In the previous post I was talking about how reading The Hidden Reality gave me chilling thoughts about reality and the universe itself. There I talked about many-world theory, and in the second and the last part of the whole segment ‘Reality Check’ I will talk a bit about the validity of reality. This is something that can make you question everything you have learnt, known and experienced.
In chapter 10 of his book, the author presents an interesting philosophical question. How do you know this is reality? You might say that you are experiencing and feeling things and emotions, you can do what you want and wish. But here is what he says, what if you have been kidnapped by an advanced alien civilization, or some similar variant of the incident, and by applying accurate pulses at accurate locations in your brain to produce the exact same sensations that you are feeling, the sensation of smell, the sensation of sight, the sensation of ‘reality’. This is not science fiction, but science, it has been shown through experiments, conclusively that electrical signals are the mode of communication in the neural network, and all that we see, or hear, or taste are result of sensations produced by the brain as a response to certain wavelength, or frequency, or chemicals respectively. It is exactly that what we experience. If someone was to pass a pulse in the right place you will have a sensation you are seeing this post, this reality. All this around you can be a result of someone passing the right currents around your brain. All you think you remember, experienced can be just a sensation. Weird? Indeed. The author himself offers a possible explanation to the situation. He says, if all this ‘reality’ is a sensation, so is everyone around you, and so is the books, and the information they hold. Thus, the knowledge that pulses can produce the same sensation is also a result of a sensational knowledge fed inside your brain, and that isn’t true. This counters the reason directly that you can be subjected to false realities, and thus creates a bit to a dilemma. So it can be safe to say this is reality, perhaps. But what I think, is that after reading this book yesterday, I remembered thinking about it, and while I walked to college today, I remembered that. I remembered all the ‘sensations’, and if in the same way everyday I could say that yes I felt the previous day, and that did happen, and all I remember is not just a result of some false sensation, I can safely agree that I might be in a reality. What I reason next for this to be false is that there has to be one reality at least. Are the aliens/kidnappers real themselves or not? If not, after how many faked realities does the real reality come, it surely cannot be infinite, because unlike the universe it has to have a starting, it isn’t something that’s going on and emerging (cyclic universes) but something happening inside something and so on. There has to be the first simulator, who has some mathematical rules that apply to his/her universe and to himself/herself(thus, I exclude the theory of divine intervention). In regard to the above argument, I always say, and believe, the simplest and the most logical of all possible arguments, is the real one, so I trust this is the reality, the real ‘reality’. But it took me long to process that and still pricks me a bit. It will surely take some time to get over this question.
The second part of this post is in most aspects similar to the above situation, introduced in the same chapter,and is questioning our reality by asking, Are We In A Simulation? Many Scientists believe we are. Now there can be two arguments for this. Either we are in someone else’s supercomputer, while, he is watching us, a set of programs and algorithms, that based on the mathematical laws created for the simulations are acting on it. The second option, a more advanced one is, we are a simulation but created by a computer itself,a self-evolving computer, that based on it algorithms can create a simulated life. I will not talk about the latter much, because I have already discussed its one form, The Matrioshka Brain, in a post before. Suffice to say the latter alternative is more possible, because it doesn’t involve nested realities like the above case and is a very, very advanced but possible technology. The first alternative though is a mind-boggler. Has some genius computer scientist succeeded in creating a set of codes based on his own mathematical laws to create a simulated universe, a simulated artificial intelligence perhaps. We can right now make programs that simulate a situation of physics, based on laws. Has someone succeeded in extending it to real life simulations? Perhaps in the very distant future? Maybe. Maybe not. I can use the same argument above. Is he in the reality itself, or a simulation too? If so going through the same set of reasoning it is safe to say we are not in a simulation. But out of curiosity, how big a computer should be for this task? The author says given the size of todays computers and the number of tasks it performs per second, a computer the size of earth, using present technologies, can in two minutes do the same amount of work done by the complete human history, ever existed. But that would bring this in the section of the latter type of simulation I discussed above, which are possible. This is an intriguing situation, but luckily there has been no evidence for it. There was an experiment conducted that tried to test the theory, rather its cousin, The Holographic Universe, but since they are basically the same, since that wasn’t proved, it is safe to say that it isn’t either.
Nevertheless these questions are of deep interests in the philosophical sciences. The question of reality. Our experiences. I would advice you to read the book to know more on these topics, and in a better way. I want to save that fun for you,. You see unlike the Multi World Theory I talked about in the first part of this category in a previous post, the questions faced in this post were easy to counter, or at least give a somewhat relieving answer. Books like these bring the curious child out of me, and makes him wear his thinking cap for many next days to come. I hope you read the book, and share your thoughts. Happy Reading!
-The Cosmogasmic Person