The famous Elon Musk said there are a few arguments for the fact that we are living in a simulation.
So did Scott Adams in his book “Win Bigly” which I highly recommend to anyone.
However, this intrigued me and had me asking this same question, “are we living in a simulation?”
So I went on a journey.
And everything I found pointed more and more to the fact that we do.
But not the “Aliens created this simulation for us to enslave” kind of thing. I think we do it ourselves.
The Simulation Theory
We need to set the basis first.
A simulation has a few key traits which are different to reality (although the concept of reality is debatable itself…)
- Some sort of mechanism to never reach the edge
- A history that is created on demand (hypothesis by Scott Adams)
- Predefined life-paths (quests, goals, mission)
You can think of it like a videogame, where humans exist. I’ll draw many parallels to videogames here, because it’s easier to understand.
Those four traits formulate the basis for a simulation. There might be more, but if you have these, it is likely that it is a simulation.
Let’s dissect them.
A mechanism to never reach the edge
If you think about life as a simulation, then there is probably limited computing power.
So you need to create a mechanism which prevents your simulated beings from reaching the edge and realizing they are living in a simulation.
If you remember old space games, there was just an “invisible barrier” which marked the edge of the observable universe.
When you were flying your spaceship straight one direction away from your objectives in the game, you would eventually hit that barrier and your ship would stop proceeding.
In games, this is obvious.
In life, however, this is more subtle.
We know that the universe is constantly expanding at lightspeed, right?
So it is faster or just as fast as what we can observe. Which means we have no means to ever see the edge. Or the “invisible barrier.”
We can also never move there, because moving matter faster than the speed of light is theoretically impossible.
Which would make sense in a simulation, right? That you have some sort of rule or mechanism to avoid your simulated people from seeing the simulation as such. To reach the edge and meet their masters.
Bending the laws of physics
Now, we know that all “laws” of physics are really just made up by us.
They are observations, but they don’t necessarily have to be true.
We could’ve observed wrongly, and we have done so in the past.
So maybe you can move matter faster than the speed of light, we just haven’t managed to do so yet. Who knows? I don’t know.
But since I can only base my observations on what we currently know, I would argue this “invisible barrier” rule to never leave this universe, EVER, is handy for making the simulation seem real.
Other thoughts I had which I don’t want to go too deep into now, but let’s think about it.
Where does the universe expand IN?
If we are in the universe, then the universe needs to be in something as well, right?
Or does it?
Maybe my monkey brain just cannot understand it.
But this question always intrigued me. If it is constantly expanding, massively growing in size. In what does it do it? Another universe? Some sort of container?
A history that is created on demand
This idea is directly from Scott Adams off of his book Win Bigly.
He has the following hypothesis: our history is created on demand which is an indicator for a simulation.
What does this mean?
He says (just like me) that the simulator would have some resource constraints. So having a fully detailed history is pretty consuming on the resources.
Which means the simulator would not create the universe with all its details until it is needed.
As an example, a simulation would not have any details about undiscovered planets. Because you really only need that information once you a) observe the planet, or b) go there.
The simulation would render those details once you observe that planet.
You could also say the same for discovering Continents on Earth back in the days.
But if you think about it, a real species should have a full fledged history in full detail of their existence.
For example, every now and then we make a new discovery about our past as humans on this planet.
But the question is, do we really observe new information about our past, or is our past created on demand?
The past is the future
Quantum physicists have discovered that the present creates the past as needed (article: http://www.digitaljournal.com/science/experiment-shows-future-events-decide-what-happens-in-the-past/article/434829 )
Think about it, if there was ONE correct history and reality, then it would be MASSIVELY complicated to match the criteria for what is the correct history for every one of those people on the planet at all times.
Every single variable would need to be consistent.
Now, maybe there is a simulator with that computing power.
But for our creator (if there is such a thing) it is much easier to just create the past on demand. Whenever we discover something or observe something for the first time, a story for the past of how this came to be is created.
This is also known as confirmation bias.
Confirmation bias means whatever you discover, you rationalize something into existence for it to fit your already existing worldview.
I am using Scott Adams’ example here:
There was a discovery that suggests humans were in North America 100,000 years earlier than we know. This wasn’t confirmed yet.
So our history is still intact, because nothing is confirmed yet. And if it IS confirmed, history will be created AT THAT point.
Was it always our history, we just didn’t know? That would be the easy answer to not have an existential crisis.
But what if that history was created at that very second of discovery?
Then everything you and I currently believe about life, humans, Earth, the Universe, and your very existence is just a probability. And might be rewritten at any given minute.
Another big parallel to videogames and a simulation are predefined life paths.
When you play a game, there is a main mission you need to engage in to finish the game at some point.
Sure, new games have open worlds, where you can fuck around. But you only ever finish the game (of life?) when you stay on your main quest.
There are side-quests to further your skills or proceed time. But the main quest is the goal.
When you are born, a predefined life-path is set for you.
Grow up, go to school, learn a job, get a wife, have kids, retire, die.
As a vivid reader of my email list or my blog itself, you might have. Because I told you so in the past.
I also made a Youtube clip about the actual Matrix movie which explains that the Matrix is a real thing.
This is your main-quest as a simulated person.
But what if you even manage to live close to your nature as I keep telling you (especially men and women) which is against current societal standards.
Is that still a predefined life-path? Just from nature, not from society?
Are you ever really free?
Or are you just moving within the constraints of the simulation?
Even if it means leaving the predefined life-path from society?
Well, let’s be honest. If we do live in a simulation, you can never be really free. Because you don’t exist.
You know the NPC meme, right?
The NPC is a Non-Player-Character and is used in videogames as “people” you come across on your quests. They have info for you, or are cannon-fodder in fights, etc.
They are usually pretty one-dimensional, almost stupid.
That’s what the meme is about. People who suck up any stupid information from the Media, government, etc. and the one making the meme sees himself to be superior to it.
But is he really? Aren’t we all NPCs in the grand simulation?
Or are some of us a consciousness which just controls the character in this simulation?
Some sort of god-like consciousness which can tap out of the character in this life at any moment. This is the mental model I use in my daily life which has served me well for many reasons.
I don’t know if it is true. But I like to believe it, because it has great benefits.
However, if you look outward in society, there are many NPCs. People readily sucking up any bullshit information and defend it like crazy on Twitter or anywhere else.
Are these real people?
Controlled by a consciousness like you are? Or just created by the simulation to populate the universe with people so it doesn’t feel empty. Which is exactly what is happening in videogames.
Even weirder thoughts
When you think about all this, you can go ever farther and go real crazy.
- If we live in this one simulation, there will most likely be many more simulations. Because you don’t build that just once. In the Matrix movie, there were already 5 matrices.
Is this what is meant with the multiverse? Just multiple simulations?
- If all of this is true, what benefit would we have from realizing this? Me writing these lines, I basically revealed what our creator is about. Should I be able to do that? Will I be eradicated quickly?
Or maybe my blog will never really become successful so it doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things? Is that the way to “keep the flow?”
Even if I become successful, most NPCs won’t care, right? So does it matter?
- What if you are the only consciousness in existence and your MIND creates the world as it is? The people, the history, etc. None of it is real and it is all in your mind? Could that be?
- If that IS the case, then technically you could create and reshape reality AT ANY GIVEN moment. If you learned to control your mind so heavily. Would be awesome, right?
And one important question: Is all of this bullshit?
Is my monkey brain just not able to understand reality?
Well, I know the answer. We aren’t. Evolutionary, the only goal is reproduction. Making more of us. That is what our brain really cares about.
But maybe evolution isn’t even real, or its history will be changed on demand?
Now what? Are we living in a Simulation? What to gain from this?
By now you’re thinking, “Thanks for the existential crisis, Alexander. What am I supposed to do with this information?”
People always ask me what to get from this.
How does this help my case to conquer myself? To win at life?
In many ways:
- Don’t take life too seriously, it’s all just a simulation
- Don’t be afraid to do what you want. Your fear is just simulated (or you can decide to tap out of your character)
- You can create the life you want if you choose the quests for your life yourself.
- Most people are NPCs. Engaging with them will make you dumber or not help you at all.
- Don’t believe the Media, News, etc. It’s probably not real and just created on demand.
But most importantly, and my favorite and heaviest rule I have in life:
Including this blog post.
It could be all bullshit.
Or I am blind drunk. Who knows?
Don’t just accept anything you’re told like a NPC.