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I read a blog entry at ponderabout.com  which asked the question, “Why are we always the same age inside?” I had some time recently  to observe things about how my brain worked in the midst of intense boredom to consider my answer. I also suggest reading Krishnamurti to help consider where my answer to this question comes from, and the larger question it led to for me.


This timeless essence we’re pondering here is the product of all the impulses and processes that the brain has fashioned together since birth. 


It’s like a computer that writes files to itself throughout its lifespan. These would perhaps include files that allow it to interpret the data from its sensory inputs better and better over time and through those interpretations, discriminate things better and even put various data together in new and unanticipated ways. 


As it does all this, it is also constantly assessing, reassessing, interpreting and reinterpreting its position and relation to its environment. It doesn’t realize it is doing all of this though. It just does it as part of its base nature. Part of its base programming, if you will.


That base programming is the mystery here. Everything else is the result of the stuff the computer piles on top of that programming, all the stuff in this computer’s memory. Beneath that mass of data, you have an operating system that runs the hardware that keeps the computer going, and collects sensory data, analyzes it, pieces it together like Tetris pieces and re-assesses and reassembles interpretations according to new data.


At least that’s how it should work. A simple logical program, only in the case of the human computer there seems to be something about this brain (the actual computer we’re dealing with here) which overcomplicates things. The frontal lobe perhaps?


What happens in the human computer is, like a child who draws a picture and keeps it because it’s pretty, this computer holds on to some of its interpretations even in the face of data that could change or even obsolete those interpretations. 


Also, given the sheer enormity of the data we’re talking about–I’m almost 40 and my brain has been working every single day of that time, my seventh-grade Math scores notwithstanding, on all the data coming in from all sensory inputs that whole time–it’s easy to simply *forget* this fact. Forget you are constantly analyzing and re-assessing things, even down to feeling the temperature in the room and deciding to turn the AC on or off, or contemplating this thing called God. It’s easy to simply forget this constant process and just consider this collection of data and pretty pictures you created as something called YOU. Your Self, and consider it as something immutable, unchanging, even eternal, and separate from the world around it.


What is it that makes us human computers adopt this concept of self as Self? Probably it’s the combination of all the data I mentioned with the same animal awareness of body, again coming from sensory inputs of hardware, combining to make this metadata called Self as a defense mechanism to ultimately preserve the body from harm. That is what the Self really is. That’s how it was supposed to work.


That self-centered sort of thinking–self-centered because we are working from this nexus, this center-point, we perceive as the logical interpretation of all the data collected since birth–is really all we have to work with.


No soul, no God, no afterlife. These are all pretty pictures that people come up with to answer the question whose real answer is, like evolution, simple but made complex by scale.


This is all there is. There is nothing more. And for this reason, all life is precious and all people are unique. Given the sheer amount of data that it took for you to come up with YOU, you are unique. We are each unique. We won’t ever be reassembled quite the same way ever again in the entire history of the universe.


I hope you understood what I wrote. If you didn’t, if this doesn’t make sense or if it doesn’t bring you to the same conclusions to which I came, I am afraid that the imperfection of my ability to properly render this thought (one of the tragedies of the human condition) is the reason for this barrier. Now how long I keep this pretty picture depends on how the rest of my life goes.

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