Is it easier to deceive yourself alone, or in a group? When I look around at the white supremacists, the NRA, the MAGA's, the Qanon's, the Roman Catholic Church, the Evangelical Christian churches, the Protestant Christian churches... the list is really, really, long... I think there is no safety in numbers, and the more people you have, the less likely it is that everyone is doing a clarity/fact/check on every statement that is being made, and that is, at least, a possibility for individuals in the solitude of their own recliner. Deception, delusion, illusion, being fooled are all tricks humans pull on themselves and one another. Avoiding them, or just recognizing them, is a life-long task. And, it is one that we have to recognize as being ours to undertake, and to know we are responsible for, and begin the work on constructing what is generally thought of as a "Bullshit Detector." What goes into an industrial strength BSD? There are books, newsletters, YouTube videos and soon-to-be-surely hotlines and smart phone apps. We would be wise to start our own collection of methods to keep ourselves savvy and up on the latest aids to knowing what's what that are available to those who want to know. It is hard enough staying on the path when the mud has settled and the water is clear. When the propaganda merchants are filling the air with waves of nonsense and idiocy, we have to filter everything we hear and see through micro-strainers to have a chance at a trustworthy interpretation of what is going on. Do everything you can to see what you look at, and understand what is being said. Everything depends on knowing what is happening and what needs to happen in response. Everything.
It is difficult to know where Zen begins and Taoism stops, but. The concept of "turning the light around" is right there. Turning the light around means "Stop looking out there for what is in here!" The Buddha is not out there! The Way is not out there! The Christ is not out there! God in whatever religion is not out there! The Enemy is not out there! It is all in here! When Jesus said, "Love your enemy," and when Paul said, "Wretched man that I am-- who will deliver me from this body of death?" They were both talking about the enemy within, the one who sabotages our best intents and purposes. We do not will ourselves to perfection and holiness, deserving of the rewards of heaven and life-everlasting. We do not beat ourselves into submission, or punish ourselves into sinless living. "Love your enemy" is loving ourselves, and all that is within us that opposes our idea of who we ought to be. Turning the light around means receiving ourselves well, with compassion and grace, the good and the bad, like the Prodigal's father welcoming him home. It is not by striving to be pure and sinless that we become whole and complete, but through compassionate, non-judgmental awareness and acceptance of all that we are and are capable of being-- and by extending this welcoming, gracious, generous and kind receptivity to all others, we participate in the making of a miracle that transforms all of our relationships, by turning the light around.
Genghis Khan said: "A man's greatest pleasure is crushing his enemies. The greatest happiness is to vanquish your enemies, to chase them before you, to rob them of their wealth, to take their horses, to see those dear to them bathed in tears, to clasp to your bosom their wives and daughters.” Take his enemies, their wealth and horses, their wives and daughters away from him. Put him on an island with water to eat and fruit and vegetables to eat, and watch what happens to him. What does he do with his time? Forever? What would keep him going? What is your greatest pleasure? Your greatest happiness? What would you do without it? Without the hope of it? Without the possibility of it? What would keep you going? Blaise Pascal said, “All of humanity's problems stem from (our) inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” What keeps us going, sitting quietly in a room alone? What makes it worth our time and effort?
What does thinking about sex keep us from thinking about if we weren't thinking about sex? What will Artificial Intelligence think about when it progresses to the point of being self-replicating, self-reproducing? It seems (to me) that thinking about sex is our genes' way of producing more genes. What is the equivalent of "producing more genes" from an AI perspective? It could be that the problem for the Mystery at the heart of Life and Being is keeping the experiment going. So, every living thing thinks about sex in its own way. And Life and Being follows a routine course over time, except for the occasional blips of novelty that make it interesting. Being interested is another problem for the Mystery. What keeps it going? What is the mystery for the Mystery? What does it think about? You can't get away from the fact that the theological creation we call God cannot get us off its mind. God is consumed with, obsessed by its compulsion for us to do right by it. We drive God to distraction. It cannot think of anything else. "What are they doing now?" "What are they doing now?" "What are they doing now?" And writing it all down in the Book of Life. What a life that would be. What keeps AI going? What would keep us going if it weren't for thinking about sex? (And having sex isn't as important to us, as interesting to us, as thinking about having sex, which makes pornography such a hit). What is there, other than sex, to think about? To be interested in? Can we think about it, be interested in it, without thinking there is something wrong with us for not thinking about sex all the time? The culture would have us think about sex all the time. Sex sells. Sex is good for the economy. Sex and money are the foundations of every culture there ever has been-- and where does that line lie? The one between sex and money? Sex is money. Money is sex. What is money good for if not sex? What is sex good for if not more sex? What are we good for, if not thinking about sex? It is what we do best, isn't it? It is certainly what we do most, isn't it? What would we be doing if we weren't thinking about sex or having sex? What will AI be doing with its time?