Monday, September 13, 2010

The Belief Determines the Life

The Belief Determines the Life. Literally.

If you believe in a world of scarcity, of competition, you will favour competitiveness and disfavour compassion. Your own life will lack good, loving relationships as a result. If the world was left up to you, it would become a battlezone.

If you believe in a world full of crime and punishment, you will favour judgmental views and harsh treatment of people. In your own life you will forever be fearful that you, too, may be judged. If the world was left up to you, it would become a hell.

If you believe in a world of potential happiness, of potential friendship and love, you will favour ideas that bring happiness and love. In your own life thus you will be inviting happiness, friendship and love, and you will live a happy life. If the world was left up to you, it could change for the better.

In everyday life I am somewhat pessimist. Therefore, I worry a lot about what is going to happen every day. I also tend to take actions to prevent terrible things happening that are somewhat unnecessary, wasting energy that can otherwise be used to better my life.

However, my worldview is, luckily, not a bit like this. I believe that the world is full of potential happiness and friendship - it just needs to change slightly. And the first step is to build your own life and community around you with the values that will bring on this change.

The fundamentalists who believe that the world is about dogma and punishment have a worldview that is very pessimistic, and this stems directly from their understanding of the world. Without getting rid of these ideas, they will worry a lot about what is going to happen and if disaster is about to strike, and waste energy on this rather than to better the world.

My worldview is different. I do not believe that the world is about dogma and punishment. Part of this comes from my spiritual beliefs - I do not see that people are damned to eternal hell if they have the slightest wrong belief about things (though I cannot say the same for those who repeatedly harm people). Rather, I believe that, as long as we vow to better ourselves, continue to have faith in the truth and in the teachers of the truth who have shown compassion to us, and refrain from behaviour that harms others, even though it may take many rebirths, we will reach the highest level of heaven eventually. I therefore believe in the creation of a world where happiness, friendship and love rule, to create the conditions for more people to live a life in the principles illustrated above, and the creation of conditions where people either cannot or never wish to hurt others. And I am optimistic that we will succeed in just that, if we try hard.

Some people love to boast their love of a lifestyle full of material comforts. This is very popular in pop culture and the mass media. Some people's ideal lifestyle is to experience more of what they think of as sensual pleasure - often including sex in the modern world, and think that the whole world would be more liberated if they experienced more sensual pleasure.

I really cannot say I don't need any material comforts of sensual pleasures (even though I am not into sex) - I am not there yet. However, my belief of the ideal lifestyle has nothing to do with that at all. This is because I have been taught that craving for sensual pleasures ultimately creates suffering too - and I do believe this is true.

(Crossposted from TaraElla's Ideas Lab, January 2010)

The Two Things Most Important In Life

I believe that the two most important things in life are to have a supportive family (or similar system), and to be able to do what you are meant to do on Earth (most likely what you both enjoy and are good at doing).

If you can have these two things, you will be living in paradise on Earth.

The Beautiful Life

The Beautiful Life is possible when you open up your imagination. Don't be tied down by the 'constrains' of reality - you should be able to do the things you love, at least in your own little world. And this is what matters in the end.

Most people used to be able to do this as a child. The challenge is to maintain this ability as an adult.

Virtual Travel - The Basics

We have been investigating the possibility of virtual travel to anywhere around the world since 2002. This will benefit a lot of people, as virtual travel comes at a small fraction of the cost and hassles of physical international travel, and allows more people to have the experience of different cultures and structures around the world without needing to afford extensive international travel.

To make this successful we need to combine physical, visual and mental cues simultaneously to complete the experience. For many people (especially those in multicultural places) the physical cues required for virtual international travel are already there (e.g. you can hear people speaking Chinese and eat Chinese food in Chinatown, but you cannot see the Great Wall of China or learn about the different regions of the country just by going there). This means that they just need to bring in the visual and mental cues to complete the picture. This is where mobile computing comes in.

(Crossposted from Virtual Travel Machine by TaraElla)

Digital Life to Make Being Rich Affordable

Once upon a time, if you were rich you could visit the world. You would be able to have a workshop of your own to pursue your artistic ideals. You would live by the sea, and enjoy the view. If you were not rich, however, you would have none of this. Isn't it unfair?

Luckily we have computers. Some may dismiss it as another consumer product, but I see things differently. There is a whole big virtual world out there, and the computer is the place to start exploring. In the virtual world all the above things are possible, often without much cost.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Three Views of the Computer

There are three versions of the ideal computer: as a user-friendly consumer electronics device, as a semi-human personal assistant, and as a portal to a big virtual world.

The first approach is the one that I believe the major software companies are taking. Both MS and Apple are trying to make their software as user-friendly as a mobile phone. But clearly, they seem to be working on the idea that a computer is a tool to be used, the easier the better, and that's all to it. This makes the computer easy to use for novices, but then it becomes as boring as any consumer electronic device when no more useful features can be added. That is, I think, the major reason behind the current apathy to upgrade OSes. (Windows Vista is actually a very good OS, it's just that people didn't want to adopt anything new. I bet the same will happen with Windows 7).

The second approach is to make the computer emulate a human being. Microsoft, in the 1990s, had many attempts at this, most famously in the MS Bob project which produced characters such as Clippy (btw I actually find Clippy quite cute and do miss seeing him since Office 2003). Even as late as 1997 they still wanted computer desktops with characters like Clippy and ability to recognise plain English commands. Apparently they seemed to have given up, however. (Plain English commands are a good idea, but hard to do, I guess).

The final approach is the one that I take. There is a whole big virtual world out there, and the computer is the place to start exploring. Therefore, rather than just making it easy to use (which we should still do), we should make it easy to use to explore the virtual world and build your stuff inside it.

(Crossposted from TaraElla Ideas Lab)