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September 27, 2012
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I will tell you that the universe is a simulacrum, that as there is no shared basis for a common reality, our world itself is merely a representation of something that doesn't exist. This, however doesn't mean that our existence is only made up of meaningless semblances of falsehoods, but that meaning is inherent in everything, and that the surface is barely more than a shadow of a multidimensional idea. In our world, neither is anything ever as it seems nor does anything mean anything more than it appears to. Reality, it would seem is made up nothing but the barest reflections of what it could be.
You will look at me like I am psychotic, and I will smile, knowing what you are thinking, and continue, confirming your fears. My continuation will tell you that for all anyone knows, the grand simulacra, or our universe, could in fact be nothing more than the shunting of bits in an enormous computer system, a simulation, if you will, for some process. You might comment that any simulation of a universe would either be simplified, and inaccurate, or terribly cumbersome and unserviceable. In response, I will tell you that we wouldn't be able to know, there wouldn't be an 'accurate' to base it off of and that even if a gross contradiction arose, we would attempt to find some way to explain it, rather than reject our universe as something that is only held in a computer simulation.
Your intellect has awoken, instead of just ignoring me as a nutjob, you are interested in what I have to say as it causes a number of interesting considerations to arise, playing the devil's advocate, you ask what this would mean for us. I will tell you that it means nothing, that we should conduct our lives exactly the same as if we had no sense that this world is a simulation, as it is still, for us, reality. Even if that reality is still nothing more than a representation of nonexistence. Even if it is true, and our universe is a simulation, there is nothing that we can do to leave the simulation, and exist on a meta level, seeing our reality as an outside observer, in another universe, the one conducting the study. This is merely an intellectual foray into something that seems interesting, not something that must be true, or even something that is probably true. Assume or believe whatever you want, but remember that this is our reality, not some theoretical one which may or may not be simulating this one.
Your suspicions of my insanity will return, and you will start to doubt yours, for entertaining, even for a moment that this could, theoretically be the basis of our existence. However, your intellectual curiosity will overcome the sense of dread that is arising in your common sense and you will ask a further question, "What if the universe, being part of a simulation, crashes?" I will tell you that we will cease to exist, and for the purposes of our existence, our consciousnesses had never been anywhere close to existing. If, however, the simulation were to be restarted at the same point as it had crashed at, assuming the data had been saved somewhere, we would begin to exist again and, to us, nothing would have seemed to happen.
You might be reaching your aspirin, or otherwise reacting to the headache that has rooted itself in your mind, at once fully comprehending the implications of what I am saying, and trying to repress them into your unconscious. I will reveal to you one more tidbit that will finally make your decision on my mental health. I will tell you that, as it becomes more probable that we, ourselves will eventually begin to simulate a universe capable of holding consciousness, the more probable it becomes that we are, ourselves in a simulated universe. I will clarify by saying that it would mean that the probability that the technology to simulate a universe could possibly exist is greater, not that our universe, in particular, has a higher probability of being simulated. However, if one were to back in time, the probability of our universe being simulated would not change to an observer from a certain time, it would only appear to be different to the people living in that time.
In a universe, I will tell you, that simulation of the complexity necessary is almost commonplace, the apparent probability that this hypothetical reality is a simulation of its own is nearly one-hundred per cent. However, no one in this universe would be aware that their reality is only a reflection of whichever one is simulating it. Thus, even if any universe is a simulation, there would be no way to prove that it is one. Our reality is our reality, be it a simulation, or figment of each of its inhabitants imaginations.
You, still maintaining your belief of my insanity, be it correct or incorrect, will ask me if my viewing the world this way has affected me in some way. I will tell you that it is me. I will tell you that my worldview makes up my reality and, by extension, it has created my identity. I have thought extensively about the nature of the universe, and about the philosophical implications of a number of possibilities, and they intrigue me. I hunger for knowledge, and wish to learn as much as I can about the simulacra that I live in. Simulacra, being the building blocks of the universe, are full of meaning, and I am a simulacrum.
A vignette I wrote for I wrote for my Literary theory class on my Identity. Image by :iconkristkaze: Used with permission.

Constructive Criticism is always welcome.
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:iconactsofart:
ActsofArt Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I loved reading this! it's so thought provoking and the ideas and the way it's written just draws you in!
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:iconnemonus:
Nemonus Featured By Owner Dec 23, 2012
I really like the ideas you've chosen to write about here, but the back half of the piece is more about the assumption that the reader thinks the writer is crazy rather than being about that idea itself. It depends on your audience, but an educated audience is probably going to recognize that your ideas come from Baudrillard etc. and want a lot less of that assumption and more of your own twist on his ideas. I don't doubt that you know that, but assuming that your reader doesn't know it gives this a patronizing feel. Your descriptions are good - the reader's headache etc. are good images, and I think you could use those to describe further why ideas about the simulacrum affect your personal life, how you feel they connect to religion or serve the purpose of a religion or cultural background, and how you discovered them. Unless the second person point of view was mandated in the assignment it seems unnecessary.
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:iconinterstellarshadow:
InterstellarShadow Featured By Owner Dec 23, 2012  Student General Artist
I see where you are coming from for this, and, in part, I agree. If the audience that I was specifically writing for (my fellow classmates, in this case), were aware of these ideas (which they were not), my piece would have needed change in scope, but as my essay was first, an essay to explore my identity, which I interpreted as how I think. My discussion of the craziness was partly a reference to the fact that when I first encounter ideas like that one, which end up shaping the way I think as much as it did, my first reaction is to dismiss them as crazy, and partly as a type of shared joke with my classmates, who all believe that are school will end up driving us insane before we graduate. In addition, I meant this piece to have some element of humour, to not be taken too seriously, as, in essence, I was saying that the theories I talk about should be.

I am very interested to know why you feel that my use of the second person in the piece seems unnecessary, It was not required as part of the assignment, but I thought it added to the feel of the piece. What is your reasoning?
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:iconnemonus:
Nemonus Featured By Owner Dec 23, 2012
I don't think the second person itself is completely unnecessary, but the way it was used sounded presumptive. If I had known it was a "shared joke" earlier that might have changed my thinking a little.

On a second reading I note that the reader isn't exactly assumed to be stupid - "You might comment that any simulation of a universe would either be simplified, and inaccurate, or terribly cumbersome and unserviceable." This parallels the fact that you also have that "reaction to dismiss them as crazy", and it might have helped to mention that in the essay.

I didn't like the second person here because instead of shortening the distance between the writer and the reader it expanded it.

But I realize that it is an essay, and that it was written and turned in a while ago, so my critique on this individual piece can only mean so much. My advice as a whole, though, is not to sound patronizing. "be it correct or incorrect" was the part that really got me on that count. It's a little too twee. It's a little nudge, like saying "you may have opinions about this but mine are obviously smarter".
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:icondjk77:
DjK77 Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
You sir, are awesome, and you should feel awesome.. I've been toying with an idea for a journal post...and you've given me the push I need to write it. SO THANKS! :)
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:iconinterstellarshadow:
InterstellarShadow Featured By Owner Dec 20, 2012  Student General Artist
I guess that you are very welcome then!
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:iconaussiedidge:
AussieDidge Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Holy hell... I know this was for Literary theory but there's an incredible amount of philosophy in here as well.

It's actually quite funny how strange the world we live in is. My dad once told me of the story of the 90-mile beach somewhere in Victoria, named of course for obvious reasons. He imagined it as our entire universe, and saw us as life being placed on just one tiny grain of sand. Considering that on average we use 10% of our brains, you have got to ask yourself: Doesn't it all feel like some sort of bad joke?

What about the potential for life on any other tiny grain of sand, and the probability that they may come and visit us sometime in the future? A universe estimated to be 160 million light years long (not a reliable measure), where a light year is equal to nearly 9.5 trillion kilometres (5.9 trillion miles)? Surely in that incredibly vast distance there's got to be something out there that we just haven't been able to discover yet.

My thoughts aside, this is certainly a piece that will get you thinking, and I applaud you for that. In a world of fake celebrities, ridiculously tedious news and songs about drinking, sex and money and
who knows what else (mainstream music :thumbsdown:), it's refreshing to actually find something designed to challenge your perceptions of life. Will we ever be able to answer that great big question over our heads, that being "Why are we here?"

We can kill animals for food, murder each other in the streets, build glorious buildings, and converse socially with our fellow man, but it certainly won't answer our question, our general purpose for living. Maybe such things are best left to discover by ourselves...
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:iconinterstellarshadow:
InterstellarShadow Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2012  Student General Artist
Yeah, it was a vignette about Identity, and I chose to explain how my philosophy was my Identity.
Also I don't think that it is the answer to the question of why were are here that matters, but it is that we look for that answer, within and without ourselves.

Thank you very much for your feedback, I do like to see that my writing is thought-provoking.
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:iconaussiedidge:
AussieDidge Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Very true, perhaps it shouldn't matter about our general purpose of living. More than anything, our individual purposes of living (for 99% of us) is what makes up our general purpose of living; treat everyone with respect regardless of their beliefs and opinions, and strive for success in whichever field you decide to chase. That has to come from within ourselves.

As for without ourselves, is it possible to determine another purpose of why we're living without actually involving ourselves? We tend to involve ourselves more often than not in matters far beyond our reach (perhaps we're egotistical bastards, but who knows?) Where would we begin looking for such information?

So many questions, too many answers and especially too little time... =p
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:iconinterstellarshadow:
InterstellarShadow Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2012  Student General Artist
With the time thing, any of our lifespans will last only a relative microsecond on the geological timescale. The implications of that, and the perspective it brings, is something that the world could benifit from realizing it. (excuse My grammar, I am tired)
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