Is this the real life…
Last week we glanced at time travel. If it confused you or sounded a bit disjointed, welcome to the world of time travel. The possibilities of disrupting our lives are endless.
Which brings us to this weeks thoughts. I am going to be hitting a couple different areas that all relate in a single concept, this being accepted reality. In its way this is a mind stream that connects with the thoughts of last week. We can’t think of time and our perceptions without also going into reality truth and perceived reality.
And already I am jumping into a big space without a net…
This current line of thought came about through an observation on the most recent Agents of Shield. Mind you, this bounces around in my head from time to time but its built up enough now that I need to empty my brain of all the junk.
It starts with the idea of the “Framework” they are using as a plot device within the show. Long story short the “Framework” is a computer simulation where an individual is plugged in and they spend their time Matrix style. The gist being that the simulation is so real they don’t know that it isn’t reality. Yes, I mentioned the Matrix because the concept is a play on that.
This is an important idea to understand how it ties in. By using an indirect/ direct pop culture reference we automatically build in our minds (the viewers) what the characters are experiencing. Sure they aren’t human batteries powering the machines but the world they see looks and feels real. Their world looks and feels real…
Much like the world we live in now. What is the difference between perceived reality and reality itself? It can be argued that the world we experience is the truth. Notice that key word in that line “experience”. We don’t experience life in the present moment. Our perception is of the moment the experience has passed.
The memories we build consciously and subconsciously are how we learn to understand the world around us. If a perceived experience were built up, real enough in our memories then how would we know the difference between truth and simulation.
This concept was the basis of thought for the story We can Remember it for you Wholesale (Total Recall). The idea being that you don’t actually enjoy a vacation, instead it is the memories of the vacation that matter. You can look back on what you have lived to know where you have been.
Which brings us back to the matter at hand.
Within this “Framework” or the Matrix, the experience lived is real experience. The person going through it all will have those memories of having lived that life. And yet it is the lie of a simulation. Which ties in with time travel and the concept of a paradox. The person who created the paradox will remember the time before the split. When you kill your grand father, you will have to existed at some point to kill him. And yet the world will have been changed, possibly irrevocably. When you come out of the simulation, your world is changed. What you have known to be true is no longer the truth of reality. But this doesn’t change your experience.
“When the real is no longer what it used to be, nostalgia assumes its full meaning.” (Simulacra and Simulations. Jean Baudrillard 1988)
We are bombarded by shared experiences on a constant basis. Often these are things we may not have even experienced first hand. But it is part of the shared consciousness that builds them as part of our own perceptions. Going back to the Agents of Shield story line for a quick one, we have the android Ada. She is the creation of the character who created the “Framework” and also a secondary pop culture reference (though a bit more obscure).
In the graphic novel story of Alex and Ada, the Ada character is the android part of the love story. As part of that storyline she created a subroutine (Framework) in order to save her “humanity,” the part of her that had become more than a machine. The Ada in Agents of Shield is again an android that is close to human. In a twist on the other storyline she puts her own creator/ love interest into the “Framework” in order to save him.
The importance of knowing this juxtaposition of pop culture isn’t nearly as important as it existing in the first place. It becomes a part of our general consciousness, our shared perception that fuels the perceived reality of the simulation we are already a part of. Our truth is the truth we create through layers upon layers of connected thoughts and experiences.
And yet we have to question what is the real and what is the simulation. Is there a difference between real life and our memories of what we have experienced?
Yet the idea of the digital world where the user has become part of the digital landscape can be just as real to the individual within the space. The experiences lived are still part of their memories and life. The simulation has as much of an impact within the users life as the reality they face outside.
Even now when we consider something like the experience of a game like World of Warcraft. The game is a simulation of things that don’t exist within reality outside of those parameters. While at the same time, the experiences and memories created are immersive. The player has become part of the game, and their experience is real. Even as we know that the game itself is still only a game, the experiences created have the same substance of our memories lived outside the game.
There is a thought that living outside the parameters of reality is a form of psychosis. And the follow up thought becomes whose idea of reality must we conform to in order to assimilate with their perceived reality. (If you didn’t know this already, we are already insane.)
If you enjoy these stories, consider leaving some coffee money in the jar or you could buy a book or two. Either way helps keep the stories flowing.