When you realize that life is stranger than fiction, you never run out of things to write about! Let’s wander …
Write about something you read in the news today … how fictional is reality? My pick of the day: “Elon Musk makes the statement that there is a one-in-billions chance our reality is not a simulation.” (See and hear his interview here.)
I might agree but for two things he said in that interview:
1… Elon referred to an “advanced” civilization playing simulated life on PCs and X-Boxes. I have to seriously doubt such bohemian technology would be found anywhere but in a landfill in such an advanced civilization, given that it’s abundantly clear the powers that momentarily be are mere inches away from implanting the reality chip of their choosing into the actual human brain. PCs and X-Boxes being so passé, science is heading for the inside of the “Cranium Box” where virtual reality already exists—ah, but with one minor apparent glitch being that it’s presently controlled by the individual user rather than a political or religious person or group. Assuming, of course, that we’re dealing with the limits of human greed, gluttony, and the other five deadly sins, and not a technologically advanced race of beings from elsewhere passing through to gas up. Whatever the case, as Microsoft has so aptly demonstrated with Windows 10 OS, individual ownership and privacy will simply never do!
2… Elon also made the statement, “Either we’re going to create simulations that are indistinguishable from reality or civilization will cease to exist,” which I found to be an incredibly awkward statement in that when we create simulations that are indistinguishable from reality, civilization as we know it will have at that very moment by definition ceased to exist. Which begs the question what is real to begin with. Philip Dick in 1979 wrote a wonderful piece addressing this topic in depth and breadth, and from which I pull this small bit to ponder:
“The pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Parmenides taught that the only things that are real are things which never change… and the pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Heraclitus taught that everything changes. If you superimpose their two views, you get this result: Nothing is real. There is a fascinating next step to this line of thinking: Parmenides could never have existed because he grew old and died and disappeared, so, according to his own philosophy, he did not exist. And Heraclitus may have been right — let’s not forget that; so if Heraclitus was right, then Parmenides did exist, and therefore, according to Heraclitus’ philosophy, perhaps Parmenides was right, since Parmenides fulfilled the conditions, the criteria, by which Heraclitus judged things real.”
Crazy? Not really. It does go to show that this question of the reality of reality is certainly not new and still unanswered despite the attention given it by some of the greatest minds. More than the question of is the car real, I tend to wander toward who the heck is driving it, regardless …
Now I suppose that this is all relative to the individual. Some individuals welcome the notion of being controlled by others, whatever the cost. Others, well, not so much. Then there are those who will follow blindly over the cliff, perhaps to look back and wonder at their absent-mindedness, or not. How far a stretch is it to go from a chip in your computer to a chip in your credit card to a chip in your body to a chip in your brain?
The Coachella concerts being one of the largest, most in-our-faces experiments on human lab-rats, have yielded excellent results in sample herding techniques (just sayin’). If millions of people are willing (eager, even!) to be electronically tagged just to grab a beer and listen to music with their friends then there should be no problem getting them to consent to being tagged to buy groceries.
As I drive the miles through cattle country, big blue virtual skies brightened by the far-reaching ultra-violet rays of a hot virtual sun spilling upon sprawling virtual fields of Farmville green, I pause by the side of the road on occasion to call out to the Great Cow Guru of Dana Lyons’ dreams. How quickly we agree to a reality wherein we are willing to become groceries in order to have groceries. Could it be that Rod Serling’s “To Serve Man” was not so far off the mark? Perhaps this reality, simulated or otherwise, is indeed The Twilight Zone …
WHEN YOU REALIZE THAT LIFE IS STRANGER THAN FICTION …
What’s next? Look for my future blog post – “What Do Black Holes Have in Common with Writing?”
For a more comprehensive look at how to improve and refine your writing skills and technique, please visit my Classes page and join me for my Writing Basics webinar. I also offer Saturday morning online group writing sessions.
© Jennifer Sweete, June 2016