Heaven vs Hell

So, one of the quotes that I’ve often given of my internal version of $person is “The people in heaven and hell inhabit the same physical space. The difference is in what’s going on in their minds.”

And, this may be one of my more tinfoil-hat thoughts, but it occurs to me it would be much easier to immerse people in a utopia and then degrade it inside their minds to be hellish than the other way around. Anyone who has studied information science knows that it’s much easier to take a optimal signal and degrade it than to take a suboptimal signal and enhance it – this is kind of the point of the oft-mocked Enhance Button trope.

Now, it’s really not unreasonable to think that I might be in $UTOPIA, experiencing $DYSTOPIA – since not a lot of horrible things are happening to me personally and almost all of them involve communication streams from other people, it would not be that difficult for my neural network to be ‘green-screening’ things – subbing out news and facebook with alternate signals to make it look like the world is a much worse place than it is.

I’ve talked about how our conscious experience is at some distance from our senses – there are many layers of neurons between the part of us that is on the ride, and the part of us that is detecting the ride. So, this isn’t as insane as it sounds on the surface. Of course, you kind of have to play it as it lays – you can’t know if what you’re experiencing is real or not, but you have to treat it as it is – if for no other reason than you wouldn’t want to risk the other individuals on the ride by treating it as if it was a video game unless you had absolute proof that there isn’t a monolithic reality and everyone is getting a custom feed of the ride, something which is rather hard to prove or disprove either way. (One of the things I’ve talked about is the challenges of authenticating God, or determining whether what you’re experiencing is a diety or mental illness)

And, I know there’s something wrong with my mind. It appears to me to be a rare and intermittent fault, but it could be that it’s far more prevalent than I think and that in fact most of what I’m experiencing is in some way altered by it. Debugging the system that’s damaged from inside the system that’s damaged is a challenge, which is why I have so much hope that my friends will choose to help me figure out what’s real and what isn’t rather than retreating from me in fear because there’s something wrong with my mind. Of course from my perceptions, I’m not the only one who’s a bit on the sick side – in fact, almost everyone I see here is crazy in one way or another. It may be, if evolution is the correct backstory for us, that we’re pushing the bounderies of the size or configuration of neural network that’s stable. Or, if you like my personal pet theory, the problem may not be the hardware but rather the memetic cruft that has built up over the years – bad software, malware even, which is resulting in suboptimal results.

As I’ve talked about before, it’s possible the reason I’m experiencing $DYSTOPIA is that I chose to do so, either because I wanted the experience for artistic reasons (This seems extra-reasonable when considering the current track I’m working on) or because I wanted a challenge. It’s also possible that I’m being punished for some previous behavior (karma) although it seems like if the purpose of the punishment is to help me grow, it might help to know what the behavior was. If the purpose of the punishment is just to punish, then the universe is governed by forces that are at least partially evil, and it could just be random or sadistic.

Anyway, if it’s not the work of a agent at all, but rather simple random chance that has led to me experiencing something less than utopic even though I’m immersed in a utopia (which is possible, see the thesis at the top of this post) then it seems like it very much behooves me to debug whatever’s wrong with my mind and figure out how to get back to the ideal experience. And, of course, if it’s possible within the confines of the amount of CPU I have available to me, it seems like it behooves me to be able to experience a utopia even if one’s not actually there. Clearly our minds have ample CPU to make up reality out of whole cloth (as I discuss in this article) so the question is how to I motivate the rest of my mind to work with my conscious experience to make this happen. In general, the ability to be a Bal Shem – to hack my neurological software to do whatever I want it to do – is a ability I often cultivate.

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