Is Life Just a Simulation?


Is the world real? Source: Youtube: Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell

By: Shrey Sharma, Reporter

Think about your life so far. Your most embarrassing moments, your happiest memories. Now imagine someone told you that all of those moments are part of a simulation. They never happened, and they were just implanted inside your head. Would you believe them? Most people wouldn’t. However, if you tried to prove your point, you would find that you couldn’t. How is that possible?

The logic behind it is quite simple. If you tried to explain your 18th birthday to someone, you would use the memories and feelings that are correlated to that day. From these memories and feelings which are stored in your mind, are the only basis from which you can describe what happened. But what’s to say that’s not just part of your imagination? Your imagination is a part of your mind after all. You could ask someone who was there to back you up, but all of that information’s “final stop” (as said by Michael Stevens in the video above) is still your mind. Essentially, you are trapped in your mind. With this being said, it is therefore impossible to prove that ANYTHING is real.

This phenomenon is called the egocentric predicament. It states that the world is a figment of your imagination. Charles Sanders Pierce, an American philosopher, simplified it. He states that there is a line between the real world (reality) and how reality is filtered by your brain (your phaneron). By this definition, the world you live in and react to is not reality, but your phaneron, or your brain’s perception of reality. Solipsism, as defined by Michael Stevens, is “the belief that only you exist, and everything else – food, the universe, your friends – are all figments of your mind…”

Because of all this, it is impossible to convince someone who believes in solipsism that the universe isn’t a simulation, because you yourself can not KNOW that the world is real.

Most people believe in realism, which is the belief that you are living in reality. And while you can not be 100% certain that that is true, it is much healthier to be a realist than a solipsist. Believing that the world isn’t real can lead to depression, or in more extreme cases, the belief that there are no consequences to your actions. So even though we will never know if the universe is real or if life is just a simulation, we have to believe that the it is, for our own sakes.