Random Belief

I’m surrounded by people wracked with anxiety. For instance, panic-attack is a common term I hear. And in my own dealings with life, I was always worried about everything. I could tell you dozens of ways in which every circumstance was dangerous or why every plan wouldn’t work. But I stopped worrying and stopped my incessant pessimism. How? I stopped believing in randomness.

I was taught early on by pop-culture that existence was a random occurrence. Not only were my origins random, but my time spent on Earth was just as random. What I do here and when I leave boil down to luck. Well that sucks. Diseases, accidents, murderous rampages, catastrophic weather patterns, astroids, exploding suns, bacteria — even my income, who I marry, whether my kids are jerks — everything was essentially random. I was a powerless pawn in a natural world that didn’t care one whit about me or my path.

I would get sad just thinking about it — my mind filling with existential angst. And I couldn’t not think about it, it was the very foundation of reality. Yet I noticed there were people that weren’t constantly frightened — and they were having a great time. But I couldn’t be like those blissfully ignorant fools, I knew too well the endless dangers of this world — oh woe is me, and my superior knowledge and intellect.

I was completely confident in how the world worked, fully aware that calamity could strike at any moment. But then something happened. I kept getting older. I was so sure that I wouldn’t survive past my early twenties. I was so sure that I’d never meet a significant-other. I was so sure that bad things would constantly happen — except they didn’t. I’m still here. Huh!? And let me tell ya folks, I’ve done jack-shit in terms of keeping myself afloat, I’ve just drifted through life pretty effortlessly.

The hardships I’ve endured existed solely within my own imagination. It turned out that the mysterious entity that was seemingly out to get me, was me. I was casting the shadows hiding in every closet, under every bed. So after I noticed how old I was and how easy life had been over the years, I finally stopped scaring myself. There was just nothing left to base my anxiety on. Randomness wasn’t real — but my negative attitude was all too real.

Randomness is a damaging belief. It’s crippling to believe that lightning could strike us at any moment. Therefore, traveling through life in an enjoyable manner requires we abandon the idea of randomness and seek to see an underlying programming that’s directing and balancing the action. We should think of life as a fulfillment generator — whatever we wish, we’ll soon see. And for our part, we must keep our thoughts filled with the things that delight and excite, eschewing negativity whenever it surfaces.

Fashionable Origins

Have you ever gone into the kitchen and mixed random ingredients together? Some ground-beef, bananas, cinnamon, grape-jelly, flour, orange-juice — combined, then cooked for a random amount of time? No? Probably because it’d be gross. Good food follows guidelines. Random accidents can result in interesting alterations to entrees, but there’s always an underlying structure.

Yet randomness was how I assumed life begat many millions of years ago (cosmic stew, primordial stew, etc.) In my understanding, random ingredients magically mixed together into the right amounts while systematically evolving into viable entities. But after decades of philosophical consideration, I no longer hold this view.

Nowadays I think of the world as a planned and programmed simulation of sorts. And just as big-man-in-the-sky theory was dumped by pop-culture in favor of randomness, I think randomness will be abandoned in favor of a programmed virtuality. After all, fashions tend to perpetually swing between opposites.

Although big-man-in-the-sky and virtuality overlap in some aspects, there’s some differences. In the first theory, there’s a creator manufacturing hapless victims of existence — man lives by whim of the gods. But in the virtuality theory, the player is the programmer — he simply hides this fact from himself on purpose.

From observing life over several decades, I’m quite convinced that there’s an underlying narrative. There’s too much manufactured drama for the ongoings in this world to be a coincidence. Man is clearly the star of this show — and he’s coddled the entire time. Just look at all the people whose wishes and dreams came to fruition — an improbability within a purely physical world.

The very structure of success had to be manufactured for this fulfillment to happen. There is no randomness here folks. Randomness means chaos and incoherence and incompatibility. Yet we’re all pretty much on the same page, following similar themes, and avoiding major catastrophes. There’s certainly a lot of dramatic acting going on though.

Now, why bother philosophizing about all this anyway? Because, we all need an underlying belief that allows us to enjoy our lives. I found that I wasn’t comforted by big-man-in-the-sky theory or the randomness theory. In fact I found them unsatisfying, full of plot holes, and anxiety-inducing. Whereas virtuality puts me in control, boosting me up while minimizing the unpleasantries of life.

I’ve been on the virtuality bandwagon for a while now and can notice the marked improvement in my attitude and well-being. For instance, I’m not worried anymore — the world will work itself out just as it always has — there’s an obvious balance, an equilibrium that’s being maintained by some kind of programming.

And as long as we don’t wish for the worst, our individual lives will also work out just fine. The stress, discomfort, and difficulty we experience comes from our fearful imaginings, not the actual circumstances of life. Comforting theories, such as virtuality, give us license to ignore our scary thoughts. Ultimately there is no truth to uncover, it’s beliefs all the way down — so it’s our task to develop a satisfying system of belief — this is where happiness comes from.

Death Note

Because of its anxiety reducing properties, I started believing in the concept of willful-death — that is, we die when we want to. To further cement this belief, I was just taking inventory of the people I knew personally that died. I was determining how well their lives and deaths fit into this theory.

In my belief, people don’t necessarily say “I wish to die now”, but their predominant thoughts are of a time-to-go variety. A few people I knew committed suicide — they literally rage-quit the game. And the circumstances surrounding their lives were tragic and not fun. It’s as if they came in on crazy-hard mode and expectedly had to dump out early.

Most of the people I knew personally just got old and died when they were done. A few might have went a little earlier than expected, but not really when I think about it — they lived full lives with full story arcs. I even asked my seventy-year-old mother about people she knew that died — and they fit well within this theory.

How does this theory explain people I don’t know personally? Well, I can’t prove they existed. It’s possible that some people are just part of the scenery, like NPCs and such (non-player characters). And I don’t know what difficultly-level they pre-selected or what their interests are. Perhaps some people are really into challenging themselves.

But Rich, aren’t you crazy for making up outlandish theories about death? Well, like many high-anxiety folks, death played too prominently in my thoughts and I needed a way to get rid of the toxicity. This solves for that. I have zero death related thoughts nowadays. I present this information as a reminder to myself as to why, and as a means to maintain it.

Yielding to Magic

It’s happening, I’m finally doing it. I’m crossing over into the realm of full-blown magic. WHAT!? Yes, that’s right, I’m ready to completely abandon any ideas about this world being anything but magical.

First, a bit of background. I grew up in a non-religious and non-spiritual setting. Everything in the world was exactly as it appeared to the senses. God was a fictional man in the sky. Anything non-physical was pure imagination. Things happened for practical reasons and within well-defined limits. Science explained existence, PERIOD. And what couldn’t be explained was fanciful thought not worthy of consideration. This was the foundation of my beliefs for several decades.

But it was a very worrisome world. Chance was real, so life and death teetered on the edge of random circumstance. Might I survive another day? Who knows. Might I get sick and die or suffer an accident at any moment? Sure. Might I fulfill a goal? Only if conditions are just right and no limitations block my path. Might I one day achieve success? Such rarities are like winning the lottery, so don’t bother. What a wicked place to persist within.

Almost two decades ago I met my friend — it was a full moon. She believed in the reality of wishes and magic. For many years I attempted to convince her that her worldview was completely unrealistic and wrong. I thought of myself as a savior rescuing her from childish ignorance. “What!? You can’t do that! That’s impossible! How dare you not think about the horrible consequences that might befall you every-time we leave the house!” Ultimately she didn’t believe me and still believes in magic.

Yet I noticed something. My friend seemed much more at ease with life. She seemed as though she was actually having a good time! She was having fun!? Ha! How is that possible in such a precarious, anxiety-inducing place!? That poor simple child, if only she knew the harsh realities of life, then she wouldn’t be so happy. I tried informing her but she kept on smiling. It was strange, an almost willful ignorance towards life’s grittiness. She seemed unable to understand how horrible everything was.

Then I had a son — he was born on my birthday. I was not pleased with the way in which my parents fulfilled their role, so I took a long hard look at myself to make sure I’d be the best dad I could be. I needed my son to be happy. One must lead by example, so I needed to be happy. One day, while he was still an infant, I happened to be upset over something. I sat in quiet meditation for quite awhile in the afternoon. It was at that time I vowed to become happy, to establish the necessary discipline no matter what it took.

My friend served as my example. Over the past few years I’ve been shedding my old worldview and adopting hers. Of course it was alien and unnatural not to worry, but I persisted. My son needs to see my smile, not my scaredy-ness. But for life to be joyous, he needs to know hope — so I’ve been adjusting my perspective to allow for optimism. We both need to know that wishes come true. My die-hard pessimism had to go.

My friend is an optimist whose wishes come true. As a realist, I would dutifully dismiss such nonsense and accuse her of stretching the truth. But no more. This is a magical world and she is a powerful wielder of wishes. She finds 4-leaf clovers. She receives mental messages from her family with real-world consequences. She effortlessly wins games-of-chance. She finds money when needed. As part of an experiment, I even saw her read the contents of cards without ever looking at them.

But even if her magic wasn’t real, she’s still a happy-go-lucky person. If happiness is my goal, I might as well model someone capable of having fun. When I think of life right now, in this moment, I see it as a love story. I see the ever growing affection I have for my friend. I see the doting father attempting to ensure delight in his little boy’s life. And I see a once sad little man smiling at his tiny family. I like that image, and if I must believe in magic to see it, then so be it — magic it is.

Cheerful Choice

I choose to perceive existence as a benevolent experience.
I choose to envision a delightful path created just for me.
I choose to enjoy and appreciate this path I travel.
I choose to feel protected and nurtured along the way.
I choose to recognize resources as gifts given generously.
I choose to see life as a source of love and fulfillment.

Magical Moments

For most of my life I did not believe in magic or anything of a spiritual nature. My friend on the other hand, does believe in magic and has experiences that corroborate her belief. She readily wins games of chance, guesses right answers, reads minds, stumbles into things she needs, telepathically communicates with relatives over long distances, and has magical moments. In contrast, I have no luck, suck at guessing, can’t read minds, barely communicate with family over the phone, and experience no magical circumstances.

Of course I tried to shrug off her magical abilities, but I’ve lived with her for two decades — for how long can I ignore the obvious? Life is not as concrete as I thought. Whereas I thought her magical mumbo-jumbo was the product of a fanciful imagination at work, she thought my pessimistic physical-world-based reasoning was terribly limiting and just plain wrong. Point taken. I was clearly closed-minded and suffered accordingly: I believed in a dark and dangerous world and experienced it as such.

If she says magic is real, that the basis of reality is spiritual, not physical, then who am I to judge? And it only took me twenty years to become this open-minded. Now I want to be a magician, I’m ready to believe that wishes can come true, that life conspires to fulfill my dreams. And of course I must apologize to her for my constant unbelief and dour predictions about every outcome. I get it now, and as penance, I shall endeavor to shed my relentless pessimism.

I always seek to align myself with whatever seems most likely to be true. I’ll drop my beliefs in an instant if at anytime they’re proven wrong. So after realizing the wrongness of my so-called realism, I reject it. But like most people, I’m liable to retract in the opposite direction when discovering a source of pain or error. Consequently, I might be rejecting material existence to a degree that seems excessive, but who knows. I, for one, welcome our new elfin overlords.

Praising Virtuality

An excerpt from the fictional tales of The Daily Beacon.

Dear Rich, this whole virtuality thing makes you sound like a recent religious convert that’s given himself over to God or something. What’s the deal?

Well I’ve no doubt that it’s the same mechanism, that virtuality is pressing the same buttons, that it’s just a different way of characterizing the same thing. But for me, technology is an easier concept to grasp than spirituality or God. “Life is God experiencing himself in infinite forms….” Huh? “Life is an immersive video-game?” Oh, got it.

I didn’t grow up surrounded by spirituality — I grew up with TV, movies, and video-games. I’m like the TV-show jock in high school that needs his homework explained in terms of sports analogies. Some people have an innate spiritual sense whereas I had a severe blockage and couldn’t grasp it. But now, I get it.

And I suppose I am proselytizing a bit. If you stumbled onto some miracle-cure for a sickness you had, wouldn’t you attempt to tell others about it? Of course the trick is to realize that each cure fits a particular illness and does not apply to all cases — that’s why it’s best not to shove your beliefs down everyone’s throats, just plainly present what you know and let them decide if it’s applicable in their own lives.

So, dear reader, you caught me. I seem to have inadvertently joined the cult of virtuality. Oh but the air is fresher here my friend, the fruit sweeter, and the soothing comfort of certainty in a belief is oh so relaxing. And all it takes is the acceptance of an idea that life is a simulation, a virtual experience had by a player located somewhere else, a fun-seeker that’s safe and sound.