Let’s talk about projection. Or more specifically, projecting trends into the future.
When I was talking about my health previously, I engaged in a practice of tracking certain habit trends both forward from a past where I started them and into the future whereby I could predict where they would lead.
This ability is a function of the frontal or conscious mind, as it deals with constructs of linear time. The subconscious mind cares nothing for time. To the subconscious mind only the present moment exists. Even when it draws experience from the past or future, that experience is considered to be in the present moment. It cannot distinguish between an image and the reality.
But anyway. It seems like this ability to project trends is growing in the human race, both as we develop greater skill in recognizing patterns and greater ability to abstract beyond the present moment and take in a bigger picture.
And here’s the funny thing: because we can use that ability to tap into wildly extrapolated future states, it provides the subconscious mind with an avenue for plausibly accessing experiences that we might otherwise not dare to do.
Technology not a sufficient cause for optimism? Extrapolate it forward twenty years and imagine yourself as a transhuman demigod exploring space. There’s a headrush for you, and because all you did was plug things that are really happening into your future conjuring algorithm, it must be true. your subconscious mind buys it.
Disenfranchised with the present? Track the rates of oil extraction, ecological destruction, and population growth into your curve generator and shudder in terror, or else gasp in ecstasy that the hated world that is, is on the way out.
Same function either way. You’re utilizing a hypnotic principle called time distortion. If you can trick a person into visualizing an outcome, then their subconscious mind treats it as it were already happening and they don’t resist it. All you did was provide the raw data and the timeframe. So if you carefully frame the data and the time frame you could make pretty much anyone accept pretty much anything.
With me so far? Now here’s the big whammy. If you’re really clever with this stuff you can generate what is known as a catastrophic transition. You project some process so far into it’s future that it launches off the graph that you used to measure it and into a completely unpredictable realm of behavior. The reason things like peak oil or the singularity pack such a punch is that they use mathematical trends to convince your brain that you’re going into a totally unpredictable transition state. You’ve been tricked into confounding your normal categories and definitions of things.
What’s interesting is, you’ve sucked yourself into the realm of chaotic behavior, and in that state of imprint vulnerability, someone else can come along and implant some new set of ideas. It’s the same principle as brainwashing. You render someone helpless, destroy their existing model of the world and in the totally dependent state of confusion, they will grab hold of whatever you give them.
In short, you take someone’s model, time distort it until it explodes and then help them reinterpret the aftermath. TA-DA!!! New reality. New self, even, perhaps.
Now keep in mind, this is not usually an deliberate act on the part of another person to brainwash you. But human beings are hypnosis machines and these distortions and trances are how we construct our world and communicate with each other. Words are just the delivery vehicle for sharing our personal trance states.
Now presuming you understand this, or even if you don’t, you can use this to your benefit. I’ve said elsewhere that your frontal mind places strong limitations on what are accessible or internally consistent experiences for you to have. No matter how much fun or pleasure or joy you want, your subconscious mind knows you almost always prefer to preserve your sense of self and inner continuity, so anything too strong to incorporate into your reality stays in the category of ‘other’ or at least displaced so far into some vague future that there’s no danger in the present moment to your safe state of misery and confusion. If you’re reasonably together or progressively goal oriented you’ll have designed and implemented a kind of incremental curve whereby you can, over time, access more happiness, more love or more creative flow and relaxation or whatever. What I’m going to show is how to reshape the curve, perhaps even jump it altogether into the realm of catastrophic transition. I trust by now you’ve got the tools to do something usefull with it.
We already did something like this before, but this version is even easier and more shocking to your current equilibrium state. The two of them actually work together quite well, I find.
What you do is, and this is easy, is to presume that nothing in yourself is ever going to change. Your conscious mind should have no trouble accepting this, because most of us either crave stasis or fear it so much that we can’t stop thinking about it.
Imagine that for the rest of your life you’re going to keep doing exactly what you’re doing right now, and do it in all the same ways with all the same beliefs. Imagine it in five or ten year increments. Same job, same partner, same limitations, same hobbies and habit patterns. Some of them will be good, some will be not so good. Where will you be? Your mind shouldn’t have any difficulty accepting this scenario, because it doesn’t require you to do anything different. You don’t need to be mindful, or conscious of your activities. You just need to stay on autopilot.
How long will you live? How is your health? What sort of experiences have you had? Children, real estate, extended family? What sort of markers for personal growth occur simply by adding more time into the equation?
Now I’m going to presume that you haven’t hanged yourself in the shower just now, probably because of the few things in your life that involve growth, creativity and learning. If I addressed this to a crowd of ‘average’ people they would probably shrivel in despair. But if you’ve been around for some time, you almost certainly have some kind of regimen of meditation, banishing, metaprogramming work, or artistic expession in place. So play it out. No more grand upheavals or ecstatic changes. Just play out what you’re doing as routine right now, right this moment in your life, and give yourself the time to see where you end up. Plug 40 or 50 years into that, in five year increments, and what comes out the other end? Do you even get 40 or 50 years, or does your diet, lack of exercise and generally shit state of mind do you in long before that? Or conversely, does your ongoing regiment of health enhancing activities and positive state creation see you through into your second century of life?
Think about education. Are you content with everything you’ve learned? If so, you can look forward to seeing your cherished assumptions systematically torn apart by time and change until you end up confused, rigid and disillusioned. OR, you do some simple math: you could get the EQUIVALENT of a PhD in pretty much anything in an average of about five or six years. Even a modest 50 or 60 years of adult life is the equivalent of ten PhD’s if you continue learning, even informally. How much learning have you picked up so far, and how much do think you will pick up just out of habit in the years to come?
Now change the exercise a little bit, because no human being is truly static. You are not a simple equation. As time goes on you do not simply continue at the same rate. Whatever you invest in right now is what you are getting better and better at. If you invest in negativity, rigidity, fear and toxicity, you can look forward to an exponential swirl down into the recycling bin. Life is cheap and the biosphere is never short of human beings. If you’re not part of the solution you’re part of the problem.
BUT: If you invest in learning, growth, positivity, embracing healthy change and discipline, you will not only learn and grow more, but you will be learning and growing faster and faster as time goes by. The PhD equivalent you picked in 6 years will come in 4 years soon enough, then 3 years, then who knows? The joyous and creative states that come fleetingly now, will come sparingly soon enough, and reliably still later, and eventually the most outlandishly ecstatic states become your new baseline, until your current measurement system for understanding your life no longer is relevant. You’ve jumped the curve.
And these things are mixed. You have negative habits dragging you down and positive ones accelerating you towards your personal apotheosis. So as you shitcan the dead weight and install more useful behaviors, your accelerating curve becomes more and more like a vertical line shooting towards the great who-knows-what.
You see how this works? First you have habits that involve no change, then habits that involve predictable positive change, then habits that predictably accelerate positive change, then habits that predictably accelerate the acceleration of positive changes, until the whole concept of time and change and scales of positive experience cease to bound your consciousness. Your personal singularity. Because, all due respect to Ray Kurzweil but we don’t need some fucking computer to jump the curve for us. We’ve got the equipment right now.