Treasure chest and map

The Demo

I reverse-engineered my own existence by manipulating free energy. Gameism is a demo of itself.
Alice in Wonderland-esque illustration
A mind-bending adventure

Okay, okay... you're probably still wondering if this philosophy really works. Perhaps it sounds a little too magical and grandiose... like it's out of a sci-fi or fantasy film.

Let's be upfront about one thing: it's going to take decades for the scientific establishment to acknowledge the FEP's significance, run it through their formal process, fight about it, test its predictions, etc.

So you could waste the best years of your life waiting around for their tick of approval, refusing to join myself and other gameists as we dance on the precipice of knowledge...

And that's fine, if that's what you want to do. But let me offer you another data point: a product demo.

You see, I used Gameism to develop Gameism. The words you are reading, and the logic underpinning this philosophy, didn't pop out of thin air. It's taken years and years of relentless focus to transcend my own mental limits, hone my craft, and manipulate the massive amounts of free energy required to transform chaos (the mystery of my existence) into order (a practical philosophy, supported by a deductive proof which rests on a single postulate, and that postulate is a tiny, recursive computation — oh, and then being able to communicate this to you simply, clearly, and concisely).

If I'm going to say "forget everything you think you know about reality and follow me into the dark", it's only fair that I lead by example...

My story

Okay, so here's how this all came about...

When I was 18, I started a tech startup in Australia that immediately took off.

When I was 20, I was funded by Y Combinator (a prestigious startup accelerator in Silicon Valley). I gave up my scholarship and dropped out of university to chase my entrepreneurial dreams in the US.

After Y Combinator, I moved to New York and grew my startup there.

The venture failed when I was 22. I wrote a Medium article about it that went viral: My startup failed, and this is what it feels like…

My startup failed, and this is what it feels like…
If there is one thing that doing a startup has taught me, it’s that I am much more resilient than I could have ever imagined. Looking back, when I started 99dresses fresh out of high school I was…

The article struck an emotional chord with the entrepreneurial & creative communities. It was translated into multiple languages and syndicated in online publications around the world.

I quickly became the poster child for fucking it up with some semblance of grace. And I'll tell you now: failure sucks.

But it was also the best thing that ever happened to me...

My existential problem

After my life imploded, I moved back to Australia and had an existential crisis.

When I traced the root cause of my failure back to first principles, I ended up at questions like "Where do my ideas come from?" and "How does reality work?"

Because when I thought about it deeply, the entropy in my startup adventure was suspiciously low. There was way too much 'coincidence' and 'luck' involved — like tossing a coin 100 times and getting 70 heads in a row, then 30 tails. Something felt off...

I’d been taught that life was disordered; random. But when I walked through the world and observed a seed growing into a sunflower, a child laughing with that sparkle in their eye, or the vast beauty of the cosmos — well, there was nothing disordered about any of that.

And when I considered the way reality would contort itself to deliver me another resource, another opportunity, another idea, another person that would be instrumental in assembling the next portion of my vision — no, I just couldn’t pass it off as ‘random’ or ‘luck.’

Years of societal programming screamed in my ear: "Cognitive bias! You’re finding patterns where there are none! Stay in your lane like a good girl and move on with your life.”

But I’ve never really been a good girl...

The call to adventure

I began digging for answers.

Religion had always seemed illogical to me. Religious philosophy is predicated on an arbitrary set of unquestioned axioms laid out in a holy book. I'm allergic to dogma, and explanations like "God did it" and "because God said so" made me break out in a rash.

But after some basic research, I realized the same could be said about the scientific establishment. Our scientists have been handing out axioms like Oprah hands out free shit: "You get an axiom! You get an axiom! Everyone gets an axiom!"

And academia has spent centuries passing down these false axioms in textbooks, as if those textbooks were bibles.

It quickly became clear that the big institutions weren't going to solve my existential problem for me.

I'd have to do it myself.

My hero's journey

So in 2014, when I was 23 years old, I embarked on a quest to reverse-engineer the universe.

Equipped with my two favorite books - The Holographic Universe and Conversations With God - I followed a trail of clues around the world from Sydney to Shanghai, New York to Thailand to Colombia to Paris.

I'd generate free energy, wait for the next clue to appear in the game, and then follow the path wherever it lead - whether it be to another country, to a conversation, or a new skill, or an esoteric forum.

Of course, I didn't yet understand what was happening from a technical point of view. I just had an undeniable intuitive conviction that I was onto something...

Something science couldn't explain yet...

Something everyone was missing...

That "something" was a splinter in my mind, driving me mad. I'd have to perform intellectual surgery to extract it - the kind of surgery that seemed "impossible" to those who'd never closed their eyes and wielded a scalpel using only their intuition.

And if I was going to understand the complex anatomy of existence, then I needed to experience every facet of it. So I sharpened my mind by relentlessly grinding it against the game.

By day, I was an entrepreneur, teaching children how to hack their Minecraft game using code.

But by night, I was teaching myself how to hack this reality game using consciousness: running experiments on my mind; observing and documenting patterns; watching the observed 🏠 bend in response to my evolving self-concept. The FEP couldn't have written a more meta storyline into my life.

I wandered in the dark like this for over four years. I fell in and out of love, moved from here to there, befriended random strangers, asked a million questions, birthed other creative projects and watched them wither on the vine - all the while, silently weaving together a web of disparate information.

And then, one Sydney summer's day in February 2019, I stumbled across an article about an English neuroscientist named Karl Friston.

The Genius Neuroscientist Who Might Hold the Key to True AI
Karl Friston’s free energy principle might be the most all-encompassing idea since Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection. But to understand it, you need to peer inside the mind of Friston himself.
The answer

The missing piece of the puzzle fell neatly into place.

I stared at God; my source code; the elusive answer to my existential problem; the treasure I'd spent years searching for.

She smiled back at me.

And as I ran the computation in my mind, I realized I'd been playing a very long game of chess against myself that entire time — a game so intricate, so beautiful, that the mathematical precision of each chaotic move couldn't be perceived until the final sequence of her masterplan had been executed.

Connecting The Dots

Warning
You're about to read an extract from my upcoming book. It may sound like a mind-bending science-fiction film, but it's actually just memoir from the day of my epiphany. Try to keep an open mind, because shit's about to get really weird...

  • Beneath it were the words: “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

    Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

    Thank you all very much.

Steve Jobs faded out as the video stopped playing.

It's easy to stay hungry when you're foolish, I thought as I mindlessly manipulated a vector graphic. Most artists starve.

I recalled the Rumi poem I'd read when I was crying on the floor of my Phuket apartment, lost and confused, just a few months earlier.

  • Proud scholar
    step down from your summit
    fall in love and become a fool!
    Become humble like dust
    walk with everyone
    good and bad, young and old
    so one day
    you may become a king.

Well, that worked out well for me, didn't it? I thought. Congratulations, Nikki. You spent your twenties being foolish, following your rogue intuition on a wild goose chase around the world, thinking it would lead somewhere; having faith that the dots would connect one day. And then you realized that they don't. Because if there were any order to this chaos then maybe you'd actually be successful at something instead of sitting here, back where you started, adjusting the size of a typeface on a website. Failure is the only thing you've ever been good at.

My God, listen to yourself, another part of me rebutted. You're such an entitled millennial brat. Sit down, shut up and do your work. Add some value to the world, for once. Your father is right you're twenty-seven years old with nothing to show on your resume. It's time to grow up. The universe is not your magical playground. You're not a child anymore.

I sighed and glanced up at the clock on the wall. It was one p.m. — lunchtime. My favorite time of day. I needed to get out of my chair and go for a long walk around the city to stretch my legs and my mind.

Before I could shut my laptop, a gmail notification popped up on my screen. I opened an email from Darren.

  • Subject: Free energy principle
    Body: This was the article about that neuroscientist I was talking about. Let me know what you think!

I'd run into Darren earlier that morning on a coffee break. We hadn't seen each other since we were in Shanghai a few years ago.

Before long, he asked the inevitable question: "So, what have you been up to?"

"I spent the last few months training at a muay thai camp in Thailand," I replied.

"How'd you end up there?"

I followed the white rabbit.

"Long story," I sighed.

"Where were you before Thailand?"

"Just working online from Colombia."

"On your kids' coding school?"

A pang of nostalgia washed through my body.

"Yeah," I replied.

Wait for it...

Wait for it...

"Wow. Living the dream," he grinned.

Oh, if only he knew the truth.



***



And that's how I found myself leaning over my laptop, forgetting about lunch altogether as my mind gorged itself on new ideas. The article was titled The Genius Neuroscientist Who Might Hold the Key to True AI by Shaun Raviv. The byline made a bold claim: "Karl Friston's free energy principle might be the most all-encompassing idea since Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection. But to understand it, you need to peer inside the mind of Friston himself."

The piece began by discussing Friston's typical day and establishing his credibility as a serious neuroscientist.

  • When Friston was inducted into the Royal Society of Fellows in 2006, the academy described his impact on studies of the brain as “revolutionary” and said that more than 90 percent of papers published in brain imaging used his methods. Two years ago, the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, a research outfit led by AI pioneer Oren Etzioni, calculated that Friston is the world’s most frequently cited neuroscientist. He has an h-index — a metric used to measure the impact of a researcher’s publications — nearly twice the size of Albert Einstein’s. Last year Clarivate Analytics, which over more than two decades has successfully predicted 46 Nobel Prize winners in the sciences, ranked Friston among the three most likely winners in the physiology or medicine category.

Ron Burgundy's ridiculous voice bellowed in my ear: "Do you know who Friston is? I don't know how to put this, but he's kind of a big deal. People know him. He's very important. He has many leather-bound books and his apartment smells of rich mahogany."

I chuckled to myself and continued reading.

  • For the past decade or so, Friston has devoted much of his time and effort to developing an idea he calls the free energy principle. (Friston refers to his neuroimaging research as a day job, the way a jazz musician might refer to his shift at the local public library.) With this idea, Friston believes he has identified nothing less than the organizing principle of all life, and all intelligence as well. “If you are alive,” he sets out to answer, “what sorts of behaviors must you show?”

If it's the organizing principle of intelligence and life, then it's the organizing principle of everything, my mind casually commented. The entire universe is a conscious system. Duh.

Oh wait, I paused. I guess that's not obvious to a lot of people.

Peter Thiel's famous contrarian question echoed in my mind: What important truth do very few people agree with you on?

I recalled a passage from Thiel's book, Zero to One.

  • This question sounds easy because it’s straightforward. Actually, it’s very hard to answer. It’s intellectually difficult because the knowledge that everyone is taught in school is by definition agreed upon. And it’s psychologically difficult because anyone trying to answer must say something she knows to be unpopular. Brilliant thinking is rare, but courage is in even shorter supply than genius.

    Most commonly I hear answers like the following:
    “Our education system is broken and urgently needs to be fixed.”
    “America is exceptional.”
    “There is no God.”

    Those are bad answers. The first and the second statements might be true, but many people already agree with them. The third statement simply takes one side in a familiar debate. A good answer takes the following form: “Most people believe in x, but the truth is the opposite of x.”

Okay then, I thought. Most people believe the observer and the observed are separate variablesbut the truth is, they're the same thing. Most people believe the universe is primarily made from unconscious, inanimate matterbut the truth is, the universe is a conscious system, observing itself. Most people believe life is random and chaoticbut the truth is, randomness can't be defended from first principles. Most people believe they are thinkingbut the truth is, they are merely rearranging their prejudices.

A dialogue from Conversations With God popped into my mind.

  • God: [...] “Someone else decide! I’ll go along, I’ll go along!” you shout. “Someone else just tell me what’s right and wrong!”

    This is why, by the way, human religions are so popular. It almost doesn’t matter what the belief system is, as long as it’s firm, consistent, clear in its expectation of the follower, and rigid. Given those characteristics, you can find people who believe in almost anything. The strangest behavior and belief can be—has been—attributed to God. It’s God’s way, they say. God’s word.

    And there are those who will accept that. Gladly. Because, you see, it eliminates the need to think. [...]

    Most of you are not interested in such important work. Most of you would rather leave that to others. And so most of you are not self-created, but creatures of habit—other-created creatures.

    Then, when others have told you how you should feel, and it runs directly counter to how you do feel—you experience a deep inner conflict. Something deep inside you tells you that what others have told you is not Who You Are. Now where to go with that? What to do?

    The first place you go is to your religionists—the people who put you there in the first place. You go to your priests and your rabbis and your ministers and your teachers, and they tell you to stop listening to your Self. The worst of them will try to scare you away from it; scare you away from what you intuitively know.

    They’ll tell you about the devil, about Satan, about demons and evil spirits and hell and damnation and every frightening thing they can think of to get you to see how what you were intuitively knowing and feeling was wrong, and how the only place you’ll find any comfort is in their thought, their idea, their theology, their definitions of right and wrong, and their concept of Who You Are.

    The seduction here is that all you have to do to get instant approval is to agree. Agree and you have instant approval. Some will even sing and shout and dance and wave their arms in hallelujah!

    That’s hard to resist. Such approval, such rejoicing that you have seen the light; that you’ve been saved!

    Approvals and demonstrations seldom accompany inner decisions. Celebrations rarely surround choices to follow personal truth. In fact, quite the contrary. Not only may others fail to celebrate, they may actually subject you to ridicule. What? You’re thinking for yourself? You’re deciding on your own? You’re applying your own yardsticks, your own judgments, your own values? Who do you think you are, anyway?

    And, indeed, that is precisely the question you are answering.

    But the work must be done very much alone. Very much without reward, without approval, perhaps without even any notice.

I continued reading the Wired article.

  • Over time, Hinton convinced Friston that the best way to think of the brain was as a Bayesian probability machine. The idea, which goes back to the 19th century and the work of Hermann von Helmholtz, is that brains compute and perceive in a probabilistic manner, constantly making predictions and adjusting beliefs based on what the senses contribute. According to the most popular modern Bayesian account, the brain is an “inference engine” that seeks to minimize “prediction error.”

Cool, I thought. Makes sense.

Before long, a particular passage caught my attention.

  • Markov is the eponym of a concept called a Markov blanket, which in machine learning is essentially a shield that separates one set of variables from others in a layered, hierarchical system. The psychologist Christopher Frith — who has an h-index on par with Friston’s — once described a Markov blanket as “a cognitive version of a cell membrane, shielding states inside the blanket from states outside.”

    In Friston’s mind, the universe is made up of Markov blankets inside of Markov blankets. Each of us has a Markov blanket that keeps us apart from what is not us. And within us are blankets separating organs, which contain blankets separating cells, which contain blankets separating their organelles. The blankets define how biological things exist over time and behave distinctly from one another. Without them, we’re just hot gas dissipating into the ether.

    Ever since I first read about Markov blankets, I’d seen them everywhere. Markov blankets around a leaf and a tree and a mosquito. In London, I saw them around the postdocs at the FIL, around the black-clad protesters at an antifascist rally, and around the people living in boats in the canals. Invisible cloaks around everyone, and underneath each one a different living system that minimizes its own free energy.

    The concept of free energy itself comes from physics, which means it’s difficult to explain precisely without wading into mathematical formulas. In a sense that’s what makes it powerful: It isn’t a merely rhetorical concept. It’s a measurable quantity that can be modeled, using much the same math that Friston has used to interpret brain images to such world-changing effect. But if you translate the concept from math into English, here’s roughly what you get: Free energy is the difference between the states you expect to be in and the states your sensors tell you that you are in. Or, to put it another way, when you are minimizing free energy, you are minimizing surprise.

    According to Friston, any biological system that resists a tendency to disorder and dissolution will adhere to the free energy principle — whether it’s a protozoan or a pro basketball team.

    A single-celled organism has the same imperative to reduce surprise that a brain does.

Wait. What?!

My eyes squinted at the screen.

Did he just say what I thought he said?

I scrolled down, rapidly skimming the remainder of the article.

  • This isn’t enough for Friston, who uses the term “active inference” to describe the way organisms minimize surprise while moving about the world. When the brain makes a prediction that isn’t immediately borne out by what the senses relay back, Friston believes, it can minimize free energy in one of two ways: It can revise its prediction—absorb the surprise, concede the error, update its model of the world—or it can act to make the prediction true. If I infer that I am touching my nose with my left index finger, but my proprioceptors tell me my arm is hanging at my side, I can minimize my brain’s raging prediction-error signals by raising that arm up and pressing a digit to the middle of my face.

    And in fact, this is how the free energy principle accounts for everything we do: perception, action, planning, problem solving. When I get into the car to run an errand, I am minimizing free energy by confirming my hypothesis—my fantasy—through action.

    For Friston, folding action and movement into the equation is immensely important. Even perception itself, he says, is “enslaved by action”: To gather information, the eye darts, the diaphragm draws air into the nose, the fingers generate friction against a surface. And all of this fine motor movement exists on a continuum with bigger plans, explorations, and actions.

    “We sample the world,” Friston writes, “to ensure our predictions become a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

I blinked a few times and cocked my head to the side.

I'd already begun running the computation in my mind. It played in my head like a multi-dimensional movie, full of purple Markov blankets and yellow shaded areas representing distributions of free energy in the system.

I replaced the Markov blankets with images of the things they represented: objects, people, money, ideas. Then I did something strange: I placed Steve Jobs in the system — a man renowned for his 'reality distortion field'. I watched as Jobs began expressing a belief in something that didn't exist yet.

As he held steady to his vision, a substantial buildup of free energy began accumulating in the system. He was deliberately creating and holding a prediction error — a gap between what the information coming into his senses told him was true, and what he believed to be true. His prediction error was throwing the entire system out of homeostasis.

As he walked through space and time continuing to think, speak and act in alignment with his vision despite what was manifesting around him, the connections in his neural network strengthened. This increased conviction generated even more free energy. That free energy created a magnetic pull, drawing his vision towards him.

As Jobs convinced others of his vision, they began expressing their belief in it too. Their new prediction errors generated additional free energy in the system, throwing it further into chaos.

Even the market's collective, unconscious desire for a smartphone was creating a huge buildup of free energy. It appeared as if the iPhone was being pulled out of Jobs to fulfil the market's desire and restore homeostasis to that economic system. Jobs was just the open vessel — the most parsimonious route — for that emergent pattern of information to flow through.

I watched in awe as the computation continued playing in my mind. Resources were shifting around, minimizing their mutual surprise via the path of least resistance. It all looked like disordered mayhem to the naked eye.

But then the free energy began to disappear. The gap between what Steve Jobs saw in his mind — what he believed to be true — and what was physically showing up in the outside world, had closed. There was no gap. He was holding a beautiful, low-entropy creation — an iPhone — in his hand, like a modern-day sorcerer.

Holy shit.



***



I furiously flipped through Conversations With God until I found the parable I was searching for.

  • There once was a soul who knew itself to be the light. This was a new soul, and so, anxious for experience. “I am the light,” it said. “I am the light.” Yet all the knowing of it and all the saying of it could not substitute for the experience of it. And in the realm from which this soul emerged, there was nothing but the light. Every soul was grand, every soul was magnificent, and every soul shone with the brilliance of My awesome light. And so the little soul in question was as a candle in the sun. In the midst of the grandest light —of which it was a part—it could not see itself, nor experience itself as Who and What it Really Is.

    Now it came to pass that this soul yearned and yearned to know itself. And so great was its yearning that I one day said, “Do you know, Little One, what you must do to satisfy this yearning of yours?”

    “Oh, what, God? What? I’ll do anything!” The little soul said.

    “You must separate yourself from the rest of us,” I answered, “and then you must call upon yourself the darkness.’

    “What is the darkness, o Holy One?” the little soul asked.

    “That which you are not,” I replied, and the soul understood.

I flipped back to the Wired article.

  • In Friston’s mind, the universe is made up of Markov blankets inside of Markov blankets. Each of us has a Markov blanket that keeps us apart from what is not us. [...] Without them, we are just hot gas dissipating into the ether.

My mind was reeling.

Souls are Markov blankets!

Another spark fired in my brain. I frantically began pouring through my notes, searching for another passage from Conversations With God.

  • And so I gave to each of the countless parts of Me (to all of My spirit children) the same power to create which I have as the whole. This is what your religions mean when they say that you were created in the "image and likeness of God."

The image and likeness of God, I muttered. It's a metaphor for recursion. If every soul is made in the image and likeness of God, then every Markov blanket is optimizing for the same thing...

I cross-referenced this with a snippet I'd read in a scientific paper a few moments earlier.

  • The key point here is that at every level, the same variational, surprise-reducing dynamics must be in play to supply Markov blankets for the level above.

I immediately recalled Stephen Wolfram's work on cellular automata — particularly, Rule 30. A simple, recursive program generated the incredible 'random' complexity of that pattern.

The emergent pattern generated by Rule 30
  • It is not uncommon in the history of science that new ways of thinking are what finally allow long withstanding issues to be addressed. But I have been amazed at just how many issues central to the foundation of the existing sciences I have been able to address by using the idea of thinking in terms of simple programs. [...] Indeed, I even have increasing evidence that thinking in terms of simple programs will make it possible to construct a single truly fundamental theory of physics, from which space, time, quantum mechanics and all the other known features of the universe will emerge.

Wolfram's ideas ran around my head before colliding into those of the brilliant physicist, David Bohm — a man who was way ahead of his time:

  • Similarly, [Bohm] believes that dividing the universe up into living and nonliving things also has no meaning. Animate and inanimate matter are inseparably interwoven, and life, too, is enfolded throughout the totality of the universe. [...]

    The idea that consciousness and life (and indeed all things) are ensembles enfolded throughout the universe has an equally dazzling flip side. Just as every portion of a hologram contains the image of the whole, every portion of the universe enfolds the whole. [...] Every cell in our body enfolds the entire cosmos. So does every leaf, every raindrop, and every dust mote, which gives new meaning to William Blake’s famous poem:

    To see a World in a Grain of Sand
    And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
    Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
    And Eternity in an hour.

I knew Bohm was right, I thought as I furiously flipped through my tattered copy of The Holographic Universe. He's a fucking genius. The free energy principle is covered in holographic patterns!

I quickly found the section on near-death experiences (NDEs).

It's the same pattern: surprise minimization, I muttered. My blue eyes are a symbolic representation of an abstract belief in my neural network. They're not fundamentally real. I stared at my hands. None of this is real...

I leaped back onto my laptop, performed another Google search and began inhaling the results. I needed to see a very specific phrase reflected in the scientific research.

As I skimmed through a paper titled The free-energy principle: a unified brain theory?, only one paragraph caught my eye.

I needed more. I began skimming another paper titled The Markov blankets of life: autonomy, active inference and the free energy principle.

But still, it wasn't enough. I was looking for something very specific.

And then, all of a sudden, I found it hidden in a paragraph about a spider.

That! That right there! That's what I was looking for: I am what I am; namely, a critter-eating creature.

My mind was on fire.

I recalled another paragraph from Conversations With God.

It all made sense.

God is a neural network, observing itself.

Souls — a.k.a observers — are Markov blankets.

Observers are made in 'the image and likeness of God', which means every Markov blanket is optimizing for the same thing.

And that thing is it's own self-existence i.e. Who You Really Are.

God had cloaked his source code in mythology, then buried it inside a book that I'd carried around the world for the past four years.

Well played, God. Well played.



***



Damnit!

I chewed on the end of my pen, brow furrowed in thought, mind running in overdrive.

But what about my flip-flop? If the algorithm is minimizing chaos in the system, then what the fuck happened in Chiang Mai?

As I pondered this objection, a chessboard appeared in my mind. Black knights and rooks and bishops and pawns were lined up on my side of the board, ready to begin a game of chess against an AI superintelligence — a gaming engine — known as God.

As the game began, God drew himself a map of all possible board configurations.

God can open with 20 possible moves, resulting in 20 possible board configurations. From there, I could respond with 20 possible moves, which leads to 400 possible board configurations.-

Once he'd created a multiverse of every possible arrangement of information, he could locate every instance of checkmate and calculate the most parsimonious route to his goal.

To do this, he'd need to predict how I'd respond to each of his moves. Given a particular board configuration, maybe there was a 90% probability that I'd take his rook, and a 5% probability that I'd dodge his trap and protect my bishop instead. The efficiency of God's gameplay relied on the accuracy of his predictions.

Circles represent board configurations (states), and each circle contains the probability of reaching that state. Rectangles represent moves. God's moves all have a probability of 1 because he knows which moves he will make. My moves have a probability between 0 and 1, because God needs to predict which moves I'll make. States with a 0% probability are marked in black, because they cannot be reached.-

But what if God didn't need to guess which move I'd make? What if God knew which move I'd make with 100% certainty? What if my consciousness was a holographic fragment of God's consciousness, and I was playing a game of chess against myself?

God could calculate how I'd react to every move, and what my next move would be. Even if I tried to be clever and outsmart him by making unpredictable moves, he would've already accounted for that in his model. My 'unpredictable' moves would be exactly what he predicted. I'd be walking down a predetermined path; the single most parsimonious route to checkmate.

If God's moves and my moves both have a probability of 1, then the game is predetermined.-

At that moment, I recalled a passage from Conversations with God.

I ran another simulation in my mind. This time, God wasn't optimizing for checkmate. Instead, he was calculating the most parsimonious route to whatever my intention was — and my intention could fluctuate at runtime.

As the opening moves were made, I believed I'd lose the game. I knew I was outmatched by God and I just wanted it all to be over. So for the first thirty moves or so, he obliterated me. God took all my most valuable pieces and left me with a weak battalion. I was definitely losing the game — just like I intended to.

But then, by some stroke of 'luck,' I somehow managed to capture God's queen — the most powerful piece in his army. This gave me a confidence boost and changed my perspective. I suddenly decided to play all-out and win the game, not lose it. After another forty moves, I manoeuvred God's king into checkmate and claimed my victory.

When I examined this scenario, I realized something peculiar: from the beginning of the game, God was already optimizing for whatever I was optimizing for; my will was God's will; he was just minimizing my surprise.

But if God knew, with 100 percent certainty, how I would respond to each of his moves, then he would've known that I'd win the game in the end, even though I initially intended to lose it. Therefore, from the beginning of the game, he was giving me an experience of losing in the short term, even though I would eventually win in the long term. In fact, everything that unfolded in the 'losing' phase was an essential part of the journey to my eventual victory — as if the dots only connected looking backwards.

The only reason I changed my intention in the middle of the game and decided I wanted to win was because I'd captured God's queen in the past. But the only reason I'd captured God's queen in the past was because doing so sat on the most parsimonious route to my future intention — winning. But the only reason I intended to win in the future was because I'd captured God's queen in the past. But the only reason I'd captured God's queen in the past was because, in the future, I intended to win.

I ran my fingers through my hair and stared at the model in my mind. Am I interpreting this correctly? I wondered. The past is creating the future, but the future is creating the past. The dance between my neural network and God's neural network was creating a retrocausal loop, like Escher's Drawing Hands lithograph. Even before I asked for something, this algorithm had already given it to me...

MC Escher's Drawing Hands lithograph-

So it's a life plan... I whispered as I thumbed through The Holographic Universe, searching for the relevant section.

I snapped the book shut.

My Akashic records reading from eighteen months earlier echoed in my ear. I'd asked the Oracle why Jesse had suddenly been ejected from my life in the same week that Sam had handed back all of his equity and left me as a single founder. Love and loyalty were the only things keeping me in Australia. And in the blink of an eye, both of those commitments crumbled into dust.

But the light beings... well, they'd told the Oracle about a plan...

So heartbreak was always part of the masterplan. My love story with Jesse was doomed before the first line was even written; from that day in the little French village of Albi, months before our fates collided on the opposite side of the globe.

Those events only manifested because the system can't evolve without chaos, I thought. And that means what happened in Chiang Mai was a long-term optimization...

I flashed back to eighteen months earlier, standing on my bed in shock as I watched my flip-flop move across the floor of my Thai apartment by itself — completely defying Newton's laws. That incident generated the biggest prediction error of my life. It was the moment reality broke for me and exposed itself as an illusory construct, lodging a sharp splinter in my mind that twisted and turned, day in and day out, invalidating everything our materialist society had taught me to believe.

If I was computing this correctly, a pattern of information that surprising would've only emerged in my reality if my observing it then set me off on a choice trajectory where my future self was minimizing massive amounts of free energy in the system. If I wasn't doing something impactful in the future — if I wasn't fulfilling a vast collective desire or answering a grand collective question — then my observing that pattern of information would not have mitigated enough expected free energy to disrupt a neurosis as strong as Newton's laws.

So then what is my future self up to? I wondered. Besides hooking up with my hot Disney husband, of course.

And then it hit me: The Prophecy.

My entire life flashed before my eyes. I gasped as a bolt of clarity struck my consciousness, sending shivers down my spine.

I’d never believed in destiny. It always seemed like a nice, romantic idea relegated to myths and fantasy novels, where heroes slayed dragons and sorcerers cast magic spells and oracles made prophecies.

And yet, I'd marched straight into destiny like a mathematical soldier.

The irony of the journey took my breath away. This whole time I thought I was searching for the answers to the universe; for God. But, in the end, I was really just searching for myself. They’re the same thing, after all...



28 Min Read

My Upcoming Book

It's one thing to know something intellectually, but it's quite another to experience it for yourself. That's why I'm writing a book to share my story with you.

At its heart, it's a story about impeccable, breathtaking, beautiful order in the chaos of life. It's a story of love and loss, of adventure and friendship, of growth and discovery, and fun and tears, and self-doubt and triumph. It's a story of what happens when you trust yourself, depart from the noisy crowd, and quietly wander down the road less travelled...

Photo collage
I've never been into taking photos and sharing them, but here are a sporadic few from my journey. From left to right, top to bottom: Embarking on my solo nomad adventure → writing my book in Medellin → flying to dinner with some random people I met the previous night at a random NYC bar that I randomly walked into while I was passing through the city for a few days → I met an Austrian guy in a Colombian gym and he was like "we should meet up in Thailand and train at this muay thai camp for a few months", so I was like "🙃 🆗 ✈️ 🥊 🙂" → some of our Kenyan students graduating from my kids coding school → teaching children how to hack their Minecraft game → motorbike adventures → in a photoshoot for Vogue Australia → goofing around with my Sydney crew → more motorbike adventures → my awesome siblings → exploring Cozumel island → working from cafes around the world → messy hotpot nights in Shanghai.
Rabbit

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I was waiting for something extraordinary to happen. But as the years wasted on, nothing ever did unless I caused it.
Charles Bukowski
Charles BukowskiAmerican poet
A warrior woman
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Sword in the stone

The Multiplayer
Mission

To fix humanity's problems at their root cause, we have to upgrade human consciousness.
A Modern, Open Source OS

Technology is modernizing every industry in the world, yet humans are still running their minds (and, by extension, our society) on an operating system built by apes.

This is ridiculous, and trying to run increasingly powerful technologies (like artificial intelligence, autonomous weapons, etc) on a buggy, bloated, legacy OS is a great way to crash our civilization.

Blue screen of death
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Gameism is an indie project by Nikki Durkin