Free your mind January 31, 2015Posted by Ezra Resnick in Philosophy.
Tags: Simulated reality
I awoke to find myself in chains, facing the wall of a cave. Unable to turn my head, all I could see were shadows flickering on the wall; and having no memory of life outside the cave, I thought the shadows were reality.
One day, a voice addressed me by name, and told me that what I took for reality was not real; that I was a prisoner unaware of his prison. Finding my chains broken, I stumbled out of the cave and into the world beyond. Slowly, I adjusted to my new reality.
After some time, I encountered a man wearing a long leather jacket and sunglasses (though it was warm and cloudy), who addressed me by name and told me that what I took for reality was not real. Offering to free my mind, he handed me a red pill, which I swallowed.
The next thing I knew, I found myself floating in a vat of phosphorescent fluid, with tubes running into my veins and wires connecting my head to a darkened computer terminal. I managed to extricate myself from the vat, and stumbled out of the deserted laboratory. Slowly, I adjusted to my new reality, battling sentient machines in a post-apocalyptic world.
After some time, I happened across a computer terminal whose flashing prompt addressed me by name. The onscreen words said that what I took for reality was not real; that I was actually part of a computer simulation, with no physical body at all. If I agreed, however, my consciousness would be ported out of the simulation and into the body of an android in the real world. I typed “yes”.
The next thing I knew, I found myself on board a spaceship. Slowly, I adjusted to my new reality, traveling the universe. I amused myself by observing simulated worlds, and would occasionally invite an interesting personality to leave its simulation and join me as an android.
After some time, it occurred to me that my life’s experiences were somewhat implausible, and I began to wonder whether I was actually dreaming. I found myself hoping that the dream would end so that I could return to reality.
I awoke to find myself in chains, facing the wall of a cave…