The Blame Game

Most conflicts or arguments involve an escalating race to who can come up with the most excuses for being the victim. If a victim exists, this requires the other party to admit to being the oppressor. Even if there is an obvious oppressor, rarely will they admit to playing the role. They will come up with more excuses to justify their actions, in an attempt to make themselves appear to be the victim. The problem is trying to assign responsibility for resolving the conflict to a particular party. In reality both sides are each 100% responsible for resolving the conflict. Let’s take Israel and Palestine for example, while there very well may be a clear oppressor in this situation, both sides have 100% responsibility in resolving the conflict.

1 state solution

Each of them will also have to give up something in order to achieve something greater. In order to live in peace, the barrier between the 2 states will need to be removed so that they can become 1. This will eventually have to happen throughout the globe, and there is no better place to begin the process than this war-torn region. We have out-grown the practice and use of national borders. We have to carefully think if these imaginary lines are still necessary and serving our best interest or if they are vestigial structures left over from history. Dissolving the borders will not be a simple process but it must be considered. We all live on the Earth as 1 species, while we may categorize ourselves by our race, religion, or party-affiliation, we have to learn that we are each 100% responsible for fixing whatever problem we find ourselves in, even if we perceive ourselves as the victim. We must begin to look at ourselves as a collective whole if we want to fix the problems facing us today.

HTC Vive

I just came back from the virtual world and I must say it is quite impressive. The HTC Vive is a bit bulky and heavy if you’re going to be using it for a few hours straight. Also, reading small text in VR can be a little difficult. But, for the first generation of VR it definitely feels like a polished product. If you buy it on Amazon you get two free games – Call of the Starseed and Zombie Training Simulator. Starseed takes you on a mysterious adventure while showing you what VR is capable of. Your character in VR moves just as you move in the real world. In order to travel, you look at where you want to go then ‘Blink’ to it. Pulling items out of your backpack becomes such a natural process that you’ll never want to do it any other way in another game. You actually reach behind your back, pull your back pack out in front of you and reach in to grab whichever item you want.

The zombie simulator shows off what shoot’m up games will look like in the future. The 9mm glock looks exactly like the one in real life. The accuracy of these guns is incredible too. If you close one eye and line up the sights perfectly, every shot is precisely where you would expect it. In this game you get to wield a firearm in one hand and a katana in the other. As wave after wave come at you, you’re eventually forced to rapidly slice their heads off since you can’t shoot them fast enough. You can of course throw steak in the middle of the map to serve as a distraction, when enough of them cluster together, toss a grenade in there for extra fun. The Vive is not cheap, nor is upgrading your PC if you have to (I was fortunate enough to already have the R9 280x that was basically the entry level GPU for VR, I didn’t notice any issues). If you haven’t been gaming much because you’re tired of the same old thing, then this is that fresh, truly next-gen system you’ve been waiting for. If you have something to hold you over until the 2nd iteration, then you may want to wait.

Virtual Reality

Well, my HTC Vive is coming in tomorrow. I just finished building my computer (i7 6700K, liquid cooling, SSD, 16 GB DDR4 RAM, r9 280x), installed Windows 10 (I really wish Linux was ready for this). The graphics card is just going to cut the cake here but it should hold me over for a month or so. Coincidentally, it’s actually listed as the ‘recommended minimum’ for using their headset. This technology is really going to take off when they build VR gloves and the headset is wireless, but I’m definitely looking forward to getting a taste of the bleeding-edge. There’s also going to be plenty of weird stuff like giant dolls you can buy in the real world, which then come to life in VR (God, I need a girlfriend).

Breathe

Someone once said, to kill time is to kill a little part of yourself. Time is the most valuable resource we have, it is the one thing you can not buy more of (unless you have access to an organ black market). Yet people still find it perfectly acceptable to throw it away. It took me a while to realize how precious time really is, and yet I still find myself burning time away aimlessly. Taking your focus off of the past and future are tremendously helpful in using time more wisely. Being anxious about things to come (that may never happen) and worrying over the past are two things that probably everyone does at least once a day, many of us do it obsessively. Practice keeping your attention on your breath, close your eyes, take deeper breaths. Detach yourself from your stream of consciousness, observe all of the chatter happening in your mind, try to let it go for just a few minutes. Now, you are beginning to get it.

The Golden Rule

Former Canadian Minister of Defense Paul Hellyer gave a speech describing how our galaxy is teeming with life rather than the commonly held belief that it’s an empty, lifeless void. It’s easy to get lost down this rabbit hole as there is an abundance of disinformation surrounding the subject – but it is one worth going down. When high-ranking military officials and politicians begin talking about this subject we should listen and discuss. If the story described herein is accurate, or even remotely accurate, it becoming common knowledge would change everything.

As he said, we the taxpaying citizens have a right to know the truth. Just as children survive learning the truth about Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, humanity will survive, and even mature, after the truth is revealed about extraterrestrials. How can we verify that this information is true, and if it is, what should be done about it? I don’t think there could be a ‘breaking news’ story on every channel saying aliens have been visiting this planet for thousands of years and currently dwell among us (hypothetically). If this is true, we need to gather the most credible sources that explain the situation in an intelligible and, if possible, entertaining way. The information will diffuse into the consciousness of the people, mostly younger generation, through the internet and nature will take its course.

Give Me My Money

Money is the great enabler, it frees one from the feeling of lack and enough of it allows one to purchase almost anything that can be thought of. People born into it simply get dealt a better hand than most, but the trick is in playing your hand well. You may have absolutely nothing in your hand, but if you bluff your way through with the intention of winning, more often than not you will. There are a lot of wealthy people that gamble their money away because deep inside their subconscious they believe they’re losers and don’t think they’re entitled to the money.

Belief plays a very strong role in what you have and get in this world. Your thoughts ride on the rails of belief, this train of thought eventually leads to action, actions lead to habits. It all starts with what you believe in. Believe that you are entitled to be happy and deserve wealth. Even if you do acquire wealth, if you don’t truly believe that you’re entitled to it, you’ll end up like most of the people who win the lottery that end up bankrupt in a few years. The thoughts that take place in your mind should be guarded as carefully as what you put into your body – for they both make you who and what you are.

HTC Vive

I made a stop by Best Buy recently and they were giving demos of the new HTC Vive – it was like an alcoholic passing by an open bar. When I stepped into the empty grid and began calibrating my virtual hands for the first time, I knew this was going to be a real treat. You’re stationary the entire time because they don’t want you knocking over customers as you try to pull away from your spot. They transport you into a dungeon and you’re given a shield which allows you to deflect fireballs back at the giant serpents shooting them at you. An anvil will then appear and you have to raise your hand and bring it down in a precise manner to forge a lightening bolt which you then throw at whatever enemies come your way. You stick out your hands and one is completely frozen, the other on fire – I’ll let you imagine what these virtual fists of fury are capable of.

It was like breaking open that N64 for the first time and playing Super Mario 64, only better. This is truly a game-changer because eventually you won’t need the motion controllers, the only thing you’ll need are your hands. Of course there will be guns with recoil, bows that let you feel the tension of the bowstring, lightsabers, these will all be wonderful additions no doubt. Virtual reality is about to go mainstream, and it won’t be used solely for entertainment purposes either. Ready Player One described how they use their VR headsets to go to school on a daily basis. It will allow kids from all parts of the world to attend the same classroom, with the best teachers in the world. It will allow you to train to become a mechanic, a surgeon, etc. by simulating the real thing. As with most content delivery systems, the porn-industry will catapult this technology into every home within a few years without question.

Virtual Machine

As our ability to process more complex simulations advances, it will become apparent that we are living in a simulation. It will be apparent because we will eventually be able to create something nearly identical to our own universe within a computer. This debate could go on indefinitely, and up until now, it didn’t really matter. But we are approaching a time where we ourselves can run simulations of the big bang, evolution, the weather, and even virus outbreaks. SimCity has been a very popular video game for quite sometime now, imagine if we could accelerate the timeline of the Sims on a global-scale and factor in current events, human history, modern technology.

Could consciousness be simulated? Well DARPA and IBM have been spending over a 100 million dollars in an attempt to simulate a cat’s brain. We might not be quite there yet, but it’s believable that we’ll be able to simulate the brain of a fly in all of its complexities within a few decades. If that proves to be possible, then we will eventually move on to simulating more complex creatures and eventually a human brain. It’s only a matter of ‘when’ after you accept the strong possibility of the successful simulation of the most basic brain. The question is, what happens when we can scale up the processing power of the simulated human brain, or cluster them together? What sort of things will we be able to do when we can simulate an entire universe down to the atomic level?

Tax Resistance

Gandhi’s salt march is a well known example of tax resistance. To illustrate the absurdity of the tax, he and his followers marched to the Arabian Sea coast. When they arrived, he walked into the sea and scooped up a handful of salt, this signified to everyone that the government was taxing something they themselves could pull directly from the earth and that they should refuse to pay the tax in an act of civil disobedience. The taxes themselves are not the problem, it’s where the tax money is being spent. Great Britain was ruling India with an iron fist, the Indian people had to do something but a violent uprising would cost both sides dearly. Gandhi continued with his hunger strikes which had a certain amount of success, especially among his own people. What can we learn from these events?

Well, history hasn’t changed much, the US has been stuck in a perpetual war in the middle east for decades, it is a war that cannot be won – just like the war on drugs. A violent uprising at this point is difficult to imagine, especially one with a positive outcome. People buy guns in this country as casually as they would buy a phone. There also seems to be a growing anti-government sentiment among those who are enlisted in our military.  However, we are directly responsible for funding any military conflict that our government decides to take part in. There have been tax resistance campaigns in the past, such as not paying the federal tax on one’s phone bill which was used to pay for war-related activities. The military industrial complex is an amazing profit-generating machine for those making the killingry, it will not simply disappear when we decide it needs to change. We need to cut out the fat by starving it, it is gouging itself on our tax dollars and delaying human advancement.

Who Am I?

I think the more important question is Who can I be? Once you have these possibilities in mind, the next step is to select the one that seems most in-tune with your true self while making sure that it’s a representation of your full potential. We all have limits set upon us by our genetics. I can’t write with the ease and fluidity of Mark Twain, but I am capable of writing and passing whatever worthwhile knowledge I have onto whoever decides to read it. Most limits are created by the self, they are indirectly created by whoever raised us, our teachers and environment, the people we surround ourselves with, and the inner-dialog going on in our minds every waking minute. These limits are invented by the self because they keep you in your comfort-zone. By staying within its confines you do not need to exert additional energy by meeting new people, learning new skills or changing yourself. It’s always easier on auto-pilot.

Life’s Script

This is why doing something everyday that leads to a beneficial outcome is the easiest way to break through a limiting belief because a habit is essentially effortless action (or thought). Go to the gym 5 days a week for a few months and you will begin to see results. These results combined with visiting the same place nearly everyday will cause you to feel awkward or possibly even ill if you don’t go. We all have something called a life script. Usually this script has some relationship with a fable or story, and we’ll play a certain role within that story. This script is basically your destiny unless you learn to identify what it is and how to break free from it. Some people are fortunate enough to be given a script of a successful businessman, a professional athlete, or anything with success playing a crucial role in the narrative. Others are unfortunately given a script that has them playing the loser or loner, and most end up playing it brilliantly. Very few break their script as it requires a certain amount of self-understanding and the will to change their trajectory. Try to figure out what role you’re playing in life’s soapbox, are you satisfied with the script you were given?