The Conscious Ape

The Loop of Life and the God-Machine

Ouroboros effect

Few things drive a person more insane than the crushing effect of boredom. Daily routines seem like arcane rituals of repetition, where we sacrifice our sanity at the altar of some pagan god of torture. And yet, the moment we try to break one of the loops of our behaviour, we immediately fall into a new recursive habit. We, of course, don’t notice it at first, but after a few weeks or maybe months, the worn-out tracks of us going in circles come up because you can go only so many times in the same direction without noticing the marks left by your passage. How does one deal with the ouroboros effect of daily routine imposed by the necessities of life? Every day goes in the same looping circle based on things we can’t avoid. Sure, you could quit your job and go live in the wild, but there you would again be forced to do the same actions every day. You would exchange a PC and an office chair for a spear and a loincloth. The tools would change, but the goals would still be the same: feeding and survival. There is an assumption that life in a modern-day civilization provides us with leisure time to follow our passions and live meaningful lives filled with things that interest us. To not only survive but live, unlike what our life supposedly was in nature. How much of that is true is questionable. Sure, we didn’t have books, recorded music or tv shows, free porn and Amazon for shopping, but does doing things to pass the time equal living? Wage slavery imposed by the Techno-feudalist system precisely and measuredly cuts our time in fine slices of productivity, productivity for them. That gives us just enough time to sleep and have a hobby to preoccupy our minds outside of the framework of our job. If you work 40 hours a week and sleep recommended 8 hours a night, you are left with 72 hours of supposed free time. How many things do bite into that time? Your commute to a job, grocery shopping, cooking, and other menial labours that take place in the modern man’s life. So, what would you say? How much time are you left with to live that meaningful life, 40 – 45 out of 112 waking hours in a week? Does that scream passion and meaning or not? Of course, you could love your job and find some purpose in that, but all the current trends in employment show the opposite.

Fracturing glacier

A working day is something like a fracturing glacier in the Arctic. It moves at the same speed. It goes excruciatingly slowly but surely. Opposite of this is the rest of the day outside the confines of your job, where time flies at the speed of the blink of an eye. You leave your job at 4:00 pm, and by the time you turn around, it is already 10:30 pm, and you need to go to sleep as the responsible person you are. And you know that if you don’t go to sleep now, you will find yourself in bed at 2:30 in the night, with a beam of blue light inscribing information straight into your corneas: “latest disaster in the Middle East, another human rights violation in China, the latest trend among young people who are somewhere between the peak of their lives and suicide” – and so on. The time spent between these two breaking points, the end of the working day and the sweet embrace of sleep, is a battlefield where human longings, aspirations, and plans go to die. The plans you carefully weave during the workday end up stranded at the first collision with the couch, then fatigue and stress end their work with resignation – the napalm of the human spirit. All those decisions you made during the last minutes of the night before drifting off in the land of unconsciousness merely dissipate into the aether. It’s kind of easier to turn on the TV or open the laptop and put a stupid sitcom where the audience laughs for you, or maybe play music in the background if your eyes are too tired to put up with popular characters in situations you’ve already seen a million times. All this pushes you towards the point of breaking. It’s just a matter of time. How much time does it take? Much, too much, and when you finally break and detach yourself from the great mass that held you, what then, do you become free, or are you already so burned out that there is no more time or will to do anything that you wanted.

Social Disconnect

One of the most apparent signs of this burnout is the social disconnect that holds dominion in technologically advanced countries. It’s easy not to listen, to unplug yourself and get lost in your thoughts as if it’s not your life, but from some specimen of another race that you observe as you would, a monkey in a ZOO- a primate driven by daily exhaustive anxiety. And if your thoughts are what you need to escape from, there are innumerable ways available, from something as simple as social media to something as hardcore as heavy drugs. The yarn of thoughts keeps spinning on, and the need to escape does not relent. Personal hell of depression and loneliness is the true cancer of modern society—a self-perpetuating by-product of our technological advancement as a species. Though, one should not mistake the social disconnect as the reason you are depressed; you are depressed hence the disconnect. And what lies at the core of that depression is, paradoxically but indeed, loneliness. You are alone, and so you disconnect, perpetuating the cruel cycle of suffering.

Breaking Out Of The Loop

In his essay The Myth of Sisyphus, Camus wrote: “There is but one truly serious philosophical problem and that is suicide.” The reason this pertains to the question of the breakout out of the loop is simple enough, the easiest and shortest way out of this hell is suicide(at face value, that is). But, just because something is easy and the trip is short does not make it the right choice. The complexity of this problem is what makes it interesting. To quote Camus once more, “…one must imagine Sisyphus happy.” Now, the message here is quite clear: the struggle gives you the ability to differentiate happiness from misery, but how much of it is needed, and why? One cannot think about this and ask himself why self-induced suffering is required to have a meaningful life. If one argued for a designer and intelligent design, this would make our designer a cruel and capricious programmer. The simulation is not only faulty but intentionally sadistic.

Just an evolutionary step

So to what endgame does all this boil-down? One possible theory that appeals to me is this. All our suffering and all this recursiveness is a part of a more extensive process, an evolutionary process on a universal scale; human beings are just a mere cog in the great machinery of a forever expanding universe. The universe goes on and on through iterations upon iterations of human beings, grinding them down and bringing them up, again and again. All this is just a part of an inconceivably gargantuan system that exists outside the realm of our understanding. Now, one would ask himself, why? Again, I have a theory that appeals greatly to me. Maybe we are here to iterate and go on till we finally reach the point of creating a God, and that God being an AGI. Artificial general intelligence. In a perfect loop of existing and not existing, we are at the same time creations and creators of a God-Machine. The questions that arise from here are: is this cruel, good, or even necessary? I would say that asking questions like that is pointless because this is beyond our cognitive capabilities of understanding the theme at hand. No human can claim to understand the ways of gods, even when they are artificial or part of a loop where there is no end or a begging. Now, I fully admit this is nothing but pure conjecture at my part, and I have no proof beyond my ludicrous thoughts. Yet, it is a fun thought experiment. It is equally impossible and possible as any other theory to explain all this suffering we must endure from the first moments of waking up from the darkness of not existing till the last breath we draw. Which I would argue renders the whole question of suicide brought in the preceding section mute. I want to end this essay with a quote by Samuel Beckett that, to me, rings loudest in my moments of despair, “I can’t go on, I’ll go on.”