Hacking. Usually associated these days with negative ideas from the plethora of online predators that “hack” to steal your identity, bring websites down, etc.
But the most correct definition of hacking would label it as wanting to know how something works so badly you break it down and put it back together. It’s really just a thirst for knowledge so great that you know something’s innermost working.
Let’s use the second definition to talk about mind hacks.
Recently I’ve been interested about how I can improve myself. I’ve been thinking a lot about human existence, and how we are very much a tri-fold, three in one. I agree with the Eastern (I believe) philosophy of Mind, Body, and Spirit and that we should bring all three in harmony in order to attain enlightenment and become attuned to the infinite cosmos (or God if you prefer).
Did I lose you yet?
This has led me all over the Web. I’ve read a lot of Lifehacker trying to improve my organizational and mental skills. I’ve talked/debated spiritual things with my friends. I’ve been dieting and trying to exercise, definitely need to make it a habit, to work on the body.
But last week I stumbled on a book called Mindhacker. Let me just say I have enjoyed this book very much. In just that short amount of time I feel like it some parts of it have been trans formative. Some parts just opened my mind and helped me clarify things I believe in like how I feel about intelligence.
I’ve always felt that intelligence is overrated and the main thing that holds so called “dumb” people back is this idea that they are less intelligent than other people. Now, I can almost feel you, dear reader, thinking “Well, CG, you are obviously intelligent. How would you know?” Here’s a way to kind of explain what I mean…and I definitely believe this.
I’m a computer science geek so I know about the Universal Turing Machine, but if you don’t know what I’m talking about (and don’t want to read Wikipedia) the important part of the concept to make my point is “It is possible to invent a single machine which can be used to compute any computable sequence.” What this means is that a computer from 20 years ago can perform any operation a computer today can, just more slowly. The only thing that we “upgrade” in computer systems is the processor speed and storage capacity. The other hardware is functionally the same. In other words, if we could build hardware that would never degrade, we would never have to switch out anything but the hard drives, or processors in order to update our machines.
Now how does this apply to human intelligence?
First, check out the Sentience Quotient , which is a theory that gives a standard way to calculate a being’s intelligence. The human intelligence quotient is approximately +13 based on the size of our brains, and the ability of our neurons to process information. What this means for us, is that the most intelligent human and the least intelligent, are not orders of magnitude apart. To put it in computing terms, we are limited by our hardware.
So what’s the difference between someone who can soak up calculus and trigonometry like a sponge, and someone who has to study their butt off? Well as I said above it’s merely processing speed and storage capacity.
I’m sure some of you are asking “So? They can still learn faster. They are still smarter.”
They do learn faster. But the extension of that is not that they are somehow magically more intelligent than you. Anyone can learn anything. We put this huge gap between ourselves and those that are “smarter” than us in our minds and get stuck in this idea that we will never be able to measure up. But the truth is, human potential is only so much and in the larger scheme of things the difference between the most intelligent the human race can offer (the fastest processors, combined with the greatest storage capacity) and the least intelligent isn’t really all that much. We are still grouped together, limited by the same “hardware.”
So don’t think your stupid. I HATE hearing anyone say “Well I just don’t get it, I must be dumb.”, or “Sorry for asking such a dumb question.” There are no stupid questions. Questions show that you are trying to learn. Trying to somehow correlate what you are hearing, and seeing with something familiar your mind can wrap itself around.
Learn everything. Ask anything. Fear nothing.
Neo: I just have never…
Rama-Kandra: …heard a program speak of love?
Neo: It’s a… human emotion.
Rama-Kandra: No, it is a word. What matters is the connection the word implies.
I see that you are in love. Can you tell me what you would give to hold on to that connection?
Rama-Kandra: Then perhaps the reason you’re here is not so different from the reason I’m here.
I have some friends that are getting married tomorrow. Weddings always make me think about love, what it all means, and other very contemplative things.
It’s taken me a long time to answer the simplest question:
What is love?
It’s not an easy one. People say they feel it when they don’t, they say you’ll know it when you feel it, but how can you know? Can you trust those feelings? And those are just a few of the questions you have to answer before you can arrive at a decision. Love is complicated but oh so simple at times.
The above quote from the Matrix has led me down another interesting tangent that makes me feel like I am getting closer. Love isn’t just something you feel, it’s something you do. You show your love every single day in what you spend your time doing, who you spend your time with…every action SHOULD be about something or someone you love. If not, you are probably majorly unhappy.
I saw something in my random wandering around the internet the other day that said “Don’t worry about finding someone to love. Do the things you love and that’s where you find the person you love most.” It’s an interesting thought, and I think there is a lot of truth there.
Anyway, just some food for thought…things that have been going through my head with this wedding coming up.
Okay, so I’ve been bad about keeping up with this…just haven’t had much to talk about. Although soon Skyrim will be out and I will be salivating over it and will probably post a lot about how awesome it is and how much I want to play it. 😛
Until then, well I just post when I have something I want to say…and today I have a lot.
So first, let’s start with back in high school I was a part of this amazing group of people called Venture Crew 203. Now the Venture Crews started out as a special patrol that was an adjunct of the Boy Scout troop but over the years they let us break away and become an independent entity. We were also co-ed…boys and girls could join with impunity. And I actually didn’t find out until we went to a Scout-O-Rama as a crew that all the other crews in our area didn’t do nearly the exciting and cool stuff we did. We did tons of backpacking and rock climbing/rappelling, and I learned quite a few lessons from these experiences that apply to me even today.
However, the most important thing I feel like I learned from these experiences and mostly backpacking was that you always push yourself to the limits…and then a little farther. And every time I did I always found that my limit wasn’t ever where I thought it was. It was way beyond that, and even then I could push myself farther until I was ready to collapse. As soft indoor dwelling people, our minds rebel at the thought of walking 10 miles in a day, and then add on 30 to 50 pounds on to your back to make this feat seem impossible. But it can be done, quite easily once you remove the mental blocks and just believe in yourself. The backpackers call this “hitting the wall”. You get to this point where you feel like you can’t go on any more, and then you get a second wind. It’s like something clicks in your head and your brain goes “Oh, this isn’t so bad, I can keep going!” Now obviously, eventually, you will reach the end of your endurance…but that end is much, much further than most people think. And even knowing this and having experienced it before it’s hard to go through it again and again. Every trail is a new challenge.
So, why am I talking about this? Because last night I was thinking, as I often do, about my life and where I stand. And I quickly realized something. I have never reached my limit academically or mentally. I’ve never truly pushed myself and found the end. I’ve gotten discouraged and stopped, I’ve let myself be distracted by other things, I’ve let myself be lazy and do just enough to scrape by. And every time I have applied myself, everything is too easy and I wonder why I am trying so hard to accomplish something so small. As a result, I have never even gotten close enough to the “wall” to give up.
But also, I feel like I don’t have the motivation and focus on my own to study and really push myself. I know…weak right? But even backpacking I had my Dad and the other leaders pushing me so I could get there. And that’s what I need…a learning environment where the teachers will push me to be my best. BPCC was great for that…I loved the teachers and all of them pushed me and did their best to challenge me and let me push myself without moving too fast for the other people. And I could tell by the end that my advisor knew me too well because she said “Are you sure you are going to be challenged enough by these classes? We both know you struggle when you are bored.”
So, this is all leading up to…I want to go back to school. And it would be AWESOME if I could go some place like Full Sail and study game development, or game design. But truthfully that is just kind of a pipe dream. I don’t have the money and I don’t know how I would get the financial aid without having to take massive, massive student loans out…and my credit is terrible (well more non-existent).
But it bothers me how easily my Mom dismissed it. I mentioned going back to school to her and she tried to talk me out of it and said I need to try and get a job and just get some money coming in. And I understand…I am 26, I am getting older every day…I can’t go on living on my family’s mercy. But I went back to BPCC in the first place to get a stupid piece of paper so I could say I have a degree. Obviously that isn’t everything since it has been almost 6 months and I haven’t found a job yet. And there is a part of me that HUNGERS for knowledge, and a need to push myself as far as I can go for once and reach that limit and say “Enough…this is it…I’ve found the end.” To not have her support, hurts me a lot. She’s always supported me…and now that I want to go back to school and try and realize my potential her discouragement (especially considering my whole family pushed me into going into college right out of high school when I wasn’t sure I was ready) is well…discouraging.
But then, part of me realizes I can’t settle. After seeing all those inspiring quotes by Steve Jobs after he passed away, and rewatching his commencement speech to Stanford in 2005 more than ever I am resolved to do what I love. I have to do this, I have to realize my potential and be everything I can be. Otherwise, I am failing myself and everyone else by being less than what I could be.
Well, thanks for reading, although this was more a “I need to get this out before I scream” kind of post. I will try and get back on the weekly gaming posts and try and find stuff to talk about more often.