If We are in a Simulation…Who Cares?
When I was a child, I had seizures. I hallucinated constantly (from the seizures and the meds). I came to distrust basically everything I saw — I usually waited for confirmation from more than one sense to decide if something was “real.”
And so, the idea that I was dreaming became my baseline normal, and convincing myself the world was actually, in fact, real…became my thought experiment.
I had to try extra hard to care about what was happening around me, because I was very disassociated. All of my memories are of me looking down at myself. This disassociating came in handy when I cut off the tip of my finger and had it reattached (I felt nothing and laughed as they reattached it), but it means I need a cheerleader when it comes to getting excited about goals and my life direction.
I’m not naturally invested in this simulation —
I see a lot of people playing with this idea. As a child, I came to this conclusion:
If we are in a simulation…who cares?
We are not well-designed for objective truth.
This is going to be a hard one to accept. This might feel like bitter medicine. But while humans have the gift of logic, we are inherently emotional creatures.
We are not designed for some greater, objective truth. We can chase it. We can aspire to it. And we should, especially in our sciences, and especially when we consider equality and a good standard of living for all human beings.
But at the end of the day, we want survival, sex, pleasure, joy. We aren’t outgrowing these anytime soon. So we should embrace what this world…even if this is a simulation…gives us.
There’s a reason there’s no one-size-fits-all anything. There’s a reason we still cannot predict who will commit crimes with 100% accuracy.
We are all different, and we all perceive the world differently.
When we use logic, we can make very useful advances.
But at the end of the day, most of us would rather watch siblings commit incest on Game of Thrones than study. Because entertainment, sex, and taboos fulfill certain other needs that are just as pressing.
I don’t say this as an insult to humanity — We are deeply invested in our emotions, and in the connections that bond us to other people.
This doesn’t make us dumber or lesser than a robot that solely uses logic. It just makes us human. We should stop aspiring to be the machine, or make machines be like us. When we try to make machines like us, we will just make a new, third type of being…because we cannot even agree on who we are as humans. No one has created the objective human yet.
But this “feeling” is what drives many people to think the world isn’t real…is a simulation. Something is dissatisfying. Something is not “enough.” The feeling is what pushes people toward this idea to begin with…a sense of “aha! I knew there had to be more!”
Illogical emotion drives people to think we are in a simulation to begin with.
We cannot leave our illogical minds, the illogical premise that unites us all, the wiring of our own brains. We cannot leave that behind. And so, if there is some objective, higher truth, I don’t think we can reach it or comprehend it.
If we are still in the simulation, it’s because we are still limited by our own selves.
I saw a group that aspired to find holes in the simulation…through math, through clues, through “glitches.”
But you can see anything as a glitch, if you really want to.
Two black cats in the same place?
Just a glitch in the simulation?
Well, isn’t that convenient, if society’s ills are not real and are just in your mind (yes, I am being snide here).
Because we are so emotional and biased, this will always poison the well when we look for an objective reality. We can tell ourselves the world is a simulation and then look for evidence to support the claim, and interpret literally everything we see as “evidence.”
If we are in a simulation, we probably cannot handle the real world.
If you look at the evolution of this idea, it begins as:
“Maybe we are in a dream.”
“Maybe we are in a TV show.”
“Maybe we are in some kind of Internet/virtual reality.”
“Maybe people in the future uploaded our minds and we are experiencing the past.”
Our theories are limited by our own technology, and they change when our technology changes.
That leads me to believe that if we are in a simulation, it’s for our own good: If we were outside of it, we couldn’t handle it.
You can imagine five apples. You can imagine twenty.
But try to actually imagine a million.
You can’t. You understand the concept of a million, sort of, but you cannot imagine a million apples the same way you can imagine five…you can imagine five apples like you are actually seeing them.
So what makes anyone think they could handle the real world outside of the simulation?
I don’t think I could. And I’m okay with admitting that.
We have enough problems here. There’s an honest-to-god robot that might get the rights to adopt before gay couples can. There’s a robot who might get more reproductive freedom than women in developing nations and parts of the United States. Fuck, man. We can’t get our shit right, even in the simulation.
If I were some super-being running the simulation, I wouldn’t let us out, either.
So, even if we are in a simulation, we should bow out…it’s in our best interests and in our best ability to deal with this world, not any others.
Becoming obsessed with the simulation idea will lead to more obsession.
If you start researching this sort of thing and try to actually find glitches in our simulation, then you’ll perceive anything, good or bad, as confirmation.
You got a raise right after you started researching the simulation? You shifted something. Keep going. You’re breaking the simulation.
You got canned after you started researching the simulation? The simulation gods are punishing you. Warning you.
Nothing changed after you started researching the simulation? Well, of course. If something happened, then they would know you’d be onto them.
It’s really just another unnecessary layer to life.
Even if you’re just in a simulation, you’re still going to have to figure out rent, your birth control, your insurance, your job, your family.
You probably can’t get out of it or even perceive what a world without it would be…it probably won’t be an underground rave party, but something so outside of our own experiences that we would be useless in said other world.
My hallucinating inner child definitely believes this is all a simulation. But who cares? She still has to pass fourth grade.
If we are in a simulation, I don’t care to find out. It’s a feeling I already have, had, will have. It’s a feeling many people have…because disassociating is also an emotional human response. To large problems. To trauma. When we feel overwhelmed and the enormity of the ocean comforts us, that’s this disassociation defense mechanism helping us feel small and unimportant so we can later attack our problems with fresh eyes.
So I will enjoy and improve the world I currently perceive. Respect the other simulated beings. If it’s real, then I’ve had a good life, and if it’s a simulation, then no harm done.
It’s a layer of complexity that is not useful to explore — I’m okay with staying in the world. It took a lot of work to get here, and there’s a lot to do.