This is a letter to posterity, an artificial occasion for me to convey whatever I think is most important to record before the end of my time in my current form of consciousness.
It is important for me that this letter is clear and relevant to you, so I am going to start by making explicit some assumptions about yourself, which will hopefully be correct. I assume that you are alive sometime after this day, April 16th 2021, and that you are familiar with the English language and the Internet. You may be familiar with some aspects of the culture surrounding these two, but it is impossible for me to assume which ones, so I am not going to make any assumptions there.
The cognitive system that is writing these words – which is what I refer to as “I” or “self” – has experienced quite a few things, both in the form or real-world atoms and abstract thoughts. However, this cognitive system itself is not static but dynamic, meaning that it has been changing over time. Thus, what I will express here as important things to convey to you aren’t the most important ones across all the states of this cognitive systems, but rather the important ones for its latest version or the one that is writing these words. Some people call this recency bias, or the tendency of focusing on what is most recent and ignoring things that have been important in the past. What I am doing here now is to make explicit my limitations, which may be useful for you to know.
Having run a human cognitive system for a few decades has been a rather confusing experience for me. Our world is overflowing with varied and sometime contradicting facts, knowledge and perspectives. At certain point in time, I have tried synthesising this diversity within my cognitive system and that has lead to surprising reflections. The surprise was in the fact that I wasn’t at all able to synthesise this broad and diverse knowledge, I wasn’t able to compress it and summarise it, I wasn’t able to reach sound conclusions and brief principles that would encompass wide ranges of experiences. Which, strangely enough, is a conclusion and a summary in itself. Socrates worded this that the more we know, the less we know. This resonates with my experience, but is also paradoxical because if we are knowing less how can we know that we are knowing less? As I elaborate this, you may be getting a sense of why the experience of running a human cognitive system has been confusing to me. Summaries, models, take-aways and principles are seducing elements of the human knowledge, but they are also deceptive representations of what it means to be cognitive alive. Being cognitive alive, at least for me, is often confusing and destabilising. We navigate a conceptual ocean of uncertainty, pervaded by the constant possibility of change and modification. Some call this absurdity and mention that the idea of facing it feels like staring in the void. But I disagree with that too. Staring in the void is a concrete image conceptualising a specific moment. What I have experienced running a human cognitive system is a regularly reoccurring melting of the conceptual pillars of my mind, as if the physical world we live in was to collapse and re-generate every now and then. So, dear posterity, you may be wandering why I am writing this, why it is so important to me to fill the opening paragraph of my letter to you. It is because I want to share this learning for you: this paradox contains another paradox inside of itself. The greater paradox is that I have been able to attain a sense of progress, consistency and direction only when embracing this apparent reality of impermanence, constant change and melting down of basic pillars of knowledge. I found certainty in the uncertainty. I found strength in the impossibility of holding to anything. What is that strength? That strength is the raw expression of the basic fact that we are alive. Regardless of the absurdity and confusing nature of the ever-changing world and conceptual landscape we are immersed in, we are alive. Three words, we are alive, one basic and simple fact, we are alive. And that’s all the matters. When you really strap away everything and spit out every word. We are alive, that’s it. There is nothing more to it. We are alive and will continue to be, for sometime, then we will stop. There isn’t any magic way for me to let you experience how fundamental this simple fact is. It is there with you all the time, but often fades unnoticed in the background. We are alive means that the game is on and countless things are going to happen. Being alive contains everywhere and everything all at once. As you are reading this, you cannot not be alive. There aren’t that many more words I can share to communicate this. Perhaps the one and last thing I can say about it is: keep noticing that you are alive in it simple and fundamental form, keep noticing that the game is on, that you are standing on a platform. This is the most precious noticing of all.
Whoa, that escalated quickly into something way more complex, unexplainable and spiritual than I was expecting. This sentence is more of an internal reflection and a commentary to myself, but I figured it may be useful to put it in here to, so you get to experience myself in my raw and unedited form, as I may have been during any specific moment, which can be quite different from my pondered and thoughtful self-expressions that you may find in this letter.
So we talked about the fundamental and simple fact of being alive that can contain everything else. What’s next? Next is something that is diametrical different from it and, not surprisingly of great interest for us being alive. If you haven’t already guessed, I am going to talk about technology. I have been alive during an era in which technology is regarded as something extremely important, perhaps the most important thing of all. The shallow version says that technology is important because, if things play out well for you, it can make you incredibly rich and powerful, but there is more to that. In diametrical opposition to the simple fact of being alive, technology is not. It is dead cold. Or at least it appears to be. How is something that is diametrically opposed to the simple fact of being alive so important then? Let me depict this for you. If aliveness was a universe of bubbles, technology would be the thing that connects these bubbles together. Technology is the instrumentation and development of the space in which entities exists. Technology is, in its fundamental essence, connection. Between people, thoughts, places, generators and consumers of energy. The quality of a technology boils down to how efficient its connection is. What portion of the aliveness, or information, can be transmitted from one entity to the other. The greater the portion is, the more efficiency is the technology, the higher the quality of it is. Once again, you may be wondering, why am I telling you all this. I want to share with you a values of mine. Hopefully, by describing to you the fundamental role that technology has in the space we are alive within, I can convinced you of its fundamental importance. Hence, the value I hold with respect to this importance is to have attention and care for technology. What I mean by this is, in the context of being alive and experiencing this, I advocate for paying attention to how we can develop, improve and maintain the infrastructure that connects any two alivenesses. You may not have noticed yet, but this is pervasive. The words that you utter at someone are an instantiation of the technology of language, so I am inviting you to pay attention and care of how they transfer the aliveness of your thoughts from you to them. The moves you dance in the dance floor are an instantiation of the technology of dance, so I am inviting you to pay attention and care of how they transfer your internal energy, excitement and vibe to the atmosphere around you. This is pervasive and we can take it very far. For instance, what about weapons? The bullet you shoot are an instantiation of the technology of murder, which transfers aliveness from the person you are murdering to the aliveness you wanted to protect by doing so, which is why killing someone before they are about to mass shoot 100 people is an act of heroism but killing some because your cannot let go of your pride is criminal.
Okay dear posterity, the time I had allocated to write this letter is nearly finished and I can’t say in any way that I am happy with the letter I wrote. I feel that there is much more that I would like to write to you. I am, understandably, uncertain as to whether these are the most important things for me and whether they are what I want to communicate to posterity. Yet, these words stand here as my attempt for today. I showed up and tried, which is what is most important for me. They stand up as an instantiation of the technology of me sacrificing my being alive to itself.