The Issue

So much of my life has been defined by an ill-defined concept, simply an innate desire, an uncontemplated need. Suffocating me. Eating me alive like a parasite.

The need to be perfect. The inevitable downfall. The self-flagellation.

Rinse and repeat.

It made sense to me. I believed that the constant pain of Being was a product of being incomplete (I’m not entirely sure if it is or isn’t, but that’s beside the point.) A perpetual need for something, screaming louder than everything. It seemed logical to me that satiation of that need would come with fulfillment, and complete fulfillment (and thus complete satiation of the need) would come with perfection; therefore, the only way to end the pain of Being would be to become perfect.

That thought process, as you can imagine, was problematic.

“I will be perfect.” That was my mantra. I would hold myself to that standard; I would not commit a single moral mistake, not a single lapse in virtue. Inevitably, I would lapse in virtue. Fall victim to my vices. Exaggerate or tell a small (or moderate) lie. Make an excessively vulgar joke. Fall victim to lust. My immediate response would be to self-flagellate into oblivion. “I am disgusting. I hate myself. I want to be dead.” Eventually, my ego would recover, and I would once again say “I was imperfect, but I will be (completely, from this point onward) perfect.” Lapse. Self-flagellate. Recover and re-dedicate. Lapse. Self-flagellate. Recover and rededicate. Rinse and repeat.

The Revelation

Shortly after I posted my rambling on actualization, I came to realize that self-flagellating neuroticism causes a person (myself) to anti-actualize. Ironic. My pursuit of actualization was causing me to decay.

Self-disgust turns to contempt if you marinate in it long enough. I was.

Because of that revelation, I’ve been attempting to take more gradual steps. Maybe I can go a day without falling victim to this vice. Okay, let’s try a week. A week passes, try two weeks. A month. Lapse? Well, I made it further than last time, and perhaps I’m better than I was even before then.

I believe this was from Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules, though I could be mistaken. I think the axiom was “compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who others are today.”

I find that lowering the immediate standards I set for myself and doing away with (most) of the self-flagellating behavior has also lowered the amount of disgust and contempt I marinate in. I can forgive myself and try again; no longer possessing the subconscious belief that I am my vices. I do not disgust myself, my vices disgust me, and the fact that I am attempting to overcome them is virtuous and therefore deserving of admiration and dignity on my part. The end goal may be perfection, but perfection seems to be a gradual incline, as opposed to a cliff to climb.

It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that treating myself with dignity could be virtuous.

The need for fulfillment is still there, the endless pain of Being. Maybe I can progressively find more fulfillment as the days and months go on. Maybe completion is not the goal, so much as simply enough to satiate the dread, enough to keep any distress related to the arbitrary nature of human existence at bay.


That being said, I feel like there are so many things in life that fulfill necessary psychological needs, but hinder actualization. Take the poster-boy ‘time waster’ of video games. Video games are a form of recreational enjoyment just as reading is; reading is equally as pleasurable and pleasant for most people, but there’s far more friction involving reading. (Friction meaning difficulty starting to read; it’s so much easier to boot up a game than pick up a book. For some reason.)

Another example could be certain television shows produced for entertainment and consumption as opposed to something informative. Another could be podcasts; some are entirely meaningless garbage meant for consumption and some you can actually learn from. The list goes on and on.

Too many of my pastimes are meaningless and waste my life and hinder my actualization. I hate it. Maybe it’s one of the reasons I’ve been sitting in self-contempt for so long; attempting to cut them all out completely has failed time and time again. I need to walk before I can run; maybe I’ll try getting rid of one small pastime and picking up one small productive one, and see how that goes.

Sigh. There’s only one real way to see where this road leads, I suppose. I don’t reckon I’ll be posting regular “installments” on my path to actualization because personal monologues aren’t… right for this website, I guess, unless they’re under a miscellany header.


The systems of the body are not autonomous in and of themselves, but they permit autonomy of the larger system. Autonomy is both an attribute of the systems and a product of the systems. The heart pumps. The frame is maintained, and the suspended musculature remains cohesive. Cells beget cells, those cells beget cells; they replicate until they break down and die. The organism is self-sufficient and self-perpetuating. Consume, metabolize, procreate. Consume, metabolize, procreate.

The systems interface with each other. Every nerve weaves in and out and through; blood cells and antibodies; adrenaline, serotonin, oxytocin, testosterone, estrogen, cortisol. Metabolism. Blood. Digestion. Breathing. Osmosis.


The systems are a subset of the larger system (the body.) Perception is a product of the larger system itself, but it is not an attribute of the system. Sensory perception is emergent, it is not inherent. It is the product of trillions of interfaces within the system, all of which are autonomous in and of themselves. A mouse possesses these interfaces, as does a fly, a flea, a reptile. There are larger systems (that is, a system that is the aggregate of systems) that lack that interface; slime molds, fungi, plants, etcetera. There are probably better examples. Though some of those systems can be said to lack “systems of the body”, they are still complex, and still have many systems in and of themselves. But that’s a digression for another post. Perception is emergent from the interface between specific subsets of the larger system (systems of the body).

Perception is awareness of the environment. I am aware of my environment and I can interact with it. It is biological; an instinct; a simple knowing. A rabbit does not think “I am aware of my environment”. It simply is.


Perception begets awareness, but awareness is not universal among systems with perception. A tapeworm possesses perception but not awareness, but a tapeworm possesses the skeleton of the requisite interface for perception. Therefore, perception does not equate to awareness. Awareness is a development of perception. The more sophisticated the requisite interface, the more sophisticated the perception. The more sophisticated the perception, the greater capacity for awareness. A tapeworm does not have nearly as many neurons firing as is needed for sophisticated perception, therefore, it lacks awareness.

Awareness is the ability to have abstract thoughts and ideas that are about things not necessarily immediately present; it is the capacity to process beyond simple reactivity. (Even if the system’s mode of operation is primarily reactive. The extant possession of awareness does not have to be acute.

Perceptual Awareness

Perception and awareness, of course, intersect, as awareness is not a subset of possession so much as a development of its bones. The fact that perception is a pre-requisite for awareness does not make awareness a subset of perception.

Perceptual awareness is the ability to have abstract thoughts and be cognizant of things on a deeper level of thought, even if those things are (or are not) in your immediate environment — as opposed to simply awareness of the presence of the thing itself.

Perceptual awareness allows for the expansion of awareness through interface with another awareness. Dialogue. Correspondence. Communication. Sharing experiences.

Such interface is emergent of awareness (and of perceptual awareness, for that matter). It is not a property of the larger system of systems (the body); the interface is an expansion between systems; more specifically, the expansion through interface between awareness with awareness. It is not of the system. It is between systems.

A system’s ability to expand its awareness is limited to the extent of its perception. Someone blind from birth simply cannot cognize visual information regardless of how much interface they have with an awareness that can. A person who has never eaten anything with basil can’t cognize the flavor of basil regardless of the extent to which they dialogue with a person who has. The extent of perception is the limit to cognizance. Cognizance is not a property of the system; it is a capacity of the system. The interface is not the thing itself.

“Will we ever create sapient systems?” is not a valid question. Sapient is too vague, subjective, contentious, open to interpretation, etc. “Will we ever create systems capable of perceptually-aware interface?” is the correct question. Will we create a system able to expand its awareness through interface with awareness to the extent that the human system can? Until we treat system design with that mentality, we will not create a ‘sapient’ system. We have already created systems with low-level perceptual awareness, and we have already created interface between systems. We simply have not created interface with awareness itself. We’re coming closer. Will we ever do it? Maybe. Probably not half as soon as many think we will.


Intelligence is both a capacity and a property of the system; any system capable of the interface between awareness with awareness is necessarily intelligent. It has the capacity and agency to use abstraction of thought to develop their environment, and the capacity to cause developments through interface.

The developing intelligence and expansion of the interface is dynamic. Shifting. Shrinking. Expanding. Contracting. Breathing. Development of intelligence is development of actualization. To actualize is to Become, to Become is the completion of the individual, the expansion of the interface is reconstitution.


Radial Drift is coming along incredibly well. Right now I’m sitting at ~37,000 words — just a few thousand away from my manuscript target! I have to rewrite the ending completely. Right now I’m in the middle, so the text could end up being sixty to a hundred thousand words long, depending on how it develops. I find that the development of the story is more dynamic than one would think; I outline halfway to hell and yet, as I write, the form of the story changes entirely, and deviates from the outline. I see it as a blessing, not a curse. An outline is meant to serve you; you do not serve it.

In other news, I really need to focus on my uni grades more. I’ve been trying to bring my life from chaos into order. Jordan Peterson says that conscientiousness is the cure for neuroticism. I spiral into self-flagellating neurotic thinking very, very easily. So, I’ve been downsizing my living space. Clearing out bookshelves, throwing out sentimental possessions, etcetera. All the surfaces are clear and I only spare the very interesting knick-knacks. A Newton’s Cradle. An hourglass. My tank of pet Hissing Cockroaches. A storm glass.

I’ve been wanting to bake some bread. Maybe tomorrow I’ll get around to it. I have been told that it’s particularly cathartic.

What I mean by ‘actualization’ and ‘becoming’

I will preface this post with what is meant by actualization, and by becoming.

The widely-accepted definition of Self-Actualization is the idea of completion of one’s goals to the point of complete self-autonomy; the completion of an individual. An individual singular actualization, however, is simply a goal that is being pursued to become progressively more complete, as opposed to the act of Self-Actualization, which is completion itself. An actualization is a purpose or goal that drives you to better yourself as a person; a goal that, when pursued, brings you to become more Self-Actualized.

Becoming is the process of pursuing an individual actualization; the progression toward self-actualization. The process can’t be considered self-actualization in and of itself, because self-actualization is completion of the individual, not the progression toward completion. Actualization is the goal, becoming is the drive toward that goal. The act of becoming is having become; the process of becoming is the progression toward the act.

The act of becoming

Most everyone is in the process of becoming, stumbling from one makeshift actualization to the next, regardless of how correct. (Makeshift does not inherently mean incorrect, so much so as it means simply a hodgepodge of various intentions. Most actualizations are not extensively deliberated; I know that from experience.) I find myself gravitating away from the idea of progressive actualization. You are perfect or you are not; therefore, the act of becoming is a binary. The process itself is not binary, but the act is; you have become or you have not become. You can become progressively more actualized, but not progressively actualized in and of itself. The process of becoming is progressive, the achieved act of actualization, of having become, is binary.


An actualization is a goal or pursuit that, when pursued, leads a person to become more Self-Actualized. Which necessitates the anti-actualization: a goal or pursuit that, when pursued, leads a person to become less Self-Actualized.

Consciousness is not of the system

Emergence. Perception is a byproduct of systems of the body. Awareness is a byproduct of perception. Consciousness is a byproduct of awareness. Consciousness is not part of the system; it is an emergent property of the system; it is an interface between systems. Awareness is part of the system. Ghosts in the machine. Consciousness is the interface between awareness with awareness; canonical awareness permits consciousness, non-canonical awareness permits expansion of consciousness. Consciousness is not of the system.

The ‘self’

Depersonalization. The lack of any extant perception (or potentially reality) of self. It can be argued that the self is the aggregate of experiences, and to a lesser degree genetic predispositions. Conversely, it can be argued that the self is an aggregate of genetic predispositions, and to a lesser degree experiences. Maybe there’s more (or less) to the self; tabulam rosae, that sort of thing.

The self is innate; it is possessed on a fundamental level; it is canonical (universal), but it is variable. This is a necessary assumption; this is not reasonably disputable.

I find myself wondering more and more whether the self is like actualization, a binary, or if the self is a spectrum. Does it develop in progressively or does it simply shift? Is the act of developing the self similar to the act of progressively developing toward actualization? (I am not referring to childhood development; I am referring to the developed adult.)

The ‘self’ without an actualization atrophies into a slurry

I read that the body atrophies every inch of musculature that it does not use, the suspended musculature just metabolizes.

The perception of self versus reality of self. I imagine the self as a semi-solid aggregate mass, like a loosely-packed snowball or something of the sort. Without any sense of actualization, without some semblance of purpose to fumble toward or pursue with deliberation (objectively correct or otherwise), the self-aggregate loses cohesion. It atrophies. The semisolid becomes a slurry.

Does it stagnate only to be later reconstituted, or does it fall apart entirely?

Something interesting that I have observed in my own life — as well as in those around me — is that anti-actualization does not typically cause the self-aggregate to lose cohesion; it simply causes a person to degrade. Therefore, it is not the progression toward actualization that causes the self to remain cohesive. Though anti-actualization can and does cause degradation of the self and of the ego. I won’t write about the effects of anti-actualization in this post, as it is something that I have yet to properly process.


Reconstitution in this context means to turn the slurried self back into something cohesive.

If you become an anti-actualization, the self will regress from a former state of progressively-higher Self-Actualization. This is not the only form of degeneration; non-becoming and non-actualization (the development of the self-aggregate into a slurry) causes degeneration, but not regression; what is there to regress to?

Active reconstitution: choosing something (an ideal, a goal, a moral absolute, etc.) to actualize, and pursuing it. 

Inactive reconstitution

Inactive reconstitution in this context means non-deliberated (unaware) actualization. This is a subset of reconstitution, I put it in its own category for this post because I have a lot to say on the topic.

Emergence necessitates the subconscious. The subconscious can have actualizations independent of the conscious. Intuition. “I like this art. It makes me feel such and so emotions.”; “I have these feelings.”; “I am attracted to this individual.”; “My intuition says this.”, etc. Intuition is the prime example of unaware actualization. You feel, you react. Modify your experience and circumstance based on non-deliberated intuitive preference. “This clothing suits me today.”; “I get a bad feeling around this person.”, etc. The emotional instincts that you can’t put your finger on. These instincts, this intuition, can come together to form subconscious goals; ideals; actualizations. This can reconstitute the self to some degree; not to the extent than a deliberated constitution could, but progress toward regaining cohesion is progress still.

Your subconscious controls more of your behavior than deliberation does; however, deliberation can shape the subconscious. “I want to wear more black”; “I have such and so opinions about such and so”. The deliberation leads to the intuition; a liking of black clothing, a distaste for certain ideology. The question, though, is whether the deliberation is a product of the subconscious itself; could a non-perceptual or non-aware intuition have created the deliberation, which then makes the pre-existing intuition perceptual and aware? Cyclical reinforcement. That being said, a deliberation against a pattern of behavior in yourself is a battle against the subconscious inclinations, unless your subconscious inclinations were already in conflict before the deliberated effort. Food for thought.

My struggle with reconstitution

I went a long time without an actualization, and I still don’t really have one. For the longest time my chosen actualization was art and music, but my medication took nearly the entirety of my artistic drive away from me, as well as much of my intuition, both of which I relied on heavily.

I lost constitution; my self-aggregate started to lose cohesion. My actualization was gone, and I couldn’t find a proper one to replace it. I don’t have a career to make an actualization out of, and I could hardly make my dish-washing job into something to make me progressively more Self-Actualized.

I’m not going to go about making an actualization out of something unworthy of being actualized.

Reconstitute. Reconstitute. Reconstitute. This has been a mantra of mine for quite some time. I have nothing to actualize. I don’t know how to reconstitute. I feel my self fraying at the seams, turning into a slurry.


(This is all unrelated to the above; this is just actual blog-esque stuff. Rambling about myself, that sort of thing.)

Radial drift is coming along nicely. Not as well as I would like it to, though. I waste too much time on things with less mental friction. Path of least resistance, that sort of thing. Watching YouTube, reading fiction, playing a video game or two with friends. I’d like to take some time every day to work on it, but I have never, ever, ever been able to achieve consistency with any of my projects. I’ll write in an absolute frenzy for a day or two, churning out a few thousand words a day, and then not work on it at all for weeks or months. I cut some stuff from the first draft and plan to cut more. Some of the darker stuff in the draft just doesn’t sit well with me. Maybe it’ll still go there, but not so quickly. We will see how the project evolves. I can do all the planning in the world, but it still evolves as I’m writing. Scenes get thrown in that weren’t in the outline, and scenes in the outline end up not working out. It evolves on its own. Emergence. Right now I’m sitting at ~23,000 words. Which isn’t great, but it’s ~6,000 words closer to my target. I might surpass my target, or I might not. We will see.

I’ve been falling behind on my reading goals. I’ve been wanting to read my age in books by my birthday, but I’m not even halfway there and my birthday is in four months. Again, it looks more like frenzic bursts and then weeks or months of inactivity. I’d like to get through Les Mis, but there’s reason that it’s known as The Brick.

I’d had Linux installed on all three of my hard drives (except the one sitting in a drawer), but I regressed to Windows on my new 500GB SSD so that I can play Overwatch without having to jump through a million hoops to get it to run on my system. My personal computer that hafall my files was still running Linux until about a week and a half ago, and it’s what I use for most everything. Linux is superior, but in all honesty I just need the compatibility. I need to go about upgrading the RAM for it, though. Linux is the superior operating system by every metric. It’s sexy. It’s wildly more secure, to the extent that you will never need an antivirus. It’s wildly more customizable (especially if you’re running Arch. I run Mint and it’s still really customizable.) I had both my hard drive and home folder encrypted. It uses up a LOT less RAM and storage, while still performing essentially the exact same. Windows is the most inferior operating system on the planet. Mac might debatably be the best, but I’m not fond of Apple over-engineering every product to be impossible to maintain without spending an obscene amount of money on a certified technician, not to mention that everything is closed-source and they deliberately downgrade their OS every so many years to get you to buy new products. Pretty scummy, but Microsoft is no less scummy.

The laptop broke. I dropped it three feet onto a soft surface and the screen is dead. It turns on and works if plugged into a monitor. I tore it apart to get to my LCD cable and haven’t finished with the teardown. I’m hoping that the cable is loose. I really hope it’s disconnected, because then I will know what the problem is and be able to fix it with ease. If the LCD cable is fine, I tore apart my system for nothing.

My New Year’s resolution was to get my Chess ELO up to 1800. I haven’t spent much time at all on it, though. I picked up a few chess books. One of them focused exclusively on backfile mates. Which is fine, but I’m already pretty familiar with the backfile mates. Capablanca’s book walks through a bunch of not-so-obvious principles and makes you break down and analyze various games via annotation. Which is nice. Once I finish this one I have one that’s worlds more advanced. Once I finish that one, I know I’ll be at least 1800, but almost definitely more. We will see how long it takes. I just need to dedicate the time, honestly. It’s the same story as with Radial Drift; path of least resistance. Too much mental friction.

What is meant by “exorcism journaling”?

A short while ago, I got into the habit of keeping a journal of sorts. Instead of writing reflections and thoughts coherently, I simply write emotional vomit; that is, I write all my negative emotions and discontentment in a near-but-not-quite stream-of-consciousness manner. It’s not meant to be well-phrased, thought-out, introspective, written for later reading or for a prospective audience. It’s not entirely stream-of-consciousness either. It’s simply emotional vomit. Hence the term exorcism; it’s a sort of exorcism of negative emotion. Catharsis.

Why “exorcism-journal”?

Catharsis. Plain and simple. Get in there and write your emotional vomit, feel free to scrawl across the page with no concern for legibility. Just get the words out. Emotional vomit. Write everything vile inside you, all those horrible emotions and thoughts that plague you.

You will walk away feeling so much lighter, at least for a short while. That should be reason enough.

How to “exorcism-journal”

Acquire cheap paper.

Don’t use nice paper or stationery, don’t use a nice cutesy journal or anything like that. Your best friend is a cheap $1 spiral-bound notebook. I cannot stress this enough, get the cheapest lined paper you can get your hands on. The nicer the stationery, the more you’ll be subconsciously inclined to take yourself seriously.

Acquire your absolute favorite writing instrument

If you prefer to write with those cheap 15-cent bulk-buy Bic pens, that’s great. If you’re a pencil kind of person, that’s fine too. If you have a $20 fountain pen that you adore, use that. The point is that it should feel like a pleasure to write with.

Prepare a distraction-free space

Turn off your computer. Turn off your phone and put it across the room. The goal is for there to be as little friction and interruptions as possible. If you’re thirsty, go get a glass of water. If you want ambiance, get your music and candles situated before you sit down. Get rid of every possible distraction so you can write uninterrupted.

Don’t worry about your penmanship, don’t be afraid to write in a scrawl.

Get in there with your raw emotions. Don’t write well. Don’t write entirely illegibly unless you think it’s necessary. (Mine are borderline illegible, but my deliberated handwriting isn’t much better.)

Don’t use spaces or paragraphs to separate topics; just let things flow in one big page or set of pages.

This seems like an odd one, but I have found that the catharsis is more complete when I don’t format my thoughts with paragraphs.

Why I don’t like the term “journaling”.

The idea of the journal has a lot of (for lack of a better term) “baggage” attached to it. It is supposed to be well thought out, introspective, and a reflection on your day. Keeping a bullet journal, keeping a daylog, or keeping a prayer journal, all of it has preconceived expectations. Connotations, that sort of thing.

A case for cheap notebooks (as opposed to journals)

Journals are an overrated novelty and a complete waste of money. Contrasted with a $1 notebook, you get considerably less real-estate per page, and less pages altogether. Journals worth writing in are ~$10, a spiral-bound notebook worth writing in is ~$1. For the price of a journal, you could get 10 notebooks.

Aside from more real-estate, spiral-bound notebooks allow you to tear out their pages and rearrange them in a three-ring binder. You don’t have to take your paper so seriously. You can doodle away on one page and write in another, take notes from the phone on another page, and class notes on another. It legitimately does not matter. Notebooks are superior by every metric, the singular outlier being size. Notebooks are thinner than most journals, but a great deal wider and taller, which makes them difficult to fit in small purses or travel bags. (I would testify to the superiority of the backpack or duffel bag, but that’s a talk for another post.)

Subjective impressions and experiences.

I started the practice a short while ago, and I absolutely adore it. I sit down every evening, or sometimes multiple times a day, and just write. It feels amazing to write my raw emotional state, Much of my writing is prayers.

Every time I finish writing both sides of a page, I rip it out and tape it to my wall — not with any intention of ever reading it or having anyone else read it. My room is my sanctuary, and having my innermost feelings on the wall makes me a part of it, and makes it a part of me.

Ego in this context

In order to understand what I mean when I say “I want to eliminate my ego”, I need to clearly define what I mean by the term “ego”. The Merriam Webster defines ego as “the self especially as contrasted with another self or the world”. Elimination of ego in this context would mean attempting to eliminate all individuality. I don’t see that as a good thing; personally, I think that is impossible. The Merriam Webster definition of ego is not an incorrect definition; it is simply not the definition I am using in this post.

The Oxford Learner’s Dictionary defines ego as “your sense of your own value and importance”. This is the definition I am using in this context. In the following text, I will attempt to argue in favor of eliminating your perception of self-importance.

What I mean by eliminating ego

I want to completely eliminate any sense of self-value, self-importance, etc. Please understand that elimination of self-value does not equate to replacing positive self-value with negative self-value; I do not want a negative self-value of my consciousness, body, image, personality, or any other elements of the “self”. I simply want neutrality. I want to be devoid of all strong emotion; I still want to experience emotions naturally as they come and go, not suppressing any emotions. I simply do not want emotions connected to my perception of myself. I do not want to strongly believe my opinions; I want to be a dispassionate entity, simply accepting of whichever opinions seem to be rooted in rational argument, and letting every other opinion that is not rooted in rational argument fall away without regard to my ego or how I may be perceived.

When I encounter disagreement with someone on any issue whatsoever, I want to be able to dispassionately assess the logic behind what they are saying, either agree or disagree based on whether my opinion seems more rooted in logic than my own position, and experience no anger, contention, or strife whatsoever, regardless of what the opinion is or how sensitive the issue is. If I believe that their opinion is not well-founded in logic but rather in emotion and the other person is offended as a result, I simply apologize for the offense. If they accept my apology, there is no need for emotional concern. If they do not, I cannot do anything; therefore, there is also no need for emotional concern.

I am very, very far from attaining complete purgation of my ego, as this is a journey I have only been on for two years. Progress isn’t always linear; there have been weeks or months in which I’ve regressed into strong pessimism, strong hatred of myself and other people; however, with each passing day that I make a conscious effort to become better, I become more complete, more self-actualized. Self-actualization is a lifelong process, but to simply be more self-actualized than your former self is an achievement in and of itself. I am worlds closer to becoming a dispassionate entity than I was two years ago, and I will likely be worlds closer than my current self in two years from now.

Why eliminate ego?

You will be unable to take offense.

Your self-esteem enables you to take offense at other people’s perceptions of you. If you lack self-esteem, you lack the capacity for the emotion of offense. If you lack self-esteem, you lack the capacity to be angry as the result of a committed offense against you; you will simply assess it dispassionately.

What other people think of you will be irrelevant.

A person’s unfavorable opinion of you will simply not be relevant to you, because your perception of self will be dispassionately objective, and not contingent on others’ perceptions of your character or any other element of your “self”.

You will be able to accept any criticism, regardless how harsh, and assess it dispassionately.

Offense at criticism is the product of ego; assessment of the validity of criticism without a perception through which it can be tinted is the product of eliminating ego. I struggle a bit with this one, but I am getting better at it.

You will not experience any non-necessary concern.

Sometimes concern is healthy and necessary, but much of our concern is non-necessary. Logical concern is, well, logical. Non-necessary concern is an irrelevant indulgence. If you can do something about a circumstance, there is no need for concern. If you cannot, there is no need for concern.

Indulgence becomes irrelevant.

Earrings, nice clothes, jewelry, and bling are expressions of personal vanity and self-image; it boils down to two things: 1) wanting to look good to other people, and 2) wanting to look good in order to feel good about oneself. If one does not need either of those things, appearance-related indulgence becomes irrelevant. The decrease of need to fulfill the self through expression of the ego (materialism), the less desire you will have to possess the latest smartphone or smart TV, a luxurious vehicle, an obscene amount of wealth, etcetera. I will admit that I am guilty of some indulgences, but to a much smaller degree than I was in the past. Eventually, I will get there.

You will be incapable of being devastated.

Grief is natural, and should be experienced and expressed. Devastation is grief to its highest extreme, and is superfluous, unhealthy, and non-necessary. Grief is a natural process. Devastation is an indulgence.

You will treat people with more compassion. You will not hate.

Hatred is an indulgence. Compassion is logical. If someone hates you or is “your enemy” so to speak, and you have not wronged them, they are likely a broken person. Hurt people hurt people, broken people break people, etcetera. The response of the ego is to hate your enemy, the dispassionate response is to acknowledge their humanity and have compassion for them because of that.

You will remain calm during argument.

Arguments can get intense. People often indulge in strong emotion during disagreements; if a person cannot persuade the person they are arguing against, they choose to hate them and their position instead of accepting that the other person likely has some degree (potentially a lesser degree, but still some degree) of an argument behind their position. If you choose not to experience these strong emotions, you will simply accept the fact that they believe what they believe and be able to move on with your day.

What is 5D chess?

5D Chess is an absolutely brilliant piece of software. I suppose it technically qualifies as a video game. It was released this July, I believe. It’s like chess, but with more axes. It’s technically 4D chess as it only has 4 axes, I don’t really know what the rationale was behind the software developers naming it “5D”, but it’s not. It’s 4D.

It sounds interesting. What is meant by “four axes”?

Imagine a regular chess board. You have two axes; the y-axis (the long way down the board) and the x-axis (left and right). Some pieces move only along any one of the axes at a time (the queen, the rook), some pieces move along both axes at once (the knight, the queen, the bishop), and pawns can only move along the y-axis, but capture by moving one space in both axes at a time.

Next, imagine that each move that you (and your opponent) made was saved as a snapshot of the board on a linear timeline; each “board” being saved in chronological order, a linear progression of every move that has been made, each one strung up so it appears immediately after the last. This is a third axis — which we will call the “t-axis” (t for Time) or “time axis” for the purpose of this post — which corresponds to the x-axis. I will explain axis correspondences, just not right now.

Now imagine if you could send a piece back to a previous board along the t-axis. You can’t alter the past on your current timeline; that would negate all the boards you have played since that point on the timeline. Therefore, a second chronological progression of boards (or, in simpler terms, a second timeline) is created, branching off from the initial timeline. The ‘present’ shifts backward to the new timeline, and you play moves on the altered timeline until the ‘present’ meets up with your initial timeline. Congratulations! You are now playing two simultaneous games of chess! We will call this timeline axis the “l-axis” (l for timeLine), which corresponds with the y-axis. Again, I will explain correspondences. Just hang on.

Keep in mind that we have two additional axes on top of the x-axis and the y-axis; we have the x,y,t, and l axes. Again, this technically makes it 4D chess, not 5D chess. I don’t know why the creators of the software titled it as 5D. The pieces do not move along a spatial z-axis.

What do you mean when you say the t and l axes “correspond” to the x and y axes?

In traditional chess, you can only move pieces along the x-axis and the y-axis. In 5D-chess you can move pieces along the t-axis and the l-axis as well as the x-axis and y-axis. Again, this is four dimensions, but that’s beside the point.

The t-axis corresponds to the x-axis in that any piece that can move along the x-axis can move along the t-axis. This means knights, bishops, rooks, the king, and the queen. All of these are pieces that you can move backwards in time in order to create a new timeline.

The l-axis corresponds to the y-axis in that any piece that can move along the y-axis can move along the l-axis. This means knights, bishops, rooks, the king, the queen, and pawns. All of these are pieces that you can move between the the present timelines. Please note that moving between the present timelines is not the same as moving into the past; it’s a separate axis for reasons that I will explain later.

For example, pawns can only move forward on the current timeline (solely on the y-axis), or forward between the present timelines (on the l-axis), but cannot move forward onto a prior chronological point on the linear timeline (which is the t-axis, forbidden.)

In traditional chess, the knight moves two spaces along the x or y axis and one in the other. How does this work between the t-axis and the l-axis?

Very astute! You’re a clever one for asking that question. In 5D chess, for all the pieces the movements are generalized as movements per axis. Movements per axis. This means that the knight moves two spaces along any one of the four axes, and one in any other of the four axes. This also applies to diagonals (queens and bishops), in which they move one in any of the four axes and one in another, or two in any axes and two in another, and so forth.

Taking the given example of the knight, if the knight is moving one chronological move back in time, he must move two spaces along the x or y axis in order to “complete” his movement of two in any axis and one in another, in this case he would move two in the x-axis or y-axis and one in the t-axis. If the knight moves two chronological moves through the t-axis, he need only move one space along the x or y axis in order to “complete” his movement of two in any axis and one in another. Likewise, if the knight moves three chronological moves through the t-axis, he “completes” his movement of two in any axis and one in another, and his position remains the same. This is also the case if he moves two chronological moves through the t-axis and once through the l-axis.

Let’s try another example. The rook can not move two axes at once, meaning that he cannot simultaneously move in the y-axis and the x-axis. This also means that he cannot simultaneously move between the t-axis and the l-axis. Remember, piece movements are quantified as movements per axis. He can only move through only one of the four axes at a time. Therefore, he can move along the x-axis on the same board, the y-axis on the same board, he can move along the t-axis and his position remains the same, or he can move along the l-axis and his position remains the same.

The same principle applies when taking the example of the bishop. With any given move, the bishop moves once along one axis and once along another. Taking this in terms of movements per axis, with correspondence in mind, if the bishop moves one space along the t-axis, it must move one space along the x-axis or the y-axis. If the bishop moves two spaces along the t-axis, it must move two spaces along the x-axis or y-axis. If the bishop moves one space along the t-axis and one space along the l-axis, it “completes” it’s movement-per-axis, and does not need to move along the x or y axes.

Let’s take one more example, just to really hammer in the nail. This one is the most complicated. In terms of diagonals, the queen moves much like the bishop; once along one axis and once along another. This means that when the queen moves once backwards along the t axis, the queen needs to move along the x or y axis. However, the queen can also move straight along the x or y axis. This means that if the queen moves two places backward chronologically along the t axis, it must move twice along the x or y axis, and so forth.

Do I have to capture the king in every iteration of the l-axis (timeline) in order to win the game?

No, you do not. You simply have to capture the king in any one timeline in order to win the game. This means you must defend your king in the past as well as the future; you must think ahead and plan out every possible move along every possible axis. Or, you could fly by the seat of your pants and play around with it just for fun. I will admit that accidental victories have happened to me. Many times. It’s a lot of fun.

Where can I get this piece of software?

It’s on Steam and Humble Bundle. You can investigate on their website, which I will link to here.