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My Brain Rickshaw

I like to picture myself as a machine, churning forward while burning a combination of calories, fatty tissue, and expectations.

Utilizing laws like thermodynamics and making clever uses of the Earth’s own gravitational pull, I hurl my machinated body toward problems and with a whirrrrrr and a series of clicks, I begin to process them, rearranging metal beads on my internal abacus and spouting out a torrential downpour of printed paper containing mathematical ephemera, moderately inappropriate quotations, and the occasional doodle of a chimpanzee.

But this mental metaphor isn’t quite right, because there is a power source present in everything that I do which doesn’t fit within the steam punk schema of an entrepreneurial mechanical turk.

Perhaps I’m more like a rickshaw, pulled by the most basic physical functions of a human being, but supplemented by gears and sprockets and education and Pareto Principle-like shortcuts.

As I softly pedal, using the least amount of energy I can possibly expend on such a task, my mental spokes spin faster and faster, and as a result of the machine on which I metaphorically perch, every unit of energy spent results in a drastically-increased amount of effort or ingenuity or imagination gained.

Yes, I think I could be okay being a rickshaw.

It doesn’t have the immense speed and maneuverability of a motorcycle, but it also doesn’t have the downsides: the pollution, the cost, the danger of an accident or fuel-explosion or just tipping over. It allows me to get where I’m going when I want to go there.

But more importantly, with little extra expenditure of energy, it also allows me to take several other people along for the ride.

Update:February 14, 2017

Relevant to this same topic: cyborgs. Humans augmented by machines, and interfaced with them in some way.

Today, we’re all cyborgs. Most of us, anyway. Have a smartphone? Use it or a computer to hop on a network like the internet? You’re cyborging like a champ. I tend to think a more likely future than humans being replaced by robots and artificial intelligences is humans networked with and through these technologies, and becoming all the more capable as a result.