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What is reality?
How real are you? What if everything you are, everything you know, all the people in your life as well as all the events were not physically there but just a very elaborate simulation?
Philosopher Nick Bostrom famously considered this in his seminal paper “Are you living in a computer simulation?,” where he proposed that all of our existence may be just a product of very sophisticated computer simulations ran by advanced beings whose real nature we may never be able to know.
Now a new theory has come along that takes it a step further – what if there are no advanced beings either and everything in “reality” is a self-simulation that generates itself from pure thought?
We could simply be part of an ancestor simulation, engineered by posthumans. Even the process of evolution itself could just be a mechanism by which the future beings are testing countless processes, purposefully moving humans through levels of biological and technological growth. In this way they also generate the supposed information or history of our world. Ultimately, we wouldn’t know the difference.
But where does the physical reality that would generate the simulations comes from, wonder the researchers? Their hypothesis takes a non-materialistic approach, saying that everything is information expressed as thought. As such, the universe “self-actualizes” itself into existence, relying on underlying algorithms and a rule they call “the principle of efficient language.”
Excerpt – Click link for complete article: https://bigthink.com/surprising-science/new-hypothesis-argues-the-universe-simulates-itself-into-existence
Picture: Your posthuman great grandchild ponders your fossilized skull and wonders what inspired you to reach for the stars.
There you have it friends. Yes, this paper is groundbreaking and recently published but it is just what I have been thinking here for almost a decade or more and what the Buddha taught, to those with ears to hear and eyes to see, twenty-five hundred years ago.
Flesh is temporary, transient and only stuff like the dust of the Earth. Life is something precious which is eternal and animates flesh upon the Earth and in this state we become capable of action, karma. When we die we no longer act we become “stuff” once again.
You think that the universe resides outside of you and it is true that there is something out there all right. However, that something is nothing like your perception of things. Let’s take the materialist view. That is that everything is just “stuff”. Atoms, molecules, quarks and radishes and all kinds of other “stuff”. That stuff is a kind of vibratory energy through which other kinds of energy flow. Energy is likewise “stuff” just in a different form.
Your brain for all of its gooey gray grossness is a pretty complex thing. More complex than just about anything else in the universe. Stars and planetary systems are BIG but relatively simple. Now, within this gray matter are trillions perhaps a hundred trillion or more neurons. These are specialized cells. They are connected with neural pathways like a gigantic and complex net. When we observe we make pathways. When we think we make other pathways in exactly the same fashion except that the data comes from the brain, i.e. the pathways that are already present.
Now, everything you know, remember and experience has no existence for you aside from patterns in this network which began to form the instant your brain developed enough in the womb. So, all of your experiences are just patterns. If the patterns were changed, as in an accident then your reality changes. It is all just patterns connecting and relating to other patterns in this neural network. This is thought, cognition and self-awareness on a macro scale.
Yet, reality, objective reality is something else altogether. It has an extrinsic existence outside of this pattern of neural networks. Your knowledge of it is very limited. Just enough to get around, find food shelter and a mate. When you sleep something else happens. The network fires in patterns. Not random patterns. Very meaningful patterns but without the necessity of obeying the laws of time, space or physics.
Consciousness is so much more complex than even the greatest neuroscientists, medical researchers and philosophers can even begin to grasp and the waking mind is the least significant part of the picture.