November 18, 2017

Predators vs Sickos vs Fucking Idiots

The United States is experiencing a rather unpleasant, yet still also wonderful, period of self awakening.  As a result of the actions of a handful of utter monsters, we're finally collectively embracing the idea that sexually assaulting women is not acceptable.

That being said, I think that our understanding of who is bad, and why they are bad can use a bit of fine-tuning.  We risk ruining the lives of a lot of generally good people by mis-categorizing them.

Meet Our Friends, The Fucking Idiots
Years ago, my wife and I had young kids (think 6 and 2 years old) and socialized with other couples with similarly young kids.  One pair of friends, I'll call them Alexandra and Matt (true names hidden to protect their identity) would routinely bring their ill-behaved kids into restaurants and totally trash the place.  Their kids would throw food -- whenever we left, food was scattered all around the table, all over the floor.  Wet foods, too -- pastas and mashed potatoes sometimes ground into carpet.   All left for the poor waiting staff (or whomever) to clean up.

My wife and I would intervene, struggling to contain the mess the best we could.  We'd almost always split the bill evenly (which made sense -- four adults, four kids and all), but my wife and I would leave an out-sized tip for the waiting staff.   I happen to know that our friends did not.

From the perspective of Alexandra and Matt, this was normal, expected, allowable.  Everything was a-okay.   We mentioned it to them a few times, and they were quite confident that this was fine. "Oh, don't worry about it!  They deal with families with children all day, every day."   ...And it's not like anybody ever called them out on their behavior.  They thought that my wife and I were just uptight!

But it wasn't okay -- not by a longshot.   I distinctly remember going into Bertuccis once (where we had been several times with these friends), and I saw the hostess clench her jaw at the sight of us.   It was clear as day:  jaw clenched.

And our friends probably engaged in said bullshit behavior ... let's see...if they ate out twice a week, and this insane phase lasts two years (which sounds about right to me), then we're talking 2 * 50 * 2 = 200 potential disasters for someone else to clean up.   Even if some of those went smoothly, we're talking at a minimum of fifty total disasters, blithely and cluelessly left for someone else to clean up.  Usually involving a mop and a vacuum cleaner, after our dipshit friends departed the restaurant.

That's a lot of grief to give. That's like a seemingly endless well of unpleasant evenings added to the society at large.

So here's the thing:  They're not bad people.  They're really not!  Bill Maher would, in fact, classify them as "kale-eating liberals".  Social justice types, responsible and almost certainly donating to NPR and active in the community. 

They're not bad people.  They're just fucking idiots.

Some of you might wince at use of the word "fucking," and (rightfully) wonder "Isn't it sufficient to say that they're just idiots, Brett?"  And I think not.  I'd say that if a person acts foolishly and there's no real harm, then they're idiots.  But if a person's idiocy causes measurable hardship for others, then they are upgraded to fucking idiots.  They are to be scorned, but only a little bit.  I mean, I think.

Sexual Harassment:  Predators vs. Sickos vs. Fucking Idiots
Okay, soooo...  when it comes to the recent spate of sexual harassment claims, from my perspective, I see three totally different categories of people here.

(NOTE: The list of assaults continues and we very well find out MORE about the people I cite.  Please know I can only go off of what we know as of right now - early December 2017.   So if we find out that Al Franken had sex with his cat, please know that a change in category might certainly be warranted.)

Category 1:  Predators.
Category 1: Predator
First are the people who clearly knew they were hurting women or preying upon the vulnerable and who didn't care.  This category includes your bullies (Donald Trump, Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey), and borderline pedophiles (Roy Moore).  They know what they are doing is wrong, and in my opinion should go to jail for a long time.

Most often, these people have a long list of people they have wronged, did some really dark things (often involving women crying and/or protesting at the time), and they demonstrate zero desire to take any responsibility for what they did whatsoever -- clinging to the blatantly ridiculous story that somehow all of their accusers are lying.

Category 2:  Sickos.
Category 2: Sickos
Maybe this is the same category as the first one, I'm not sure.  Here's where I'd put your Anthony Weiners -- who ruined his own life (repeatedly!) because he was just so intoxicated by sex.   I mean, he's a total scumbags to be sure, but whereas for the prior category I'd say "lock 'em up and throw away the key", here I'm more thinking "serve modest time, then go to some sort of rehab clinic."

Make no mistake, sickos still cause much emotional duress.  But they give off less of a predatory vibe, and more of an uncontrolled libido vibe.  They aren't out to hurt or dominate, they just can't control themselves -- and what they do is wildly inappropriate.  I'd almost feel badly for them, if they weren't hurting those around them.

Category 3:  Fucking Idiots
Category 3: Fucking Idiot
This third category are people who are just like our friends described above, but with regards to sex.  I get a strong sense that people like Louis C.K., Al Franken are genuinely good people.  But they're either Fucking Idiots, or at least once were Fucking Idiots.

I bet they thought what they did was okay enough,  at that very moment.   Observe that Louis C.K. did ask at least some of those women whether he could expose himself.  Is that creepy as f*ck?   Yes.  You'd need to be a fucking idiot to not see that.  Hence my point.

It is these people who will cause the rest of us so much anguish, because we often love these people.  Observe Al Franken's female colleagues rushing to his defense, and Sarah Silverman's anguish at simultaneously loving Louis C.K. while acknowledging his terrible actions.

We love them because they are worthy of being loved.  Because they have great good inside them.  They're just fucking idiots.

How should we judge Fucking Idiots?
And so here's the rub (ugh, terrible choice of words):   Most reasonable people agree that Donald Trump, Roy Moore, Harvey Weinsten and Kevin Spacey should rot in hell.  And Anthony Weiner should rot in extended therapy.

But should we treat Fucking Idiots similarly?  In my opinion, we should not.

Opinions vary greatly, but I'd say that if they:
1. Never did anything truly violent.
2. Totally own up to what they did.
3. Provide a truly sincere apology.
4. Promise to never do it again.
5. And (ideally) win the forgiveness of the people they wronged.

...then they should be provisionally forgiven, with the understanding that if they ever do it again, we will judge them far more harshly.

In my estimation, Louis CK and Al Franken have both met these particularly high standards.  And so I'd say that Louis CK should continue to make us laugh.  And Al Franken should continue being an excellent politician (and staunch defender of women's rights too, I might add).

Remember: Men Are Known To Act Like Idiots
There's another reason why I believe we must judge Fucking Idiots with a bit of clemency, and give them a chance to get back into our good graces.  Because if not, we're permanently damning a huge chunk of the populace.

Women, please don't forget that men are prone to acting like idiots.   We all see it in parenting, every day.  Seriously, which parent would send their kids out without jackets?  Which parent would feed them pizza every night, if they could get away with it?  Which parent completely spaces on going to the dentist? It's this "broad view" of the social landscape that somehow most women possess naturally, and most guys totally miss.  (OMG, another really poor choice of words:  Broad View.)

Guys do stupid shit naturally.  Whenever you see someone doing a wheelie on a motorcycle without a jacket or helmet on, or lighting their fart on fire, or tying a mattress to the roof of their car and then holding on to it with one arm out the window -- it's always a guy.   Women are generally too smart for such nonsense.

For example, I once spotted a cartoon caricature that a female colleague had hanging in her cubicle.  I did not know this woman at all.  Yet one day, I said, "You know, your nose isn't really that big."  On some cosmic level, I meant that as a compliment.  Suffice to say, it wasn't interpreted that way.   That's what I'm talking about.  Men do stuff like that.  We're idiots.

And men don't necessarily get any smarter when it comes to women and sex, either.  We're going to do stupid things, and while I think it's imperative that we spell out what is okay and what's not, and to learn from our mistakes, please know that men are going to make mistakes.   Knowing which mistakes are forgivable, and which are not, is really important.

All In All, This Is Great News
In conclusion, while I think these recent affairs have made a lot of us disappointed and/or squeamish, I do think that the over-arching narrative is really wonderful.  We're growing up as a society!

Sarah Silverman put it wonderfully:  “It’s good. It’s like cutting out tumors: it’s messy, and it’s complicated, and it is going to hurt, but it’s necessary and we’ll all be healthier for it."

Amen to that!

October 6, 2017

Doughnut Seeds

I wish I could say that this was my idea, but I read it online somewhere.  But I couldn't find a good copy of a seed package.  I made this, printed it out, and filled it with Cheerios.   

You may print it out, too, if you like.  (Click on it for a bigger copy!)

Suggested Application  (here's what I did)
Print on 8x11" paper from any color printer.  Carefuly fold into a packet.  Tape the bottom with clear tape.  Fill with precisely ten Cheerios (the amount stipulated on the writing), then tuck and seal with tape (more sparingly but still secure).   You now have a rather professional-looking packet of ten Doughnut Seeds.

Put  by each child's breakfast cereal bowls to greet them when they enter the kitchen.  Calmly explain that it was about time, given that you see how much they like Dunkin' Donuts.  And you guys are old enough to take care of them.

My kids opened each package, seemingly oblivious to the packaging obviously being white printer paper with some Scotch tape.  They poured out the seeds onto the table.  Observed.  Ate one.  "These are Honey Nut Cheerios," my oldest declared slowly, carefully.  I replied, "Very similar, in fact!   But of course, Honey Nut Cheerios would never germinate."

Blank stares.  Processing.  Considering.

Eye Pad, Spoken Announcement
...But then a moment later, I announced that I got each their VERY OWN EYE PAD!   And distributed them right then and there, proudly and excitedly placing the white medical packet in front of each of them.  Then I gushed:  "You can wear it on your left eye OR your right eye.  Both!  I mean, you could go back and forth if you really wanted to.  Maybe it would be cool.  Maybe some sort of pirate theme style? The possibilities here are endless."

At that point, the jig was most definitely up.  And the kids concluded that I was most assuredly totally full of (put nicely) it.

November 26, 2015

Heartfelt Birthday Wishes

So this just happened:
I hear that it means a lot to people, when you remember their birthdays.  
...Despite that, I have never found the will to give a shit.

Brett Knows How To Please Women

If you're a longtime reader of the site, you've probably deduced this by now, but let me spell it out for the rest of you:   I know what women want.   When it comes to getting my wife in the right state of mind*, or any woman, I totally nail it.

Well, allow me to add this caveat:  It's not so much what women want, so much as what middle-aged married women want.  There's one thing that gets to them like nothing else.  More than flowers, or music, or presents, or chocolate, or even pheremones.  You can practically make their eyes dilate with joy when applied properly.

It's a little move known as cleanin' the kitchen, if you catch my drift, playa.

Um, just to be clear:  I really mean cleaning the kitchen.   And I'm not referring to just putting your dishes in the sink.  This shit's for real.

I mean washing all the dishes and putting them away.  I mean putting away EVERYTHING so that the counters are as bare as possible.   All dishes must be cleaned and put away.  Nothing is in the sink.  Dishwasher, garbage and recycling must all be near-empty; if any are even close to full, clear them.

Ideally, you wash the countertops with a mild cleaner, and polish any chrome. Then use a deeper cleaner on every appliance face, to get them all perfect.  Give the interior of the sink a good scrubbing, and/or mop the floor, if it needs it (and it probably does).

For full effect, naturally the kitchen must be initially messy -- like a "hurried breakfast" where not all the dishes made it to the sink, and the counters are all kind of cluttered and gross. 

Make a kitchen like that sparkle, and she will definitely be in the right state of mind.

Anyway, wives love that cleanin' shit.

* I imagine most married men caught my reference to "right state of mind" right away.   But to clarify for other readers, I simply mean "off my back."

October 24, 2015

Unfortunate Imagery

So lately I've been thinking of buying a new car.  I gotta do something over the winter -- my little RX8 would be an absolute sled, even in Blizzaks.

For some strange reason, I seem to gravitate towards the classic Upper Middle Management Corporate Asshole choices.  (It's like, I hate those people, but I so clearly AM those people.)  You know, the Audi S4 & S6, BMW 4 Series.   A Porsche 4S would be sick.

So I check out the upcoming Audi S4, and suddenly I'm thinking about ASS CHAFING.  Blammo.  Thanks for THAT.  Check it out.

Lest there be any doubt, I googled it, and Aschafenburg is most certainly a real place.   To be honest, it looks like one of those places that 15% of people will judge you negatively for never having heard of.  My preliminary investigation indicates that it's all, like, Bavarian 'n shit.  Anyway, I personally had never heard of it, but I freely admit I am not a smart person.

So perhaps some of you, when you see Aschafenburg, immediately think of fresh mountain air and/or schnitzel, or break into spontaneous yodeling.   But for ME, I just read that as "Ass Chafing". So thank you for that delightful imagery.

October 10, 2015

Blog Mascot Candidates

A few posts ago, I introduced you to the new Philoso-Rants Mascot:  Blobby the Sad Blog Entry.  You might recall that he looked like this:

Blobby, the Sad Blog Entry

He perfectly captures the ethos of my blog: evoking equal parts hopelessness and pity.   However, my Marketing team has said that perhaps we could do better.  After many interviews, we are considering two entries.

This first one harkens back from my earlier days as a young lad.   Observe that he is wearing a short-sleeve button-down with a tie -- accurately portraying my deft sense of style.   You can almost feel a sense of mild annoyance, just looking at him -- and can picture him talking about sine waves or Gross Domestic Product, or such stuff.

I know you want to punch him...but do you want to punch him enough?

However, some people have said that it misses a key detail, an ineffable part of my makeup as an individual -- one best expressed by an executive in Philoso-Rants advertising department in this trenchant observation:

Subject:  Old and fat

A new mascot is a good idea.  However, this character might be described as "young and thin."  I think the look we are trying to express is more "old and fat".

Certainly, a fair point.  So we found candidate #2.  He trades the youthful smarmy-ness of the mascot above, for a more tubby ungainliness.  83% of our focus groups said that they envisioned him expressing opinions on Unix to pained co-workers, and 44% percent imagined him in a loveless marriage to a woman obsessed with cats.

"Why yes, I WAS a Mathlete in high school!"
Several members of the Philoso-Rants Board of Directors expressed concern that no cartoon can properly convey my creepy look, and suggested a photograph instead.   Candidate #3 was submitted by several sources, and received high marks for realism.

Can I talk at you about science?
Finally, our fourth suggestion is a picture of the author, after some mild Photoshopping to give it just the right level of credibility.  Don't even bother trying to find the precise changes that were made (they are too subtle to detect), but take my word for it, they exist.

Just right!

October 2, 2015

Brett's Updated View of the Universe

I fear that I repeat myself on this blog.

What is actually happening is that I'm refining the same set of ideas, and every now and then feel that it has deviated enough from previous posts, and I write about it again.

But what seems like a meaningful difference to me might not seem that way to you.   You might be like, "This is the same goddamn painting you showed me earlier, and I didn't like it then."  And I'm all "Yes, but before the fringe was a dark pink, and now it's more of a fuscia!"

Anyway, I hope it's not tiresome for my (scarce) readership.

Lotsa Thinking
I dwell quite a bit over the universe, and our place in it.  I probably think about it for thirty minutes every day.  It is my nighttime routine to read a few articles about science, then ponder the universe as I drift off to sleep.

This is a rather auspicious time to ponder the universe, because ideas twist and bend as you're drifting off to sleep.   Have you ever noticed that?  The very last thoughts you have before drifting off to sleep are often bizarre -- more dream than thought.  Salvador Dali, the famous painter, got some of his best painting ideas by capturing his thoughts at this moment of drift-off.

On top of that, I fuel this pondering with all sorts of books about the brain, consciousness, the universe, physics and various philosophies. I literally only read books that might help me better glimpse our place in the universe:
  • Feynman's Lecture Notes (3 books; Richard Feynman)
  • I Am A Strange Loop (Douglas Hoffstaeder)
  • Synchronicity (Karl Jung)
  • Superintelligence (Nick Bostrom)
  • Quantum Enigma: Physics Encounters Consciousness (Fred Kuttner)

Brett's Updated View
Along the way, long-held some beliefs sometimes evaporate, while novel ones appear on the fringes.  Some of these fringe ideas, surprisingly, turn into central beliefs.

So here is where my head is at now.  I reserve the right to trash any of these ideas at any time.
  • Infinity is a symbolic concept only.  Every now and then, I'll read "scientists theorize that the universe is infinite." and I think "Oh, puhleeze."   Look, I'm not saying that things aren't sometimes REALLY BIG.   For example, perhaps the observable universe isn't the entire universe -- I'd totally buy that.  Perhaps the observable universe is one part in 10^300 (that means "ten raised to the three hundredth power -- or 1 followed by 300 zeroes).  Our brains can't even conceive of a number that big.  Or perhaps it's one part in  10^300^300^300.  I'd buy that, too.  But infinite?  Infinite means I could keep raising that value to the 300th power 10^300 times, and we STILL wouldn't scratch the surface.    Even if it were infinite, our theorizing about it seems rather arrogant -- like a minnow who declares that the sea is infinite.   In my worldview, the only things that are infinite are logical and/or symbolic concepts.
  • Something created us.   The universe seems to have been was created by something.  There are literally dozens of VERY suspicious physics phenomena that suggest massive fine tuning of physical properties.  And no, this isn't Kirk Cameron's Christian bullshit about "Ooh, the eye is so complex!  Clearly only Jesus himself could have designed it."   I'm talking about finely tuned universal constants -- many of which, if they varied by a fraction of one percent, would cause the universe to simply not exist.  Stars wouldn't burn.  Galaxies would not coalesce.  Life wouldn't form.  I'm not just saying we wouldn't be here, but that NOTHING would be here. 
  • Our universe is a virtual representationAt its lowest levels, the universe clearly demonstrates that it's not "real" but virtual.  It is akin to video game characters on a monitor.  In short, at the most basic level, matter turns into energy, and energy into information (aka probability).  If we rendered any intelligence on a computer, and they looked closely enough, that's precisely what they would see.  If we were "real", then matter wouldn't break down like that -- it would remain as matter, no matter how closely you looked.
  • Our Creator likely exists right "now."   In all likelihood, whomever created our universe still exists.   It wouldn't make sense to create a universe and then die from old age while waiting for something cool to happen -- our Creator(s) would design our clock to run substantially faster than their own.   This means that if we COULD see them at this very second, and they hadn't slowed down the simulation (which they might do, sometimes), they would hardly seem alive at all.  It would be precisely like how a fleeting virtual particle (popping into existence and then back out again) might view you or me.
Markus = God?
  • Our Creator is only relatively special.  Yes, I believe that someone created our universe, and is still exists.  So is that God?   From our perspective, of course.  However, that doesn't necessarily mean that this creator is any great shakes in its reality.  Hopefully he/she/it is nice.  But he/she/it might just be a regular schlub.   Consider this:  Markus Persson, creator of Minecraft, has led to the creation of countless Minecraft worlds, each of which was allowed to evolve over accelerated time, so that by the time someone plays one of those worlds, it has evolved for the equivalent of thousands of years.  (Um...I might be confusing Minecraft with Dwarven Fortress here, but one or the other does this.)   To us, Markus is just some guy.  Yet to the creatures in those Minecraft games, he is indeed a god.
  • I know what God wants ...kind of.   At least, I'm pretty sure, but it's rather terrifying: I think God simply wants to know what happens, and how it turns out.  For a variety of reasons,  I can't foresee a universe in which God already knows what will happen ahead of time.  However, it's unclear what parts God would be interested in.  Perhaps God is obsessed over  quantum particles (things far smaller and faster than us) or galaxy formations (things far bigger and slower than us). 
  • The resolution of reality is the true mystery.   Is all of the universe equally real?  We now know that at the quantum level, things are not real.  Are other galaxies real?  Is the dark side of the moon real?  Was 5,000 years ago real?  Is Toronto real?  I've never visited any of them.   Maybe those are just props in a play, where some of us are foreground, and others background.  It's entirely possible that only I exist.  Or only you exist.  If it's any one person, then it must be one of us, or else I wouldn't have written this and/or you wouldn't be reading it.  Indeed, it doesn't even have to be all of you -- it could be just you for the past five minutes.   And the rest is just a mimicry -- background props for the play.   ...All that being said, while I can't rule out any of these ideas, my gut tells me that the perceivable universe is equally real.
  • God has a God, too.  Our Creator created our reality, but they weren't the first:  Someone created our Creator's reality.  And someone created that reality.  And somebody created that reality.  This is almost perfectly analogous to parents.  We have parents, and they have parents, and so on.  It's hard to say what those realities might be like.  Would they love?  Would they be curious? 
  • The concept of the First Reality gives me the shivers:  Let's say that you traveled up the stack of realities-- from our universe to its parent, to its parent, to its parent.  You might follow the stack for countless generations, but sooner or later, you'd hit the very first reality.   But how did IT ever come to be?  I know that it's a cop out to say that it always existed, but I seem to be trapped in a logical cul-de-sac, because if it didn't always exist, then what created that?   Could it be a reality loop, where sooner or later, a the base reality is created again, like walking around the Earth and arriving where you started?  Or perhaps realities are constantly intersecting with one another, with myriad feedback loops -- and the distinction between levels of reality either blurs or collapses entirely.
  • Our Reality is not second-class:  Just because we're not the First Reality, that doesn't mean that we're second class citizens.  Our reality is just as legitimate as theirs.  It's all just rules, actions and consequences.  For example, consider a seventh grade girl who has just been embarrassed in front of her classroom -- does her reality not matter, because we can say that technically she's just an amalgam of synapses and proteins, firing and combining?   No.  Does that mean that she's NOT just an amalgam of synapses and proteins, firing and combining?   It doesn't mean that either.  Both are equally real.
  • The Resolution of our Reality is impossible to pin down. What is presently unclear to me is the resolution of our reality.   At one extreme, it could be a countless number of universes, where our particular universe is never even considered in any meaningful way, at any higher levels of existence.    Or, the opposite extreme, perhaps the universe is just me -- or just you.   If it were a single simulated person, it could not be anybody OTHER than me or you -- or I couldn't be writing and/or you reading this right now.   There's an old Infocom video game, A Mind Forever Voyaging, about someone who lives his life, only to discover that he's really just a simulation, everybody else he has dealt with has been either a scientist testing him, or pre-written memories.  ...Our reality's resolution could also be something in the middle:  Perhaps it's just Boston, or the Earth, or the Solar System, or the Milky Way.   This would also explain the Fermi Paradox:  Perhaps there is no life "out there" because we're staring off the edge of the simulation -- equivalent to staring at the sky in any adventure video game, and wondering what untold worlds exist out there.
  • Time's boundaries are equally obscure.  Perhaps this simulation started 13 billion years ago.  Or perhaps it started yesterday.  Perhaps just this split second.  Perhaps a dozen entities are rapt with attention at our every action, or perhaps we're just a flicker in time -- doomed to be fast-forwarded through by our Creator using some cosmic Tivo to get to the "good stuff", which might take place tomorrow, or in countless milennia.
  • Time is processing.  It is hard to ponder the universe without also pondering the nature of time.  Consider the moment of your first kiss.  Does that moment still "exist," but is simply somewhere else -- much like how the far side of the moon likely exists, despite the fact that you're not there?  Or is it gone?   I'm thinking that it's gone.  I think that moment-to-moment reality is being "processed" at a Planck level, by some cosmic computer that is chugging away.   Memories represent prior states of the equation, but those equations have been processed.    ...But maybe not.  Kurt Vonnegut envisioned time as a mountain range, where the past and future all exist simultaneously, and the "present" is simply your location.  That might be.
  •  Other realities likely interact with ours.  Consider how you might interact with a video game -- where you're "controlling" a character in another realm.  It's entirely possible that that's happening in our reality, too.  Indeed, there's generally no point for someone to create a simulation of any sort, if you're not going to interact with it, in some capacity.   
  • Heaven might exist -- but don't get too excited.  Indeed, we might be projections from one level up.  Again, it would really be no different from video games -- there, we are projecting downwards into a simpler reality.  Perhaps we're doing the same right now, and when we die, we "pop" back up to that level.  If so, that place might be wonderful, and perhaps it WOULD seem like Heaven, at first.  But I can guarantee you that we'd have problems there, too. We would adapt, evolve and strive. 
  • Death is probably (but not definitely) the end for us.  While we might exist on some other reality, I don't think it's likely.   Most likely, when we die, we're just dead.   Imagine yourself as akin to some amusing video, temporarily sitting on your desktop before inevitably being deleted.  Hopefully one or two people laughed at it before it hit the Recycle Bin.
  • Don't worry about death.  Even if there is another reality, and we "pop" to it, it won't be the same as what we have.  You won't be you, any more than "you" are not your seven-year-old self.  Sure, there's a cosmic continuity, between "Then You" and "Now You", but you are not the same.   So there's no point in fretting about whether when we die, we're permanently dead or we go to Heaven, because from that way of thinking, you've already experienced endless deaths and rebirths. 
  • A person's intent would transfer realities.  Consider if you and I were playing a video game, and in that game, I had loads of treasure and gold, and you had none.  Then we stop playing, we "pop out" of the game, and meet at Starbucks -- do my video game possessions confer any benefit in this reality?   No, not one bit.   Now consider that I was very wise in the ways of the game -- I knew all sorts of tricks, and you didn't.   Again, we meet in this reality at Starbucks -- do I have any inherent benefit because of all the video game skills I possessed in that other "reality"?  Again, no.    However, consider if I were very NICE to you in the game, and we meet at Starbucks -- might that benefit me in this reality?  YES.  If I was nice to you there, it would translate here.  You might buy me a coffee.  And if I were a jerk there, you might punch me, here.   Goodness and evil -- better known as intent -- is the only thing that can successfully translate realities.  So be nice.
Okay, that's all I've got for now.