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theotherguy

in a simulated universe

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I've seen a lot of articles--scientific, popular, serious, satirical--that suggest the universe is a projection, simulation, or "computer program." They always make a big deal about it, and it would be important if true, but would it be life-changing? If it is currently a simulation, then wouldn't it always have been a simulation? If we are always being watched by God/a god/aliens/some programmer living in his mother's basement, I want to know why and how, but I don't think I would start living differently. Any thoughts?

For that matter, if a simulation can't be distinguished from reality, isn't it real enough?

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I've seen a lot of articles--scientific, popular, serious, satirical--that suggest the universe is a projection, simulation, or "computer program." They always make a big deal about it, and it would be important if true, but would it be life-changing? If it is currently a simulation, then wouldn't it always have been a simulation? If we are always being watched by God/a god/aliens/some programmer living in his mother's basement, I want to know why and how, but I don't think I would start living differently. Any thoughts?

For that matter, if a simulation can't be distinguished from reality, isn't it real enough?

Well for starts if we are aware that we are created we might be able to find a way to communicate with our creator in a real way. That would be interesting. We also might be able to learn the programming language and learn how to completely manipulate our environment. We could be like Neo.

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Posted (edited)

Hi Tog, A great post about a fundamental question. In the modern times with our use of computers, the idea of us living in a simulation seems likely and obviously scientifically very possible but before the latest scientific theories the ancients through ‘meditation’ had come to the same conclusion, but thought of it in slightly different way. They thought of life in terms of a dream as in this quote from 4/500bc by the Chinese master Chuang Tzu.

“How can I tell if the love of life is not a delusion? How can I tell whether a man who fears death is not like a man who has left home and dreads returning? Lady Li was the daughter of a border guard of Ai, when the Duke of Chin first took her, she wept until her dress was soaked with tears but once she was living in the Dukes palace, sharing his bed and eating delicious food she wondered why she had ever cried. How can I tell if the dead are not amazed they ever clung to life? Those who dream of a great feast may weep the next morning. Those who dream of weeping may enjoy the hunt the next day. While they dream they do not know they are dreaming, they may even interpret their dreams while they are dreaming. Only after they awake do they know it was a dream. By and by there will be a great awakening, and then we will know that this is all a great dream. All the while the fools think they are awake, appearing to understand things calling this man ruler and this man herdsman! How stupid! You and Confucius are both dreaming and when I say you are dreaming I am dreaming too. These words may sound like double talk, yet after 10,000 generations, we will meet a Great Sage who can explain all of this, or it may happen anytime now! “

Now its one thing to have a good theory and for that to influence our way of seeing human life but what if like these teachers/ masters we KNEW it through meditation, in our every day? Would we not live differently? would we be so greedy, selfish and stressed out? When the Buddha was asked,” What have you gained from meditation?” He replied ," Nothing! ” However, Buddha said, “ Let me tell you what I lost: Anger, Anxiety, Depression, Insecurity, Fear of Old Age and Death.” I have found this to be true about the perspective meditation brings, is that the way one experiences life is with a certain detachment slightly similar to when I am playing a Call of Duty/Borderlands 2 game on my play station. This does not mean living like a monk or some aesthetic life style, but just simply to meditate every day and then know it by personal experience. I like this view proposed by Alan Watts in one of his lectures here is a Utube vid made with words taken from it.

Alan Watts The Dream of Life Edited by sutemi
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it would be like the truman show

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For some reason I'm having the hardest time with the idea of sutemi playing play station :D

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Well the Universe is certainly real to us but could we actually be the Authors ourselves?

It would make a difference to a lot of people I would think, in that those who already take this concept in would apply more energy in taking ownership of themselves whilst others may decide to end it all and as many around them as they can because its not real anyway...and so on.....

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For some reason I'm having the hardest time with the idea of sutemi playing play station :D

I can understand that WCF, I am playing 'Drakes Deception' at the moment. Its good for the reflexes and eye hand coordination and don't forget I have a 9yr old. Hope you and yours are well and happy.

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Well the Universe is certainly real to us but could we actually be the Authors ourselves?

It would make a difference to a lot of people I would think, in that those who already take this concept in would apply more energy in taking ownership of themselves whilst others may decide to end it all and as many around them as they can because its not real anyway...and so on.....

Interesting. How would we be the Authors (a good choice of word)? More directly, who are you saying is the "we"? I can't say I include myself in the "we"; otherwise, I wouldn't have started this thread.

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The computer simulations are called like that because they mimic the real life and real-life-esque abilities, the memory, segmentation and so on. It shouldn't be mistook for that we're in a computer-simulated universe/existence - we're in reality where computers mimic the factors of life/existence itself because they're the very factors of the exact existence itself.

We shouldn't mistake our ignorance of existence for the validity of such claims, but, yes, you can ALWAYS use any human segment of life to make the analogy for the computer-based factors, from abstract terms uch as soul to the abstract terms such as god. Everything can be used to describe the computer and vice-versa too but to a degree.

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Interesting. How would we be the Authors (a good choice of word)? More directly, who are you saying is the "we"? I can't say I include myself in the "we"; otherwise, I wouldn't have started this thread.

Could we in fact be the very Gods we think are responsible for this universe, could we in fact be immortal consciousness that have gotten so bored with eternity that we have deliberately created a virtual world to get lost in so giving excitement to an otherwise endless existence of knowing it all.

That you disclude yourself from 'we' doesn't in any way invalidate such a proposal, regardless of your beliefs, a quest is exactly that isnt it, a question to be mulled over then eventually answered.

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What would be the differences (if any) between a computer generated or simulated universe and a naturally occurring one?

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I saw a television program about the expansion of the universe, can't remember the show and perhaps not even the details, but I think they postulated there is evidence that the universe is expanding not like when one stretches a rubber band, but rather in digital increments. That is rather curious.

Whatever this present reality may be, it certainly seems real to those within it. We appear to be born, live, reproduce and die in it. Those of faith might say it's a dry run for eternity, those with a more sci-fi bent might say we are in the matrix.

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I saw a television program about the expansion of the universe, can't remember the show and perhaps not even the details, but I think they postulated there is evidence that the universe is expanding not like when one stretches a rubber band, but rather in digital increments. That is rather curious.

Whatever this present reality may be, it certainly seems real to those within it. We appear to be born, live, reproduce and die in it. Those of faith might say it's a dry run for eternity, those with a more sci-fi bent might say we are in the matrix.

I think this depends on whether space is quantized or not

What would be the differences (if any) between a computer generated or simulated universe and a naturally occurring one?

I'm not sure if you could tell the difference from inside one or the other
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Posted (edited)

What would be the differences (if any) between a computer generated or simulated universe and a naturally occurring one?

I would guess a computer generated / simulated universe would need some sort of Machinery to "project " it (or whatever) And .. machines can't run themselves, so that version still leaves us looking for a living Creator and Operator of the machinery? Aliens? .. i dun think so.

I think the reason we get ideas like this, and ask questions like this, is because we are unable to fully understand and explain the naturally occurring one we occupy. ?

so.. People try to explain EVERYTHING in purely physical terms... there may be something more fundamental than physicality from which the physical forces and properties emanate?

I can't imagine a machine ever being capable of creating matter and energy ,in all it's complexity, or an illusion thereof, let alone Life!

emanate |ˈeməˌnāt|

verb [ no obj. ] (emanate from)(of something abstract but perceptible) issue or spread out from (a source): warmth emanated from the fireplace | she felt an undeniable charm emanating from him.• originate from; be produced by: the proposals emanated from a committee.• [ with obj. ] give out or emit (something abstract but perceptible): he emanated a powerful brooding air.DERIVATIVESemanative |-ˌnātiv|adjective,emanator |-ˌnātər|noun

ORIGIN mid 18th cent.: from Latin emanat- ‘flowed out,’ from the verb emanare, from e- (variant of ex-)‘out’ + manare ‘to flow.’

Edited by lightly
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One argument goes, if it is possible for advanced technological beings to build computers capable of creating a simulated universe, then they probably will. If there are many of these advanced technological beings in the universe, then there will be many simulated universes.

As it only requires two of these simulated universes to outnumber the natural universe, it is more likely we live in a simulated universe than in a natural one.

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I'm not sure of the likelihood but if there is any non-0 probability of it then the idea can't be dismissed

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I'm not sure of the likelihood but if there is any non-0 probability of it then the idea can't be dismissed

Yes, this was the point of my last post. If there are many civilizations capable of creating simulated universes, there is a greater likeihood of our universe being simulated than having naturally ocurred.

Perhaps within these simulated universes there are advanced civilizations that are capable of creating simulated universes...you get the idea. All there need be is one simulated universe with this potential for it to branch off exponentially into many simulated universes.

In video games, what the player is not experienceing ceases to exist and is stored in memory until needed. This technique would require less computer power. If no one is looking at the moon, it doesn't exist.

Also, glitches in the program could be hidden silmply by an algorythm that erases the memory of anyone recognizing the glitch as what it is.

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the difference is ... digitally constructed simulations are limited to its own particular set of rules ~ under a greater set of digitally functioning mechanisms structured within a limited scope of capabilities ~

the program for the human soul/spirit/mental simulation is infinite ~ not even the mortality of the human body as the simulation is transferred and passed on through as Culture or Legacy and History ~

Robert M Pirsig ( Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance ) and Carl Sagan (SHadows of Forgotten ANcestors) put it all quite clearly and nicely ~ All of us has ghosts of the ancients shouting and screaming in our heads ~ and they live on in our heads ~ and they breathe on through us ~

~

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Well, you wouldn't have to sumulate everything. There are computer simulations today where the rules for the behavior of some 'creatures' are open ended, in other words, room is left for improvisation. When the simulation is turned on, the 'creatures' behave in surprising and creative ways not predictable by the program itself.

This kind of algorythm could be used extensively. Just create the basic potential for autonomy and let it develop by itself.

There could also be philosophical zombies which have no consciousness in the program, who's behavior would be indistinguishable from completely simulated human beings. All animals could be philosophical zombies, for instance. This would save computer power.

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the difference is ... digitally constructed simulations are limited to its own particular set of rules ~ under a greater set of digitally functioning mechanisms structured within a limited scope of capabilities ~

the program for the human soul/spirit/mental simulation is infinite ~ not even the mortality of the human body as the simulation is transferred and passed on through as Culture or Legacy and History ~

Robert M Pirsig ( Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance ) and Carl Sagan (SHadows of Forgotten ANcestors) put it all quite clearly and nicely ~ All of us has ghosts of the ancients shouting and screaming in our heads ~ and they live on in our heads ~ and they breathe on through us ~

~

Isn't the universe itself limited by it's own set of rules as well? If space can be shown to be quantized I would take this idea much more seriously

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Could we in fact be the very Gods we think are responsible for this universe, could we in fact be immortal consciousness that have gotten so bored with eternity that we have deliberately created a virtual world to get lost in so giving excitement to an otherwise endless existence of knowing it all.

That you disclude yourself from 'we' doesn't in any way invalidate such a proposal, regardless of your beliefs, a quest is exactly that isnt it, a question to be mulled over then eventually answered.

So this is like Second Life for immortals?..

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Isn't the universe itself limited by it's own set of rules as well? If space can be shown to be quantized I would take this idea much more seriously

In terms of relativity ~ the rules is dependent only in relation to human technological capabilities ~ I'm not sure what would satisfy as 'quantized space' but if you are familiar with some aspects of the Tao principles ~

matter is (part of) nothingness - nothingness is (part of) matter

I believe it could also be stated as ~ matter would not exist without space (emptiness) and space (emptiness) would not exist without matter ~ just as light and shadows allows us to see ~ in terms of blindness ~ pure light or pure darkness will render as the same form of blindness ~

emptiness cannot be total ~ if matter do not exist emptiness is meaningless ~ as is also the reverse ~

~the thing here is 'meaning' ~ this meaning only applies to human thought ~ without human thoughts ~ all of this is meaningless ~

-

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i never can grasp the idea of a simulated universe as a real possibility. What about all of our thoughts and actions? .. all part of some program?

I decide to type this word instead of that... or that word instead of this... and this simulation program adapts itself to that ? The idea makes no sense to me.

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i never can grasp the idea of a simulated universe as a real possibility. What about all of our thoughts and actions? .. all part of some program?

I decide to type this word instead of that... or that word instead of this... and this simulation program adapts itself to that ? The idea makes no sense to me.

Evidently your programming doesn't allow you to make sense of it
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What a peculiar notion! As René Descartes pointed out in the 17th century, the only thing we can be absolutely certain of is our own existence - "I think, therefore I am" - though some modern philosophers aren't even sure about that. The point is, a simulated universe complex enough to include ourselves is by definition vastly more complex than we can possibly imagine. Furthermore, its physical laws need not bear any resemblance at all to those of "reality" (assuming that the universe in which we are mere software is not itself a simulation - once you accept the idea, an infinite series of simulations becomes just as likely as only one). Unfortunately, the laws of physics are the only means we have of measuring how real reality is, and if they were casually made up by an alien living in a 58,817-dimensional world who wanted to keep his computer game nice and simple...

This is basically identical to the claim: "God exists and omnipotently controls everything but frequently does so in a bafflingly sadistic fashion, and almost never in a way which makes it apparent that he exists, except allegedly sometimes when I'm not there but somebody else was who wrote a book about it", except that you don't have to make excuses for God behaving in a childishly immature and/or downright evil way, because we could literally be dealing with a situation where God is a bored child playing The Sims who sometimes bricks up all the doors because it's kinda funny to watch the little cartoon guys wail for food as they starve to death in pools of their own urine.

Think about it. If we really are software, is there any reason at all why we should exist for any particular purpose, be it good, bad or indifferent? We may be the crowning achievement of a dying race who have some incredibly profound goal in creating us as their immortal virtual offspring. Then again, we could be one of trillions of copies of a piece of casual entertainment. Seriously, how could a conflict as utterly pointless as the Crusades drag on for centuries if two hyper-dimensional godlings weren't playing King Of The Hill with Jerusalem? Face it, guys and gals - this is World Of Warcraft!

Alternatively, you could reach the conclusion that, since it's absolutely impossible to either detect the fact that you're living in a simulation, or, if you for some reason decide that you are, do anything whatsoever about it, you might as well assume that you're not. In which case I'm afraid that many of the nastier aspects of reality are collectively our fault, including yours, and there's no backup save available to make it all better. So you might as well roll your sleeves up and make the best of it.

Incidentally, anyone who is about to prove that this universe in which we live either is or isn't a computer program on the grounds that their subjective feelings / their spirit guide / David Icke told them so just failed the "I think therefore I am" test. So kindly stop existing.

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