Understanding Reality


#1

TL:DR Scroll down to see the action list of things

So EL said that Atlas’ first and foremost interest is understanding reality itself… and this is a theme that can spin off in many different directions… I really do feel we need some structure here, but regardless; understanding reality is really the key for this ARG as I interpret things as of today…

Atlas Network consists of scientists and computer programmers (right?) who are all working under the assumption that a self-aware and technology based ”intelligence” is a possibility… but how does that belief link into the overall goal of understanding reality? Actually, AI was only ever mentioned in that question in the survey and hasn’t been mentioned elsewhere within wakingtitan, or did I overlook something?

Anyway, if ”reality” was an object that you could place in a box in order to investigate its properties from ”the outside”, you would likely run simulations from outside of that box in order to understand the contents of the box better… a little bit like ”look, we have this enormously complex reality inside this black box, and we’re seeing how all bits and pieces interact with each other and work together, but it’s very hard to see how one individual parameter affects the system as a whole, due to the system’s complexity”. (this links to Probabilistic computing?)

The purpose of a simulation could then be to ”keep all system parameters constant and only change the characteristics (input values) of one particular variable or parameter at a time”.
By tweaking Napoleon’s characteristics within this world, we could observe how reality as a whole – in its essence – would change. Thus get a grip on the individual components of ”reality”.

This is the classical scientific method. Does it work here?

Right of the bat one would object that the observer is part of the reality it wants to observe. Even if we would run ”simulations”, the results of those simulations would be observed and interpreted by minds who are part of the very same reality they are trying to observe.

What would create an opening here, however, is that Atlas seem to have verified the existence of two major so-far only postulated ideas in sexy modern physics: the many-world theory of quantum mechanics, and the faster-than-light speed communication (i.e. tachyons).

So, my understanding of this whole Atlas Network thingy, is that within what we call reality (i.e. all that exists), there are several branches in both time and space, and they found ways in which these different branches can communicate with each other.

So if we have several reality branches, following the quantum mechanical idea of many-worlds, and if we know how to travel backwards (and forwards?) in time, we have a situation where any possible outcome type world is available to us at any given time.

Roko’s Basilisk could be a player here, since if we once were to create a true AI, then it could go back in time to haunt us and yada yada. However, Stephen Hawking once said that the ultimate proof that time-travel will never be achieved is that we never saw anyone from the future yet. But ok. Anyway, this could be a way in which Superlumina got carried away or messed things up for themselves and others I guess…

This leaves us with a few summarized themes for the next phases of waking titan:

We need to

  1. Define what it means to ”study reality”

1.1) Physics: Many-worlds (multiverse) and Many-times (echo, superlumina)
1.2) Spirituality: Questions about ”who am I”, ”understanding me as a conceptual construct”, ”does the perceived have any existence if there is no perceiver”
1.3) Peanut-butter?

  1. Propose a way to actually carry out these studies

2.1) If modelling through simulations, then how should these simulations be designed?
2.1.1) Probabilistic computing
2.1.2) Peanut-butter and jam?

2.2) Following developments of Elizabeth and others
2.3) Understanding No Man’s Sky role in all of this

  1. Effects on Atlas and societal implications
    3.1) Urgent: Emily is gone – how did she disappear and why?
    3.2) Elizabeth turns to us for our expertise, why?
    3.3) Origin of garbled messages, wrong date on website, and ”infinite loop”
    3.4) AI: Roko’s Basilisk and otherwise (is Atlas working on that?)
    3.5) All sorts of ways that Superlumina plays a part in 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4
    3.6) Atlas as a business idea. Who is their backer? Elon Musk? Why?

#2

I can’t help but think of the following:


#3

The presence of the Sentinels, the Korvax as an uploaded specie and Atlas itself, as a super-computer-being that runs the simulation. Atlas being the link, now the question… I see AI everywhere!


#4

The logical side of me says that this is publicity building up to the re-release of NMS (points to the 180 game keys given out, images, etc); but the dreamer side, the one that looks up to the sky every night in hopes of seeing the UFO’s landing, hopes it’s something else entirely. That a benevolent group is reaching back from the past to show us how to transcend the current cesspit that our world is becoming.


#5

There are some very sharp minds in here. I posted quite the essay of my own in the “Are you more real than me?” thread, so I’ll just leave that to your browsing.


#6

1.3 should ofcourse be Noodles


#7

Yes I totally read all of that thread! I loved it! And I felt I needed a thread to deal with not only impressions from the survey (which I felt your thread was based on, correct?) but also on the twitch-streams and the conclusions from phase 1. Hence all those points under 1, 2 and 3 :smiley:


#8

wow that’s a cool story! what I feel is that stories like this one is 50/50 between what actually happened neuro-psychologically and then thoughts that we add on to the experience during and afterwards, aka how we interpret the experience… kudos to him for trying to keep it as interpretation-free as possible though! :+1:


#9

I’m 100% in this for the game WT itself, however, as you know, kids and puppies and kittens all learn through play - through games - and this ARG has already taught me so many things already!

Gazing into the stars it is!!


#10

Elon had expressed interest in the game before it’s release… there’s approximately a 0.00000000001% chance of him being involved in WT, but i can’t stop myself from imagining that possibility


#11

I don’t think Elon has the time for such such flights of fancy… I have no idea how he manages to juggle all the stuff he’s into already.


#12

I don’t think Elon is as brilliant as he carries on. I don’t think he asks enough questions, or the right ones.

Some thoughts.

This universe is probably the “first floor” of a greater Reality. It has the minimum aspects I proposed in that other thread to provide an environment in which we could exist.

  • Three spacial dimensions, necessary for physical objects and lifeforms
  • Matter, so objects can exist both inanimate and living, and complex enough that all sorts of substances necessary for beings to use in the course of their lives
  • Energy to drive the universe, and provide power for actions and work to take place, and to feed the senses so the universe can be experienced by living things
  • Time to separate events so everything doesn’t happen at once, and so things occur in a sensible order
  • A Universal Order, so the universe is coherent and self-consistent

And so here we are, stuck in a puzzle about the nature of reality, perhaps so we can save it!

Scientists have concluded that our (3D universe+Time) 4D realm isn’t sufficient to explain how the universe works or how come it exists. They usually propose more than five, and use some very arcane math formulas to propose various Superuniverses. They propose all sorts of numbers of dimensions, but the more they add, the crazier it gets and harder to match up with the known physics of our dimension. String theory in particular proposes 11 dimensions, the higher ones sort of walled off as they fold around us and can’t be perceived by our 4D-tuned consciousness. And I had a funny thought several years ago.

Some religions mention “seven heavens,” and a few people have supposedly been taken there. They may well have. See, if you take each “heaven” as a higher dimension, and add seven levels of reality to our four, you end up with eleven. The same number of realities or dimensions that satisfy String theory’s model. I imagine being there in any of them is quite a trip!

And here’s something more (poop, hit the button when I got up for coffee). A Jewish friend of mine would have lengthy talks with me about reality and many spiritual things, because I would occasionally say something smart. :yum: He told me something interesting one day. Jewish philosophy wanders everywhere, so knowing it all is pretty tough, but he came across an interesting legend in his religious schooling that beyond the boundaries of all heavens and all realities is an infinite expanse known as The Dwellingplace of God. I pondered that, and had an epiphany.

First, I thought, suppose this was an unsuspected 12th dimension beyond the arcane formulas used by String theorists. But even more fascinating, what if this dimension wasn’t really a “dwelling” for God… what if this dimension was God. A living sentient universe, holding all other realities within it.

Chew on that, fellow ponderers. :upside_down_face:

Now I have to admit that I’m not the first to propose God as a living universe, I found to my chagrin. Even the comics have Him as the Cosmos itself. But I think I’m one of the few to stumble onto this kind of possibility. I’m unaware of anyone else so far who has, so I feel a little special.

One more cute thought. There are astronomical bases for the time measures of the day, month and year, but no correlation to the week.


#13

Actually, I’ve always believed that God did not create the universe out of “nothing”. I think all matter and energy is a part of Him and that when everything is over it will all return to Him.


#14

That begs the question “who made god?” or did he come into existence out of nothing?

As for string theory, well, if you add enough dimensions you can almost always make something that matches or comes very close to our current universe, but it usually can’t predict what else might be in it. This is because the models are fit to match our universe, but they’re not made based on any actual assumption or thought (like Einsteins theory, which starts as a thought and then explains the universe (and happens to match what we generally observe)).


#15

I haven’t extensively researched or anything, but our weeks come from the Sabbatical model of the Hebrews. It’s like everything can be traced back to observations of the cosmos… except our need for rest every 5-6 days. The Israelites learned the need for that, others saw, and I guess it became tradition.


#16

Think about this: What if there had never been anything? Not just nothing in one reality, but no realities at all. There was never anything, there was just nothing. No light, no dark, no time, nothing conscious to be aware that there was nothing.

I truly believe this is what would have been if there was ever a time when there was nothing. Something did not ever come out of utter nothingness. This means there was always something on some plane of existence and that thing has always been and always will be.

I call that thing, that origin point of all existence, “God”.


#17

It is interesting that the Atlas Foundation’s purpose is to discover the nature of reality because this is fundamentally a theological question, not a scientific one. Science can only observe and catalog effects, it cannot explain causes.


#18

Based on the foreshadowing, when it is all over, I think the moral of Waking Titan will be that attempting to understand all of reality using technology is a very bad idea.


#19

The way I see it, one can choose to approach the question about reality from one of two perspectives: science or non-science.

Science would be things like physics and mathematics, while non-science would be things like religion and spirituality.

Of course you could also combine these two, but I think it’s fair to say that most philosophical theories start with one approach and then incorporates the other, rather than having both perspectives on equal footing from the get-go. (I might be mistaken, are there counter-examples?)

Ok, so let’s start with the scientific perspective.
This one assumes that there is an objective reality out there that exists independently of anyone perceiving it. That is to say, that concepts such as space and time are assumed to have an objective existence, and it is the duty of the scientist to study the properties of these, and phenomena (such as matter and electrical current, multiple universes and peanut-butter) that arise within it.

Many scientists view consciousness as a bi-product of complex neurological networks, i.e. chemistry when comes down to nuts and bolts, and they believe (without any proof whatsoever mind you) that consciousness is merely a question of complexity.

Hence, it is postulated that an artificial intelligence would in theory be possible if a sufficiently complex (electronic) structure could be assembled, together with a self-adapting and ”intelligent” software. To construct such a structure+software seems to be the wet dream of many scientists and sci-fi authors alike, since it would constitute the winning point to the number one tool that any scientist or mathemticians disposes of: the language of logic.

Well then, doesn’t ”spirituality” also assume an objective existence of time and space?

Hmm… it’s tricky. And who am I to be a judge of that?

Allow me to get personal.
I spent a part of my life following people from mystical sides of some of the main religions, like sufism from Islam but also Buddhism and Hinduism. I spent time in catholic monasteries in Europe and briefly attended ayurvedic schools in India. And I was previously working as a researcher in theoretical physics! I guess I came to a point in my life where I understood that my inner-most question did not find its answer within the sciences (ok, it really started with a painful breakup – doesn’t it always?).

If there ever was any major result from all these inner and outer travels, it reads: the answer to the ultimate nature of existence is that nothing of what we interpret as ”something” has an existence independent of the perceiver. Not even space or time! Cool eh? Hard to chew, maybe…

Hence I think that the argument ”we cannot say anything about spirituality since there are as many religions and spiritual theories as there are people” is seriously flawed and overly simplistic. There is a nucleus; but not in method, rather in conclusion. While physicists and mathematicians work under the same assumptions of what constitutes scientific knowledge, as manifested in the ”scientific method”, spirituality rather agrees on the conclusion while allowing any methods that arrive at this conclusion. And this is because ”Reality” can only be one – there can only be one reality that is truly independent of anything and anyone.

So, if nothing exists, then what about me? Don’t I exist?
Well, if you ask an enlightened master, then not even you exist. The body is perceived, yes, but would the body exist if it wasn’t perceived? Would the notion of ”me” as a person, as an identity, exist if it wasn’t perceived? In simple terms, it is the act of perception that gives the illusion of existence.

The concept of ”me” depends on a sort of self-hypnosis, the result of a series of thoughts concluding that there has to be a common denominator to all memories, experiences and sense perceptions that this body/mind perceives. So, in other words it is nothing else than a mental construct.

In this view, all science and mathematics happen within the realm of consciousness. So understanding reality really is about getting to know the consciousness within which everything arises; even the notion of a ”me”, ”you” and ”we” etc. And this is much like what Atlas has as its aim: To understand reality. Which is synonumous to “Understanding myself”.


#20

It’s mostly a scientific question if one believes that we exist in a computer simulation.