I recently experimented with Hackintosh (essentially, a normal PC that has Mac OS installed), and the whole process is intimidating because everybody seems to be giving you a “cookbook” type instructions where you just follow steps without actually understanding what’s going on, and when it works, you end up being no smarter. So, I decided to add the part that’s usually missing.

Basically, it works like this: Mac has specific hardware, such as SMC, that makes it quite different from a PC, and Mac OS gets its basic sensor info and other stuff from the SMC. On a PC, those things are done differently, but if you add a software layer that will trick the OS into thinking it’s talking to Mac hardware, while the software in fact translates the commands and data between the OS and PC hardware, everything will work. Also, there are kernel extensions that trick the OS into thinking some piece of hardware is compatible. This is the complicated part where everybody’s eyes get blurry and they say something along the lines of “fuck all”. However, the good part is that you don’t need to know much about this in order for things to work. You just need to find the “recipe” someone else made for your hardware, copy it to the right place, possibly make adjustments and it will work.

The basic principle is this: there’s a piece of software called Clover, which takes place of your normal bootloader, but it also serves as an intermediary layer that tricks Mac OS. It scans for all bootable drives on your system, exposes them in form of a list, from which you then pick a drive you want to boot. This means that for basic booting into Mac OS, you need a drive with Clover installed, and a Mac OS bootable drive. Everybody is telling you to download Mac OS installation file on a real Mac, enter a few commands to make a bootable USB drive, and suffocate you with technobabble. I have a simpler explanation. Get a Clover ISO somewhere, and burn it onto the USB stick. Get pre-cooked EFI for your hardware. Copy this EFI onto the clover boot drive. At that point, if you connect both the Clover USB stick and a drive that would boot into Mac OS, such as the Time Machine backup drive, boot into the Clover stick, wait for the Clover to give you the list of bootable drives, and boot into the Time Machine system recovery partition or whatever it’s called. It will give you the option to install Mac OS on an empty drive. I assume you already have one, so format it in Disk Utility, exit disk utility, choose to either install a fresh copy of the OS or to restore from backup, go through the steps, and when it reboots, again boot into Clover and pick the right partition to boot into, and after a few steps you’ll have a working system. Theoretically, if your Mac has a standard SATA drive, you could just pull it out of a mac, plug it into a PC, boot into Clover, select the Mac drive and boot into it and you’d have a working Hackintosh. There’s just one more step, and that’s transferring Clover onto your Mac drive, so that you can dispense with the Clover USB stick. Boot into Hackintosh, install a tool called Multibeast, and it will transfer Clover onto your Mac OS system drive, after which point this drive is no longer safely bootable in a real Mac. Then use the Clover configuration tool to mount the EFI, and then copy the EFI cookbook specific for your hardware from the Clover stick to the EFI on the Mac OS drive. Unmount, reboot, pull the Clover stick out, go to the BIOS and select the Mac OS drive as the first boot option, and you should then boot into the Clover menu, and you know what you do from there.

I’m starting to sound as complicated as the guys who are making the Hackintosh instructions, but what I wanted to say is that you need 2 things: a drive that would boot into Mac OS on Mac hardware, and the Clover bootable stick with an EFI cookbook for your hardware. After that point everything starts making sense. The only thing to avoid is putting a drive with Clover EFI into a real Mac. That will make your Mac unbootable until you do a NVRAM/SMC reset, and even that might not work because I haven’t tried.

There’s a reason why it’s called Hackintosh: it’s janky as fuck. The only thing I can think of that’s as unintuitive, creates as much problems without solving any, and wastes as much time, is trying to install Windows 95 or something similar onto modern hardware. Try it once, you won’t try it again. In comparison, Linux is the most intuitive and user friendly thing ever. Also, there’s a much better chance you’ll get all your hardware working in Linux. I’m not kidding. Stuff like Bluetooth/wifi will almost certainly not work, and you better not have a Nvidia GPU, because you can get it to work but will almost certainly suffer stability issues. Also, on a major OS update everything will break.

The reason why you would want to do it is not to get a normal Mac desktop on PC hardware, it’s to get a basic barely-working Mac desktop on PC hardware where you can run things such as the xcode compiler needed to build iOS and Mac executables, and you won’t mind much if you don’t have Airdrop or Bluetooth or if sound doesn’t work. Essentially, it’s a way to get a very fast Mac OS platform for running some obscure Mac OS piece of software that you need for some specific task, do whatever you have to do with it, and then boot back into a normal OS where everything works properly.

About computer upgrades

I’ve been thinking about computer hardware recently, since I had issues with two 2015 Macbook Pros – Biljana’s 13” had a defective SSD and a bloated battery, and my 15” had an even more bloated battery and 256GB SSD which had only 20-30 GB free space. Biljana’s laptop was already retired earlier this year, but I had to figure out what I wanted to do with mine, and ended up finding a very cheap upgrade path. I had a cheap but good replacement battery built in, and replaced the SSD with an adapter and a standard Samsung 970 EVO NVMe drive of 1TB. I decided to upgrade because unlike Biljana’s 13” that was a 2-core 8GB RAM machine, mine is a 4-core i7 with 16GB RAM and a 15” screen that’s perfectly good for photo editing and I had no issues with it other than the battery and a small SSD. Those being fixed now, I’m quite happy with it, which brings me to the main issue: is there a need to upgrade computer hardware regularly anymore, or has technology peaked? Right now I’m using several computers, and none of them are exactly new. My desktop machine is still a Skylake i7-6700K, my laptop is a Haswell i7-4770HQ, my phone is an iPhone 8 plus, the tablet is an iPad Mini 4, and the machine I’m writing this on, an ultralight hybrid Asus UX370UAR, is actually the newest and uses a Kaby lake R i5-8250U. Why am I using technology that’s basically 5 years old? Because it’s not upgradable, in a sense that upgrades don’t make it faster. Sure, you can replace it with something newer, but you don’t gain anything other than greater numbers on multi-core benchmarks; the actual speed and functionality is the same. I tested the new 16” Macbook Pro when I bought it for Biljana, and guess what, it felt almost identical to my 15”, which means I could replace mine with an expensive new thing and it would feel exactly the same. Sure, the touchpad is bigger, the screen is bigger and a bit better, but it doesn’t feel like a big difference.

I also came to an interesting conclusion when I plugged in different things into my desktop peripherals to see if anything is faster than my desktop, and it turned out that the CPU is the least important thing, because I have several machines with similar CPU/RAM/SSD performance, and they all felt laggy compared to my desktop, when I use them for normal desktopy things such as watching Youtube, switching between many apps and resizing windows to fit the big 4K screen. Guess why that was? Because today everything is strongly GPU accelerated, and driving a big 4K display is very speed-sensitive, partially because of the resolution, but mostly because of the physical screen size (43”), which visually magnifies all the problems, and the only two GPUs that worked fast enough not to cause visual lag are my 1080ti and my son’s 2070. Basically, it’s the GPU that makes all the difference, and as far as CPU power goes, the Haswell i7 in my Macbook Pro or the i5-8250U in the ultralight Zenbook are perfectly sufficient for everything I do, provided that they are equipped with enough RAM and fast storage. It’s not that I didn’t test the new 6-core machines; it’s just that I run the multi-core stress on my machines so rarely, that it doesn’t make a difference. However, if someone tells you that GPU doesn’t matter if you don’t play games, and you’re fine with integrated graphics, that’s probably true if you run a 1080p display, but on a big 4K display there’s a big difference. Integrated graphics works in a pinch, but it’s visibly stunted and creates an impression that the machine is much slower than it actually is. Even something like the AMD 270X was too slow for the 4k display, and I’m not really sure what’s enough and what’s overkill. I do know that 1080ti and 2070 are perceived to be equally fast and are great. I don’t know what’s the cheapest GPU that would suffice, because didn’t have many to test, but I would theorize that if something can’t run Valley benchmark smoothly at 4k, it might be too slow for the demands of window manager acceleration as well. Interestingly, the same doesn’t apply for the lower resolutions, because my 15” Macbook drives its own retina display perfectly fine with Intel graphics, and when I plug it into a 1080p monitor, it’s blazingly fast, and yet it can’t run Valley benchmark on those resolutions to save its life. However, on 4K, the only GPUs that are actually fast in Windows are also fast for gaming at the high resolutions. Years ago my recommendation would be to get the worst GPU that can still run your screen at the desired resolution and color depth, because GPU was not important, unless you wanted to play games. Today, my recommendation is the complete opposite: if you want to drive a 4k display or bigger, the GPU is the most important part of your system, and you should get a strong gaming PC as your desktop machine, regardless of how many games you intend to play. It’s just that your display will require powerful GPU acceleration to run smoothly, in everything from web browsing, scrolling to window resizing. However, if you don’t run 4K or 5K displays, you can greatly relax the GPU requirements: integrated graphics, such as Intel 620, will be perfectly snappy at 1080p, and you should only get dedicated graphics for gaming, and if you do GPU accelerated tasks such as video editing.

So, regarding upgrades, it’s all good news: basically, if you have anything that is Haswell or newer, if you have at least 16GB RAM and a fast SSD drive, your machine will run all normal tasks as quickly as a modern machine, providing that your GPU is modern enough for driving your display resolution. If you have specific tasks that require more power than that, well, then these general guidelines don’t apply to you, but all in all, unless your PC is really ancient, you will only need to upgrade when it finally dies, not before. But if your machine actually is ancient, you should definitely try the new generations because they are awesome. I bought an 8-th gen i5 Intel NUC for testing, and that thing is absolutely awesome as a desktop machine, if you’re running it at 1080p. At 4K, it’s marginal; it sucks in Linux and Mac OS, it’s much better at Win10, but still nowhere near the brutal speed of my 1080ti. At this point, Win10 has superior window manager acceleration and driver optimization and will extract the maximum from marginal GPUs.

Someone will say that NUC is overpriced and you can get a Raspberry Pi 4 for much less money, at which point I’ll just roll my eyes. Yes, you can, but the difference in speed is so great it’s not even funny. The NUC runs NVMe and SATA drives, it has an immensely superior GPU, it has socketed RAM which can go up to 32GB, and I tested both so I actually know. Raspberry Pi 4 is fine for web browsing and document editing, it’s great as a console for accessing other Unix systems, or a small home UNIX server (I actually have a 3B+ plugged into my home LAN as a server for rsyncing remote backups and hosting my e-mail database), but it absolutely sucks for anything video-related. It has some kind of GPU accelerated video playback but software support for it is sketchy or outright missing, so it works in some specific video modes and codecs, and completely fails in others, and generally, it’s rubbish for video. NUC, on the other hand, is better at 4K than Pi 4 is at 1080p, and that really tells you something. NUC can run photo editing in Lightroom perfectly fine, and that’s a professional-grade task. It’s my assessment that its speed is identical to that of the 15” Macbook Pro retina in Mac OS (hackintosh), and the benchmarks confirm it. So, that’s one type of a modern machine you can get today: it fits on your palm, it’s as quiet as a Macbook Pro, doesn’t draw much power, it’s blazingly fast, and its only drawback is that you can’t add a dedicated GPU later on, if you decide that you need it; for those cases, a “normal” desktop PC would be better. So, basically, this is the best time ever to buy a PC, because they are for the most part incredibly good. On the other hand, they’ve been as incredibly good for the last 5 years or so. As for the phones, they also peaked long ago: today they are all the same; pick your OS, pick the higher price level to avoid outright garbage, and you’re set. I can’t even force myself to think about them seriously anymore, they are like washing machines. If yours dies and it’s not economical to repair, you just go to the store and pick a new one: if you avoid the cheapest garbage, they are all the same and will work great.

Spectrum of spirituality

There are some things in my previous article that require clarification, because they could create a misapprehension if taken out of context.

It is true that the attainment of the highest possible spiritual initiation, or quality of consciousness, is the greatest priority, and all else is secondary to that. However, the problem with this world is that the secondary things can be of greatest importance, to the point where to neglect them is to risk losing all the primary ones, where one needs but take note of the prominent examples of failure to do so, to understand that sometimes it would be better to have one’s head filled with intellectual understanding of things, and not rely solely on spiritual experiences of the highest order, because failure to ground them into material life with proper understanding of theory and its implications to all sorts of things means to have a chasm between experience, understanding and life, and this chasm usually means detachment and loss. Basically, if you don’t ground your spiritual experience into layers such as politics, economy, nutrition, sexuality, and many nuances of social life, it will exist in a detached, ungrounded sphere called “meditation time”, and the steeper the gradient between the two, the greater the chance that everything in your life will basically work on destroying your spirituality with much greater effectiveness than any kind of meditative or spiritual practice could possibly remedy. In simple terms, if you keep destroying your consciousness for 16 hours every day with wrong ideas about practical things, and with wrong actions based on those wrong ideas, it is unlikely that any amount of meditation that you could conceivably fit into your daily schedule could save you.

A great number of supposedly spiritually advanced yogis has insanely stupid ideas about a great number of practical things, which opens the question of actual validity of their “spiritual advancement” in an absolute sense, because it is quite possible that they had a few genuine experiences, which they interpreted through the lens of philosophy and religion they were brought up in, proceeded to suspend their intellectual faculties and replaced them with religious dogma, at which point the entire thing can hardly be called “spiritual advancement”, and rather be seen as a serious deviation from a true spiritual path. You see, if all the yogis keep saying the same things, and they all originate from the ancient scriptures of Yoga and Vedanta, it’s actually more likely that they are all copying the same homework, and not that they are merely channeling the same eternal wisdom that needs no innovations. Sure, I actually bought the latter explanation once, but in the meantime I discovered so many things none of them even mentioned, things of great importance, things that possibly question even the Vedantic interpretation of samadhi, which is the basis of its entire theology and cosmology, that I just no longer find that explanation plausible. It is much more likely that most of the “enlightened masters” are in fact beginner yogis who fell into the same trap: saw their experience as a confirmation of ancient theology, and replaced their personal spiritual research with a pre-recorded database. Sorry, but turning yourself into someone else’s parrot is hardly spiritual advancement, especially since the stuff they are parroting is sometimes completely wrong. For instance Vedantic understanding of karma is completely and irredeemably wrong, to the point where it’s actually opposite to the actual reality of things that can be perceived in yogic practice. The concept of gunas is intellectually cute, but does in fact explain only very high-level phenomena, such as emotions and behavior, not the deep structure of reality. For all intents and purposes, there are no gunas; it’s a weak attempt to counter the Buddhist deep theory of kalapas, which can actually be perceived because, unlike the gunas, they are real. Considering how many of the foundational elements of Vedantic dogma were disproved by my personal experience and experimentation, one must ask how is it possible that everybody else failed to notice those quite obvious issues, and instead they just repeat the dogma verbatim? Sorry, but from my perspective they don’t look like enlightened sages; rather, they resemble beginners who strayed into a typical cultist brain-freeze. The problem is that they don’t see Vedanta, or any other dogmatic system, as a starting point. They see its full acceptance as a symptom of enlightenment and an end-point of the spiritual path, which is why they are extremely resistant to any mental process that could challenge or disprove it. I actually understand the mentality because I was there: if you were taught certain things by people you see as authoritative and beyond reproach on any level, you just don’t question the fundamentals of a theology that no only comes from multiple authoritative sources, but whose cornerstones seem to be proven by your personal experience. The problem is, things a, b and c were proven by your personal experience, and then you just accepted validity of everything from d through z, bliss-drugged by the “fact” that you got it all, finally. You have the final answers to the eternal questions, you understand the core of all religions, of all genuine spirituality. That’s a difficult drug to wean yourself from. The feeling that you don’t understand the meaning of life and universe is painful, and if you get to be convinced that you actually have the answers, you’re basically fucked, because that “knowledge” anchors you into spiritual standstill with almost unbreakable strength. You’d rather eat shit ten times a day for the rest of your life than go back to admitting that you don’t get it. It’s too painful, too defeating, and the arrogance that grew from the “deep knowledge” that you have and others don’t is too intoxicating for you to let go easily. For me, admitting I was wrong about something fundamental is actually easy, because I was never into it for social standing and impressing others with how right I am, I was always in it only because I actually wanted to figure it out. So, when something is disproved, I can easily let go and try out other ideas. However, for those who see spirituality as a game of attaining social status, admitting fundamental errors is absolutely spirit-crushing. Also, the core of who I am was never defined through cult membership or acceptance of dogma. It was always “I practiced things, experienced things, and here’s what it all looks like”. If the layer of “what it looks like” changes, so what; it’s like changing a theme in Windows, not formatting the system drive and reinstalling the OS. I always knew that my interpretations of experience exists on a different spiritual layer than the actual experience, and are thus “false” by definition – the only truth is the experience itself, and interpretations are dime a dozen. I used to say that one should change the interpretative layer through which experience is filtered just for shits and giggles every six months or so, just to avoid taking it too seriously, but, apparently, people don’t take it seriously when I say it, and when I actually do change the interpretative layer, they think nothing I say can be true because I “change my mind all the time”. Well, it’s actually failure to do so that should be highly suspicious, because if someone can’t change the interpretative layer, it probably means there is too little actual experience underneath to survive anything so dramatic. Too much filler, not enough substance.

Another important thing that needs to be said, and which apparently contradicts everything I said up until now, is that intellectual anchoring of spiritual concepts and experiences is of utmost importance. If you lack a coherent intellectual framework for your spirituality, it will remain detached from your intellectual and practical layers, and that isn’t good. Our civilization is, for all intents and purposes, insane. It is devoid of true spiritual purpose and identity, and therefore prone to all sorts of idiocy. It rejected Christianity, but failed to replace it with anything better. If you don’t have an intellectual framework that will encompass not only spiritual realities and experiences thereof, but also practical things such as politics, economy etc., you will depend on the unworthy people to provide you with opinions, and that won’t end well. This is the reason why I write about all sorts of things, because this writing is not unrelated or separate from my spiritual understanding; rather, it’s a manifestation of said understanding, applied to different things. For people who can’t meditate directly, those are the stepping-stones, and are in fact more useful than any super-advanced text about energetic yoga that I could think of. When you understand why something is wrong, your mind follows a thread out of the labyrinth, and you gradually pick up things. It’s not “red pill” or some other arrogant bullshit that’s talked about on the Net, because truth is never a switch you turn on or off. Rather, it’s sunlight that is slowly absorbed by a plant and is gradually transformed into fruit. You need exposure, and you need to absorb, work with it, wrestle with it a bit, test it, think about it, and as it applies pressure to your mind, your mind changes its nature. You don’t just “get it”.

This means that spiritual progress isn’t merely something that exists in the context of energetic Yoga or spiritual practice in the narrowest sense; it’s also something that happens when you’re exposed to ideas, when you think about things, when you’re in contact with something subtle and sophisticated and it touches you, and you are changed. People who think about subtle and sophisticated ideas tend to get more subtle and sophisticated, because mind appropriates the qualities of that which it dwells on. Also, people who solve actual problems tend to be more resistant to bullshit than people who just sit in their parents’ basement and check reddit all day.

Perhaps the most controversial of all the things I am about to say here is that, contrary to what you might have assumed from my previous writing, I actually think that cults and social connections are quite useful. No, they are not useful for the purpose of attainment of genuine spirituality, but there’s much more to one’s life than genuine spirituality, as blasphemous as people might find this statement. For instance, brushing your teeth regularly has nothing to do with genuine spirituality, and yet if you neglect it, you will suffer consequences at the hands of dentists. Association with like-minded people is not useful for attaining genuine spirituality, and is in fact detrimental, but if you are in trouble of some kind, it is essential to be able to rely on people who like you and are willing to help you, either by pooling resources or otherwise, and without such aid you will be forced to rely on very general and diluted resources of your state and civilization, which will be useless if not outright harmful. Also, if you’re trying to find a sexual partner, finding them in a pre-selected pool of people who share your general worldview gives you an almost certainty of a good match, compared to trying to find someone in the unfiltered general population where likelihood of finding someone compatible is minimal. Basically, if you’re trying to find someone to marry, your church meeting is a much better place than a dating site. That’s why those social games are so prominent in human genetic makeup: they work. They improve your chances to survive and thrive significantly, and of course I’m aware of their usefulness. The problem is, those connections “attack” the same spiritual resources that need to be focused inwards in order to attain a vertical spiritual connection, like a WiFi card that can be connected to only one SSID, and if it’s connected to Facebook, it’s not connected to God. That’s the main reason why I hate those social networking sites so much – those connections are a replacement for genuine spirituality, and they saturate the essential “connectivity layer” to the point where you are so hooked into this garbage, you stop being a true person, because you saturate the link that’s essential for Soul/God/Reality/Meaning connection with human social bullshit that’s not just inconsequential and useless, but actively harmful. That’s another reason why I write: I basically work with your connectivity layer and reprogram it. I slowly modify your thinking and expose you to content that not only repairs the damage, but enhances the vertical connection. I think that everybody who’s here long enough is aware of some of that.

Also, don’t be afraid to admit that you don’t truly understand or accept some of the things I’m talking about. Of course I’m aware of that, and it would actually piss me off more if you pretended to understand everything I’m saying about Sanat Kumar, higher planes of existence or “jewels” that are a “root ssh” interface to the “world engine”. I don’t care if you don’t get it, and I don’t expect you to pretend that it makes sense to you. Some of the things I write took me decades of very hard work and breakthroughs that were few and far apart to formulate, and of course you’re not just going to read it and get it. The purpose of me writing it is akin to that of Bardo Thodol: it’s not meant for the narrow consciousness of the living, but for the expanded consciousness in the afterlife, where things will just snap into place and you’ll have some intellectual framework to make some sense of it all. Just look at the NDE experiences: they always utilize the mental concepts that you already have in place, as vessels for knowledge of a higher order. I’m creating the vessel, I don’t expect you to put anything in it, and in fact, I will be annoyed if you do and it’s garbage.

Why people fail at spirituality

People fail because they don’t actually want to succeed.

That sounds weirdly counter-intuitive, and they will forever protest against that statement, citing this or that reason or obstacle – either the spiritual technique isn’t working, or the guru isn’t “authentic” enough, or something else. Basically, they will change philosophies, religions, gurus and techniques ad nauseam, and the only things they will “improve” at are arrogance and cynicism.

When I say they don’t actually want to succeed, I mean that the professed goal of their practice is often different from the actual one. The professed goal is to “attain enlightenment” or “find God”. The actual goal might be to feel like you’re better than other people, so you’re creating a system of values that places you at or close to the top, with little effort. That’s why religious cults are famous for being a refuge for losers; outside, you’re nothing, but inside, you’re a bhakta of the Lord, or one of the “saved ones”, or whatever they think of themselves. It’s always easy: modify behaviour, change language, sometimes change outward appearance, eat vegetarian food, believe in the official doctrine, and you can pretend to be spiritual. It’s something that is easily done, provides great ego-boost, and the reason why people continue this charade often for decades is, basically, because they leave only when the price of continuing becomes greater than the price of letting go. Everything is measured in ego-stimulation or ego-trauma; what will people think or say, how will they perceive you, what will be your perceived social status. It’s probably wrong to say that those people don’t attain spiritual goals – it’s more accurate to say that they define spiritual goals in different terms than one would normally expect. If your goal is to feel great because your community thinks highly of you, and you mistake that feeling of ego-affirmation for spiritual bliss or something, and you genuinely have no goals other than to attain an even greater degree of this feeling, you won’t see this either as a spiritual wrong turn, or as a costly mistake. Someone like me might see it that way, but from your perspective, you’re doing great and I’m just jealous of your great success at spirituality. Only when the degree of ego-stimulation wanes will you actually start using your intellectual faculties to re-assess your situation, because if it feels good, you’ll just continue doing it. But when you’re on the bliss-high, the only “spiritual work” you’re doing has the function of increasing your stature within your community. The concept of actually deconstructing your desire-structure and other self-perpetuating patterns, of seeing how you use your energy to power ideas, to test moving your mental energy to different things, withdrawing it, increasing the strength just to test control, that’s not something you actually do. If spirituality is “a thing” in your social network, the social network is the primary interest, and “spirituality” could be cars, computers, guns, or breeding exotic animals, for all it matters. So, if you’re failing, you need to really honestly think about what you are actually trying to do. When people don’t make progress at something, it usually means they are quite content with their present situation, and they don’t see anything that’s so bad that it would require great sacrifice and effort to change. If they wanted to join a religious organization for the feeling of community, belonging to a group and having a common purpose, and they attained that, I’m not necessarily going to perceive their situation as “failure”. I would perceive it as failure only if their goal was to actually gain experience of the transcendental reality, to gain insight into their own spiritual momenta and attain power over themselves and spiritual states and energies in general. But if that’s not the goal, then not attaining it is not failure, it’s Tuesday.