Living “forever”

Recently I had been made aware of a tech startup aiming to be able to transfer people’s brains or consciousness into artificial bodies. The company, called Humai, believes that by doing so humans will be able to live forever, and that a human being will be resurrected for the first time within the next 30 years. A lot of people have been talking about how terrible the idea is from a practical point of view when the company founder, Josh Bocanegra (previously the creator of a dating site/app called Loveroom), told everyone about it. But for this post, I don’t want to talk about the practical implications of the Humai project as much as the question of the “immortality” that Humai proposes. Namely the question of why? Why would anyone want what Humai is offering in the first place?

First of all, the notion of physical immortality, the eternal survival of the body, seems like nonsense to me, especially if it involves simply transferring your consciousness into another body. For me, it doesn’t matter whether or not you put your consciousness in a machine, or an artificial body, or a computer, or whatever else, because you’ll never actually live forever. One day the Sun will die, and the Earth will be destroyed. Eventually the galaxy will meet its destruction, and ultimately so will the universe, time, and all matter. In either case, I highly doubt any body human or mechanical will survive, certainly not at the point when all matter dies. And in the event that creation starts all over again, I don’t think you’d be alive to see it or even participate because your body will have been destroyed beforehand. So much for “conquering death” then.

Second, I have a suspicion that something like physical immortality would be reserved for the upper classes. You know, all the rich people and the so-called elites would be the ones who get to live as the equivalent of living gods and the rest of humanity would be consigned to mortality. And then the people in the upper classes will think they have the right to treat the everyone else like garbage because they’re purely mortal. At any rate, I don’t expect consciousness transfer to be a service made cheaply available, so most people would stay purely mortal just because of the price tag. The best technology (if you could call it that) always tends to be in the hands of the wealthy few rather than the consumer majority.

Third, in my opinion, all physical immortality means is that people no longer have to deal with death as a part of life, and that we’d no longer have to feel particularly grateful to be alive. Worse, I think we’d be a bunch of entitled bastards who think the world, and life, revolves around them because they can’t die (except when they’re bodies are destroyed eventually anyway, like I said before, not that they’d know), or because they’re humans, and they’d think any life that isn’t they’re fake immortal life is a crock of shit (much like people who dismiss any video games that aren’t 60fps). And if you could live in the physical world forever, and have what could be millions of years to not worry about death and live a complacent life, that means you’d live a complacent life spiritually. You wouldn’t grow as a soul, because why would you when you can stay in the material world forever? Why think about any kind of spiritual consciousness or afterlife or any dimension of reality other than plain material existence? And aside from that, why would you even think to do something with your life, when there’s no pressure to do so because you live in the material world basically forever. And in that situation, life loses its meaning because death is part of what gives life meaning. You are born, and someday you will die, but your life in between all that is the thing that matters. People would be richer simply for being grateful with the lives they have and making something of them while they still can rather than living in this world forever and life being either peachy and uneventful or the Great fucking Gatsby. Besides, staying in the material world forever? I don’t think it would be long before people get bored of that. I’d say living forever in the material world just isn’t like anything in the afterlife, or the stillness of oblivion if you’d rather that instead. And don’t get me started on the thought of generation after generation being preserved forever. Billions of people never passing on and taking up space as machines. I don’t think I can imagine it.

If consciousness transfer becomes a thing any time in the future, I’d want to be buried in secret so that the people doing it could never get their hands on me and force me to live in the body of a machine.

Under the sword of destiny…

Well I’ve finished the first term of university, for the most part. There’s still one assignment for one of the modules that’s been extended until January 8th, which means I’ll have to do some work over the holidays. But otherwise, I’ve finished my first term of my second year at university. But when I had after the main presentation, I was still left with a feeling of unease: I feel like there are things that I have been unconscious of this entire time, that I may not of paid as much attention to as would be ideal. And afterwords, one of the lecturers said that one of our problems as a group is that we still aren’t living as a team, instead we’re doing our own thing, and we were warned that we can’t just act as individuals. There’s probably many ways this could be interpreted from the standpoint of game development, but to me the meaning couldn’t be clear: I might have to live or work as a team unit, or at least moreso than an individual. I don’t think I can do it. I want to excel myself as a designer but I don’t want to be just a unit in a group or team. I want to be an individual. And I might be overreacting, but I’ll never get to know until I come back in January. I still can’t help but think that if I operate more as a team unit and I get used to it, where will it go from there? For now, I want to continue further in the course, and I think I might, but at the time I feel like I may not, and I’m soon to approach a turning point that a large part of my life hinges on. And I’ve said it before: it’s all about morale.

That sense of doubt would be enough to deal with without something else happening alongside that. For the one module that’s due in January we actually did have a lecture, but most of the animations students we were meant to be working with weren’t present for that. The students I was working with said they’d be in today, but only one showed up and even then he was late. We also had a fire alarm go off, and after we went back inside he left. As for the ones who did not show up, I wanted to have a word with them about why they did not attend. One of them responded, but after he explained his reasons, we had the usual friction about our work versus our professional practice (the latter of which is more important than the actual work in this particular module), but this time things got worse. The student accused me of tracking everything he did and getting on his case even though I did less work than him, but my complaints are not about his work, but rather about his professional practice. Anyways, after an argument over Skype (one of the methods we communicate with for our project) he decided that he didn’t want to participate in Skype meetings with the rest of the group and just work on his own behind the group. I wouldn’t go feeling sorry for him if I were you: the same student tried to get someone who works for a company called AMC (and supposedly is a third year student) to do some of the work for us in exchange for paying him about £50 from each of us in the group. And if that’s not enough, the animation students were told repeatedly over the module that, while you still have to produce work, the work itself is less important than the planning and professional practice behind it. But the animation students I work with always lead me to believe that they never listened, and not only has this not changed, my relationship with at least one of them has deteriorated badly because I have to tell him why he’s wrong and he won’t listen. But that things deteriorated in such a way is the only thing I feel bad about. Otherwise I’m just too arrogant and too stubborn, let alone proud of it, for the right reasons, because in my mind I feel I know I’m right, and this student was simply too dumb to listen to me. The way I see it, I’m the most disciplined person in my team for that module and the main reason for our team running just fine, and that team-mate who chooses to ignore me is just a peon, and so is everyone like him.

And yet, it may be that stubbornness and arrogance that may lead me to believe that I’m ultimately unfit to continue the course, or at least I feel I’m more likely to feel that way when I find that deteriorated state of affairs blown up in my face. Or maybe I only feel that way because I just feel tired of dealing with dummies who don’t listen to me, or who tell me to loosen up when I’m trying to talk business with them, or who make assumptions about the way I act without respect to the fact I’m just not like other students: not in the game design course, not in animation, not anywhere, and frankly it should be obvious at an early point to everyone who I dare to work with.

Anyways, through all that, I think my journey in the world of games design is slowly becoming less clear-cut than I’d like it to be, and I believe I will not know the full truth about where I stand and where I’m going until I return on the week of January 4th. Until then, the time between today and January 4th is a period where all I can do is wait. At least I have plenty to do in that time, and plans to make. But all the while, I’m walking to towards a path with the specter of certainty and what may dare be called destiny, awaiting the moment of truth, waiting to see the writing on the wall.

Rembrandt, Belshazzar’s Feast, 1635.

More metal

I’m not sure, but I think something may be rising. Recently I’ve been buying metal band patches for my jacket with impunity, and even when I should be paying to attention to preparing for when I get back to university and doing games design again, I’m more likely to want to just listen to tons of metal and explore bands I haven’t really bothered to touch upon (even when I should have) as well as explore stuff I already am familiar with a little more (although granted a large part of the reason might be to justify putting more patches on my jacket, but why not if it justifies more immersion in metal). I also have a strange feeling I’ll come closer to the power spontaneity and pure energy if I do this and continue with my guitar practice, and I might find a way to channel that power and energy, and by doing so I may become stronger and fulfill some ideas and goals about my personal spirituality that I’ve laid out since a few years ago.

I feel like opportunities might come for me in this direction very soon, and I might find my way into the life I was meant to live and being what I’m meant to be, myself in its ideal state or potential, and find success by doing so and perhaps even make some difference along the way.

Kings and queens

For some curious reason I had a brief thought yesterday about what would happen after I pass away. Not in the sense of what would happen to me after the death of my physical body, but in the sense of what would happen to my legacy in this world after my passing. I then thought of what I might want from the family I might raise in the future, and what I want in my life. I tend to have a specific desire to imprint, establish, and exert myself in the world in a creative and artistic way. This blog, though an expansive effort, is only part of how I do this, and I have many means at my disposal for reminding myself of what I am or what makes me tick, and expressing that. At times, I feel this immortalizes myself in some way, and creates a kind of legacy. I feel like I have acknowledged this sort of thing before I even started identifying with Satanism and the wider Left Hand Path, and being in the Left Hand Path naturally tied into that in a way that no other form of belief system ever could.

Because of this, I thought that if I passed on, I’d like for the family I raise to preserve my legacy. This can be seen as a basic trait common to almost all individuals if you think about it, right down to the desire to procreate and/or raise a family in the first place (even adopting a child can be taken as a form of carrying on one’s legacy in absence of the ability or desire to procreate). For many it’s about the desire to pass on a legacy, and to express the instinct of parental love. All I would desire from the family I raise, the next generation, is that they honor the legacy I create, and that they think for themselves, know themselves, carve and pursue their own identity, go on to create a legacy of their own, and be as the masters and rulers of their own lives, and it wouldn’t matter if they had different beliefs and interests from mine. In a way, they would be kings and queens on earth onto themselves, and so would me and the one with whom I may spend my remaining years. I use the term kings and queens in spite of my political attitude against royalism and the institution of monarchy, because as individuals who are our own masters we are the rulers of our own spiritual kingdom. And I’d want my partner to be a part of my spiritual kingdom in some way and be part of my legacy, which would invariably make her a queen in some way.

But I can’t help but wonder now, thinking back about what I’ve written, why I am I thinking them, why do they feel so deep and raw, and why do I feel such a need to write it? Maybe the emotions involved are just strong enough.

 

The future of America…

I have been hearing about many bad things happening in America. Congress has been proving once again that they are incapable of upholding the principle of E Pluribus Unum (which is found on the seal of the United States itself), through the conservative half of congress turning their backs on a pagan speaker in an act of pure hypocritical intolerance and ignorance. Politicians are proving themselves to be out of touch with the knowledge of modern times as well as the true meaning of liberty, and dis-servicing the country for it. Lawmakers are not only trying ever more to back away from enabling full equal rights to all, but they’re also trying to make themselves immune to corruption. The state is still trying to surveil its own people under the guise of protection. And police brutality is not only alive and biting at people for even small crimes, it has culminated in a riot.

I don’t believe all of America is going downhill, but from what I have heard from friends who live in America, it is becoming an increasingly divided, increasingly savage, and increasingly authoritarian place, all thanks to ignorance on part of those in the government as well as the people themselves. At any rate, the America we know now and may yet see is certainly very different from the America of even 10, 20, 30, or even 50 years ago, and certainly different from the America that I have experienced (then again, I personally have only ever been in three states, all of them in the Northeast). And who can imagine what America will be like after the election in 2016.

And yet, I feel like I can’t go without a sense of hope. I just can’t believe America is totally unliveable for anyone. Maybe it’s because I honor America as the place where a lot about me started, and in the UK where I live it’s a source of uniqueness because no one else where I live speaks in an American accent. I couldn’t talk when I was a toddler in the UK and I had certain special needs, and my parents decided to get me special education in America for about 5 years. For better or worse, America is a part of my personal development and my life and I’ve met nice people, a few of whom I still manage to keep in touch with. I’ll fully admit I haven’t really suffered the injustices people talk about in real life (well, unless going through customs and being hassled and delayed by staff counts), so I can’t say I experienced a lot of America’s truly nasty side, but nothing will change the fact that I can’t bear the thought of me losing any sense of hope, or in rejecting an important part of my personal identity. I don’t like the way America is heading, and the government leaves a lot to be desired, but I can’t bear to lose hope for America either.

The way I see it, America was the first and only country to at any point recognize liberty as sacred, right down to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. America was the first nation to establish that from the beginning. While the British did create a document known as the Magna Carta, that document is not like the American Constitution or the Bill of Rights. It did grant certain rights to the common man (such as the right not to be arrested, exiled, or mistreated except by lawful judgement) and placed limits on the ability of the king to exploit his barons, but it is not as set in stone into British law as people seem to think. After the Middle Ages, it became outdated and in modern times it is redundant in British law, and the UK still has no Constitution like America’s. Only America has the tradition of exalting liberty from the outset, but its people and its government do not always observe this tradition, let alone intelligently. History shows that America’s government has indeed violated the concepts of liberty, equality, and justice that were meant to define America, and both the people and elected officials have also proved ignorant of what those concepts truly mean, but I believe this only proves the true problem: ignorance. I believe that the way for America to restore its way is for everyone to know what the values of freedom, justice, and equality really mean in practice, so that the tradition of liberty can be observed truthfully by both the state and the people. That way, we can see the true America, the way it was meant to be, come into view. A land of justice for all individuals, where no one is denied justice and no one can get away with fraud and the violation of the right to life and liberty, and where no laws can be created that infringe upon the rights of the individual who commits no wrongdoing. A land where everyone has the same rights, and the same opportunity to succeed. A land of tolerance where everyone can comfortably live their lives as they please without trespassing upon the rights of others, with support from people who care. A land where no religion has is dominant in the government, and every belief is  And, crucially, a land of unlimited freedom of speech and expression, where no one can violate those things, and a land where a person, regardless of race, sex, creed, and socioeconomic class and make any choice within his/her means without infringing on the rights of others.

This isn’t just the responsibility of the state or elected officials. The people must do their part to make the true America take shape, and their’s is a large part. But success will only come with true understanding of freedom, justice, and equality for all, and the breaking of ignorance and deception (be very careful of those who cry freedom but do not know what liberty means). And unless the American people manage to recapture the spirit of enlightened individualism and the ideals of America’s Founding Fathers, then America may yet lose its identity and moral worth.

I must also mention America’s propensity to claim its special moral place in the world as the promoter of liberty, justice, equality, and democracy. I feel that not only should America stop acting like some world police, but also that America must prove to itself, its people, and the world, that the nation can fulfill the values it so desires and that it is restored in those values.

The future as it stands now?

I was originally going to write this for Sunday or Monday, but I kind of procrastinated.

Spring break has been over for four days now, but I do not have long for my first year at uni. In fact, for me summer starts close to the end of May before the solstice even begins (if I’m right anyway) because that’s when all our deadlines are due for this semester.

With the impeding end of my first year in mind, I’m settled on the notion of not quitting my course (at least not on the first year anyway, you never know what the second year will do for me; there’s no going back after third year though). I feel as though by now it is no use giving up on the first year because I’m coming so close to finishing it, and I’m not doing too bad now that I think about it. Lots of times I think of quitting, but I also feel like I can keep going. Even though I know what the games industry has in store for me and even if it’s possible I don’t continue into the industry, I want to continue for as long as I can out of principle. Besides, as I see it I have a mighty sweet deal even if I don’t live in dorms or go out clubbing and drinking. I get quite a lot of funding for my course, and the funding I’ve gotten has proven useful, and I’ve enriched my life in some way with it too and still wish to. As has my life as a uni student even if it’s just a status that will only last 3 years of my life. Maybe not totally, but I feel I can get somewhere. To quit all of a sudden after enriching my life and still being able to do so would be dishonorable, it’d be saying “thanks for giving me thousands of pounds, so long suckers!” (even though strictly speaking I’ll have to pay it back if I quit; I think I’ve written about this before actually).

I have still thought of other futures. I’ve thought of getting a guitar and taking a course in singing and playing the guitar so I can make metal music of my own. I’ve thought of focusing on a writing career so I can write stories that I’ve been pining to write. I’ve thought of just becoming an artist. I’ve thought of taking a steady job in either case till I make it whatever I do. The prospect of going into the gaming industry is not the same to me as it was many years ago when I started dreaming of making video games, and even then I saw as a way of envisioning stories, characters, and environments just that it was better at doing so than every other form of entertainment due to the principle of interactivity involved. However, I want to see how my course goes and how I survive. I only want to truly quit in the even that I feel I’m doing progressively worse in the next year than this year.

But before all else, I want to feel like I’ve lived a worthwhile life as a student, and the chance to show my passion, my honor, my brightness, and my being, and attain new levels of freedom and wilderness. I think I am doing that progressively, even if not in the big ways I expect. I will keep going, wherever I’m going.

What will I have to show for myself, and for what?

Many times during my course I still have doubts, and I still have difficulty coming to terms with the course and trying to manage it alongside my regular lifestyle. Many times I still wish I had a much simpler life, but at the same time, in my mind, I want to keep going only because it’s still too soon. On the other hand, I’m tempted to even see failure as a kind of freedom, because things are only going to get more complicated from here.

I have been learning recently that at least in university you get to be creative in the course, or at least for a while. Once graduates actually enter the video games industry and begin their potential careers, they will work for companies and have to follow the vision presented by those companies, rather than their own creative vision and spirit. From the time you write your dissertation to the time you start working in the industry, you’re doing things based on how you’re told and you’re doing what your told. Such a tepid fate, then again I should probably have thought about that before considering my choice in the first place.

That all aside, the point is not what I might have to deal with. The point is what will come of it. If I pass what will I have to show for it? If I get a career in games design what will I have to show for it? One of the only things worse than servitude is being rewarded for servitude. The thought of not creating for my own sake is bad enough, but the thought of being rewarded for not creating for my own sake is even worse because I’d be rewarded for being a cog in a machine for whatever toads I might be working for. It sickens me. It is almost like the thought of being rewarded for participating in various social traditions I don’t agree with. And I’m inclined to think it’s all because we live in a world that is based on the group or the tribe, not the individual.

That last part aside, at the end of the day, I’m just disillusioned. I’m disconsolate over the thought that I would be rewarded for falling in line at the cost of not creating for myself, and what do I have to show for myself in this life now? Meanwhile, there are others in my society who mindlessly go with the flow, follow their stupid artificial norms, and have children and equally vacuous romantic partners to show for their miserable selves. I may be ranting a bit, even moping, but that’s honestly how I feel about my situation. I feel disenchanted and trapped. I don’t have a strong desire to quit, just yet, but still that negativity remains, along with a sense of a time soon to come where I either continue to struggle and fail, or something else happens.

Through all this though there is something I have been thinking about. That knowledge might set me free from this negativity and doubt, or at least make me feel better. Countless times I am told that learning more on my own would help me through this whole thing. The right conditions are in the process of being set up, and soon, maybe this will prove true.