Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Zeitgeist: Life is a Code. Hack as You See Fit.

Hello Lovelies,

So we've been thinking about something for a while. We've been thinking that this thing we call "Life" is really just code.

An equation.
More importantly, a hackable equation.

Your life is a video game. There are in-game items that can harm your playability, and items that will boost your playability.

For instance: If I eat donuts every meal of every day for a year, I will undoubtedly gain weight, my health will suffer, and potentially my social life as well. If I eat balanced and healthy meals my weight should remain stable and my health will improve. So: Donuts in quantity are a negative, while healthy food in quantity is a positive.

Non-exercise = flabby. Exercise = toned.

Jerk = less opportunities. Non-jerk = more opportunities.

Being able to see the "life-equation" for what it is gives you an operator's manual for existence. This operator's manual can greatly improve your chances of accomplishing the things you'd like to see done before your game is up.

People are calling this "Lifehacking," and what it means is being able to drop in new bits of code (behavior) when the old bits have gotten faulty or buggy.

Say for example that I'm an ageist. I don't like old people. I don't like them at all.
I cannot remember exactly where or when I started feeling like this, but it's how I feel now and it dictates the way I "operate" when I'm around older humans.

This biased and discriminatory behavior means that any help or advice someone older than me could have potentially passed on will fall on deaf ears. This benefits no one, especially me.

Now, say I became more fully aware of my tendency to dismiss what older people were saying, and say I was able to consciously counter-act those thoughts and feelings when I found myself in the discrimination-pattern again. All of a sudden, these incredible, helpful, vital bits of information have found purchase in my psyche, and allowed me greater access to the world around me and the things that interest me.

By acknowledging my ageist ways, and replacing them with new patterns, I have allowed older gamers to help me level up.

Taking this as a given, I have begun to look at all negative human behavior as simply being faulty code.

Racism, violence, hatred, disrespect, carelessness: all of these are just buggy software, running in machines that can be repaired.

That what really interests us: Better living through conscious code repair - Lifehacking.

Tosh! You say.

Well, think of it like this: You take a young, angry, uneducated, racist male. We'll call him "X."

X has spent his entire life in one town, with one group of people, who have all related similar buggy code to him. He has only the barest inkling of what the rest of the world is like. He's never traveled, never seen the great works of man, never met anyone who wasn't just like him.

One day, X gets a knock on his door. And it's SuperForest!
SuperForest says: "Hey, if you're not doing anything, we'd like to take you around, show you some things."
X says: "Uhh... m'kay."

So now X goes on a journey. SuperForest takes X to New York city, America's longest and most successful experiment in sustainable living systems. X gets to see how all different strata of humanity co-exist peacefully, sharing information, inspiring, challenging one another to try harder, do better.

We take X to Italy, and show him the Pieta, the Sistine Chapel, the Duomo. X learns what focused effort can achieve.

We take X to the base of Mount Kenya and we sit alongside X as he shares a Masai family's dinner. X gets to see how simply most humans are forced to live, how thin the line is between surviving and flourishing. How our differences are not racial, but merely cultural.

We bring X to Paris, introduce him to the works of great writers and artists and thinkers. Dumas, Balzac, Picasso, Calder, Dali, Bracques, Stein, Steiglitz, Rodin. X becomes familiar with greatness and accomplishment, and the power of ideas to unite and foment change.

And now the journey has ended and we return X to his hometown.

He would now be a stranger to those that knew him before. His entire Operating System has been replaced by this journey! He's the same machine, but the code he's now running is very different. One could argue that X's OS is now much more conducive to great achievement and accomplishment.

This journey we speak of is just another term for information access.

You don't have to travel the world. Being able to travel is a great blessing, but what is really vital is being open to, and savvy about information access.

The internet has provided this access.

Being able to take a step back from yourself and examine the code that you are subconsciously running (i.e. making the unconscious conscious,) allows you to patch any faulty code, and repair the viruses that cripple most of our OS's. And the internet provides the catalogue of all potential behaviors.

Having good manners is the end result, for these manners are simply code. "Please" and "Thank You" will get you in many many doors. Doors that would stay closed to racism, to hatred, and intolerance open wide for curiosity, thankfulness, appreciation, a willingness to learn and be taught.

Hopefully X's journey has given him a much richer insight into the potential of one's life, and hopefully X will now work to share this information with those around him.

Because X in this case was me.

I, Jackson, have in the past operated under some very buggy code. In my past I've been angry, racist, ageist, homophobic, ungrateful, closed off to the potential around me. Luckily, I have parents who were able to sense my weaknesses and who worked very hard to allow me the opportunity to acknowledge them and grow beyond them.

My parents could only point the way, but I had to establish my own awareness of my faulty code before I could begin to reassess and repair.

This mind-set, coupled with the information access the internet provides and a willingness to change means that I feel that I am now living a much more successful and fruitful life.

(Please do not read into this that I think I'm all that great. I use myself as an example only because it's a pretty persuasive argument for the ability of the machine to repair itself.)

How successful do you want to be as a person? What is holding you back from that success?

Your code.

Hack your life! Hack it for the better. Level up! Get to the very highest levels! See what can be achieved once you get there.

It is your equation you are living, hack it to make it work.

Love to All,


p.s. If anyone has any questions regarding what I've just written, please send them to: superforestnyc@gmail.com. I will happily answer all queries.

p.p.s It seems I'm not alone in this thinking. Check out this inspiring boingboing post by Douglas Rushkoff.


Jaell said...

<3 much <3

april said...

Let the hacking begin.

Jessmindalala said...

^ This is the reason I love this blog. I always come out of reading it feeling like I can make some sort of change for the better (:

jackson said...


Oh you most certainly can. And if we can be of any assistance, don't hesitate to ask.


spoon said...

Brilliant, as usual Jackson. I will begin assessing my fault codes immediately :D

bushvark said...

Morning Jackson! This is great stuff! Ken Keyes Jr also wrote alot about this too...well worth hunting down his books and tapes. We are not our programming!
Cheers, Alan