God's Debris: A Thought Experiment (The Avatar #1)

Awareness is about unlearning. It is the recognition
that you don’t know as much as you thought you knew.

A woman needs to be told that you would sacrifice anything for her. A man needs to be told he is being useful. When the man or woman strays from that formula, the other loses trust. When trust is lost, communication falls apart.

Because everything you perceive is a metaphor for
something your brain is not equipped to fully understand.
God is as real as the clothes you are wearing and the chair
you are sitting in. They are all metaphors for something you
will never understand.

But never being wrong is no proof that
the method of testing is sound for all cases

Clinical psychologists have proven that ordinary people
will alter their memories of the past to make them fit
their perceptions. It is the way all normal brains function
under ordinary circumstances.

Conversation is more than the sum of the words. It is
also a way of signaling the importance of another person by
showing your willingness to give that person your rarest
resource: time. It is a way of conveying respect. Conversation
reminds us that we are part of a greater whole, connected in
some way that transcends duty or bloodline or commerce.
Conversation can be many things, but it can never be useless.

Every generation of humans believed it had all the
answers it needed, except for a few mysteries they assumed
would be solved at any moment. And they all believed their
ancestors were simplistic and deluded. What are the odds
that you are the first generation of humans who will understand

Everything he talked about had a kind of logic to it, but so do many things that are nonsense.

Everything that motivates living creatures is based on
some weakness or flaw. Hunger motivates animals. Lust
motivates animals. Fear and pain motivate animals. A God
would have none of those impulses. Humans are driven by
all of our animal passions plus loftier-sounding things like
self-actualization and creativity and freedom and love

How can one part be more important if each part is completely necessary?

If, as you say, our minds are delusion
generators, then we’re all like blind and deaf sea captains
shouting orders into the universe and hoping it makes a difference.
We have no way of knowing what really works and
what merely seems to work. So doesn’t it make sense to try
all the things that appear to work even if we can’t be sure?

If you are proven to be right a hundred times in a row,
no amount of evidence will convince you that you are mistaken
in the hundred-and-first case. You will be seduced by
your own apparent infallibility. Remember that all scientific
experiments are performed by human beings and the results
are subject to human interpretation. The human mind is a
delusion generator, not a window to truth. Everyone, including
skeptics, will generate delusions that match their views.
That is how a normal and healthy brain works. Skeptics are
not exempt from self-delusion.

Intelligence is a measure of how well you function within your level of awareness.

It is a human tendency to
become what you attack.

it is not belief to say God exists and then continue sinning and hoarding your wealth while innocent people die of starvation. When belief does not control your most important decisions, it is not belief in the underlying reality, it is belief in the usefulness of believing.

Scientists often invent words to fill the holes in their understanding. These words are meant as conveniences until
real understanding can be found. Sometimes understanding comes and the temporary words can be replaced with words
that have more meaning. More often, however, the patch words will take on a life of their own and no one will remember that they were only intended to be placeholders.

Skeptics,” he said, “suffer from the skeptics’ disease—
the problem of being right too often.

The ability to work hard and make sacrifices comes naturally to those who know exactly what they want.

The best any human can do is to pick a delusion that
helps him get through the day

The best you can hope for in a relationship is to find
someone whose flaws are the sort you don’t mind. It is
futile to look for someone who has no flaws, or someone
who is capable of significant change; that sort of person
exists only in our imaginations.

The human mind is a delusion generator, not a window to trurh.

the past exists only in your
mind,” he said. “Likewise, the future exists only in your
mind because it has not happened.

There is more information in one thimble of reality
than can be understood by a galaxy of human brains. It is
beyond the human brain to understand the world and its
environment, so the brain compensates by creating simplified
illusions that act as a replacement for understanding.

the simplest explanation usually sounds right and is far
more convincing than any complicated explanation could
hope to be.

What does it mean to be yourself?” he asked. “If it
means to do what you think you ought to do, then you’re
doing that already. If it means to act like you’re exempt
from society’s influence, that’s the worst advice in the
world; you would probably stop bathing and wearing clothes.
The advice to ‘be yourself’ is obviously nonsense. But our
brains accept this tripe as wisdom because it is more comfortable
to believe we have a strategy for life than to believe
we have no idea how to behave.

Women believe that men are, in a sense, defective versions of women, Men believe that women are defective versions of men. Both genders are trapped in a
delusion that their personal viewpoints are universal. That viewpoint—that each gender is a defective version of the
other—is the root of all misunderstandings.

Women define themselves by their relationships and men define themselves by whom they are helping. Women believe value is created by sacrifice. If you are willing to give up your favorite activities to be with her, she will trust you. If being with her is too easy for you, she will not trust you.

You can change only what people know, not what they do.

Your brain can only process a tiny portion of your environment,
It risks being overwhelmed by the volume
of information that bombards you every waking moment.
Your brain compensates by filtering out the 99.9 percent of
your environment that doesn’t matter to you.

Your inability to see other possibilities and your lack of vocabulary
are your brain’s limits, not the universe’s.