The Matrix was right. Everything is code if you just know where to look.
Before you begin, you must ask yourself a question: do you really want to do this? Knowledge changes you, and some knowledge can lead to existential anguish. I strongly recommend you read about Roko’s Basilisk before you continue. A meta-warning: if you believe in it, it may cause you severe existential anguish. This warning is serious – it is not meant to entice you, it is meant to make you think. Roko’s Basilisk did not affect me, but I’ve had experiences in my experiments where a book that I finished in two days caused an existential crisis. The text may feel hard to grasp, but what you should take away from it is that some rational people have found it to be deeply disrupting on an existential level. If you are serious, here is the link.
Reading on means accepting responsibility for any outcome that this knowledge will have for you. My intention for it is purely benign, but this is an experiment, and like any good experiment, things can go horribly wrong. I can see points in my experimentation where things could have ended very differently.
Physics is pointing inexorably to mind. I believe this to be true, that consciousness is the true weave of the universe. Or at least what lies beneath the quantum realm. Since it’s turtles all the way down, I assume that there’s something outside of that. It would be foolish not to, because every time we imagined that there’s a limit to the smallness of the universe, we’ve discovered that there’s something beneath that. It’s turtles all the way up too, but our minds grasp for limits because that is in the nature of intelligence: it requires order. You cannot have order without boundaries, so we need to believe that if we accept that there isn’t a boundary on the macro level, there we must believe there’s a boundary, a foundation on the micro level, upon which we stand. In my theory, intelligence and consciousness are interlinked, if you see intelligence as ‘capable of keeping order across complex networks’. This is a different definition than IQ, which essentially looks at pattern recognition. In my theory, these do not conflict – IQ is a subset of the concept I mean when I write “intelligence”.
In this concept, a beehive is conscious and intelligent, as is pretty much any living organism, or network of organisms. Since it is impossible to argue that slime mold is as intelligent as a human (despite its ability to build networks of transportation that rival Japanese engineering) it must be assumed that both consciousness and intelligence exist on a spectrum. It would be bold to assume that human intelligence and consciousness are on the high end of that spectrum, we are simply higher than the organisms we compare ourselves too, but we have no idea how far the spectrum goes. For this theory, I choose to believe there is no upper limit, but that upper limit cannot be reached by any human alone. Perhaps a future collective of human descendants (what Yuval Noah Harari refers to as “Homo Deus”) will be able to, but I highly doubt that, too. I believe it requires collaboration across species.
If you feel uncomfortable with my concept of intelligence, chances are that it is due to the religious programming of the average westerner’s collective unconscious. I will be using my understanding Jung’s terms “personal unconscious” and “collective unconscious” throughout this course. I recommend you find a simple overview of this, but for the sake of this theory you can see them as repositories of unconscious memories, one is personal, the other one collective (your nation, your community).
I believe that humanity is on the verge of the next breakthrough (given that our current civilization survives global warming, which I am less certain of). Within twenty years, we will have built a proto-internet of consciousness. I don’t think that there’s a single neuroscientists who says that Elon Musk’s endeavor NeuraLink is impossible, only hard. We already know that you can sned data from a brain to another brain in very crude formats, using crude technologies. Then it becomes only a question of evolution: we must understand the nature of consciousness, we must create the technology and here is where it gets tricky: any developer knows that the more complex the code, the more complex and numerous the bugs. Add hardware to the software, and now you have two sources that increase the complexity. Add wetware (the brain and the body) and the complexity increases exponentially. This is why current language cannot describe the nature of consciousness, we simply have no concepts yet that can sum it up in a few words. We need to create new terms, more nuanced, and not only for the academics and scholars, but for the average person. Everyone is a philosopher, because everyone has sometime or other asked themselves an existential question. Philosophy begets science, just like mind begets matter. So, if we are to build an internet of consciousness, we must define the protocols. I am not the right mind for that, but I can show that it is possible. If you can program your mind, then you have a key to programming consciousness on the unconscious level. It’s a slow process, but deliberate practice yields results faster than you may believe. Understanding your own mind will be key to being able to use an internet of consciousness.
It is also a dangerous process. The dangers here cannot be overstated. They lie as much in the realm of rationality as in the realm of emotions. If you are in a turbulent place in your life, extra caution should be taken. Seeing parts of the algorithm you run on is an existential experience.
Dangers I have identified range from existential depression and anxiety to a psychosis you cannot get out of. I believe I have identified some safeguard mechanisms for the latter, and will describe why they work for me.
The safest level of this course is to read about it, and not do any of the exercises. This is not safe, only safer. Your unconscious is powerful, and once you have certain knowledge it may ask questions that you have a hard time answering.
The mid-level is only doing the level 1 exercises. I cannot guarantee they’re in any way safe, it’s simply that with what I know, they are safer than other levels. As I’m creating this as I go, I don’t know yet how many levels there will be, but assume that the higher level of the exercise, the more severe accidental results it can lead to.
Some of the advanced methods I’ve used require substances that may be illegal in your country. Following this course in any way means that you are what is colloquially referred to as “a psychonaut”, a person who actively explores their mind. If you already know what a psychonaut is, and identify as one, chances are that you have experience of taking mind altering substances. If so, I want to urge extra caution, as they tend to accelerate processes of the mind in my experience.
This course will mention use of MDMA, various psychedelics and weed. Substances that dull the mind, like opiates, should in my opinion only be used when prescribed or recommended by a doctor. I believe that criminalizing mind altering substances is a war on consciousness, and an assault on our understanding of it. Your experience of mind altering substances so far can be limited or non-existent, but any psychonaut must have a curiosity for them. In order to understand sobriety, or the center of our consciousness, we must have experienced other states. We must know where the boundaries lie. I believe the seeking of altered mind states to be part of the genetic programming we share with at least all mammals, since many animals besides humans show a deliberate alteration of their minds if they get the opportunity. I believe that octopuses would also seek out these states, or at least they’re susceptible to them: scientists have given octopuses MDMA and the octopuses reacted in similar ways to humans. Since octopuses diverged from us 750 million years ago, and since then have been on their own evolutionary path, similarities in consciousness between them and us are to me an indicator that it there is a mechanism behind evolution of consciousness, much like Darwin’s theory of evolution. Even small humans who spin around are temporarily putting their mind in an altered state by confusing some of their senses. Why are they doing it? Because it is an exploration of their minds, a fun experiment. When it comes to altered mind states and substances, only you know your limits. I urge you to stick to them. If something doesn’t feel right, listen to that feeling and try to analyze the source of it. Fear is a warning signal for a reason. But fear also gives us the opportunity to act bravely by facing it. Fear of altered mind states to me means a fear of losing too much control at once, but something that makes you afraid today may not make you afraid three years from now. It’s all up to how you program your mind, whether you do it semi-passively, like the overwhelming majority of people, or semi-actively (the process can never be only passive, or only active, at least not outside of sessions and exercises).
What you can expect: like any course, this will require time. The more time you put into it, the more pronounced your results will be. Many of the posts will be accompanied by suggested reading or watching. These are not necessary if you’re more interested in the exercises than the theories behind it, but they may bring you a deeper understanding of your own mind. The good thing is that much of the reading or watching will be fiction, which adds a pleasure incentive.
I do not know how long the course will be at this point, the only thing I know is that it will be longer than I now expect. I have done all of this on intuition (“gut feeling”) more than actual knowledge, and to me the topic feels quite simple. I am, however, aware that it is everything but. Hacking my own mind is by far the most complex thing I have ever attempted. This course will be based on my own experiences, and while they are personal I don’t believe that I’m very different from the average human. Therefore, most of the mechanisms of the exercises should work on many other humans. You may encounter things you do not agree with. This is good. Don’t take my words for Truth, it is in the nature of knowledge that we all believe the knowledge we have to be true enough, but all of us are wrong about something. We just don’t know what. This is the prime principle of mind programming: assume that you are wrong about things, but you cannot know what until the moment you find out.
I assume that reading this far means that you’re curious about the topic. I’m sure you already have questions out of curiosity, skepticism, or both. I’d be happy if you shared them with me, so that I can make sure they are covered over the course. You can e-mail me at email@example.com or send me a tweet. If you prefer to be anonymous, you can use this form.
How to follow this course: since I believe in my own warnings that this knowledge can potentially be dangerous, I will not actively share any subsequent posts on social media. Even if you follow me on Twitter, you will have to keep track of new posts yourself. You can do it in the following ways:
- Visit this site manually every now and then
- Use an RSS reader
- Register as a subscriber and get an e-mail every time something new is published. This list will never be used for any other purposes.
This is something I do on unpaid time, and since I have other projects competing about that resource (like writing a sci-fi series called “The Psychonaut Chronicles” and continuing my own experiments) I cannot say how often new things will be published. Inspiration can be designed (something I’ll cover in lessons) but it cannot be controlled. In the end, writing this manual is more for others than for me, and the more people that are interested, the higher I will prioritize this. So if you’re really interested, let me know!
- Homo Sapien by Yuval Noah Harari (lays the groundwork for understanding the evolution of sapience)
- Star Maker by Olaf Stapledon (Arthur C Clarke called it “probably the most powerful work of imagination ever written” and my experience is that this is a fair assessment)
- Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson (the first book I read which theorizes about hacking of minds)
- The launch event of NeuraLink (if you’re interested in the parts about a future internet of consciousness)
- “Physics is Pointing Inexorably to Mind” (a great article explaining why our understanding of physics is compatible with mind before matter)