Toward Unconflicted Behavior in Ignorance-Constrained Systems
One of the concepts I’ve been reading about lately is cognitive dissonance. Here’s a trimmed-down description from Wikipedia:
In psychology, cognitive dissonance is the mental stress experienced by an individual who has 2 or more contradictory beliefs, performs an action that contradicts their beliefs, or is confronted by new information that conflicts with their beliefs.
The part of cognitive dissonance that interests me is how it relates to my depression and sense of purpose. It seems like no matter what action I take, it conflicts with one or more of my beliefs, which themselves conflict with each other. I’m hoping if I work on my personal beliefs and smooth them out into a cohesive thought system / worldview, maybe my depression will disappear and I’ll feel more comfortable in my own skin.
One of the obstacles standing in my way is the fact that I’m constantly exploring new information and new perspectives. I’m also cursed with a relatively open mind and the crazy notion that everyone’s unique perspective should be regarded with compassion. What this means is I’ll spend several hours reading Wikipedia or watching YouTube videos, and I’ll come away with a dozen new beliefs/perspectives, none of which are perfectly compatible with each other.
The unfortunate result is that it becomes increasingly difficult to pursue my passion (or even define my passion) without my behavior conflicting with at least a few of the beliefs I’ve picked up during my endless quest for knowledge.
Get a job!
Well I would, but I don’t want to pay taxes to a government that wages wars of aggression for profit. I don’t want to commute because my vehicle burns fossil fuels. My options are limited because I don’t have a college degree, because I don’t believe in our education system. I can’t work for a corporation because they’re beholden to shareholders and profits, not humanity and Earth. I don’t believe in money, because it corrupts everything it touches, smothers the human spirit, and lacks any direct connection to our planet’s finite resources. And frankly, I don’t believe in jobs. I think we have the tools and technology to provide the basic needs for everyone on this planet, and by clinging to industrial-age ideas like “unemployment is bad” and “hard work is good” we’re just delaying the inevitable shift to a new paradigm where survivial doesn’t require “work”. And this paradigm shift will of course coincide with the singularity, AI, free energy, and nanotechnology, which will effectively make all my previous points moot, so maybe I should get a job…at Google…so I can eventually reserve myself a place in line for mind uploading / immortality and then I can read all of Wikipedia in just a few seconds, whilst travelling through the Universe as pure consciousness.
Shut up! I have strong beliefs, damn it! I stand for things!
Anyway, I’m going to attempt the impossible. I’m going to envision a future for myself that connects the dots I’m (currently) most passionate about. Those dots are:
- Help others
And here’s the vision:
I design and build a tiny home. But not just any tiny home…this one will strive for complete sustainability, including energy, food, water, and data connectivity. Food will be a challenge. I’ll probably eat a lot of algae and bugs–all organic though. It won’t really be a tiny home, it’ll be more like a tiny ecosystem. But there’s more. All materials will be cradle-to-cradle certified AND be free from any intellectual property restrictions. The entire thing will be open-source, patent-free, trademark-free, non-proprietary, etc. This might be particularly difficult considering this tiny ecosystem will include a tow vehicle. Last but not least, I’ll accomplish all of this with “free money”–that is, money that did not require exchange or consumption of non-free goods or services. I’ll work on that definition. Basically what I mean is if money is required, it will be acquired in a way that’s consistent with the values of the project. In other words, I’m not going to fund my sustainable ecosystem with profits from my oil pipeline and bald eagle poaching business.
The details will be complicated, but the concept is pretty straightforward: leverage technology to create a sustainable environment that meets all my basic human needs and provides me with absolute freedom to do whatever I want…without negatively impacting the environment. And of course, I’ll be documenting everything on a website, inspiring others to innovate and contribute their solutions to creating a free, sustainable existence for anyone who wants it.
And for the love of god, can someone please invent a patent-free artificial meat machine? These chlorella/spirulina/insect larvae burgers aren’t cuttin’ it anymore.