The Black Box

The last few months have felt like I’ve been thrown into the world I only figured out in my head. Like some greater power said, alright, you got it a long time ago – I’m done waiting, get your ass over there.

The last ten years … feel like an extended intellectual vomit – a kind of soul detox. It is hard to dismiss some part of me feels like I haven’t moved anywhere in all that time. I know that isn’t true – I don’t think I could have gotten here any other way. I know I have made leaps & bounds as a person, yet I also feel like in many ways I am starting over.

I may have done a great deal of inner work in the last 10 years and yet my (immediate / local) physical world remains much the same. I have not really gotten any closer to any of the (physical) ideals I created for myself. Again, that is a partial truth – my real progress is in removing mental obstacles that may allow me to actually achieve those original dreams.

I feel a little like my boat sank and I have been washed ashore upon a new world. I arrived at my destination, yet without anything I brought with me and I am trying to make sense of it all. Maybe that is a blessing?

Gaming has always been a big part of my life. Gaming for me wasn’t just escapism but it was a superior world. I figured that if the ‘real world’ couldn’t engage me better than a mere video game, then the ‘real world’ wasn’t worth the attention. It was contingent upon the real world to be more interesting and engaging, no? That’s what I figured. While I am nowhere near the stereotypical “Hikikomori”, my life has certainly been lopsided to isolation – or perhaps just “aggressively mediocre.” I feel more like a well-traveled ghost than a hermit hiding in a cave.

On the other end of this, though, I see the “real world” was always a doomed prospect if I had already decided it so. And in so deciding, I started seeing & creating a world less and less desirable. I was shrinking the “available world” and making my realm smaller and smaller.

This is what I know: we aren’t meant to live our lives through boxes of glass. What is natural about sitting alone talking to virtual people? It doesn’t matter one iota if those people have some real physical substance somewhere “out there” – I have met plenty of them – but this is way harder for a subjective idealist. When you are talking to that virtual person – in your own dream – it doesn’t change the fact you are sitting alone, talking to a box of freaking glass. That’s, uh, how they say … not ideal.

The more I think about it, the more bizarre it becomes.

A video game is essentially a game within a game. We already “in a game” and yet we are escaping into another game. There is something very wrong here. The video game can’t be “separate” from qualia, yet instead it represents a kind of denial or rejection – a quiet acceptance of mediocrity? Do gods play games on computer screens?

You argue – well, life is all about ways to spend our time – there are no “wrong” choices. That might be true, yet whenever I ponder these questions I ask: “If this were a dream, would I waste it playing a video game, or go out and explore what the dream had to offer? Would I rather spend it alone – or with others?“

There are certainly “less ideal” choices, or choices that seem to open more vectors to Nonsense. The world may seem unappealing, yet sitting with a box of glass has infinitely more “unnaturalness” to it than the “greater world.” The fact that I can even question the “naturalness” of gaming should be a clue. Why am I even negotiating with it?

You counter, saying the game is “part of the dream” also and so is as valid a choice as anything (and that is true), yet when I began to glimpse at – what I believe/d – to be the nature of the universe, I began to ask: “Why play a video game when I can work on myself to create the same experiences without the narrow perspective (box of glass)?”

Games offer us experiences we couldn’t otherwise have, but will that always be true? If we don’t work on ourselves, how could we ever expect a more fantastical “real life”? If magic emanates from consciousness, then it is contingent upon us to embody the consciousness capable of magic. Wouldn’t we all rather play our “video games” in the full breadth of our life/qualia rather than sitting alone in a room facing tiny screen? In what “ideal” universe do we ever sit in front of a computer rather than playing the actual role of a wizard or a space man?

Why is the “isekai” genre so popular? Because it knows this shit. On some deep level, we’d rather be run over by trucks rather than keep messing with this black box.

An hour spent on a game is an hour delayed that could have expanded your consciousness – made you more of a god. Even if took a thousand years of reincarnation, wouldn’t that be a better use of my time, than descending further into the “game within a game”?

The same truth holds for anything we have derived from the black box. Social media, news/reporting, information of all kind, entertainment … Would not each of our lives be better with communities, friends and relationships?

Ah, moderation, you say – none of this is a problem with balance. But I do not see this as a question of moderation, or addiction, or unhealthy habits. It is about the nature of the beast to begin with. Is it not such an irony that the thing that is suppose to “connect everyone” actually isolates and disconnects them into their own worlds? Inch by inch, it takes you. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Yeah, sounds a lot like our daily descriptions of Nonsense.

Should we simply abide these very immediate and salient truths? I have always followed the philosophy that whatever we believe is ultimately true (IDEAL) even if it “not possible” should imminently inform our behavior to the best of our ability. We live our lives “now” and any compromise on “now” should really be unacceptable, no? Like negotiating with a terrorist. As soon as we allow “tomorrow” to inform right now, we have already lost.

I have an overwhelming love for art & animation and computers have become integral to that medium. I am not suggesting we become luddites, yet in my opinion either the Internet/computers or the nature in which we interact with it is in dire need of revision.

If we saw computers “only for work”, would that fix it? Then it is just a tool, like a hammer or a saw, not an excuse or black hole separating us from our own lives. This re-framing completely changes how we even approach the computer – its other functions don’t even EXIST. You train yourself, with as much arrogance as you need, to look at The Other like they’re crazy when they talk about how they’re using a hammer to talk to people across the world. Nuts!

Why do we do this? Because we want real people in our immediate qualia – not virtual people (as even a concept) – and we don’t need be creating “interim steps.”

[ edit: This was a bit tongue-in-cheek. I want to clarify this is a mental exercise to move one to seeing the computer as a tool, not a denial that it can also be used to meet real people. Actually, we can include that as part of the ‘tool’ function – maybe write about this later – as usual, discernment/skill is needed with all things. ]

I know that in my own life I have to change how I approach the black box. I am going to narrow the scope of how I use it only to creative pursuits as best I can. Anything that even approaches consumption over engaging my own qualia needs to go. I’ll talk a little more about Creation & Consumption in a subsequent post.

Someone on my Tumblr feed posted a quote about burning bridges to the light the way. I agree. For now, I leave with this –>

That’s 12,870 hours that could have been applied to ascension. And the 666 is eerie.

GoG and Humble Bundle are also in process.

I see you, Nonsense. I am on to you. I already hear the laments from The Other. I do this because I am tired of mediocrity.

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