Thursday, January 29, 2015

Thought experiment regarding transferring a person into a computer

This is a popular science fiction theme - man builds a computer, man transfers himself into the computer, the computer is him. This is an appealing fantasy but let's think it through. If I did it, which part of me would be transferred?

My memories - I don't really use them that much. They are generally horror stories so I wouldn't want them dragging me down in my computer wonderland.

My personality - this is hard to pin down. I respond differently to different people in different situations. Perhaps there is a true me in there somewhere, but which one is it. My personality also varies depending on my exhaustion, whether I stubbed my toe or not, and whether I managed to get what I want. I wouldn't want to take these in with me because most of them get on my nerves anyway.

My intellect - there is nothing special here.

My soul - by this, I mean the essence of me. The essence of me is derived from the world around me. The world is in me as much as I am in the world. In a sense I am already in computers as the information that surrounds us on the Internet - you can already find me in there, because the way we think is already there. There is nothing unique about me in that way.

So, realistically, there is nothing much worth transferring. I am who I am in the moment I'm in surrounded by the sensory world. This can't be transferred because it has already gone.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Yuor mind is perfectly happy without you

When you examine what makes you sad, there is generally one common theme - you. This might seem a bit of a useless insight, but it is quite handy when you realise that 'you' is a kind of moveable feast - it changes with the weather. Indeed, days fly by quite nicely if you manage to drop the incessant you-ness and instead open up your awareness into the magical spaciousness of the mind. At some point you might come to realise that the reason this works is because 'you' are not really a thing at all, just a constellation of ideas coming together at any particular moment to 'get your way'. Then the real wonder begins.

I realise that I have been 'excessive' with the quote marks in this post, but it felt like the right thing to do.

Monday, January 19, 2015


I sat still for a few moments and noted the sensations it was feeling, mainly from my body but also in reaction to my thoughts. I rated pleasant feelings as 1, nothing feelings as 0 and unpleasant feelings as -1. As you can see it changed a heck of a lot. These are pure sensations. You might notice that there is a lot going on and that I am not actually in control of any of it - they mostly just happen. 

So, if you've been reading my last few posts, then you'll know that we naturally want pleasant things all the time, and yet now it seems as if the pure sensation of pleasant arises for no real reason at all. There's our problem right there. Want does not always get. You get what you're given. Now I'm starting to sound like my mother ...

Saturday, January 10, 2015

How to get what you want without doing much

In my last post I suggested that if you wanted to change yourself you should do nothing and let change happen by itself. Now clearly people want to achieve certain things - be happier, thinner, better job, successful, and so on. We can be ruthless, driven and push ourselves hard but it comes with  a certain cost which I'm sure we can all identify. However this seems a bit more proactive than doing nothing.

So then, for those of you who still have things to achieve, there is a middle way. The way we behave and make choices in the world is largely unconscious and a learned behaviour. This is the first lesson - manipulate our unconscious reactions. The next thing to note is that as you change other people will change with you to accommodate the new you - in other words, change is possible.

Here's the practical part that makes it work. Do the relaxation I mentioned in the last post and then drop some intentions into your mind - I like myself, I want to be happy, I am confident. Visualise yourself as a happy, confident person (or whatever it is you want to be). You might think this is hogwash, but this is an extraordinarily successful technique. The mind is extremely sophisticated but it can be influenced by the simplest of words or images. This is how advertising works. This is why you should surround yourself with positive people and positive things. Cultivate the person you want to be.

The real change then happens by itself.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Time for a change

It's a new year and there's a sense of freshness now that the old year has been completed. We want to change, be a new person, but is change possible? How do we change?

Here's the short and curlies of it: we can change but it's very difficult.... The thing that needs to change is the thing that doesn't want to change - you. You want things to be different while you stay the same. It's one of those mind bending inside out situations.

So, it's best to let go of wanting to change and relax instead. Find a nice chair, do some breathing exercises, find a gap in your thoughts and let everything go. Do it everyday and things will never be the same again. You will change in ways you never thought possible.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

There is no consciousness in brain activity

The brain is a magical thing and consciousness is extra magic on top. Now, it turns out that consciousness is not a thing at all - it is an artifact, a ghost in the machine. One way to get to grips with this is to look at brain activity. Brain activity is a crazy rush of jumbled up lights - you can get an idea of the lights by relaxing your mind and having someone clap in your ears, or have someone punch you in the face, or have a spinal tap and have the nurse jolt one of the electrodes running down your spine. In these cases, you will get a blinding flash of light. There is no consciousness in these lights, they are just there, but they are most certainly your lights. Consciousness is formed after, in some other way.

Now, the next thing to look for is consciousness forming from the brain activity, like a shadow emerging from a sparkling mist of pure twinkliness. Then you might ask yourself, what am I? 

(I made a picture to represent what a flash of light might look like in case you didn't fancy trying out one of my other examples.)

Monday, December 15, 2014

Why do we do anything we do?

The answer to this is:

to feel good

You might like to think about that the next time you do something. Then the next question is:

did I know I was doing it to feel good?

The answer is probably not. You probably layered a thousand other explanations on top of your actions, but ultimately we are slaves to feeling good.

The final question is:

did the good feeling last?

Usually, not for very long. Which is a bummer.