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Author Topic: Simulation theory existential crisis!  (Read 1529 times)

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Offline AltoidsAndTabloids

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Re: Simulation theory existential crisis!
« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2013, 09:00:05 PM »
Yes, thinking about stuff like this can certainly put a damper on how we view "beauty" in the world. Again, I know how you feel. We sound very similar. I also often turn to nature for comfort for similar reasons. When considering ideas like the sim theory, one can't help but to feel as though any sort of spirituality, wonder, or mysticism is completely wiped away and replaced with a bunch of 1's and 0's. This is what really had me down when I originally made this post.

Again, I don't have the answers, but I can do my best based off of the thought processes that have personally helped me overcome this obsession.

First and foremost, as I mentioned before, everything is still up for debate. Look at String Theory. The worlds smartest scientists are debating this theory now, some claiming to have solid proof while others criticize it. Some scientists believe it is the only current theory that provides a good explanation of "everything", while others quite literally call the theory a failure. This shows that even a popular theory, discussed by geniuses who claim to have very convincing data, is criticized and still possibly...incorrect. In comparison, the Simulation Theory simply began as a thought experiment, and is still only really seriously studied by a handful of people (from what I have gathered from my research, at least). Even if people claim that they have found convincing evidence, there will always be criticism and opposing opinions. What am I getting at here? If you view the Simulation Theory as a bad thing, there will basically always be hope that it's incorrect.

I think the keyword here is perspective. When I find myself asking questions like "is this real" or "what IS reality", I stop myself and try to put myself back into MY perspective. If you think too small, you become obsessed with what we're made out of. Is everything really made up of nothing but tiny vibrating string-like things? Are we just a bunch of 1's and 0's like in a computer program? Suddenly you don't see things as they are. A bird stops being a bird and is just a mass of cells and bones. Trees stop being beautiful and become tiny particles that simply make up what we perceive as trees. That sort of takes all the "magic" away from life, doesn't it?

But...that's not the perspective that we are meant to see it in. Our human brains are meant to see things from our perspective and nothing else. Anything outside of it, we simply cannot comprehend. It doesn't make any sense to us, and therefore it scares us. Does that mean that nothing is real, and our perspective is just an illusion? No! Maybe there IS a deeper meaning to all of this, but when we look at it in the wrong perspective...we're missing it.

Think of it as going to a movie theater and pressing your face right up against the giant screen. The movie wouldn't make any sense at all. It would just be a bunch of chaotic, flashing colors whizzing by your field of vision. Does that make what's going on in the movie any less real? Again, no! All the chaotic flashes of color you see are all part of the bigger picture. They have a purpose, and that purpose is to make the movie happen. As you back away from the screen, it makes more and more sense until you can see it at the proper perspective, where it makes you cry, laugh, and feel countless other emotions.

My point is, while life as we know it may be made of unimaginably tiny things (vibrating strings, 1's and 0's, etc) that makes us feel like it's not "real", that doesn't mean it isn't real to us. That doesn't mean that there's no purpose. It all HAS to be made out of something, what does it matter what it's made out of? Regardless of what the building blocks of nature are, you cannot deny the impact it has on you. We are connected to it somehow.

So what IS reality? That is something that is probably impossible to answer outside of our perspective, but we can reason what reality is to US. Towering mountains give us butterflies in our stomach. Lush forests with sunbeams leaking through the treetops make us feel serene. It doesn't matter what they're made of, what matters is the impact it has on us.

This leaves you with a choice. For some reason (unfathomable by us humans), we are here, experiencing what we know as life for a limited amount of time. You can spend that limited time obsessing over why we are here and what is real, or you can focus on what you know and find enjoyment in what is here. Will you watch the movie with your face pressed up against the screen, or will you sit in the audience?
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"Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them - that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like."
-Lao Tzu

Offline imhotep

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Re: Simulation theory existential crisis!
« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2013, 09:48:00 PM »
You have a good way of putting things into perspective, I envy that and I'll try to keep these things in mind during my dark moments.
Yes, the life we have is the only life there is and I guess it doesn't matter what we're made of.

Last year I read Sam Harris' book on free will where he argues that we don't really have any free will at all because there's no room for any spirit or soul.
I agree with this but still it made me panic and fill me with anxiety. In the end I got over it and accepted that it is probably true.

This is slightly different though because there is no proof of ST being true but it's the constant what if's that I'm struggling with.
I have been working really hard all summer as well and I think I might be burnt out from that.
In a week's time I'm going on a month long trip to the Trans-Caucasus countries to hike and shoot pictures.
I started making plans for this trip last year and I think somehow my brain didn't want to allow me to become too excited or happy
so it decided to increase my anxiety by making me obsess about this. Notice how I use language that goes against the notion that free will does not exist. ;-)

Anyway...thank you for your insight and help.
Maybe we could continue this convo via e-mail or by other means?
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Offline Lunatone

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Re: Simulation theory existential crisis!
« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2013, 10:30:19 PM »
Even if we were simulated, it wouldnt matter. from our point of view, being a simulation and being 'real' would look identical.
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Offline togepi567

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Re: Simulation theory existential crisis!
« Reply #13 on: August 18, 2013, 01:26:20 AM »
Even if we were simulated, it wouldnt matter. from our point of view, being a simulation and being 'real' would look identical.

Indeed. The word "simulation" is a concept created by your mind. There's no difference between "real" and "simulation."

It's just derealization though. The key to dealing with anxiety is to not focus on it. However, that doesn't mean you *intentionally* try to not focus on it. Essentially, don't try to solve the way you feel. These days, research suggests that psychological issues often arise because we are consistently attending to how we feel.

If you want, you can focus on this to the point where free will seems to completely disappear and you feel like a robot... where things are just happening to you but there's no "operator" controlling the construct.

Here's what I think: we're not as smart as we think we are. A lot of human concepts are overly simplified and don't capture the complexity of what's actually going on. The psychological concept of "reality" is pretty useless. The same goes for countless other words/ideas. They're often very vague and lack the detail the formulates a clearer picture of the universe. Another good one is the idea of the "self" or "God" (particularly in the monotheistic sense). These ideas are actually not well connected to the physical world. They're just an attempt through language to describe something we don't have a very good understanding of.
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