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Category Archives: Conversations

Am I old-fashioned for thinking that one can only appreciate and enjoy using a skill if it came with hard work? If I don’t have to put much effort to learn a skill, does that cheapen the whole thing?

“You heard about the new performance enhancement stuff athletes are using? Its -”

“What, doping? That’s been quietly legal for a while. Ever since global sports started to stagnate – what with no records being broken for a while and what not, people were starting to complain about how boring things were becoming so they quietly stopped checking. It’s not talked about much but if you know where to look you’ll see they aren’t even trying to deny it anymore.”

“Yeah that aint whats I’m talking about.”

“Oh right. Then what are you talking about? Do you mean gene and stem cell therapies? Those are banned officially but again, no one actually pursues offenders.”

“Naw, I don’t means that. Or maybe, kind off. Athletes aint just plain doping no more, now they taking stuff that targets their haplotypes. Some big outfits even gots new stuff developed. Remember that outcry against China when people heard they was using genomics to dope their gymnasts with targeted drugs?”

“Yeah but it quickly quieted down when it turned out to be useful for vertigo and even a bit for Parkinson’s disease. Some of the hormone and gene treatments have been useful for some childhood disabilities too. Hard to pin moral bankruptcy on a company when their research has such positive externalities.”

“Ya recently they been mixing combos o’ that stuff, taking a bunch of targeted drugs, growth hormones and various therapies for quicker healing, speed, strength and stamina build up. Messing with stuff that targets the cholinergic neurons for optimal nerve muscle transmission too. But that aint the rub.”

“Wait what?”

Yeah theres new stuff. Wasn’t even possible 6 months ago. Some shady athletes, past their prime y’ know, are using these caps what records their neural firing patterns when they does a move. They selling them recordings for mega bucks. The upcoming youngsters download ’em. Here’s the crazy bit. The interface don’t try to learn the patterns exactly, it actually tries to form a loose model, right? The user has one what’s tuned to ’em. When they puts it on, it looks for the best match between the twos. Then when they does something wrong it helps that part of the brain what corrects errors. You knows the Anterior Cingular Cortex?”

Yes, go on.”

Yeh okay. Anyways it helps fine tune the signals so they learns quick like from their mistakes, right? If that don’t blows your mind, there’s crazier kids what are getting actual implants in their motor cortex and buying exosuits too. These things actually helping ’em position their limbs right. They learning in a couple tries and a few minutes stuff what used to take hundreds of hours. Crazy huh?”

Yeah. Wow! I’d seen some stuff but I didn’t know people were actually trying that. That stuff could be dangerous! Not to mention the moral arguments, this is really messing up the idea of fair competition. They’re basically cheating.”

Dunno. Some of ’em defends it. They says instead of focusing on useless technicals they works on creativity instead. And you should sees the new stuff coming out. It’s crazy. Anyways, there’s talk underground ’bout an enhanced and pure Olympics. The enhanced version is no holds barred. The boosts what I was telling you right? They almost old hat already. People talking about reinforced skeletons and artificial muscle fibers. Dangerous maybe, thas why not everyone turns out as heroes.”

Huh. That’s all interesting but I don’t know. Some people may call them not heroes but fools. I’m sure I don’t need to remind you of all the cases of gruesome deaths, paralysis, dystonia, ataxia, heart failure and even dementia. Not to mention these people won’t be able to appreciate the movements if it all comes so easy.”

Now yous just repeating yourself. You just ain’t seen the fruits is all. Thems who does it understands the risks but they thinks is worth the price. Sooner than laters the process gonna run smooth like and these pioneers what risk themselves will be to thank. What these new generation are doing warps your mind with its fearsome beauty and super human grace. The people what using, they says the resisters are holding back humanity from its full potential. Sticking to those old days when random chance and genetic lotteries was king. Was less fair before you know. Random ability, limited access to top trainers and good training facilities was the real competitors – not athletic ability.

Now at least people are choosing, leveling the playing field. The new base is set so just doping aint cutting it. Techniques for faster and even more learning is the main. Everyone’s gots access to data from top talents. Times a changing. Just like back in them days when gene duplications what allow quicker movement for new neurons and thicker spines were all the rage and the old guys was saying: ‘hey that aint fair at all!’ And the young-ins were like ‘whatevers’. This just more o’ the same when you looks at it right.”

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“You know it doesn’t make sense.”

“What doesn’t make sense?”

“This. I mean all this, we are all here doing things because well, what else is there? But why?”

“You mean the meaning of life.”

“No, not the meaning of life. That one is obvious. What I mean is everyone is so focused on what they are doing, so convinced that they don’t even think not stopping to ask why is strange.”

“You get wise. You learn to accept. You learn to not let these things affect you as they will eat at you if you let them.”

“See! That is exactly what I mean. Everyone is so focused on keeping their head down they assume it’s better, rather than risk getting eaten. That is just sad.”

“No it is not. You will learn in time.”

“Why, because it makes you look naive or unworldly to care about such things? Or maybe the butt of some joke? As if some beings said: ‘hey! you know what would be funny? what if we put a bunch of people on an isolated dank world and made them think they were alone. how funny would it be to watch them struggling to find a point?!’ But you know what? Something just as funny is those who struggle to show they don’t need a point”

“You’re assuming they never struggled. Everyone goes through this phase and then decides it is time to grow up.”

Ha! Growing up, the process whereby the human spirit is destroyed. Very effective too. People like to fool themselves that life is beautiful. But it isn’t. Maybe someday. But. Not yet. Most people are miserable, look around. Third world, first world, free, ruled – they all spend most of their time trying not to be miserable. Chasing after artificially glamorized lives, abusing psychoactive substances, making up all kinds of cults. And consuming more than producing.

And why not? Why be productive? If you believe in God then it won’t matter and if you don’t then you might as well not have existed. Just so you can be remembered? Might as well just delude yourself into thinking you will be. How many people from the past do you know, from you family? Why will it matter when you are dead? What about the noble calling of science? For too many that one is merely a self serving attempt to grasp at concepts, only to smugly show how things can be just so without a point. To have kids? Why? Because it is natural? Pheh, if this argument applies to you then surely it will apply to them and so on by induction. Speaking of which. One can wonder whether it is better to have never been born these days. Cause at the rate we are going, we are ruining the planet for the future generation whom we profess to care so much about. At this rate, bringing a child to the future world would be the worst thing you could do to them. But, I dunno maybe there is something to just enjoying what time you have with family and friends but that is merely blindfolding yourself from oblivion with ephemeral distractions that are temporary.

And then, to top it all off, we make up all these rules. Like a game but worse because it is no fun to play. And then congratulate ourselves for following them. ‘Hey! who can be the best at picking out who is the best at walking along this new line? It’s all the rage ya know? Lets give them an award! Oh! Let us all go to that room there yonder and congratulate ourselves for being the only ones in it. And to the one who can talk the loudest about how talented they were for passing through the doorway sixthish, what can we give them? What about this patch of air, can we declare it as special?’ It’s all silly really, all around pointless.”

“Yes. Many people have said many of the same things before. But have you stopped to realize that maybe the universe is pointless?”

“That what I just said.”

“Yes but you did not hear what you said.”

“What?”

“Take a seat. My answer is long.”

“Ok.”

Yes, as you say, the universe is – excepting you believe your actions control your afterlife – is pointless. But yet, here it is existing. Perhaps you can stop to wonder, maybe pointlessness is profound. Think about it. Here is a universe which has a portion that can reflect upon itself but cannot envision a grand plan. What is the natural state for being universe? Nothing or A Pointless Multitude? Either one is mind bogglingly awe-inspiring. The concept of Nothing is too big to fit in your mind. You are correct. People focus too much on making a point, whether to be the loudest most heard or to show how much they don’t care. But there are a few who have found harmony, the ones who have found the only way to understand and appreciate the universe. Their thoughts are the same as whether they existed or not. This is not the same as not having an opinion, the closest I can say is they would think the same way if you took away the universe but kept their ability to be, constant.

Now come here, look over there. Do you see in that building? That scientist by the window has just won a Nobel prize for an ingenious dual error correction/decoherence extending mechanism. Scientists matter but not in the way most think. What they do is to seek a way to conform the shape of a veil unto the unknowable between your kind – indeed all kinds – and the universe. And to show why nothingness is indistinguishable from a universe without some aspect seeking to decode itself. For it is a mere to illusion to perceive things as if you are distinguishable from the universe itself. And through there, lies the only answer to the question: if the universe has no meaning beyond those who may observe it, then what is being observed? What does it mean to observe when you are your observer? In time your scientists will learn the location of the key–near to replacing ‘is’ with sifts and predicates.

Now turn there. You see that person sat over there? Millions of people want to know what they had for breakfast ever since they got a slice of glass last year. That person has deluded themselves into thinking their opinions have mass. And look not far from your feet. No, over there. That homeless lady. She had a breakdown, wanted a simpler life. All of them. All of what they do, all their acclaim or lack, all their effort. It is all equally pointless. And that is the beauty of it.

Why? I can already see you asking. Well take a moment and think back. You made an interesting point earlier, one which you did not pursue far enough. Having people care about you and caring about them. Building something intangible together that will last beyond you, where the thing takes on almost a life of its own and each person, each thought, each goal is but a piece. A piece whose actions unpredictably alter the evolution of some intangible purity – how glorious! Alas, one must not forget that all pieces are imperceptible and in isolation, less than without point. But oh, to be part of something so complex, something whose interactions are without point but nonetheless self sustaining and indistinguishable from the universe to both the components and the universe alike.

In seeking a point or steadfastly ignoring that there might be none, the focus is placed on that which can influence no matter. Making it easier to forget the essence of interactions and instead chase after mindless trinkets – whether material or immaterial. So what matters? Interactions. The Grand Network. The invisible line which connects all things in this universe. Or do you think your self somehow separate from your electrons? Interactions on all scale, between cells, between people, between nations, between planets and interactions which break these hierarchies.

Interactions which recursively fold upon themselves and generate irrelevant dynamics which threaten to engulf the universe. And even as the boundary of where the universe ends and the cycles’ evolution continues, they oscillate and merge, weaving a tapestry of incomprehensible and painful beauty. A beauty whose significance and not, draws in contrast with nothingness itself and whose threads are spun from the ether between actions and encompasses the gap between nothing and its lack.

When beings – both the conscious and the not – get together to do things, we generate the very source from which these threads will be taken to be spun into that achingly incomprehensible dynamic. And that is the great thing. It is unfortunate that it is so hard to care for more than a few. I mean really care. Imagine if all interactions were without bound or imagined barriers, how much more glorious compositions would be! Babel knew this. Every cell in our body knows this. And yet somehow, it is you alone in the multitude of the universe who have not managed to learn this. That is the true tragedy. But we can hold out against hope that you shall rise as one than fall at once – for as weak and short bonds break, the tapestry swiftly unravels.”