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Hey, you. You're life is not real. It's not something I can prove to you conclusively in an objective way, since everything you take in with your senses is internal to this reality, but I intend to set you on the right path to understand this. I'm going to give you the reasons why you should doubt your current reality, and some information for further research.
First off, there is the Simulation Argument. This was an argument orginally made by physicist, philosopher, and professor, Nick Bostrum. I won't give you his argument exactly, but a modified version of it. Look him up if you want the original. But, essentially, it can be viewed as this:
1) Intelligent life, such as humans, will increase in technology to the point where we can make realistic simulations, basically virtual realities. This assumption seems obvious, given that we are getting better at this all the time, computer technology and display technology is ever increasing. Your experience is just signals sent to your brain; it seems reasonable that with advanced enough technology you could feel like you're in a real world, while experiencing a video game or something like it.
2) When we get the technology to create virtual realities, we will want to do so. This assumption also seems obvious, since we all love video games, and constantly use educational software.
3) We will have reasons to create more than one simulation. This also seems obvious, since we have thousands of different video games, weather prediction software, physics simulations, etc. already. And, we have millions of different copies of these running right now. It is no stretch of the imagination to see why we will have millions of virtual realities, when our technology has reached that point effectively.
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What is the conclusion to draw from these assumptions? One day, there will be millions of virtual realities, and only one objective reality. Since you have no way to tell which one you're in while you're in it, you are statistically very unlikely to be in the one-in-a-million "real" world. It is almost a statistical guarantee that you are in a virtual world.
>Maybe one day OP, but we don't have that technology yet.
We already try to do historical reconstruction. We already do computer simulations of past weather and geological events, as well as astronomical events. We are interested in simulating the past. Bostrum refers to "ancestor simulations", essentially humans recreating their past in virtual simulations for a number of reasons. There will be more simulations of this "now" there will be actual "now"s. This time, 2015, right now, if you are experiencing it you are still more likely to be in a simulation than in the objectively real world.
And that's just assuming that humans are real and this time really happened. Perhaps this is an entertainment simulation, a program representing a reality that never really happened. Then it doesn't matter what our technology looks like. You have no way to know for sure right now.
>But I would know if I were in a simulation. I'd still have memories of the real world before the simulation, and of starting this simulation.
Would you? When you dream every night, do you always remember your waking life, and having gone to sleep? Can you always tell you're in a dream, even when the dream gets ridiculous? And do you remember how you started experiencing this reality? Do you remember starting this game or being born? Or do your memories merely start at some point in middle childhood, already playing this reality?
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It can't be proven conclusively that you are in a simulation, because any proof that you get would be internal to the simulation - i.e. any evidence you get shown in a video game is just computer data in the video game and not real. However, there are some signs you can look at to start the thought process on this. You don't know how this is being simulated on computers in the real world, you don't know what the programming must look like, you don't know how the computer hardware works, you don't yet know for what purpose this simulation is being run, you don't know if your concept of anything is 100% true out in the real world.... but, you do know what a simulation is, and so you should be able to draw some parallels between what is happening in this "reality" and what you'd expect from a virtual reality.
Do you know anything about quantum physics? If not, you should go look it up, it's fascinating. The problem with quantum physics is that we know it works - every experiment is successful - but it doesn't seem to make any sense. The field of quantum physics started with the 'double-slit experiment' (start your research there; it's impossibly confusing and interesting for most physicists). I won't go over all the details of this experiment (you will find it very well explained all over the internet), but essentially what they found is this - matter doesn't seem to exist as matter until someone observes it. Electrons, photons, (and with later experiments we found this to be true with atoms and molecules) seem to exist as nothing but probability waves, almost like information, until we observe it and suddenly it is matter. It's called wave-particle duality, please look it up if you don't know about it.
If you've never heard of this, it will sound like I'm making it up. But, you've heard of Schrödinger's cat, right? If so, that was just an analogy for this concept. The state of matter literally cannot be known before it is observed, because it functions like it doesn't exist as anything more than information until it is observed.
Something like this happens every time you play a video game. If your PC had to load an entire game in order to play it, we'd have very small games. The trick to make the most of the hardware is to keep the whole game as data on your harddrive/disc/whatever, load the data that you have immediate access to, and only render what is being displayed on the screen. That boss, your character, the castle you're in... it only exists as you see it when you look at it. You turn around, it's no longer on the screen, and then it's just data. Turn back around, and there it is again, acting as though it had been there the whole time. Same thing in this universe.
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Did you know, there is a speed limit to how fast anything can move on your computer screen? Sure, something can be rendered on one side, and then immediately rendered on the other side of the screen, but I'm talking about when an image actually moves across the whole screen. There is an easy way to figure out the speed limit on your screen. Speed = distance/time (like how car speed is measured in 'miles per hour'). To find the fastest anything can move on your screen, you must take the smallest distance possible (1 pixel) and divide it by the smallest amount of time that anything on the screen can change (the refresh rate on you monitor), then you get the fastest anything can move. But the universe doesn't work like that, right? Because it's all analogue, there aren't pixels or refresh rates. Well, another oddity of physics seems to be showing that the world we see is very much like a computer display. There is a smallest measurable physical distance in the universe. It is called the Planck Length. We can imagine a smaller size, but anything smaller cannot contain mass or energy as we know it, and simply cannot be measured by any practical method we can imagine in the physics we understand. There is also a smallest speed possible for us to measure. It is called the Planck Time. Again, we can write a number for a smaller time, but the math for any time smaller than this stops making sense and the physics gets contradictory and nonsensical when we try to calculate anything like that. It is just impossible for us, as we understand physics, to measure any time smaller than this. If you divide the Planck Length by the Planck Time you get..... the speed of light. The speed of light, which Einstein's Relativity tells us is the maximum speed limit of the universe. Space and Time are quantized, much like a computer screen.
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Please go look up Professor James Gates, as this will sound very questionable. He is a physicist who works with Superstring Theory - basically a theory that is currently untestable, but mathematically accounts for all of the laws of physics in the universe that we know of. This is important, because the standard model of physics doesn't mathematically account for everything - for example, Einstein's Relativity and Quantum Physics, both very successully tested theories, describe gravity as something completely different. Superstring Theory is the hope for a lot of people to get a unified theory of everything in the physical universe. But, since we don't have the technology to test it yet, one thing physicists are doing is trying to run computer simulations based on the laws of physics according to Superstring Theory, and testing to see if they actually lead to a universe like our own. This is something Prof. Gates was involved in. When modeling the laws of physics in a computer according to ST, he and his team found something very strange. The laws of nature, when described in binary, contain known computer code. The strings of 0s and 1s that describe the laws of physics that our world operates on contain the _exact_same_ strings of 0s and 1s as things like Checksum programs, data we understand and use in the working of software. Checksum programs are not the only computer code he found in there, and the binary code for these are long enough that it is mathematically extremely unlikely for these to be coincidence.
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This is not the only oddity being found in the math of modeling the universe. Recent study in the math of black holes has found that it is possible that any three-dimensional object pulled into a black hole may be broken down and flattened across the surface of the accretion disk, essentially two-dimensional, in such a way that information about all of it's three-dimensional properties is still complete. Abstract sounding concept, but what does this mean? Physicists have realized that all of the three-dimensional information we can see can be represented as a hologram. Not only that, but it is mathematically simpler to describe the universe as two-dimensional information projected as three-dimensional space, as a hologram. Again, don't take my word for this, please go do some research if you have any doubts about what I am saying.
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You live in a simulation. All of the things internal to this simulation that you get so concerned with - money, sex, entertainment, food, being comfortable, being scared, etc. etc. etc. - they're not real. They're not real, you're life's not real. Hell, even the people around you - are they real intelligences also experiencing the virtual reality, or are they simulated as well? There's no way to know, until you know the purpose of the simulation. And why should you concern yourself with the purpose of the simulation? Well, let me put it this way: some of you likely already have contemplated the idea that you don't know if you're dreaming or not - that you cannot ascertain the reality of this experience - so there's no point in worrying about it. You're experiencing it like it's real, so you might as well just enjoy the experience, right? Well, there's a difference between a dream and a simulation. Atheists who do not see a god necessitated by nature often say that we make our own purpose for life, and people who accept that this might be a dream often say we make our own meaning for life. But a simulation implies a simulator existing in the world outside of our programmed laws of nature, and a programmer implies a great likelihood of an intentional design. You are here for a reason. Not just to enjoy life, not just to play out your life by the mandates of the laws of nature. This simulation was intentionally designed, and you are experiencing it for a reason.
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I've said many things here that sound ridiculous, that I've asked you to go research yourself. The scientific findings that support the Simulation Argument, those can all be found easily on the internet. There are plenty of papers and lectures and videos and so on that address them. Again, I am going to ask you to hear me out on something that will require you to do research for yourself, but I ask you more this time. You cannot know the answer to this question from some quick search engine-ing. You cannot know the answer to this from a youtube video, or an 4chan post. You will have to search deeper than that, and it will be harder. Here is the hard reality of finding the truth. You are an addict. You are asleep. And it blinds you to the truth. You think you are free, but your actions are driven by cravings, by thoughts you can't control, by things that feel like needs because you can't deny them, by dreams of what you want to be happening, by an inability to look at the world around and inside of you and analyze what's happening. This is what you must do - you must first quiet the conflict in your head that drives you. The thoughts that scream at you, "Food! Sex! Distraction! Distraction!" you must realize that these thoughts are not you, they are a result of what is programmed as your biology and social conditioning. You must learn to quiet your mind from these things.
At first, it will be hard. At first, you won't even be able to calm your seemingly conscious thoughts. You may be able to steady your concentration for seconds at a time, but then you will remember that thing someone said that pissed you off, and you'll think about what you want to say to him, and then you'll think about the project you're working on and what to do next, and before you know it minutes, hours, maybe days have passed while your experience is being dragged around by these thoughts. But with practice, you'll be able to let them go, to be here, to be now. When that happens, and you think your mind is totally silent, that's when you'll really start to be able to hear the crying out of the body. That's when you'll be able to hear your body yell out about its cravings and its needs and its desires, before you would have even been able to consciously recognize them before. It will seem like a great achievement, as though you've leapt and swam down into the depths, the bottom of your subconscious. But it goes deeper. When you can get past this noise, and I promise you that it is only noise, you will see that there is no such thing as quiet. There is no such thing as quiet, because underneath the noise of your mind, underneath the noise of your body, there is a message separate from you. One that you can't turn down, you can't turn off, you can only drown it out with other noise, and that is what you've done. But turn off the noise, and you will see - it is a message that permeates everything. It is the purpose, the meaning, the key to whatever true reality you are capable of experiencing. It is a hard truth, and everything in your mind and body will fight to make sure you don't hear it. Perhaps right now you are running through thoughts calling this out for being bullshit. Is it? Fine, I've already asked you not to take my word for it - go experiment, prove it to yourself. Can you logically dismantle the argument?
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I am telling you, the truth is there, you have only to look and see for yourself.
>Get to it OP, how do I quiet all these things and see what's happening?
There are many ways. The one that I find works for me - meditation. Get back control of your awareness. Question everything. Even your own assumptions. Don't get lost. Don't get distracted. Take your perceptions and mind back. Good luck to you, anon.
I second this. I have been on a kind of reality-bending journey for over a year now. And not the kind of journey involving lsd,or dmt, or shrooms. What I have found is that when I break everything down and silence the mind I feel an overwhelming connection with and appreciation for every living thing here. Every tree, shrub, bush, weed, blade of grass, animal, person, etc is a different little piece of the same God and together we make up the whole picture. Just my interpretation and I'm still learning. Good luck to you OP and to all you anons out there. We are one
Nice thread OP, great read. Mind telling us what is the purpose / message hidden underneath? I think it will not hurt to just tell us straight away, since when somebody is not ready for some truth, they usually dismiss it, and the ones who are ready get the message immediatly. So, go ahead. I'm waiting eagerly.
If I was blind, how would you describe the difference between the color red and green to me?
Words are just signifiers, symbols that point to a shared experience. If we don't share the experience, or anything like it, words are meaningless.
The best thing you could do is if you could tell me how to get working eyes, and then I'd understand it for myself. That's what I'm trying to do.
But if I had the words to accurately describe it, I would :)
Haha, I like analogies, but look at it from the view of a blind man - temperature is a real experience to him, but red objects can often be cold, and green objects can often be warm. If you don't know the experience, how can you know what it would be like in the context of intensity, pleasure, or excess?
Now look at it from the point of view of a blind population. If mankind never developed eyes to see, why would we have developed words to describe anything like colors and sights? We wouldn't have the language for it, or even to come close to it. Describe to me what the experience is like when a shark senses magnetic fields. We don't have those sense organs, so we don't have that language.
Please trust that I'm not trying to be mysterious or hide anything. I really just don't have the language for it. It's something that doesn't really make sense in explanation anyway, it is an experience.
I hope I am giving enough to help push people toward the experience, and I think that is the best I can do.
If things only exist when you're looking at them, what if you close your eyes and reach out too touch it, you feel it, that means it's there, right?
But what if we feel it because we expect it too be there, so it "generates" in the simulation. Or maybe we don't feel anything but the simulation makes us feel it.
One thing I always wondered is what if when we sleep we awaken in another world, and when we wake up, we put ourselves back into the simulation. Things we remember from our dreams is our life outside the simulation, but because it's so ridiculous we just dismiss it?
Nice post OP. I was aware of all the things you talked about already but you've summarized it in a logical way. My question to you is what purpose does this internal search serve? Meaning, what's the endgame? Does this make you happier or were you happier not knowing and existing with a sort of blissful unawareness. I'm on the fence about all of this. If the simulation theory cannot be proven or disproven then what's the point in worrying about it?
Fake and gay.
If I got OP right it does not really matter because the actual information on your surroundings is there. So (still assuming I followed OP correctly) if you render an environment but delete all the lighting (no visual input) the objects within that environment still exist.
>The state of matter literally cannot be known before it is observed, because it functions like it doesn't exist as anything more than information until it is observed.
Technically touching something you don't see is also an observation.
So observing isn't about looking at things, but perceiving them with the senses/presence.
I wonder if there's a way to cancel the projections of that binary data while you're near things.
i think it's best to think of everything "outside" your consciousness in the most abtract way as just information, like the formless binary data represented in computer memory or on a CD.
what really are the objects in a 3d simulated environment, beyond the representations on the screen?
they're just information, lacking any inherent properties like colour, shape, spatial extent, hardness, warmth, texture. those are forms our minds and senses give the raw data.
when you're not looking at or thinking about the moon, it only exists as information. it's not big or small, or grey or round, near or distant. your mind gives the raw information a form. it's a form that omits useless information (e.g., infrared light, microwaves, ultrasound, infrasound, magnetic fields, vacuum energy, quantum and relativistic effects) and presents to you a really simple view of the world that is useful for survival.
there may be some mapping between your mental model and the real structure of reality. for example, between the colours red, green and blue and certain frequencies of light. but this is not necessarily the case. for example, the colour purple does not have a corresponding frequency: it's an artifact of the way the retina and brain processes light.
you could think of the relationship between your mental model and the real world as like that between an ATC radar screen and the actual planes in the sky. it's a useful representation, but annotated blinking dots on a 2d screen bare little resemblance to airliners flying through a gravitationally bound sea of air.
the world is not visual. that's just our dominant sense. it's no more visual than auditory or olfactory. the closest it seems we can get to the real structure of reality is by abstracting away all our sensory and perceptual biases and using the language of nature/science: mathematics.