I’ve been intrigued by the concept of minimalism, which I see mentioned occasionally.

It’s not a simple issue, because although the first thing that comes up is an uncluttered living/working space, and having a “the fewer the better” approach to things, it’s not necessarily about “less is more”, when you dig deeper. If anything, it’s about reducing dependency, reducing resource drain, and reducing clutter.

However, I’ve seen people who purport to live a minimalist lifestyle, often living in either a very small apartment or even a van, and if there is a trend there, it’s that they compensate for the lack of space and assets with greater investment in time and work, basically having to re-arrange things all the time just to retain a functional environment, and they have to use extensive workarounds to get things done. If I’m watching the people who just prefer to get things done, there’s another trend: they tend to have a large number of various specialized tools, and they don’t care that one could probably do with less; no, they have just the right type of a hammer or an axe or a chainsaw for just that particular type of job, and it’s better. Also, there’s always an inevitable amount of clutter around them, because that’s what happens when you actually do things, but there’s always order to the madness; all the things are normally stored in very specific, often labelled places, and after you’re done with them, they are returned to their specific place. It’s just that you don’t return everything immediately; you leave things around you while you work, and you clean up afterwards. A certain amount of chaos obviously has to accompany the creative process, because you can either focus on what you’re doing, or you can focus on cleaning up, but not both at the same time. Sure, you can do it, but the quality of what you’re doing will suffer. For instance, when I’m writing, I couldn’t care less about the empty cup of coffee or a bag of peanuts on my desk, or if everything is aligned perpendicularly to create the illusion of order. I care about what the keyboard feels like, what the monitor feels like and what the mouse feels like, because that’s what I’m using to create. If there’s a problem with those things, it interferes with my concentration and impedes my creative process, but a certain amount of chaos might actually help, because it doesn’t impose the subconscious stress of trying to keep things orderly all the time.

Also, I could have only one computer, and that would be a minimalist way of doing things, but I don’t; I have multiple computers, specialized for what I use them for. A desktop machine is completely silent, it’s comfortable to use, and it’s powerful. It’s something that just gets things done, and it can cool itself easily even if I push it at 100% for days. Then there’s the 15” laptop, which becomes the primary computer when I’m on vacation. It can do everything the desktop machine can do, except gaming, and you can ask why I don’t just use that for everything, because I could plug peripherals into it and it would do just fine as a desktop machine, but it would overheat, it would be noisier, and it wouldn’t last. So, I’m already at two computers, just for the convenience of not killing the laptop with a 16h/day regime. Then there’s the ultralight laptop, which I use in bed because the 15” is too heavy and cumbersome, or for reading or doing things from a couch or in some weird position. It’s an awfully specialized thing to have a dedicated machine for, but I do, and I find it incredibly convenient, for the same reason I have several types of pocket knives, and several different types of shoes. Sure, you can do everything with just one pair of jeans, and just one pair of shoes, but I find that awfully inconvenient, and although it seems simple and elegant, it forces you to constantly adapt to the inadequacies of the equipment you’re using, and it introduces stress, hassle and just breaks your concentration from the things you actually want to do. Sometimes less is indeed more, but if you ever tried to fix something that unexpectedly broke, you’ll know how convenient it can be to have a certain amount of junk somewhere that can be adapted to fix something. If you don’t have your small personal junk yard, you’ll be forced to go drive to a store every time you need a SATA cable or a screw for the SSD or a nail to hang a painting, or a wood screw to fix something that got loose. No, it doesn’t look elegant, and having capability to create or fix things will not make your place look like Apple store, but at some point you need to ask yourself if minimalism is actually contributing to or detracting from your productivity. So, no, less is not more if you need that spare SATA cable, and it’s definitely not more if your one and only computer unexpectedly died and you don’t have a secondary one to look for possible solutions on the Internet.

That’s where I departed from the conventional interpretation of minimalism, and started thinking about defining it as something more akin to self-reliance, or not depending on others to solve your problems. A minimalist approach in that sense doesn’t consist of having only one computer, and it being an elegant iMac or a Macbook Pro. It consists of using generic components you can source locally to build your own computer, building it in ways that make it easy for you to repaste the CPU, change noisy fans, clean up dust, install and set up the OS yourself, and be able to maintain the whole thing without anyone’s help. Sure, such a box doesn’t look elegant, but it becomes very elegant if you need to take off the CPU cooler and change the paste, because the whole thing isn’t glued in behind the screen. It’s two big screws to remove the side panel, and some more screws to remove the cooler, and everything is big enough to work on comfortably and quickly. Essentially, the more elegant and “clean” things look, the more pain in the arse they can be to maintain if something goes wrong with them, and sometimes you can’t even fix them at all, you’re expected to just throw them away and get another one, because that’s also “elegant” and “clean”.

The same goes for software. The older I am, the more I tend to use the most user-unfriendly, basic tools imaginable, such as connecting to a local server via ssh, connecting to the database via shell tool where I type all the commands manually, with no fancy GUI tools, I type code in pico editor, rsync it to a production server, and it all works the same regardless of what computer I actually use to do it – I couldn’t care less whether it’s a fancy and elegant Mac, or a Raspberry pi board connected to other shit with wires hanging. What is minimalistic and elegant in this approach is that I don’t rely on having lots of secondary shit installed on my computers, and I don’t try to maintain a super-complex software system that is supposed to make things “easier” by complicating everything to the point of a bloated mess. No, make things simple by learning a few tools that work everywhere, and reduce the number of intermediary steps I have to take in order to get things done. You may think that a nice fancy GUI with icons is a more elegant way of getting files across than rsync, but it’s only elegant if it works, and those things have a tendency to break in various creative ways just when you have to do something quickly, and you can spend a whole day trying to fix something that is really not essential to your primary task, fixing some environment instead of writing your code. So, yes, compared to some “elegant” thing such as an iPhone with user interface chimps and cats can be taught to operate, my ideas of simplicity and elegance can seem counter-intuitive, but guess what? I maintain my own mail server, web server, blog and forum without anyone’s help. If something goes wrong with any of it, I fix it myself. If something goes wrong with my computer, I fix it myself, whether it’s a software or hardware problem. If I have to choose between elegance and self-reliance, I pick self-reliance, because “clean” solutions have a nasty tendency to just displace the messy parts of life somewhere else. Also, if I have to choose between practicality and productivity on one side, and simplicity and elegance on the other, I prefer to just get things done and not let minimalism get in the way. That is how I personally see the desirable kind of minimalism: it’s minimizing the number of things that interfere with the creative process.

Vajra in the context of siddhi

There are several obvious questions everybody will want to ask after reading the previous article, the most obvious being the omission of initiation into vajra in the definition of stages of spiritual magnitude, and that was actually intentional, because I omitted things that would increase complexity at the point where I wanted to simplify things for the sake of getting the point across. However, it’s quite a big omission, so I’ll get to it now.

First of all, we need to return to the kalapas themselves, to get the basics straight. As I already mentioned, kalapa is the smallest spiritual particle, the smallest manifestation of sat-cit-ananda in the relative. They have inherent intelligence, reality and blissfulness, if you want to simplify it a step further, but that’s already straying from the clarity of definition and introduces linguistic ambiguities. Enlightenment, too, is a misnomer; it is misunderstood and misinterpreted so much, that the word borders on the useless, but let’s for the sake of argument use it to describe a situation where kalapas, the fundamental soul-particles, aggregate in sufficient quantity, and are in such mutual alignment as to not cancel each other out, as they for the most part do in normal human condition, but produce a strong, coherent light, all of the same “frequency” at once, all pointing at the same direction. Patañjali would speak of waveforms that cease to fluctuate and enter a state where complete clarity is possible, and that is certainly a legitimate interpretation of what’s going on, but that’s not the entirety of what is going on, because, to introduce another analogy with physics, when the kalapas are in a coherent state, and when their quantity is sufficiently large, the repulsive forces between them drop exponentially, in a way very similar to what happens in the core of a star, where the hydrogen atoms are compressed so much that this force overcomes the normal repulsive forces between the particles of the same electric charge, or, as a physicist would put it, it overcomes the Coulomb barrier. This results in nuclear fusion of hydrogen into helium, to simplify things greatly again for the sake of intelligibility. This fundamentally and permanently changes the nature of the physical matter, because the helium thus produced in a stellar core remains stable in all conditions, from stellar core to the cold of space and room temperature. Once the critical conditions for a transformation are achieved, the process cannot be reversed by removing the extreme conditions. There are several even more extreme transformative environments that permanently change matter – a supernova explosion, and the pressures inside a neutron star or a black hole – but let’s, for the sake of clarity, just accept that there are special, extreme circumstances that can permanently change matter, and this change is not reversed once those extremes are no longer present, because that is the analogy I want for the situation with kalapas and the process of initiation into vajra. Vajra is, basically, a different form of a spiritual body that is attained by coherence, compression and “fusion” of kalapas into a form of spiritual mass of different “hardness”, higher “reality” and “density”. The existence of vajra doesn’t introduce any fundamentally new concepts – you still have brahman that is sat-cit-ananda, you have kalapas as the smallest energetic manifestations of sat-cit-ananada in the relative, you have spiritual growth by accretion, by aggregation of kalapas into a greater spiritual entity, due to, if we resort to a poetic description, their “realization” that they are “more God” together than individually. This poetic way of putting things is not at all out of place, because you have to remember that those are not inert material particles, they are inherently spiritual, and they actually feel and reason, on a fundamental level, and this feeling and reasoning is stronger when they are bound together, and this increased feeling, reasoning and self-awareness is a coercive force that binds them together in proportion to its strength, and eventually results in threshold-events such as the collapse of repulsive forces and initiation of the whole mass into vajra.

So, if we now return to our initial classification of spiritual progress as levels of siddhi, it will become clear why I had to omit initiation into vajra for the sake of simplicity, because once I mentioned it, I would have to use different language throughout the definition, and it would probably be for the better, because then it would be difficult for stupid people to think they know what I’m talking about, just because they heard similar words before.

A person who had a spiritual experience, a darshan or a samadhi, is still a “level 0”, or not a siddha at all. It’s not an achievement, it’s an experience. When an experience is transformative in a way that you actually make it your own, act from it and change in ways that are “of God”, that changes your spiritual structure on a kalapa-level, puts it into coherence, unites the incoherent waveforms within the mind into a coherent one, and this is how the most underestimated type of yoga, karma yoga, is the only one that actually produces great achievement, because to put a spiritual state in action is to put your entire being in coherence on a high energy level, not leaving parts behind by entering meditation, and this coherence promotes conditions that eventually result in initiation into vajra, which doesn’t take place at some nice round number in my classification of siddhi, but it has to be more than level 1, because that’s the threshold that promotes the necessary preconditions for the transformation. It becomes both simpler and more complicated later on, because let’s say that on level 2, you become a being that is attaining initiation into God-stuff of even higher density and quality than vajra, and you become capable of wielding vajra with the coerciveness similar to that in which a vajra-being can wield astral substance at will, because vajra can coerce astral in a way analogous to the effect of a powerful magnetic field on a cloud of electrically charged particles. So, this nameless God-stuff coerces and wields vajra as if it were nothing, and not the stuff of enlightenment and virtue, so hard that any kind of “love” and “wisdom” a normal human being can imagine are but a wisp of smoke in comparison. This process of initiation and mastery happens somewhere between siddhi levels 2 and 3. Between levels 3 and 4, your core structure progresses in “hardness” and “density” to the power levels where you wield that previously described nameless God-stuff the way you previously learned to wield vajra. Compared to this, anything a religion can perceive as God is a bug hitting a wind shield; not that it takes anything away from the majesty of Gods, but this analogy is necessary to describe the magnitude of what we are talking about here. Any yes, there is a level 4. 🙂

Anything a human, who isn’t a vajra-initiate, can possibly understand, is level 1 siddhi and below. Stuff above level 1 falls into the category of inconceivably powerful, magnificent and terrible beings generically called angels, demigods or gods. Level 2 or above is that absolute terror Arjuna saw in Krishna’s true form, a power that wields death and destruction, time and space, boundless and limitless and void of any human emotion, and Arjuna at that point shits himself and begs Krishna to show him his human form again because this god-stuff is absolutely terrifying, incomprehensible, vast and deadly. God is not love and kindness. God is not your mother. If you saw God you wouldn’t feel the warm fuzzy feeling of a pampered child. You would shit yourself from sheer terror and, unless you are already an excessively pure and holy being of Arjuna’s magnitude, your soul would disintegrate, because coerciveness of darshan would overpower coerciveness of cohesive forces within your soul.

And yes, beings of all four levels of siddhi can be absolutely and completely human, to the point where you can spit, whip and crucify them. If that doesn’t blow your mind, you probably don’t have any to begin with.

How to measure spiritual advancement

The reason why I’ve been thinking about the Kardashev scale was actually its applicability to spiritual evolution of the individual, but explaining the entire process of my thinking might be long and involved.

Let’s just start with the statement that religions, in general, talk about a being that is level 6 on the extended Kardashev scale – having total power over the “multiverse”, essentially being able to define and spawn new universe-types and universes of a given type, at will. Basically, if we assume that a civilization or a being can conceivably reach that level of power, who is to say that it hadn’t happened already, and religion is, basically, a way to conceptualize such a thing from the perspective of bronze age peoples? From my perspective, this way of looking at things is fundamentally flawed, because it implies existence of some “real” universe where all this evolution essentially happens ex nihilo, eventually producing a God, which is not at all how I perceive those things, but it’s useful as a way of getting a certain materialistically conditioned type of a person out of their conceited stupor. As I see those things, God is not at some place; God is the super-mind, super-reality from which all lower realities derive substance. If you want, God is the hardware, and universes are software.

But let’s ignore God for a moment and think about an individual soul and its spiritual evolution. In order to define progress, we need some sort of a frame of reference, a coordinate system that would define things such as “better” and “worse”, or more and less evolved. Vedanta gives one answer – the world is a virtual reality system, “maya”. Brahman is the hardware, the actual reality. Atman, or individual soul, is how brahman is perceived when seen through the limiting filter of a body. In realization that atman, the “self” of a being, is actually The Self, the sole “I” of brahman, that gives reality to all things by virtue of being the true, absolute reality from which all lesser realities are derived, one attains the state of liberation in the knowledge that I Am.

Buddhism has a similar answer. This world is a complex trap that is powered by our investment of energy into the various mirages it keeps spawning; something like an electromagnet that keeps our cage locked, and we provide the electromagnet with power by incessantly pedaling the dynamo that powers it. Buddha’s answer is to stop powering it, suffer all the blows passively as to expend the momenta of past actions and investments of energy, wait for the energetic whirlpools to power down, and simply levitate away into the freedom of nirvana, where all the illusions we’ve been powering with our desires, fears and actions have been depleted of energy, ceased to exist and exposed the blissful nature of nirvana beneath all that mess. Buddha refused to speak about the nature of that state, finding it self-defeating: you can’t even imagine it in your present state, and it’s best not to try, because any way you try to imagine it will just add a layer of illusion to a mind that already has too many. You need to remove stuff, not add more. When the actual thing reveals itself, only then will you be able to experience it.

As theories go, these are fine, but the devil is in the practical details. You see, there are saints, the spiritual achievers, who had certain experiences, who have certain powers, and who are very much all different, and it would be helpful to have some idea about their respective spiritual stature. This is not merely a dick-measuring contest: if there are two people who both obviously had powerful spiritual experiences, and they teach different, often completely incompatible things, it would be highly useful to know whose teaching is higher, or, more accurately, whose teaching is merely a phase that will at some point be transcended.

Since both Vedanta and Buddhism seem to teach something along the lines of a discrete point in spiritual progress where complete and unconditional liberation is attained, the idea about quantifying progress of people who claim enlightenment sounds incredibly misguided, at first, but if you tried making sense of something like Yogananda’s “Autobiography of a Yogi”, where various enlightened masters are mentioned, it is quite obvious that some are “more enlightened” than others. Vedanta, and, indeed, Yogananda, would attempt to explain this by claiming that all but the highest Masters are not enlightened enough, that some degree of separation exists between them and the Absolute, and if you’ve been following my writing with any degree of attentiveness, you will know that I find this explanation to be fundamentally flawed. They will let you believe that “enlightenment” is the goal, and spiritual magnitude is the way there. I, however, am more inclined to claim the opposite: “enlightenment” is merely an experience, an insight in how things look from a certain standpoint, which is truly more valuable than a normal human deluded state, but which by itself doesn’t really solve any problems. It merely shows you the point of reference by which one is to measure spiritual worth. It shows you sat-cit-ananda, the absolute reference-point of virtue, from the First Person perspective. But when you try to embody virtue – you can call it wisdom, love, understanding of reality, the ability to confer reality upon others – there are suddenly very real quantitative and qualitative differences that become quite apparent when you compare a beginner yogi who had an experience of samadhi, and someone like Krishna, or Shiva. In Buddhist terminology, it’s a difference between a monk who attained enlightenment, and Tara, whose teardrop of compassion can cast a tulku who can outshine the said monk in every possible way one can conceptualize enlightenment. It’s not a subtle difference in taste, it’s a difference between a flashlight and a Supernova explosion. Something more is going on here, and neither Vedanta nor Buddhism provide us with a satisfactory answer with their illusion/enlightenment dichotomy.

My modified version of the Kardashev scale quantifies civilizations by their degree of mastery of various aspects of the material universe – ability to produce food on their own, ability to understand physical laws and apply them to their own uses, ability to eventually create synthetic life and synthetic mind. The essential implication is that depth of understanding of reality results in increasing levels of power. The reason why I’ve been contemplating this in the recent days is that, apparently, the same principle applies to spirituality.

I don’t mean something as silly as the siddhi, as they are known in the scriptures. No, I don’t really define siddhi as being able to levitate or teleport or materialize another body, or some other, similarly material manifestation. In fact, I am wary of the material manifestations, because of who made this world and who controls such things. No, I define siddhi in the most radically different way, so radical it’s a direct translation of the sanskrit word. I define them as “achievements”. To achieve results of practice is to be a siddha: the one who achieved. To me, it means being established in a certain state of consciousness and being able to wield spiritual power the way ordinary humans can wield thoughts and emotions, or use their hands. It means being able to dress unspeakable states of consciousness into words, and accompany those words with the darshan of the actual thing you are talking about, being able to wield its living presence. Being able to influence physical matter is conspicuously absent from my definitions because, for all intents and purposes, it’s not a spiritual power, it’s something that can be blocked or granted by anyone with authority over the physical plane. Spiritual power, or spiritual achievement, means literally being able to wield spiritual substance. So, let’s create some quantitative frame of reference.

Let’s say that a person who practices some form of spirituality, but has no actual achievement, doesn’t really exist on this scale – that person is below level 1. Level 1 is the state in which a yogi has a degree of spiritual enlightenment, or participation in the Divine through darshan or samadhi, where he learns to exist in that state while he or she acts in the world. The point where the yogi in question manages to maintain the meditative/enlightened state while acting in the world in any way or form, is the point where the yogi is established as a level 1 siddha, albeit a beginner at this level.

This means that if you had an experience, and this experience shuts down when you speak, and you are locked out of it because you spoke egotistical bullshit, trying to claim it for your own selfish limited uses, you failed to achieve, and your experience is not in fact yours. The way you make it yours is by living in ways that are of God. By living in ways that are of God you claim God as your true nature, which is the true meaning of the level 1 siddhi.

If you live God as a level 1 siddha consistently, and you extend your awareness in ways that awake God in other beings and things, you achieve the level 2 siddhi. A level 2 siddha leaves a trail of blessings, objects of power, spiritual experiences in other people, and holy scriptures and artifacts.

Level 3 is somewhat difficult to describe. Total loss of identity-separation between limited-self and Divine-self, loss of the need to “fight ego”, assumption of the Divine role, loss of trying, and of spiritual practice, where one is no longer a yogi because there no longer is a yogic practice, just a name-and-form thin layer that wraps the reality of God-identity and God-power into a presence, that is level 3 siddhi.

Level 4 closes the ring of Creation as the total manifestation of Absolute in the Relative, the crown of all Creation, the goal of the existence of the Relative, master of The Jewel that maintains all worlds in his mind, whose is the ultimate, supreme victory.

How to measure technological advancement

I was thinking about the (modified) Kardashev scale recently, the implications and problems with it.

The original Kardashev scale basically classifies civilizations according to their energy consumption; type 1 uses all the energy of their planet, type 2 uses all the energy of their solar system, and type 3 uses all the energy of their own galaxy. The extended scale goes further, to multiple galaxies, universe and multiverse.

The issues I’m seeing with this are, first, that advancement and energy use don’t necessarily have to be directly correlated. An example of this problem is the original SETI assumption that an advanced civilization will emit radio waves into the universe, which is how we can detect them. The basis for this assumption was the fact that our own civilization at that time used land-based radio and TV emitters that radiated most of their output into space, and, of course, the assumption was that any self-respecting civilization will emit at least as much as we do. However, within several decades that changed; first we shifted to satellite relayed TV, which uses focused low-energy signals relayed from orbit, and doesn’t disperse anything into space. Soon thereafter, we shifted to the Internet, which transmits either through the wires or through satellite relays, and also doesn’t disperse anything into space. Basically, the window in which we had an EM signature detectable from space was 50 years. Furthermore, I remember an analysis saying that our type of unfocused emissions becomes undetectable past 1 lightyear, because it drops below background noise. You would have to use very strong lasers or nukes to be detectable from greater distances. So, this shows us how narrow-minded the assumptions of people such as Carl Sagan can be; they think they are smart and they have it all figured out, but their assumptions don’t really age well. Expecting an advanced civilization to keep requiring more energy, which it would obtain by capturing natural resources, is about as smart as someone from the Victorian era expecting that an advanced civilization would have to keep burning coal.

The second issue continues along this line: why would an advanced civilization harvest energy from its planet, or its star? Why wouldn’t it, for instance, learn to create its own? There’s only as much energy you can get by trying to tap the planet’s core, and at that point it might make more sense to use nuclear energy to produce heat directly and in a more controlled manner. Also, instead of building a Dyson sphere to capture the entire solar output, with extreme expenditure of resources wasted on building it, wouldn’t it be better to just learn how to, I don’t know, tap into vacuum energy, or, even better, learn how to do things so efficiently that you don’t have to use so much energy, and still produce better results? I’m thinking cars and computers: what we have today is much better than what we had 50 years ago, and uses much less energy. If we extend this line of thought, as a civilization gets more advanced, it first learns how to do something at all, and then learns how to do it better and more efficiently. Advancement isn’t in using “more coal”, it’s in using coal first, and then learning how to use electricity, and using nuclear energy to produce electricity. More powerful computers don’t use faster hard disks; they use NVMe solid state storage. They don’t use a CPU clocked to 10 GHz, they use 32 cores each clocked at 3GHz. As we can see, expectations of linear evolution of technology don’t really match what we are seeing in reality. Our more advanced technology didn’t require more radio/TV broadcasting towers to encompass the globe; it required many local cell towers and their connection to the Internet. I’ve seen experimental technology that uses LED lights to transmit data, and I use Ethernet over powerline devices to create LAN connections in my home without requiring additional infrastructure, which means that, theoretically, the information carrier can blend into the background so completely, it would be completely undetectable unless you know exactly what you’re looking for. Also, a well insulated modern passive home can use less energy than a 20th century home, creating a false impression of a civilization going backwards on Kardashev scale. Also, a civilization that uses nuclear energy to produce electricity will have a drastic reduction in need for fossil fuels, and consequently a reduction in CO2 output. If someone measures technological advancement by CO2 output, on the assumption that more oxidative processes prove greater energy use and thus more advanced civilization, he will conclude that a nuclear civilization is going backwards. In fact, what if the need to tap into the natural resources doesn’t universally signify advancement, but only its initial stage where we haven’t yet figured out how to do it better? If we, theoretically speaking, learned how to convert any kind of matter into energy (I don’t know, by producing some kind of particle or a field that neutralizes the quark-gluon connections and results instant breakdown of nucleons into quark-gluon plasma, and almost immediately thereafter into energy), we could theoretically speaking obtain more energy, more efficiently, from a bag of dirt, than a Kardashev type 3 civilization from tapping all the stars in the Galaxy. The way into greater power isn’t, therefore, through linear expansion of less advanced technology, but through intellectual breakthroughs that make it possible for us to create more advanced technology, that does things better but differently. Also, space travel doesn’t really work by linearly expanding the Apollo programme, by building bigger chemical rockets. A breakthrough is needed, something along the lines of folding space, or the stars will remain forever out of our reach, and there’s nothing really interesting in the solar system anyway, which is why we didn’t really bother with it all that much.

So, it is my opinion that the Kardashev scale reflects the old 20th century way of thinking, and needs to be not expanded, but abandoned completely and replaced with something that actually reflects our present understanding of technological advancement.

For instance, Type 1 civilization learns to grow its own food, not relying on hunting and gathering, and produces its own materials, not relying on sticks, stones, leather and whatever is found in nature. We had Type 1 civilizations since early Holocene, with bronze age, agriculture and what not.

Type 2 civilization learns how to use scientific method and learns how to produce technology that uses physical laws in new ways, independent on what’s found in nature. Electromagnetic and nuclear energy, and using electricity and radio waves for long distance communication are examples of a type 2 civilization. We became a type 2 civilization somewhere in the 19th century.

Type 3 civilization goes further than that, into producing artificial thought, and artificial life. This means computers that perform logical operations and data processing, and genetic engineering that goes further than mere selection of desirable traits and cross-breeding, into designing life forms that are engineered to perform pre-defined tasks in pre-defined ways. We are at this point an early type 3 civilization.

Type 4 civilization is beyond our understanding at this point, because if we could actually understand it, we would be a type 4. I would guess that parting ways completely with anything that’s found in nature would be type 4, to the point where a type 4 civilization can rebuild the universe from the basic building blocks to its own physical body, erasing the distinction between physics, biology and technology.


I just had an abortive OS upgrade on the web/mail server. This produced an outage that lasted longer than predicted because someone changed something in the new Ubuntu Focal (or, should I say, Fecal) LTS, where postfix and dovecot can’t authenticate a connection to mysql database, which is interesting because PHP applications authenticate just fine, and it’s not an account/privileges problem because that’s the first thing I tried and it did nothing. Fortunately, I created a snapshot of the working system on AWS, and after two attempts of re-installation, I threw the towel and restored everything to Bionic, which is why everything works now. I think Linux and IT community in general have a problem with SJW infestation, and they are more preoccupied with trigger warnings, preferred pronouns and similar bullshit nobody cares for, instead of actually making shit work, or, to be more precise, keeping things functional and not fucking them up in newer revisions. Nobody gives a shit whether you think you’re saving the world by consuming copious amounts of soy and avocado products and driving electric; just don’t break postfix/dovecot connection to mysql, and it will be fine.

In addition, the condo I’m renting was damaged by the Zagreb earthquake in March and the damage keeps manifesting in various ways, from plaster occasionally falling from the ceiling, to, more worryingly, hydro-insulation on the roof being cracked, which resulted in two separate points of water dripping through the ceiling after strong rains, and it’s now rain season. I initially reported the damage to the landlord more than a month ago, still no repairs. I’m both fixing stuff that keeps falling apart around me (for instance, yesterday I changed the faucet in the kitchen which fell apart, and the washing machine is so loud it’s actually worse than a jet plane on takeoff, which hints at bearing failure in the near future), and trying to have backup plans, but this is really not something I want to be dealing with now, when the economy is about to shit itself and everybody seems to be preparing for some kind of a genocidal world war.

I almost forgot, the water here turned out to be diluted sewage – a neighbor did a bacteriological test and you don’t want to know, so I had to subscribe to a service that delivers 19l water tanks on demand so we at least have a source of good drinkable water. Oh goody.