The Truth of the Machine
"We are a species that doesn’t even realize the way we think, in some cases, has been preordained."
We always look forward to the new version of an operating system. Just last year, the update from iOS 14 to 15 brought a considerable number of new features to make life easier for the user. These include more accurate sound with spatial audio, a Focus feature to filter notifications based on our activity throughout the day, and more detailed maps to better understand our location.
The purpose of many of these features is to provide the user with a better experience and to streamline our daily schedules. The user interface also becomes more visually appealing as the years go by. These changes are all the result of the evolution of technology and feedback from the user base.
As humans, we like to know where we are in relation to other things, people, and places. It gives us a sense of control and comfort so we can focus on other tasks.
For example, if I didn’t know what street I was on, how would I know what time I’d arrive to a party? And if I didn’t know what time it was, how would I know if I were going to be late?
These human constructs such as street names and clocks allow us all to exist in the same society and consensus reality, and we create technology to keep track of them.
Luis Elizondo, the former head of the Pentagon UFO program AATIP, commented on this aspect of human nature in an interview on Fade to Black with Jimmy Church.
We are a species that doesn’t even realize the way we think, in some cases, has been preordained. I don’t want to get into the conversation of fate and things like that. But when you look at a city, right? We have these neat little grids north and south, east and west, because we want to know where we are.
We want directions. We want speed limits on the roads, and we want rules and regulations and policies so we know where we fit. We know where we are physically, we know where we are socially, we know where we are economically. Because we as a species, we get very uncomfortable if we don’t know. The unknown scares the hell out of us.
Perhaps human evolution mirrors the evolution of our own technology, and vice versa. Our technology was created by humans in the first place, so it would make sense that it would be an extension of ourselves and our ancestral history. Our iPhones continue to let us know our place in society and on this planet with increasing accuracy.
Perhaps, just like the new Focus feature in iOS 15, our evolutionary “software updates” made us more productive in our environment by filtering out “notifications” we don’t need at specific points in time.
Maybe at one point the human brain had the ability to accept more of these “notifications” at once, but the user base of humanity made it known through epidemiological changes that some of these environmental “emails” weren’t necessary.
Donald Hoffman’s theory of our senses and perception being a kind of user interface forms the basis of this idea. On Lex Fridman’s podcast, he laid out his thoughts on the matter in a more comprehensive way.
If we take evolution by natural selection seriously, then that is precluded that our perceptions are there to guide adaptive behavior. Full stop. They’re not there to show you the truth.
In fact, the way I think about it is they’re there to hide the truth because the truth is too complicated. It’s just like if you’re trying to use your laptop to write an email. What you’re doing is toggling voltages in the computer, but good luck trying to do it that way.
The reason why we have a user interface is because we don’t want to know that “truth” — the diodes and resistors all that that terrible hardware. If you had to know all that truth, your friends wouldn’t hear from you.
So what evolution gave us was perceptions that guide adaptive behavior. And part of that process, it turns out, means hiding the truth and giving you eye candy.
Just like the updates to our software, thanks to technological evolution, perhaps our biological evolution did the same. Our ability to then focus on tasks, such as making tools or constructing cities, eventually launched us to the top of the food chain. Or so science has made us believe.
As Hoffman says, the actual goal of the computer’s UI is to hide the truth of the hardware actually running underneath it. We are presented with a simple way to navigate our existence that only gets more efficient with time.
But the user interface is only one way to communicate with the machine.
Another way to interact with a computer is the command-line interface, which relatively few people besides developers and computer geeks even know about or utilize. Instead of clicking multiple icons on the desktop or inside an application, this is a more direct way of making the computer do something you want by typing out actual scripts for the system to read. Some of these commands may actually be impossible to notice or even accomplish from the user interface.
Although this may seem like a more robust option to complete tasks, it takes a much more advanced knowledge and understanding of the inner workings of the computer software itself. It’s also much less enjoyable aesthetically. However, the command-line interface is arguably one step closer to understanding the full “truth” of the computer, albeit still from the software side.
Now think of a command-line interface in the context of human evolution, as opposed to the user interface.
What would that look like?
What if a command existed that could be executed through this interface by the human brain? What if, like the computers of old, this crude but more direct process was the way our ancestors accessed the world millennia ago, before we evolved to more comfortably interact with the current “eye-candy” interface we are so used to today?
Would it seem like a shortcut, or would we get too overwhelmed to even know what to do?
And what if some of us could still access that command-line interface and use it to do things that would seem impossible from our current UI?
The concept and practice of remote viewing, and psi phenomena in general, have been around for decades. It has been portrayed in Hollywood through films such as The Men Who Stare at Goats and, more recently, by the character Eleven in the popular Netflix show Stranger Things.
According to Wikipedia, remote viewing is defined as
the practice of seeking impressions about a distant or unseen subject, purportedly sensing with the mind. Typically a remote viewer is expected to give information about an object, event, person or location that is hidden from physical view and separated at some distance.
The most famous manifestation of scientific study into this area is probably the Stargate Project, a collaborative effort between the Stanford Research Institute and the Defense Intelligence Agency that ran from 1978 until its termination in 1995.
These studies produced ample evidence indicating remote viewing to in fact be a real phenomenon, but how individuals are able to successfully harness this ability still eludes reproducibility through the scientific method to this day.
Other psi abilities such as psychokenesis and telepathy are pretty well-known in science fiction at this point, but are considered to be related to remote viewing in that they harness certain areas of the brain in ways we don’t yet understand. These abilities have been studied by the government mostly for the purpose of their military applications, which in and of itself suggests that the USG believes there is something to the phenomenon.
Now think of remote viewing and psi abilities in the context of the user and command-line interfaces. The ability to see into different areas of existence, time, and space would feel like a cheat code of sorts. This would also appear to be impossible from our current biological UI, and psi research is in fact considered a pseudo-science by mainstream academia.
Perhaps individuals who demonstrate psi abilities are able to run “scripts” outside of our consensus reality user interface and get closer to the truth of the machine.
Now consider the reality of the UFO phenomenon in all of this. These vehicles have shown themselves to hundreds of thousands of people over millennia, and they always seem to demonstrate some sort of technology that is outside the bounds of our physics.
These objects appear to be nuts and bolts craft that can be tracked on radar. They are accessible with the perceptual capabilities of the human eye. It is my opinion that this perceptual consensus has led to the prominence of the extraterrestrial hypothesis (ETH); that these are spaceships with occupants visiting us from another planet.
However, computer scientist and ufologist Jacques Vallée has another theory that has been a thorn in the side of many ETH advocates over the decades. Vallée believes UFOs are representative of what he describes as a “control system” for human consciousness.
He lays out this theory in his 1975 book The Invisible College.
I propose the hypothesis that there is a control system for human consciousness. I have not determined whether it is natural or spontaneous; whether it is explainable in terms of genetics, of social psychology, or of ordinary phenomena — or if it is artificial in nature, and under the power of some superhuman will. It may be entirely determined by laws that we have not yet discovered.
I am led to this hypothesis by the fact that in every instance of the UFO phenomenon I have been able to study in depth I have found as many rational elements as I have absurd ones, and many that I could interpret as friendly and many that seemed hostile. No matter what approach I take, I can never explain more than half of the facts.
This is what tells me that I am working on the wrong level. And so do all the believers, and this definitely includes the skeptics, because they believe they can explain the facts as strongly as the most enthusiastic convert to Ms. Dixon’s vision of Jupiterian Amazons! I would argue that they are all wrong, even Puharich with his disappearing tapes, and Uri voicing from Rhombus 4-D.
There are ways to gain access to the reference level of every control system I know. Even a child, if smart or daring enough, can climb on a chair, change the dial of a thermostat and elicit a response. (The response in question might be a sound spanking from his father, of course. The road to higher knowledge has such accidents.) It must be possible to gain access to the control of the UFO phenomenon, to forget the spirits and the pranks of Rhombus 4-D, and do some real science. But it will take a very smart approach — or a very daring one.
Perhaps UFOs are part of the machine. They keep us within the confines of the user interface by displaying themselves as entities that cause humans to create religion, government, and the other social constructs that give us comfort.
As I stated earlier, humans like to know where we are in relation to other things. UFOs remind us of that because they exist and exhibit characteristics outside of our known physics. They represent the unknown, and our human nature is to make this phenomenon fit inside the box that is our perceptual user interface.
One might say that user interface is a kind of control system itself. You cannot perceive what is beyond it. You are only able to interact with the applications available on your desktop that make up the constructs of government and religion that have made human society what it is today.
That is, unless you have the additional knowledge of the command-line interface.
This other interface may be the “laws that we have not yet discovered” postulated by Vallée.
Perhaps psi abilities are the conduit through which the human brain can run these scripts that may not be noticeable or possible inside the regular user interface.