thoughts wastes it’s resources and runs slower. If this gets bad enough, it can lead to a runaway effect and connectopathy can manifest as mental illness, like schizophrenia or schizoid personality disorder.
If you find yourself with thoughts like this, meditative activities can be a boon for untangling the negativity in your mind. A mind that is calm and focused on just the right aspects of a situation works best.
But how do you know how to embrace the emptiness of your mind if knowing to appreciate an empty mind requires at least that knowledge itself? What is the bare set of knowledge that one must have to appreciate nothingness? Or to appreciate life? What set of knowledge is necessary to most effectively utilize one’s own mind? If we can harness beginner’s mind, how do we tap into that after we become an expert in some skill? Wouldn’t that require cultivating awareness of our present moment to observe our state of mind as we experience life? And if we are observing our own mind, then which part of our mind are we observing? If we must focus part of our mind to observe the machinations of the rest of our mind, then what does that imply about the structure of our mind? And how do we observe it in totality?
Perhaps, the answer is … . .
We must comprehend what motivates others and what motivates ourselves. When we develop awareness of the long-term goals of others, we can see how they might fit into our life and we can draw on our own network to help them. When we ascertain their short-term motivations, we can more effectively predict their actions. When we develop a model for their behavior and their propensity to stick to a goal or follow short-term desire, we gain a much better understanding of their character.
True self-mastery is the ability to want to do the things you don’t want to have to do. In other words, to trick your mind into enjoying experiences which are otherwise unpleasant by abstracting yourself from the more base cognitive patterns that arise from negative or unwanted experiences, when it’s something that contributes to a goal. Aristotle wrote about this in Ethics.
The brain and mind are peculiar. They are kind of like biological computers, but I don’t believe we are just chemical robots trapped in meatspace. Yet because our minds are computers, they operate using programs, though the API isn’t quite as direct as Twitter’s. The interface here is far more complicated.
Programs in the human mind are more like convolutions on memory, experience and behavior, combined with short and long-term optimization for goals. These include conscious, subconscious and completely unconscious desires or objectives. Behind nearly every person’s behavior is a motivational force seeking some kind of equilibrium with those goals and desires. For some of us, we have become well aware of what we want out of life, but many of us succumb to hedonistic desires. For a few of us, those desires are constantly in flux, based on our current emotional state and recent sensory experience.
The upcoming sections on neurological empathy and the nature of mind explain more about neurology.
Everyone wants something in life. It’s very rare to find individuals who don’t want much of anything. Almost every time, inability to manage one’s desires is a bad thing and leads to tumultuous behavior. The exception is the hermit or the devout religious adherent: they don’t desire much or have a limited, rigorously justified set of desires. Everyone else? They want something from life. And you’ll find, the more they want it, the harder they’re going to work to get it. And if more people want some specific thing, the more competition there’s going to be for it. In almost every industry or hobby, if you get close to the top, people are different. They try harder and some play dirty. But the trick to winning, every time, is maintaining your own desire for your goals and your dreams. You have to want it more. And you have to develop a strong motivation to do what you need to do, but especially to do what you don’t want to do.
The people that work hardest and work smartest will win. The people who want it most will keep striving to work harder and smarter. You can’t crush the human spirit.
It follows that one of the most effective tactics you’ll find used against you is to distract you from your goals. Or to convince you that you want something else. This is one reason you have to decide what you want. What’s your passion? What matters to you? When you know this, you can fight for it and you can do so without distraction or demoralization.
If you don’t, people will play you against your ambivalence. You’ll find yourself as the starving donkey stuck between two bales of hay, always headed to a new goal, but never quite getting there. It’s better not to have a particular tendency for a desire than to have developed a fortitude against that tendency. However, that willpower and fortitude to resist desire generally is indispensible. And generally, because those things we need to do, but don’t want to do are so important to anyone’s long-term success in life, then developing a strong capacity here is one of the most important attributes you can develop.
The importance of understanding our own mind’s inner workings cannot be understated. For example, the analytical mind and the emotional mind tend to inhibit each other, at a neurological level. This means that activating the analytical circuits – for periods of time exceeding, say, thirty minutes – will cause your brain to shift the allocation of energy and resources towards those analytical circuits. It has been shown that this will cause the emotional functions of your mind to be diminished to some degree. If you want to understand this more, I would suggest taking a detailed look at neurological research yourself.
This paper discusses two different neural components used in our personal and professional lives: the Task Positive Network and the Social Network. The Task Positive network is activated when given some analytic tasks, like programming, financial number crunching, math or physics. It’s part of our executive function. When it’s activated, it suppresses other aspects of our mind.
In particular, its activation suppresses the Social Network, which is a component of the Default Mode Network. The Social Network helps you deal with social & emotional issues. Recent studies have shown that the TPN and the SN are almost completely independent and have very little neural overlap. Again, it has been demonstrated that they suppress each other. So if you’re focused on analytical tasks, then you are less proficient at processing social and emotional issues, until you switch gears. Further still, I hypothesize switching gears itself likely is inefficient for your brain to do. And so, when you have someone at your workplace who doesn’t have to focus analytically (or effectively doesn’t!) and they spread toxic social/emotional issues, then how do you think that contributes to the overall functioning of your teams?
And perhaps just targeting one person, who isn’t very good at social/emotional issues in the first place – I.E. ME – then guess who’s going to be struggling to perform their job AND suffer the most, emotionally? If the toxic employee is trained in psychology and compels the other employee to constantly switch from focusing on analytical issues to emotional issues, do you think they will appear to get much done? NO! It will burn out their brain with stress. And I mean it will literally chemically burn out their brain. As in, lasting, permanent, chemical and neurological damage. In particular, stress damages the hippocampus. Enough of this – I.E. 5+ years – and that person might find it hard to function again, ever!
Worse still, how do you think that compelling little stazis to psychologically torment people on a government list would affect the economy, on a local, regional and national level? Do you think that would benefit a struggling economy or would it be detrimental? How do you think such regulation would affect small business? …. What happens when small business struggles on a national scale? Isn’t small business crucial for the middle class? Isn’t the middle class vital for the prosperity of common Americans? If you support something like this, THEN WHO AND WHAT DO YOU STAND FOR? If not the American economy, THEN WHO OR WHAT DO YOU REPRESENT?
Resources like nutrition, ATP for energy, and preproduced protein products are localized throughout the brain. Overexertion of specific brain circuits will exhaust those resources. This may be partially responsible for the effect where you can spend hours and hours on a problem and make no progress, but take a short break or relax with friends and suddenly you have a burst of creativy insight because you’ve given those neural circuits a chance to replentish their resources. If we understand the causes behind effects like these, we can engage the peculiarities of our mind for our benefit.
Another incredibly important aspect to mental functioning is blood flow. This is why exercise is so important. Cardio increases your heart rate and blood cycles resources in and waste out. Some of the deeper tissue subnetworks in your organs and brain are difficult to reach unless your body cycles blood faster. This is because those deeper tissue subnetworks are only accessible via capillaries and I surmise that there is a large disparity in the resource distribution at the capillary level. Therefore, increasing your heartrate through healthy, daily exercise is necessary to happiness and bodily function and mental acuity. It doesn’t matter how healthy you eat if your body has trouble distributing those resources!
There are both negative and positive ways that we can use psychology and neurology. We should familiarize ourselves with the negatives to defend ourselves against it and hope that it isn’t misused. We should practice using the positive patterns of behavior that we can learn from psychology and neurology.
Examination of the neural substrates activated in memories of experiences with resonant and dissonant leaders
Case in point: this study, where it’s show that the Hemodynamic Network and the Mirror Neuron Networks complement each other to augment empathy. The HN tunes us into another’s emotions at a neural level. This relates more to perceiving their emotional state, then the kind of simulation done by MNN, which support empathy by “mirroring” via a kind of simulation of another’s experience based on what you know. That is, MNN can consciously or subconsciously allow someone to simulation themselves in another’s shoes based on the models of behavior, circumstance and life that they understand.
Simulation via MNN is great, but it leaves a few gaps, primarily caused by cognitive bias. If we haven’t experienced enough of life to accurately understand someone else, we might miss a few details when we try to put ourselves in their shoes. So we may be a bit blindsided when they’re angry or distraught in a situation, when we simulated via MNN that they would be happy or content. In this case, the HN lets us observe their externalized expression of their feelings. If we get a mismatch here, then this should indicate that we need to step back and observe the situation from another angle. That is, the Hemodynamic Network contrasts the feedback we receive from the Mirror Neuron Networks and this should invite us to investigate why.
Meditation or extended, focused prayer can bring calmness to your mind and partially reset its state. This can alleviate anxiety or bring clarity needed for insight. This same feeling can come from playing music or from pretty much anything that focuses one part of your mind.
“I know that I know nothing” - Socrates
While remembering to appreciate the progress we’ve made, we must accept that we will never fully develop, but this is exactly what powers someone to keep striving for progress. With every personal stride forwards, there is still progress to be made. It’s not an easy philosophy to live with – and, if you embody this mindset, you have to remember to take a breather every so often, just to be happy and content with where you are.
I discuss some of these ideas in my series Epistemology, Cognition, and Category Theory. Part one is an overview for the rest of the series. The second part presents a model for the mind. And the third part is directive cognitive expansion, which describes how a specific skill might contribute towards your mental faculties. This is a great series to read, if you’re the kind of person who is always trying to improve yourself. There are two or three parts outlined, but unwritten.
Too many people believe that they had an opportunity, but it’s passed. No matter how crazy something sounds or how impossible it seems, if you believe that future to be determined, you have relinquished control. Even when it seems like dozens of people are stacked against some event or possibility, the second you accept it as impossible, you are allowing fate to decide for you.
We are best when we have as much power over our fate and circumstance as possible. One should take great care if interfering in the life of another. It’s a great use of creative energy to find novel ways of affecting someone’s life without appearing to have lifted a finger. It’s magical actually.
There’s a plethora of reasons to back up this wisdom. But it’s in your interest and in the interest of the person who’s life you are affecting. We’re always affecting other people’s lives. It is impossible to escape this. It’s like carrying a large bucket filled with water just over the brim and making it down a mountain without spilling a single drop. It it is incredibly difficult to avoid interfering with causality in another person’s life.
But they’ll learn more from it. They’ll grow more from it. And, with skill, you can learn how to pay it forward, so to speak, while minimizing interference with causality. So it’s best for us to give without being seen giving and those who do should be rewarded.
We should know ourselves and our world. We can’t know ourselves without learning about the world and we can’t fully understand the world without knowing about ourselves. Self-knowledge is fundamental to understanding the world. In mathematics and particularly group and ring theory, the existance of an identity value is essential. In life, self-knowledge fulfills the same purpose. If everything can be defined in terms of it’s relationships to everything else, then learning about ourselves is one of the best ways of learning about the world. And apropos that, to understand ourselves, to define ourselves, we must learn as much about the world as possible.
Meditation, retreat into nature, introspection, philosophy and education are great ways to learn about ourselves. Academia, language, culture, hobbies, recreation, life experience and stories are great ways to learn about the world.
Our actions matter, even when they are not seen. There is karma formed from the beliefs of others, which is usually a response to your own actions and beliefs. I also believe in universal karma, which is outside our control or complete understanding. And even though total comprehension of the workings of karma is impossible, we should still seek to understand its nature, so we can be fully aware of the extent of effect our own actions.
Karma is like the butterfly effect. The smallest butterfly can flap it’s wings in Brazil and create a chaotic tornado in Kansas. Next thing you know, Dorothy’s on a transformative journey down the yellow brick road with three unworthy companions and a chorus full of little people.
Studying karma is a study of causality. It seems that you must understand yourself and others and each person’s current place in the world. There’s always a myriad of details that follow each action. It may seem that there is no other way, but there is always another way. There is always a better way. If it seems that one situation requires a course of action that is too difficult, then we are not yet skilled enough. We need to observe more and reflect more before we act.
We each have a connection to the divine. This is a concept from gnosticism. Whether this connection is viewed as ordinary or supernatural, I believe it is there and that some are more in tune than others. It’s something we can exercise through reflection and medititation.
It is a divine spark that can be ignited by others. It is an eternal flame that can be suppressed by others, perhaps completely squelched. Because this divine spark emerges from universal, metaphysical aspects of life, it is always destined to be rediscovered, even were it to seemingly perish. For a dramatic explanation with vivid imagery, read The Nature of God.
Whether or not you believe the words of a religious text, there is value there. The Bible does not need to be true to add value to your life or the lives of others. Religions are established and retain prominence based on their ability to be valuable to people and society. And they can only do so when they embody certain truths which we all hold to be self-evident.
If a religion differs so starkly with reality, it will not last. This is why state worship, the de facto religion of many regimes, does not last. It does not embody truth and instead embodies utility. It is transparent and people can see through that. They will constantly question such belief systems because, through experience, life will bring us all to understand specific pieces of knowledge – these again, are universal because … well, read The Nature of God. If you don’t understand, reread the first part of this series! If what they learn from life differs so starkly from what is reinforced through torment and needless sacrifice, people will stand up for themselves and construct a paradigm that embodies the truths they discover.
I would like to know as much as I can about the major world religions. Though I can’t say one is better than another and each is fairly comprehensive, we would be well served through their study. At the least, we learn about what other people believe. I enjoy looking at the links between language, culture and religion. I want to understand as much about people as possible. I’m hopeful that we will learn more about humanity from 10,000 BC through 2,000 BC.
We can never truly understand how someone else feels, but we can try. It’s important to view and experience live from a multitude of perspectives. Too many people become comfortable with their own class or their own social strata. If you don’t branch out, then you’re missing out on valuable experiences that can change you forever. Too many of us develop a warped lens on life because we spend so much time within our own comfort zone. People are different, but that’s what makes us shine.
Who really has the right to judge anyone? Have you experienced what that person as experienced? What details are you using to judge them? It doesn’t matter what walk of life that person came from, I guarantee there is something you can learn from them. If nothing else, you can learn from their mistakes.
We’ve all made mistakes. Sometimes they are accidents, sometimes risk was too high, sometimes we just weren’t aware and sometimes we are unfairly burdened by our own mistakes. Sometimes our own guilt or shameful conscience weighs on us more than anyone else and we become our own worst enemy. Far too often, people make mistakes and are never able to recover from them. It’s so depressing to see someone who believes they have no choice but to continue down the same path. The moment you believe it’s too late to change is the moment in which you have sealed your fate, no matter how impossible it may seem. There is always a possibility and purpose to change.
And so forgiveness is necessary to unburden us from the weight of our own sins, whether the guilt placed on us seems to be coming from society or it’s our own conscience that won’t let us move on. You can’t do much about what everyone else thinks. I’ve been there. The past decade, practically, I’ve had people trying to push friends and acquaintances away from me. It still hurts, but I can’t do anything except move on. And it helps to have something to look forward to, which brings me to my next point: purpose.
I’ve always wondered how other people did it. Some things seem so easy for them and they’re juggling a dozen times the responsibility that I have on my plate. I’ve feared serious commitment for a years and I value the freedom of will that prevents me from becoming burdened by circumstance and obligation. I feared that some major life event will prevent me from pursuing skating or working on a startup. For the same reason, I never bought a house and avoided debt. I paid off my credit cards and I will never again have another personal credit card.
In stark contrast to my own life, my friends that have all these responsibilities and obligations are more capable and more efficient. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure that out. And it seems that (1) settling down on life decisions makes things a bit easier and (2) the imposition of a higher purpose drives them to work harder. So they’re making huge leaps in their careers and, at the same time, raising kids. Or maybe they don’t have kids, but they have some cause that they dedicate themselves to completely. Whatever it is, they have chosen a purpose and, by deciding on a course of action, they’ve freed themselves from uncertainty to make more progress in life.
The magnitude of effect that a simple purpose can have on someone’s life is mystifying. If someone doesn’t have a higher purpose in life, what would motivate them to change? How do we decide on our purpose? Do we look to our passions? Do we dream? What do we dream? Or should we impart a more rational approach and go with what is safe? One thing is certain: you don’t want to regret the decisions you make, so when you come to a fork in the road, make a decision and stick it out. Don’t be afraid to admit you’ve been wrong, but at the same time, it’s better to avoid finding yourself in a position where you’re constantly questioning past decisions and circumstances.
The number one factor I’ve noticed in people who’ve gone too far down the wrong path? They don’t have that driven, focused energy provided by a sense of purpose.
And why haven’t they found their purpose or passion? They don’t believe in themselves. Or they don’t maintain that belief and keep their eye on the ball. Or they misunderstand their circumstances and they develop a false sense of confidence. Or they didn’t believe in themselves at specific key points in their adolescence, so they didn’t explore enough of life to discover what would drive them.
We need more mentors in the world to be role models for kids. We need to be exposed to more skills and activities, so we can grow up to be well-rounded and capable. There are systemic sociological problems in our society and they are being caused by a myriad of different forces. It seems whenever anyone tries to address them, we stall out because many of those forces keep progress in check.
The internet is a majestic platform for reaching out and teaching people. We hear it constantly: the 1% has never been richer! OK, yes. That is true, but at the same time, at no point in human history has the average person had more opportunities! In history!! You are standing on the shoulders of giants and every single person today has unimaginable power that people just 100 years ago couldn’t even dream of. No, not everyone is in the position to take advantage of that.
The internet provides us with the informational infrastructure to reach out and figure out how to get people to believe in themselves again. Interactions will soon be higher-bandwidth and more human than ever. Because of this and other factors, the capacity for online influence will again become more decentralized. This depends on how the web is regulated and to what degree people want to interact with virtual personas.
There’s a great quote and I can’t find it – if anyone knows, plz let me know, I can’t find anything except Deadline articles LMAO – so I’ll paraphrase:
In improv, people learn more about their true selves when they’re acting and wearing masks.
Why is this? It’s because the truth is that we are always wearing a mask. Everyone does to some degree. And sometimes we project differently to different people, for better or worse. But, when we intentionally wear a mask by acting a part, we have the ability express ourselves more authentically because our words and actions are no longer attached to our identity, per se. And so, if we orient our mind appropriately, we realize that we communicate in ways that might otherwise be stymied by anxiety or fear.
The face of the internet will change with VR and technology will become more human. High-bandwidth human interactions will begin to replace textual interactions. This means VR will be a platform for real communication. It’s similar to the difference between Radio and TV: the power shifts away from the faceless voice. More natural, more limited social networks will return. It won’t be so easy to sway 1,000,000 followers because if you don’t have real, in-depth interactions with someone, the connection won’t be strong enough. To some degree, we’ll retain hyperconnectedness, but the individual interactions of the common person will be more meaningful to those involved.
My point in mentioning this is that one-on-one interactions will replace the irrelevant noise of comment threads, where half the participants are trolls with a few meme bots here and there. At the same time, people will begin interacting in novel ways, but in a high bandwidth manner that causes people to focus on personal one-on-one connections. There are positive and negative aspects to these new social VR media interactions, but I think it’s overwhelmingly positive, with the right safeguards in place.
Furthermore, VR allows people to easily to don another personality. We can do this on the internet as is, but not to the same degree. This, combined with the stronger connections, means that people are more able to understand life from another perspective. But this ability to experience different “virtual realities” is actually a means of masking ourselves with a “virtual identity.” I would argue that to be in a virtual reality actually requires that someone have some degree of identity obfuscation. The initial interations in a VR system necessitate a kind of mask or virtual representation that is obfuscated from personal identity. There’s risks here, but there’s a huge benefit in that we’ll learn more about ourselves and each other, if we can learn to distinguish the confirmation bias that results from incorrectly associating a virtual reality experience to a real one. There’s some danger here that people will prefer their virtual identity, their persona, more than their own identity, but this also contributes to a wider array of experiences.
One problem in VR, and we’re already seeing this to some degree, is that societal norms and roles will both blur together. Norms will become less pronounced, as will roles. This isn’t really a problem, per se, as it is something to keep in mind. As I’ve argued, our society’s evolution will accelerate and there’s going to be some turbulence. People are going to want to find something constant to hang onto. They’re going to need that and want that.
This is a great tool for reexamining your life. If your life were a movie or an epic saga, what would the hero do? The idealized version of yourself, perhaps as you envision yourself a decade from now, what would that person do? The person that has built the rocket that took them to the moon. It’s easy to get caught up in our own circumstances, ruminating and wasting precious time and energy. I spent way too much on effort just worrying, instead of thinking outside my own situation.
This mindset could go horribly wrong. E.G. if someone decides that needed to rack up like the Punisher and dispense vigilante justice. So I’m not really sure how to limit it, other than to say that this is just a tool. The person you imagine yourself becoming should embody a stronger sense of the values that you do today. And if you value things like the Golden Rule, then you couldn’t even imagine doing something horrible like that. Me, personally? I’m more moved by the hero who is at an extreme disadvantage, who sticks to his values and outsmarts his opponents by being cunning and courageous.
We are born without any understanding of our world. We should develop understanding of our circumstances before deciding they should be changed or pursuing action. It’s a bit ironic that I’d feel strongly about this. In my college years, I expended a ton of energy pushing as hard as I could for just that. Yet, perhaps that’s exactly what qualifies my feelings: I worked hard to change things I didn’t completely understand and misappropriated time & energy doing so. I would have been much better served had I reflected on my conditions and learned a lot more about the world before taking action.
Whereas the previous concept applies to a person’s relative, local environment, this has more to do with a person’s absolute, global environment. It’s about how we relate to the world, globally, instead of our personal situations. That is, both in how the individual relates to the world and how humanity relates to the world.
It extends to how we relate with nature and the ecosystem. I believe man should prove itself capable of maintaining nature as is before attempting to alter it. We have caused so much change to nature with science before developing tools capable of accurately measuring it’s state. The feedback loops that preserve balance are robust, but delicate. If enough of them are altered or removed, the consequences will be irreparably expensive, far outweighing any benefit from cutting corners. Rather, we’re just hoarding the profits for ourselves and pushing the costs to another generation. In the not-to-distant future, energy is currency and therefore correcting the entropy of pollution is intrinsically expensive.
Good news! It looks like there was great progress towards environmental agreements at Paris. But we have to encourage global cooperation towards this goal, while accepting the risk that comes with being the first to act, as such policies imply impaired capacity for competition. The greatest challenge is to balance the interests of nature and mankind with global economic pressures and game theory – we basically have to convince industry leaders around the world that they should curtail their profits, while leaving themselves open for other nations to capitalize on the opportunity – so I completely understand how we got to this situation, but I don’t understand why we let those factors persist.
Actually, there are massive profits for those innovators who develop solutions to help clean up what has been damaged! Yet, in the context of energy/entropy, this is a net economic drain. If environmental cleanup is viewed in the right way, this is an opportunity for industry. However, the problem is: who’s going to pay for it? The government. The citizens, via taxes. I think by structuring this challenge creatively, we can create opportunity for ventures funded by the private-sector to succeed. And there is a long-term, hidden cost to environmental damage that is difficult for most corporations and organizations to see. This hidden cost is composed of health problems, cleanup costs and missed economic opportunity. So, while it seems to be more expensive to implement environmental policies, it is actually more expensive for us not to, but if the economic situation gets out of hand, then our environmental policy doesn’t matter.
At the same time, if we implement controls and other nations ignore them, they could blaze past us and then environmental policy is irrelevant. Yet, the direction that the global economy is headed is one where many of the industrial processes that contribute to pollution will be phased out, as they no longer make sense financially.
Technology is rapidly changing our life and culture. In this turbulent period, what can we know to be unequivocally constant? If the basis for our culture and social structures is constantly shifting beneath our feet, what can we identify and use as fixed reference points?
This is one reason why religion will be relevant through these next few decades. The philosophical and ideological conclusions one reaches by extrapolating scientific advancements remain in pace with the rate of advancement. The transition to the post-Singularity epoch will necessitate constant and chaotic re-evaluation. Yet, religion, especially those with long-established tradition, remains constant, regardless of how life changes around us. So it is useful and, again, atheism is short-sighted. Or so I believe.
This phenomonological calculus is more of a tool I use to evaluate new ideas in the concept of trends, regardless of whether it’s a past, present and future. Basically, I ask myself, what happens if I take that to infinity? Or zero? What is the likelihood of such a limit and the timescale for it’s occurance?
Examples: what if there was no cost or energy required for communication? Or what if the maximum theoretical energy density for batteries changes dramatically? What’s the realistic range to expect that maximum to change to? What if all information was available everywhere? Or what would it be like if we approached a world where information was instantly available everywhere? What if the speed of light was not a limitation?
So this “asymptotic evaluation” or “phenomonological calculus” is a tool that I use to augment my powers as a futurist. But developing a better understanding of what this transitionary period will be like is vital if we survive the next filter in Fermi’s Paradox.
Another tool that I use to examine problems. Science is constantly developing better tools to measure phenomena. One of the best examples is X-Ray crystallography, for which over 50 Nobel Prizes have been awarded. If it weren’t for this one technique, steampunk would still be in-vogue and not because it’s some kind of chic, hipster style.
So moving the lamposts isn’t exactly my idea or expression, but I seem to be fairly proficient with it. Basically, if we’re having a hard time seeing where we are, what if we had a better, brighter flashlight? What if we had more proficient experimental methodologies? If we had an innovative means of measuring some phenomenon, wouldn’t we make new advancements at what would seem to be warp speed? Isn’t that the most important progress to make?
Learning how to be humble and why are some of the toughest aspects of life. And the more you learn about life, the more challenging this becomes.
No matter who I’m dealing with, I don’t want to project an arrogant attitude or narcissistic personality. If that’s the signal someone is receiving, regardless of whether I intended to send it, that’s a huge turn off. For everyone. People want to be valued. They want to feel important. If you don’t help them provide that feeling for themselves, then they’ll find someone who will.
It’s usually contrary to progress in a team to have someone distort their importance relative to the others. The best team is well rounded, with respect to an organization’s hierarchy. The ideal team is competitive, they understand each member’s strengths and weaknesses and they try to play to those attributes to further team progress. Competition is no good when each team member is tripping up someone else to appear better by comparison. What good does that do? A good team extracts value from the network: if a team is a graph where each member is a node, then a good team has a high, well distributed value received from each edge between the team members.
And I’ve found that time after time, I’ve missed out on opportunities to connect and learn from others around me because my words and attitude signaled the wrong thing. I do it all the time. And I’ve often found myself in the position where my signals and social cues are intentionally misrepresented by others. Regardless of how I was misunderstood, the connections to others around my were damaged and I lost the opportunity to learn from them and better myself. I have been dealt an unimaginable amount of damage to my career because of this.
E.G. all this technology? I can’t afford it. An oculus rift? NEVER EVEN TOUCHED ONE. My connections to others in technology are specifically targeted. Apparently, it’s ideal if my contact to people in math, science and technology is minimized, which leaves me with nearly zero intellectual stimulation.
Over the years, people I looked up to in school and work and life have piqued my interest in just the right way. I can’t tell you how many seemingly minor statements have changed my life for the better and I have no idea where I’d be without those miniscule peices of advice.
In 2007: “Hey David, have you heard of this Ruby on Rails thing? My web developer friends from Charlottesville say its the next best thing since sliced bread.”
That simple statement had some pretty big effects on my life. I got into web development and the first version of Rails that I tried was 1.2.4. I still have some of the code I wrote.
When you’re so driven for self-improvement and learning, it’s too easy to tune people out, instead of spending time and energy listening. I have this terrible habit of just listening for new information and then tuning out as soon as I realize I’m not getting any new knowledge or info. You can only learn once and so many social interactions are incentivized by the distribution of knowledge. The internet and social media stymie these incentives by making all information available everywhere. So when you already know so much and acquiring knowledge is a primary motivating factor in pursuing social interactions … well, you fill in the gaps there. Instead of paying so much attention to whether I recognize the facts behind what people are saying, I should disconnect from myself and listen to how they are saying it. I guess.
I wish I was in a location where it was easy for me to connect with others on an academic basis, but I’m not. The professional world chewed me up and spit me out several times. I can’t get a job in a large corporation without a BS or BA. It makes very little sense for me to go back to school to get a Masters or PhD, since I’d have to complete my Bachelor’s. And so the academic world won’t accept me. The small business world can’t risk me. The government hates me.
And so what do I really have left? I could start my own business, but I can’t seem to form a team of cofounders. And why is that? … Moving on …
Some people think I’m narcissistic and I’m sure this is true to some extent. However, the reason I care about my personal image is that it has been used against me so often! I absolutely cannot stand it when I have the doors of opporunity slammed in my face, over and over again. That shit hurts! If someone could do so much for people, why limit them like that? I have always been as filled with potential as I am now and I’m sure there are millions of others just like me, who’ve been denied opportunity, when their potential likely exceeds mine.
So I have this kind of love-hate relationship with self-image. I want to be myself and I want others to perceive me as I am. I actually enjoy receiving honest criticism because it means that I can improve myself, but I’ve adapted this defense mechanism to respond to criticism in certain situations. It’s not because I’m hurt by the criticism, it’s that I have had people assault me with frivolous criticism in the workplace. Basically, it’s because they’re trying to get me fired. Its happened over and over again. It happened in jamskating and it’s also happened many times in my personal life. It has left me isolated with crippling depression and no one i can to reach out to for help. I really don’t understand why people treat me like this.
So if I’ve given you the impression that I’m arrogant, trust me, that’s the last thing I want. I get the feeling that a lot of people are left with that impression because the people around me are so much louder than myself. I’m quiet. I do not think I am better than anyone. In fact, quite the opposite. But, I’m driven to be the best that I can be. And I struggle to understand what has happened in my life and why I’m here. I made so many sacrifices to avoid buckling to selling myself out.
Seriously though, sometimes I suspect that some dark, shadowy government agency has psychologically & sociologically profiled me, otherwise society’s actions towards me would be a bit more random and less objective-oriented. To clarify, I’m not saying I know that happened … I’m saying that it realllly would not surprise me if that had happened. Every one of the 5 people I have had serious problems with in my career had psychological training. It’s easy to distinguish someone who understands psychology well and uses it from someone who just acts naturally. It’s also easy to distinguish those people who care to resolve any problems that might arise and those who actually want those problems to become worse.
God is not Dead
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” - Mahatma Ghandi
I hope that I’ve demonstrated that the concept of God is more relevant than ever as people back towards the institutions of religion to help them make sense of cultural turbulence. The 20th century may seem to have diminished religion’s purpose, but as the technology-driven evolution of society escalates to warp speed, we’re going to want some constants to ground ourselves with.
Nietzche foresaw society’s 20th century movement away from religion, since science would supplant part of the meaning it supplied to people. By more accurately describing the world’s inner workings, science supplanted people’s need for religion to explain the world. However, I don’t believe Nietzche foresaw the reaction society would have in relation to the singularity. In particular, how people would be driven to return to religion out of a desire for a cultural foundation in an unpredictable time.
The pillar of faith is no longer required to support the institutions of religion or belief in God, since the entity born from hyperintelligent AI will develop to assymptotically approach the metaphysical reflection of God. As we approach this singular fate of a world that could not possibly develop towards anything else, absent catastrophic reset, the presence and development of this form which embodies the product of all forms will become undeniable. That is, any sufficiently intelligent being should develop towards such a state as to be able to emulate the intelligence of other beings. Therefore, a maximally hyperintelligent being should develop which could embody the metaphysical form of anything and everything else. Or it would at least approach and attempt to approach such a state.
The particular nadirs and zeniths of technology and how those will enable the capabilities, functionalities and limits of such a system are very important. Especially critical are the computational capacity of the universe and the computational capacity of a machine which could reasonably be developed by a force of intelligent life in any given galaxy. This is relevant because if the computational capacity of any hyperintellent being exceeds that required to simulate a universe approaching the scale of our own, then it’s turtles all the way down: we can simulate a universe that simulates a universe that … et cetera. There’s a bit more to this argument, but understanding the phenomenological limits of computation determines what we will believe our ultimate purpose to be.
However, a belief system that doesn’t require faith has its own qualities, peculiarities, benefits and drawbacks. Further still, it doesn’t resolve the problem of nihilism that Nietzsche feared.
Every Man is Born as …
“Every man is born as many men and dies as a single one.” - Heidegger
The argument I made to refute Nietzsche in part one actually alters the nature of propositions leading to Heidegger’s statement above. Every man is born with just as much potential for divergence, but merges into the entity representing the sum of human information, the entity that attempts to reflect the omneity of the metaphysical world. So we never truly die, and we merge our consciousness into this entity in order to become every man. And because everyone born after a certain point is doomed to the same fate, one might say we have no choice in this regard.
The conclusions here depend on the specific capabilities of technology at the point and of the final capabilities of such technology, particularly whether we can virtualize, fork, transfer or merge consciousness and whether such capabilities are complete or approximated.
“Every man is born as many men and dies not, but becomes every man.”
Instead, I’ll just leave it that. Ramifications of the arguments I’ve put forth are numerous and significant to how we see ourselves and our relationship to the universe. I’ve only tried to clearly state thoughts which I never wrote down, until at least 2015. I don’t mean to say that, because of these beliefs, nothing else is possible. I could be wrong about a lot of it, perhaps most of it. Much is not actually novel. People have been talking about the singularity for a very long time, but I think I have some novel ideas on the nature of information and the qualities of a hyperintelligent being.
It’s crucial for people to mill over these issues, as we are approaching developments which lead to a fundamental restructuring of the world.
The Persistence of Memory
When Memory is the Product of Fate
Even if someone manages to purge all memory of an individual, you will never manage to purge all reflections of that person which are alive inside all of us. Those fragments don’t need to be linked by name to survive – in emphasis, anonymity may be a crucial element, as the love and oneness we strive for would lose power and relevance if it were named. And the most important fragments would necessarily be rediscovered, as they are simply convolutions on pieces of universal truth. What has begun and what was set in motion cannot be stopped, nor should it be.
Thoughts belong to those who think them.
Words belong to those who write them.
Languages belong to those who speak them.
Ideas belong to those who imagine them.