I don’t believe in god, so much so that I steadfastly refuse to cap up the word. It may be a proper noun to believers but it’s a common noun to me.
Why does my personal lack of religious conviction matter? – “Isn’t this a tech site?” cry some who wish we’d just tell you the latest smartphone specs. – – Well, it’s because I’m going to use god as a mechanism to make some points.
At best, if god existed, I’d see it as a being that gave up, a designer who couldn’t make the system work the way it wanted. The UX of the world is broken.
On an overarching level, there is death and pain, both bugs and features that the religious will tell you are a necessity. In most theologies, we must die so we can understand the value of life and so that the world doesn’t burst at its seams.
But consider – and I am far from the first to put forward this argument – if you were a master builder of infinite ability, resources and wisdom, you needn’t create a universe where those rules were enforced.
A just god, a divine designer, would not need to leave that little boy’s limp body on the beach. A divine designer of infinite capability would not have invented the EB that imposed constant pain upon my friend Lucy for her entire life and snatched her away at 29.
Life’s UX is dark and inscrutable. It gives us such rewards, such powerful happiness, that when the bad features and the errors begin, the pain is so much more acute.
On a lower level, in the world of everyday inconveniences and not life-shattering, path-shifting calamities, the life UX is irritating and obtuse, the UI stacked in favour of some players who begin with any number of power ups – rich parents, the right slice of land to live on, a physical shell and a mental engine strong enough to survive and thrive.
The UX of reality is not ours to hack, but the UX of society? That’s a different matter. Humans are fully upgradeable, both physically and mentally. We are also well-networked machines. We can form together into collections that are far more powerful than any individual node.
The UX of the world is broken, but, on the whole, we are not. It’s just that the experience of playing this game, of engaging with the broken experience can send us off course.
But if, as Bill Hicks once told us, you realize that this is all ‘just a ride,’ you can start to mess with the rules and get at the codes beneath the surface. Behind the UX and UI, life has a terminal and we all have the capability to hack it.