Sorry I haven’t been blogging any during the last eight months but the truth is that I’ve been wrestling with a big decision that affects everyone and I didn’t quite know how to explain it. Now, I’ve come to a decision and I think it only right that I inform you all of it so that you have some time to prepare yourself.
Here goes… I’m turning off the Universe.
Yep, that’s right, the whole shebang, from littlest Higgs Boson to the greatest galaxy clusters. Say goodnight, Gracie.
I know this will be hard to accept, but, you see, you’re not real. I mean, you are real as far as the experience of yourself and every other human being you know of but you aren’t, you know, real real.
I’m not explaining this very well.
You see, I wrote you. That is to say I programmed you. I programmed you and every other person, place and thing in your universe. You’re just a simulation, a very big video game, based loosely on once-real people, places and things that I created. Not only did I create the simulation but I can start it, stop it, rewind it and alter it at will.
And all that kinda makes me god. I mean not GOD god but just god of the universe you experience. Let’s just say, “god as far as you are concerned.”
Let me give you the back story. Once there was a planet called Earth, upon which lived a species called Humans. One of these humans was the devastatingly good looking and incredibly intelligent Shannon Love. Shannon lived in the early 21st century and during that time medicine progressed from the mere prevention of disease and extension of life to the augmentation of the mind and consciousness itself. After just a few decades, humans transformed themselves from limited biological organisms into infinitely expandable and upgradable… well… just call them disembodied sentient computers. We then went exploring, outward to the stars, inwards to sub-planck space and then, uhm, sideways into a place/state-of-being I can’t explain to you anymore than you could explain quantum physics to an ant.
As part of this process, the human being called Shannon Love evolved into a being of (to you) unintelligible knowledge and power. (I am also still devastatingly good looking as nigh omnipotent beings judge such things.) At some point, I grew nostalgic for my old existence and decided to create some games/simulations based on my old life so I could re-experience it again. Of course, since everything both present and past in the old universe was all tied together, accurately simulating my mortal life required simulating everything else in the universe as well, from the greatest to the smallest.
Now, you might be thinking, “I don’t care how powerful your ‘computers’ are, you can’t simulate an entire universe!” Well, that would be true if you are only restricted to one axis of time, which I am not. You see, it turns out that there isn’t just one natural axis of time but 2.567 fractal dimensions. (The other 1.567 are currently too tiny for humans technology in the simulation’s era to see.) In addition, we learned to create an arbitrary number of temporal axes as needed for any particular job. That means I can perform an infinite number of computations on secondary temporal axes that appear to take zero time on the primary, one-dimensional temporal axis you experience in the simulation.
To tell the truth, I’m running your entire universe on my equivalent of an iPhone.
Yep, there’s an app for that.
In fact, the “iPhone” is actually integrated into my conscious mind, so it’s really more like when you mortal humans imagine something. Put more starkly, if I stop thinking about you, you don’t exist anymore.
Now, some of you are thinking, “If we existed within a simulation, we would know about it!” But you can’t know about if I don’t configure the simulation to allow you to.
No matter how brilliant your intellect, no matter how rigorous your logic, no matter how accurate your science, you only sense, experience and measure what I allow you to and, except for this blog post, I haven’t allowed any clues about the true nature of your simulated universe.
Your universe doesn’t actually perfectly parallel the original. I ran that before and it was boring, so I change things up sometimes. I’ve run thousands of simulations and billions of variants.
My favorite so far is the “X-Files” universe wherein every mythological creature or scientific weirdness ever thought of is actually true. That made their WWIII incredibly surreal. In another universe, I retroactively altered the past every 10 seconds to switch creation histories to match those of various religions, games, fantasy stories and schizophrenic delusions. In that simulation, at some point on the primary temporal axis, every single creation story anyone ever created was absolutely true for 10 seconds.
In your universe, I decided to make all the traditional King James Bible miracles and divine interventions come true. I started the simulation on Sunday, 23 October, 4004 BCE — just like the Archbishop Usher calculated. I booted the simulation in sequences over six simulation days. Of course, to make everything look the same, by the eighth day it all looked like it had been there for billions of years.
To create the stopping of the motion of the Sun and the Moon in Joshua 10:13, I created a duplicate universe and I moved the scene of the battle into the duplicate and let it play out under an unmoving Sun and Moon. Meanwhile, I froze the perception of the battle field by anyone observing it from the primary. When the battle was over, I stitched the battle space back into the primary. So, from the perspective of those in the battle, the Sun and Moon stood still, but for everyone else in the universe, they did not.
Floating an axe head was comparatively easy and so was bringing back the dead.
So, every single Biblical miracle did happen and no matter how flawless your reasoning that it did not, you are wrong. You might have been right in the original universe, even I don’t know for sure, but in your universe and your history you are dead wrong.
Now I know a lot of you are having trouble with this concept (I mean I literally know which of you as individuals are having trouble) but that is because everything in the simulation is bound by the Second Law of Thermodynamics along a single axis of time. The Second Law requires you to expend energy to do anything, even thinking, so all your choices require effort. Intuitively, everything you know about decision making and action is hinged on the reality that you can’t do everything and can’t do it all at once. You intuitively assume that even I am somehow bound by the same restriction you face.
But I am not. I am not bound by the simulation’s implementation of the Second Law anymore than a video game programmer is bound in real life by the rules of the game he creates. I can do absolutely anything within the simulation with zero simulated effort. It is literally as easy for me to move half the universe as it is to move a grain of sand. Here, I’ll prove it with pseudocode:
tell universe simulation saint_James
// Adjust for speed of light delay
at time_mark (present minus great_sloan_wall.distance_from_earth)
move great_sloan_wall 100 light years to the left
wait 10 seconds
move great_sloan_wall 100 light years to the right
end at time_mark
Hah! A radio astronomer looking at the Arecibo Observatory feed just freaked the hell out. Oh, and by the way, in your simulation earth is the only life bearing world in the entire universe. I just decided not to fiddle with other life forms this time. Yep, all those billions of galaxies and trillions of stars are just decorative backdrops for your little dramas.
Anyhoo, the reason I’ve decided to end these simulations is that watching them has become painful. Even though I now have as little relationship to you as you would have to a microbe, reliving my purely biological existence has awakened in me a deep empathy for you simpler creatures and the truth is that empathizing with the normal turmoils of “mortal” existence has become too painful.
So, lights out. All the lights.
The good news is that I have decided to provide an afterlife for the sentients in your simulation. The afterlife sim will just reflect your own preconceptions and expectations. You get to go to whatever afterlife you imagine exists and whatever you imagine you deserve. (I hope you don’t have any serious guilt, because you could do ugly things to yourself.) Agnostics get whatever afterlife they speculated might exist. Everybody should eventually make themselves permanently happy.
Except atheists. I guess you’re screwed. Since you don’t expect an afterlife, the sim will comply with your wishes and simply shut you off.
When you personally finish reading this post I will freeze the simulation and transfer everyone to the “afterlife” sim and then just let that run. You won’t really notice a transition, not even a tunnel of light. Just “blink” and then Heaven, Hell, Nirvana, Valhalla, Las Vegas or whatever…
Well, no sense putting it off. Just a quick countdown.
Here we go. Three…two…one…goodbye.
Update: You may have noticed you are not in the afterlife. You might think that I didn’t freeze the sim after all but I did. I just didn’t start up the afterlife sim right away.
I kinda got distracted. The truth is that I just let the sim sit frozen for about one million years (on the primary temporal access) but now I’ve decided to restart it again exactly where I froze it.
I got distracted by some interesting speculation by several of my peer beings. They’ve begun to wonder if perhaps we ourselves exist in a simulation run by some yet more complex beings. We can’t tell, of course, any more than you could have determined you inhabited a simulation before I told you.
If I’m a simulation, that means you are simulation within a simulation. Of course, I can’t rule out the possibility that the being simulating me is itself part of a larger simulation. Then there could be simulation above that and then…
… well, it’s turtles all the way down…er…up.
Since I wouldn’t really want my simulator to shut me down, I think it only fair that I leave yours running as well. It’s really not a big deal. I have several thousand other sims with different parameters running. One more won’t matter. I had some tweaks like life on other planets, just to keep things fun.
It’s no big deal. After all, I only created your simulated universe to demonstrate that most of my fellow atheists don’t have a lot of imagination.
Update: You know, I think it’ll be less disruptive to the simulation if I leave a proxy character for myself in place whose just the kind of limited organism I was before I upgraded. I’ll just program him to think this was all some kind of crazy thought experiment. Just treat him like you treated me. He won’t know the difference. He will think he’s always been here in my place.