A Simulated Fork in the Path
or how to tell that you and I are experiencing an abstracted layer above base reality wherein the truth is shifty
A daydream about ziplines and zeppelins
“An institution is the lengthened shadow of one man.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson via Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem interpreted by Edward Norton
Also of interest, in an essay of RWE’s called “Self Reliance” we are introduced to
[t]he power which resides in him [that] is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried.
Yesterday my imaginatronix were triggered when Elysa told North that she couldn’t access VR because she doesn’t have goggles.
All at once I found myself projected through a million iterations of an attempt at simulating this, reality, what we go through.
Where did we begin to have wound up simulating this?
Whether what I am (and by extension what you are) experiencing from moment to moment is a simulation is a foregone conclusion when one does the math. If you doubt this, there are a few ways to resolve your uncertainty.
You can resist until game over and then you will know in a timeless endless instant where you came from and how you got here. This seems to be the typical path. Now cognizant of the humdrum default, you may start to feel ashamed as you continue on this unremarkable path.
Fear not, the trail forks now.
To the right stretches a neatly manicured foot path worn into the landscape.
Gazing more closely, it becomes clear that this is a mirage. The texture of the dirt in the trail repeats, albeit stochastically. The foliage renders in as it enters your frame of reference. As you narrow your field of vision, the detail increases as your visual query receives layers of higher resolution. The same stochastic algorithm ensures that no leaf repeats, no swirl retwirls, no grain strains belief (or disbelief, for that matter).
A bird 🐦 tweetly-deets. Sounds familiar. And then again. Same same but different. Is this the same dream?
This right fork holds subtle comfort.
There is structure underpinning its wiggles. The laws that govern its structure are illusory and elusive, but the structure, or rather the substruct is truth itself. Always out of reach, blurred into slight doubt, evasive as a fly on your nose, the truth teases our eager paces down the right path.
To the left, for those foolish enough to feign bravery in the face of certain doom,
or those brave enough to embrace wisps of whimsy when also offered taut, wound, artisanally oxidizing cables tethered to the turf far below, cables upon which you might zip along to glorious, imperial freedom, or upon which you might grip as the zeppelin co-tethered above ignites in fury sudden. Bravely hugging thin air, the happy breeze that reminds you of an errant nose-hair, or those sour whispers of insurrection, you, who turn left, guess again. You find nothing usual, nothing familiar, no comfort, only dismay or bliss or some mix between.
To review, it could be a simulation.
If it is, how is it simple and underdeveloped? How is it remarkably sophisticated? Can I map the phases of the simulation in a story? This weaves neatly into The Well of Being. Perhaps I ought to call the musing complete and write on that.