John Conway (Ph.D. Mathematician from Princeton) in the ’70s developed a simple game based on a checkerboard. The rules were as follows:

  1. A single checker piece with less than two other checker pieces dies due to a lack of tribe.
  2. A single checker piece with two or three checker pieces lives on to the next generation – the perfect balance of resource & consumption.
  3. A single checker piece with more than three neighbours dies, – limited resources creates competition & survival of the fittest.
  4. If three checker pieces are close enough, a new checker piece will emerge – procreation producing new children.

Here’s what it looks like:


We started with a block of 4 pieces together. One of them will die because of overcrowding, the others will move around and reproduce. Soon, you’ll find formations like beehive, blinkers, gliders, etc etc.

They kinda look like how micro-organisms would behave. Attacking, moving, mitosis, meiosis – all that jazz. Now John, ran this on a computer and the simulation produced some remarkable outputs.

It’s kinda like how life is, you know?

A simulation run on four basic principles – life, death, survival and procreation. Human action, interaction, and transaction is pretty much run on these elements. Work, marriage, religion, food, shelter, – you name it.

Well, how do you account for art, or, sports, the theatre or enjoying an innocent ice-cream at the park?

Here’s the kicker, ladies and gentlemen. We do these activities to preserve ourselves.

We have a strong attraction to art and beauty because we are programmed that way. Our neuro-receptors fire off in certain sequences making us follow certain paths to achieve our goals. Whether it’s eating a piece of cake or finishing off a Dickens.

We’re controlled by dopamine, serotonin, melatonin, our vitamin intake, quality of food, sleep, exercise, etc. etc. Even our moods and our thoughts are heavily influenced by the amount of stress we have and the condition of the environment in which we live. Stockbrokers might die younger. Meat eaters might get heart attacks.

No matter how much we might “think-our-way” out of a situation, we find ourselves trapped even deeper until we control our own food intake and go for a run once in a while.

Christina Rasmussen lost her husband to cancer. When asked what she learned from her 2 years of solace and despair – she said:

Nothing. Time doesn’t heal but, action does.”

Only in taking action, will our minds continue on.

This should be extremely liberating, folks. If everyone accepts this fact, then no one will be judged for behaving irrationally – as all humans are inherently rational only to the extent of managing all of their essential duties. Eating, sleeping, resting, playing, reading, and then sleeping again.

Now when you stop worrying about how you react to situations or how you are perceived by others, what will you do with all your free time?  I say – Have a great time and enjoy it! Really live your life, the way you choose to.

Copyright © 2012-2024 Learning Mind. All rights reserved. For permission to reprint, contact us.

power of misfits book banner desktop

Like what you are reading? Subscribe to our newsletter to make sure you don’t miss new thought-provoking articles!

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Louis Morelli

    No, there are several differences. First one is that computer simulations evolves linearly, while natural evolution is curve, time goes back due entropy, and so on. Creation and development of natural systems obeys cycles, like the alternations between chaos and order, or the vital cycle, where any following systemic function is more complex than the anterior function. Mathematical calculations can’t do it because there is no way for inventing the environmental informations that are added to the natural systemic flow of informations. Computer codes are based on two variables. 0s and 1s, while living codes are based on 7 variables, so, lots more complexity. Don’t be elluded that because you are a computer advanced expert, it means that you understand the Universe…

  2. QuantumT

    Assuming that we are living in a computer simulation, we can’t assess the laws of physics nor the way of computing in the universe where our computer is.
    Our computers are binary, theirs could be ternary or better. They might not have quantum mechanics. We will never know.
    And before you get all worked up about feelings and pain, member these wise words:

    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    – Arthur C. Clarke

Leave a Reply