Nothing Definitive

Category: Enlightenment

Selfishness is an adjustable calculation

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.

Manifested Realities is our Minds Ability to Adapt

Today’s video talks about how altering ones perception and the subsequent manifestations of potential realities may reflect nothing more than our minds ability to fully adapt to what the universe has to offer. It’s this idea that the profoundness we experience under different states of mind are not actual representations of actual realities, but rather the scale to which our minds can form abstract thoughts that in turn allow us to experience a wide range of actual reality. Without the ability to form bizarre realizations we might be ultimately limited in how much and to what degree we can actually take input data. If true, it reveals the importance of science as a true form of discovery and creates boundaries we can use to help define what is real and what is nothing more than conjecture.

For Those Who’ve Crossed the River

This fall will mark the approximate 5th anniversary of my journey towards, what I assume to be, enlightenment. It began accidentally with an innocent mind stumbling upon deep, eluding questions about life, and a burning curiosity to discover their answers. And as the years march on, a transformation of thought and idea have become manifest, altering my mind forever. It has been a truly bizarre experience that I want to sum up with this allegory:

Coughing and sputtering up water, an exhausted figure climbs desperately ashore, collapsing into the dry sand. For awhile he just rests, breathing heavily and thanking the universe that he made it across. Behind him a vast bubbling river swirls and churns, filled with splintered logs and razor sharp rocks. Alongside the man extends a wide empty beach and in front a thick, untamed wildness. Finally, after summoning enough strength to sit up, the man stares back over the immense water he just accomplished. It had been a difficult and dangerous journey with numerous close calls. Among the waves and splashes he can see other brave swimmers attempting to cross. Some are near completion, others far on the other side. He can also just make out the other beach where many people are standing and observing the waters. Beyond that, a world where we all come from, the previous life before we realized the river was even here. The man sits and watches some of these people inspect the waters. Some casually glance at it and turn away, content with their own little world and uninterested in what the waters possess. Others are more interested and dip a toe in, perhaps even wading to their thighs, but ultimately turn around and retreat to the safety of the shoreline. Either confused at why they would continue further or just scared of the unknown. Others begin their swim, some slowly easing in and others with a sprint and a dive. But the man notices an interesting observation, almost none of the swimmers look across the water to the shoreline he sits at. They are only focused on the water immediately in front of them. Interesting he wonders, was I that unaware when I first began? Did I really not see the shoreline on the other side? He switches his gaze to the river itself and watches people struggling to swim the murky water. A good portion of excited swimmers quickly look panic-stricken and turn around to either wade in shallower waters or return to the shore. They appear unfit or insecure in their abilities to make the journey. Perhaps at a later time the man thinks, once they’ve grown a bit more. Most of the swimmers though are well on their way towards the middle of the river. But the man again notices a look of worry and concern that is slowly growing on their faces. Perhaps they are questioning the legitimacy of what they’ve been told. Is swimming this river really worth it? Is there really a bank on the other side at all? Was I hoodwinked into believing something entirely of fiction? Others are more concerned with their internal constitution and whether they’ll have enough energy and determination to stick with it until the end. Especially since the end isn’t even in sight. “What are we even swimming towards?” they wonder. And this is when the man sees various individuals, here and there, turning back or getting swept away down the stream. Most find themselves climbing back on the other shore, but some are caught in vortexes of swirling water, making the same strokes, but no progress. Almost as if they’re trapped and lost in the waters. And worse yet, some swimmers have disappeared, sucked under by the current, forever lost to the mystery of these waters. The man finds himself calling out, a tear streaking down his cheek. Memories of himself, struggling through the same challenges, flash through his mind. If only I could reach them and tell them how to succeed. But the man is unwise and does not yet realize that the bubbling waters are changing and that specific instructions do not necessarily help. In fact they can harm, even if the intention is good. For what seems like an eternity the swimmers continue ahead, but the pack is growing light. More and more individuals are being swept away or giving up, still unable to see the shoreline, unaware of how close they really are. The man at one point stands and shouts because one swimmer is mere meters from the shoreline and decides to turn back. “How close he has come! This is terrible,” the man yells in frustration. Watching further he sees a few key individuals who have stopped swimming and are calling others over. This swimming guru is attempting to teach others how to swim the current, but almost all his followers cannot swim any further than he, for they are limited to his skill. Only a small handful realize this and leave him, swimming in the moment and tackling the challenges as they come. For a long while the man watches all this go on, amazed that this challenge is not attempted by more people. He, himself, had not even heard of this bubbling river for many years and had only stumbled upon it by accident. He looks along the beach and sees not a single soul. Of all those swimmers, no one has made it yet, and for days, weeks, months, and even years he could sit without seeing anyone climb ashore. And then it dawns on him that his friends and family will probably never make it. “How have we not addressed this?” he wonders. It seems with all that the other world is composed of, someone could have been a guide along the way or technology could help bridge the gap. Or what about a clearer view of the other beach? Perhaps if people knew what they were swimming towards they’d try even harder. More and more questions begin to pile up and the man realizes his journey isn’t over. The water was just the test. The first step towards challenging himself and growing as a person. He stands up and gives the river one last look, emotion welling up inside. He says a quiet goodbye to his former life and turns to the tall trees and thick forest in front of him. Perhaps there’s something on the other side he says and steps within.

I hope this allegory helps you gain a more visual understanding of what the path towards enlightenment is like. This has been my own personal vision about it and I now find myself deep within the forest. It has changed me greatly as a person and I look forward to the continuing advance of my personal growth. If you too have found yourself across this river, leave a comment and share your own journey!

Enlightenment Journey Update: May 31st, 2013

It’s been just over a month since my last video which talked about multiverse and simulation theory. I’ve been so damn busy with my company SJC Media and my other project over at The Spawn Room that I’ve neglected publishing any content for Nothing Definitive. But today I have a video discussing a few things I’ve wanted to clarify about enlightenment, and an update regarding my personal journey and where I’m going. Unfortunately my life will continue to be very busy for the foreseeable future so content will be intermittent. But I’ll be here, finding time to meditate when I can, taking notes about the complexities of our universe, and sharing them as often as possible. So without further ado, here is today’s update.

Update: Something interesting I wanted to mention is that it’s bizarre to think that I’ve actually achieved much of what I set out towards 4 years ago. My desire for a more rational, intelligent mind now exists, something I wasn’t even sure possible. In fact, I wrote this the other day when I was meditating on this thought, “My mind is constantly at war, challenging and verifying every thought. Checks and balances, checklists, and internal monologues are constantly engaged. It’s hard to remember a time when my mind was more quiet. When every thought wasn’t followed by intense debate and validation. It’s amazing, but not necessarily in a good or bad way. Just…in the middle.” The point I want to make here is to never give up and never doubt yourself. IQ, natural learning abilities, gifted learners, etc. is all bullshit. I promise you. Everything is achievable, it’s just an arduous journey.

Challenging Enlightenment

Today’s Nothing Definitive video is called “Challenging Enlightenment” and covers the importance of skepticism when pursuing self improvement. By being too certain with your progress you are actually limiting potential improvements by checking off thoughts as beliefs. It’s explains why this blog is called Nothing Definitive, because even thoughts that seem so obvious and so definitive, are often debunked weeks or months later! I also mention gurus, dualism, and interconnectedness and how trends like these can distract you from true learning and provide nothing but simplification for complex concepts. True learning comes naturally and flows from one topic to the next, whereas teachers can actually hinder your progress by jumping around. You should only ruminate on what you can and be patient for the rest. It will come. And terminology like dualism and interconnectedness often blankets many complex topics while ignoring flaws and distracting from real research. Don’t worry about experiencing these things, or even understanding them, their knowledge will come naturally.

What is Consciousness and Enlightenment?

Today I published a new video talking about my current theory regarding consciousness and how it relates to enlightenment. The theory arose over the course of a few meditation sessions and really struck me as an interesting way to think about things. Of course I could be wildly misinformed, not being a neuroscientist and all, but I love allowing my mind to just think in different directions and see what it tells me.

This theory talks primarily about “configuration states”, individual states of mind that have stats and attributes attached to them. When you’re sad or happy, a variety of different configurations are available that implement that emotional state, load related memories, and as a result alters your consciousness. There would undoubtedly be millions of these configurations with varying levels of intensity, illustrating why people react differently to the same stimuli. I would also imagine there are other factors involved too, like genetics and any chemicals currently inside your body (food, drugs, etc.).

The example I give to try and explain this view is: there are two identical androids with the exact same brains and memories, and operate indistinguishably from humans (at least from the abstract). With all their senses turned off, they are each asked the exact same question in the exact same way. Both retrieve the same answer because they are each within the exact same configuration state and thus the memory retrieved is identical. But then the scientist allows one of them to receive tactile feedback or turns on their eyes, and now their configuration state is altering rapidly to adjust to the new information. Their consciousness changes and now they retrieve a different answer (or memory) to the question.

The point I’m trying to make is that with this theory in mind, enlightenment is probably just the discovery of specific configurations. Enlightenment isn’t actually anything at all, it’s just the subjective best possible configurations you can find and maintain. If true, then you can begin to systematically figure out how to achieve enlightenment states by understanding what the configuration is comprised of. For instance, 10/10 happy, 8/10 contentment, 0/10 sadness, 2/10 patience, 4/10 energy, etc. And you could begin to detail what thoughts and activities allow you to reach your maximum potential.

UPDATE 2016-02-04: I wanted to quickly point out that X/10 is a simplistic way of expressing this idea and that in reality the complexity of configurations are probably beyond human comprehension. Instead you must rely on approximations and an acute awareness of self to predict and maintain mental states that positively impact your psyche (note ‘positive’ being a relative definition and not ’emotional positivity’ as that may not always be the most beneficial state of mind). This is undoubtedly a daunting task however and could require a lifetime of analysis and practice to achieve, if it’s even possible at all.

The Three Levels of Truth

Today’s upload talks about a recent realization I had in regards to handling decisions and how it can help lead you to a more enlightened and happy life. The idea is that there are three levels of opinion or truth that you can hold about something. The first level is your initial assumption or observation that forms your opinion or belief. This could be the worldview you held when you were younger. As you grow up you begin to realize the world works in a much different way than you first suspected and thus are forced to update your beliefs. This often results in an emotional response because it unravels something you thought was a foundation in your life. It forces you to ask questions like, “how could I have been so wrong? What does this mean? Does this change anything else? What else in my life is wrong?” It can be a very difficult to deal with questions like these, and thus many people will simply ignore them. I consider these two viewpoints to be extremes. One is naivety, the other an emotional reaction that pushes you to the other end of the spectrum. But there exists a third level, and it’s the realization that there is “middle ground”. It isn’t that gay marriage should be banned or legalized, it’s that it doesn’t exist in the first place. There is no such thing is gay or straight, there is only attraction. It’s not that guns should be legal or illegal, that’s not really the problem. The problem is why those people feel compelled to kill in the first place.

In my personal life, I experienced this with money. I used to dream about being rich and famous when I was young, but as I grew older I realized that those dreams were not my own. They were instilled in me through media and this urge to compete and prove myself. So I moved to the other spectrum and found myself rebelling against the system and hating money and all it stood for. But eventually the realization hit me that there is middle ground. Money can exist simply as a tool, not a necessity. Another example might be confidence and how that evolves with age. When we’re young, we’re insecure and scared of being judged. We blush and feel embarrassed, and we fear public speaking. As we grow older these fears diminish and we gain confidence. But even this is only the second level, for confidence itself is still a metric and limiting factor. The enlightened mind would realize that the act of simply measuring it, creates it, and thus you will be servant to it. Instead, realize that it is a mere fabrication of your mind and you can exist without it. There is always a third level you can move to. Seek it and adopt its views. For I once read that if you know the solution, or how you’ll think in the end, then you’re already there, and it would be foolish to think any other way.

An Evaluation of My Current Mental State

From January – December 2012, I have been distracting myself with an eSports programming project called The Spawn Room and its associated YouTube content. This work has kept me busy and focused, drawing much of my attention away from introspection and reflection. But over the last couple months I’ve begun to spend more time thinking and I wanted to share my current state of mind as it pertains to enlightenment.

First, everything is constantly in perspective. This viewpoint matured over the past year as I worked to implement it and has now become persistent in my thinking. When I observe people or analyze their world, it’s as if there is a notification that is constantly reminding me that the universe doesn’t care about petty human affairs. It’s like holding a marble to a bowling ball. The universe carries much more weight and pulls your attention to it. As such, it has created a state of mind where everything is of equal value. Whether comparing a lazy couch potato to a powerful leader, it all seems like comparing the Earth to the Moon when looking at the sun. They are mere dots in a much grander universe, and most of what us humans do seem only to validate our existence, nothing more. The resulting effect from this point of view is what I call “psychological invulnerability”. It is the consequence of being unfazed by almost nothing. It is the realization that all there is, appears to be irrelevant and thus should be treated with little regard. For instance, I’ve found when interacting with people, I view the content of their words as a dog barking. And if they insult me, it is just another bark. Only a fool would interpret it any other way.

With these changes, I’ve withdrawn socially. Most company and their conversation is of little importance to me. I recently read a Buddhist quote saying, “Let him travel alone, Rather than with a fool for company.” This reflects much of how I feel around most people. Their lives revolve around trivial affairs, they complain about many things, they’re unaware of the world around them, and rarely say anything of value. As a result, I spend most of my time alone, reading and watching lectures on YouTube. It is a quiet lifestyle that I do not consider a consequence or a benefit, it simply is.

When I do interact with people I find it difficult to raise the energy to explain things and loath the question “what do you do?” (a popular question among my age group). I’ve found it incredibly difficult to express exactly what it is I do and why. There just doesn’t seem to be an effective way of explaining enlightenment without talking for hours. And even then, it would be a miracle if they actually understood. Often times I simply just sputter whatever comes to mind, regardless of how poorly articulated, and leave it at that. Ultimately, it matters not. This is especially apparent when I obverse an argument between two people. Their adherence to opinion and belief, clouds their judgement, and they engage in meaningless bickering, all while a rational conclusion could be reached. It tires me to even think of it.

I also have this looming concern that I am trapped on a planet full of unpredictable animals that wield immense power. The people around me appear less human than ever before because they are simply acting out the stimuli given to them, rather than ruminating on its meaning and coming to thought out conclusions (an ability we were graciously gifted to by this universe, and one few people ever bother using). The more you become aware of this reality, the more dangerous it seems. I cannot trust the system or the people in it, because they cannot trust themselves to think properly. I fear they may destroy me, or worse, lock me up somewhere.

Lastly, I feel lost. But what’s odd, is that admitting it, feels like a step forward. With the distractions of materialism and contemporary pseudo-success pulled away, I’ve come to realize that we’re all lost among thorn bushes. And it is only recently that I’ve pulled myself away and ventured into the vast labyrinth of reality. It reminds me of the famous quote, “None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1853). Without awareness, without stripping away the distractions, you cannot hope to ever free yourself from the slavery of being lost. And it is this recognition and acceptance that has allowed me to see more clearly, to wake up. Unfortunately, it also appears that most fail to achieve this, and thus the path, to what I call enlightenment, is a lonesome journey. I have no teacher or guide, only disparate bits of enigmatic information that I must rearrange to complete the puzzle. Everyone is lost. Everyone is scared. I have accepted these truths and begun looking for answers.

Update: I would like to add that this realization was profound. It happened when I was driving awhile back. I was wondering why I felt so lost and depressed, even with all the intellectual progress I had been making. And then it suddenly dawned on me that I had never encountered this in my entire life. I had always had people to look up to, to take advice from. To receive direction, purpose, and quests from. It had suddenly crumbled away and left me alone to decide my destiny. While this was incredibly liberating, it was not a comforting experience.

So, if you’ve read this far, you may be alarmed and think I sound incredibly depressed, antisocial, suicidal, etc. But there are some key benefits to pursuing this line of thinking. It is not all darkness. And I should probably assure any readers that, no, I am not suicidal or even that depressed anymore. I think all of these realizations simply come with the territory and must be conquered to receive their reward.

The first major benefit is clarity. I have reached a point where my absorption of information is pure and unadulterated. This means that my belief system (or lack there of), no longer interferes with my interpretation of reality. I can freely move about any perspective without manipulating it. I also see strategy, sense social cues, read body language, and understand more of situational awareness than ever before. I can appreciate anything and rarely form judgement, biases, or opinions, regardless of how controversial the topic. Even the discomfort of cognitive dissonance, which previously seemed very prominent, has subsided as my mind seemingly adjusts to this belief in nothing. It is as if a veil or filter has been removed from my vision and the world is more clear and understandable than ever before.

Additionally, my emotions are almost entirely within my control. I rarely ever feel anger, frustration, annoyance, or sadness. I do feel depression. I still get choked up by heavily emotional content (I’ve always been an emotional person). I feel happy some of the time, but it seems diminished overall. My emotions are mostly dominated by a “neutralness”. It’s neither happy nor sad, nor angry or frustrated. It’s just a calm, relaxed observation of reality. There is a theory I once heard about emotions being interconnected through dualism. Where feeling less sad and angry consequently means you also feel less happy and content because you must compare the two to measure them (or even realize they exist!). As of late, this seems very likely.

Along with controlling emotion, I have greatly increased my willpower. Through understanding and exploiting activation energy I have efficiently redesigned my life to take advantage of its power. It has resulted in improved physical and mental health. My body is becoming trim and fit, I avoid sugar and fat with no longing for its flavor, my mind is sharp and memory improved. I have better balance and reflexes, enjoy going to the gym and working out 3-4 times a week, and stretching and practicing yoga every morning at 7am. This path towards enlightenment has left my body and parts of my mind feeling like a powerful, and polished machine. And the best part is there is no resistance. I can do all these things and feel excited for them. Eating healthy has become a problem I enjoy solving. Exercise has become a natural part of my morning routine that wakes me up and energizes me for the day.

Through all of this, I feel more in control of my life than ever before, and I live by the tenet, “do what is right, no matter what.” With this, I only pursue what makes sense, not what I am “supposed to do”. It is an amazing feeling to confront the world with this doctrine and makes you realize how little you managed your previous life. I am under the suspicion that free will runs in degrees and that most people have a far smaller degree than they may think. Go to school, learn these things, get a degree, get a job, get a spouse, have a family, etc. These simply reflect an outdated formula from a system demanding obedience. Submit and assimilate, that is the sacrifice expected of you. Only when you wander outside your pen do you realize an entire world of opportunity, happiness, and wonderment exist. Of course there are consequences to this lifestyle and I cannot suggest anyone follow my lead. It is a dark and mysterious path, and at this time, I do not know where it will lead.

There are a few lingering questions I have regarding all these changes. First, how do I interpret modern civilization? While I consider much of it poorly designed (and inadvertently dumbing down and killing off its constituents), it has also produced many wonderful things. I truly appreciate technological advancements, wonderful communities of like-minded people, fun YouTube videos, the quirky cultures, the brilliant minds doing brilliant things, and much, much more, but I often wonder if it outweighs all the negativity. I mean, there must be a better way to handle all of this. And when you take someone like me, who is going through what I believe to be enlightenment, where do I fit in? How can I coexist within or among the system and still remain happy and content? Or is it better to live away from it, and work on other things? I suppose these questions have been asked by many people over the centuries. How can I be happy? I hope there is an answer…

Well I suppose I should wrap this up. There is much more I could say, and perhaps I will, but for now this generally covers my current state of mind. I am working on being more positive as a result of a recent realization. It would appear that value and purpose in life is entirely determined on your own. And as such, it’s just as pointless to feel depressed and hopeless as it is content and happy, regardless of the outlook. So why feel like shit all the time if you can simply choose to feel happy? Although I sympathize with anyone feeling negative because it strikes at me constantly. When everything looks so dark, how is it we can find light? What I feel I’d like most right now is to simply escape to a more natural environment, rich with vegetation and animals. Somewhere I could meditate and learn without the disruptions of modern society. Of course I also consider that perhaps upon getting there I would hate it, but you never know until you try. I must remain in Wisconsin until October for one of my best friends weddings and then after that I may leave.

Update: Here are some other tidbits I didn’t go into but reflect some of who I am right now:

  • I fear death and view life much differently than I used to. Duality helps explain the importance of comparisons, and as such, deaths seems just as necessary as life. Although I still think humanity will outgrow death eventually.
  • My inner self (identity) is fading as I work to minimize my ego. I picture the last remnant, a difficult little orb, that is no longer surrounded by all the various selfish traits it used to. But how do I perceive without it? It’s hard to imagine.
  • One thing I fear is that I may stumble upon a state of mind that is quite advanced, but alters me in such a way that I cannot remember my past state of mind and am thus trapped there. Although considering how slowly and subtly the mind changes, it’s probably not a problem.
  • I feel more an observer of humanity than a participant. Quietly watching and learning.
  • Sometimes I feel as if people like me are becoming sane among a world of insane people. That my potentially eccentric views may appear crazy to someone, but it’s actually sanity that they are witnessing. This argument seems strengthened when you consider I may have a heightened state of awareness and clarity. But this is just conjecture.

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