The Westworld reboot and Elon Musk recently renewed interest in "base reality," the concept that one true reality exists, and everything else, including possibly this reality, is a simulation of some sort. Now some billionaires are funding the search for an escape.
From Plato's Cave to The Matrix, it's often been an intriguing question posed in art and culture, but now there's a movement afoot to research the question scientifically.
Some attribute the recent interest to Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom, but the provenance of the term "base reality" can be traced to Norman Spinrad's excellent essay "The Transmogrification of Philip K. Dick," in
Science Fiction in the Real World.
Spinrad was a close friend of Dick's. He wrote in 1990:
For Phil Dick, consciousness-altering drugs like Chew-Z in PALMER ELDRITCH, mental states like Manfred's autism in MARTIAN TIME SLIP, and ersatz subjective realities as in UBIK or A MAZE OF DEATH or EYE IN THE SKY serve the same function, literarily and metaphysically. Namely to demonstrate that altered mental states however they may be created create altered realities that are as "real" as what we individually think of as "base reality," since each of our individual "base realities," far from being the absolute we like to pretend it is, is itself a unique subjective reality, arising as it does in our own unique biophysical matrix. In this perception lies either the solipsistic madness of total psychic relativity or transcendent wisdom, and the greatness of Dick as a writer, what makes him by far the greatest metaphysical novelist of all time, is that, having opened the door to this ultimate spiritual, perceptual, and metaphysical chaos, he leads us through it to true wisdom along a moral vector.
Bonus video: Musk fielding a question about base reality.
• Take the red pill: Tech billionaires who think we're living in the Matrix are secretly funding a way out (IB Times)
Image: A fave from the immensely talented Laurie Lipton
Artist François Dourlen has a really great Instagram series in which he cleverly lines up Simpsons images with real-life situations. View this post on Instagram Oops I did it again :) #photooftheday #photodujour #instagram #instadaily #thesimpsons #flowers #hollidays #sun #soleil #vacance #fleurs #bartsimpson A post shared by Francois Dourlen (@francoisdourlen) on Apr 22, 2017 at […]
Still File: “a series of 4 photographs recreating computer renderings as physical scenes. The photos’ artifacts, surroundings, camera settings and lighting has been shaped intending to resemble 3d graphics of different types.” Skrekkøgle’s work is meticulous and required a deep understanding of optics, computer graphics and physical modeling! See the Flickr set too.
Jon Lebkowsky writes, “Bruce Sterling and I are at it again… State of the World 2016 started today and runs for two weeks.”
Two-thirds of American adults drink coffee every day. On average, they’re each drinking about three cups per day, which works out to nearly 400 million cups downed each and every day. We don’t have stats on what percentage of those cups are God awfully bad, but you have to assume with so many ways to […]
For those with a writing flair, the thought of building a career as a professional copywriter should probably have some appeal. Thankfully, it’s also an in-demand job skill with the average copywriter making a healthy $60,000 a year for their efforts. But even if you have a way with words, you still need the industry […]
While we all love our iPhones and iPads, celebrating the releases of their latest and greatest versions, it’s amusing to consider how much we at the same time HATE the main item that keeps these little tech marvels powered up and working. No, Lightning cables don’t exactly inspire feelings of awe and wonder. It’s more […]