Do We Exist Inside a Game?
Some Recent Experiments at Fermilab Suggest Reality Itself is a Game
on Sunday 18 January 2009
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If reality is a hologram as suggested by recent experiments at the Fermilab particle physics lab, then is it possible that we're playing games inside a giant computer game that simulates the universe?

“All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players” — William Shakespeare

We’re all familiar with this famous quote which we regard as mere literary allusion, it’s meaning quite different from that of a game in which a computer provides a literal stage upon which you and your computer-generated characters play their parts. There are some reasons, however, to suggest otherwise.

In northern Germany there’s a city of half a million people called Hanover. South of the city is an inconspicuous field that contains a 600 meter-long detector which is the basis for an experiment called GEO600. Here scientists have been looking for gravitational waves for six years. They found them alright, but there’s a problem. Their data has another signal which seems inexplicable because if they’re right, the universe is nothing like anyone ever imagined.

Enter Craig Hogan, a physicist at the Fermilab particle physics lab in Batavia, Illinois. According to him, the experiment has stumbled upon a fundamental limit of space-time. According to this interpretation, space is not continuous; it is digital, consisting of microscopic quantum convulsions of space-time. Hogan, who is the director of Fermilab’s center for Particle Astrophysics, thinks this may be evidence that we’re all living in a giant hologram, a projection from a distant 2d surface. And this isn’t the only evidence. This theory also explains some of the most mysterious behaviors of black holes.

There is a lot more work to be done if the holographic theory is to be embraced by the scientific community as the correct view of the universe, but the evidence so far seems to indicate it fits well with everything we already know.

But if true, it begs the question of what is reality. We think of life and the worlds generated by our computers as being made of intrinsically different stuff. But if reality is just a projection from the farthest limit of the universe, then the distinct separation of life and a computer game becomes blurred.

I’m reminded of a series of books by Robert A. Monroe. He was an advertising executive from Virginia who became widely known for his experiments into altered consciousness described as a process involving the synchronization of the left and right hemispheres of the brain. He created the nonprofit Monroe Institute and wrote about his experiences in three books. I experimented with his techniques myself, but quit when I realized I’m an unqualified coward when confronted with stark direct evidence that everything I believe about reality is wrong.

I bring this up here in the context of his last experience that he documented in his third book, Ultimate Journey (1994). Monroe was obsessed with traveling as far as he could using his out-of-body technique. According to the book, when he finally succeeded he found a giant holographic projector that was creating the universe. This proves nothing, of course, but I do find it an interesting coincidence. How ironic would it be to find we're playing games inside the game we call life?

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