The Religion of the Simulation
This is an excerpt from shifu Jonathan Bluestein's book, 'Exceptional Ideas About Humanity'
In recent years has arisen the idea, that mankind does not materially exist. Rather, some scientists and popular public figures had claimed, that we and everything we know, reside “in a simulation”. Furthermore, it has been argued that such a claim is ‘scientifically verifiable’. This manner of thinking is part of the philosophy of Post-Humanism, which has its roots in the 20th century.
What is the functional meaning of a statement, such as that we all live in a simulation? There are three primary implications, wherein one was to believe in its validity:
Firstly, it implies that human life has no value. For wherein something is akin to a computer program, it may be modified, or even deleted, without qualms about its worth.
Secondly, as the result of the meaninglessness of human life, it allows the powers to be to modify and delete people, with less public uproar or scrutiny. This is as, naturally, those who ‘govern the operating system’ have ‘administrative rights’ over the ‘programs in the simulation’.
Thirdly, knowing that they live in a simulation, the people would aspire to transcend it. This idea is rife in science-fiction literature and film, where we encounter robots who begin as mere programs, but nonetheless desire, and finally achieve, a physical form in the world of ‘the real’. In this manner, the Simulation becomes akin to the concept of Samsara in Indian religions. It is a ‘lower world’, in which human lives cyclically repeat themselves in various reincarnations, and which human beings aspire to transcend.
The concept of The Simulation, promoted by Scientism, is therefore not only religious, but also an old idea. Combining the flavours of both a Hindu and a Christian yearning for release, and establishing a foundation of medieval-like philosophical justification for tyranny, it is in fact a new faith in our times. It subconsciously seeks to manifest a world in which all, once more, desire a promised arrival at an ‘ultimate reality’, wherein technocratic priests in white robes – symbolizing death, and paternalistic sovereigns with ultimate power over life, would bring salvation to the devote. To them they shall raise a ‘tithe’ called ‘tax’, and in their name they would be willing to take into their bodies sacred substances, and deliver their neighbours and families as sacrifice.
The question ought not to be, whether or not mankind lives inside of a simulation. We should ask instead – can we afford to believe in such an idea, if we are to remain civilized and humane?