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Old 06-14-2016, 11:09 PM
TipTapTwo is offline
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: I am an idiot
Posts: 137

Deep Brain Poison: treatment for the viral ideas that ruin our lives

*sorry in advance for using terms like: idea, concept, thought, meme, semiotics, etc... as interchangeable equals. I do not know/care enough to make those distinctions. Furthermore, sorry for trying to mash the concepts of virus (in our body) and virus (computer) together to form an equivalence with virus (in our brain as ideas and our actions on our thoughts). I guess a tl;dr version of the below would be something like: over time as we build up (and are built up in turn by our parents/society) our inner rules on how to think and act properly in our world, some of the rules are successful, others are failures, while others are neutral or immediately effective but with long term consequences (like junk food, or the easy way out). Any of those can in fact be a “memetic virus” that lessens us as a person and our society as a whole. For example, the word “deserve” and all of the pent up meaning and implications behind it leads to the hardening of our hearts towards the plights of others and severely lessens our empathy. In order to cure these mental infections and become closer to our idealized selves, we should scrutinize everything we believe in and use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques to cleanse our minds of our old toxic thoughts/habits.

You know, I think that I have learned something. The point of writing a book, is a lot like the point of being a teacher. While making new points and forming new ideas is good and laudable; what really matters is repackaging and re-telling the old salient points/ideas in your own unique way to a new generation that has not yet (maybe?) experienced the ideas that made you grow as you have. What I am trying to say is that I used to dismiss people out of hand if they brought up, what I thought of as, old well-trodden ground. (like: what if we are all in a simulation, is a Chinese Room sentient, Sneeches with their Stars on their bellies as a social commentary on our “othering” desire, etc...) And I was wrong to do so. Now I try to be more like a teacher, going over the same points with different people, and trying to form what I “believe” into various facets so people that learn differently might see my point through those different lenses. Please be patient with my naiveté, I promise to interact more with this thread more than the zero I did for my others.

Space warfare in sci-fi can be many things, from lasers to missiles to asteroids to radiation to computer viruses. The last one piqued my interest after I read the short story Kumara by Seth Dickinson
This is a Promethean story, wherein a lone spaceship and her crew has stolen ...something important... from an ancient machine god the size of planets. Chasing the human ship, the god’s revenants weaponize viral code. Needing more processing power to combat the viruses, the ship asks the last living crew member to choose which of the dead crew to delete from their simulated heaven, to truly die, (as their bodies and minds can be re-made back safely on earth otherwise) as the ship loves them all equally and she cannot bear to make the choice herself.

In a sentient ship so closely wedded and familiar with the human mind, what could a computer viral weapon be? Would it cross over from simply slowing down her processor and writing junk to her hard drive to express itself in her sentience? Would that viral form express as insanity or self destructive thoughts? Would it be an insidious, irrefutable, idea like solipsism that would make her not care about her mission/crew anymore? Could we, as mere meat and chemical potential, be infected by a purely mental-scape “viral idea?” What would that feel like? How would we know and combat it? Then I remembered something else that I had read a while ago, and a quote that was particularly powerful to me.

The Dispossessed by Ursula Le Guin
[Quote/] "You don't mean justice, you mean punishment. Do you think they're the same thing?" "He means violence," Rulag said. "And if there is violence, you will have caused it You and your Syndicate. And you will have deserved it." A thin, small, middle-aged man beside Trepil began speaking, at first so softly, in a voice hoarsened by the dust cough, that few of them heard him. He was a visiting delegate from a Southwest miners' syndicate, not expected to speak on this matter. "… what men deserve," he was baying. "For we each of us deserve everything, every luxury that was ever piled in the tombs of the dead kings, and we each of us deserve nothing, not a mouthful of bread in hunger. Have we not eaten while another starved? Will you punish us for that? Will you reward us for the Virtue of starving while others ate? No man earns punishment, no man earns reward. Free your mind of the idea of deserving, the idea of earning, and you will begin to be able to think." (P. 288) [/Quote]

Ah... before this quote was remembered I was thinking of “viral memes” as much grander/complex things, like: people internalizing their belief in their own ugliness/worthlessness from repeated exposure to glamorized media images and trusted people telling them such; extreme otherization of taking your holy book as gospel and treating those not of your book as people deserving death/abuse; psychological issues such as anxiety or depression compounding when we dwell on all the negatives of the past and create excuses for why we cannot move forward. I never thought that such a deeply destructive, poisonous, thought could happen from our belief in just the words “deserve” and “earn.”

I do not know much about anything so I am eagerly awaiting your own ideas, but I myself cannot seem to get past the ideas of “deserving” and “earning.” So far all I have is: the idea of “earning” is inherently focused upon the singular (self/other) that implicitly sweeps away the roles that the many (other people, life forms, societies, nature’s externalities, etc) had in contributing to the “earned” event. Proper/idyllic living comes from a place of humility (realizing our relatively small, yet none the less, still important role in the Universe’s events) and respect (proper thanks and reverence for each individual, natural event, and whatnot that had a part in bringing the final event to fruition). Once we free our minds of the idea of earning, we would stop feeling lonely and greedy. Like how your life is different in the middle of loved ones and family sharing a meal vs sitting at a table in a cafeteria surrounded by strangers. Removing “earning” takes us from “I scored the touchdown” to “we did it team! Thanks fans, for being here today and supporting us! Good game other side, isn’t this fun? Lets keep playing!”

For “deserve” think about the animal kingdom and then expand it to our own lives. If a bird is hungry, does it “deserve” to eat? If the bird finds a worm and eats it, did the worm “deserve” to die suffocating in stomach acid, or did it “deserve” to live, with the bird “deserving” to be very hungry instead? Did the bird or the worm “deserve” the rain that happened to drive out the worm from the ground so the bird could see it and eat it? Are your answers some form of “eeh, nature will take its course anyway, “deserve” doesn’t factor in with dumb animals,” or something else that boils down to might makes right? How about with humans eating animals? Do they “deserve” to be eaten by us when we have the means to healthfully eat vegetarian style? We have morality, our might makes us right (right?) Or does our convenience trump our conscience? (sorry, convenience does trump my conscience. I still eat plenty of meat) “But you are still talking about animals in the equation, ‘deserve’ still does not really apply” I hear you respond. Ok, how about people “deserving” to eat. Full stop. Do we, you yourself, “deserve” to eat...ever? How about your family, relatives, friends, strangers, etc. ? Did you feel your heart soften and harden more and more as the levels of familiarity drifted farther from yourself? Such is the brain poison of “deserve,” it closes us away from the greater empathy and love that we should feel towards all things. Instead it makes our personal feelings of convenience override what should be our greater feelings of conscience. We already grow enough food to feed 10 billion people, and have grown enough for the entire Earth’s population to never be hungry for the past 20+ years. It is our feelings towards *those people* (can also easily be internalized to mean I myself do not deserve good things) who do not “deserve” to have food (if only they worked harder, or cared enough to be active in their political structure, or did all the infrastructure work themselves, etc.), and our apathy in not helping out our fellow man which cause these crises. Now you may agree with the above parenthetical statements, but you have to realize that everyone is severely mentally ill. It is not even like you, a healthy person, understanding and helping out your sickly family. Everyone is filled with crippling disease and other mental illnesses, we all must lean on and support each other to the best of our ability. En masse, we will stumble towards a brighter future, but not if those sitting on the top of the heap get it into their heads that they are kings and “deserve” to stay on top soaking up the resources that are better spent on everyone evenly. To be free of “deserve” is to treat every person as they come up, to the best of our ability, without prejudice or judgment. And to feel an equivalent great compassion towards everything. It is like being an idyllic doctor.

So how do we actually become better people, instead of just blowing smoke up each other’s asses and returning to our same old vices once we tab out of the thread? We don’t. Even the alleged experience of perfect oneness with the universe that LSD or mushrooms give only lasts for a month at best before we are back to our old habits. The most we can hope for, as I see it, is for a single kernel of greater resolve or purpose to fall upon the scales that add up to our personality. Even though it took our entire lifetime of experiences to get to how we are today, we have forgotten much. Even though the revelation according to LSD is forgotten, a mellow kernel may remain remembered. Just as the mountain of daily self-loathing will too be pushed aside and forgotten for the things that actually make us feel good or excite our curiosity. To hasten the process, I feel that, we must first strengthen our mental immune system by consuming knowledge’s foundation (logic, philosophy, science, psychology, etc) followed by extra doses of therapeutic ways of thinking like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Then we can safely gorge on all forms of thought ( all different books, ideas, discussions, entertainments, etc.) once we are immunized from the tantalizingly easy to understand arguments that lead everyone astray. I feel that the big reason for our mental troubles is that the most poisonous ideas are the simplest to convey and “understand.” Like how a virus is the most simple form of life, but for real complex life to form (or for real useful ideas to be cultivated), like ourselves, it takes much more work and deeper understanding to reap the benefits from.