Encryption is a process of scrambling information otherwise readable information. Without the right decryption key, encrypted data is just gibberish. Only with the right key can you unlock the correct information and get what you want.
The way you look at the world is similar to encrypted information. With the right key, you can transform the way you perceive reality. The world hasn’t changed, but your ability to translate it has. The decryption key you possess and your ability to decipher the universe is your philosophy of life.
Philosophy is Your Decryption Key
Philosophy comes from the Greek word, philosophía, meaning “love of wisdom.” Most peoples eyes glaze over when they hear the word “philosophy”. Isn’t that just the study of old men who wrote too many books and had too much time on their hands?
I completely disagree. Philosophy is perhaps the most important subject in your life because it is also the most fundamental. If you have the wrong encryption key, valuable information in your universe might look like random noise. Since you can only perceive the data you can translate, philosophy is the subject of sculpting your version of reality itself.
Becoming an Amateur Philosopher
I’ve never taken a formal class in philosophy, although I’ve read many books. Classes like these can be helpful in giving you fundamental ideas about reasoning and viewing the world. However, if your goal is to build a better decryption key to improve your life, the philosophy taught in most schools might not be specialized enough.
A lot of formal philosophy approaches broad and esoteric questions: is there a God? Should you devote your life to service or selfishness? What is beauty? This can improve your ability to decrypt reality, but it is only a first step.
Instead, I believe a better focus is practical philosophy. This means editing your decryption key in a way so that you can better translate the information that really matters to you. Instead of just looking for answers to the big questions, you are able to decrypt the information that can improve the quality of your life.
Learning for Philosophical Merit
I’m a big believer in lifelong learning and learning for the sake of learning. With all the time, energy and monetary costs involved in educating yourself, what’s the point?
The goal of learning isn’t just to having a few more facts you can bring up at cocktail parties. Instead, every idea you find and each piece of information you discover gives you more options for your decryption ability. Learning is a software upgrade for your brain, allowing you to translate the infinite processes of the universe into something more meaningful.
When you learn for philosophical merit, it changes your library. I’ve read quite a few self-help and business books, but I only bother if I feel the new book will offer something different. I have no need to be handed the same decryption keys over and over again. Reading one book about positivity might be useful, but reading a dozen is redundant.
Reading to upgrade your decryption key to reality, changes the books in your library. Great works of fiction, major religions and non-fiction books on fields that you have no understanding in all offer great access to new decryption keys. If you’ve never read Shakespeare, the Bhagavad-Gita or a book on cosmological theory, you’re probably missing dozens of decryption keys that could help you improve your life.
The All-Purpose Reality Translator 2000
Your brain is a reality-translator. Input from the world enters your nervous system and for the entirety of your life it is trying to translate those inputs into patterns that are meaningful. When you lack decryption keys, you may see the world but you’re too dumb to understand how to use it.
The biggest problem in reality-translation is in taking decryption keys that work well with one set of information and applying them to areas that are more practical. I don’t think many people would say learning quantum physics makes you a better lover. (Know any physics geeks rewriting the Kama-Sutra?)
In order to really use your reality-translator effectively, you need to be able to transfer keys that work in an abstract area to one closer to the quality of your life. Holistic learning  is one strategy for doing this. Another is simply to invest more time looking for creative uses for your abstract decryption keys.
Recycling the Universe
Your philosophy of life comes from a few major sources: experience, formal learning in books and school, experimentation and from other people. It’s easy to take whatever you learn and fail to fully digest it. Instead of sucking all the nutrients possible from your understandings, it’s easy to let them pass right through your life.
When you take a statistics class, do you ask yourself how you can use this to improve your health? When you take an economics class, do you look at how it could improve your finances? When your read a book on psychology, does it gives you ideas on how you can improve the habits of your life?
Having a lot of decryption keys for the universe isn’t important if they don’t translate the data that is important to you. Albert Camus once said that, “The only real philosophical question is that of suicide.” What he meant was that only important question is whether life is worth living. Decryption keys are useful only if they can somehow improve your life. You may never know what value a key has until you discover it, but unless you drag it back to your personal life it’s almost meaningless.
How to Begin Decrypting Reality
There are a few major ways you can start decrypting reality by finding more keys. The first is simply to read more books and more different books. Don’t narrow your learning into only one subject, read about a wide variety of ideas. Going into depth is useful if you stumble upon a set of decryption keys you find particularly useful or interesting.
The second is to spend more time thinking critically about what you experience. Simply ingesting philosophical keys whole won’t give you the same benefits if you slowly dissect those ideas. Spend more time journaling and writing about your ideas and don’t be afraid to contradict yourself. Proving yourself wrong isn’t a sin, it’s the only way you can improve your philosophy.
The final suggestion is to be willing to live with temporary contradictions. One of the unsettling facts about uncovering new decryption keys is that they can override each other. One key may give you a perfectly readable message while an opposite key could give you a completely different message. Contradictions can’t exist for long, but hitting these errors in philosophy may be uncomfortable as you slowly debug reality.
It’s only when you view life as not an uninterrupted flow of truth, but a jumbled pattern of infinite processes for you to discover, explore and translate that you can sculpt your version of reality.