Tuesday, April 26, 2005

I'm Not a Sim

Dear Internet Diary,

I recently dusted off my old "Sims" game; the version where you move people around in an environment you create, give them jobs, maintain their health and relationships, and so on. It can be really addicting.

Playing the game reminds me of the nihilistic idea that we are all part of a computer simulation, and we don't realize that our reality is not the real thing. We are being experimented upon my an evil demon, aliens, or of course, God. Same thing. It's not very rare that, when I am having a discussion with someone new about religion or philosophy, I am assaulted by the words, "The Matrix." I have to fight to keep from completely shutting down at this point. It's not simply because The Matrix is just not a very good movie, and The Truman Show more concisely and more skillfully explains this concept, it's that I get the feeling that there are millions of guys out there who think The Matrix is a good and original basis for an entire philosophy.

It's not.

If there is no evidence that we are living in a simulated world, there is no point in even discussing the matter. In such a world, we have no way of knowing what reality is. We couldn't know what evidence was if we saw it. For that matter, we would not be justified in judging that the simulators'--or God's--reality was the real reality, and not a meta-simulation of a meta-simulation. We could never trust any perception. There would be no point in communicating, and no point in questioning one's perceptions anyway. Yet many do--and contradict themselves. They would not be able to say that reality is based on an evil demon objectivity, or that reality is subjective--yet they do.

The fact is that simulated worlds exist--in our imaginations. We are not subject to these simulations, we create them. It is a sort of idealism that takes our own concepts that exist in our brains and puts them in an imaginary world that is "more real" than ours. Is the grass greener? Are our lives too grey? I think that it's a lack of imagination and curiositythat is dissatisfied with reality; not the reverse. It can also be argued that it comes out of a desire to place the responsibiliy for one's actions in the hands of another and play the victim. It sounds a lot like Christianity, doesn't it?

But we'll talk more about this, diary.


breakerslion said...

I look forward to reading more of what you have to say on this subject. Interesting coincidence: a comment on my blog yesterday was, "There is no spoon". May I add a link to your blog, by the way?

My response to the "Matrix" philosophy, or the "brain in the jar", or whatever it's called this year has long been to counter with, "A difference that makes no difference is no difference". I only start a different chain of causality if I allow my belief in the nature of things to alter my behavior. I will stub my toe on the table leg whether it's all in my head or not, so I might as well treat it as real. As you point out, I have no real evidence to the contrary anyway.

Hellbound Alleee said...

Sorry I didn`t get back to you: of course you may add a link!

I struggle with this subject, but I'm sure I'll get back to it.