Apr 16

I need a power up

if the universe is a simulation.

This video is 2 hours long and I doubt many of you will watch it but you can read about it here.

The essence of the debate centers on the reality of the material universe we can perceive and is there anyway of knowing the nature of that reality. This takes up a philosophical question in a scientific way. Science however, is only one way of looking at the issue. It is the question that we in someways have always been asking.

In the most ancient beliefs (probably,we cannot know for sure) there are two worlds: the world we see and the world of spirits. Everything has a living spirit, an anima if we want to get technical, behind it. It looks like a rock or a tree or a bunny, but it has a spirit in it which is part of the larger spirit of the place and of the world and perhaps even of a totemic ultimate representation of the thing. Nor is this belief somehow relegated to "primitive" (so-called) cultures. Plato's famous allegory of the cave - that we all merely perceive the shadows of reality like shadows on the walls of a cave - tells us that what we see is less real than an ultimate reality. All the western world builds on that. Gnostics take it to an extreme to tell us that matter is corrupt and evil, a world created by a demiurge that is cruel, and that to escape we need to learn how to climb up into the truer reality. Christians, rediscovering Plato and Aristotle, begin to use language that speaks of this world as an impermanent illusion, to be replaced by the true reality of heaven in death. Descartes considered that this universe was an illusion - and rejected the idea- in his famous "cogito ergo sum" formulation. Neils Bohr, the father of modern quantum theory said "Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real." He also said if quantum theory doesn't scare you then you don't understand it. Many philosophies, both in the west and in the east, speak of this world as something to be escaped from or, at the very least, that this world is not the ultimate reality. This question is everywhere now, from famous scientists to potentially less reputable would be gurus of the internet.

So, go find your comfy chair. Relax. Then start questioning the reality of everything you have ever known - and of yourself to of course. Do that as long as you can. Then go out for a jog, maybe eat a sandwich. You can hurt yourself thinking too hard.

BTW: I for one find it kind of funny that Dr. Neil we-don't-need-philosophy-anymore deGrasse Tyson hosts what is, essentially, a religious and philosophical debate - but that's just me.

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