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To Like or not to Like

It’s a word we use a lot: "like". "I really liked that movie!", "Oh! I don’t like her!", "Oh yeah! I like that a lot!". But what are we saying when we use it? What does it truly mean to "like" or "not like" something?

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She sits alone in a little room, a light bulb dangling over her head, a bit of natural light sifting in through a little half opened window, some discarded newspapers on the floor. As she looks around at the space before her, and inside herself, at her own memories of experiences, stories, people… she reacts. And the phrase, "I like", comes out like a repeating beat, punctuated by alternations of "don’t". Her name is Marie.

I will now propose a universe of "white noise", a shower of light in myriads of colors adding up to clear blinding light, a chaotic maelstrom from which anything can emerge. Something within Marie watches this endless parade of changes: the wind, the light, the news, her thoughts; and the parade gets filtered through something else.

Picture a tiny, simple electrical field. It was there before Marie came about… before the conception, before the birth, before going to school, before the many jobs.

Then Marie came. A much more complex field of interlocked circuits grew around the initial one, surrounding it, protecting it, locking it into place. This new complex field developed a series of "charges" around different events: when the door is knocked a particular subcircuit is activated, when mother speaks in soft tones another one and when father screams, yet another one.

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Within the chaotic maelstrom, this set of charges is now a constant, a recurring base of individuality and permanence in a storm of change. "Marie" is a safe harbor for the innocent being that started in this journey.

And the charges attached to the labeled events carry words: "I like…" and "I don’t like…".

And these charges, these words and their attached energies... these are the guardians.

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The original simple circuit, the essential burst of creative energy, has forgotten that it can move these charges around and so they become fixed.

And as the Universe keeps on shifting, the complex set of interlocking circuits, the "Marie", keeps on assigning words to the events. "That one I liked", "that one I didn’t like"

"Marie" becomes "Marie", is "Marie" and stays "Marie" through her likes and dislikes.

The like/dislike charges enforce the sense of self.

I am what I like.

I am not what I don't like.

And it is good.

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But what if the charges could be moved around?

Could the "Marie" circuit then like anything?

Could she like ...


The little room is now dark. It is night and Marie has turned off the light bulb. She sits in the darkness for hours.

Does she like it?


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