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The Matrix: Sci-Phi...?

Is reality a computer program?

By Mickey FinnPublished 7 years ago 5 min read

What if I told you that no one can be told what the Matrix is, they can only be shown? What if I said that the laws of physics protected this exact knowledge from ever being realized from inside of the Matrix? What if I wrote this whole article with “What if” statements? Nah, that’d be bloody insufferable. However, I wanted to illustrate that certain fundamental things about the universe may very well prevent our ever being able to see what the purpose of everything really is. An excellent philosophical analogy, believe it or else, is “The Matrix” series by the Wachowski siblings. It involves a much grander scale, and obviously, that movie was a work of fiction: art. However, the purpose of art is to convey ideas through a medium, and in this case, the medium is story telling.

The big bang is the beginning of time as we know it. The first matter and anti-matter annihilated each other and, lucky for us, there was an infinitesimally small amount more matter than there was anti-matter. From there, matter collided and recombined. Hydrogen became helium, stars and star systems formed and life evolved. Now, here is where I ask if you would like to take the red pill and stop now, or take the blue pill and follow me down the rabbit hole in my mind. That’s all that it is, so read on in mind that this is a guy with a basic understanding of science, and a love of science fiction, rambling.

So, everything begins with this unbalanced equation. What happened, happened for a reason and couldn’t have happened any other way. Mathematically, equations must be balanced. This is why physics has concepts like “Normal Force.” It is not a physical force, so much as a mathematical necessity, but why? If the Universe itself is seeking to balance itself out, how did it begin with what should be an impossibility?

Of course, you see where I am going with this: The One isn’t a single person, in my analogy. Rather all intelligent life fills that role. You see, the energy is finite, that's the sleeping masses of "Copper Tops" in the pods. Nature only has enough forces to convert the energy so many times. This is why the periodic table stops and predicts very few undiscovered elements. Using the forces that we now know exist in the universe, we know that this reality's Agent Smith is entropy. Slowly it spreads until all the energy that can naturally be converted becomes heavy, noble elements that no longer exchange their energy. So, the equation found a new solution: Life.

Now, when I say, “the equation” I am not talking about it as some governing intelligence. It’s more of an inevitability. An equation that doesn’t work is referred to as “untrue”, and this is also a programming term. In more direct terms: I’m comparing the laws of the universe as a giant algorithm with infinite variables. That would make it comparable to a quantum device, which is (as far as I know) a theoretical computer with unlimited processing power. So what I am saying, in essence, is that this algorithm means that, despite the random appearance-reality could accurately be described as a computer program, in which the outcomes are inevitable on some level (obviously far beyond our understanding at the moment). So the fact that more matter than anti-matter existed would therefore be inevitable, the rate of the universes energy decay would be constant and the need for life also inevitable.

No intelligence is required to govern mathematics, they work the same way every time. So we, intelligent life, are “Neo” and entropy is “Agent Smith” eating away at reality. Who is Morpheus? Where Neo was able to bargain with the machines and save humanity by defeating Smith, the fact remains that Morpheus was entirely wrong about the Matrix, Neo and the outcome. I say Morpheus is an analogy for Gods and religion. Well intended, often troublesome and even intentionally misleading for his own goals, though always well-intended. In the end, he was something Neo could believe in and keep going until he understood things. This is pretty much how history will remember religions: explanations for the observed phenomenon based solely on a belief system. Well, now we are learning more, and religion is losing its’ usefulness. We are growing beyond it and finding our own answers now.

The more we understand the universe, the more miraculous our evolution without some divine intervention truly is. So life evolves, but to what end? Life burns energy much, much faster. It also creates more power. This is a crucial concept, at least to me: However the equation is unfolding, the appearance of life cranks up the energy being spent in the universe severely. Now, the simplest reason to use more energy is as an investment. Just like a polar bear "invests" energy in the search for food. Well, Polar Bears are a long way from splitting atoms, so I think that I can say that it's up to us. We are "Neo", trying to beat entropy into killing the everything in the universe.

Now, you’re probably asking yourself, “Self? How high is this guy?”, but the idea of the universe as a computer program is not all that far-fetched of an idea. However, I happen to think that they have their causality backward. The theory is based on programming patterns seen in nature, but, again: that’s inevitability. Our ideas are all based on the world we see around us. Why do we have the decimal number system? We have ten digits we commonly used to count our digits on, that’s why! If we had eight, we would probably use some octal, or hexadecimal system. In other words, our ideas are based on the universe that we see, and one of those ideas is programming. So to say that you see programming patterns in nature puts the horse before the cart.

So that’s some Matrix/Reality philosophical rambling for you to shake your head judgmentally at (Go on, bish, you earned it!). No, I don’t think the Wachoskis had some divine insight, but they definitely had an analogy in mind. The idea that the universe has a purpose and seeks a balance seems so obvious at times, and then you learn something new. My explanation is simply that some patterns aren't apparent at our level, and more realistically, some measurements will forever be outside of our reach, because we are a part of it. Einstein once told Neils Bor that “God wouldn’t play dice with the universe.” Meaning that there had to be a balance for everything, and it couldn’t be random. Dr. Bor famously replied, “Stop telling God what to do!” Meaning, to me at least, that being part of that equation makes us completely ineffectual at seeing some of the patterns of the universe…for now.

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