Gästskribenten och vännen Peter bidrar med intellektuella och minst sagt aktuella tankegångar om livet, lidandet och egots programmering:
The individual often seem quite sure of itself being so different to many others out there. And thus, for for some indirect reason also superior. This obviously happen consciously and unconsciously. But is this assumption true? Is this common view we have about ourselves to varying degree correct, natural
and ”just the way it is”? I wonder!
Looking past the level of form; that is our immediate interpretation of ”reality”,
or the world surrounding us. This is the stream of ”information” being
fed to our consciousness, or mind, through our senses: touch, sight, smell,
taste, hearing and thinking (I consider thinking being one of our senses as the
”filter” or ”translator” of all other sensory input). When looking at humanity
from a larger philosophical, and perhaps psychological perspective, Is it possible
to identify any similarities across cultures, religions, language and everyday
patterns of habit? I propose there are at least two major similarities that
we often tend to overlook. And I often wonder if we actually do this consciously
To begin with: It does seem that no matter what country, culture or religion
we claim ”allegiance” to we do seem to experience lack and pain in our
lives. Why is that? We all seem to suffer, if not most of the time then at least
part of the time that we are ”alive”. We´re all seemingly forced to face fears
from time to time, as well as experience psychological as well as physical
Secondly: Maybe it is because we ”suffer” in various ways throughout our
existence that we are driven to think about the meaning of our lives. And in
one way or the other we entertain ideas of what it is. Whether it is a christian
reading the bible, a scientist looking for answers in nature or through what is
called the scientific method, from which its own ”bible”, or body of ”knowledge”
is created. An atheist, perhaps in a reaction to what is perceived to invade
the psychological, and sometimes also the physical realm, tend to reject
the idea of any form of higher authority or power in terms of a god. But despite
the presence or not of a god, I think everyone entertain the idea of
some kind of ultimate truth. Even if that truth is that nothing at all happen after
I think that the idea of suffering and struggle in life is an interesting, and
quite complicated mechanism of cause and consequence. But I wonder.
Without somehow relying on this idea or system, would there be a will to live
at all? Isn´t it that we think, somewhere deep down, that something have to be
achieved in life before we ”die”? That something is not complete and whole
as it already is? Is that the reason we think that we are ”alive” to begin with?
Because we are alive, aren´t we? And we constantly tell ourselves that there
exist opportunity in our ”lives”. But what is that opportunity. What is it really?
One night I got this idea of looking at the way we typically live our lives as
similar to how a computer also typically works. Not in the most obvious way
though; that we as human beings are nothing but robots, being slaves to our
own programming. Although that concept definitely also have some weight
to it my particular idea concern the hierarchy of systems on which most of our
personal computers typically operate. What do I mean by that, and how do I
connect parts of a computer and it´s programming to the concept of being
”alive” as a human being?
To summarize: First of all, a computer consist of some hardware. I call this
the context. The context is what enables the computer to do anything at all.
And without it there would not even be a computer at all (at least not in the
common sense). Secondly; there is an operating system installed (attached)
that make fundamental use of this hardware and provide a foundation on
which more specific tasks can be done. Specific tasks involve additional programs,
created to solve problems that the operation system can´t perhaps
solve by itself, or an additional program might simply be more effective at a
particular task that the operating system. However, all subsequent programs
is still built on top of the operating system, and can´t operate without it. They
act according to specific rules set by the operating system.
By the word ”context” I refer to the basic structure, or set of rules, that make
life as we know it possible on the ”level of form” as described above. Without
a context, as in the equivalent to the computers hardware, how could anything
of any specific nature exist or be perceived as being ”real”? I think of the
computers hardware as symbolic of our interpretation of what the universe is.
Quite simply; a space in which certain things is possible based on a number of rules. In terms of a computer, electricity and circuits to contain and direct it
perhaps. And in terms of our universe: the law of gravity etc.
Again, it is this basic system, framework, or perhaps one could even call it
a playground, which makes our current and common concept of life possible.
Life and all of the possibilities contained in it.
The operating system
The operating system of a computer is what provide the basic mechanisms of
all subsequent things that one might attempt to do with it. Naturally it also
comes with it´s own limitations. It provides an interface with which we interact
with the context that we appear to exist within. I think of it as similar to our
most basic system of thought. Not in the sense of being able to think to begin
with, which I define as a sense similar to sight, but rather the most basic way
we interpret signals being fed into the system. It´s the most basic programming
telling our selves (as in mind or consciousness) what something is, and
how to respond to it.
From an existential point of view I think it´s imperative that we thoroughly
understand how this operating system works within it´s larger context, that is
what we perceive as the universe. And perhaps, I´m not saying we have to understanding
it from a specific, technical and theoretical point of view, but a
general and intuitive and practical point of view. I think of the operating system
as similar to the subconscious aspect of our mind, as it tends to exist and
operate largely hidden away from us being able to observe it directly. This often make us look like we operate on ”auto-pilot”, and often unable to change
our course once an obstacle appears suddenly in front of us.
From our everyday experience of life, one of the most suitable concepts
that characterize the way the ”operating system” manifests itself in a human
being should be that of the ego.
A program is typically added to the operating system and interacts with it to
solve a more specific that problem the basic programming of the operating
system does not already allow, or perhaps it only does something in a more
effective way. The ability to read, write and speak certain languages should be
considered such programs within a human being. As we are kids, we learn
(create) programs from scratch. As adults we tend to add, modify and also
delete parts of existing programming through sensory input. Something appeal
or appall inside of us creating additional formatting of preferences and
change our behavior.
The point I intend to make with all these metaphors revolve around the idea
that no individual component within a larger system that does not completely
embrace all other systems that is an observable fact, can not possibly be considered
a ”higher” truth. Consider any form of established religion, or political movement. The
simple fact that there is obviously more than one of them, and the fact that
they most often attempt to exclude each other in one way or the other, must
mean they can not make claims on being part of any higher truth. As the higher
truth apparently does apparently accommodate both of them. If, as religion
often proclaim, the ultimate state of truth in this existence equivalent to a
state of unconditional love towards anything conceivable, then how can it distance
itself in any way from the fact that there exist other teachings making a
similar statement? How can one not completely and lovingly embrace other
teachings, sexual orientations or human aspirations?
To take sides. To hide behind any specific teaching, saying that one is the
higher truth yet not live consistently according to its idea of a higher truth it
can not be that higher truth. It have to be considered a program operating
within some larger context. With that said though, I claim that any individual
part, as in a program, could definitely provide insight into the higher truth. By
objectively comparing many different programs we should be able to conclude
that many of their functions and behaviors are the same. Why is that?
Perhaps because they share a common source? Manu programs can even
communicate directly with each other, or create output that is compatible
with other programs in different ways. But as long as a program fail in one instance
against another it should not be called a truth being higher than any
other. What we desperately lack as human beings operating on innumerable
layers of programming is humility toward this fact.
I claim that our programming, as in the operating system itself but much
more so in the form of smaller programs, easily integrated and blended into
the operating system tends to distort our relationship to the context in which
we exist in ways that is incredibly complicated and hard to realize.
The basic problem
I think our most basic error as human beings is first and foremost our inclination
to confuse the basic operating system routines with any program actually
operating on a higher level. Once obstacles occur in our life we apply effort
to fix them, but not being able to clearly identify the source we manipulate
parts of the programming in the wring place. Effectively treating the symptoms
rather than the actual disease!
A good example of this, and which is also based on what I consider extensive
personal observation, is how older generations of people handle
change in their environment, and particularly new technology that they can’t
make immediate sense off. In my case: standard personal computers. Anyone
can learn how to use a specific program such as a word processor, which is by
themselves typically very simple. But learning a specific program without also
learning about the operating system also creates a problem in thinking about
the computer in general, what it is and what it can do. By never really understanding
what the operating system is once have a hard time telling smaller
programs apart and one have to fight a constant battle being forced to reinterpret
what the computer actually is whenever a different program is needed
to carry out a specific task. If one does not really understand how something
fits into a larger context, how can one tell something apart from it?
The simple lack of awareness of a different approach to a problem can
make it impossible to break out of a habit. And being unable to break out of
certain habits, as in certain ways of thinking and reacting may cause major
conflicts (As in bugs in a computer programs. Suffering within our concept of
life). The most obvious example of this problem when applied to humanity
should become apparent by careful observation of religion and politics in action.
Not in theory, as in studying ideology, and I should add: without judging
any of it as good or bad. As sub-systems, or programs, being executed their
obviously flawed and conflicting inherent nature often cause the entire operating
system to freeze up. An operating system can resolve certain problems
by itself in many situations by temporarily shutting down and restarting certain
routines. I ask myself when we reach the point where a complete system
reboot is necessary (the roman empire!?), or a complete formatting of the
hard-drive with subsequent re-installation of it´s basic software (the last Iceage!?).
Realizing that certain programs, always completely dependent on the operating
system for it´s sustained ”life”, often attempt to solve all our problems
in life, as in a specific religion, should make us think twice about trusting it´s
validity. As long as a particular program create in us even the slightest tendency
to control/subjugate something that is clearly in our field of sensation,
it also inadvertently admit to it´s own limitation in understanding. Thus it
should never ever be trusted to contain a higher truth. It could always be
cherished for whatever part of truth that it does offer, but if it also create any
obstacle to find the rest of it, it must be a fraud!