Do we live inside the Matrix?

The question of whether we are actually aware of the real world is one that has been asked continually by philosophers throughout history.

Plato, regarded by many as the father of Western philosophy, suggested that the only way to come to a realisation of the real world was an in-depth study of maths and geometry, which would give students an inkling of the real nature of the world.

French philosopher René Descartes raised the problem again as a thought experiment to lead readers to a position of radical doubt. By postulating about a malicious demon that can keep us trapped in an illusory world, Descartes asks readers to cast aside all the evidence of their sensory experiences in a search for one certain premise.

Introducing René Descartes

Descartes famously came up with the argument ‘cogito ergo sum’, or rather ‘I think therefore I am’, which he uses as an “indubitable bedrock” from which to reconstruct a certain picture of reality.

Fast forward to today, where a team of physicists say they have devised a test that they say could prove whether or not our universe is a virtual reality simulation.

“It’s IN the computer…”

Here’s the reason why theorists think we could be a living in the matrix:

It is likely that a very advanced civilization will want to make a simulation of the universe, to better understand the universe. However, those simulations will also want to make a simulation to better understand their simulated universe. In other words, one real universe can spawn countless infinite child simulations because each simulation will want to create their own simulation.

It’s basically what would happen if Christopher Nolan (director of Inception) and the Wachowski brothers (The Matrix) decided to make a sci-fi film baby.

Inception of the Matrix: Starring Leonardo DiCaprio

Therefore, if there is only one real universe and countless infinite simulations, it is highly possible that the universe we live in is the simulation and not the original universe. Which leads us to the reason why some scientists are trying to conduct experiments to see if our universe is a simulation.

Theorists believe that if our cosmos is a numerical simulation, there ought to be clues in the spectrum of high-energy cosmic rays.

Silas Beane of the University of Bonn, Germany, and his colleagues contend that a simulation of the universe, no matter how complex, would still have constraints which would reveal it. (You can read more about their theory here.)

“Whoah”

So, what is the verdict?

Do we have free will at the moment, or is it just an illusion?

Is free will merely a complex chemical reaction in our brains reacting from the input from our senses, the current chemicals in our brain and the memories of past experiences? Could this be simulated?

WHAT IF THE ULTIMATE GOAL OF OUR SIMULATED UNIVERSE IS FOR US TO BECOME AWARE THAT WE ARE IN FACT LIVING IN A VIRTUAL REALITY, AT WHICH POINT THE SIMULATION TERMINATES???

This correspondent is not entirely sold on the concept. But just in case: I, for one, would like to extend a warm welcome to our new mechanic overlords, wherever they might be.

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9 comments

  1. Musee D'Pusee · · Reply

    “Instead of visiting ten parties since you came here, laying ten women and getting drunk ten times, you’ve watched thirty days go by. Instead of making life a continual feast you chop it into days and swallow them regularly, like pills.”

  2. have u heard about the hologram theory? Fascinating idea that mathematics might show that our universe could be a 2D hologram projected into 3d? Does make any sense? Yep I have no idea

    1. Just read about Hologram theory, most of this stuff goes right over my head! So hard to comprehend. It does however all remind me of the Simpsons 3D episode!

      1. haha that anaolgy is a pretty good one. I can’t say I understand it either. Really fascinating stuff though. New Scientist had some other theories if you are interested i’ll dig them up.

  3. Do you understand much of this Trent?

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2216189/Do-live-Matrix-researchers-say-way-prove-do.html

    From what I can gather, they are basically saying that if we live in a simulation, there would be a limit to how small particles can be… So if they could measure something to be smaller than that limit, then we actually exist?!?

    I think I need to lie down

    1. It is a pretty out there idea, but one that from what I have read Physicists seem to think logically holds up.

  4. who says that having ‘free will’ means you live in a real universe? WHO RUNS THE NON-SIMULATED UNIVERSE?

  5. Ooo interesting!

  6. This is yet another one of those mad concepts that simultaneously fascinates me and scares the living crap out of me.

    I don’t really know what free will is. We’re governed by morals (and guilt) that are learned traits passed down from person to person, through parenting, education, the media, and so on.. so if we’re all (mostly) living by the same moral code and thinking (mostly) along the same lines, is that really free will?

    I was watching something on Discovery Science the other day that was talking about this a bit, and also discussed the notion that the universe might be alive… and that in order to determine this, scientists are trying to find the universe’s “brain” – which could be kind of similar to the computer simulation concept. But in that case, if the universe is alive, are we just tools of its existence… and therefore still not practising free will?

    I agree about the how needing a lie down thing. This all blows my mind.

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