• What are ‘toys’ (why do you call these ideas ‘toys’)?
Specifically, a peculiar (and possibly non-human) analogy which empowers us to pursue a novel way of modeling and perhaps relating to some crucial aspect of the universe; for example, living beings, intelligence or time.
A toy empowers a new perspective. It is an expedient and necessarily incomplete means of revealing new features of meaning, potential, identity or relation either in general or within some given symmetry. Usually, this is some sort of analogy, either physical or conceptual - sometimes both.
Humans learn primarily through specialized forms of simulation and experiment. As children, we employ various kinds of physical and conceptual hypostases such as dolls, toys, and stories to aid us in exploring new ideas, possibilities and terrains. These ‘playfully intended models’ act as foci for our imaginal resources, and provide familiarizing experience and relational inspiration to us as we explore the identities and realities of the subject at hand.
In the Organelle material the term is sometimes used peculiarly in that it (along with the meanings sketched above) may denote the peculiar method a transhuman intelligence might employ in order to communicate ‘alien’ or nonhuman concepts to a human being, who is (at least cognitively) largely unprepared for such novelty. I have in some cases attempted to capture some of the peculiar character and momentum from my own direct experience and translate that into an analogy of some sort, which hopefully maintains some of the original character and function as it was revealed to me. Many of these analogies are relatively direct simplifications of specific elements that the NHI highlighted to me as important during our contact.
The simplification makes it much easier for the human or humans in question to form an initial relationship with the ideas or perspectives involved. This relationship can then be experientially elaborated through thought, dreaming, play and experiment.
Superficially, a toy may appear to play upon a peculiar inadequacy of common human understanding, however its goal is not to deride, but to reveal. Here is an example of a very simple toy:
When I ask someone ‘what color is an apple?’ Most will say red. If they are wary, or are expecting to be challenged, they may include yellow, gold, green, colors visible on rotten apples, etc. Yet, if we examine any apple we will find that only a very tiny portion of it represents the color we associate with it: ~97% of an apple is usually white.
We are taught at an early age to associate apples with red-ness, and most of us take for granted that this is accurate. This toy reveals that while this is reasonable and expedient in one dimension, it actually implies something that, from a broader perspective, is almost completely untrue (i.e. that ‘apples are red’). Yet in a perspective a bit closer to reality (a bit more inclusive, yet still itself incomplete) nearly all of every apple (with some few exceptions) is white. This is superficially entertaining when properly presented, however, the toy has a more powerful and general function: it’s an analog of the usually invisible peculiarities that arise from common assessments of identity. Our relationship with identity is very similar to this apple problem, because we overcredential relatively superficial (or monodimensional) qualia while ignoring matters of crucial import (such as context and meaning). Our metaphors are, in general, too flat and primitive to be truly useful, and yet in our lives and minds we will spend long hours spuriously defending and elaborating them to ourselves. We receive, in the end, ‘only the red’ of the ‘apple’ of our actual potential and experience.
“A dangerous toy demands copying and distribution. An excellent toy disappears — converting itself to momentum that propels you toward fruitful new terrains faster and more adeptly than the last one did.”
Back to the Organelle F.A.Q Index