This is a continuation of my series on the Simulation Hypothesis. Today I will be talking predominantly about time. I am going to also talk about different ways a simulation might occur (only some I have conceived of) as there are a lot of replies that I think could be answered if I'd stop to do this. I likely should have done this as my second post, but I had no idea my first post trying to head off this type of thing was insufficient to the task. That is one of the draw backs of my stream of consciousness style writing. Sometimes I succeed quite well, other times it doesn't quite work out as expected.
POSTS UP TO THIS POINT:
- If we are in a simulation it does not make other religions irrelevant, it increases their possibility
- Is there a similarity between Deism and the Simulation Hypothesis...
- If we are inside a simulation are there some ways we might be able to tell?
Article of interest I just found while writing this: Confirmed! We Live in a Simulation - Scientific American. I haven't read that article and spent time thinking about it yet. It is relevant to the topic and from April so I thought I'd share it.
EDIT: I've read it. Good read. He draws some of the same conclusions I came to five years ago, and some I didn't. This person is running around in the same rabbit holes that I am. I wonder if he by chance read one of my older pieces.
I had hoped to head off triggering religious defense mechanisms of people. That is why I wrote the first post the way I did. I failed. Though perhaps I succeeded with some people and they just have not replied because it worked like intended. My concern was that by writing about anything that differs from what a Priest (choose another label that fits your religion of choice), or religious text may say would likely trigger a sort of religious immune system response and people would rush to defend without truly thinking about what I am presenting. So far all concerns people have presented shouldn't be concerns. They are only concerns if you make assumptions. One thing we cannot do when investigating the Simulation Hypothesis is assume. There is only one thing we know for certain it requires and that is a creator. From that point onward there are many different avenues such a thing could be created and depending upon which one is chosen they have all of those concerns covered.
My intention is NOT to attack any religion. I've stated several times that the only thing this concept is a threat to are those that do not have a creator. Outside of that, it is not threat unless you let your assumptions and defense mechanisms make it one.
I am no priest. I am a human just like they are.
I have no authority. To me neither do the priests.
I am not telling you what to believe.
I am not stating this is the truth.
I am presenting possibilities.
I am not definitively saying we are in a simulation. I myself didn't consider it until I started doing the mental exercise of thinking how something in the simulation might be able to tell.
If the thing in the simulation has no way of knowing then ultimately it doesn't really matter whether it is a simulation or not. You can't know. It's like me saying God sits in a gigantic purple hall. I can't prove it. It really doesn't matter. It is just my imagination going to work.
It became interesting to me personally when I started thinking of ways we might tell. Then in the process I convinced myself that it was actually very possible to be a simulation. At that point my mind had a lot of interesting side journeys (to me). Yet I don't consider the Simulation Hypothesis a theory. It is unproven and likely won't be. It is just a speculation. It is the mind thinking of ways to explain existence. For some people (myself included) telling me things like "it just is", "you have to have faith", or "because God wills it" is just another human being mentally lazy. They may not be able to answer the question, but to develop such a reflex means you don't let your curiosity and mind try to think about things. It is easier to use a phrase that is ultimately dismissive. I would prefer they simply say "I don't know" in place of those other statements.
To me that is similar to graduates in Science these days who don't believe anything unless it is in a peer reviewed publication. Yet if you discover something new, or you have a new idea how can that be peer reviewed when you don't yet have any peers familiar with the new discovery? It is stagnation. It is authoritarian.
I have always liked the saying "God gave us free will" and that came up as a reply from someone. That is the answer to so many things. If we were given free will then why do so many humans have the arrogance to think they have the right to tell us how and what we MUST do. God doesn't do that. Yet I also did point out the contradiction that many times this statement will come up at the same time God(s) might be referred to as omniscient and all knowing. They are treated as though they already can see the future. That would require that the future is predetermined. If that is the case then by extension free will would be nothing more than a delusion.
I tend to go with the free will aspect myself. I only have my own mind to look at but I can tell you if I was all knowing, omnipotent, and/or omniscient I'd be bored beyond imagining. My version of creator based upon my own mind would consist of a creator that was none of those things. That doesn't mean I am correct. It is also highly likely the creator has a mind very different from that of man so such motivations and interests would not be the same. If I read the various bibles though the God(s) presented including the Christian one do seem to have similar motivations.
Now let me take another stab at addressing religious concerns. Then I'll talk about time.
Religions and the Simulation Hypothesis - Take 2
When it comes to simulations. They can take many forms. Which form they take can restrict some options.
The three main ones I've come up with though are as follows:
CLOSED SYSTEM: The creator of the closed simulation provides all the rules and initial input required by the simulation. At that point they are simply observed. The creator will observe the way the rules interact and what transpires due to the input provided.
INPUT SYSTEM: The creator creates something similar to a closed system but has a mechanism for changing the inputs and changing the condition in the simulation.
AVATAR SYSTEM: In this form of simulation the creator and potentially other beings the creator is familiar with can actually enter the simulation in avatars. They can interact with and LIVE inside the simulation. Yet they themselves are actually from outside of the simulation.
That is basically the three different approaches I've managed to hypothesize myself. Each one can greatly impact the possibilities. Now from the assumptions I have seen few people seem to truly grasp the implications of the avatar system. I'll write a little more about each though and save that one for last.
I suspect this is what most people consider me talking about. In this one all life would be simulated. You would have no existence outside of the simulation. The challenge then becomes are you saying "I'm not real?" I am not saying that at all though it is a possibility. Does it truly matter? If you suddenly realize you are NOT REAL in the way you are thinking "what then?" What are you going to do differently? Then you might also consider what is real. If God created you and is observing you in a simulation are you not REAL? If you watch a person in a movie, because you can watch it over and over again does that mean the person is not real? What constitutes real? If you are self aware is that sufficient? If so then perhaps you are in a closed system but in all ways that truly matter you are REAL.
If we are in this type of a simulation then God created it and is just watching to see what happens.
Now this system can sit very poorly when considering the soul, the afterlife, etc. Yet truly this is only the case if you limit your concept of a simulation. Those things could all be simulated as well within the simulation and remain true and as real as they are in any religion. I tend to think there is a better approach than this though.
This is similar to the closed system in all respects except it assumes the creator has input that allows them to change what is going on in the simulation at any given time. Do they want to create a new form of life? Okay. They can do that. Do they want to change the weather? That can be done. Do they want to perform a miracle? That can be done. Do they want to obliterate a city? That can be done. Do they want to trigger a volcano? That can be done. Do they want to protect people from a volcano? That can be done. Do they want to grant longevity? That can be done.
Yet you are still a simulation in this model. That seems to bug those that are concerned with whether that makes them real or not.
In this one I consider a simulation much like I am seeing the evolution of our games. We keep trying to make them more and more real. We keep trying to make them more and more immersive so we can lose ourselves in them. In one I am a Fantasy Warrior, In another I am a Buccaneer, In others I am traveling through space, and where we go with making such worlds seems to be only limited by our mind. Yet we do keep pushing for more realism, and ability to escape. We've created all the games we have now since 1962. They have advanced RAPIDLY if you think about it. What might the be like in 50 years, 100 years, 1000 years, etc.?
Could it be that God is the developer who created a GAME we live in.
People where he/she/it comes from may create avatars for themselves that live in this universe we are in. They live and die as a player. In this case the true people outside the simulation could potentially explain the concept of soul. It actually works well with reincarnation and past lives as well. Could the player simply be inhabiting a new avatar? Could there be players in the animals, and plants too? Who knows... possibly.
I can imagine a society where people seek escapes. Watching people live in these games might also be a spectator sport for all we know. Perhaps when your character dies you are judged by your performance.
Yeah, I know it is very science fiction like. Yet so is the simulation hypothesis.
A troubling thing may come up as you think of these things. You ponder TIME and you think "Why would anyone spend that many years inside a game?", or "Why would spectators watch a game for that long?"
With that I am going to move on to talking about time.
Time and the Simulation Hypothesis
I first want to talk about some aspects of time with regard to simulations. After I have done that I'll talk about another boundary besides infinity that we might seek that would inform us of being in a simulation.
Simulations are not particularly useful if 1 second in real time only accounts for 1 second in the simulation. It would take a very long time to study the results. As such in simulations generally time is being simulated at a much more rapid pace.
If I am making a game I might make 1 second in real time be equivalent to 1 hour in the simulation/game. If I was making say a Sim City type game then in 24 seconds a day would have passed. It would have gone through a day/night cycle.
If you were IN that game as a simulant what do you think time would look like to you? Do you think you would perceive everything moving around at hyper speed? Most likely not. To you time would be progressing the same as it always does.
In this sense the Theory of General Relativity and simulations would have a similarity in that the passage of time could differ depending upon whether you are outside of the simulation or inside of the simulation. General Relativity itself though let's put a bookmark in that for a moment because it over complicates what I am talking about here.
The important thing to understand is time can be running at very different speeds outside and inside the simulation. What may seem like years in the simulation may be brief moments of time outside of the simulation. Vice versa is also possible but not generally desirable for any useful purposes I can think of.
Okay so what can we do with that information?
If a creator designs a simulation much the way we do then they will need to decide what the fastest unit of time they want to track will be. This is the absolute fastest. We will call this a TICK from this point forward.
Some ways we do this in games might be if we know the monitor only updates the display 60 times per second (aka 60hz) we could set a TICK to be 1/60th of a second since it only needs to actually update when something new happens.
In some cases things need to happen faster than our display so the TICKs are actually much faster than that and things could have happened between the visual update. This is much like in our reality when things move through our field of vision faster than our vision can track. We might be left with a motion blur, a blip that was there then gone, or perhaps not seen it at all.
Once you have this fastest TICK all other events happen based upon number of TICKs. If the TICK was 1/120th second but your vision only actually happened every 1/60th second then 2 ticks happen every time your vision catches up.
Why is this important?
Is there a very small amount of time that beyond that no changes occur? If so that might be evidence of a TICK. If there is a TICK then we are in a simulation. If time can be infinitely divided with events still occurring even at the smallest intervals then a TICK may not exist so it would not be proof one way or the other.
What happens when the game/simulation is paused?
If it is the avatar type situation that should be noticeable. However, if their simulations and abilities have progressed that far they may be able to repress their own outside stimuli and other thoughts while they are immersed to maximize the immersion. I am not saying they are. It is just something to consider. So can they pause, walk away and continue? Maybe.
If it is a closed system and the game is paused then to those of us in the simulation we wouldn't even notice. No TICKs will have been processed. As soon as it is unpaused it would resume with us being none the wiser. This is also true if they speed it up or slow it down. In the game we wouldn't know.
What happens when they turn it off?
Well is it like our computer that it can be powered back on and resumed, or is it just gone? I don't know. Yet it is interesting to think about.
You see it is not really possible to PROVE we are not in a simulation? We can't prove things when we cannot observe them. Thus we must seek things we can observe. If we can find some boundaries in our reality then we might PROVE we are in one. Without those boundaries we could be in one or we might not be.
To me it is mostly semantics. If God "created" the universe then to me that says simulation. God existed. God is somewhere. God creates the universe. Which is putting something (universe) inside of the place where God already existed. That is a simulation. God defined the rules, God defined the input. It is a simulation. The primary hang up is whether it is one of those forms I mentioned earlier that would make people run to the question of whether that implies they are real or not. Of course they are going to want to say I EXIST, I AM REAL. Yet the simulation doesn't imply otherwise. You do. Thus, I tend to ask "Do you think you are real?"
Tomorrow I want to discuss our own simulations and the implications of that IF we are in a simulation ourselves.