April 7, 2022

I Found a Super-Computer on My Doorstep: Now What?

The doorbell dings, but by the time I get to the peephole, I see no one.

I open the door to find a box on the doormat. A big one.

Curiosity always wins. I snap open my Leatherman knife and cut the tape.

Inside the box, I find some kind of computer, but it’s not a PC or Mac. Never seen anything like it. Through the glass I can see monster components with a huge liquid-cooling unit. This thing must be a beast.

After about an hour of fiddling around, I get it hooked up and try to turn it on.

Can’t find the button.

Eventually, it comes to life. The screen has a blinking cursor and nothing else. I dig around in the box, but there’s no manual or quick-start guide. There’s no brand or model name on the box or the device itself, so I can’t look it up on the internet to find out how to use it.

Great!

I’ve got what appears to be the most powerful computer on Earth, and no idea how to use it. I’d ship it back, but there’s no return address. I’m thinking of using it as a pedestal for a flowerpot.

NOTE: None of the above happened.

But it might as well have.

I dreamed this up while thinking about my brain.

Even after 60 years, I feel like I don’t know how to use it (or even to turn it on sometimes). I know it’s quite powerful. I’ve seen what some other people do with theirs.

I got the same hardware, the same operating system, the same apps, but not the same results.

While out walking near the lake the other day, I asked Siri to set a reminder: “Devote the rest of my life to maximizing the use of the amazing machine called my brain.”

Through lots of reading, I have discovered one thing about it.

My brain responds to requests, no matter what they are.

If I ask, “Why do bad thing always happen to me?” My brain will find reasons: “You’re stupid. You’re a bad person. You deserve it.”

But if I ask, “How can I change this situation for the better?” My brain goes to work, even while I’m asleep, seeking an answer.

My brain is kind of agnostic about which questions I ask, but it’s religiously devoted to finding answers.

So, at a basic level, if I want to get the most out of this super-computer under my scalp, I must start with asking better questions.