Some individuals postulate that we humans are a part of someone else’s computer simulation. It as though we are characters in a video game, albeit a very long running one. (You can find videos on YouTube that discuss this conjecture.) We humans are thus fictional characters who are possessed of self-awareness and can – within limits – think and feel.
This simulation includes all that we see and likely much that we do not see around us. The stars, galaxies, etc. are part of this simulation. The Big Bang appears to us to have occurred billions of years ago, but that could be false with the “evidence” for the expansion of the physical universe having been coded into the simulation much more recently by those conducting the simulation.
We do not see the simulation that we are actors in as being a simulation. To us, it is very real. When we are cut, we bleed. We feel pain. We experience fleeting moments of happiness. We cherish hopes in our hearts. We feel sadness and regret. We feel joy. Some of us believe in God, and the soul, and an afterlife for the soul.
When the simulation, or game, is over for each of us, our individual consciousness (personal self-awareness) ceases. Hence, one will not be aware to realize that there was nothing after “death”.
Do we have some, or any, freedom of action within the simulation? True freedom?
Or, are all our thoughts, proclivities, and strivings preprogrammed, or randomly coded in to our virtual brains by those operating the simulation? (Perhaps, this could be done while each of us is in utero.)
What of the accounts of alien entities and alien abductions? Are these aliens any more, or even less “real” than we are in the simulation? What of “ghosts” and ghost phenomena? What can we make of “miraculous” cures, if we are in a simulation?
This simulation idea can be terribly disturbing for some of us if it is taken too seriously.
Is this science fiction? Or, the imaginings and/or rationalizations of latter-day atheists and agnostics (who do not want to make the effort to believe in God)?
This conjectured simulation scenario seems to require a larger leap of faith to believe in it than simply believing in a creator God. It also strikes a painful blow to the core of our sense of identity, and worth.
If we were in a grandiose “virtual reality” simulation, then we really would be just play things for more powerful beings. As well, being trapped in a simulation for the benefit or the amusement of others would give a new twist to the term “watchers”.
Can science help us here?
Could our science at its current level of development somehow be able to pierce through the simulation’s boundaries or edges, and then be able to recognize or determine that we are in a simulation? How could we be sure about this?
If we could determine that we were in such a complex simulation, would the authorities, those fellow humans in power over us here in the simulation, ever allow this to be known? As well, would not the game’s masters be aware of our probing and be able to thwart such probing, or misdirect it on to false conclusions?
Science cannot help us with spiritual questions. Science has its limitations, and the mind of man has its limitations. Some, perhaps many, will disagree and say that in time science will provide the answers. (These persons have much “faith” in science – although they might prefer the term, confidence.) But science deals with the physical universe and uses physical instruments and methods. (We are not talking about the “social sciences”.) Can science truly be competent to deal with the spiritual realm? Those involved with the “paranormal” may answer in the affirmative. Yet, paranormal research appears to have produced many more questions than tentative answers so far.
This idea of a very long running, all-encompassing simulation is not to be confused with the Hindu concept of Maya. Maya is the idea that this world is ultimately illusory as it is material and temporary, as opposed to being spiritual and eternal in nature. But, for the Hindu, there is a very real spiritual plane of existence.
Personally, I believe that our nature is fundamentally spiritual. And, we have individual consciousnesses for a purpose – it is no fluke or accident (or by-product of biological evolution) that we do. But, we have already discussed that in other essays.
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