Organisms are Algorithms

After reading “Sapiens” and “Homo Deus” by Harrari, the concept of algorithms has had my mind in a chokehold. His argument, based on the biological sciences, is that organisms are algorithms. Essentially, all living things are complex mathematical equations. All organisms adhere to this law, and therefore, are strictly influenced by their genes/DNA and their environment. In the case of homo sapiens, that not only means that we have no soul, but that our concepts of free-will or choice are entirely illusory.

We are the product of a predetermined cocktail of biochemical reactions that fuel not only our physical makeup but literally every decision that we make. I will not go into too much detail, because I am by no means an expert on the subject. But, nonetheless, the concept has been intriguing beyond measure. On top of that, he argues that religion, politics, culture…are all intersubjective myths that humans have imagined and created. They don’t exist because they are objective realities, they exist because humans believe in them.

At the fundamental core of our species, it is not our big brains or our tool-making ability which has allowed us to conquer the planet (although they certainly help) but our ability to fluidly cooperate with one another on a mass scale. We create myths such as capitalism, individual rights, the United Nations, and they continue to exist because a majority of people believe in them. Despite being social constructs, people buy into them to the degree that they hold tremendous sway over our modern culture. They are not biological necessities, but they nevertheless exist because we have deemed them to be good for our species.

I am probably a little all over the place, and this is by no means a book review so I will stick with the topics that have piqued my interest. He breaks down our past and present into manageable subjects and covers them with a succinctness that I am incapable of doing so at the moment. So I will leave it to a few vague overarching concepts which he presents.

Money is more powerful than religion because I do not have to believe in it… I have to believe that other people believe in it. It works because everyone believes that everyone else believes in it.

Modern society scoffs at empires and empirical conquest and rule, yet most of our modern culture is the direct result of a handful of empires that have absorbed and assimilated thousands of other cultures.

Liberalism is based on inalienable rights of the individual, which all humans possess because we are all unique and equal members of the same global species. We are all homo sapiens.

Socialism is based on the greater good of the species as a whole. While many liberals are severely concerned with individual rights, I feel as if they are largely socialist considering their outspoken beliefs about inequality, the wage gap etc.

Animism, deism, theism, and all religious views are powerful generators of delusion. Religions are human concepts founded on the basis of a superhuman power. Dualism (typically the belief in good and evil) is found in most, if not all religious concepts.

Traveling the world is romanticized capitalism which we have been convinced to believe is good for us.

The aforementioned concepts are intersubjective myths that homo sapiens have created. None of them are objective realities. All of our cultures, material goods, religious beliefs, economic structures, and political views are the products of our collective imagination. There is no legitimacy to them other than the legitimacy that a majority of people have given them.

I have covered only a handful of subjects from these two excellent books, and by covered…I mean hinted at them conceptually. I highly recommend reading both “Sapiens” and “Homo Deus” for a concise, entertaining, and unbiased view of our past, present, and even our future. They should be required reading to receive a high school diploma, and I believe our country, and indeed maybe even the world, would be a far better place. I have been waiting for books like these for more than a decade, and I will never look at the world or homo sapiens the same way ever again.

Gratitude for Morning and Night

I say this to myself every morning when I wake up, and every evening when I go to sleep. I express gratitude to The Universe, God, The Creator, etc. (All names for the same thing.)

Thank you for my wife and son.
Thank you for my friends and family.
Thank you for all of the experiences and opportunities that I’ve had.
Thank you for this sensational life.
Give me the courage to chase my dreams.
Give me the strength to persist when times are hard.
Give me the determination to reach them no matter what.
Help me to become the best possible version of myself.

 

P.S. I understand that things aren’t “given” and the law of cause and effect is always in play. By give I mean help, but that’s just how I say it to myself. Don’t want to sound like I’m asking for too much help ;).

Return of The Vibes

Following a three month hiatus, I am returning to writing. A move across the country, job-hunting, and the birth of my first-born son has kept me more than busy. So much has happened, and there’s so much on my mind that I am unsure of where to begin. I guess I’ll start with the most life-changing event…my son, Olyn Richard Cook.

Olyn was born on 4/18/18 at 5:55 A.M., weighing in at 9lbs 15oz and measuring 21 inches in length. He was in the 98th percentile for weight, length, head, and chest. A big, healthy, baby boy. My wife and I couldn’t be more proud, and it has been so much fun to see him grow and develop. He will be one month old tomorrow. I have been time-traveling ever since he was born.

He has ice-blue eyes, light blond hair, and fair skin. I think he has his mother’s eyes, ears, and hair. I’m pretty sure he has my facial structure, body type, nose, and lips. His mobility, attentiveness, and awareness are fairly incredible. He can already roll over from his stomach to his back, is beginning to army crawl, and can stand with some balance assistance. It will be interesting to see how he progresses over the next few months, and indeed throughout the rest of his life. I am so excited to watch him grow up.

We are currently living in my hometown, and renting a place from my father. The property is on a quiet, waterfront peninsula that is teeming with wildlife. We were in need of some peace and quiet, and we’ve certainly found it. The views are breathtaking, and there is never a shortage of natural beauty.

Ospreys have taken up their summer residency, and are patrolling the waters nearby. Carp have come into the tidal area and have been noisily spawning, oblivious to my lures and bait. Herons, ducks, loons, and bald eagles are seen on a daily basis, adding variety to the shorelines fluttering with their land-based brethren. Morning coffee, reading, and stretching on the dock at sunrise make it nearly impossible to wake up on the wrong side of the bed.

I have been substitute teaching at my old high school and just completed a season as an assistant coach with their lacrosse team. Despite suffering the most losses in school history, the season was a lot of fun and the team is composed of a great group of young men. I think I’ll be returning for another season, although I am debating requesting to be the JV coach in order to help revamp the program. We shall see.

I have interviewed for the position of “Director of Health and Wellness/PE Coordinator” which will be housed in a brand new, 15 million dollar athletic facility. Keeping my fingers crossed, but I would also be satisfied teaching English or history. I think some positions will open up at the end of the school year and I’ll see what happens. Just playing the waiting game for right now.

My wife is recovering very well and has been so helpful raising our son. It’s been great to see family and friends…I sometimes forget that I was gone for two years, and did not return a single time during one of them. Writing topics are beginning to boil over as I’m writing this, but I’ll save those for tonight or tomorrow. Things are going well. It’s good to be back.