Notes & Quotes: God's Debris by Scott Adams

The following are my favorite quotes from Scott Adams' God's Debris: A Thought Experiment.
  1. The simplest explanation is usually right.
  2. Our probability is inexplicable.
  3. Words such as dimension and field and infinity are nothing more than conveniences for mathematicians and scientists.  They are not descriptions of reality, yet we accept them as such because everyone is sure someone else knows what the words mean.
  4. Four billion people say they believe in God, but few genuinely believe.  If people believed in God, they would live every minute of their lives in support of that belief.
  5. If you believe a truck is coming toward you, you will jump out of the way.  That is the belief in the reality of the truck.  Likewise, it is not belief to say God exists and then continue sinning and hoarding your wealth while innocent people die of starvation.  When belief does not control your most important decisions, it is not belief in the underlying reality, it is belief in the usefulness of believing.
  6. Religious people are happier, they live longer, have fewer accidents, and stay out of trouble compared to nonreligious people.  From society's viewpoint, religion works.
  7. The advice to "be yourself" is obviously nonsense.  But our brains accept this tripe as wisdom because it is more comfortable to believe we have a strategy for life than to believe we have no idea how to behave.
  8. It is beyond the human brain to understand the world and its environment, so the brain compensates by creating simplified illusions that act as a replacement for understanding.  When the illusions work well and the human who subscribes to the illusion survives, those illusions are passed to new generations.
  9. The human brain is a delusion generator.  The delusions are fueled by arrogance -- the arrogance that humans are the center of the world, that we alone are endowed with the magical properties of souls and morality and free will and love.  We presume that an omnipotent God has a unique interest in our progress and activities while providing all the rest of creation for our playground.  We believe that God -- because he thinks the same way we do -- must be more interested in our lives than in the rocks and trees and plants and animals.
  10. To God, nothing in the universe would be more interesting, more worthy, more useful, more threatening, or more important than anything else.
  11. Importance is not an intrinsic quality of the universe.  It exists only in our delusion-filled minds.
  12. Clinical psychologists have proven that ordinary people will alter their memories of the past to make them fit their perceptions.  It is the way all normal brains function under normal circumstances.
  13. Probability is omnipotent and omnipresent.  It influences every coin at any time in any place, instantly.  It cannot be shielded or altered.  We might see randomness in the outcome of an individual coin toss, but as the number of tosses increases, probability has firm control of the outcome.  And probability is not limited to coins and dice and slot machines.  Probability is the guiding force of everything in the universe, living or nonliving, near or far, big or small, now or anytime.
  14. We like to believe that other people have the same level of urges as we do, despite all evidence to the contrary.  We convince ourselves that people differ only in their degree of morality or willpower, or a combination of the two.  But urges are real, and they differ wildly for every individual.  Morality and willpower are illusions.  For any human being, the highest urge always wins and willpower never enters into it.  Willpower is a delusion.
  15. Probability is the expression of God's will.  It is in your best interest to obey probability.  How do I obey probability?  God's reassembly requires people -- living healthy people.  When you buckle your seat belt, you increase your chances of living.  That is obeying probability.  If you get drunk and drive without a seat belt, you are fighting probability.
  16. Every economic activity helps.  Whether you are programming computers, or growing food, or raising children, or cleaning garbage from the side of the road, you are contributing to the realization of God's consciousness.  None of those activities is more important than another.
  17. Stress is the cause of all unhappiness and it comes in infinite varieties, all with a common cause.  Stress is a result of fighting probability, and the friction between what you are doing and what you know you should be doing to live within probability.
  18. Probability is simple but it is not always obvious.
  19. There are two types of people in the world.  One type is people-oriented.  When they make conversation, it is about people -- what people are doing, what someone said, how someone feels.  The other group is idea-oriented.  When they make conversation, they talk about ideas and concepts and objects.
  20. People think they follow advice but they don't.  Humans are only capable of receiving information.  They create their own advice.
  21. Women define themselves by their relationships and men define themselves by whom they are helping.
  22. There is much to be said about the attraction of power and confidence exuded by a rich and powerful man, but capacity for sacrifice is the most important thing.
  23. People don't change to meet the objectives of other people.  Men can be molded in small ways -- clothing and haircuts and manners -- because those things are not important to most men.  Women can't be changed at all.
  24. The best you can hope for in a relationship is to find someone whose flaws are the sort you don't mind.  It is futile to look for someone who has no flaws, or someone who is capable of significant change; that sort of a person exists only in our imaginations.
  25. It is a way of signaling the importance of another person by showing your willingness to give that person your rarest resource: time.  It is a way of conveying respect.  Conversation reminds us that we are part of a greater whole, connected in some way that transcends duty or bloodline or commerce.
  26. Ingredients for successful social living: Express gratitude.  Give more than is expected.  Speak optimistically.  Touch people.  Remember names.  Don't confuse flexibility with weakness.  Don't judge people by their mistakes; rather, judge them by how they respond to their mistakes.  Remember that your physical appearance is for the benefit of others.  Attend to your own basic needs first; otherwise you will not be useful to anyone else.
  27. Most people believe they have goals when, in fact, they only have wishes.  They might tell you their goal is to get rich without working hard, without making sacrifices or taking risks.  That is not a goal, it is a fantasy.
  28. Writing your goals every day gives you a higher level of focus.  It tunes your mind to better recognize opportunities in your environment.
  29. People exist at different levels of awareness.
  30. Awareness is about unlearning.  It is the recognition that you don't know as much as you thought you knew.
  31. The fifth [and highest] level of awareness is the Avatar.  The Avatar understands that the mind is an illusion generator, not a window to reality.
  32. Awareness does not come from receiving new information.  It comes from rejecting old information.  You still cling to your fourth-level delusions.
  33. An Avatar can find happiness only in serving.
  34. Ideas are the only things that can change the world.  The rest is details.