Cogito ergo sum
Whenever abstract thinking leads a person to question their own existence, the reference to Descartes' famous statement comes to mind. I think, therefore I am. As a kid I was introduced to this statement as a child by some cartoon. Possibly Bugs Bunny but I digress. "I think therefore I yam!"
I would daydream about many abstract possibilities. Sometimes during bouts of self reflection but admittedly mostly out of boredom. What if it is not I that is actually doing the thinking?
would also daydream about the possibility of advanced alien civilizations. What if they weren't "out there" in the sense that we hope and understand now. Not out there in the cosmos but beyond it?
When I first learned that the universe itself had an end to it, like anyone else I couldn't help but contemplate what lies beyond that border. Some THING MUST be there. It wouldn't even necessarily have to be an object or material of mass as we understand it given the laws of matter in our universe. But SOME-THING must be there or else how would a big bang...well, bang?
As the years went by I studied many different things. Studied = feeble attempt to grasp the incomprehensible mysteries of the universe. Purely out of entertainment and wonder. Curiosity led me to many subjects that I felt were connected in some way. Things from hard science and philosophy to the not so hard. There are even lessons to be learned from the more mystical teachings of human society. I've always made a conscious effort not to dismiss those lessons of even the most abstract branches of study simply because I don't devote my life or faith to them.
So I contemplated these many things and like many other people I came to a hypothetical possibility. Emphasis on possibility without ANY inference of probability mind you.
I saw this photo of the Helix Nebula for the first time and thought "What if we are an experiment?"
recreate the environment which first created the big bang. Who says some others haven't also tried the same experiment and done so, successfully countless billions of years before us? Is it not pompous of us to think that we are the only beings intelligent enough to consider it?
That led to some other avenues of recreational amateur research and I read a few books about the virtualization of life. These books focused mainly on humanity and where technology would eventually lead us. Keep in mind this was long before things like World of Warcraft or even Second Life where you can essentially aim to do these very things.
My imagination took me to fun concepts. Perhaps we aren't who we think we are and this whole world we know as Earth is just a recreational escape. Imagine our true existence as those very "aliens" we seek and the human culture we know is a purely evolved live social experiment. The imagined connectivity between individuals being a real, physical connection in whatever realm we actually exist.
Many years later I saw a movie called The Matrix. It kinda sorta touched on this but it was close enough that I was intrigued by the idea.
A virtual world would explain some the inexplicable mysteries and coincidences we encounter. Mind over matter for example would play a very important role. As time goes on and the mass intelligence grows rules are set. Magic and miracles are "proven" (established as) impossible and a structure of society is built in the midst of chaos.
What better way to study life then to experience it first hand?
Sound like madness? Sound abstract and impossible? Well believe it or not, some scientists would like to test it. If you read the article, please try to give the concept a chance and dismiss the ribbing the original poster immediately starts jabbing at the project.
Read it like a story concept. Visualize it like a fantastic story and not an actual, or probable scenario. I think the idea is just epic and amazing to contemplate.
If anything, it makes for a fun thing to discuss. Story.