Hello, I’m Mike Radivis. My real name is Michael Hrenka, but I prefer the pseudonym Mike Radivis, as it’s more in line with who I actually am: A Radical Visionary. As original free-thinker who likes pondering deeply about various philosophical topics, especially ethics and the future, I don’t feel attracted to standard career paths. So, after really realizing how essential it is for us all to develop our minds, capabilities, and personalities I came to the conclusion that the best use of my resources is to create a site about really effective personal development. After all, personal development in its broadest scope is the basis of all personal and societal progress.
Well, it may be difficult to understand me completely. I could throw around some labels that might describe myself, but labels simplify and only grant the illusion of understanding. So, let me just mention some aspects of my life and identity. Just let me add some generic information about myself beforehand: In 1983 I was born in Germany and still live there. If my English isn’t top-notch, that’s my excuse for my shortcomings.
My anthro horse avatar
Portrait of my anthro horse avatar
Sometimes I look like this
My anthro horse avatar again
The Horse Avatar
My avatar portrait image might confuse you, as it depicts an anthropomorphic horse and not a human. Well, that’s because I prefer seeing myself more as horse than as a human. That’s a peculiarity of me which possibly results from my emotional preference for horses. In general, I like horses more than humans. It’s a matter of personal taste. I’m not crazy or so – at least the voices of psychologists claim that I’m sane.
Sometimes I just feel like I was a horse in one of my former lives. That claim might not exactly be correct, but I really enjoy playing with that thought.
Also, I like seeing myself as advocate of those who are less powerful. Non-human animals are pretty much powerless in our current world. That’s a violation of my ethical and aesthetical ideals. So, I long and strive for a world in which all sentient animals are protected from needless cruelty, pain, fear, and death. As horse, I live on a plant-based diet, of course. And I love salad.
I believe that it is our highest purpose to make this world a better place for all sentient beings. For this task, we need much more personal, ethical, and technological development. If you want to believe the famous futurist Ray Kurzweil, and I do, we don’t have to worry a lot about the technological side of the future, as technology progresses at an increasingly rapid speed. Read his book The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology to find out more.
In the area of ethics my own views are similar to those of the British philosopher David Pearce who has written The Hedonistic Imperative, a manifesto that makes a case for Paradise Engineering. In short, he propagates the abolition of suffering by using advanced technology to redesign our brains and finally the whole biosphere.
Seeking Truth and Meaning
Thinking about the “meaning of life” is fine and good, but the really pragmatical and more relevant philosophical question is “What to do next?”
The pursuit of happiness preoccupied me until I had a really incredible spontaneous spiritual experience. In my mind I felt like being led around through the magnificence of the cosmos, finally to be connected with some kind of cosmic network of love. That experience induced an indescribably intense state of bliss which I actually could intensify willingly up to the maximum of what I was capable to feel.
Even though I think it’s much more likely that this network of love was just a construction of my exuberant fantasy than a really existing thing out there, this spiritual experience had a very deep and lasting impact on my life. My first reaction was to intensify my exploration of philosophical questions, which has finally led me to some interesting and rather unconventional answers.
For example, I’ve come to the conclusion that the idea of a single, separated and coherent self is a very simplified construct that actually restricts our thinking about who we are and who we can become way too much.
On one hand, we construct our identities to give a common denominator to all our interests, feelings, skills, desires, memories, and goals. Even though we are inclined to assume that there is some form of essence to our identities, it is a more realistic view to see ourselves just as bundles of our attributes – possessing no fixed and unchangeable core.
On the other hand, we use our identities as individuals to separate ourselves from the world around us. Considering the increasing interconnection of all life on earth, this is a rather unsustainable perspective.
Understanding the World(s)
During my studies of mathematics and physics I have started to see the cosmos as mathematical structure. In my opinion, it is best understood in that fashion. Does that perspective on the world around us make a difference? Yes, and no. Max Tegmark, an MIT physicist, explored the possible implications of that idea and has come to the conclusion that we might live in a vast hierarchy of multiverses. David Deutsch, another popular physicist, thinks that quantum computers work so fast, because they use the strange effects of the quantum multiverse.
Approaching the world from another perspective, the philosopher David Lewis also came to the conclusion that we live in a fiercely large multiverse. With his theory of modal realism he has even gone so far to claim that every possibly existing world actually exists. Given the idea that mathematical structures represent alternative worlds, modal realism especially implies the existence of Max Tegmark’s hierarchy of multiverses, which in course contains the many worlds that are postulated by a popular interpretation of quantum mechanics.
For various philosophical and mathematical reasons I think that modal realism is true. This has absolutely startling implications. Given the hypothesis that our cosmos could be simulated on a sufficiently huge (quantum-)computer, there is actually a world in which our cosmos is just a computer simulation. That’s a rather unconventional “proof” of the Simulation Hypothesis.
Astonishingly, this opens up the possibility of an afterlife for us! The futurist Giulio Prisco has described how that process would work in his blog post CTRL-ALT-R: Another Life. Basically, the programmers of our universe simulation could copy us out of this world and into another one. Huge problem about this: We have no clue how the next world might look like!
Furthermore I also like reading science-fiction stories. My first approaches at writing science-fiction stories myself can be found on my private site Radivis.com.