July 18, 2014

Mario has a Soul

Yes, "It's-a-me Mario" from 1985 Nintendo NES.

Here's the gist:  Having a soul is when somebody on one dimension temporarily controls someone on another dimension.   When the character in that other dimension "dies," the original one lives on.  Consider this:  If you've ever played any Super Mario Brothers, then Mario had a soul while you were playing him.  YOU were his soul.  When he died, part of him went with you.

Reaching In
Consider when you type out an email.  You are, in a manner of speaking, "reaching in" to the computer to type it.

Reaching in is, of course, the wrong metaphor.  I'm not sure what to call it.  But you're interacting through the computer.  Like, if someone would to ask "Who wrote that email?" we'd be hard pressed to say that the computer wrote it, even though, all you did was touch the keys and worked the mouse.

Why is that, exactly?  Because the control was from you -- operating from a different ...dimension, as it were.  (Ooh, I love saying the English "as it were."  It's such a classy expression, ten grammar points Brett!)

Inter-Dimensional Signal   (Very Nerdy Segueway, Please Skip)
If you want to get more technical:  You typing into Google is the very definition of an inter-dimensional interaction, even though people don't usually think of it as that.  Reading is, too -- transforming a one-dimensional signal (if you think about it, reading is just a long ribbon: information in one dimension), temporarily translated through a four dimensional signal, and then (depending upon how you want to think of it) possibly into a weird uni-dimensional signal which is consciousness, in which we reside.  Television is a two dimensional signal.  Radio is a one dimensional signal, translated into a three dimensional signal.  (Note: You can add another dimension to each if you wish to include time as a dimension.)

 Back to Google
 So consider this:  When you wrote something into Google, clearly that was you and not the computer.  What about if you play a game online?  A game like Mario Brothers?  Is that "you"? Are those "your" actions?   Or are those the actions of that character?  It's both.  Mario is himself, but he's also you. You live on, even after you totally led him into one of those goddamn biting flowers that come out of the pipes.

Well, it has been demonstrated (in several ways, in fact) that the universe is a richly detailed rendering.   (There are enormous consequences to that, which I've written about lots on this site -- four links, right there.)    If so, then the possibility remains that we are being controlled from without.  Just like how you control Mario.

That could be.

Screw You, Religion
Now, technically, there are a lot of people who would say something quite similar to this.  Indeed, many Orthodox religions would. "Yes, that's Heaven.  Are you ready to welcome into your heart now?"  

Yes, maybe it's real.  But I'm pret-ty sure (and that "pret-ty" implies an ever-so-slight pause between the t's, which is unbelievably annoying if you're on the wrong end of it) that it's not some goddamn Middle Eastern text (or Chinese or Tibetian or whatever) text.  And even if there ARE parallels, that demographic's credibility is total crap because until super-recently (historically speaking) they believed in Adam and Eve and Satan.  They fail the logic test, out of the gate.

The only one I'd give a pass to is Taoism.  They're cool.

What About Us?  Do We Have A Soul?
All of this, of course, begs the question:  Do we have a soul?

Well, I've though about this.  I've thought about it a LOT, from as many angles as I could.  And in the end, I reached a conclusion that I've actually quite confident in:   I have absolutely no idea.

I could really go either way on this one.  I could totally see that when we die, that we simply discorporate and that's that.  Or I could see when we die, that we discorporate here, but on some level our awareness pops out on some cosmic Playstation 4, and goes to get a sandwich.

However, what I have concluded is that if there is another dimension as such, that curiously the laws of religion apply:  You can't take material things with you.*  But clearly if you helped someone here, they would appreciate it up there.  Goodness passes through, even though material things don't.  And if you want to get serious, it wouldn't surprise me if you can Find Out What Happened.  Boy would that suck for, like, every person on the planet.

So if you're a colossal asshole down here, and you wake up there, they might still think you're a colossal asshole.  But if you're kind down here, maybe they'll buy you a cosmic beer.  So I'm going to try to be nice, if only to be the first trans-dimensional ingratiatingly nice person -- and I bet the beer is way better.

July 12, 2014

The Ultimate Analogy

Do you know how you understand things?  Do you know what your brain is doing, to take a concept and really get it?

Partly, the answer is rote memorization -- there's plenty of that.  But to the extent that you can intuitively grasp a concept, the answer is simple:  Your brain makes comparisons.

It's like this.  It's like that.  It's like a ball.  It's like a rope.  It's like running alongside a moving train.

Put simply:  You make analogies.

What the heck is an analogy, anyway?  
Most people think that an analogy is just a colorful example of some phenomenon or dynamic.  It's just a more vivid picture.  And indeed, it is that, without a doubt.  But it's more than that, too.  Or, at least, the process of finding an analogy is more than that.

Finding an analogy requires grasping the nature of something, and then seeking out something else with a similar nature.  Matching patterns.

It's actually the process of understanding something, laid bare.  You first observe, and then you "try on" (i.e., apply) various analogies:  You hold them up to the light, look them both from a variety of perspectives, and assess how faithfully they match.  Quite often, you discard a potential comparison, because there's a flaw:  the analogy does not sufficiently hold.

Oh here's another tidbit about analogies:  They cannot be perfect.  The only perfect analogy would be to compare something to itself, which wouldn't technically be an analogy -- it would be something known as a "tautology."

Nevertheless, some analogies hold up only from very limited perspectives, and other analogies go deep -- where even under varied circumstances the patterns continue to match.  I'm always delighted when I find a particularly deep analogy -- it happens so rarely, though, that I can't even think of a good example. 

I'm The Analogy "Type"
I'm a fan of the Meyers-Briggs psychology tests, and am an ENTP.  That means:
  • Extroverted (vs. Introverted)
  • iNtuitive (vs. Sensing)
  • Thinker (vs. Feeler)
  • Perceiver (vs. Judger)
See that "iNtuitive" up there?  Yeah, those're the people who use analogies.  Sensers (the other type) don't.  While Intuitives seek hidden patterns, Sensers are concrete observers.  They live in the clarity of the now, and pay close attention.

Indeed, Sherlock Holmes is the quintessential Senser: he had a preternatural ability to observe the world around him, at all times, to the finest detail.  Albert Einstein would be the quintessential Intuitive -- grasping the hidden laws of the universe, while no doubt forgetting where he parked his car.

Worst.  Analogy.  Ever. 
I once worked with an extreme Senser.  Hyper-literal and concrete, he was very precise, but often hard to fully understand.  Speaking to him was like reading the 2004 Acura TSX Drivers Manual, or reviewing a summary of your federal taxes:  Factually correct yet any comprehension comes only with much concentration.

Anyway, someone suggested that this person try to use more analogies like me.  He asked me if he could try some out.  I said sure, I was delighted to help!

So he says, "Okay, let me try one:  The reporting system is like a car."  Then looks at me, eyebrows raised for feedback, and there's a pained silence.

So I said, "Um, you have to say how it's like a car."  Oh!   He hadn't know that.  Good to know.

Needless to say, his analogies greatly improved, even if I usually winced at even the best of them.

Seeking the Ultimate Analogy
Anyway, I mentally compare a lot of stuff.  Especially when it comes to the Very Big (e.g., galaxies), the Very Small (e.g., quantum physics), and the Very Profound (e.g., meaning of life).

So consider this question:  What state of matter is life?  What is life "like"? 

I mean, if you had to draw an analogy to another state of matter, what would it be?  Granted, it's a part-solid, part-liquid mishmash, but neither solid nor liquid really captures its essence.  First and foremost, those states don't die and discorporate like we do.   You might be skeptical that there's any state of matter that dies.

But there is:  Fire.

Life is a very slow burn.  This fire can be transferred to new life (e..g, having children), but once it's out, it can't be lit again.  So if we have to compare ourselves to anything else that's out there in the universe, I think that Fire is our closest relative.

I'm not sure what this tells us.  Does it mean that perhaps stars are alive?  I don't think so.  I think they are unfocused burning.  But perhaps other forms of burning could also be considered life.  I do think that any form of life must involve some sort of burning -- life requires a flame.

I think this must be what those kids meant back in high school, when they called me a flamer.   I had no idea how right they were.