"Guns, Lots Of Guns."

-Neo, The Matrix

The 1999 movie "The Matrix" focuses on a post apocalyptic future in which humanity is unknowingly trapped inside The Matrix, a simulated reality that intelligent machines have created to distract humans while they enjoy dominance over them. Crazy, right? It doesn't make any sense, it couldn't possibly be real.

Or could it? Today, I will not try and prove the existence of the simulated reality, but rather, prove that it is a possibility, from a Biblical world view. This is an excellent article to read at three AM, or whenever your brain is hurting and not working well. Also, full disclaimer, this article is very deep, and presents extremely mind-bending concepts and ideas, it is also not exactly about guns, it's more about The Matrix.

Nick Bostorm, PhD, author of the world-renowned paper: "Are You Living In A Computer Simulation?"

The theory that the world we know is actually a masquerade is called simulation hypothesis, a term accredited to Nick Bostrum, a futurist who published the simulation argument in 2003. Another question, have you ever had a dream, that you believed was real? I don't know anyone who says they haven't, and I know I have. Also, do you remember anything from said dream that, now being in your right mind, you know could not have been possible in real life?

Well, what if this world you are living in is one such simulation? “No way!” you might say, “Dreams are never as real as the this world! I just had three shots of espresso and am extremely conscious right now!” But hold on, just because this is the most conscious you've ever been, doesn't necessarily mean this is the most conscious you can be, the most conscious you would be.

So, why else should you have any reason to think it's possible you're in a simulation? Well, just think about recent history for a moment, the video game “pong” came out around 1972, fast forward 50 years later, and you may notice that video games have gotten considerably better since then.

Here I have three images, just to show you what I'm talking about, these images are all computer generated, and from video games. If this is how far we've come in 50 years, I think we can all agree that if this keeps up, simulation as seen in The Matrix is not at all crazy or impossible. Am I right?

If this is how far we've come in 50 years, I think we can all agree that if this keeps up, simulation as seen in The Matrix is not at all crazy or impossible. Am I right?

So, if we are in The Matrix, or at least, such simulation is possible, who would/did create it, and why? Well, in the film, Morpheus says this: “The Matrix is a computer generated dream world, built to keep us under control...” Now, this is a frightening concept, and it seems unlikely. After all, coming from a Christian perspective, would God ever allow something like what we see in The Matrix to actually happen?

Well, what if, hypothetically, in the far off future, machines or someone controlling machines take over humanity for a time, for the same reason the ancient Babylonians conquered Israel as part of God's judgment. (Shrug) Probably not! but who can say for certain. Again, I am not trying to convince you this is what's going to happen, or even this is what might happen, I'm just trying to say that a simulated reality could conform to what we as Christians know to be true.

There is some gray area with the Simulation Argument however. For example, whoever, or whatever creates the matrix would need something capable of mastering, or maybe just deceiving the human mind, and as you should all know, humans are at the top of the food chain, and are the master species of organisms.

So in order to create something to continually delude humans, it might need to be made out of silicone hardware. If this is the case, then “substrate independence” (the idea that self awareness can be made with a computer), is true, and does this principle line up with what the Bible says? The answer is no. Logically, humans will never be able to make something superior to themselves. So the idea that a machine in the future will be able to forcefully conquer humans is, thankfully, not a possibility.

However, this does not make the simulation argument invalid, suppose hypothetically, the machines were created by a human, and we know for a fact all humans are gullible, especially to other humans. What I'm trying to say is, something that can constantly outsmart or forcibly overcome a human may not be necessary, maybe the creator is the one doing all the trickery, and the machines wouldn't have to be the ones muscling or conning humans into the simulated reality. If this is the case, we can conclude this part of the theory checks out, and therefore is possible.

Who then, now that we have omitted the possibility of “what”, am I saying created this hypothetical simulated reality? Heh, it almost sounded like I was smart right then. Anyway, here's one of the best possibilities I came up with, suppose it hypothetically started out as something like Oasis from Ready Player One, in which the simulated reality is simply a highly advanced and fully immersive gaming console, created by some eccentric billionaire and used by almost everyone on the planet.

This platform probably starts out as one where consumers come and go as they please. Then it is corrupted for whatever reason, perhaps so said eccentric billionaire could take over humanity, causing users to be somehow unable to leave the experience. After a few generations, consumers may eventually forget that there ever was a “real world” and then we would have a premise akin to what the matrix presents.

So, what if we were living in a simulated reality, for the last time, I'm not saying we are, I'm just asking “if we were”. If this life as we know it happened to be made of something we don't understand, or, even are controlled by, to me it wouldn't make much of a difference. If there was a whole other “real world” no human had ever explored before, sure, some people would love to explore it, and not be limited to the simulation, but not me. And think of it this way, if everything we know and love is in the simulation, who's to say the simulation isn't as quote unquote “real” or “meaningful” as the simulation?

If the simulation is an accurate interpretation of real life, there wouldn't be anything in real life that we couldn't do in the matrix, so why should I care if I'm in it? In my mind, if this world is a synthetic reproduction, then going back to real life would be no different then going to another planet: The technology to get there does not exist yet, if you did get there, you may not be able to survive, if you didn't convince anyone to come along, you may never see another human again, etcetera, etcetera, the only difference would be that we know the planet exists! In short, if this world is a simulated reality, it's still real! It's just not what you think, or at least a smaller version of the real world.

Perhaps now this theory of simulated reality doesn't seem quite so crazy, maybe it even seems plausible. As one last note, I think the best thing to remember is this: the possibility of the matrix being our future isn’t written in the Bible, so it’s not something we need to dwell on as much as other things that are fruitful to our faith. If your brains are not completely and utterly twisted and confused, I'll consider this a success. Thank you for your time, Mr. Anderson.