Interview with the creator of a Minecraft world

“A pen and paper
is all we need
to win our battles
and craft our creed
to leave us speechless
soft and tender
while we wait
for Minecraft to render”
poem by AvionPhoton, the creator of the Minecraft world Flower Valley

 

Q: How did Flower Valley come about?

AvionPhoton:  It was born a month or two after I started my creative world, Avión’s Creative Puzzle Builds. It all started when I fell in love with a magnificent seed, 4661581597754505763.

Q: What made that seed so special?

It had a wide variety of biomes in a relatively small area. But perhaps the main reason was a valley I encountered in a flower biome..  It was surrounded by mountains, hills, a lake and a river and I chose it as a starting place.

Q: What makes Flower Valley different from your creative world, apart from the game mode?

A: It is more coherent, since everything is built in more or less the same place. My style became more refined and my technique also improved a lot.

Q: What happened next?

A: I built on the world during many months, journaling in detail about every new building, exploration and discovery I made. I wanted the project to be a long-lasting expression of my personality and life experience and I poured everything I had into building and writing, combining a multitude of sources for inspiration. I have a passion for beauty, creativity, love, playfulness and openness. For combining what is magical, practical and profound with new ways of thinking.

Q: If you have to choose, what are your favorite builds in Flower Valley?

A: Perhaps the giant tree in the middle. It was built after almost all the other buildings were already in place. Some of the rarest resources in the game are stored in chests inside its trunk. While the chests are open melodies are played from colored crystals built on the branches of the tree. The tree was also the favorite of many of the people following the creation on the online forum where I published the build journal.

flower-valley-before-the-tree
Flower Valley before a large tree grew in the center

Q: Are there other builds you think deserves attention?

A: Most buildings were built with the purpose of storing a category of resources imagined to be collected by a person dedicated to a particular craft or task, such as the overgrown tree trunks where all lumber are housed where I imagine a lumberjack lives. Similarly a smithy, stone mason next to the mine houses all ores, iron and minerals.
But after building the giant tree I made a place called ‘The Adventurer’s Hub’ to show my appreciation for people in the forum. I dedicated a unique creation to each person I received support from in the journal thread, I think it was ten in total. I had a lot of fun!

Q: What did you build, more specifically?

A: One of the builds was a winding tunnel leading down to a moisty cave. Another was a dance floor with disco lights turning on as soon as a music disc is placed in the jukebox outside. I also built a dragon and a cherry tree. I don’t want to spoil it any more, perhaps people reading the interview wants to download the world and explore it.

Q: Where can they do that?

A: The world is available on the web-page http:/bkh.me/flower-valley

Q: How did you manage building coherently in a survival world?

A: While I enjoy the challenge of survival and gathering resources, I use a separate creative world to sketch complicated builds and designs. This helps. I also build mostly in the game mode ‘peaceful’.

Q: Why do you play on peaceful?

A: I feel that I am a conscious part of a creation that is infinitely beautiful. It has led me to become a vegan in real-life and to encourage everyone to be aware of and care for all forms of life, be it humans, animals, plants or otherwise.
Within the game this translated to a tendency to not overly alter biomes and to not build farms for exploiting animals or mobs, something which is very commonly done by other players. Playing on peaceful also help when building, since aggressive mobs do not spawn and disturb the creations.

Q: Could you do everything possible in the game playing in this way?

A: No. I sadly broke my rules and killed cows for leather and octopuses for ink sacs at a certain point.

Q: Why?

A: Books, item frames and black dye were not possible to get in any other way. I desperately wanted books to write in, and item frames to decorate with. I also farmed blazes in the nether to gain experience points to upgrade my equipment to maximum efficiency. I also killed mobs to gain access to building resources otherwise not available.”

flower-valley-End-freed
“There seemed to be no other way” says Avión

Q: If you were in charge of the development of the game, what would you do?

A: I would solve the dilemma of killing octopuses by letting charcoal, a currently rarely used resource be equivalent to ink. And to leave the cows alone, I would add cloth to use for creating a dyable outfit to wear instead of leather armor. The cloth could be made from five reeds mixed with four strings or from nine cobwebs. This cloth could even replace wool to make Minecraft truly vegan friendly

Q: You seem to have thought a lot about this. Do you have any more ideas?

A: I think it would be be cool to see ALL creatures and players in Minecraft live in peace!

Q: How would this be possible?

A: Loot currently only available by killing could be dropped by hugging. In practice, it could be by right-clicking mobs while unarmed, at least in the Java version of the game. The drop would only occur once per creature, to keep the excitement and challenge of finding rare mobs and resources. This would also have to include peace between the ocelots and chicken, the wolves and the sheep and the guardians and the octopuses! =D

Q: Any last words before we end?

A: I just want to thank my family, friends and everyone else who have helped my become who I am today. Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart!

Q: That’s it. Thank you for being here for this interview!

A: Glad to be of service!

A quick list to dissolve the ego

Here is a list of things to accept to quickly start dissolving the ego, both personal and collective. It follows the divisions of the well renowned spiral dynamics model, going all the way from the instinct self to the non-dual state. It gets harder and harder for the ego to stomach the more of the bullet points you accept as possible truths.

Only read it if

  1.  You are interested in the long-term happiness for yourself, mankind and all life around you.
  2.  You really want to dissolve and transcend the ego.

The list

  • We don’t need any of the basic things we think we do for survival: Food, water, shelter etc. We only imagine we do and imagine others that appear as they do too.
  • We don’t need other people/things/ to interact with. We imagine others need it, and manifest them as appearing to need it and get fulfillment from it.
  • We don’t need to control/own anything. We imagine we do and manifest others who appear as they own or control, have benefits and derive happiness from it. It is only seems true from that temporarily partitioned perspective of consciousness.
  • We don’t need rules of behavior or thought, special symbols of faith etc. We don’t need a particular purpose of any thought, object or person, including ourselves. The outer world only appear to follow the rules we are still identifying with.
  • We don’t need to change anything internally or externally to become anything. We manifest information, people and things as if they appear to improve or change things and give happiness or fulfillment, but they don’t. It is an illusion, temporary and leads nowhere.
  • We are not learning anything. There is nothing to learn, it only appears as if someone is learning, that there is an “outside” teaching and “inside” learning, but it is attachment to thought, information and memory, just as if we were collecting junk into a large house. Likewise, we are never teaching, it is just the same with “outside” given junk from “inside”. Nothing actually happens to give real lasting happiness.
  • Nothing worth having is emerging. We are just imagining that something “new” has happened, and imagining that because it is “new”, it is more worth than what was before. We collect manifestations as “experiences” with new perspectives and ideas etc, keep running after these, watching others do the same.
  • And finally, by writing and sharing this list we might be fooling ourselves with a belief that being enlightened/thinking non-dual and manifesting enlightened people is “the right thing to do”. It might be better to just sit and meditate doing nothing.

The basis for the reasoning above are

  • You are consciousness, all of it, but distracted into thinking you are a separate self.
  • Preference creates attachment/ego.  Both positive and negative. Struggle against anything or finding reasons for negating anything creates new attachments, which keeps the ego going.
  • Diverted attention of consciousness into perception of separate things, time, space, etc. creates attachment/ego

A brief history of humanity to date

This was not written from a non-dual perspective, and thus quite far from the actual truth. For example, it bypasses the fact the the past never exists outside of the present moment, and even there, only as fiction.

It was written in an attempt to answer the question “What’s going on?”. The writing is partly influenced by the spiral dynamics model of consciousness and human evolution. The rest is “my own”.

I don’t apologize for skipping freely around what would be considered major events. Here we go.

Consciousness in earth’s main timeline has scared itself shitless so many times that it has evolved itself to understand its own being and be able to transcend itself.

Buried in the collective dream are memories of a peaceful harmonious time with nature, along with the survival stories that ensued from the beginning of spoken and later written tradition.

As people gained followers due to their extraordinary godlike powers, they felt compelled to impose order by handing down rules readily believed by the superstitious. These were eventually broken, as the memories of the mystical powers waned.

Instead, the people created smaller empires of their own within the systems of rules. Some people, such as artists, musicians, writers and poets, explored the collective memories, but their creations only vaguely stirred the sleeping, and even their creations became part of the rule systems.

The systems clashed with each other, breeding further rigidity to them, while crushing the ones without enough ingenuity. They also merged and blended, until more and more were vaguely aware of their being something odd going on.

Enough faith were again gathered, but this time in the ideas more than people. The ideas brought new rules again, that the larger systems began to follow, and the cycles repeated in much larger scales. Ideologies clashed worldwide.

Simultaneously the mysteries of material existence itself were uncovered, though the results and most profound implications were understood by very few to begin with

The trials led to such a need for speedy transmittance of information that it eventually was possible to be in instant communication from any person to any other all over the world.

Now, all that had been learnt since the beginning of the rise of human identity and even knowledge outside of it was available to put under question, integrate and tranform for anyone. Exponential growth of innovation, ideas, interchange, understanding and even possibilities to transcend all knowledge. Stepping in and out of both collective and individual timelines at will. Joining consciousness and reality with what was previously thought as imagination. Extending dimensionality of being, synthesizing space and time, past, future and present, conscious and unconscious, myth, stories, fact and fiction. More and more these were and are becoming arbitrary borders.

People and individuals can empower each other, themselves and their surrounding environment to appear as gods in comparison with what they were just years, months, days and even minutes or seconds ago. For these, time is more and more a relic, or a convenient tool to pick up in the appropriate context. Nothing needs to be taken for absolute truth anymore, not even death. How can there be death when you exist outside of time and space?

More and more people are able to discard the whole story of both their  own and the collective past, watching its last undulations with dispassion, as the ending credits of a quite poor movie. That is, poor in comparison to what they know they are, and can become.

Reclaim your keyboard! (and your fingers)

 

IMG_1892.JPG
giving my trusty mechanical keyboard the “DVORAK treatment”

The most common keyboard layout, often referred to as QWERTY, comes from one of the early typewriter models, over 140 years ago. From being part of a tool only used in certain professions it is now something almost everyone uses daily.

The QWERTY layout grew out of necessity and convenience during the early stages of the typewriter. The top row of the layout has all the letters of typewrite, so that the salesperson could easily demonstrate the new invention. The letters had to be arranged in a way that the mechanical hammers which the paper had the least chance of getting stuck to each other. You can read more about QWERTY on Wikipedia.

But today, on electronic devices, the reasons behind QWERTY’s layout does not make any sense. In my opinion it is a perfect example of systemic resistance, where short-term thinking and lack of awareness gets in the way of a positive change.

But even if QWERTY seems unavoidable, there are ways around it. I will describe one of them.

A few years ago I discovered Dvorak. It is a keyboard layout developed in the 1930’s, with the intention of replacing QWERTY. Dvorak takes account letter frequency and hand physiology into account.

In Dvorak the most common letters are placed in the middle row and all vowels are on the left side of the keyboard. This creates a very pleasant sense when typing. I can compare it to the satisfaction of performing a drum roll, allowing the body to move controlled yet relaxed, with regular symmetrical movements.

Dvorak is available on the common operating systems for many languages, but few people know about it. It takes a little work to set up.

First is configuration. If your keyboard is designed for a less common language, like Swedish in my case, a layout might not be available by default. In that case, you need to create it yourself. I did it using Microsoft Keyboard Layout Creator
You can also use the design ideas of Dvorak to create a custom layout based on any unique typing patterns.

How to change the keyboard layout:

In Windows 7
In Windows 10
In Mac OS X
In Linux Ubuntu

The second part is the keyboard. With a laptop, it might be difficult to rearrange the letters, but on most external keyboards, the key caps are removable. Making the rearrangement takes perhaps an hour. Another thing you can do while rearranging the keys is take the chance to clean it if it is dirty, thus prolonging its lifespan.

If you switch, be prepared for a significant relearning period. You will be typing like a toddler again!

If you can overcome this however, the rewards are

  • an amazing sense of flow
  • the possibility of pushing the typing speed limits without the strain on the fingers QWERTY is prone to

If you tried this, I would love to hear about your experience!

The unjust blame on religion

It is a common theme among people who identify themselves as nonreligious to give blame for past crimes of humanity such as wars to religions. This unfortunately blocks them from discovering some truly remarkable things leading to personal growth!

In this post I want to help alleviate this by giving a different viewpoint, as someone who has been on that side myself, but later developed a keen interest in religions by researching them myself. What I have found is that behind all dogma and rules of religion, are a core that is what is sometime referred to as ‘mystery’, ‘magic’, ‘supernatural’, ‘miraculous’. The common theme is the personal experience that must be found for oneself. To penetrate into it, one must drop the prejudices held surrounding the name of the religion or teaching, and let oneself be immersed without the past interfering. This is the core of what is faith. Note that faith is not anything particular to religion, it is the necessary prerequisite to learn ANYTHING new in life. To go to a new place, one must have faith enough that it actually exists, and that one can travel there. To start a conversation, one must have enough faith in oneself and others that it is possible. To discover something new in science, one must have enough faith that there is actually something new to find there.

So what gives rise to the blame is not what is in the religions themselves, but the actual identification in taking a side, which becomes notoriously problematic when it is done on a collective level.

‘I am nonreligious, and that is the correct way’. Or ‘I am religious, and not having a religion is wrong.’.

Thus, the name of the religion or non-religion becomes irrelevant, it can be atheism, Christianity, Islam and even science or veganism. The identification of self with being the ‘right’ side and what is created in the mind as the ‘opposite’ as ‘wrong’ is what actually causes the friction and fraction! The identification also leads to the mind adopting rules from the system of belief to which it has attached itself, and from there it starts searching its surroundings to start classifying things accordingly, much like an automatic sorter. This can be useful when there was actually a good reason and purpose behind it, but it is most often completely detrimental to one’s own well-being as well as that of others.

In daily experience, one has just to take a walk outdoors and observe ones own mind to notice it. Any labels might come up which create an artificial barrier between oneself and others. ‘Woman’, ‘child’, ‘old’. If any of the words conjure a negative connotation in the mind, the barrier is raised for any deeper connection to what is actually there.

It can also be useful to notice that the labels in the mind have actually very little to do with what is actually occuring in once perception. There is visuals, sounds, movements, but where are actually the words and thoughts? How relevant are they truly to what is in the direct experience?

To overcome this, one can inquire into oneself, what memories are causing these connections? What beliefs am I carrying inside me that prevent me from seeing the world without these labels?

TV and ADSL is BAD for EVERYONE!

The mediums such as ADSL and traditional television seems to be tailored to a passive consumer state, which is not healthy for the human being. We all carry deep within us the desire to improve ourselves and help others improve in order to live together as happy as possible. To do that we need to be able to openly and freely create, interact and share with each other. An internet connection where uploading information is as easy as downloading harmonizes best with that desire. Symmetric internet is already valued a lot by independent entrepreneurs and creators. This is the future of informatics and vital to the progress of humanity as a whole. Genuine options for a fast symmetric internet connection should be available to everyone, everywhere and the asymmetric options gradually phased out

Reflections from a “radical” mind on the perception of “normal”

From my current observational point after a few years of vegetarianism, some months of veganism, increased spiritual and self-awareness leading to several enlightenment experiences, my take on the majority of the western civilization is that it is and has been for a long time suffering from a perpetual mass-psychosis, one in which I myself participated in for most of the years of my life. This mass-psychosis could be categorized in terms of a secondary type of self-delusion of what it is possible to be and become as a human being. It is a mass-induced and self-perpetuated paranoia and fear of the unknown, be it of religion, culture, spirituality, drugs, sexuality or other phenomena or belief which does not fit well with the current paradigm. This includes an over-identification of the importance of maintaining the own personality/ego-structure together with its cultural circumstances, and a victimizing/dis-empowering mindset when looking at one’s own capacity to change it. An over-reliance on seeking external solutions to self-created problems, instead of looking inwards and finding true purpose.
I want to share this perhaps seemingly negative observation as a kind gift in the hopes that it can greatly benefit and open the eyes for anyone who would like to accept it. I believe it is up to each and everyone to find out their own truth and discover what extraordinary beings they truly are and deeply desire to become. We are all on the path together. Take back your power, become a creator, heal yourself and heal the world! And don’t forget to have fun too!

A simple way to get started is to set up a meditation practice if you do not already have one. Find one which appeals to you. For example, set off twenty minutes at a time when you can be undisturbed, at a place you enjoy being in. Do it every day. It is free, everyone can do it. It gives tremendous results, in a very short time.

Is the Bible vegan? – A somewhat “fishy” subject…

If you have read my previous blog post on consciousness (You are infinite infinities) you already know what I think about beliefs and their malleable form, being interconnected energy patterns that shape all of reality, ultimately being just as exchangeable as your underwear, t-shirt or facial expression.

Starting from there, let us examine some relationships between enlightenment, a common world religion (Christianity in this case) and veganism. I want to warn you in advance that I might seem to stray a bit off-topic. This is just how my mind wanders. I do at least mention fish again in the last sentence.

The “typical” believer – when religion, spirituality and self-development becomes static

An friend recently reflected on the views which her mother held on fish. Her mother tried to follow the Bible to the letter in regards to what choices to make in diet. She proposed that Jesus put fish on the earth for us to eat, and that this was so proven by the writings in the Bible.

Let us assume for a moment that it is true that Jesus put the fish for us to eat. Now this is perfectly fine (remember that any individual truth is perfectly true in the subjective reality for as long as it is fully held by that individual being. If this is hard to understand, I advice to go back and read this post). So this belief is just as valid as any other. By accepting it, the typical human will live out life believing fish is for eating and thus directly or indirectly killing, preparing and eating fish, until dying of old age, perhaps around reaching a hundred years of age. I don’t have much more to say about it.

But a problem with cherry-picking a statement from the Bible to use as a rule for leading life is that it can lead to any course of action. Murder, rape, genocide and so forth. So we are back to the fact that we have responsibility for all our actions. This also means taking responsibility of how we choose to select and shape our living and beliefs.

Reading between the lines – altering the point of view

Now, instead of just assuming a random sentence to be what to adhere to for the rest of a lifetime, I find it much more interesting to dive a bit deeper into other things Jesus and the Bible has to say.

Actually Jesus is involved a lots of talk about fish as well as fishing . This is not surprising considering the location and culture he was partake in. Jesus had to talk the same language and use the customs of the people around him to be understood. But he spoke a lot of the time in parables, what he wanted to convey was the way of thinking, speaking and acting leading to a person’s realization of being God just as he had. In the Bible this is what might be referred to as the “reaching the Kingdom of Heaven”.

Jesus also goes on for quite a bit in encouraging his listeners to remember the words of God that they supposedly should adhere to, but are not. There one may especially take note of the commandment of not killing.

If a person would be really interested in using the Bible as their guide, they should read and study it, with an open mind and also skeptically. And when doing so, try to ask themselves deep questions. For example: What does the Bible actually say? Does it relate to my life experiences somehow? What am I feeling while reading this? Where does those feelings come from? Why am actually reading this?

But let us for now continue with some more Bible references in regards to veganism.

A point of origin – a point to return to

In the book of genesis the first statement from God about food is

[1:29] God said. “See I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food“.

Taken literally, it seems quite vegan. Note that only after the fall from grace with the murder of Abel by Cain and the following Flood comes the kind of dejected statement from God that all animals are up for the taking by humans:

[9:2] “The fear and dread of you shall rest on every animal of the earth, and on every bird of the air, on everything that creeps on the ground, and on all the fish of the sea; into your hand they are delivered.”

[9:3] “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; and just as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.”

Now I don’t see the bible as much as a chronological history as it is an allegory to explain how a state of mind/consciousness relates to the experience of the world around. So take special note on the mention of fear and dread!

So, let us elaborate a bit on this allegory. When consciousness forgets its god-hood, it gets scared of its own manifestations, and that profound sense of separation is what the murder between brothers ultimately represents. The separate self thinks it can lack, that people, things and even ideas can be good or evil, and belong to it or not. All negative feelings, thoughts, actions and experiences stem from the lack of realization of the fact that there is no real separation, and that creator-ship comes from and even is consciousness itself. It encompasses all that exists and there is nothing else. Falling from grace or heaven is nothing else than succumbing to the belief of separation between self and other. In my eyes, God giving up on humans is equivalent to a person giving up on their own creative power to shape a more positive reality.

An end is a beginning. A beginning is an end

The goal at the end of the reversed separation process is what is called Illumination in Christianity, Tahwid in Islam, Rigpa in Dzogchen, Moksha in Hinduism, Nirvana in Buddhism, Ushta in Zoroastrianism, Da’at in Judaism. There are so many names for this experience to be found in different religions, and even inside the same religion.

The religions often starts with a being who after becoming enlightened seeks to give the same gift to all other life. Thus, a measure for if a religion has been properly practiced or not could be said to be that the practitioner receives the actual experience that the creator of the religion had. And a being thus enlightened, really does not need to eat fish anymore, because the fish IS not apart from the enlightened being. Both human and fish enlightened, just marvel at each others presence.


I will end this blog post here, but might come back to it later to expand on certain ideas. I welcome questions, criticism and any other feedback if you have read this far. I would very much like to hear from you!

Vegans – voices for the voiceless

– my journey, from childhood to vegan –

Growing up

I was privileged enough to have the opportunity to learn how to read at a very early age in life. During this time, I read many books written from different animals points of view. I loved the plush animal toy figures from WWF, as well as the ones my mother sewed for me, and I used to play pretending to be various animals. The environment I grew up in however expressed dislike for vegetarians and similar thinkers, and with these prejudices I was not strong enough to realize the connection between what I ate and what was going on behind that. I sometimes justified my habits by identifying the animal my name Björn is taken from, and the image of an omnivorous animal. But something felt wrong far far back in my mind.

A life with diseases

My life until the last few years was plagued by many various health problems. During my childhood I had allergies, colds, nausea and stomach sickness, in my teenage years I got appendicitis, acne, depression, pneumonia, salmonella infection, ulcerative colitis and psychosis. In my twenties I suffered from colds, addictions of different kinds, depressions, and moodiness.

The turn-around

Two events had a great impact on my journey.

First, I met two very friendly and generous vegans who cooked the most delicious vegan food! Experiencing this helped me start eating much healthier.

Then, at the age of 34, I visited a pig/sheep farm. I remember the contrast between a relaxed summer vacation on the Mediterranean coast and entering a concrete paved dark hall with thousands of eyes watching me in fear. All their bodies were moving as one, like a school of fish. In such a place there is no other reference than the prisoners standing next to you.

A few months later I decided to go vegetarian. On New Year’s Eve, 2013, the decision to become a vegetarian popped up in my head and struck me as so true and right as nothing ever had in my life. Over time I realized that I had to be vegan as well, anything else would just be hypocrisy and turning a blind eye to the impact of my choices.

Where I am now

Looking back on my life, I can see how much has changed since becoming vegetarian/vegan. Now I am never sick, I don’t even get the common cold, even when people around me have it. I am connect with more people than ever before, both around the world and locally. When I talk to people I am much less concerned about their social status, origin, gender or age than before. I am stronger, more fit and more active than ever, working simultaneously on a wide range of projects while also taking many actions to improve myself. I am constantly realizing and working towards my highest goals and dreams, while creating a life and lifestyle I never before thought possible for me. I try as much as possible to help others and have never been more at peace with myself as I am today!

To consider

We are all born without labels or names. Being vegan is not all we are, think and do. But it is a useful label to help me guide the choices made in life for me and many others.