Ravikant: I think a lot of, for example, like Buddhists talk about, is awareness versus the ego. What they’re really talking about is you can think of your brain, your consciousness, as a multi-layered mechanism. There’s kind of a core base kernel level OS that’s running. Then there’s applications that are running on top. I like to think of it as computer and geek speak.
I’m actually going back to my awareness level of OS, which is always calm, always peaceful, and generally happy and content. I’m trying to stay in that mode and not activate the monkey mind, which is always worried and frightened and anxious, but serves incredible purpose. I’m trying not to activate that program until I need it. When I need it, I want to just focus on that program. If I’m running it 24/7, all the time, I’m wasting energy and it becomes me. I am more than that.
I think another thing that spirituality or religion or Buddhism or anything you follow will teach you over time is that you are more than just your mind. You are more than just your habits. You are more than just your preferences. You’re a level of awareness. You’re a body. Modern humans, we don’t live enough in our body. We don’t live enough in our awareness. We live too much in this internal monologue in our heads. All of which, by the way, is just programmed into you by society and by the environment from when you were younger.
You are basically a bunch of hardware DNA written, that then reacted to environmental effects when you were younger. Then you recorded the things that were good and bad and you use that to prejudge everything that’s going to be thrown against you. Then you’re using that to constantly try and predict and change the future.
As you get older & older, the sum of these preferences that you’ve accumulated is very, very large. Some of these reactions, habitual reactions, that you’ve accumulated is very, very large, and then they end up as runaway freight trains that control your mood. We should control our own moods. Why don’t we study how to control our moods? What a masterful thing that would be if you could say, “Well, right now I would like to be in the curious state”, and then you can genuinely set yourself into the curious state. Or you say, “I want to be in a mourning state. I’m mourning a loved one and I want to grieve for them, but I really want to grieve. I really want to feel that. I don’t want to be distracted right by computer programming problem that’s due tomorrow.”
His discussion of mood control has a flavor of Goenka vipassana, pretty different from the Zen flavor I'm most accustomed to.
I still like it though.