What is real? It's a question that has puzzled and amused countless people. As human beings, we're capable of directly perceiving only a fraction of what surrounds us. From a personal point of view, reality seems pretty limited. Is the Internet real? Am I real? Are you?
Many philosophers have put forth the notion of reality being an illusion. One recent version of this theory made the news in 2003. That's when Nick Bostrom, a philosopher at the University of Oxford, put forth an interesting question. What if our reality is actually a computer world that exists in some other reality? At first, you might scoff at the suggestion. But Bostrom's argument is fascinating.
First, Bostrom says, assume that we will reach a point technologically in which we can create a simulated version of a universe -- perhaps even a copy of our own. This could be the singularity, when humans use our understanding of technology and biology to become transhuman. Bostrom argues that if we can create a universe simulation, we almost certainly will do so. Further, we would probably create as many simulations as we could in order to learn more about our own universe, among other reasons.
That's because we can't assume that some other version of intelligent beings -- human or otherwise -- hasn't already hit that technological landmark and created a simulation in which we are now living. Everything we can observe and test would exist within the realm of the simulation, giving us no clue that our reality is in fact just a bunch of ones and zeroes.
Even more mind boggling is the possibility that our universe could be a simulation within another simulation and that we, in turn, could create our own simulations. It becomes a dizzying series of universe nesting dolls, each one contained within another universe.
Bostrom says this doesn't mean that we're definitely living in a computer simulation. The truth might be that it's impossible for us to reach a point in which we can simulate a universe to that extent. That could be due to technological limitations, or it might mean that humans could go extinct before ever reaching the level of sophistication required to simulate a universe on that scale. It's not exactly a happy picture.
As far as philosophical arguments go, this one is a doozy. But why stop there? Three physicists suggest there may be a way to detect whether our universe is really an advanced video game.
Hadrons Particles that interact with the strong force are hadrons. Two hadrons you've probably heard about are protons and neutrons. This also explains the name of the Large Hadron Collider, which propels beams of particles such as protons to nearly the speed of light before causing them to collide with one another.
Please Wait, Universe Loading Silas R. Beane, Zohreh Davoudi and Martin J. Savage found the notion of the universe as a computer simulation to be fascinating. They began to think about how it might be possible to determine if our own universe is a numerical simulation. It all begins with lattice gauge theory and quantum chromodynamics (QCD).
We know of four fundamental forces in our universe: strong nuclear force, electromagnetism, weak nuclear force and gravity. Lattice gauge theory and QCD focus on the strong nuclear force, which is the force that holds subatomic particles together. It's the strongest of the four fundamental forces but also has the shortest range.
Quantum chromodynamics is a theory that explains the fundamental nature of the strong force in four space-time dimensions. Using high-performance computing (HPC), it's possible for researchers to simulate an incredibly small universe in an effort to study QCD. It's on the femto scale, which is even smaller than the nano scale. A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter -- a femtometer is one-quadrillionth, or 10-15 meters.
Within this simulation, researchers use a lattice structure to represent the space-time continuum. If we were to somehow shrink down small enough to be inside this universe, we might be able to detect that it's a construct by observing how certain energies interact with the lattice.
In our universe, that energy could be cosmic rays. If scientists could observe cosmic rays behaving as if there is a lattice around our own universe, it would suggest that we are actually inside a computer simulation that uses the same techniques as lattice gauge theory.
We would have to develop technology sufficiently sophisticated and powerful enough to detect these cosmic rays and measure their behaviors to notice a lattice structure. This approach also assumes a few other constraints:
If your mind isn't spinning already, let's move on to think about what living within a computer simulation would actually mean.
Does living in a simulation change anything?
So Now What? Let's get this out of the way first: The simulation argument doesn't prove that we're living in a computer simulation. The argument is built atop assumptions. If one or more of those assumptions proves to be false, the argument is invalid.
Beyond that, the argument is unfalsifiable. A falsifiable theory is one that can be disproven in an experiment or observation. Science and the scientific method depend upon falsifiability. If there are no criteria under which a theory could be disproven, it's unfalsifiable and unscientific. For example, if I claimed that you're always being followed by a 2-foot-tall (0.6-meter-tall) mouse that's invisible, impossible to touch and makes no noise, that's unfalsifiable. There's no way to disprove my statement, which removes it from the realm of science.
The simulation argument falls into this category -- if we were to use the test method suggested by the three physicists, a negative result wouldn't necessarily mean we could state with authority that we aren't in a simulation. Perhaps the simulation would prevent us from discovering the truth. That's why the argument is philosophical rather than scientific. But for argument's sake, what would it mean to us if our universe were just a simulation?
If we never have any way of knowing, there's no reason anything would change. From our perspective, the universe would be as it always has been. But imagine that we find a way to prove beyond any doubt that we're inside a computer simulation.
The religious implications would be dramatic. We would have proof that there is some sort of creator. That creator may or may not resemble our religious icons. Any announcement that our universe is just a simulation would likely encounter skepticism and denial across a broad spectrum of people. The cultural and social implications are enormous.
From a practical, day-to-day perspective, things might not change that much. Even if everything we know and can know is a simulation, we still exist within that universe. We still eat, breathe, live and die. The conditions around us don't change whether we're in reality or some other reality's virtual world.
That could shift if we found some way to interact with the beings that created the simulation. It could mean that our world is similar to the one in the movie "The Matrix" -- by changing some code, we could end up drastically changing ourselves or our environment. Or it might mean they get bored with their simulation and shut the whole thing off.
Ultimately, there's no way for us to know right now if our universe is a simulation or not. But it sure makes you think, doesn't it?
Lots More Information Author's NoteI first became interested in this concept back when I took a philosophy course in college. It seemed like an interesting -- though unanswerable -- question: Is reality an illusion? We know that there are things we can't perceive going on all around us and that our brains influence our perception of events. But how far down does that subjective experience go? Then, in 2012, the computer simulation story popped back up as physicists suggested a possible test that could indicate we're all just computer data. I'm pretty sure that at the end of the day I don't really want to know.
Originally published February 7 2013
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor
(NaturalNews) There's a lot of buzz in the news about a new scientific study that statistically supports the idea that our known universe is actually a grand computer simulation. This is mainstream science, and the idea isn't a whacky as you might first suppose. I've actually written about this several times in articles about consciousness and the nature of reality. This news, by the way, also supports the idea of a Creator who brought this universe -- and everything in it -- into existence by design.
A new scientific paper published in arXiv and co-authored by Silas Beane from the University of Bonn reveals strong statistical evidence that our reality is, indeed, a grand computer simulation. The title of the paper is Constraints on the Universe as a Numerical Simulation.
Here's what it means in layman's termsHere's the super easy way to understand all this. Your computer display screen has a finite number of pixels available, and this is called the "screen resolution" such as 1920 x 1440. This means there are 1920 pixels across and 1440 pixels vertically.
Everything you see on your computer screen must be drawn and depicted using these pixels, and nothing can be displayed that's only half a pixel. For example, you can't draw a vertical line on the screen that exists between the pixels that are hard-wired into the screen resolution. Everything you view on the monitor -- a computer game, a website, even a video -- is essentially transposed onto the "lattice" of pixels that exist in your hardware.
Your hardware, in effect, has a hard-wired "resolution limit" which defines the smallest size of any object that can be depicted on the screen.
Now, zoom out to the "real" world in which we live. Here in the real world, we think that there are no pixels and that we can move fluidly to any location we wish. We are not digitized being, we think; we're analog beings living in a fluid world without the pixelation of a computer screen, right?
Not so fast. As it turns out, our "reality" is also pixelated, just at a very fine resolution. This study out of Bonn revealed that the energy level of cosmic rays "snaps to" the "resolution" of the universe in which we live. The very laws of electromagnetic radiation, in other words, are confined by the resolution of the three-dimensional simulation we call a "universe."
The existence of this construct, if proven, also proves intelligent design by a conscious Creator who built the universe to begin with. This is the upshot of this scientific discovery that most scientists refuse to acknowledge. But the conclusion is inescapable: If our universe is a carefully-constructed simulation, then by definition there must have been a purpose behind its construction as well as a Creator who built it.
For the record, my personal belief is that the Creator set all the physical constants in the universe and then initiated the so-called "Big Bang" and let things play out from there. I do not believe our Creator "tinkers" with the universe at a micro level on a day-to-day basis. But I do believe there very well may have been individuals throughout history who found ways to "bend the rules" of the Matrix ever so slightly and thereby perform the very kind of miracles we see described in ancient texts.
"The structure of the underlying lattice"The authors of this new paper describe their conclusion as following: "The numerical simulation scenario could reveal itself in the distributions of the highest energy cosmic rays exhibiting a degree of rotational symmetry breaking that reflects the structure of the underlying lattice."
This "underlying lattice" is what I'm describing as a "resolution" of our physical simulation.
There's other evidence of this, too: Plank's Constant, for example, is by itself yet more evidence that the physical universe in which we live is quantized to a particular resolution. In fact, even light behaves in a quantized manner, which is why "light packets" are called quanta.
Our universe, it turns out, is digital, not analog. Heck, even your DNA is digital, not analog. You are a digitized physical being imbued with a non-material consciousness that transcends this physical simulation. Realizing this is a lot like taking the red pill in The Matrix and being shown that the universe you thought was real is actually just a grand computer simulation.
Of course, once you grasp that we are living in a grand simulation, the next obvious question is: Who built it?
Intelligent DesignOne obvious answer is that we built it! Not "we" the humans here on Earth, but rather the "we" which is a highly advanced civilization of seemingly supernatural beings with incomprehensibly powerful technology. We collectively built the simulation, the theory goes, and then agreed to selectively insert our consciousness into the simulation in order to have a "human life experience" on this planet. But that's only one possibility from all this.
Another possible answer is that HE built it. Who is He? He is God, our Creator. He is a consciousness with literal God-like powers who is omnipresent and all-powerful. He created our universe (i.e. designed and then launched the simulation) while providing a mechanism for free will consciousness to "wake up" inside the simulation in the bodies of newly-born beings. Upon death in the simulation, your consciousness leaves the simulation and returns to its source, which is the actual reality that transcends this one. This is possibly why people who have survived near-death experiences consistently report their experience as being a "hyper reality" that feels like it is "a thousand times more real than life on Earth."
For the record, I have always believed in a supernatural Creator of our universe; our God. I also believe -- and have good evidence -- that God is an all-loving being and that the overriding purpose of our existence in this universe is to express our free will and thereby have a self-aware experience which advances our knowledge of who we are. More details on this below...
What would be the purpose of intelligently designing a grand computer simulation?If our universe was consciously created, then it must have been created for a purpose. In his book Proof of Heaven, near-death survivor Dr. Eben Alexander, a neurosurgeon, describes the purpose in great detail on page 48 of his book:
Through the Orb, [God] told me that there is not one universe but many -- in fact, more than I could conceive -- but that love lay at the center of them all. Evil was present in all the other universes as well, but only in the tiniest trace amounts. Evil was necessary because without it free will was impossible, and without free will there could be no growth -- no forward movement, no chance for us to become what God longed for us to be. Horrible and all-powerful as evil sometimes seemed to be in a world like ours, in the larger picture love was overwhelmingly dominant, and it would ultimately be triumphant.
The primary purpose of life in this realm, it seems, is to experience personal growth and learn how to overcome Evil. This explains why we all seem to be surrounded by so much evil on a day-to-day basis. We are drowning in evil precisely because our souls chose to be here and learn how to defeat it.
At the end of our Earthly lives, we are then judged on our performance. As I wrote in a previous article:
Upon our death, we are judged by a higher power, and that judgment takes into account our performance in these areas. Did we achieve a measure of self-awareness? Did we work to overcome evil? Did we express love and compassion and help uplift others with knowledge and awareness?
As you've probably already figured out, the vast majority of humans fail these tests. They die as bitter, selfish, substance-addicted, greed-driven minions of evil who mistakenly thought they were winning the game of life while, in reality, they were losing the far more important test of the Creator.
Looking around at our fellow human beings, you can't help but agree with my assessment that nearly everyone is failing the test. If we are here to overcome and resist evil, very few people are scoring very many points at all.
Having your consciousness attached to a human experience in this world seems to be the universal equivalent of "being thrown in the deep end" of Good vs. Evil. Making matters even more difficult, none of us is granted any sort of memory of why we are here and what we're supposed to do. We simply wake up as a newborn, and we have to figure things out for ourselves -- a challenge that often takes a lifetime. In fact, the achievement of "enlightenment" in a human lifetime is quite a remarkable feat by any measure.
What this means for your lifeSo what does all this mean in terms of the way you live your life here on Earth? If you believe the universe really is a grand simulation created by a higher power, then it forces you to rethink your philosophy on the purpose of life.
Some might say this is the perfect excuse to resort to selfish hedonism and turn your entire life into one vast entertainment parade. But that seems to be the wrong conclusion from all this, precisely because it ignores the importance of personal growth. I do not believe our universe is a childish playground; I believe it is a serious test of spiritual strength. You may or may not agree with all my points, but here's my philosophy on what to do with this realization:
#1) Don't chase material things that aren't even real in the first place. You are living in a simulation that's as un-real as an old 8-bit Atari computer game. Your focus on trying to collect money and wealth in this world is about as foolish as trying to collect gold coins in a role-playing computer game.
#2) Live your life to WIN the simulation. "Winning" means persistently working to defeat evil, demonstrate love and help awaken others. Rack up your "karma" points, so to speak. Because that's how you will be judged once your earthly life comes to an end.
#3) Know that your behavior is being watched, recorded and judged. There are ultimately no secrets. You will, in time, face judgment on all your actions, and it's even possible that an entire civilization of advanced Creators will review your actions with you. (This is what is often described by those who survive NDEs.) Your actions in this simulation are recorded on your soul for eternity, so make them count. Don't do anything your soul would feel ashamed of.
#4) Know that death is not final. What matters far more than staying alive on this planet is living your life with principle. Your decisions (ethics) survive your human life! I would rather die defending principles of love and enlightenment than compromise those principles to save my own skin in this simulation. Life is fleeting, but the record of your morals and behavior lasts forever. If all this starts to sound a little Biblical, that's because the Bible is, I believe, based in part on information provided to us by the Creator of our grand simulation.
#5) Realize that your consciousness is eternal and you almost certainly "agreed" to come here and experience this life as a spiritual test. With that in mind, do your best to achieve success within the test by demonstrating behavior based in high spiritual principles.
Why I'm not afraid to tell the truthOnce you grasp all this, you realize why I am not afraid to speak my mind and report the truth here on Natural News. People often ask me, "Aren't you afraid of being killed?" While I do take tactical precautions to avoid being prematurely removed from this simulation, I simultaneously realize that there is ultimately nothing to be afraid of in this simulated world.
What's to be afraid of, really? Most of the people who claim to have power in this world will be reduced to Hellish minions after their death. If you look at truly evil people in this world, you realize that those people have already doomed their souls in the real world beyond this one. They will suffer from the Hell they have brought upon themselves by living lives of deception. We who tell the truth are spiritual giants compared to those who gain false power through deception.
That's why never selling out is an absolutely must if you hope to pass the spiritual test of life. If you sell out to corporate interests or an evil agenda that suppresses freedom or health, you quite literally sell out your own soul far beyond this one lifetime. The phrase "eternal damnation" comes to mind...
On the issue of gun rights, by the way, all this helps explain why self defense is a divine right. We all deserve the right to prevent our souls from being prematurely removed from the simulation (i.e. being killed). Guns are simply tools that can help us defend our physical bodies so that our spiritual bodies can continue with their intended experiences in this reality. This is why those of high spirituality have traditionally carried swords and other weapons of self defense. Even Jesus recommend people carry swords for protection, even as they pursue spiritual awakening.
A gun defends the body so that the spirit can do its work, in other words. But that's only true if the use of gun is reserved for self defense only. To use a gun to commit unjustified violence against innocents is obviously a terrible sin and a catastrophic spiritual failure.
Conclusion: Has science proven the existence of God?If all this science is true, it would mean that science has proven the existence of a Creator (as well as intelligent design).
This is certainly not the intention of science, as much of modern-day science seems to be dead-set against the idea of intelligent design. Yet even if the entire universe can be traced back to the Big Bang and Inflation Theory (with Inflatons) there is still the lingering question of "Who or what initiated the Big Bang?"
If you really look deeply into the laws of physics, by the way, you will discover that the so-called universal constants that drive the underlying mechanics and energies of our universe have been intricately fine-tuned precisely to give rise to a universe that can support biological life. Change one of these constants just slightly and stars don't form. Change another constant and the universe flings itself apart before life can form on any planets. These are at least six physical constants that appear to have been delicately tuned, selected or somehow "set" sort of like a universal control panel with properties and parameters.
There's an interesting book on this subject by science writer Paul Davies, by the way. It's called The Goldilocks Enigma: Why Is the Universe Just Right for Life? I've read most of it and recommend the book to other seekers who are looking for the deepest answers about the nature of reality and how it all came to be.
If you're interested in my own views on all this, read my article on The Higgs boson "God particle".
You may also enjoy reading my other website called www.DivinityNow.com where I post articles on consciousness, cosmology and philosophy.