Why Virtual Reality Games Drive You Crazy: A Look at Simulated Reality
When talking about dreaming and comparing it with reality, it’s only a matter of time before the conversation upgrades into the possibility of simulated reality. Simulated reality is actually every sci-fi nerd’s dream come true, which makes sense when you think about it. Honestly, how cool would it be if you, everyone you knew, and everything that you’ve seen and done, was nothing more than the product of a virtual reality game?
…scratch that. That sort of thought isn’t really ‘cool’ at all, but it does bring up some interesting points while all the while giving a new spin to certain theories surrounding dreams and the human psyche. Ever since philosophy entered the picture, humans have strived to learn and worried about what meant what and who meant what when and where. (Sounds like the beginning of a Dr. Seuss book right?) It almost makes you wonder if philosophical questions have ever helped us do anything more than worry about whether we actually exist or not and what happens to us when our current state of existence runs out of batteries as it were.
Simulated reality originated from the concept of solipsism. Solipsism talks about the deep-seated concern that people have that their perceptions are nothing more than illusions. Simulated reality gives a more modern twist to the age old theory. With simulated reality, the idea is that the ‘illusions’ that we experience, and even our very existence, are cause by technology. You may be thinking to yourself how shaky a theory that is. After all, there’s no technology out there that can create the type of illusions on the scale that simulated reality implies.
Well, take these two points into account:
First: If our world is really a part of a simulated reality, the technology wouldn’t have to be terribly advanced to convince us of its realism. We could be a bunch of tiny Pacmen running around aimlessly on the screen of an arcade game in the mall and we would never be able to tell the difference. We are the Pacmen and our goals in life are to eat the little balls, navigate the roads of life, maybe catch a pretty girl, and then get eaten by this creepy octopus looking thing that drops from the sky. If that sounds familiar to the life you lead now, then maybe you should start looking more intently into the theory of simulated reality. Just to be on the safe side.
Second: Because you wouldn’t be able to know what was ‘real’ (i.e. the reality outside of the game), you would never be able to tell what is the case and what isn’t. It could actually be millions of years into the future on the other side of our reality and we wouldn’t be able to know it because we’re stuck with knowing only what we’re told. There could very well be technology out that is able to create such a complex world, that each and every one of its CGI characters believes that they have free will and that their world is all there is.
Have you ever wondered what would happen if that was indeed the case and the person playing you ended up turning off their Playstation without saving you first?
You’d have to do everything over again, with a few slight variations here and there for adjustments in behavior depending on how well the game had been going before. A situation like that would explain a number of things like déjà vu and the ability to see into the future. And let’s not even get started on what would happen if your player left you on pause while they went and made a sandwich or something.
In the end, you can only really look at it like this. You’re Buzz Lightyear, newly opened from his spaceship box, and you actually believe that you are who you claim you are. You believe that you are real, but somehow the game you were in has taken a nasty turn. You’re stuck in a world where the characters are aware that they’re only toys, and it feels as if everyone is trying to convince you of the same thing when you know better. In reality, Buzz, on the other side of the simulated reality that made up your life until this point, you’re actually nothing more than a bit of plastic with the ability to think freely. The power to think might even be a fluke considering that the ability could have been programmed into you by whoever turned you into a toy in the first place. These are the types of thoughts that drove Mr. Lightyear momentarily insane and into the world of cross-dressing tea parties. Don’t let the same thing happen to you. Remember that this is all just speculation.
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