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How real is the reality that surrounds us?

In this article, I am going to challenge everything you think you know about you, the reality and about the Universe around us. Many of you could place the following lines in the category of conspiracy theory topics, but even so, these ideas are worth reading and think about, especially since they are backed by real science.

If we take a look at the standard scientific model of the Universe, we learn that everything was created at one singular moment in time known as the Big-Bang, an event that supposedly took place 13.8 billion years ago. It’s impossible to know what happened before this, because time was created at that very moment. There was no “before the big bang” moment. Everything we know about the Universe and everything we don’t know about it was conceived then. But Newton’s laws of motion state that every action has an equal and opposite reaction, meaning that something has to cause something in order for it to happen, there needs to be a catalyst that puts things in motion. So, what made the Universe explode if there was no space or time for that catalyst to exist within? This conundrum is the very reason why a famous man known as Albert Einstein and the majority of the scientists of his time refused to accept the Big Bang model. This model implies that something that transcends time, space, energy and matter somehow created the reality and the Universe around us. Now, lets think about it for a second. Everything we know appeared at a time when there was no time, no space and no energy. Although there are still groups of physicists that accept this theory due to the laws of quantum mechanics, there are many others theories emerging that might offer alternative answers that are easier to understand and to accept.

If the idea above makes your own understanding of the Universe tremble, I will propose you another one that’s even scarier. Science, right now, is trying to determine if we live in a hologram. Everything around us might not be three-dimensional, but merely a projection from outside of space on a 2D field outside of our reality. As crazy and unreal as it may sound, there are enough discoveries made in science today to support this theory. In 1982, Alain Aspect, a physicist at the University of Paris, discovered that certain particles can communicate with each other instantaneously, regardless of the space between them. This is contrary to Einstein’s law stating that the information can’t travel faster than light and it suggests that space as we know it is an illusion. This idea led David Bohm, one of the most critically acclaimed scientific minds in quantum mechanics, to say that reality doesn’t exist at all. Let’s advance to the 90s. Leonard Susskind, also known as the father of string theory, along with Gerard ‘t Hooft, a Nobel Prize winner, mathematically argued that our 3D reality is actually a 2D projection from the outside. Susskind said that once we’ll be able to look at one distant point in space and we’ll be able to see some sort of holographic noise (haze or humm), we should have the ultimate evidence that we are living in a holographic reality. In January 2009, the GEO600 – the world’s most sensitive gravitational detector, discovered such a noise. Craig Hogan, a particle astrophysicist at Fermilab Ill. said the following: “It looks like GEO600 is being buffeted by the microscopic quantum convulsions of space-time. If the GEO600 result is what I suspect it is, then we are all living in a giant cosmic hologram.”

Three years later, Dr. S. James Gates, a theoretical physicist at the University of Maryland, made an interesting discovery within the string theory that further shakes the foundations of our reality. He found embedded computer language in the super-symmetrical equations describing the fundamental nature of the Universe and reality. The codes are digital data in form of “1” and”0″, and the embedded code looks like the code that makes current web browsers work. Gates said that “We have no idea what these ‘things’ are doing there”. In 2012 October, Professor Silas Beane and his colleagues at the the University of Bonn found what they believe to be evidence for the frame work or lattice that all reality hangs on by observing cosmic rays that enter our atmosphere.

So, how real is the reality that surrounds us?

Nick Bostrom at the Future of Humanity Institute Oxford University presented a bold idea in his 2013 paper called “The Simulation Argument“, stating that there is a high probability of us existing in a computer generated world. In the article, he tries to show that at least one of the following three propositions are true:

  1. All species within the Universe that reached our state of technological advancements go extinct before they reach technological maturity, in other words before they can create simulations of the Universe.
  2. All species within the Universe that are able to create simulations of the Universe, for some reason or another, decide not to.
  3. We are more certainly living in a computer simulation.

Now, are you ready for some math? Let’s calculate the probabilities.

Hypothesis: If there is at least one single civilization in the entire Universe that’s technological advanced enough to make video games as complex as the Universe, then you are probably in one.

Demonstration: Many computer engineers believe that the video games will be able to create advanced simulations of the reality in the next few decades. Even if that’s not true and these simulations we’ll be made in 500 years from now, it’s still a small period of time compared to the age of the Universe. Considering how many species could be out there, some of them could be from 1000 to 1,000,000 to 1,000,000,000 more advanced technologically than we are right now. How many individual simulations are they creating? If there is life in outer space and they are more technologically advanced than we are, then we are looking at a very large number of Universe simulations. The only probable scenario in which these Universe simulations does not exist is when each civilization in the Universe decides not create such simulations or they just go extinct before they reach that level. If just one single species on one planet in our entire Universe is technologically advanced enough to create these types of virtual realities, chances are you are living in one right now.

The math is simple here.

Let’s say there is just one civilization out there and it has the knowledge of creating such simulations. They will probably make millions of them, just like the video games we are playing today (in 2008 there were around 90 million units of video game sold). So, we have millions and millions of simulations of the Universe, and one single real Universe. What’s the chance of us being in the real one? The answer is simple, close to zero. It is more thank likely that we live in a simulate reality.

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