I’ve been playing a new game recently and the results have been very interesting. The game was inspired by reading a random article from the Art of Manliness blog about the importance of eye contact in establishing and maintaining trust and cooperation between us humans. Like many of us from the geek end of the social spectrum, I really suck at it.
So the game, which can be played whenever you are walking through your neigbourhood or city’s streets, is designed to build confidence in making eye contact and give you an amazing new perspective into the lives of the people milling past you who would otherwise be just another ghostly pair of shoes.
The rules are simple:
- As you walk along, make sure you are wearing an open, friendly expression on your face.
- When you are about four paces from someone you are about to pass, look them in the eyes.
- Note that this does not mean a lazer gaze that will melt a hole clear through the back of their skull; eye contact means looking at each eye in turn taking in the brow and bridge of the nose as you pass gently between.
- Whatever the reaction is, enjoy it.
- If they return your gaze, do not flinch away. Smile.
Four paces is plenty of time to exchange a glance and a smile and to get a fleeting but meaningful glimpse behind the masks that people usually wear.
Playing the game for the past couple of weeks has made feel much more confident about making eye contact. In fact, it has simply made me feel more confident all of the time. Now that I’m over the initial hurdles, I’m beginning to wonder why I was so shy about this before – this is a behaviour I have known I needed to improve for a long time but never before looked the problem in the eye.
The Simulation Argument proposed by Nick Bostrom in 2003 remains the single most perplexing answer to the Fermi Paradox yet proposed.
The short version of these two arguments are:
- Fermi Paradox: Given how many habitable planets there are in the Galaxy and how long they’ve been about… where the hell are all the aliens? They should have over run the place with von Neumann probes already!
- Simulation Argument: Given that it will become possible in the future to simulate not just individuals but whole populations, it is significantly more probable that we are ancestor simulations being run by our future prodigy rather than real world residents who will first develop that technology.
So SA’s answer to FP is simply: You are a Sim. The simulation does not include the aliens.
“How to be the Luckiest Person Alive” by James Altucher is the author’s first self published book that he is pushing at the Amazon minimum price of 99c as the object is to get read, not get rich. It is not his first book, he has published through the more traditional route before but I haven’t read any of them for comparison.
I have been an avid reader of his blog for some time now. He is prolific, occasionally produces profoundly insightful gems and has pushed the line so far out on how much honesty one can put into bloging it is amazing. There are a great many blogs by and for wannabe entrepreneurs out there, the ones that standout are not those that claim to purvey fullproof get-rich methods so much as those that discuss their failures as openly as they discuss their successes. James’ blog is stunning in his discussions about and deep honesty in portraying his failings, and yet he is a slightly socially reclusive geek who has made the occasional multi-million dollar success. The journeys from crashed out, penniless failures back to success and happiness, by following his Daily Practice , are entertaining rides indeed.