We Probably Live In A Computer Simulation
And we can't do anything about it
Most of us are familiar with the simulation theory. The theory asks whether our reality is the true one. Movies like The Matrix and The Truman Show have popularized this theory. We are mainly concerned with whether or not we are controlled by a greater force. That greater force can be anything -- a computer program that controls us, or, for example, a vessel that confines our brains and prevents us from controlling it.
Since ancient times, there have been several philosophers who claimed that the world we are in is not real. Chinese philosopher Zhuang Zhou, for instance, believed that we are experiencing a "Butterfly Dream." Butterflies were a great inspiration for Zhuang Zhou, he wrote in so-called inner writings that he dreamed that he was a butterfly, fluttering about the world, completely unaware of his surroundings. He also wrote that he did not know whether he dreamed he was the butterfly, or whether the butterfly dreamed that he was Zhuang Zhou. So this clearly shows that Zhou himself was already thinking about an issue that we would call simulation theory years later.
The ancient Greeks were also impressed that we do indeed live in a simulation. For example, Anaxharcus and Monimus thought that our life is comparable to a painting and that we actually just live in an impression that we get from our dreams.
Due to a large number of movies about simulation theory, many people think about whether they are not living in a dream or something like that, but some people are really freaking out. In 2002, Tonda Lynn Ansley, an American woman from Hamilton, Ohio, murdered her landlady because she believed she was part of a plot to brainwash and kill Tonda. It is of course obvious that she is crazy, she also talked about "dreams that are not really dreams", but Tonda has been released. Although she was released because the judge accepted her "insanity plea", which is actually a confession of insanity, it does show how much some people believe in the matrix. So much so that they even use it as a reason to justify murder.
When we talk about simulation theory, we are mainly talking about whether our reality is really the one, since everyone is in a different environment. This also raises the question of whether there is such a thing as good or evil. For example, look at the case of the brothers, Erik and Lyle Menendez. They killed their parents in 1989. They claimed to have done this after being abused by their parents for a very long time. Ultimately, they were found guilty of murder. While killing your own parents may be an unthinkable crime, it's less so for the Mendenez Brothers. With them, it may have been a matter of time before the parents were killed by the brothers. But maybe everything they said is a lie and they killed their parents just for the money. We will never be able to say that with 100% certainty. Actually, this is a display of simulation theory, since in the reality of most people it is totally unthinkable that you would kill your own parents. But the Menendez brothers were so very much in a different world, because of their experiences with their parents, they find themselves in a completely different reality, as it were.
Another, slightly more literal example of simulation theory is the Metaverse, a project of Meta, the former Facebook. It's an almost dystopian project in which people could work in a virtual-reality world, talk to friends, and do their shopping. It is now being experimented with, and there will soon even be opportunities for people to work in the metaverse fully. It could, as it were, trade reality as there would be hardly any difference with the real world if by then there were technology to trigger our senses in the virtual world if there could be. This principle has also been described in several films, books, and series, such as black mirror, snow crash, and ready player one. Here we create, as it were, our own simulation in which we can withdraw from everyday life. What will the future of the metaverse look like? Are people really going to live in the digital world en masse to get them through the grind of everyday life? And if so, what will this technology look like in a hundred years? Is it still possible to distinguish reality from simulation?
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