Replicants

A friendly futurist within our web3dsm community shared this Ray Kurzweil interview that triggered my continued curiosity toward our neon future.

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Why can days feel long, when years fly by?

One tangent they take in this extended conversation revolves around interacting with replicants. Long after it passed the turing test, I imagine my replicant to be an artificially intelligent, bioengineered entity that has consciousness rooted in the human (or machine) it originated from. This humanoid would use an index of everything I ever shared externally, a complex map of my network, and added context from storytelling to form a foundational identity. The operating system would have core essentials and permission levels to guide growth.

With exponential advances in technology, interactions with different versions of our past and future self seem inevitable. We’re already speaking to holocaust surviving holograms, watching monkeys play video games with their brain, growing synthetic realities, and experimenting with nanorobotics. As the bandwidth of our content creation reaches escape velocity, what’s stopping us from pressing the record button to store every angle from every moment?

As this limitless library grows and we start to think about futuristic interactions, how might we reconsider the way we spend our time? Would you live your life differently knowing future generations may interact with a version of your own replicant? I have to think our thoughts and actions would be less careless with such a forward-focused mindset. It would also seem that staying in the moment would be more natural when every moment counts.

With a future that gives humans an opportunity to merge with machines, today can be when we consider ways to transcend time with purpose and thoughtful appreciation.

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“…if tomorrow I wake up and I’m sixty years old,I hope when I look in the mirror and ask have you lived,I look right back and say, “shiiit, you tell me!” -Machine Gun Kelly

Feng Shui

Welcoming the unpredictable forces of life, provides ease and creates space for energizing adaptation. Peace awaits those who appreciate all that is, without worrying so much about all that is not. That said, we know this doesn’t mean everything just falls into place. It takes initiative, consistency, awareness, and sacrifice to find your own version of equanimity.

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It’s not a rainy day. It’s free water.

As I felt the warm wind of this sunset cruise on a glass lake, Kid Cudi mentioned feng shui and got me thinking about this week’s writing. Similar to how one may setup the space of a home to harmonize with nature, we can connect elements of our own career portfolio to feel the universal benefits of feng shui.

The places you visit, the people you’re with, and the art you generously create all connect through you. Over a lifetime, you become an environment for others, and this becomes your legacy. If there’s passion, diversity, intellectual humility, and overall harmony within your environment, your impact on the universe can be serendipitous and my hope is that the way you spend your time, will add up in the end.

Bloop

Imagine yourself as a circle.

It’s tempting to suggest a sphere, but the added dimension is not necessary for this metaphor. Alright, with your circular self, take a tiny portion of the arc and “bloop”… push it beyond the circle’s circumference. Even the smallest nudge gives the entire circle space to expand.

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I had fun making all sorts of sounds as I considered the title for this reflection, but I’d love to hear how you’d describe the sound of such an expansion. Also, since I had to look up the terms to ensure this metaphor was translated correctly, here are the parts of a circle.

There’s plenty of research behind the idea of small improvements adding up. As we hear from inspired speakers and read about in Atomic Habits by James Clear, if you get one percent better each day, you’ll end up thirty-seven times better by the end of a year. It’s hard to define “better” and such steady progress would surely require sacrifice, but most will agree that small choices don’t make much of a difference, until they add up.

While establishing systems that support good habits and compiled improvements are great, this reflection is more about welcoming singular moments of exploration and growth, even when it seems unrelated, weird, or insignificant.

Perhaps it’s trying something new without preconceptions, saying yes when no is status quo, or being the initiator when movement is seen as risk? As we poke the box and invite a bit more bloop in our life, we give ourselves an opportunity to grow as our own circles expand.

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To thank those who have enjoyed brewing on these Roasted Reflections every week for almost two years AND to say hello to some new friends, here’s a free gift just for fun!

Winding Whys

Asking “why” seems to be innate.

As soon as kids learn to speak, the inquisitions begin. The first few whys may emerge from innocent curiosity, but it’s easy to tell when the game is underway.

It’s easy to see how endless whys may lead to frustration (especially when it’s bed time, eh), but I’ve found joy in making these winding whys into a fun challenge for myself. Instead of shutting things down, I enjoy trying to quickly answer every why with an accurate answer. Can I mindfully outlast the youngster’s attention span? What fun!

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I’ve enjoyed winding whys many times, but “Dad, why do you love me?” gave me pause. I found myself feeling appreciative as I tried to coalesce endless reasons into one answer.

As I poked around, it felt trite to reflect on how humans have so many whys we can not answer. Instead of going down the paradoxical path or leaning into understanding our own whys, I found the Five whys interesting.

Developed by system thinkers inside Toyota back in the 1980’s, this iterative Five whys technique was used to explore the cause-and-effect relationships underlying a particular problem. When following 14 specific rules, after exactly five whys, the last answer often points to a process that is not working well or does not exist. This rigid technique has critics and would seemingly lead to shortsighted interpretations, but it was fun learning about this historic use of why. Knowing the value of complexity vs. simplification, as well as, so many other methods like active listening, Socratic questioning, casual diagrams, storytelling, inverse charisma, and pure wonder, the Five whys may not answer all the winding whys of our world, but perhaps it’s another tactic to throw in the mix.

Why not?

Sedona Sands

We’ve all had experiences that touch our soul.

Perhaps it’s exploring the universe at an observatory, a scenic nature hike, an inspired talk from someone who seems to know just what you need to hear, or a concert that takes you to a different state of consciousness. Whatever the experience may be, we are moved in these moments, but how can we ensure the energy from such occasions don’t fade?

Perhaps adding a mental bookmark can thicken the moment? Even if it’s a short, but focused mediation in the moment of impact, might this attention make it easier to revisit the sights, sounds, and feelings of a past experience? Stories, photos, and video are fantastic reminders of what we saw, but connected meditations may provide added layers of internalization.

This story of curiosity begins in the sands of Sedona, Arizona. As we hiked the Airport Vortex, my wife and I found a shady spot to rest on the mountainside. Michael Kass, a friend, colleague, and facilitator who helps others shift consciousness one breath at a time, had given me a special gift. It was a personalized, recorded meditation for my 40th birthday, which I named Sedona Sands and minted this NFT to commemorate. As my wife and I sat together, listening to this thoughtful gift and breathing with the land, I was thankful for such serenity with someone I care so much about. I was also (pleasantly) distracted by the scenic view, with beauty that made it had a hard to close my eyes. 12 minutes soon passed and while I felt a flowing sense of gratitude, it didn’t feel like an enlightened moment at the time.

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Here are a few meditations to enjoy.

Now…for the wizardry.

Fast forward two weeks. I was visiting 1MC communities in Kansas City, Wichita, Iowa City, and Chicago. Within the whirlwind of travel, I had an evening to unwind. After enjoying a serendipitous sunset overlooking the Arkansas River, soaking in the hot tub with a good book sounded like a relaxing way to finish my day. After reading a chapter, I thought it might be interesting to shift gears by revisiting Michael’s recorded meditation. This was the first time I had listed to it since we enjoyed it in Sedona. To compliment the steam, I put a cold towel over my eyes and let cool water run through my fingers. Within an instant, the recorded meditation brought me back to that shady spot on the mountainside. The red rocks surrounding us. I could feel the desert air. My wife was with me and I was there!

This same mediation was enjoyed at a different time and place, but the energy was deeply connected. I look forward to exploring how momentary, connected meditations may allow the powers of our past to continue guiding us through the grounded energy of this great adventure called life.