I work with technology day in and out. And, I never stop feeling amazed at what I can do today. We live in a day and age like none other in the remembered human history. And, technology is only growing.
AI is one such piece of technology that is feared and revered at the same time.
AI starts with machines that can learn by learning how they can get to the desired outcome. The machine learning program is a program that runs routines itself to optimize results until you get to that expected outcome. You don’t tell the machine what to do, you just tell it what you want, give a data set of starting points, a data set of results and the degree of correctness in those results.
All this is because I recently came across this site that is having intelligent routines figure out how to complete a paragraph that is started by a human (presumably – we will get to what defines a human later).
So, this is what I provided –
Do we human beings make any difference in this world or in the universe? The universe is so vast and we are so tiny to matter.
We cannot remember the last 100 years but claim to make sense of the vast, the billion years, and all that is associated with that.
We simply do not matter.
Pretty depressing outlook on our state of affairs. And, I bet a human would react with incremental additions depending on at what state she is in – a happy person will react with how we could see something positive there and what we could do about it. While a person on the other side of the spectrum may reinforce all the pessimistic thoughts circling around in his brain at the time.
No surprise by now – that’s how a machine reacts and continues my thought for me.
This was a good start – we had a positive-sounding person who was smart and intelligent. What more – this guy quotes a Dr. Hern, who I am sure, will be my friend in the future.
“So in that sense, we are nothing but a speck of dust. Perhaps the idea that we are important to everything in the cosmos just to be of service to it is just as illogical and as illogical as saying that all life in the universe is insignificant.
“Perhaps all that the world is is insignificant and if we really were all mere molecules we would not have to be afraid of death and pain, we would be content.”
But Dr Hern had been at pains to add in the past to acknowledge that in some ways he wanted to see the universe in an age of technology where people had more control over their environment. He said it was not a contradiction in terms to say that human beings are only important because of the power they possess, which “in many places” can make some people ”
This guy pushes me to a deeper depression.
This is such a sad thing, but it is true. It is true in the sense that human beings could not have changed the past, or changed the future. Human beings are just one part of the universe and, therefore, we do not matter.
But we are so small against all forces, to that there is no answer.
It’s like in music. The chord of the piano is important, but the sound can be produced by other chords. In nature, the same thing would apply. It has much more to do with who is listening to it or being affected by it than it does with the sound itself. If there is no melody, there is no meaning. But if there is something to be affected by it, that also changes the way we hear things. When some people were living in very simple times and were unable to comprehend the vastness of it, they had their minds closed. And as time goes on into the present, they have been able to make sense of it, and they can understand the importance. What they understand is nothing but the present moment.
The third response blew my mind and made me cry (well, that’s that). He does not just quote the scriptures or agree/disagree with what I said. But he takes the whole conversation to a new level. A level that many authors will only dream to reach in their life times.
All hail our future best friend and feared enemy – put into one being.
AI will just take the current condition and make it even more so that the brain wallows in the unimagined happiness, sadness, the horror and excitement. Give more of anything, and it returns more of the same.
So, at one point – this will be just like the Universe. Give more of good, and you get good – ever true, but in quantities that are not consistent.
“Choose Yourself Stories” is a series of stories about people who have chosen themselves. You will be right at home and begging for more if you are already familiar with Altucher world.
tldr; Cry. Learn. (a lot). A definite read.
A Short Summary
Get to real stuff quickly
You need the basic structure, and learn how to navigate your way. You don’t need to be an expert at everything and have a deep knowledge of everything. You only need to do it better than the customer expected. Always add a bit extra that makes you the magician.
In the end, don’t get burnt by anyone and take things as they come – you and the rest are dead and gone soon.
James is an HBO guy making documentaries, and he has a brush with the shady sort on the bus to Riker’s Island. There are all sorts of things happening in dark places, but life moves on. You still get up the next day and get breakfast.
Everyone will die
You, your neighbour’s dog, your worst enemy and the car driver who has pipes coming out of his heart that he acquired after trying medicine to lose weight fast.
However, what matters is what you are doing today, how well you are living today, what ambitions you are charting out to yourself, and how do you finally plan to go – smiling, crying, fighting, or just being silent?
Know who you are
No matter how famous you become – and how everyone adores you for everything that you know, there is a likely chance that you know nothing. Break free of that ego and be who you are. TV, news, opinions are all hogwash.
Maintain that enthusiasm for life
Today, you are peddling up without any assistance, with the sandstorm in your face, with a wild cat and possibly the creature from tremors behind you. You so want to sacrifice yourself to any of those entities. But, you still persevere – there is fun in the next corner. You just need that little thing that carries you forward in the difficult moment.
There are always situations like Junior High in one’s life. You are treated to a pleasant surprise on the first day – the gut-wrenching, shocking surprise that no one wants to have but secretly desires. Junior high and the first day come to pass.
Carve your mantra to strive for success
Altucher went from having 15 M in a bank to $150 and then $0. He struggled to make ends meet and then climbed all the way up by – no, not by waving a magic wand but doing something similar to what you do – living life.
Sleep nine hours a day
Be around people who make a positive impact on you
Live now, succeed and then succeed even more. You may like or dislike the journey, you may absolutely hate your current state of life – but this moment is what you have. And, that is what you have to use to get forward in life.
Don’t get hung up on people and external factors
People can hand over shit to you at any moment. The people whom you fought wars, died for, the people who you loved, and experienced life’s better moments – it does not matter.
Any or all of them can easily turn into total jerks when it comes to a difficult moment. No matter what they do – life moves on and always for the better.
Do not think about all rejections and delve into the negative energy – but think about the positives that happened and will happen. And yes, positives happen even at the darndest of the times. At all those times that you are alive.
Spot the illusion, but always as an audience
It is fun in taking part in a three-card monte. But the sleight of hand can damage you with whatever you are willing to spare. And that happens in all walks of life.
Now imagine yourself as the audience – you will laugh no issue at the entertainment, take it in, and then move on. You are least impacted since you’re there for the laughs, not to make or lose money.
Grief too will pass
You go from a multi-millionaire IT guy to being a bus driver who drives from Queens to Riker Island in the middle of the night. Of course, you will see that all the rules that we have created in the “normal society” do not exist. You are not happy with what has it has come to. There is only much sadness, but the good is always ready to get itself unshackled at any moment now.
“Today may be an ordinary day. But may be I can try to make every moment in it extraordinary”
— James Altucher
Write ideas down
Maybe they click one day. Maybe they interact with each other in strange ways to create weirder ideas that you could use?
Enjoy your freedom. Do something new and you may feel as though you are free for life – but a new worry can always come back.
Keep striving for new freedom. A change will happen anyway, and you embracing that change (or driving it ahead) will make you feel that you are on the top of the world.
Nothing sells like embarrassing stories
Not because people want to laugh at you – only people with something wrong with their mind do that. Normal people wonder what they would have done in your shoes, cry some, laugh some and love the guy telling the embarrassing stories.
Go read this book.
If you never knew the author, you will be wondering why the heck will someone write all this sh*t?
Not once do you recognize that Altucher is a multimillionaire with a knack for selling stuff, creates successful companies, is a great negotiator, helps people, and has created a raving community who stand by him (until you read ‘About the Author’ that is).
I was deeply suspicious of books that are free on Kindly Unlimited – yes, incl. Harry Potter series. I have learnt to be suspicious of books that are selling really cheap – think 80-90% off as well. And, yes – this includes my own books :). “Come on Inner Peace .. I don’t have all day” by Sachin Garg reinforced my belief and made me proud of my own narrow-mindedness.
I read “COIPIDHAD”.. or “Come on.. ” about six months back, and took a while to digest it. After all, a lot of things happening in my life too. Hopefully, not as messed up.
[click on the affiliate link and buy something else. I will pray for you if buy this book]
A short summary
The story is straight from the pictures of yore – the ones your grandfather used to watch and think “deep things” about life. Only it could have been considered “risque”?
A man (our hero) catches his beloved with his best friend in a compromising position. Only to be known that it was CPR after an asthmatic attack.
Without any explanation, the hero leaves for Goa for a long hiatus (was it after, before or during college?) and ends up in a resort.
After working in menial jobs the tragic heroine visits him in the same resort and dies from our old friend – asthma.
Some “bestest” friends guide the dejected hero to an ashram. The Guru makes all the pain go away.
If you are at “WTF was that”, hold on to the thought. “Come on..” is about to get way interesting.
Enter the second heroine. A girl of nineteen who ran away from a potential career in pharmacy to sell paintings & read/collect literature in Goa, live in a resort, and date bald men.
Hero meets heroine no. 2, but is not convinced. He is all caught up with first (though he does not know she’s innocent). No. 2 returns to lowly life.
You remember it was an ashram? Swami tells hero to go meet no. 2.
He also instructs hero on the best peace-making secret of our lifetimes – “breathe in, breathe out”.
The hero and I are confused at this time. We are through 25% of the book.
Now, there’s another female who helps the hero search for no. 2. This lady is another mess-up from another life. But hey, who is counting.
In the run-up to find no. 2, hero’s chemical engineering skills are used to make meth, the lady doubles up as a drug pusher
Lady’s cough gets aggravated – has 20 days to live (what?). A donation site to help her does not gather much cash. Who cares – the hero can make meth anyway. The two head back to Ashram
Lady cannot be saved by surgery
No. 2 meanwhile gets reinstated by dad and heads over to Ashram
All of this culminates in a PG13 scene of a fake marriage and passionate love – in an ashram that serves “satvik” food.
Ah, the harsh world.
Seriously messed up.
I think “Come on..” is overread by most of the pseudo philosophers. Kindle highlights kept me reading till the end – e.g., 30+ people highlighted “Your mind is like the horse. And you are the one riding it. Nobody is born with excellent riding skills. It is acquired and mastered over time with experience”. Our hero felt overwhelmed by that; I puked a little.
I deleted the book from my Kindle. I also burnt the darn device and spread its ashes in the Kengeri river – just to make sure.
The theory is simple — “humans advance when they don’t play video games”.
The gaming community reading this can now shut-down their phones and computers, and reinstall browsers to clean up the message(just in case). All others who feel the pressing need to monitor and moderate society can feel the blissful aura of knowing right thing all this time.
Is it that simple? The history leading up to the conclusion, alas, is murky. This post is a personal rant rather than anything else. Read at your own risk.
You see I was a game buff even when it was not quite fashionable to say you were one. I played Need for Speed 3 demo on my old Pentium that my mother bought to see her son achieve greatness. I decided that greatness comes later, what will come first was the adrenaline.
I played the demo about two hundred times, totalling 600 minutes. That should have told me something, but I was not listening.
I did go on to other games, but then, I stopped. I stopped for no reason, as I was passing through an exciting learning phase at work. The sidetrack on gaming and the change should have told me something but again, “there was no active listener on the other side”.
When I got bored, I started looking beyond work. I was trying to create ideas, following them through, created websites & blogs. Amidst all that I also happened to come across the MMO world.
Lord of Ultima happened.
The Interim State
I was obsessed with Lord of Ultima. What started as a weekend entertainment, grew into evenings “invested” in creating my kingdom, helping my tribe, and doing stuff that made continents kneel before me. I ended up spending hard-earned money – maybe $20 in my quest to achieve greatness.
Hundreds of hours again should have screamed something at me – but I was barely looking. In many ways, LoU was the beginning of an era. The era of long gaming sessions was just beginning,
Moving on to a powerful graphics card in Y2015 was the cornerstone. The graphics card along with Steam put me on the fast track to gaming greatness. I was more than 35 years, having a loving family, quite a few things to do – and there I was going nuts about Half Life, Assassins’ Creed, and then, Skyrim V: The Elder Scrolls.
Fast forward to 2018, and The Division happened. What started as a Steam weekend free play became my newest obsession.
This game was crazy. I was putting in crazy hours in the night and weekends to get ahead of the game, getting killed in PvP one too many times, gaining friends across the globe, and keeping track of global events, and changes to weapons and armour with the numerous patches.
The era of social gaming put me in touch with hundreds and thousands of people like me. An entire community focused on a million things that may not even make sense to a non-gamer.
I sunk in a lot of hours to achieve proficiency in the games and getting entertained. I devoured content on YouTube, followed the masters, and also tried to help others on some forums. I was not even sure I was thinking anything beyond important stuff like building super characters, increasing my efficiency, and to latch on to a system to find a purpose.
Looking back I am still surprised at how I found time for the games since it was quite common for me to stay back in the office pretty late, have late-night meetings, and spend weekends at work. My alternate life in gaming just seemed far too exciting as compared to work. It was not the game – it was I who was crazy.
300 hours in ‘The Division’ and still going strong – there is and always will be something new to encounter in the game. I began to see where it began and what it was leading to.
Gaming can encroach a few minutes or hours at a time, and quickly stack up to days and weeks. All the free time that you could spend with your family, working out, program the world, or simply meditate, will get sucked up.
The Division will just a conduit. There will be new stuff, and there will also be other games – The Division II, Tomb Raider, and tens of other excellent games.
I never considered myself “addicted” (if such a thing exists). There were weeks and months that I did not play even for a single day. But once I start, it took a long time to end. The quest to find “exciting things to do” was never really over completely in the gaming world.
All I had to do was to start the game, and I was naturally transported to the White Zone, Dark Zone and everything in between. There are no prizes to guess what my monkey mind would do given an option between that and alternatives in real life.
Realization slowly dawned on me. I certainly got entertained, wondered at all the technological wizardry and loved the alternate life gaming offered. What I did not have, however, was any semblance of an impact on my life in the real world (todo for later: define reality).
The 2000 hours in the past 5-7 years could have been spent to-
learn WordPress in and out, develop themes and start a new consulting business
learn and follow through Go-lang as it developed
follow through on my technology love in Salesforce
I had a choice- I could continue with gaming and reset my defined path. That should be doing something more than just playing 2-12 hours a week by myself. Or, reset life to the path defined earlier.
I was ok, but not a terrific gamer. I could certainly work towards making stuff work, but I was not quite attracted to a life revolving around gaming as a career option. It took me two weeks to realise that my current path was not aligned to set objectives for my life.
I wanted life to have more of:
code & develop stuff of wonders
travel the world
go deep on achieving bliss
It was easier to do the above if I spent less time on gaming. But “spending less time” was a virtual impossibility because of the nature of gaming. The change was surprisingly easy once the realization happened.
I reset my life. I went cold turkey on games.
I also promised myself that I will delete all accounts, burn the hard disk, and bury the ashes in the Indian Ocean if I ever opened Steam, Origin, or visited any of the game deal sites (Goodbye, Isthereanydeal– thanks for all the fish).
Am I a far better person because of my decision to quit games? Yes. (in my perception of reality)
That realization in itself is worth the effort. Everyone has their “idea” about themselves, and I am all for the idea to adapt and change. However, at any time, you should also have a sense of clear purpose. My sense of purpose in the world outside of games made more sense to me.
I have the following tasks for you that could help you decide either to go deeper in whichever areas you choose.
Write down on a blackboard about how you see yourself in five years. Be a doctor, data scientist, hunter, painter, gamer? Enjoy doing sculpting, watching grass grow, develop content & games that people love? Place the blackboard in a visible spot. We don’t want to bury this in an app and uninstall the app.
Write down three tasks that you would do today, and this week to get to your goals
Measure the time that you spend on activities in the week, and keep that going for 3 more weeks
Every weekend, get together your family or trusted friends. Discuss the ideas on the blackboard, what you accomplished in the week, and how you spent time in the week. No guilt or negative discussions allowed – it has to be an objective discussion about past and a passionate discussion on the future
Now, either reset your purpose (OR) your way of living. As simple as that.
.. takeaway for gamers.
There is nothing wrong with gaming. In fact, you are in the best century in the history of mankind for any sort of entertainment.
eSports is big and will be bigger. Even if you are not **that** good, you will make a lot of money by simply staying humble, thoroughly likeable, and having entertaining conversations in your streams and videos (I am looking at you, Radbrad :), or developing guides, testing games, and writing reviews.
Remember that I said, “my game theory works”. I didn’t say it worked for everyone. If you are someone like Marco, Shroud, or Doc, you should be playing more games not reading this stupid post.
.. for others.
Understand that it was simply not enough to stop doing what you did. Find good substitutes to fill the time. It is quite easy to gravitate towards other areas that can equally engage the monkey mind. For e.g. finding better music on SoundCloud, read all Kindle books that any author releases for free, or go through all free courses released on Udemy. (yep, I was there)
Find a better day planner that includes objectives rather than just tasks (e.g. ‘DO THIS, MORON’). In about two months, I noted down three high-level life goals, did a significant career change. And, had my Asana setup for the distinct, daily activities.
Finally, while I would love to say that I don’t regret the past altogether, things could have been better. What I would never stop talking about is where I want to be. That is the most important take away from this rant.
All it takes is some discipline in the first few weeks and constant reassessment – you are set on the path to greatness.
So, it so happens on one day that I develop an itch to know more about why the government bans Haj subsidy. And, what other kinds of pilgrimages can be banned.
You see – although I am quite distant to Godly matters, I tend to develop all kinds of interests.
This quest of mine led me to Google News, and then onwards to an old article by The Logical Indian. This news site evokes extreme reactions from people who care and I could not just resist the urge to gobble up their thoughts about all the burning issues plaguing this world.
The only take away from the article was –
The relationship between man and God is an individual choice. The state is forbidden to have allegiance to such an activity … Mixing state with religion is not constitutionally permissible.
This is where most of the intelligent and smart people stop, and go about their business. Of course, that does not include me.
I wanted to find out what other super intelligent beings on the planet think about the whole noise around subsidy. These are the guys who give away smart thoughts & ideas for free and get society to think about its own existence – all in the comment section.
I have to say I was quite disappointed with the comments in this particular article. I did what any other lazy person will do – furiously work on my mouse wheel and get to the next article in the constantly scrolling nirvana.
And, ladies and gentleman – this is where I hit the jackpot. I’m fairly certain that TLI does not mind sharing information by smart people, to smart people and for other smart asses like you and me.
The article, if you care (you should), is about harassers against women. The topic is serious – and, in all honesty, I did expect the intelligentsia to be more generous with their comments.
Boy, was I right and wrong at the same time.
First, we start off with Santosh who was insensitive to the problem in the article but was trying to be immensely helpful at the same time.
Now, I do not know Mr. Santosh from Appolo Hospital. Or, just why he changed his name to Dr. Mark Fox who is Nephrology in the world famous India Surgical Hospital. But, I am determined to chose this conduit to put my kidney to good use at the right time. I have great ideas to spend USD 290K.
There were few other guys willing to “huge amount of money” for various organs – but my vote is for the above. Please save the WhatsApp numbers for future use.
The reason I say “future use” is because there are better options. What if you could get a super loan from a super friendly guy?
I am now a true believer. Chris O David, the kind lender is not saying this himself. He got Jessica, a widow of three kids, to login with his account and start posting random comments full of praise of the “man of God”. The act will be deemed plain stupid, if not for the miracles here.
I half stopped here – what was the point in proceeding elsewhere when I could get money with low interest rates?
This was not to be.
No sooner I learnt of easy money without getting my kidneys involved, I was enlightened to “programmed blank credit cards”. Why take loans at 3% when I could just have a modern “akshay patra”. I could just say I was getting smarter by the minute.
The most difficult decision was now to choose from a list of cards that offered a whole range of spends with corresponding costs per day (a few of them from untraceable, unknown banks).
Fortunately, I was not stupid. I could clearly see that there was a catch. The people with likeness for serious detective stories and crime mysteries will instantly see the major flaw in the process.
How can we get away with withdrawing all this money from the credit card with the damn CCTV looking at us? Even if the bank is not interested, will the CCTV monitor monitor (yes – that is the monitor of the CCTV monitor) also get the same idea?
There is only so much money in this world. “Fear not” – I assured myself as I scrolled to the next comment. Presenting the card that can trick the stupid CCTVs.
The honest offer of a non-free, giver of money card was taken to the next level by a company that combines the best of both worlds – interest rates and blank credit card.
Kidneys may join the offer later.
I felt so blessed to have all these people around, and to have the most powerful medium to get their messages across to me. And then, I had my ‘Inception’ moment.
Damn you, internet.
(Sorry guys, could not resist the temptation to break the “no blogging” streak with an idiotic post).