Garbage In, Garbage Out

Information is everywhere – but it’s only one part of the Experience

“Garbage in, garbage out” is usually referring to how computers work: you put in correct facts, then ask the computer a question and it will give you the correct answer, but if you put in false facts, then ask the same question, the computer will give you an incorrect answer, but as far as the computer knows it is correct because all it knows is what you told it.

And most of the time, humans behave the same way
We know:
-what we’ve experienced personally
-what we’ve seen first-hand or observed from a distance
-what we’ve been told
-what we’ve intuited
…and how we interpret all four of those based on logic, emotion, and more intuition.

I would posit that every person receives the same amount of information about the world over the span of their early life, which forms their views on the world. Nobody receives the SAME PIECES of information. Some people are exposed to a variety of information, others get a whole lot of the same or similar information. Sometimes variety comes in the form of a lot of good, intelligent, expansive ideas from a lot of different people, but sometimes variety comes in the form of a lot of really good experiences, really bad experiences, and middle-of-the-road experiences that are hard to classify. The same piece of information could be received by a lot of different people, and they might bond over that shared experience, but maybe not, because their interpretation of that information might differ. It could differ based on other information they got, or it could just be their intuitive interpretation.

*whew* Did you get that? Feel free to read it again. Not saying you’re stupid, I’m saying that was frickin’ convoluted, even for me. Please if you would, my dears, make sure you got what I said there before you move on.

Because realizing that you are not standing in a universe where everyone has the same information, understanding that everyone got different things, and those things got interpreted different ways, is what it’s going to take to understand this: Reality isn’t Real. Reality is interpretation. There is no Real World, there is only Your World. And each person’s “Your World” is different from everyone else’s, maybe only slightly, maybe a lot, but different. When you look at what someone else is doing or saying, you are going to assess that using the information in Your World, not the information in theirs (chances are, unless your psychic empath meter is cranked up to 11+).

I’m not saying people can’t change. After all, computers can be reprogrammed, and I am talking here about the organic, all-natural, non-GMO computer that’s installed in your skull: your brain.

Now I love brains. They’re sexy (or a lot sexier than a lack of them). But we have to remember that they’re just computers. They’re good at math and at making connections between facts. But, garbage in garbage out: you can’t make a good argument when you don’t have all the information or when some of your information is incorrect.

Well, I take that back, sort of: You can make a very good case for an idea or cause based on what you already know: experience, observation, learning from others, and your own intuition.

Yes, make your case, state your point of view, get out there and express yourself.

-But-

Realize that other people have different information than you. Somebody out there has facts that you don’t have, even if it’s a secret agent in a bunker somewhere, somebody knows something that you don’t know. But more importantly, you don’t know, and will never know the complete inner workings of any other person.

And therefore, take yourself with a grain of salt.

When you go out to stand up for what you believe, be ready for someone else to stand up too. And be understanding of Their World. You don’t have to agree with them, but what you can do is look at their experiences and what they have been taught. Look at them, each individual, and RECEIVE THE INFORMATION THAT THEY ARE OFFERING YOU. It is just information for you, and more information is good. Yes, you should totally check out whether it’s true. Yes, you should totally examine it compared to what you already know, BUT if it contradicts what you already know, you must examine BOTH pieces of information with equal scrutiny.

What if your contradicting information came from someone you like or trust? Well, maybe they were misinformed? Maybe their interpretation of it was based on some other misinformation? You won’t know until you question and examine that.

What if it’s from your own experience? Isn’t that that proof that you’re right? Well, it depends: how did you interpret that experience?

Lemme give you an example: you met one white-man-from-the-South once. He made some crude jokes and said something that was fairly racist. Did you decide right then that all white-men-from-the-South were crude and racist? Okay so, maybe you met five or ten or twenty white-men-from-the-South, and they all had relatively the same behavior. Okay, but were they all friends and coworkers? Were they all from the same town, same class or family financial status, same educational background, same type of church? Did you ever meet a white-man-from-the-South who didn’t have mostly the same experiences as them? Or did you just think you could classify hundreds of people based on twenty people you personally met?

Because that’s what racism is: Deciding you know everything about an entire race of people based on a small percentage that you’ve met. Because trust me, I’m from the South. Most of the racist assholes I met had stories about trashy black people (they do exist, bad apples in every bunch) that they have interacted with at some point in their lives. They made an interpretation of that experience, based on things that people they know and trust told them, and they interpreted that this bad experience confirmed that. And any black person they meet who is kind, cultured, creative, self-supporting, etc. they will assume is the exception to the rule. You see: information and interpretation – and the really bad ones are the ones that don’t question – Garbage in, garbage out, with no oversight, no attempt to check themselves or the ones they trust. This goes for race issues, religious issues, sexual issues, gender issues, politics and personal relationships, everything in their lives from how to run a business to how to raise a child.

All I am asking is: Don’t Be Like Those People.

Every individual is different. Humans have this habit where we like to lump things together, classify things, sort them into comfortable little boxes so that we can quickly process and decide what’s good and bad. It’s just a habit, and it doesn’t really work. It doesn’t take into account the complexities of people, the complexity of Truth itself. You’re not simplifying your life by doing this, you’re only going to make it harder for yourself.

Because it’s going to make you look like a garbage human to everyone who knows something you don’t know.

And don’t discount the interpretation of facts either. To one person looking at a protest turned riot, the world seems full of hate, hopeless of any recovery or redemption. To another person it is exciting to see people so adamant about a shared cause where many others are complacent. And to still another, they look at hate and violence and ask “How does it get better?” They look at a harsh world and refuse to give up the knowing that a better world is possible, they refuse to give up and give in to pessimism, cynicism or even the status quo. No matter what the facts are, you can always make the choice to seek out ways to change the World.

One last thing I want to touch on, and this can and probably will be a whole other blog in itself, is Unverified Personal Gnosis (UPG).

In case you haven’t noticed, I use this A LOT.

When you’re talking about Magic, when you’re talking about Infinite Beings, about the connection to Nature, the sense that you can communicate with trees or animals, or just that gut feeling that you shouldn’t walk down that alley tonight, all of this is intuition. But some of these go beyond just basic instinct into the realm of things that are un-provable beliefs and Knowings.

Talking about this is where a lot of people will start to scoff and shake their heads. They want something they can quantify. I cannot say whether these people have never had UPG, if they just ignore it, or do they downplay it, saying if they have a hypothesis, they can’t use it until they’ve proven it. That’s good practice for scientific, physical applications, or for things like legal justice and law, but for metaphysics and spirituality, and for those of us who desire to create a world that is greater than what we can even imagine possible, you have to go beyond.

This is not blind faith, this is not convincing yourself something ought to be true, and this goes above and beyond arbitrary or emotional morals or ethics: this is Knowing. This is the Universe whispering in your ear or your own Higher Consciousness speaking from deep within. It won’t tell you next week’s lottery numbers, but it is something you can use as a guide.

One thing to remember though, your interpretation of that Knowing, that Energy, is never an unchangeable constant and surety, not a fixed point. That’s your brain trying to pin down something that isn’t seated in your head, something that didn’t originate from gray matter. Your interpretation of UPG will flex and bend and reshape when you encounter new experiences and information, when you ask questions. And some people, groups, spiritual practices and tools, even fiction, will have that “Yes! This!” bursting inside of you, but even those are not the end-all-be-all, not The Way, not The One. Because there is no The One, there’s only the constant expansion and creation stretching out before you.

The point being, don’t turn your personal Knowing into more garbage in your brain. Let it be the flow that washes out the stagnant gunk of false ideas and mistaken connections. Speak and act from Knowing and Awareness so that you’re not just stringing together the garbage of the world. And in standing up and acknowledging your Personal Gnosis, Your Knowing, unverified or not, you may find others who stand up and say, “Hey, I’ve always known that too!”

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I am a writer/illustrator of various types of speculative fiction but mostly modern fantasy. I have loved magic, and the people and creatures who live with it and use it, all my life, and writing and drawing these people in modern environments makes it all the more real to me. I also like to add an element of Darkness and horror, as well as science fiction, for “flavor”. I am fascinated with everything from unicorns and dragons to vampires and demons.

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