In the simulation

Once upon a time, I dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly. I was conscious only of my happiness as a butterfly, unaware that I was myself. Soon I awaked, and there I was, veritably myself again. Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man.

Zhuangzi, translation from: The Butterfly as Companion: Meditations on the First Three Chapters of the Chuang-Tzu

I know the simulation phenomena appears to be impacting more and more people of late. I’m not certain what is triggering it for myself and others but, with increased frequency, part of my brain suspects that my experiences are a simulation.

Sure, on the face of it, the whole idea seems absurd. Or fantastic. But there is no way to prove that one reality or the other is the manufactured experience. All measures are suspect, as they may be in of themselves part of the simulation, including lazy arguments like the one commonly thrown out that computer technology is not currently capable of producing a simulation. Under which rules? The ones of the simulation, or the ones of the true world?

Who ever claimed the simulation had anything to do with computers?!?!?

I’m not arguing for this hypothesis, though, just pointing out that any argument against it via examples are untrustworthy if what we are experiencing is indeed a simulation. And, the idea of multiple people experiencing a simulation is problematic itself — who is to say that we are not merely encountering simulacrum designed as part of the simulation meant to represent other entities, but are in fact manufactured artifacts which are part of the simulation?

All arguments becomes an exercise in reductio ad absurdum when “reality is the only word in the English language that should always be used in quotes” (source: Amityville 3-D, sampled by Thrill Kill Kult for Nervous Xians) or if:

During our dreams we do not know we are dreaming. We may even dream of interpreting a dream. Only on waking do we know it was a dream. Only after the great awakening will we realize that this is the great dream.

Zhuangzi, ibid.

What if we are all dreaming? How will we know if we are dreaming? Is the dream responding to our actions, or are we responding to the dream?

Like I said, I’m not endorsing one view or another. I’m merely trying to explain how I feel more times than I should feel of late.

Am I about to wake?

Why are you stepping slowly away?

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