Back when animals could talk and the internet was whistled over phone lines, a program was written called Darwin Pond. It’s a simple game in all aspects: Creatures are born, eat, mate, die. Clicking and beeping, these “swimmers” evolve their DNA over generations until a superior race emerges and out-lives the other mutations. I grew terribly bored with it over the years but back then, I found it extremely fascinating.
I would sit and watch them, the ignorant little critters, as they struggled to survive. Some essentially committed suicide in their attempt to find a mate, some just barely made it to a last bit of food to live another few minutes. While they are strictly emotionless, it’s not hard to fantasize their desperation.
There are parameters you can tweak: Energy gained from food, energy lost when mating, sexual preferences. Each setting was a different experiment, and because of the random factor it sometimes took a dozen tries or more for the same initial settings, to produce a race that didn’t go extinct.
That’s what I did. Tweaked a parameter, sat back, and observed. I let things evolve on their own, without interfering. Evolution is an effective but slow process, and I found it entertaining that the resulting race was not something of my own creation, but the result of factors coming together and leading to one thing, then another, and so on.
Why is this relevant? Because I just realized that I seem to have maintained this mentality throughout a whole list of other things in real life. I always did wonder why I perpetually refrain from calling friends or family, approaching girls, or knocking on doors looking for work. The reason may not be my fascination for spontaneously unfolding events but the result is the same: I sit and watch as things unfold. Friends call me, jobs find me, and god permit, I get laid. I know it’s a shitty attitude but so far I haven’t succeeded in changing it- It’s just part of me.
The most convenient example these days is my career. I could have gone and applied with bigger companies, knowing they need good workers, but instead I chose to take it easy and let people discover me. Stupid? Yes, very. Effective? Surprisingly so.
Most jobs now come in via my internship with the Dirty Guys, who remember me as a promising technician and mention my name just about every time someone asks. I could rush it by sending in applications, but I am not in a rush so I just let things evolve, slowly but steadily.
I know what I’m worth: I do my job with passion and love, and work hard. Those are my parameters, along with an in-your-face attitude that isn’t always appreciated and perhaps a tiny bit of a short temper. My starting point, from where things unfold as I “undergo” my own career passively. The only meddling I have to do is choose between overlapping jobs, and even that I try to do on a calculated basis. Technical jobs come first, exceptional jobs second and stagehand jobs third, although I do tend to swap based on a gut feeling.
My attitude towards friendships is similar, but the point where it really fails me is the constantly changing environment of my relationships. Watching from the sidelines doesn’t quite cut it, there, which is a shame. I’d find it quite entertaining watching myself score chicks based on my reputation alone. Fat chance.
How strange, to find such an accurate similarity between my way of playing games and striving for success in life, but I’m quite sure it’s no coincidence. Perhaps one caused the other, or the two have the same reason.
So again that question: Why why why? Why would anyone do such an obviously counterproductive thing?
Does this observing persona feel safer from events, not having invested in it, at least not actively? Would this really still be the cliché of nihilistically squaring off highs and lows in life in order to feel more secure? Surely, I don’t still fall for that bullshit- Moi, Le Optimiste Cinical (what’s with all the French lately), the self-connoisseur, pledged to take life into my own hands?
What other reason could there be, to grow this idea so deeply that I hadn’t even noticed it until now? There’s my blooming professional career on one hand, my intimate love life with [sic] the other, and my friends somewhere in the middle. Not the choice I would advise anyone to make, yet here I am. I hear it’s the general situation a pacifist psychopath finds himself in- But that’s just absurd, right?
No conclusion tonight, it seems. On the shelf with all the other unresolved questions, it goes. I refuse to be that nihilist, though. I’d rather work a lifetime on changing my demeanor towards women than justifying it with the delayed idea that a lack of joy brings comfort in the long run.
I will die a slow and painful death before recognizing the ludicrous idea that reality only exists through observation. Many people have tried to tell me before: Our image of reality is purely subjective and imagining something can make it part of that reality, and thus true. If you believe that there is a wall in front of you so much, that you can feel it, it’s actually there.
I call bullshit, from the top of my lungs if I have to. Not only would such a notion pretty much make my carefully crafted sense of reality obsolete, but it’s an absurd idea to begin with.
I guess that’s just what makes it so appealing to believe: The absurd seems to have some weird relation with intelligence, like British humor or conspiracy theories that are so far-fetched that somehow, they must be true.
In a discussion, I sometimes find it quite frustrating when absurdity is something my conversation partner seems to want to strive towards. I’ve got news for you asshats:
Absurdity is stupid. Randomness is mundane. Denial of reality is easy. So easy in fact, that the dumbest among us can do it, and in fact, tend to. A complete detachment of reality, through drugs, alcohol or philosophy, might seem intellectual and witty, but is in fact counterproductive and beside the point.
It goes like this:
Reality –> Observation –> Reasoning –> Understanding. Imagination comes after that.
Surely it can’t be that hard.
I can see where the confusion might take place: The definition of reality is that it’s external, takes place outside our head. What people define as “subjective reality” is no more than the understanding of it.
Yes, it can be possible to imagine something to the point of observation. The timeline above can go backwards up to that point. But that doesn’t make it reality, damnit. Not even some twisted, personal reality because no such thing exists. It is your observation, your reasoning, your understanding and your imagination, but not your reality.
People believing in religion, conspiracy theories, chemtrails or the illuminati think they have reached some higher understanding because they see beyond reality, beyond logic, while in fact they just fabricate a whole world using wishful thinking. As if they reached a new adulthood, outgrown mere sensory observation and evolved a new, elevated form of reasoning while in fact, they are on the way back to their ancestors, the fucking sheep.
Why is this important to me? Because first of all, our collective sanity is at stake, and we all know what happens when that is lost. But mostly, because the world, as it is, as it can be observed, reasoned and understood, yes even imagined, is such a wonderful and infinitely interesting place. Even if you realize that there is a truth out there, outside our minds, that abides by logical rules only, the beauty of it is so vast, it’s difficult to comprehend.
Laws, ours for the discovering, events to see, galactic freeways of conscious thought, both global and individual, from dark alleys of the mind to complete landscapes of realization, mountaintop-like conclusions that open an enormous new perspective on that one constant, that one reality, why would you deny that? Where do you expect to end up when you stop seeing wild theories as thought experiments and begin to believe those little thoughts of ours can change physical matter around us?
The obvious difference in progress biding your time believing your own fabrications versus seeking to discover what is really there, should be enough to convince most sane people of the importance of it, but isn’t. Instead, dead-end thinking is embraced as the new standard and discussions that could have taken us to the very fabric of life, end in “yeah maybe in your reality but not in mine.”
If there is a god at all, I’m sure he feels his dick itch every time some tit spouts one of those one-liners.
“As a human being, you have no choice about the fact that you need a philosophy. Your only choice is whether you define your philosophy by a conscious, rational, disciplined process of thought and scrupulously logical deliberation—or let your subconscious accumulate a junk heap of unwarranted conclusions, false generalizations, undefined contradictions, undigested slogans, unidentified wishes, doubts and fears, thrown together by chance, but integrated by your subconscious into a kind of mongrel philosophy and fused into a single, solid weight: self-doubt, like a ball and chain in the place where your mind’s wings should have grown.”
– Ayn Rand