As a stereotype of a nightmare, I was being chased by monsters that a kid would see from 80's horror movies...because it was indeed the 80's. Though I can't say I remember the details of that part of the nightmare, I do remember waking up to that part.
I remember waking up and getting out of bed, feeling relieved. After getting myself out of bed, I slowly walked to the garage, calming down from the events of the nightmare. As I had some time to reflect, it had also occurred to me that we didn't have a garage.
It was that moment that I knew something didn't feel right. Then in the darkness of night the garage door opened and in came the same monster. I hid under a car in the garage. As the monster was clawing at me from the side of the car, I started to panic and then 'woke up.'
Now as I rose out of bed, I was shaken, physically and mentally. It wore off fairly quickly physically, but it mentally had a way of sticking with me for the rest of my life. Things may not be what they seem and more importantly, I don't seem to have a reliable way of really knowing.
In the late 90's, it disappointed me how many people came away from watching the Matrix with their minds blown; like they just had their mind opened up. Many of them didn't take away the bigger implications and just wondered if they were literally in the same type of matrix as the movie.
I remember shortly after Neo was 'red-pilled,' Morpheus stated "What is real? How do you define real? If you're just talking about what you can feel, what you can smell, what you can taste and see, then real is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain." As mind blowing as that line could have been for some, and surely Neo, my take away was "so what additional senses beyond the 5th do I have as we stand now? What other tools does this world offer to validate its reality? Can anything like this ever be done from within the system that I stand in?"
Ever since that nightmare, I feel like my mind stayed in a kind of ephemeral limbo, not really wanting to stay attached to anything. It was like having a depersonalization/derealization disorder, but for good reason.
Regardless, I eventually found a way to pragmatically deal with a concept of 'reality.' I stopped trying to view it as something that should be tangible, especially objectively tangible. I started trying to view reality as a state of functionality. A conversation on the phone, video chat, VR, or in person is just as real, in the sense that the conversation is real, even if the environment isn't 'real.' Or, the conversation is 'more' real than the medium...still not verifiably real.
That was a bad metaphor though, only chosen because it is relatable to more people. A game like Minecraft is most useful and relatable for me. Some would say we invented math and logic, others would say that we merely discovered it. That said, in came a video game that had some quirky qualities where you could place blocks and 'redstone' in such a way that mimicked (even if crudely) logic gates (AND, OR, and NOT). People quickly ran with the implications and started creating ALU's, CPU's, and graphing calculators inside the game ('simulation'). Minecraft is just one of MANY examples of this kind of thing.
My point is: sure, the game environment isn't 'reality.' But the basic/atomic logical functions that can emerge things like general computing still functions the same as 'our reality.' The reality might be 'real' versus 'virtual,' however, the function stays mostly consistent. You would have to go further out of your way to make the logic behave differently than expected. The 'natural' order of things is consistent. But profoundly more important, the emergent behavior is consistent as well.
I'm not saying function is objective reality for me either, it just feels like it transcends realities best...and it's less superficial. I'm not saying that if there were a 'reality' above us it would have the same math and logic, but I suspect it would be likely. Also, I don't care either, as this is the only reality I know, and functionality has been consistent with me when my 5 senses and brain aren't always.
This post is in a series of posts that are somewhat 'biographical.' See below for previous posts on this theme:1987 - What's In a Name