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Mind Hacks, Intelligence, and Love

Mind Hacks

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.

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.

Love

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?
Neo: Anything.
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.

 

CG

 

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This ain’t a scene, it’s an arms race

I’m sure most of you recognize the title as a song from Fallout Boy…well we will get to why in a moment.

First I need to talk about dreams. I believe that dreams have power. I believe they tell us things. Things about ourselves that maybe we don’t know yet, things about our world we don’t notice consciously, and things we want but don’t see why. In short, oftentimes they answer questions we haven’t asked yet. Now whether dreams come from some higher power, or our own subconscious is up to speculation, but regardless they tell us things.

As I am sure you can guess, I had a dream. And I have been trying to figure out what it means all day.

It started off with me leading a group of my loved ones through a city, trying to get us out as fast as possible. I never thought of what the danger actually was, I was so focused on getting us to the countryside. The next thing I can recall is meeting my dad with the group in front of a lake and he had all these supplies. Well we gathered them up and went on, making camp after hiking for a while and beating back a lake monster. And after camp was set up I saw my dad standing a little apart, so I went to talk to him. He just looked me in the eye and said “It’s time to live up to those words now.” “What words?” I asked a bit confused. And he replied “This ain’t a scene, its a g__ d___ arms race” and I woke up.

This has been going around and around in my head all day. What does it mean?

In the song, they are talking about how life is all about making money, not providing comfort, or making someone’s life better, or anything besides making money. (“I am an arms dealer, selling you weapons in the form of words, I don’t care which side wins, as long as the room keeps singing, that’s just the business I am in”)

Kind of makes you think about how we feel like bands are speaking to us, and how much music can affect someone but really it’s just about making money, not changing lives.

Unfortunately, that seems what the world is like these days. Oddly enough, I have always felt like I was meant to change the world. I guess that is arrogant, or prideful, but it’s always been a truth to me not a question. After all, that is what gave me faith in my plan to graduate college, and why my world was shattered when I failed out the first time. I remember have a long conversation with my junior high youth group leader about how I wanted to program computer games, and my desire to change the world through my games. We talked about all kinds of Christian friendly games I could make (it was church after all) and he shared my faith in myself and my plan.

Somewhere along the way I have lost that faith in myself.

I remember telling someone that it was easier to endure difficulty when I had someone else in my life to work for…when I was working towards a goal. It seemed like everything cleared up, and became so simple and easy…when I had a clear path instead of slogging through the muck. I guess what I need…what my dream was trying to say is that I need to find that level of motivation by myself, for myself, and not for someone else. I need to stop settling for good enough and start reaching for my greatness before too long because “this ain’t a scene, it’s an arms race.”