(A) The Question
In April of 2016, the well-known astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson, hosted a panel discussion to debate the theory – now gaining scientific traction – that we live within a simulated reality, a real live Matrix, if you will. The idea that we are simply characters in some ET-kid’s game is humbling, to say the least, and frightening, to say the most. Are we simply actors on stage, mouthing our lines and unconsciously following a pre-ordained plot? Is that really very much different from Calvin’s idea of predestination, except that the ET kid, in his version, is a sadistic god who plays favorites? Not only has he got scant regard for those whom he created specifically to be damned but, in fact, takes gleeful delight in their eternal suffering.
The scientific discussion is predicated on the following data: when you send a photo to a friend via email, the process involves two kinds of code. Firstly, a transmission code that sends the bits and bytes in discrete quanta (packets.) Sometimes a few of these packets get lost or corrupted in transit, so a second kind of code is also embedded, whose function is to auto-correct or infer and insert the missing or corrupted data. Thus, you manage to get a “perfect” photo at the other end.
Now, when physicists wrestle with the mathematics of our universe, they find the same two kinds of code. Hence, the theory that our “reality” itself is the result of a transmission. We are characters in a novel, whose author is so talented that he has made us believe we are real! That’s the theory.
(B) Incarnation or Incarceration?
So, are we real? Is the universe real? What is real? I believe there is nothing which is not real, but that there are levels of reality. A greater perspective will immediately diminish or relativize the importance of any phenomenon which had been previously experienced from a lesser perspective – just like a bird’s-eye view will re-perspective a flower or a stone that previously had been seen only from a worm’s-eye perspective.
Hence, whatever can be sensed, remembered, dreamed, imagined, felt, thought up or thought about exists in some dimension – and is, therefore, real. Even what is experienced in a psychotic break is no less real than your daily breakfast; it is – hopefully – just a less frequent experience and, therefore, outside the narrow, culturally-created bounds of “consensus reality.”
Let’s not conflate consensus reality with the real thing. The former is simply a subset of the latter. All experiences are grist for the mill of the awakening of the divine in the odyssey of incarnation. The important questions, then, are:
- Do my personal experiences – in any dimension – move me into greater alignment with love?
- Does the culturally-sanctioned consensus reality move the group into greater alignment with love?
(C) Thinking outside the boxes – all of them!
Do we live in a simulated universe? Yes, I believe we do. But the simulator-engineer-creator behind the enterprise is not a geek in a different dimension; and we are not the hapless, helpless, hopeless robots who naively believe that we are real. Rather the “mind” behind this reality is the soul pod of all sentient beings who designed an experiment to grow – through the experience of separate self-awareness and the exercise of free will – from discrete chunks of Source i.e. individual souls, into the realization that only God exists, and that we are all God-probes into the adventure of Lila – the divine game of hide-and-go-seek.
Our journey is from free will (the ability to do as we please) into freedom (the ability to do as pleases God); from narcissism into compassion; from service-to-self into service-to-others; and from sleepwalking into Self-realization.
What a pity that fundamentalist, close-minded, materialistic scientism collapses all of the above to the neuronal firings of a three-pound blob of wetware that humans carry between their ears. What a pity that self-appointed, orthodoxy-protecting devotees have created a jealous, violent God, in their own image and likeness; and attempted to bludgeon the rest of us into submitting to this idol, under threat of physical inquisition and eternal perdition. We are left with a caricature of God – created by the latter – battling a joyless, barren, depressing God-shaped hole – created by the former.
If we were to believe in that final scenario then, indeed, we do live in a simulated reality, but it is a reality simulated by the human shadow. I prefer to believe that there is a great light – the light of unconditional love – from which fear hides, behind the obstacles created by our illusions. With enough lamps, there is no place left for the shadows to hide.
Have you enough oil in your lamp?