Posts Tagged ‘ brain ’

The Game

This post might take some thinking, some reflective thought. I hope that it does.

We’ve all done it. Played along to get along. The game of life, all that crap you do every day so that you can rush around in some strange place for a week or two, burning through all your savings, so that you can tell everyone what a wonderful time you had while you weren’t doing all that crap you do every day.

 

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Game:

a form of play or sport, especially a competitive one played according to rules and decided by skill, strength, or luck.
synonyms:    pastime, diversion, entertainment, amusement, distraction, divertissement, recreation, sport, activity

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We don’t always realize it. Graduate from school not sure what we’re going to do and the next thing you  know you are caught up in trying to pay your bills and meet the requirements of being human. Eat, sleep, fornicate, drink, breathe… in any order that you like. Lather, rinse, repeat. Our interests distract us and we become overburdened just trying to meet the 5 requirements, the 5 necessary things that our bodies demand we do. Sure, some of us try to ignore them or do too much of one or more of them, but in the end we’ll do all 5. Our biology ensures that this will be. That’s it. The 5 requirements of mammalian life, and it appears that it applies to all forms of life that we know of.

Most of us will find that even if the 5 are satiated and no more difficult to acccomplish than opening our eyes each morning, something else is missing. Something else needs to be done. Those 5 just simply are not enough.

Not necessity, not desire – no, the love of power is the demon of men. Let them have everything – health, food, a place to live, entertainment – they are and remain unhappy and low-spirited: for the demon waits and waits and will be satisfied.
— Friedrich Nietzsche

Nietzsche was a fairly smart guy. What could that demon be? How are your demons today? What is true must be true for the best of us and the least of us. That demon has to be able to affect all of us, from the greatest human to the lowest worm. Thought of it yet? Think harder. Fear. Fear is the demon. Fear that we will not accomplish one of the 5 requirements now or in the future. Our biology drives us this way. It tells us to be afraid, makes us react whenever something, at its core, will stop us from doing one or more of those 5 things for too long. There it is, the five laws and the only demon we all share. Think about it for a bit. All the rest of human society and culture is based on these things, built up layer upon layer of complexity until we no longer recognize it. So many layers of complexity that we have thought ourselves more than animals for a long time, looking down upon those that do the five with much greater efficiency than ourselves.

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So many are sure that the world, that life is an illusion yet you are certain that your world and your life are real. Your mind will tell you many things in your life. That inner voice, your subconscious twin. It will tell you what beauty is, what it is not and it will tell you that the limb you used to have is still there. Can you truly know that it’s missing or not if your mind tells you so stealthily? Your mind interprets all the data that it can find and tells you what the world is, what society is, and what they are not. Who are you talking to when you talk to yourself. Who answers back when you reflectively seek answers to problems in this illusion of life? Do you have a twin inside your mind?

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When you tell yourself that you’ve done the best you can for today do you hear a reply? There is much to think about. Will both of you agree on what the answers are? Will you both even conclude that there are answers? If there are no answers, then what? What if the big questions have no answers? Oh, there’s that demon again. Now the argument with your twin begins in earnest. One of you dared ask “why are we here?”, “For what purpose are we here?” The wisest among us end such argument with the simple thought that it does not matter, here we are and here we will remain until someone figures out how to change that. The luckiest among us never ask the questions, they simply get on with the business of being. Once we ask our twin that kind of question all sorts of mayhem follows.

We worship ideals that we have deified, accepting the wisdom of this illusion because our ideal dictates to us what we must need do, how it is that we make sense of the world we cannot be part of. No, you are your mind and it will never touch or taste or smell the world around you. It does not have those abilities. It simply crunches data and models the world around you. Sure it has sensors but your mind will never know what a rose smells like, really know. It will never know the color of a juicy apple, never really know. All it, all that you will ever know is an approximation of what the world is like. You and your twin are trapped inside a skull. Yes, it is _your_ skull but it’s no better than any other skull. It just happens to be the one wrapped around the brain that your mind is in, that you are in.

You will never be closer to the world than some electrical signals tell you that you are. If we live in a simulation you will never know because whether it’s a simulation or just nerves bringing you sense data, your brain will interpret that data as reality. When you have a ‘reality’ the game begins. By the time you were 2 years old the game had begun. The day you were born, not so much.

It’s a game. Complex, scary, difficult. Still, it’s just a game. It’s the only game there is. Even that is complex for you can create a game within the game, play by your own rules in that part and by the other rules in other parts. The rules get complicated, layer upon layer of rules. What if you don’t want to play? What if you want to simply be? Can you step outside the game? Can you stop playing and still meet the 5 requirements? What would it be like to be outside the game?

Oh, that’s a lot of questions for you and your twin to talk about. I wonder what answers you’ll come up with? I wonder if you’ll share them here?

To help you and your twin to think about them, here’s Bill

How Are Your Demons Today?

You have stopped by and said hello to them today, right? You probably should have if you did not. They can’t live without you and if you know they exist you can’t live without them.

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Demon: an evil spirit or devil, especially one thought to possess a person or act as a tormentor in hell.

We usually do not think of demons as something we are responsible for. They instead are responsible for our bad behavior, bad luck, bad life. People talk about inner demons or personal demons as a way of saying that we are responsible for them, yet we are not responsible because it was the demon that made us do that thing or the other thing.

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NOTE: There are habits we cannot easily control. If you have a substance related problem, that ‘demon’ is not just in your head. You will need professional help to get rid of it in all probability.

That warning is not to say that those who smoke can’t get rid of the habit without help or, for that matter, other addictions. Some people are stronger or more desperate than others. Such things vary from person to person. I don’t want to talk about those types of situations. Those situations are not simply in your head, there is a physical component that you cannot will to go away. Our brains are amazing but it is simply not a switch that you can turn on and off at will when there is a chemical component to your bad thinking. It should be noted that monkeys, dolphins, and in fact many mammals [1] [2] [3] have a penchant for using substances to experience an altered reality.

If you want to know what it takes to kill a bad habit with physical components, stop eating for 3 days. Drink water, get lots of sleep but do not eat. That will show you what a physical addiction can be like.

The astute among you will ask “if those people can have physical conditions why can’t mine be a physical condition?” and you are right to ask that. All these ‘personal demons’ have a common component – how we think and the behavior we exhibit based on how we think.

Do other people see your demons as harmless or pretty? Do they think you might be silly?

If your demon is harmless or pretty, is it really a demon? It is if it stops you from being the person that you wan to be. Let’s think about this for a minute. Without much effort I’ve talked about demons like they are an entity and not a thought pattern in your head or a behavior based on thoughts in your head. Let’s stop talking about them like they are external entities. Let’s stop laying the blame for our bad luck or bad lives on something that is not us.

Let’s not talk about major life issues or physical issues as demons. The demons we want to talk about are the small ones, the little buggers you keep tripping over as you go through life.

What people tend to call their demons are thought patterns or behavior patterns which they do not find easy to change and which bring them bad luck, bad life, bad fortune. Those demons are actually us. We are those demons despite something in us not wanting to be those demons. It is when we are tired of the demon that we change. Some might say “well, I don’t know how to change” and there is more than a grain of truth to that. Many of us form our bad thought patterns (and subsequent behavior patterns) based on the only frame of reference that we know – our lives. When our entire life has been filled with those bad thinking patterns and bad behavior patters just how is it that we are supposed to change?

This can quickly get off on the wrong garden path, so stay with me. We are not responsible for what other people do. We cannot change the past. If your bad thinking is based on one or both of those I have something to tell you. We can only be responsible for what we do ourselves. We can only change how we react to things in this moment. The past and the future are outside what we can change. We can only change how we act in this moment. Did that sink in? You can only be who you are in this moment. If you choose to be brave, this moment does not have to be based on anything in your past nor anything others think of you whether they actually do or you just worry that they do.

Most people are in some way afraid of their demons. I say this is exactly the wrong way to look at it. Grab your demon by the hand every day, dance, dance till you know their every move. Learn to lead the demon.

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The continuous dance with your ‘demons’

You can learn to lead your demon if you truly want to be the dominant partner in the dance. When you refuse to dance, dance you will but the demon leads. But how are you to lead your demons? First you must know them, intimately. Not what they want you to think but what they don’t want you to think of them. You have to recognize when they are trying to lead, and change the tune.

Hey MAL, that’s all good to put in a blog but how does that help me?

When you lead the dance, the movements are yours, even when it appears the demon is leading in those times when you choose to let your bad thinking lead. We grow up and many of us learn bad thinking from people that we trust and there is no certain way to learn new habits or forget the past learning. It’s not like one day you wake up and know how life is supposed to be and all the bad thinking is suddenly gone. No, like it was as you were a child, such learning takes time and practice. Time and practice.

Hey MAL, how am I supposed to get time and practice?

Every day, your ‘personal demons’ will come to dance. When they arrive, practice. Time happens on it’s own.

But what do I practice?

Do exactly what your demon doesn’t want. Soon you’ll see small victories, then larger, and before you know it you’ll have forgotten all about that demon. You know what your demon wants or you would not have compartmentalized it to a demon. All you have to do is treat that behavior or thought pattern as if it would kill you or make you deathly sick. When you are more afraid of giving in to the demon than what the demon might have you do, it will not be long before you forget the demon altogether.

Reflection and honest assessment of what displeases you about your behavior (your demon) is required. Sometimes that is kind of nasty. Do it anyway. If you can’t be honest with yourself that demon will never leave. Practice long enough and you’ll see that demon trying to get back into your life. Once you’ve gotten rid of them it’s not hard to keep them at bay.

Hey MAL, what should I tell others about my demons?

Don’t do that. It’s a personal war you have to wage. Sure, you might seek therapy help but your therapist will not dance with your demons, only you will. Therapists offer help and guidance but you still have to do the dancing no matter how much you pay the therapist.

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There are things which cannot be mitigated by desire to fight them however all of us dance with the demons that can be. You are strong enough to change your behaviors. When you find that you simply can’t do so, seek help. Most of our troubles are just a matter of how we dance with the demons. Even for those whose demons are not imagined but physical, they deal with the imagined demons too. The imagined demons can be beaten. You can change your behaviors. You can do what the demons don’t want you to do. In this case, what does not kill you does make you stronger when you are dancing and trying to take the lead.

Now, get up and dance!

Stuff You Say When You Are Stoned!

Oh, I know that this could be a long running series but I only intend to make this one post. I think the video says all you need to know when you understand that this is the kind of stuff you say when you’re higher than a kite. We tend to forgive people for stuff they say when they’re high because we know that their brain is not working as it should and the owner of that brain is enjoying the malfunction. If this guy claims he’s not high you can go ahead and laugh at him because he’s clearly stoned out of his mind.

 

Wait a minute, this bag of flatulence is allowed to vote. Seriously, why do believers wonder why non-believers laugh at them and want them locked up?

If you believe in the same book and the same god as this jerk (see what I did there?) could you please explain what is wrong with him? What exactly did he read in your holy book that tells him this stuff?

What _IS_ Injustice?

Without any introduction, please view this video

The reason that there are more male over-achievers is the same reason that there are more male serial killers. Men will excel at something, mediocre is not the thing men do. There can be and are many reasons for this situation. Men do not follow the bell curve in most comparisons. They generally fall at one end or the other, not in the middle. There is a reason for this and I’m not going to tell you what it is. I want you to think about it. I want you to think about all the men that find themselves not in the top 10% and what they must contend with in life. Even as I strive to be a renaissance man of sorts I know that I’m not on the very high end and not at the low end. I’ve known this for a long time. I’m above average but for men – this doesn’t count. I’m not Alexander the Great and I’m not Jack the Ripper. I’m nobody. The world doesn’t hate me and the world doesn’t love me. The world doesn’t care about me. As a man that leaves me with few choices and a big tax burden. I was born this way. Born screwed. I’m fortunate enough to have gone to school before the horrors described in this video. Still, life is what it is and I have to live with it. I won’t get special treatment. I won’t get special dispensation. I won’t get anything that I don’t earn or steal myself. I think that society has forgotten this about our culture. We’ve focussed on the wrong things for too long. Now more innocents get to pay for other people’s mistakes and greed.

Just saying

Racists, Bigots, Multicultural … Out On A Limb

I shouldn’t have to show you pictures of or tell you about Charleston, McKinney, Baltimore, and other places which have been in the news lately. As proven by thousands of blog posts and news broadcasts there are a many opinions about what is wrong and why it is wrong and why the other group who is complaining is wrong.

The fundamentalists told us the mass killings in schools was because there was no god allowed in schools, now they tell us that it’s the gay agenda that got the Charleston 9 killed. Everyone is busy blaming everyone and everything else as the cause of the violence, hatred, and … well… humans being humans.

We hear a lot about how feminists think society should be or at least what they think is wrong. Blacks tell us what they think is wrong. Each political party tells us what they think is wrong. In fact there is an endless stream of people and groups that are more than willing to tell the rest of us what is wrong with the world today, or society, or that other country etc.

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I have my own ideas about who is to blame and what groups we could do without. My unspoken knee-jerk reactions would make vehement fundamentalists look like babes in cradles should I let them fester and act on them. I’m not here to talk about those or such from other people. In fact I’m not here to talk in this post other than to ask a simple question of all who read this.

What does a society without racism, bigotry, cultural hatred and similar items look like? Maybe you’ve only thought what it would be like without violent cops. Maybe you’ve only thought of what it would be like without gender inequality. Maybe you’ve only thought about what it would be like with equality under the law for all people. No matter what your pet project is I want to know what you think a society would look like that did not have hatred, racism, bigotry, fundamentalism, gender inequality, sexual orientation discrimination and so on. What would that world or country look like?

Between this current world we live in and the utopian world I’ve asked about, what are the low hanging fruits that we can work together to start us on that path to the world without the worst parts of humanity?

Go on, I want to hear it in the comments. I want to know what we are supposed to do to fix the giant fucking mess we humans have made of life and living. I want to hear how we fix it not what is wrong with it.

So tell us, what does a ‘perfect’ world look like? How does it work? Where would you fit in that world? Where would McKinney cops fit in that world? Where would former racists (of every color) fit in that world?

I know many may read this. Some may even click the like button. What I really want is to hear what a ‘perfect’ society would be like. Let’s have that discussion here.

Something Rather Than Nothing … What Would Moses Say?

This might simply be a side note on an otherwise huge debate regarding the subject of this post but I would like to share a few thoughts about that

That video shows imagery which were built from actual photographs taken by space craft that we humans have sent out into the solar system. Apparently a creator god made Ceres too.  Go on, watch that video again. There is a dwarf planet in our solar system that looks just like this (nearly). Why did it need to be created? Why did it need to be pummelled with asteroids so many times. Why would it need to have water on it? What was the creator’s plan for this rock that might have more fresh water than Earth does.

Ceres is not the only body begging these questions.

If you read the holy books of Earth’s religions none of them address this. None of them predicted humans getting up close photographs of these space bodies or even landing craft on them. Since the dawn of modern science we have been living beyond the grasp of anything in those holy books. You may be reading this post on your phone, even watching the video on your phone. In your hand is more technology than could even be dreamed of in the stories of the holy books.

What is the creator god’s position on bioethics? Is it okay to eat meat grown in a lab? Is it okay to grow new body parts and then graft them on to our bodies? Is it okay to augment our bodies to make them better than his supposed design? Is it okay for us to change our diets to improve our cognitive abilities? Is it okay to use nuclear energy to provide energy for the survival of humans? There are thousands more questions that the holy books cannot and will not answer. Everything that any believer has to say about the modern world is simply interpretation to try to make it fit into the ideals of the ancient world. I’d be willing to bet that if we had a time machine nobody would go back to 500 bce to bring someone to this day to work on cars, and with good reason. Why do we keep bringing books from that time to our current day thinking they will fix our problems? I know that was not the best analogy but the point stands.

What would be Moses’ take on images of Ceres or Pluto? Could or should we expect anything cogent if he could answer?

What do you think Moses would make of our technology, the technology that we take for granted?

Why Praying Is Hard

It used to be easy for me when I believed that it did something useful. Then I wondered why an omniscient creator god needed to hear from me to guide his perfect plan. Then I wondered why his perfect plan included so much pain and suffering in the world. Then I learned statistics.

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On any given day there will be a sizable portion of the population of which it can be said “it sucks to be you.” It’s hard to remember that when it’s my day to have a sucky life. These days are the ones that I used to pray about. It never did any good. Sometimes, drinking few fingers of Scotch and playing with my dogs makes it better. Some days there is nothing for it but a few aspirin and more sleep than normal.

In the end, no matter what your philosophical position is, none of us have it all figured out. Some days or weeks just suck, badly.
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When that happens, I try to meditate, relax, remind myself that it will pass because it will pass. I’m not talking about first world problems or fears about imaginary things. I’m talking about real life that grabs me and shakes me and won’t let go till I somehow figure out how to solve the problem. Without a solution at hand it often enough feels like a good scotch and some tearful moments will fix things. Perhaps even an attempt to ignore them will do it. Sadly, nothing like that really works.

Instead of prayer I sit and talk with myself. Amazingly there is a sound thinking part of me willing to have the conversation. I complain and that other part of me tells me it’s just one of those days so buck up sunshine, till you do something nothing will change. It would be nice to have a skydaddy that would fix it all for me but there is none. Even when I pretended there was, it was me that did all the hard work.
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If I can do this anyone can. I’m juggling 153 things at once and I just want to put some of them down. No such luck. I just have to soldier on. Writing this is not helping me do any of them but it is allowing me to have that internal conversation that I need. Do a few more things tonight, wake up, shower, do some more of them. Keep doing that till there is room to breathe or sleep. That is all I have. It’s the only plan I’ve got. The weight on my shoulders will not go away till I shed it myself. Praying would not fix it. In fact, praying would be no more effective than me writing this post.

That’s how this nihilist anti-theist does it.

How do you deal with shitty days?

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