In this particular piece, we’ll be starting out with the most basic of questions: What the idea of a simulation actually is, and just what exactly it might mean to us all.
Really, a simulation only requires the very same things that most any other computer driven operation or process does: To be built upon a set of ordered, clearly definable rules or parameters. That’s it!
We know, for example, that just by utilizing our own technological tools, near about anything can be represented or be made to exist digitally – including a whole entire reality, existing over many billion years! How could we possibly know such madness might be possible? Because we’ve already done it, ourselves!
The question then becomes such: What is our very own reality, if not ultimately the cumulative result of a mish-mash of various physical laws and rules interacting with one another? What’s more, if one were to also know and understand all of those complex natural laws governing our own existence, then there is absolutely no reason that they cannot further be represented and created (or recreated) using a very certain technological means.
And it just so happens that as we know our own reality here to exist as it does, it’s something that does not require an infinite number of manual efforts to produce and maintain that reality (someone constantly having to be in full control, taking various actions themselves in order to drive a whole universe forward, or merely so that it might exist at all.)
The total package of the simulation -the sum of all those natural rules, laws, interactions, and so forth- is much the same as a “machine” or car; an automated work composed out of countless many individual pieces, each piece of which only draws meaning from or has any purpose in regards to its relationship and interactions with those other pieces. Next up, one need only toss in some fuel (energy/matter) of which those rules/laws act to govern, add in the added dimension of time in order for the whole thing to unfurl and evolve, and away she does surely go: In a few billion years, there you quite literally are!
A (possible) oddity to all of this…? Well, the notion of what we described above pertaining to a simulation? The whole “natural rules/laws that govern a construct, each one largely stable, static or inviolate”? It sure does seem to sum up our own universe to a perfect tee, does it not?! Truly, there’s absolutely no chaotic variability or sheer randomness anywhere to be found -let alone any sort of literal magic- lest our space probes sent all the way out to the furthest of reaches wouldn’t succeed at hitting an actual bull’s eye after being launched from several billions of miles away; reaching there, no leas, only by first hitting numerous other carefully selected “jump points” (gravitationally slingshot’ing around space exploiting the accelerating effects of the gas giants, Mars, Venus, or other a celestial bodies.)
For example, nowhere we might turn in our own known universe finds randomness or chaos, such as the upside-down galaxy, or reverse-gravity star system; you cannot find such a place as has a variable, or merely even microscopically different, speed of light nor weak nuclear force. Those things that are things in this universe relating to the most basic and fundamental of building blocks simply are what they are, much as they have so too always been! The extraordinary precision and uniformity of our reality is actually an odd thing, however, *especially* whenever dealing with something so utterly massive over so long a period of time.
Consider the incredible degree of chaos and variance when dealing with life, or things we might construct… even natural, lifeless “things” found in our reality such as galaxies, stars or planets! Respectively…? Mutations or evolution constantly creep in, just as any individual lifeform changes or matures over time as it ages; and try as we might, tiny flaws or mistakes will appear; or else, simply owing to their incredible complexity in comparison with the most fundamental of levels in molecules or atoms (combined with other variables, like differing energy levels/temperature, gravitational pull, shapes, merely the “moment in time” during which they exist as they do, etc.) no two are ever going to be perfectly alike. Thusly, the fact we indeed observe complete and absolute “sameness” when it comes to those most basic of natural rules or laws governing existence itself is something quite telling, in my estimation. Although, true enough, nothing we know would exist were those natural processes introduced to any anarchic randomness, the fact that it’s also a quality so intrinsic of a computational affair or simulation shouldn’t be dismissed outright as mere coincidence, all the same.
In fact, one might go so far as saying that calling such a thing a “simulation” is really just another word for what we’ve always known and understood to be our reality: That ours is a universe which is the end result of the interaction of various rules and laws governing such affairs of nature that are not subject to even the tiniest amount of variance or change.
There’s really only two caveats here that separate such simulated matters ever so slightly from more traditional thought pertaining to theological Creation: Firstly, a belief that there’s an underlying automated creation that contains/governs those rules and oversees their function and operation (quite similar to what we best know of as software). Secondly, that there is also something that hosts and drives all the preceding which also acts to link it all together in unison (like what we know as hardware.) In such an example, Divinity itself is the singular entity who created and designed everything, an impossibly advanced and wise benevolence that further exists outside or “above” all these things of its own Making, but who indeed observes above and occasionally interacts with or guides matters along.
As we know and see things here today, our universe certainly appears to be nothing if not a highly precise and exceptionally ordered system involving the interplay of a countless many precise, clearly defined natural rules or laws. What’s more, when it comes to those most fundamental of natural laws, our universe almost shows something of an outright aversion to things that don’t conform thusly; (although the preceding definition may cause bother to some) a well and complete absence of anarchic chaos, sheer randomness, or pure (literal) magic… despite there being an expansive universe positively rife with opportunities for exactly such chaos and anarchy to have come into being quite naturally.
Interestingly, it’s precisely this very quality -the inconceivable Design behind it all; the precision those many rules have been found to exist with, and the impossibility so many variables would come together into such perfect alignment in the first place as to result in anything, save for some chaotic void filled by nothingness- that has long since fueled arguments favoring the existence of an intelligent Creator. Yet even so, it may also be used by us today in order to support finding a reality that’s simulated in nature.
Indeed, I would go so far as to say that both of those concerns are fully and equally true at the very same time. Ours is the Creation of a divinity, absolutely! But it is a divine being that Created our reality, not by any sheer, literal magic, but rather by an advanced process quite similar (although not necessarily exactly so) to what we know today as simulations, yielded through the blessings of modern technology.
This is most certainly not to diminish such a divine power to anything comparable to our own level, but rather the complete opposite! It is something achievable only by the most resplendently advanced of an entity imaginable; something that we, for all our own level of contemporary advancement, have barely even known that such a thing existed at all save for only the past few decades just now.
All the same, such a simulated universe as might come only from the divine/God is something that we will never ultimately prove capable of doing ourselves – not anywhere close to the same level we now both see and know as our reality. That sort of thing truly, literally could only come as result of a divine Creative force: Not as some abstract curiosity of a divinity, mind you, but rather as a very real, unimaginably advanced and powerful entity!
Now then, one particularly exciting and new aspect that’s only come to be known of here in our own time? Only go back one hundred all-too-short years ago, and even if we’d accepted that we already knew *every* natural force/law governing the all of Creation, still not a single soul alive could have said there was anything that anyone might have ever done with them all (short of something akin to employing sheer magic, but of course!)
The last century, however, has seen so many startling and impossible changes – most especially here, in areas such as these! With the advent of the computing age, we have at long last realized a means by which we can indeed take such things and then do something with it all, by translating and representing them somewhere: Digitally. And, much as I said earlier, we’ve already taken to doing this (obviously on a far more limited basis) with various simulations analyzing dark matter/dark energy or galactic formation and evolution.
Some experimental research, has already put in all known (or at least necessary) laws before then “mixing in” some ordinary matter. We have subsequently witnessed rudimentary universes being birthed and taking shape – taking shape, no less, over many billions of years worth of time! Those many eons? They passed by “inside” these simplistic realities over only some weeks or months here to us in the real world.
So even in the here and now, at our as of yet quite early stage of development, this is what’s already proving possible. Ridiculous or bizarre (most likely both!), believe me, do I ever know it!
Imagine how, until recent times we had two choices for visually modelling anything: Draw it out in only two limited dimensions – drawn/painted on paper or carved in stone; or else create a literal model of it, by doggedly sculpting or building from scratch in order to have a fully 3D representation of that object.
Ahh, but today in the here and now? Well then, things are completely different! For today we’ve got our computer or tablets capable of their fantastical 3D models! Except… …? Even there, they in actuality exist in only but… two (!) dimensions? How is such a thing possible, having something in glorious 3D that’s only really in 2D?!?
Yet just try to go and look inside of some digital model house sometime; or else dare to observe an atomic chemical structure in fully actualized 3D; play any modern video game, with worlds breathtaking in their complexity – and all of which taking place there in the wonderful world of 3D, replete with avatars by which we might use to walk around, interact and explore. Although they exist in 3D in all the ways that matter, as of our current level of technology with digital displays, to us they all only exist on 2D displays, by and large.
Echoing our earlier writings on the absurd rate of advancement our civilization has enjoyed here of late, next up just stop to consider how all of these amazing things not only weren’t imaginable only a brief time ago, they were fundamental impossibilities! What is “brief”, you ask? Try maybe six decades, at the absolute latest! In other words, the onslaught of abilities that computers have allowed us to do were so recently unimagined by the whole of mankind as to have been seen as being next to impossible -no matter how far in the future one cared to dream of at the time- just 20-30 short years before such things were first realized/created in actuality. Even going back only to when the very first computers were invented, ours was almost always limited to seeing the promise of computers as superb number crunchers – calculators the size of a whole entire house, perhaps exploiting the then still futuristic punch card. So the very idea of having any visualized data (like a 3D world) come from those behemoth thinking machines, all only composed of simple numbers? Quite impossible, indeed!
Most all other inventions brought about by the steady march of progress? They’ve been first dreamt up or existed, at least as a theory, decades to whole entire centuries beforehand! Electricity, first having been unknowingly exploited in ancient Egypt with incredibly simplistic batteries used to give a person a mystical little jolt/shock – or with Franklin’s kite, which itself came well over a century before our world’s electrical revolution at the turn of the 20th century. And so this is how incomprehensible the gifts bestowed by such digital technologies proved to be, never mind how truly gargantuan of a leap forward their capabilities represented.
To wrap things up here, I want to make it painfully clear from the very get-go that I am not proposing ours is the result of some other civilization, much like our own, going about creating simulated worlds digitally – not at all! Could you yourself manage to come to a different understanding there; that our entire world could indeed come less from God and more from something like a far future civilization? Sure, I suppose.
Personally, however, I just see too much that approaches sheer perfection in the path or direction that our own species/civilization was first set upon to accept that our direct Creator is anything less than what we would presently deem to be God. Goodness, look only at the state of our governments and politics on this Earth; with wars, mistakes, endless conflict and so on.
I thusly don’t possess so much as a sliver of doubt as to the fact that we are decidedly not the creations of some near-future Earth (or Earth-like) world running amuck simulating all willy-nilly-like. It’s surely conceivable that ours could be a reality springing forth from some species that’s just so incredibly far in the future as to where we now are that, although perhaps once upon a time being somewhat like us/bearing a passable resemblance to where we now stand, as of the moment when our reality was first birthed it has advanced and evolved so impossibly far beyond as to stand utterly unrecognizable; having transcended into a completely different stage of its existence as a civilization, or even moving past being merely a biological lifeform.
But that’s almost besides the point. Regardless of all that, however, when one at day’s end more specifically considers the matter of a divine being Creating our universe? If provided with only but two choices thereabouts…? One being the traditional and widely accepted: A simple wave of the hand, along with a hearty “Abracadabra… light!” and then -*POOF!*-… there you have it?
Or else seeing a divine force that acts utilizing a technological means of taking a comprehensive set of rules and, using such terms as we now presently possess for ourselves, approximating a reality that’s conceivably simulated in nature?
Well then, in my mind that’s hardly even a choice, at all!