Is the Universe a Simulated Reality

Forums New Age Ideologies Is the Universe a Simulated Reality

Tagged: 

This topic contains 12 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by Danakeli January 2, 2019 at 12:30 am.

  • Author
    Posts
  • #6499
    csbegu
    Participant

    Many people in modern times equate the idea that the world is an illusion in Advaita philosophy to the idea that it is a simulated virtual reality — i.e. it is not what it seems. Are these two things related or different? Should we suppose that the simulator is the reality instead of the simulation?

    • 3
    •  
    •  
    • This topic was modified 7 months, 3 weeks ago by csbegu.
    • This topic was modified 7 months, 2 weeks ago by admin.
  • #6530
    Ashish
    Participant

    This idea about simulated reality comes from the notion in Advaita philosophy that the world is an illusion. That we see something subjectively but that vision is not real. Some people justify this idea based on quantum mechanics where the world exists as a possibility which is converted into a reality by the action of choice. So it is supposed that since choices are private therefore the vision produced from the collapse of these possibilities must also be private. All these things are in one sense or another a cop-out from having to deal with the problems of modern science.

    There are three important but related things that we need to note here.

    First, matter is not an object; it is the state of the soul. The object is eternal and the states are temporary. Since the states are temporary it is sometimes said that the experience of these states is an illusion because the soul identifies with these states and things “I am this and that”. For example, you might say that “I am a young man” but in a few years from now that claim would be false. When you die all the appellations due to the body become false, and the soul has a new set of appellations. So in the ultimate sense all these identifications in the soul that arise due to the material state are false. That doesn’t mean that these states don’t ever exist, or that the current material experience is an illusion. The material state exists and is real, temporarily.

    Second, these material states exist as a possibility which has to be converted into a reality by a choice. When we observe something, the possibility becomes a reality. When we stop observing it, that reality goes back into possibility. However, this possibility exists as a power waiting to be utilized. There is a difference between power or sakti and the phenomena. I have the power to walk, but that doesn’t mean that I always demonstrate this power by walking. So something can exist even when there is no empirical evidence for it because it exists as a power. But this power is objective and anyone can know about its existence, just not through the sense observation. Possibilities are perceived by the mind, so to know that something exists as a power waiting to be utilized one has to employ the perception of the mind rather than sense perception.

    Third, inherent in the simulated hypothesis is the undercurrent that there is an evil genius who has trapped us into the illusory material experience. The short answer is that God creates the world as the possibilities of experience but we choose to enter these experiences. So, yes, there is a genius who creates all the possibilities but He is not evil because we convert these possibilities into an experience by our choices. Even further, the possibilities are created because there is a demand for them; every possibility is therefore utilized by someone or another.

    Therefore, there is a material component of our experience — which includes our mind — that is produced by nature, and in that sense our minds are “simulated” by natural processes. However, there is a spiritual component of this experience — namely, the choice — by which we even choose the mental state. Therefore, by exercising this choice we can control our minds. Those who think that the choice is within the simulation have never tried to control their mind. In fact, it is their inability to control their mind which makes them think that choices are also simulated.

    • 3
    •  
    •  
  • #6539
    Harsha
    Participant

    First is the question: if it is a simulation who creates the simulation? An entity that creates a simulation: what binds it to do so? If it is bound to create for whatever reason (its behaviour, its wish, its fun, its need) the entity is not independent. That cause is bigger than the entity which the entity did not simulate.

    Second is the question: Is the simulation who creates the rules? Are these rules not a simulation? What is truth inside a simulation? On what basis karma is ordained? Is it limited to the scope of one simulation? If I kill three ants is it attributed to me who is just a means or to the past karma of ants? When both of us are simulations the karma should be attributed to the entity that created it, but krishna told karma is never applicable to him.

    • 3
    •  
    •  
    • This reply was modified 7 months, 2 weeks ago by admin.
  • #6541
    Ashish
    Participant

    To begin with, it is not a simulation. There are three stages in which this experience is created. These stages are called “unmanifest”, “about to manifest” and “manifest”. The “unmanifest” state is pure possibility. Just like we can say that dinosaurs are in principle possible. From this “unmanifest” state emerges the “about to manifest” state in which dinosaurs will exist, but which particular soul will become a dinosaur is not decided. Finally, the “manifest” state is when a particular soul becomes a dinosaur. This manifest state goes back into “about to manifest” state when the dinosaur dies and another dinosaur is about to be born. And when all the dinosaurs are extinct, then this “about to manifest” goes into the “unmanifest” state. When the universe is destroyed, matter still exists in the “unmanifest” state. Therefore, matter is said to be eternal, though not always manifest. When the universe is created, then the “unmanifest” first becomes “about to manifest” and then this “about to manifest” becomes “manifest”.

    The conversion of state from “unmanifest” to “about to manifest” is performed by a causal agency called Time. The “unmanifest” state is prakriti or Shakti or Parvati who creates all the possibilities. Then Time also known as Sankarsana or Param Shiva converts this “unmanifest” pure possibility into the “about to manifest” state. So, Shiva and Parvati are creating the universe in the “about to manifest” state. They are fixing, for example, when dinosaurs will exist in a particular place and time. Then due to individual desire (guna) and deserving (karma), a soul is born into the dinosaur body, converting the “about to manifest” into “manifest”.

    The “unmanifest” state is the idea of a dinosaur, the “about to manifest” is the role of the dinosaur in the ecosystem, and the “manifest” state is the individual dinosaur in the role. So, before the individual dinosaur comes into existence, the role for a dinosaur is created. Just like in a drama before an actor appears on a stage, the role or character is created. This role or character is associated with some rules of behavior. For example, the servant in the drama has to behave like the servant and the king in the drama has to behave like the king. If they perform these duties properly then despite being a servant, a servant is called a “good actor”.

    Bad karma is created when the actors don’t play their roles properly, good karma is created when the actor plays the role correctly but desires a reward in return, and no karma is created when the role is played without desiring a reward in return. These are called vikarmasukarma, and akarma respectively. This is what we mean by “laws of nature”. The law of nature is not a mathematical law or equation calculation. It is rather the role in which a person is born. The role is created before the body enters the role. Therefore, even if you don’t take that role, someone will accept that role because it presents an opportunity to be exploited or utilized.

    When you kill the ants the death of the ants is due to their karma. But the killing of the ants is attributed to you. The laws of nature fix that someone will kill the ant. But it doesn’t fix that you have to kill the ant. By choosing to kill you become responsible for the action. Similarly, when you give a charity to someone, the law of karma fixes that someone will give charity and the person receving the charity will receive it according to their karma. But it doesn’t fix that you will be donating. If you do not donate, by karma you will lose the money in another way. If you donate, and you desire something in return, you will create good karma. Therefore, the karma-yoga recommendation is that donate (because you will lose the money anyway) but don’t desire a result in return (because then you will be forced to return to reap the benefits).

    It is not only God who is not affected by karma. Even human beings who perform the actions without desiring a result, but perform the actions as a matter of duty, also don’t create karma. Therefore, Krishna also says that He is also performing dharma. But this dharma doesn’t create karma because it is performed without an expectation in return. Therefore, God is not bound by the laws due to the same reason that a karma-yogi is not bound by the laws.

    • 3
    •  
    •  
    • This reply was modified 7 months, 2 weeks ago by admin.
    • This reply was modified 7 months, 2 weeks ago by Ashish Dalela.
  • #6553
    Harsha
    Participant

    Wonderful answer Ashish. This explanation is neither Advaita nor Dvaita. Perhaps it stays somewhere in between. But it is very appealing to me.

    May be religion is a tool to help us live this way, to do the action without desire. The custom behind attributing to God all our actions – saying “Krishnarpanamastu” could be an easy way to relinquish our desires for the actions. But doing that also is difficult now that our Vasanas bind us. Even saying “Krishnarpanamastu” becomes mere words. We never want to get unbound. Rather the opposite we want to be bound forever.

    • 3
    •  
    •  
    • This reply was modified 7 months, 2 weeks ago by admin.
  • #6558
    Ashish
    Participant

    Yes, if you see the forest from a distance, you see one thing (the forest) and it appears that it is Advaita. But if you look closer then you see many trees and it becomes many things. The Advaita philosophy is that there is oneness. The Dvaita philosophy is that there is one forest and there are many trees, and tree although part of the forest, is not equal to the forest.

    We cannot separate the tree from the forest, so it is Advaita. And yet we cannot equate the forest to the tree so it is Dvaita. Sri Ramanujacharya said that the tree is part of the forest, so in a specific sense they are the same. This specific sense is called visista-advaita. Sri Madhavacharya said that the whole forest is different from the individual tree, and this difference is called dvaita. Sri Chaitanya said that the tree is inseparable from the forest and yet it is different from the forest, hence there is both difference (bheda) and identity (abheda). All the Acharyas have talked about the same thing in different ways; if we understand properly there is no contradiction.

    The soul is part of God, and yet it is not God. Just like the tree is part of forest and yet not forest. In Advaita philosophy it is said that when the soul merges into Brahman it becomes one with the Brahman, just like the drop of the ocean merges into the ocean. This is true in one sense because the drop of water and the ocean of water are qualitatively similar–they are both water. And yet, the drop never becomes the ocean. Therefore, Advaita is qualitative oneness and Dvaita is quantitative difference. The drop of water is qualitatively same as the ocean of water, but the drop of water is not quantitatively identical to the ocean.

    The qualitative oneness is that both the soul and God have three properties–sat (awareness), chit (cognition), and ananda (pleasure). But the awareness of the soul is limited, the cognition of the soul is limited, and the pleasure of the soul is limited. Therefore, both soul and God have awareness, cognition, and pleasure so they are qualitatively similar. However, their awareness, cognition, and pleasure are quantitatively different.

    The soul is factually never “unbound” from God. The drop of water always exists inside the ocean of water. The difference is only that in the material world the soul thinks that it is independent (i.e. not part of the whole) and in the spiritual world the soul knows that it is dependent (i.e. part of the whole). Just like the hand is part of the body. If the hand pretends that it is independent of the body, this is an illusion. Therefore, the idea that I am independent (which exists in the material world) is called illusion. Matter is not the illusion. Rather the soul is in illusion, thinking that it is independent of God. The purpose of the hand is to serve the whole body. But when the hand thinks it is independent, it tries to feed itself, instead of feeding the whole body.

    So, Krishnarpanmastu means that the hand is feeding the whole body rather than feeding itself.

    Yes, it is not easy to relinquish the illusion that I am independent. Vasana is automatically created when the idea of independence takes root. This vasana is called maya and it means “I am different from God” — ma means not, and ya means that. “I am not that” means that I am independent of God. When this independence takes root, then maya adds trunks, branches, and leaves of the various ideas in which I am independent, so I have to show my independence. We cannot cut the individual trunks, branches, and trees, because these are infinite. Even as we cut one branch, the other branch grows. So these vasanas are unlimited because they are constantly growing from the root. To overcome the vasana we have to cut the root–“I am independent”.

    Once this root is cut, then the trunks, branches, and leaves automatically dry up gradually. We don’t have to separately cut the trunks, branches, and leaves of this tree; we just have to cut the root. So if we go on cutting the root, then we don’t have to fear the growth of the trunks, branches, and leaves. They will eventually dry up and we will be free of the resulting vasana.

    • 3
    •  
    •  
    • This reply was modified 7 months, 2 weeks ago by Ashish.
  • #6561
    Harsha
    Participant

    Really profound, Ashish. Thanks for your patience and elaborate reply.

    • 3
    •  
    •  
  • #6563
    Sadovnik
    Participant

    Advaita philosophy said that the material world is an illusion.
    It means that the material world was grown from another World.
    This an another world is Zero Vacuum : T=0K.
    To understand the ”Advaita philosophy” in modern terms we
    need put attention on T=0K because they both have one and
    the same meaning.
    =====

    • 3
    •  
    •  
  • #6573
    Ashish
    Participant

    Advaita philosophy said that the material world is an illusion.

    If the world is an illusion then how can you read books and obtain knowledge? These books must also be an illusion! Since Advaita philosophy is described in some books therefore Advaita philosophy must also be an illusion. In fact this discussion must also be an illusion. Why would we carry out a discussion when we know that entire experience is an illusion?

    It means that the material world was grown from another World.

    Yes, there is a world of universal forms or ideas, which is sometimes called the Platonic world. But this “another world” or the Platonic world is also material. It is not substance-like but idea-like. When consciousness comes into contact with this Platonic world it creates an individual experience. Since the Platonic world is real, this experience is real. However, it is one thing to have that experience and know that it pertains to a reality outside of me, and quite another to think that when I have this experience of the Platonic world, I have become the Platonic world.

    The illusion is thinking that when I experience the Platonic ideas, I have become the Platonic ideas. Due to this illusion we think that I am this body, I am human, that is an animal, this is a fruit, etc. All the ideas such as ‘human’, ‘animal’, ‘fruit’, etc. are real. But I am not those designations. That is why the Brahma Sutra states that tat tvam asi or “you are that“, and “that” refers to something different from all these ideas, and called Brahman. 

    The Brahman comes into contact with the Platonic world of ideas and creates the individual experiences. The Brahman is real and eternal, and the Platonic ideas are real and eternal, but the combination of the two is not eternal. That is why we may be a young person right now but we may become old some day. Young and old are eternal ideas, and the soul is eternal. But the combination of the soul with young or old is temporary. So, the notion that “I am young” is false, but “I” is eternal and “young” is eternal. Their connection (through am) is false.

    This an another world is Zero Vacuum : T=0K.

    Nothing can come from a vacuum. If there is no energy nothing can be created from it. There is simply no theoretical or empirical basis for this idea. When it is said that “I am nothing” it means “I am not human”, “I am not animal”, “I am not man”, “I am not a citizen”, etc. The “I” is stripped of all its designations. The designations are all objective and real, but I am none of these designations. This is called neti neti or not this and not that. By denying all these designations, we remove all the adjectives or nouns connecting to “I”. But even after all these designations are removed, “I” still remains. The “I” is called Brahman. When it develops a desire to be something, then the same Brahman is called “I am (nothing right now, so I must become something)”. This state of not being anything but wanting to be something is called nothingness.

    If you don’t feel important in life, you don’t find a purpose, and you cannot identify with anything you feel emptiness and meaningless. That state of meaninglessness is called nothingness. Owing to this state we seek to attach ourselves to the Platonic ideas such as human, citizen, owner, etc. But the true seeker realizes that if I were any of these things then my identity will not change. Since it is changing therefore I am none of these things. But “I” still exist, and this “I” seeks a meaning to become “I am”. Therefore, even if you remove all the designations and attain the pure “I”, there is a tendency to feel the emptiness which leads to “I am” and then to fall down into the material cesspool of Platonic ideas. Therefore, even the Brahman attainment is temporary.

    For permanence, we have to find out what I am, or “I am <something>” and that something is my true identity. The indication that it is true means that it never changes.

    To understand the ”Advaita philosophy” in modern terms we
    need put attention on T=0K because they both have one and
    the same meaning.

    This is inconsistent not only with Advaita but the very grain of Vedic philosophy where the reality preceding the material world is Brahman. Without the desire for “I am” it remains undivided. But as soon as desire appears, the oneness becomes many. From the “I” come many individual “I am”. The illusion is that we identify with something that we are not, but the material world is real and the self is real; also both are eternal, but their combination is temporary.

    • 3
    •  
    •  
  • #6729
    Danakeli
    Participant

    1. You wrote:
    “However, there is a spiritual component of this experience — namely, the choice — by which we even choose the mental state. Therefore, by exercising this choice we can control our minds. Those who think that the choice is within the simulation have never tried to control their mind. In fact, it is their inability to control their mind which makes them think that choices are also simulated.”

    You have mentioned that choice is a spiritual component (an action of the soul) not a component w/in the so-called simulation (actions of material energy). I would like clarification on this, for we do (apparently) hear in Bhagavad-gita about choice or will which is not free but rather solely w/in the field of material energy (BG 3.27). And BG 7.14 indicates that choice can be free (& truly not a material component) only when the soul/atma is surrendered to the Paramatma/God.

    Can the atma make choices truly freely, or is she always under the influence of either yoga-maya (svarupa-sakti) or maha-maya? Seems she’s only free of both of these influences when she’s merged in the Brahmajyoti/Brahman. How can desire, then, enter that realm?

    2. You wrote:
    “The qualitative oneness is that both the soul and God have three properties– sat (awareness), chit (cognition), and ananda (pleasure). But the awareness of the soul is limited, the cognition of the soul is limited, and the pleasure of the soul is limited.”

    I would like clarification between the terms “awareness” & “cognition.” Is the former referring to merely self-awareness & the latter to awareness of extrinsic things?

    3. RE “nothingness” mentioned above:
    Advaitins (impersonalists) choose to merge into Brahman wherein they are only aware of “being” but not of being an individual. So this is not “nothing.”

    But Buddhists (voidists) strive for a state (nirvana) wherein there is not even awareness of being; they wish to annihilate consciousness altogether! This, it seems, would be true Nothingness. Is there such a state?

    • 3
    •  
    •  
  • #6737
    Ashish
    Participant

    I would like clarification on this, for we do (apparently) hear in Bhagavad-gita about choice or will which is not free but rather solely w/in the field of material energy (BG 3.27). And BG 7.14 indicates that choice can be free (& truly not a material component) only when the soul/atma is surrendered to the Paramatma/God.

    This topic is discussed in a few books, but I will summarize again. The soul is the drsta and anumanta or the viewer and the approver but s/he doesn’t actually do the actions. Imagine a football game in which there is a referee under whose supervision the game is carried out. The refree doesn’t play the game but the game cannot be played without the referee. I sometimes call this existential cause of creation in the book Six Causes. This existential cause is different from the efficient cause, which is prakriti. The prakriti proposes and the soul disposes. So, by and large, the soul is under the control of nature because nature brings up proposals, which are called the ‘waves in the ocean of chitta‘. The soul looks at this proposal and says — OK, let’s do it like that. However, the soul has the free will to reject the proposal, although s/he cannot create new proposals. Owing to this the soul is under ‘control’ of prakriti.

    This observation has been reflected in experiments in neuroscience carried out by Benjamin Libet where there is a physical observation in the brain and the observer reported choice comes a few milliseconds later. Owing to these experiments, Libet defined our free will as a free won’t. In other words, we don’t choose what to do, but we can reject the proposal.

    If you observe the mind, thoughts automatically arise in the mind, and we just tag along and keep following the activity of the mind. This is why Krishna says that prakriti is doing everything, but the soul thinks due to ahamkara that s/he is the doer. Even in the spiritual world, the proposals are automatic due to which the soul is under control of yoga-maya but acceptance of these proposal is with the soul. That’s why we are supposed to become humble. What we call free will is actually free won’t. It is the rejection of the proposal. In the material world, this rejection is liberation from matter and in the spiritual world rejection is fall down.

    I would like clarification between the terms “awareness” & “cognition.” Is the former referring to merely self-awareness & the latter to awareness of extrinsic things?

    Awareness is sambandha and cognition is abhidheya. Awareness is being directed toward something without knowing what it is. Then cognition is knowing what exactly it is. This is a subtle idea which is called haecceity as opposed to quiddity. These are derived from Latin; big words but the simple idea is ‘universal’ and ‘particular’. Just like if you see a particular table. In this seeing, your consciousness is pointing towards a particular thing, the instance of the idea table. You have established a relation to a particular thing, which is haecceity or sambandha. You say that I am looking at ‘this’ particular thing — you are pointing toward a thing. Then, you subsequently say that ‘this’ thing is a table, which is part of class of general concept.

    So, awareness is the particular things we see, and cognition is the general concept. Just like indiviudal table and the universal concept table. First we establish a relationship to something and then we perform cognitive and contative functions by which we know the nature of the thing and perform actions in relation to that thing. So, awareness is pointing to a thing, and cognition is knowing the nature of that thing in terms of preestablished concepts of knowing and action.

    But Buddhists (voidists) strive for a state (nirvana) wherein there is not even awareness of being; they wish to annihilate consciousness altogether! This, it seems, would be true Nothingness. Is there such a state?

    <div>There is a difference between consciousness and experience. Consciousness is the ability to form relationships to other things. If we remove all those things then there is ability but it is not utilized. In Brahman there is relationship to the self, a kind of self-love or self-absorption. But Buddhism is the negative relaization that I am not the body. It is the emptiness of consciousness or the experience of emptiness because there is no content to experience. We can say that it is a state of deep sleep in which we forget our own existence and there is no other experience such as the waking and dreaming states. Buddhism is that state of deep sleep; it is a valid state of existence, but below the transcendent state. This state of deep sleep is identified with the karana ocean which is material but the precognitive state and prerelational state.</div>

    • 3
    •  
    •  
    • #6740
      Danakeli
      Participant

      Thank you. That clearly answers my above questions.

      • 3
      •  
      •  
    • #6746
      Danakeli
      Participant

      I think this understanding that thoughts appearing in the mind are actually generated by the chitta, & that the soul has every right & ability to reject them could be a powerful tool in empowering people to take control of their lives. The bad or depressing thoughts that enter the mind don’t make me a bad person, as long as I dismiss them & move on. Too much identification w/ the mind is driving people crazy these days, sadly. We need to spread these teachings more far & wide.

      • 3
      •  
      •  

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.