The meaning of life is alterable.
Meaning is fluid.
Soon, we will make meaning more meaningful. Or less. Your choice. Drugs, electronics, and sensors will allow us each to pre-determine just how much meaning we desire.
Your favorite football team? Movie?
Alter your brain to make them radically more meaningful to you.
Found your near-perfect love match? Make the coupling still better by sharing meaning. She and you alter your brains so that you both love-love-love…whatever you choose.
Now do the opposite!
Life’s too short to waste on college football, Star Wars, Green Arrow, your fetish of that plump woman on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Eradicate their meaning to you. Hey, you’re up for a promotion, after all. You can’t afford to get lost in heartbreak or even happiness, you don’t have time to be moved by some hobo in the street nor by that story of the little girl who offered her kidney to the dying boy that sits across from her in Mrs. Shinskee’s third-grade class.
There is too much meaning and not enough and soon you will be able to control both, on a granular level. Like how color reveals outer beauty but black and white reveals inner beauty, we will soon have the power to alter our brains to ensure we place a floor or ceiling on meaning. About, well, probably everything.
A study using LSD reveals that meaning, of a song, an idea, a feeling, are absolutely modifiable. Why try this?
Targeting the serotonin receptor in the brain that creates a sense of meaning could hold promise for the treatment of illnesses such as schizophrenia or paranoia, where people react strongly to what might be otherwise innocuous cues or stimuli. Doing so, however, will require a pharmaceutical approach that mimics some of the more uplifting effects of LSD without the hallucinogenic effects.
Why stop there?
Of course, we won’t. If we can alter feeling, sense and meaning to mitigate mental disorders, certainly we will use the same or similar techniques to alter feeling, sense and meaning of nearly everything.
I predict we will demand it of ourselves.
The world will demand it of ourselves.
Our creations will demand it of ourselves.
We are outsourcing the rational.
Our machines are taking over thinking, choosing, recommending, remembering, calculating. Just as they once took over lifting, digging, chopping, grinding. We do what our machines cannot.
It’s stupid otherwise, right?
Meaning that…in a world where meaning is literally and individually alterable, and where AI and robots are our betters when it comes to rational thought, every feel comes into play. And with meaning of everything in play — an infinite relativism — everyone has a chance to experience near-infinite levels of meaning for nearly everything.
If it becomes too much, we off-load the thoughts and feelings and memories and connections onto Giant Brain.
Why sleep, perchance to dream?
We sleep so that our brain can heal, otherwise it gets overwhelmed:
Sleep evolved so that connections in the brain can be pruned down during slumber, making room for fresh memories to form the next day. ‘Sleep is the price we pay for learning.’
We go to sleep so our brain can prune away at the cruft. And in a world where we can alter the meaning of everything there will be a great deal of pruning necessary. But, if we can also off-load this cruft onto a server, for example, an always-accessible artificial intelligence, a sort of hyper-sleep, that leaves us with even more opportunity to alter meaning.
We can live our entire life experiencing the entire hate-love spectrum of anything!
Meaning nothing has meaning?
That’s a possibility, certainly. Everything is.
The Bible is a makers guide. It instructs us on what to build, or not, and why. Ecclesiastes, chapter 3 so beautifully tells us:
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. A time to be born, a time to die. A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted. A time to kill, and a time to heal. A time to break down, and a time to build up. A time to weep, and a time to laugh. A time to mourn, and a time to dance. A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together. A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing. A time to get, and a time to lose. A time to keep, and a time to cast away. A time to rend, and a time to sew. A time to keep silence, and a time to speak. A time to love, and a time to hate. A time of war, and a time of peace.
With advances in pharmaceuticals, computer sensors, research in brain plasticity, and the connecting of all people and things, we’re about to experience all of these words, all of the time, over and over.