Updated: Dec 2, 2020
Human beings do not experience the world directly.
This is a provocative statement. At first glance, it would seem to be untrue. Surely, we see reality as it is. However, when we examine this, we often find that our understanding of the world is actually untrue. The reason is that we experience the world in our body through sensation. What we experience is largely what we can sense within the limits of our nervous system. Our neurology actually limits our perception of the world to only as much as our senses will give access to it.
In reality, what occurs is that we make mental models as representations of the world. We then use these representations as if they are the same as the world. We do not distinguish our concepts about the world, from our experience of it as a phenomenon. In our view, the reality of the world is what we say about it. This is simply a likeness or a representation that we construct in our language. Our virtual world is the world we live in, even as we exist in an actually three-dimensional world filled with objects. Thus we are living in our minds. It is actually the world that we think we are living in. It's more accurate to say that the real world is like a stream in which we live, from which we draw the waters of life. But we don't draw all of it, as we are only able to take a certain amount in.
Traditions are Revealed as Simulations to Inhabit A World
The Bible tells us that we are made in the "likeness of God." Said another way, we have similarities to the actual Cause of Existence, but we are not that cause. Only God can be the Causeless Cause. What the philosophers referred to as First Cause. It is our story about creation alone that tells us that we are a simulation. In Genesis, we are told that we are created in its likeness. We are a semblance of it. In that semblance, we are governed by the conditions of existence it imposes which we have called the World.
Science as well and Religion agree that there are laws that govern the creation and maintenance of a world. However neither actually spells these laws out specifically. In effect, this world that we live within is the complete operation of a "system of likenesses" expressed through these laws that we experience as reality. Yes, there is a physical world. However, that does not mean that we experience the World in its true nature since we cannot perceive beyond our sensory capabilities. As we now, also know about quantum mechanics, it's more obvious that the reality of the world that we perceived and call as reality is closer to a hologram that is simulated as a physical world of absolute solidness that we experience.
The Hermetic wisdom of ancient Egypt described it by saying " As above, So below." This is another way of stating the obvious fact, that the same basic model of existence that we know as nature, also operates on many levels. These include not only the planetary or galactic levels or macrocosmos, but also within us, as a microcosmos at subatomic levels as well. Though we do not comprehend this in our day-to-day life, it is an obvious observation that a universal exchange of energies and substance continually feeds and maintains the functioning of all of these cosmoses, and this happens outside our awareness.
This simulation is not a fake thing. In language, we often think of simulation as being not real. For example, we talk about computer simulations, virtual reality, or a make-pretend game as hypothetical scenarios that never actually occur in the real world. Actually, a simulation is a scenario that is operating either in a virtualized or actualized state. This is a grand theology as well as a scientific assertion. That is, that the life of all creatures, of planets, star systems, and galaxies are all elements of this great unfolding simulation of the Creator's creation. This creation itself is a Simulation of God, and it operates through the creation, maintenance, and destruction of all worlds, in which consciousness is expressed through materiality and object realities, as well as energy transformations, both continually and eternally.
The implications of this view are staggering to contemplate. A creation in space-time of individual being-existences that enter and exit "The World" as experienced in the individual lives of living beings. Life, it seems is random, but it takes familiar and repeating forms, that perpetuate, both the reproduction and replication of living beings. In this simulation called the World, the higher level is forever ever being expressed in the lower levels. We who live and die in it, are always seemingly ignorant of the actual state of affairs. The purpose of this simulation is unknown to its participants, whose speculations become the stuff of which cultures, religions, and other belief systems are formed.
The Liberation of The Mind from Conditioning and Beliefs
Plato spoke of this condition as the Cave. Man shackled only by his inability and unwillingness to see the real world rather than its representation. Instead, man is content to see mere shadows on the wall. Instead of seeing reality directly, the human mind is programmed and operates like a machine. The world in which it operates is equally programmed to match it with recursive loops of systemic interactions that continually repeat to generate and regenerate itself.
The first order of any such programming is the protection and conservation of the program that is operative. For this reason, people will cling violently to their beliefs. They will even deny obvious proven facts if they contradict those beliefs. None of this is voluntary, because as I said, it is impossible for man to intentionally experience the totality of the world directly. He can only study the shadows that appear on the walls because his nervous system can only take in and tolerate data that is consistent with the limits of his organism and the constraints of its perception. Yet as Plato says, it is possible to exit the cave, and this is a liberation that mostly is feared and resisted.
However, the human mind once liberated from conditioning beliefs, is capable of operating intentionally inside the simulation. This is a great secret that once discovered transforms one's experience. Such a man or woman is a real human being. That is one who is able to live intentionally, and who understands the limitations of his own anatomy, as well as the possibilities of his consciousness as yet undiscovered do in fact exist. This person is really the truest of scientists, who believe nothing, and yet does not doubt everything.
I imagine, that if your eyes are glazing over reading this, that my words might be driving a sort of protective response in your mind. We are all habitually programmed to accept things that we see as being obvious, but which in reality may not be at all. Bear with me, as I am nearing the end of this proposal. But if you are interested, you will need to ponder on this to discover it and prove it for yourself. To do so, you will need to at least temporarily set aside any resistance in you to understanding something new. Then it is perfectly acceptable to revert to programmed beliefs, even if only temporarily as you think about it if you cannot accept that the reality of the world may actually be different than you think. I suggest though, first tasting something born of a new understanding, and letting it become more familiar to you.
In that context, consider that the history of humanity is the history of the man-made representations. These can be understood as part of the simulation we live in, in which we participate in creating and maintaining our own limitations. Plato called this a "Simulacrum, which is an actual artifact of simulation. It is a structure of the mind that conditions the perception of reality and expresses it as a representation.
A Revision of Everything We Have Learned From The Past
Looked at in this way, every tradition, religion, spirituality, political movement, culture, nationalistic ideology, and even personal identity is a simulacrum. The hopes, dreams, and loves of people, as well as their darker states of despair, longing, and sufferings, are all the neurological outcomes of an organism melded together with the programming of simulacra. None of this is actually real, and yet all of it "is if" nothing else is possible because of the complex simulacrum operating in the human mind which makes everything predictable.
The only possible outcome that is not predictable is a mutation. This can occur either by action from higher levels of the simulation (as above so below), or by the result of an effort which appears to occur within the structure of the Simulacra by the self-generation of the beings living in it (an awakening). Thus, Simulacra can change. It is perhaps possible for a person even to become the cause of one's own programming in an intentional way. This is the alternative to passive acceptance of past conditioning. It is rare for this to happen, but it does happen. But for this to occur, a new program must be written, and a great deal of work must be done, for which there is no certainty of outcome. These are the conditions in which the simulation itself begins to take forms derived from the evolution of consciousness in the world that is manifesting within a particular person within it.
But of course, who would believe such a thing? And if they did, would they be in any way different than the believers of any already existing religion operating within the reality simulation that has been running on Earth at this time? To know the answer to this question requires faith in yourself. It cannot be answered without the experience of both tradition and the realization that all traditions are virtual or simulated realities. One must arrive at the special knowledge that is necessary to deprogram all of the existing beliefs that are installed in human consciousness. That means to be willing to experiment with one's firmly held beliefs and consider them to be a tentative hypothesis. Then it is possible to seek an understanding that is uniquely one's own. It is necessary to tread upon this path for the benefit of one's own self in order to discover better answers to these mysteries than the traditions alone can offer. Better still if one can do this while still honoring and holding those traditions which have been inherited with the newfound recognition that they are simulations of reality. This adds richness and allows the continuity of our past to evolve to a new understanding while conserving knowledge inherited from the past.
This is truly a daring and audacious way of being. It will run counter to the beliefs of other people who may be very uncomfortable to wake up to the light being shined into their beloved caves. So share it will caution. Others must find their own way. Thus this way of being must proceed to and then achieved by the results of a profound inner search, without disturbing others who cannot accept an alternative to their inherited beliefs. It is only in the protection and safety of silence that a real understanding can come on its own, by willing, knowing, daring, and being silent as the is also taught in some of the great traditions. You cannot explain this to most people, you can only lead them to see it for themselves. However, once one is awakened in this way, they will find others who are also on the Way, who share a similar path toward this same new reality. That is to wake up to the simulation and participate in it consciously.
Is this idealism? Perhaps. We are all occupants of the same basic hologram, governed by the same simulacrum that is given by the same causes, and subject to the same conditions. Perhaps, for some of us, we can begin to function "as if" newly born as intentional beings. We can manifest something that is a new form within this eternal, ineffable yet evolving simulation scenario.
© Copyright 2008 Robert Fertman, All Rights Reserved