Could someone or something switch us off? Could it possibly be true that our world is just a computer program, or a hologram, or a dream? Although it’s about the weirdest thing you could think of, there are some tantalizing clues this might indeed be the case. The stuff we call ‘reality’ simply isn’t very real after all.
Welcome to the outskirts of reality. Welcome to the place where theoretical physics and philosophy meet, and where religion and science loose their meaning. Better fasten your mental seat belts. What we’re about to tell you is just too weird. Too mind-boggling. And quite disturbing, really.
Perhaps the simulation is getting boring, and the guy running the program is about to switch it off. We’d see some kind of huge ‘game over’-sign, and that would be it. One moment, we’re here. And the next – we aren’t.
If you’re easily disturbed, or prone to paranoia, better stop reading now. You may not like the answers to questions like these. What you are about to read may change the way you see things — forever.
Why is the Universe Fine-Tuned?
First, there’s a very, VERY peculiar thing about the place we live in – something so weird and profound it sends shivers down your spine. For in fact, the Universe seems to be ‘fine-tuned’ to make life possible!
That leaves us with a gnawing, unsettling question: Why? Why are all physical constants exactly the way they are? Every cosmologist agrees that this can hardly be a coincidence. So what, or who, set the rules?
Matter: Chunks Of Music?
Next, you should know the stuff our Universe is made of isn’t very real at all. Sure, you can feel the chair underneath you, and see the monitor in front of you. But what we feel and touch and see in everyday life is actually a manifestation of some deeper, completely different kind of underlying reality.
But still, a particle has to be something, right?
The Universe: Bubbles Of What?
Okay, hold that thought: matter is ultimately the manifestation of something else.
Gladly, there are also things that are normal. Take the Universe. Again, it is something we think we know. The Universe is that big black thing with all the lights in it over your head. Perhaps you’ve even heard it’s expanding: first, there was a kind of blast (called the ‘Big Bang’), and from that moment on, the Universe grew bigger and bigger.
OK, let’s pause for a second. Just think about it. Is it possible that our reality is actually made by some other civilization, in some other Universe? It would explain why the fundamental constants are fine-tuned…
And You? How Real Is Your Mind?
So, to wrap things up: we live in a place that’s not really a ‘place’, we’re made of stuff that’s not really ‘stuff’ and what we see is only a small part of what’s really there. Matter, time, dimensions, the Universe – it’s all lucid, unreal. And to make things even more bizarre, for some reason, our Universe is exactly preset to make our existence possible. Pretty confusing, don’t you think?
Gladly, you can cling to this one security: that you are here. No matter how weird the stuff around you is, you are definitely for real. No need to explain: you just know you are.
The same happens when you look in the mirror. Stare at your own face long enough, and you’ll suddenly realize it’s just another face. The face in the mirror is, of course, yours. But after a while, it won’t feel like that anymore. The face you see could be anybody’s.
Of course, most people believe there is something like a ‘soul’ or a ‘spirit’ living inside of you. But when it comes down to facts, there just isn’t any evidence for that. Every thought you have, every move you make, every emotion you feel – it’s just brain, brain, brain.
So… Are We A Game Of Sims?
So there you are. You’re just a walking piece of matter that’s pretending to be someone. But in reality, things like matter, or self, or the Universe, or time, or dimensions are all illusions. Everything we see and everything we feel are, in fact, the manifestations of some underlying reality.
That leaves you with an unsettling question: what exactly is that reality?
The truth is: we don’t know. Could be almost anything, really. A dream, even. Or a simulation. Or a kind of computer game, an advanced kind of Civilization or Sims. There’s no way of knowing if there’s someone or something pushing the buttons. There’s no way of knowing if there isn’t, either.
But then again, why bother? For that’s the deeper consequence of these things. If there is no such thing as a place we call Earth, we needn’t really worry about its end. Would the characters of a Sims-game feel sad or disappointed when you turned off the computer? Or would the people you dream of at night mind if you wake up? You guessed it: they probably wouldn’t. What isn’t really there, doesn’t really end.
That being said, there’s only one small problem. You see: you have to be a good philosopher to really feel it that way