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To Be Or Not To Be: Simulator Or Simulation.

Updated on August 1, 2014


The universe is a complex place. It has been wafting out from a central dense point for nearly 14 billion years. Some 5 billion years ago, a large gas cloud clumped together and ignited our sun. The remaining disk eventually clumped together, forming the planets we know of, the silvery moon that throws it's gossamer blanket of romance upon the night sky.

The story doesn't end there as we know. Steam cooled to form oceans, a large clump of land eventually extricated itself from one another, as did simple life from the liquid mass of brine. Fast forward aeons (for the expedience of time and my own layman proficiency in evolutionary biology) and what have you got? A race of equal ingenuity and stupidity, capable of grandiose creation and epic destruction... and can just so happen to peer out of our bubble into the wider universe around them... humanity!

Cosmology is one of the bastions of the art of thought and experiment. Through exhaustive research, philosophy, theory and practice, we have established some pretty well held laws of physics and the universe. However, the last century saw an upshot in the field of widely held laws being decimated in the face of new, more elegant theories.

This began in 1905, when Albert Einstein formulated his theory of Special Relativity, that motion was "relative" to where the observer was. He further expanded on this idea with General Relativity, which postulated that reality was like a fabric, space-time. This was effected by gravity, the greater the gravity, the greater it's resulting effect on space-time, setting the speed of light as the universal speed limit in the meantime.

As though a beacon had been lit in the style of those in Rohan in the Lord of the Rings movies, new theories began to burst into flame, the most virulent of which is Quantum Mechanics. Schrodinger's Cat is rather famous for a feline that is imaginary, yet it states that said "cat" is unknown to be alive or dead until observation verifies the state, a precursor to quantum superposition - where a particle can exist in all possible states at once. Werner Heisneberg got literal where Erwin Schrodinger favoured the cryptic. The Uncertainty Principle states one can never know a particle's position and velocity without observing it, then it is subject to changing even so, thanks to the observation. Evidence of particles behaving like a point and a wave, their ability to travel to a photographic plate partially blocked by another plate by taking all possible routes throughout the universe. And finally entanglement, meaning two particles can be linked no matter their distance apart, have all reduced physics - and no doubt the minds of physicists - to a quivering mess!

Finally is the theory of a holographic universe and the theory that we could all be part of a computer programme, an instance that has many a tantalising implication. So The Matrix was a documentary? I hear you ask. Not quite...

What it does hold remarkable insight into, is the Anthropic Principle. This is the belief that the universe has evolved to the point it has so we were able to exist in it. Evolution is a matter of time and entropy (order capitulating to chaos) to my mind, but it could prove and disprove this in equal measure.

Proof could be the fact that if there was some kind of specified program, then we were written into it and executed to "run" at some point within the shelf life of reality.

To disprove? Computer programs serve a function, to be used and executed at need. Opened and closed at the behest of a required function. To the minds of many cosmologists, existence is random... so is the universe a roulette wheel?

Place your bets!

© Brad James, 2014.


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