WHY TIME AND SPACE ARE NOT REAL, YOU CAN FALL IN LOVE WITH A ROBOT, AND GOD IS A MATHEMATICAL FORMULA: AMAZING LESSONS FROM DR. DONALD HOFFMAN, WORLD-RENOWNED COGNITIVE SCIENTIST
Did you know that what you see is not real? Most of us think that our senses tell us the truth. You see the moon and think that the moon exists even if you don’t. That is not necessarily true, says our distinguished guest on Love University, Donald Hoffman, world-leading cognitive scientist and evolutionary theorist. According to Dr. Hoffman’s theory of conscious realism, what we see is only an interface—an icon or desktop—that simplifies our perception. What lies beyond is a mystery we haven’t yet solved. During his appearance on Love University (apple.co/2KMhRbe), Dr. Hoffman enlightened and amazed us with his science-based observations of human life, the Universe, and our future, as follows:
*How to be a lion and not a rabbit. Lions sleep up to 18 hours a day because they are the King of the Jungle—they can rest easy knowing that they are not about to be eaten by another animal. The rabbit, on the other hand, is always looking around worried that it could be someone’s meal. In today’s society, many people are rabbits—dominated by fear, worry, and stress. To become a lion--confident and secure—Dr. Hoffman recommends practicing silent meditation. Dr. Hoffman meditates silently for three hours every day, which helps him develop a mindset of creativity, peace, and personal power. Follow Dr. Hoffman’s example and meditate 15 minutes a day at first and then gradually increase it. Close your eyes and let the thoughts come in and out of your mind without focusing on any one thought. As you practice this, your thoughts will diminish and you will have a peaceful and relaxed mind.
*Go for the evolutionary shortcut. According to Evolutionary Game Theory, there are certain strategies that can help organisms live long enough to mate and reproduce—to pass along their genes. These strategies are shortcuts that conserve valuable resources such as time and energy. For example, humans learned how to distinguish between a nutritious plant and a poisonous one by its shape, color, and texture. With this rule of thumb, or heuristic, they could save a lot of time (and prevent sickness and death) by only gathering the plants that would be healthy and nutritious while avoiding the poisonous plants that could harm them. In the same way, you need to find what works best for you in relationships, business, and health, and keep doing what is most effective and efficient for you. If you want to lose weight, and you hate exercise, then it would be wise for you to learn the best diet approaches that work with your taste buds and metabolism. Therefore, if you want to make a lasting change in your life, invest in shortcuts that meet your needs and match your personality. Stop wasting time, energy, and emotional resources on plans and strategies that don’t work for you,
*Why we’re attracted to supernormal stimuli. Drawing from examples in the animal kingdom and human life, Dr. Hoffman tells us why organisms, including humans, are often attracted to natural stimuli that have been enhanced in some way, also known as Supernormal Stimuli. He tells us about the Jewel Beetle in Western Australia who look to mate with females who are dimpled, glossy, and brown (this is their shortcut to knowing it’s a female). However, when Australians started throwing their beer bottles that looked like the females—but more enhanced—the males preferred the bigger, browner, and glossier bottles to the real females. The males tried to mate with the bottles while ignoring the actual female Jewel Beetles, and they almost became extinct as result. In a human example, Dr. Hoffman talks about the future rise of robots as love and romantic companions—perhaps even life partners—as some humans may be more attracted to the robots because they are enhanced versions of the human form. In everyday life, Dr. Hoffman talks about how humans use makeup, plastic surgery, and eye-catching clothes—supernormal stimuli—to enhance their desirability and attractiveness for mating purposes as well as for social advantage. Advertisers are also skilled at using supernormal stimuli to sell their products by making their commercials and advertisements appear larger than life.
*Can Artificial Intelligence develop a human Mind and take over the world? In the classic “Terminator” series with Arnold Schwarzenegger, a company creates an artificial intelligence network, Skynet, that develops awareness and then starts a nuclear war against humans. Could that happen to us? Although it seems far-fetched, Dr. Hoffman tells us that artificial intelligence is no longer just in the computer mainframe—now there are mobile robots that can walk, run, and even do gymnastics. Someday, Dr. Hoffman says, AI will beat us at everything—creating great art, poetry, literature, and music; making scientific discoveries; and winning the Pulitzer Prize. Also, he believes that AI may be able to mimic certain negative human traits such as deception and taking advantage of others. At the same time, Dr. Hoffman is skeptical that we can infuse robots/AI with what makes us human—unconditional love and spiritual awareness—or that we can take unconscious ingredients (software, circuits) and turn them into consciousness. However, he does see a possibility where we can open up new portals in existing consciousness in which we can see something that looks like Artificial Intelligence with human elements. The future awaits us, says Dr. Hoffman.
*God is infinite possibility and endless exploration. Dr. Hoffman, the son of a minister, is working on a mathematical formula for God. His goal is to create a way to measure an objective reality known as “God.” Initially, he has defined God as an infinite conscious agent (a conscious actor) with infinite possibilities. He says this is a good start but we need to explore deeper. There are important aspects that need to be considered in the mathematical formula of God, including unconditional love, also known as Agape, Karuna (compassion), or Karuna (devotion. Dr. Hoffman says that one promising idea that incorporates the necessary depth for the theory is to consider that God consists of an endless exploration of all possible varieties of consciousness. Dr. Hoffman agrees that there is much more we need to learn about this infinite consciousness which we call God. It’s like many great thinkers have said at the end of their lives “The one thing I have learned is that I know nothing.” There is always more for us to learn and explore in this beautiful and amazing cosmos of ours.
Dr. Hoffman leaves us with the idea that there are many possibilities and situations in life, and we need every type of human being to make this world a great place. We need Introverts to think deeply, Extroverts to communicate ideas, Feelers to give us warmth and caring, and Thinkers to analyze and solve problems. The key to human evolution into a state of unity—what Pierre Teilhard de Chardin called the Omega point—is to constantly adapt. We need to keep learning, growing, giving, and above all, extending loving energy without expectation. More than simply passing along our genes to the next generation, our aim should be to leave a lasting legacy of love and peace for all who follow us. That is the true inheritance we can leave the world.