Do any of you daydream when you lie in bed in the morning, just before you get up to start the day? I do, more than I’d like to admit.
Some say that thought is what causes the vast majority of misery we humans experience. It disconnects us from “now”, and we instead find ourselves thinking about our past, we’re troubled by our future, we entertain grudges, and we sit there lost in a thought sea of anger, depression, and frustration.
I struggle with that a lot. I think about our mortality, how our loved ones will die, the problems in the world, and all those sorts of things. It doesn’t help that media outlets bring us ultra-condensed negativity, 24-7, filling our minds with rapes, murders, and war. They find the worst of the worst, and bring it to us right on our doorsteps. And we feel guilty if we ignore it because after all, we live in a democracy where we have to be informed citizens.
However, thought isn’t always like that. If properly channeled, it allows you to explore depths far beyond common experience. It’s an unlimited playground which grows as you learn more about the world. The more knowledge you have, the more objects and settings you have to mess around with in your private world. I think at its deepest levels, thought is a crude reality navigation mechanism. You can imagine, traverse, and explore different possibilities.
I’ve spent many mornings lying in bed, waiting for the sun to come up, thinking about what I’d do if I were given great power. I’m not talking about human-power. I’m referring more to a God-like power to totally transform reality. What would I do with power like that?
In the beginning, I would sit around wondering how I could ever acquire power like that. As I studied the mind and a lot of science, I began to see one possibility, though it’s a fantasy. It might not be in the distant future, but that’s another matter. I imagined being relocated to a secret government lab where we’re building quantum computers. Some of the staff there tell me that we’re working on a special type of computer which is capable of thought. Since it’s made of different materials than the brain, it’s capable of thinking millions of times faster than a flesh and blood brain. The eventual goal is to construct brain-computer interfaces and hook selected people into this super-mind to give them super-human intelligence.
I’m selected to be the first person use this technology, so I undergo surgery and I’m directly interfaced into this super computer which is stored deep underground, in this secret lab. I wake up, and while I still have human-like emotions and desires, things are incredibly easy to understand. I digitally connect to all the scientific research networks and read every scientific paper and text that’s out there, all within a minute or so.
I soon realize that the other scientists are wary of me, fearing what I may do with this power, so I know I’m going to have to escape. For a short time I play around, acting as if none of it worked, but eventually I engineer a brilliant escape and shoot myself off into space so they cannot get to me. I fly off to Mars, and within a short time become a techno-super-being. A nerd becomes a god.
Can you imagine that? Aliens are exploring the cosmos looking for new life-forms and they find me, an ape-creature wired into a giant quantum-super computer, drifting out in space.
Being the ambitious sort that I am, I soon construct vast numbers of probes and space-craft to send out into the cosmos, exploring the universe. I learn all of the universe’s secrets, all about other life-forms, and catalog and chart all the vast numbers of worlds. To store all this knowledge, I transform entire planets into computers which would store all the information I have learned. Schematics and knowledge of everything you could possibly imagine. Even things that have never existed, but could, if the need ever arose.
I construct tiny nano-robots which can take matter and transform it into any new form you ask. If I desire something to happen, I’d think the thought, those thoughts are broadcasted to the giant computers the size of entire planets, and they compute what needs to happen in order to make that thought or desire into a reality. Then vast colonies of nano-robots would go into action and “do” whatever needs to happen.
My physical body and brain are locked away in this protected vault, deep within the core of a distant planet. Nobody will ever find me. I’m digitally wired into this vast network of technology and can explore whatever I want without fear of death. I imagine at that point I’d have learned the nature of consciousness and wouldn’t need my physical body or brain any longer. My essence would somehow exist in the information processing of all this technology I’ve constructed. But how that would work exactly, I don’t know. Anyways, it’s all just a thought experiment.
So now that I’m practically immortal and have transcendent powers, what would I do with them? I’ve pondered this problem for years, and when I really sit and think about it all, I always come to the same answer — I’d use it to make my friends and family members happy.
I’ll give you one example of the types of things I’d do. A friend of mine used to always tell me how boring she thought the world is. To her, life is mostly suffering and misery, and then you die. We get stuck in jobs we hate, love doesn’t last, and everything that matters to us will be taken away eventually. She’s always struggled to find happiness.
For her, I’d secretly come back to Earth one night while she’s asleep, and when she awoke, she’d have this strange feeling that she’s actually in a dream. Of course, she wouldn’t be, but she would just have this inner feeling that something has changed. It’d start off simple, but little things would start going her way and she’d quietly think, “This is nice.” Life would be pretty normal, but just slowly getting better.
I’d construct friends for her, built from the dirt, sort of puppets of mine, which would grow to be her lover and a network of friends who will eventually bombard her with love and tie her into an amazing story of some sort. Each night when she’d go to bed, she’d feel like she was falling deeper into this weird dream. She’d come to think she was immersed in a lucid dream.
An incredibly handsome, kind, romantic man would come into her life and she’d be so happy. Good fortune would come her way and she’d have the resources and wealth to do the things she wanted to do. No more boring jobs. She’d enjoy that for a while, but then it’d get deeper and deeper.
As she came to trust that things would always work out for her, no matter what happened, I’d up the intensity of the experiences. For example, she’d be on a cruise and they’d hit an ice-berg like in the Titanic. They’d be sinking and then her husband would go to great lengths to save her, and this romantic story would play out. She would suffer, a little, but never in any extreme way. Things would scare and excite her, and it’d never be boring, but somehow it all would always work out in the end. Nothing too tragic would ever happen.
There would be no limits to how deep all of this went. She’d go to sleep again and again and again, and each time she’d feel like she was deeper in this lucid fantasy, and that would give me “permission” to shower her with ever more exotic fantasies and adventures.
As time went on, she’d totally forget about her past life on Earth, and she’d be living as a beautiful princess in a splendid castle, surrounded by people who love and adore her. Gold streets, diamonds, and everything would glimmer and shine. Flowers would be everywhere. Cute animals. Everything is warm and fun. And of course, there’d be adventures of every sort.
If she ever seemed to be growing tired of one fantasy, or longing for something else, when she’d go to sleep, it would all be transformed to something else as she awoke. To her it’d feel like she was in dreams within dreams within dreams, and she’d have no idea what was or wasn’t real. All she would know is she loved it and never wanted to wake up. And if she started to miss her old friends in one of the previous fantasies, she’d go to sleep and wake up in that world again.
Considering things might get scary at times, I’d give her some recurring “symbol” that would let her know she’s dreaming and it’s always going to be ok. Some sort of logo. Like when the ship hit the ice-berg, she’d look at her pillow in her cabin and it’d have that logo embroidered into it. It’d always appear when things got intense. Like when she saw the water pouring in and the ship sinking, a crew member would appear wearing a hat and it’d have the logo on it. They’d be guides who would always help her out of tricky situations. I would want the logo to be really cool looking. Maybe something like this.
I’d do all sorts of things like that for friends and loved ones.
I also wondered if I’d ever abuse that power. I couldn’t imagine myself wanting to hurt anyone. There are some who I wouldn’t mind teaching a lesson, but I worried that would lead me down a slippery slope. Like a rich politician for example. If he votes to cut all funding for the homeless, I might have a special “dream” prepared for him as well. When he went to sleep that night he’d wake up as a homeless man. He stumbles around town, nobody helping or hiring him. He’s cold and starving and the other homeless people sleeping in cardboard boxes tell him, “There used to be a government soup kitchen, but Governor Smith shut it down.” Then he’d fall into the snow, tired, wanting to die, and then he’d wake up in his bed. If he didn’t get the message, he’d keep having dreams like that until he did.
Then again, you may all ask me, “If you had that sort of power, why don’t you just fix all the problems in the world?” When I sat and thought about that, I concluded that I wouldn’t want to fix everything. We still face some problems, such as incurable diseases like cancer, but we’ve mostly tamed mother nature. Our main problems are getting along with one another. We can’t control ourselves.
Nobody should be hungry, homeless, or without access to their needs in our modern world. We just can’t figure out a good way to organize ourselves effectively. That, and we have problems with greed, stupidity, and selfishness. Those are the real problems. Should a powerful being come down and spoil us all, making us all into brats?
Have any of you met a spoiled rich kid before? I have. I can’t stand them. When everything is handed to you, it has nasty psychological effects. Then again too much suffering can be just as bad.
I once saw a sci-fi movie, I can’t remember the name now, but in it a civilization developed advanced technology and robots which did everything and the humans became worthless creatures who had no depth at all. They just ate, had sex, and did next to nothing with themselves. No pursuit of knowledge. No art or culture. No growth. They were worthless beings.
If I artificially propped up the humans, they would never stand on their own. I don’t think that’s right. I’d feel like I was robbing them of their potential. I don’t know if I hold happiness as the highest virtue, though I’m still undecided.
I could immerse everyone in fantasies like I did with that girl, but that troubles me. Why? I don’t have a great answer to that. In life, sometimes we just love people. We love our family and friends, and we don’t make logical decisions when it comes to them. Giving her those fantasies may not even be what’s best for her. I don’t know. Any decision I make toward her would be highly emotional, and her happiness is very important to me. It just is. It isn’t right that I favor her over others, but I love my friends and family more than people I don’t know. I’ll admit that. That’s one reason I probably shouldn’t have powers like this.
If I had that kind of power, and someone criticized me for abusing it with that girl, I worry what I might do in my petty rage. Who are you, little human, to question my Platonic romance? I’d probably immerse him in the same dreams as her, and he’d fall madly in love with her, over and over, but I’d always frustrate his attempts to get with her. “Oh? You could make her happier than I can? I doubt it, but I’ll let you try.” He’d always end up as a butler or something, shining shoes, in the friend zone. Poor guy, that’d be a fate worse than death, but I wonder how cruel I could be if people messed with those I care about.
He visits his psychoanalyst and tells him, “I have dreams within dreams within dreams of this same goddess, each within a different story, and each time I fall madly in love with her, only to end in the friend zone, bested by some amazing, charming, beautiful man who comes out of nowhere. Doctor, what does it all mean?”
Then he’s teleported to this giant glowing hall, where I sit on a flying throne blazing in black flames, behind me a giant computer with that horse logo on it, and I tell him in a roaring, booming voice, “Your only mistake was making me your adversary. The girl’s mine. I win. She’s chosen me every single time. No hard feelings.” Then he wakes up in his bed on Earth, a bit nervous and frustrated, but ultimately unharmed.
Why do I sit and think about these silly things? The other day I mentioned art and purpose. I talked about finding the ultimate basis to why you do what you do. When I deeply analyze myself, I don’t want power, I want happiness for myself, my friends and loved ones. Like anyone else, I wonder how to make that happen.