This is the opening section of the epilogue of my latest book, Opening The Doors of Perception. Read this and then follow the link below:
Epilogue – Playing The Game
So far I have proposed that there is one single universe. This is the totality of all that is and it is created out of information. Information is non-physical in the same way that the digital information that creates the illusion of a three-dimensional space in a computer graphic is non-physical. What processes the image is a conscious observer who through various sensory organs creates a representation of the information. The great physicist David Bohm used the term in-formation to describe information that is processed in this way.
Imagine that you are playing a computer game in which you take the role of the central character, in computer terminology this in-game character is known as an “avatar”. Such games are designed to be a totally immersive experience. To create this the “game-player” is given a sense of embodiment within the avatar in that he or she sees on-screen an three-dimensional environment rendered as if it was being viewed through the eyes of the avatar. Stereo sounds from the computer speakers create a three-dimensional sound-field identical to how sounds are processed in the non-game world. Some modern games involve tactile body suits in which the game-player’s movements are reproduced on screen as movements by the avatar. These movements can be seen on-screen as the game player looks down at their avatar-body. Tactile feedback software is also incorporated into the suit together with ambient temperature responses and possibly even pain and pleasure simulations.
Incorporated into these suits is a headset with a pair of wide-angle goggles with a screen in each goggle. The images projected on each screen are designed to create a three-dimensional reproduction of the game environment and a perfect reproduction of the visual field as seen in normal life. A pair of headphones reproduces a similar three-dimensional sound-field. The Oculus Rift is an example of just how powerful these headsets have become.
To make the game even more real you agree to take a short-acting amnesiac drug. This temporarily wipes clean all your memories. As such when the game begins you have no memories of who you are, or of the environment outside of the game. You are, in effect, born into the game and for you, the game is all that there is. All of your sensory feed-backs confirm that this is the case.
Now imagine a game that is designed to be a whole lifetime. Using exactly the same protocols as above you are dropped into the game as a newly-born avatar. The digital body that you find yourself in is a helpless infant. You have no memories of who you are and therefore no prior knowledge of anything. As your in-game visual systems get used to the new environment so you begin to orientate yourself in this new world. Like any new-born it will take time for you to control your body and to make sense of what you are seeing, hearing and feeling. Now remember you are no longer you, you are that baby and future in-game experiences will develop and nurture you into a personality totally different to your “real world” personality.
A few years ago a “life simulation” called Second Life became hugely popular. This was a three-dimensional world that could be explored within the game-play. What made it more interesting was that each game player shared the virtual-environment with others who had created their own avatars. In effect this meant that all entities engaged with within the game were real people who could be located anywhere on Earth. Each on-screen avatar had its own out-of -game motivations sourced from the mind of the game player and each game player interfaced with the Second Life environment from an avatar- embodied viewpoint.
To make my “life game” even more powerful, imagine that my hypothetical designers have placed another active agent into the amnesiac drug. This is a time-dilator. In effect this expands the subjective in-game time so that a few hours in the external world becomes seventy or eighty years within the game. This is not such a weird idea. Time dilation effects are regularly reported by individuals who take DMT, ayahuasca and many other psychedelics. Indeed many of us experience time dilation effects every night when we dream.
So here we have a scenario where a full life of seventy years can be experienced in a few hours. Now here is my twist. Imagine that the avatar that you are born into is you at the moment of your birth. Imagine that the environment in which the game is experienced is a recreation of your actual real-life environment. You are born to the same parents in the same town in the day you were actually born. So now you are a version of you existing in a virtual-reality recreation of your life. How would you ever know that this was a simulation? In which case could your ACTUAL life be a simulation?
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