Nothing Definitive is an enlightenment blog by Sam Shadow (SMSHDW).
Nothing Definitive is an enlightenment blog by Sam Shadow (SMSHDW).
Doors open and the machine swallows them whole. A third entity emerges from their merger. The Carman is born. I try not to look at you. The grotesque form of man merged with machine. Flailing about in that nightmarish world. Their soul is lost. Their eyes droop and lethargy engulfs their mind. They are its slave now.
There is an optimal use for each machine that is rarely reached and never maintained for long. The average person isn’t very capable to begin with and I estimate that their IQ drops by at least 10 points upon merging with a car. I’ve also found that if I do not make eye contact with the other driver I can manipulate them into operating as if I wasn’t there which is optimal because it allows me to better predict their behavior and maneuver around them as if they were some mundane, inanimate object in the environment. I do not believe humans drive cars because it would be too harsh a reality to accept. Instead I believe the average person is a machine that loses their ability to fully operate when integrating with a car and thus becomes this third abstract entity. An entity that is sub-optimal as a human and sub-optimal as a car. Thus the Carman.
Obviously, I’m being overly dramatic and harsh, but basically what I’m saying is: cars are not the perfect user experience. They’re not perfectly designed for human interaction and each person, depending on their own brain, may find themselves more or less capable of interacting with it successfully. Thus there is an immediate and overall loss of optimization when a human merges with a car. Humans are optimal as humans and cars optimal as cars, but the carman suffers from a loss of fidelity in bridging those communications. The translations aren’t perfect and this applies to all complex systems we interact with: computers, the Internet, your microwave, TV. We all fail to fully communicate with them as originally intended, but there are humans that know this and they compensate by understanding these machines at a deeper level to gain a higher level of proficiency. Professional drivers, programmers, technicians, engineers. The first step is to realize this intersection of man and machine exists and that an abstraction emerges that is neither you nor the system you’re interacting with. It’s something else. Something a little alien that needs to be understood separately from the two objects in question. Once you can do that, you can start to consciously correct errors that have eluded you your entire life rather than stumbling upon them accidentally.
Last updated: 2018-04-17
This post contains my suspicions and observations about society in 2018. They are not necessarily true or accurate. They are just a sampling of thoughts that occurred to me while reading the news or studying various topics online. You may disagree, that’s ok.
It’s not about the moment and making spontaneous decisions, it’s about planning for the future. For example, in this moment, as I try to fall asleep, I could listen to music. If I chose Radiohead my future would be different than if I chose Daft Punk. This is because my brain chemistry would react differently to the different styles of music and thus different thoughts would emerge and lead me down a different cognitive paths. As a result, the innumerable decisions I’ve made and not made, large and small, to reach this point could never be fully realized. There are just too many options to manage, even in a single day or a single hour. Instead, it’s about programming yourself to utilize tools and discipline to continuously shape your future. Your momentary self should almost be on autopilot attempting to achieve the strategic goals the other side of your mind is planning for. This means you need to understand yourself and learn methods to manage the chemistry and situations that arise each day and alter them in your favor. It’s a long game of carefully crafted statistical choices which means the sooner you start the better you may fare later in life. The other way I’ve imagined it is like a radial menu from the “Sims” video game franchise. Each moment has a menu available to it with a myriad of options to choose from. You tend to choose the ones that are most similar to past decisions or most comfortable to you, but the others are available if you’re feeling daring or adventurous. And who knows what other realities could exist if you started to choose the other options. That’s where this goes off the rails and you realize how insignificant your decision-making powers might be. Have you ever made a truly conscious decision before? And even if you have, it may be one decision out of hundreds or thousands made in a day. Is that even significant? Does that really affect the outcome in any meaningful way? That’s why it may be more about long-term strategy than momentary decision-making because developing mental tools shapes the statistical outcomes over time. Instead of trying to manage the unmanageable mass of decisions immediately in front of you, you can rely on more abstract systems to make those decisions for you. Then you can spend your conscious effort improving those tools so that as situations arise you make the right, productive, and principled decision.
Additional note: I came to this conclusion after auditing my own decisions throughout many days over the past couple years. There seems to be decisions I make that are automated, but not with any strategic foresight applied to them. They are relics from my past life that don’t really benefit me in any way. They’re bad habits or laziness or just unaware actions that could be replaced with something more useful. To understand this, I think you need to reflect on your actions and pay close attention to the things you do during the day and consider alternatives that might be more efficient, more kind, more courteous, more productive, and just better overall. Also, to clarify the Sims reference, you can search Google Images for “sims radial menu” to get a visual of what I’m talking about. I imagine that this menu pops up at any significant decision-making moment and if you intercept your normal thought process you can make a different decision before your automated self clicks the button that is most expected or comfortable. This can help break patterns of bad behavior and reveal new insights about other options you might never consider otherwise.
Ok, I’m talking through the problem and it just occurred to me that maybe the strategy of defining precise objectives isn’t the answer. Maybe it should be about defining routines based around universal constants. Things that never change. Projects and objectives should NOT be part of the strategy at all. Consistent routine should be entirely about when you wake, what you eat, what order you do your basic necessities in, and the meaningful rituals you perform and have no reference to your end goals. Those only fit in when you have free time between these other activities. You’re basically building a foundation upon which only the strongest, universal elements are constructed. The things that won’t change now or in the future and won’t change even if you do. Everything else lives inside it, but is not a part of the structure. That way you can be both consistent and dynamic.
During the day we live inside a comfortable blue bubble, but at night things are revealed for what they are. The vast darkness of space, the dark nightmare that surrounds us, the dangers that lurk within.
There is nothing more to discuss, just a firm resolve forward into silence. Executing on task after task in a futile effort to fill a nameless void. Ceaselessly, until the end of time.
Somewhere, deep in a dark place, a solitary statue stirs and a crack forms down its side…
The more I learn the more I understand why people work so hard to succeed. It’s because we all start so far away from any meaningful end game. Each insight takes me one step forward rationally, but it feels like a net loss because my position on the game board becomes more clear. It’s almost as if the more I learn the further backwards I find myself. It’s an interesting dilemma because moving forward increases my intelligence and allows me to see reality more clearly, but it paints a much bleaker picture overall. I wonder if there is a way to negate the effect of moving backwards by somehow accurately pinpointing your position on the game board so new insights only felt like a step forward? Basically you would be taking a huge hit up front, probably devastating your ego, but then recovering in a position that actually wasn’t delusional.
Logic, rationality, philosophy, and science. These pursuits construct tools inside your mind for interpreting reality. It then becomes less an aimless struggle for self-awareness and more about cultivating good decisions over a long stretch of time. A game of statistics that’s less focused on you as an individual and more on navigating an external game board. How do you maximize your successes? What direction are you traveling in? Knowing who you are is still important, but maybe you are equally defined by the path forward as by the path behind.
Being thoughtful and labeled as someone who thinks about others is yet another calculation. There are 24 hours in a day, you sleep on average 8 of them, you spend another 10-12 working, at school, or tending to necessities. That leaves 4-6 hours each day that you can customize to your liking. Those 4-6 precious hours are yours to spend however you wish and those who are more selfish spend a higher percentage of them thinking about themselves and their own endeavors. Let’s say the average person spends 5% of their time thinking about others in some meaningful way while a selfish person spends 1%. Let’s then average 4-6 hours to 5 and convert it to minutes = 300 minutes. At 5% that is 15 minutes per day that the average person goes out of their way to really think about another person’s well-being and ways they could help improve it. 1% would be 3 minutes. Someone who is “thoughtful” might adjust that percentage to 10% and spend 30 minutes per day thinking about others. The point is, we go about our days not reflecting on how we really spend our time, and even less on adjusting them to reach our goals. By consciously recognizing this fact, you have the power every day to change how you spend your free time. And this thought process applies to many different things, not just your level of selfishness. For awhile, I conducted an experiment using Toggl where I tracked every minute of my day for weeks. It revealed new insights about how I really spend my time and, as a result, who I really am. The second level after that, is the realization that small adjustments, tweaking your day just slightly, changes the long-term statistics of your behavior and the results. A 1% increase towards selflessness, over a long period of time, could result in all sorts of unexpected benefits from the extra 3 minutes per day, 21 minutes per week, or 18 hours per year. That’s the power of recognizing how numbers can influence your life.