Simulation Hypothesis Or Not is a False Dichotomy
In this out-there post, I explore the idea that the dichotomy between the Simulation Hypothesis and reality is false. My journey has led me to explore the potential of reality-hacks. I believe that Intelligent Design is a valid theory, scientifically falsifiable as it is (it hasn't been yet), and that even the nonfalsifiable stuff of art and magic is fun to explore. My ambition is to find the best path to a game well played.
Exploring the Possibilities of Reality-Hacks: My Journey of Self-Discovery and Art
By Michael Levin
Sunday, May 7, 2023
Most potentially world-changing artists die unrecognized, and then even a smaller portion of them are recognized after their death, and a smaller portion still such as Dali, Warhol, and Picasso are recognized during their life. This is perhaps as it should be, because true art disrupts the social order, and success ruins the artist.
I am an artist and a writer. I am not a programmer or a scientist, though I program to express myself through a sort of science. I’m a philosopher who has accepted ignoring pursuit of the world’s true nature, though I continue watching science’s progress as a sort of spectator sport. My favorite atheletes are Al-Khalili, Tegmark, and Hawking.
Strings and super-symmetry per se are a bust. If the LHC hasn’t come back with your supersymmetric particles, they’re gonna take a bigger collider and the message is let them be found later. Like the oceanographers of NUMA bemoaning all that funding going to NASA (little as it is), I’m like all the good stuff is a lot more local than you think, hidden in plain sight.
That’s just intuition talking. As I said, I’m no scientist. This evolved attitude of mine has made me look less lovingly at Michio Kaku, Sean Carroll, and of course Neil deGrasse Tyson. They seem wrong, with validation of their high fallutin way too complex math too far off to be my particular Monday Night Football. Even the prolific Rovelli, one of the few from the Loop Quantum Gravity camp who can hold their own against the superstring rockstars is starting to sound a little floundering. At least he can watch for the ripples and echoes of the Big Bang in plain sight.
The lesson here is about high-level and low-level programming, knowability, truth and truthiness, excessive confidence, false dichotomies, and setting your thresholds for belief and pragmatic day-to-day behavior. Pshew! That’s a mouthful, but in short, “shut up while you calculate”, a quote attributed to Dr. Jim Al-Khalili, a riff on Feynman’s “shut up and calculate”.
Whereas the original quote regarding the ineffable nature of quantum mechanics says don’t worry about the nature of the universe and just use the math that works, Al-Khalili is saying you can worry about the nature of the universe, just not when you’re trying to get your work done. This resonates with me. I am not a scientist because the rabbit hole runs too deep, like the one in the guy’s head in the movie Pi. Self-flagellation is not my thing.
But using a tool that takes advantage of reality-hacks that we’ve found. Now that I can do. Wait a minute, doesn’t that sound a little bit like magic? Yes, indeedy. Magic is not real, except that symbols are real, labels are real, and what is magic but symbols and labels for tapping into reality-hacks we don’t quite understand yet? Scientists like Dawkins vehemently oppose such view and have vilified such reasonable theories as Intelligent Design. The hand of God need not be like a before-hand writer, but rather be the evolving organism itself with cellular automata making decisions you’d normally attribute to a higher-order intelligence for the purpose of survival.
Attributes such as deliberate camouflage designs in nature and natural selection are not the result of a higher intelligence, but rather the result of what you’d be told is complete random mutation. I mean the terrifying Angler Fish’s light bulb ruse and lure is just totally random? You’re telling me that there was never on some conscious level, not quite like human consciousness but a sort of consciousness nonetheless, that there wasn’t a moment at which the very impressive mechanism of cellular automata and what we’re coming to know as epigenetic expression didn’t possibly say “Hey, I’ve got an idea! Let’s make a light bulb and lure to attract prey!”?
No chance? Zero? Zilch? Books closed, end of discussion? But yep, that’s how science works; exactly how science is not supposed to work. Those who write the book can close the book, using the power of memes to brainwash a certain close-minded dogmatism into the minds of the next generation of scientists. I mean I love the hell out of Dawkins, but I’m with ufologist Eric Weinstein on this one. Scientists can gaslight with the best of them.
In some ways, science doesn’t really seem to be science just because human nature, self-promotion and whatnot interfere with perfectly decent theories. I’m saying that Intelligent Design is a theory warranting scientific investigation. It is falsafiably testable, so should not have the books closed on it. Hard core atheists are religious zealots just like their foes.
Non-falsifiable shit, now that you can take off the table. Don’t go telling me about the multiverse until you’ve got some sort of test, and certainly don’t go telling me I should somehow alter my life and behavior because of something you cannot and seemingly never will be able to prove. Same goes for superdeterminism, Mrs. Sabine Hossenfelder. Until you can show me some sort of designed experiment like Bell’s Inequality to back up the clockwork deterministic Newtonian universe, it ain’t. At least not in my book.
That’s where art (and magic, for that matter) come in, isn’t it? The scientific method of art and magic isn’t quite so rigid. The non-falsifiable is allowed, so long as you get the results you want, understanding even still that correlation doesn’t mean causation. However, bippity, boppity, boo things come true.
Actualizing and materializing, let’s say human free-will, into being is most definitely absolutely true, nonfalsifiable as it is, much to the chagrin of ever ruling class proletariat that’s overthrown by the next one. Organism B’s reality necessarily can replace organism A’s reality. Elon Musk does it all the time. Just ask NASA and the oil companies, LOL!
Uh yeah, so my ambition level isn’t that big. Or at least it isn’t anymore. It was all squandered first on Commodore, then on Scala, then on the first company I went to work for when I came to NYC, then my first marriage. Ambition, pituy! Give me as long a life as anyone else, joy along the way, and I’ll show you one of the infinite paths to a game well played. I am radically ambitious in a very different way. I’m trying to be the best.
Best at what? Who can say? But after years of my subconscious working on it, there’s a few key takeaways. If I wanted to be the best at acquiring money, I would have embraced my asshole uncles real estate mentality or the shitty NYC tech-hustle vibe.
There’s a whole lot of life’s rewards I walked away from, right down to leaving Scala earlier for an opportunity at Huges Network Systems, the creators of DirecTV for double my salary because I designed a wonderful bitmap font for them. But I was like “Nope”. I like my opportunity here at Scala more. I gave the opportunity to an Amiga Deluxe Paint buddy of mine, Jeff Bruette who once told me I was a fool for not taking it.
Had I taken that opportunity, I certainly would not have the kid I do today, nor be here writing this, thinking about some greater artsy-fartsy magic trick to perform for the world. That was another major crossroads that could have gone very differently and could have kept me from coming back to Philly from the Washington DC beltway area (another shitty vibe), much less New York City. I can see what drives so many people to Portland, haha!
What’s the magic trick? Well, I’m still not precisely sure but I do know that I am finally starting to cast it. My false-starts down the rabbit hole of the Commodore Amiga computer, the Microsoft Active Server Page / SQLServer platform, the Scala multimedia/digital signage platform, and even my current immersion in the field of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) all helped solidify this vision, this trick, this reality-hack.
Nonefallible as it is, I feel it being cast. Right as I say nonsense like that, I write off solipsism and the simulation hypothesis and reinforce my belief in a shared objective and quite “real” reality. There are others like you, and you do exist more than just in my mind. In fact, I somehow find myself caring about you, and under the right circumstances would probably sacrifice myself for you. But that’s for a different post.
Perhaps you are me on another journey and solipsism or not is yet another false dichotomy. The entire universe could exist because you’re willing it to be so, just like the 8 billion others like you, and every photo particle of light which has self-similar properties to the entire universe.