Are we living in a simulated reality?

There is no way to know for sure, but the odds are looking pretty good.

I remember watching the Matrix in the theaters for the first time. I was completely blown away. I loved how our protagonist, Thomas A. Anderson, aka, Neo, was slowly pulled into the rabbit hole. There, he learned that what he thought of as reality, was really The Matrix.

The Matrix Trilogy expands on the question of the relationship between our consciousness and reality in ways that I had at the time, never seen in movies before. Other movies followed very loosely in the footsteps of The Matrix. Movies like Strange Days, Truman and Pleasantville come to mind. All explored the relationship between what is real, what is not and how we choose to interpret them. They all ask the question, how do we know *this* is real?

I was once again reminded of all of this when I read this article, ‘The Matrix’ hit theaters 20 years ago. Many scientists and philosophers still think we’re living in a simulation., on the Business Insider website. I have long considered the question and as I was reading that article, I was struck by the following text:

The odds of us living in reality are a billion to one, some say

Thus, the probability that we are living in a simulation of life, is nearly a certainty. I feel a certain sense of conviction for this idea when I consider that light, that energy that gives us our sight and is the source of all of life here on earth, travels rather slowly relative to the size of the universe.

Light takes 8 minutes and a few seconds to travel from the sun to the earth. Light requires several hours to get from the sun to the farthest planets in our solar system. When we look at stars in the sky, we are seeing things as they were, many years ago. The universe is estimated to be at least 96 billion light-years across. A light-year is almost 6 trillion miles.

Back down to earth. As I sit here, I have noticed for the past two years, how the problems that have vexed me from time to time, they have solved themselves. I kid you not, I have been watching a continuous stream of problems solve themselves. I notice a problem, I consider a solution. And another, and another, and then I forget the problem by distraction from something else. I turn to look at the problem again, and the problem solved itself, with very little intervention on my part.

I look around me and I notice that everything that I touch was made by someone or something else. My clothes, this desk, this keyboard, my water bottle, the air, the water, the light entering my eyes, were all made by someone or something else. I step outside and the car, the grass, the sky, the air again, the gas in my car, the road, the tires, and on and on. It was all made by someone or something else. Even the atoms of which I am (theoretically) composed of, were made by a star that died long, long ago.

I am reminded also, of the work and videos by Dr. Donald Hoffman, of the University of California, Irvine. He says that there is a reality out there, somewhere, but our brains are creating a reality all of the time. One-third of our brain is devoted to vision alone. One-third of our brain is occupied with processing what we see at all times. It is creating an interface for reality, a sort of model of what reality really is.

Dr. Hoffman says that we are only seeing as much as we need to see to survive, the rest of it is ignored. The infrared light is missed. The neutrinos passing through our bodies and the earth are ignored. The sounds beyond our hearing range are missed. The Brownian motion of the water in our eyes, the vibration of everything is missed, save for an occasional earthquake.

If my life is a simulation, then I have reason to believe that my choices in what I think about and how I choose to feel, have an enormous influence on my perception of reality. If my life is a simulation, I can make my life what I want it to be. If I want happiness, I can find a reason to be happy, even grateful. If I want to be angry, I can put anger into this system we call, “reality”. If I want peace, I can choose to be peaceful. I can err on the side of peace.

Write on.

Written by

Husband, father, worker, philosopher, and observer. Plumbing the depths of consciousness to find the spring of happiness. Write on.

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