Friday, September 25, 2009

Nature as operating system

Nature is an operating system. We are a piece of software dependent on (embedded in) that operating system. We are trying to understand this operating system that has spawned us using a middleman called language, a tool of symbols and meanings that has arisen organically in the crucible of our history to aid us in the ongoing struggle to become what we are becoming.

This is not spiritual, though it sounds that way. The spiritual angle – at least in the traditional sense – would be: we created the operating system in which we spend some time to learn about one aspect of All That Is. That may or may not be the correct interpretation of reality, but by my lights the more useful perspective is to see us as embedded in an operating system that spawned us, since this is the more motivating, the more efficacious, the more useful “paradigm.”

Since nothing is perfect, language is therefore an imperfect interface into the system. Homo sapiens sapiens is unique in its ability to ponder things in this way (using complex language), rather than the more typical impulse --> action --> reaction --> impulse cycle that other animals seem to exhibit. Using ourselves we are able to look back into our impulses and other elements of the operating system in which we are embedded, meta-represent back to ourselves what we observe via this meta-representation, and slowly learn how to get better at learning. It is an amazing thing.

I sincerely hope we don’t destroy ourselves. We are fascinating, and “fascinating” is only possible with humans around. For this alone, we’re worth saving.

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