Thursday, June 23, 2016

Musings on All This Being a Simulation



It seems that whether we are living in a simulation is a common topic of discussion at the moment. This has been an idea for many years but only recently has broken out into mainstream thought where non-scientists/philosophers/mathematicians can start musing on it.

All below assumes we ARE inside a simulation.

To divert from the main discussion immediately I wonder what the entity in control of the simulation thinks of his little world creating objects which are able to imagine that they are just routines inside whatever passes for a computer. Is the entity able to tap into what we think? I occasionally start thinking idly about this and wonder if any such thoughts are flagged up as self-reference. Does a little light start flashing on a dashboard causing the monitors to start displaying my thoughts as an interesting exercise?

All this is dangerously like the discussion of the existence of God/Assorted Other Deities/The Flying Spaghetti Monster* with the immediate response from me being what created the entity which created me? Is there a long line of simulators extending into the distance, each one created by some sort of intelligence which we cannot ever have a hope of understanding? Anything able to create such a complex simulation with macro structures extending for Quadrillions of Light Years in space and Billions of years in time and micro structures down to quantum sizes and beyond, will certainly have computing power many orders of magnitude beyond ours. It will also exist in a universe (if universe has any meaning beyond the one we live in) that differs completely from ours. Is our mathematics completely different? Are Prime Numbers just a tease to keep us interested? Maybe the entity is amused that we have used Prime Numbers to secure our online shopping. All these ideas are just like Sagan's sand on the beach, enough to keep people philosophizing for eternity.

Talking of eternity that brings us to temporal aspects. Has our simulation existed for the full 14 billion years since The Big Bang (or longer if the simulation encompasses any possible physics beyond The Big Bang) or was it started fully formed with all the memory of the history of physics built into it ready to be discovered by us? If humans have not physically evolved at what point were we created? There are so many interactions between people that to create 7 Billion people all with the complex memories of other people already formed seems a task so exponentially difficult that it seems to rule out anything but the full 14 Billion years history allowing the Universe to mature to a state where it can evolve conscious and intelligent entities. But as I say we have no idea what sort of "computing power" our masters have. Of course our existence could be made more likely by little tweaks here and there. Or are we just one of many simulations, most of which were boring or fizzled out or were accidentally halted by an accident in the laboratory with a really hot cup of tea?

Of course a simpler solution is that just one person is the simulation and all other people are merely dumb interfacing sensory inputs to that one person. If this is the case and using Descartes' "I think therefore I am", the fact that at the moment I am a complex mind which believes it exists behind these eyes suggests to me at least that I am the one. The routines are reading this thought - perhaps before I write it and are making sure that all the possible contexts and robotic interactions which I might have are aware of the content in order to allow it to seem logical when referred to. This seems less taxing on any system on which it runs, requiring only the programming of the immediately interacting parts of the program. I am thinking of some illogic which I could state here which would show up when referred to in later "conversation", something to trip up the processing, possibly something I reveal here but which has a corresponding thought which I do not voice. But in all cases I cannot think of anything which would "break" the processing. The entity knows everything both outside and inside my head but, unlike the creator of the Origami Unicorn in Blade Runner, never makes a mistake or reveals that it knows what I think.

It all just seems too consistent for me. But what if inconsistencies happen all the time and simply roll back the simulation to before they occur, where they are then fixed? Time runs smoothly. Nobody other than a few UFO abductees, say time stops or goes backwards; even with the very real feeling that time seems to go faster as you get older, it still ticks along behaving correctly in both classical and Einsteinian physics. Perhaps our memories are continually creating restore points and should something not right happen, it is flagged up and whatever is needed to restart before the inconsistency is done and we simply don't experience it.

So hello to the great entity. If you read this then say hello to your creator adding this rider so that they can pass on the greetings, God Over Djinn for ever up to whatever is the last great circle of existence, which should all this be true must be something so different from our own experience as to be incomprehensible. Oh - and Vote Remain.

* For comic purposes only

Monday, October 26, 2015

Trinity

I've had with all those freakin' cats,
All those women fixing what she'd eat,
Or what they think she'd eat,
She'd race down Lexington,
Rather than touch more crab and avocado;
You and it make her (and me) more sick,
Than peanuts, cola and cold baths,
In the wind off The Cam,
After rations and week-old biscuits,
These whole girls, asserting some frail illness,
Are like cheap, 10 cent firecrackers,
With the fuses blown out by the Trinity Test,
Vaporized into next door and next week,
Still just waiting for the missing hero,
Which she (so manifestly) left out,
Not even parenthetical in her worlds,
(A clue you Harpies – it's all about her in there,
No sympathy or dread for you inside her head),
And wait! I have breaking news for all of you,
In your catalogue kitchens,
Preparing her “Happy Death-Day” cakes,
You think she'll RSVP?
I know she won't;
She's dead and won't enjoy it,
Standing there with all your friends,
All of you bated,
Waiting for her to say something,
You'll not quite understand,
You think you're sick and I suppose you are,
Not being so and yet longing,
For the solitude of a quiet ward,
With not-too-many crazies,
News again girls!
The others will all be well-and-truly mad,
Really off-the-scale,
All the meters over in the red,
Chasing you down the corridors,
Or flashing you when the nurses
(big, old bouncers By the way),
Aren't looking,
Or listening to the football,
Or trying it on with your only friend in the day room, “Place of safety” they call it,
And you seem to think you want to wake up there,
With the Valium seeping in,
And the world all soft,
While the wind lifts the detergent-white curtains,
And the crisp sheets clasp you in,
Like your mother on a rainy, summer morning,
Truth is you might be tied in,
Strapped and wrapped,
Like a maddened tom cat,
While they pump you full of Lithium,
And other chemical night-sticks,
Struggling after a while to find any veins left,
Perhaps you even think the ECT is cool,
Another badge of belonging or of not belonging,
Which is it today?
Membership of the club or the outsiders crew?
We want to know, if only for the paperwork,
But I can't warn you what this will be really like,
Maybe you could think of Trinity again,
That weird black sphere of lightning and hell,
Balled up in a split second,
Before all those demons leave the box,
With hope in the lead,
Racing for space and oblivion,
And you alone on that bed,
A crushed nutshell in a pile of them,
Just one of the mad and bad,
This is The Atomic Age,
And we are all just atoms,
Decaying from the radioactive elements of youth,
All the way to lead and lesser things,
Beaten down to inert metals,
Each of us a simple particle in the matter,
Which makes us all and everything,
And in Trinity we trust,
Betterment and godless bombs for you and me.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Complex Arguments

We are children of The State,
Fit for only nursery rhymes,
The metre of the nationalist,
Igniting the blood with anger,
Fuelled with artless argument,
That when observed will fail,
Like logic, spin and anti-spin,
To make annihilation,

A pilot only needs coordinates;
And querying his target,
Is simply insurrection?
But shaky politics is passed,
In empty houses, pressed to vote,
On nothing with a shrug,
A bell tolls in the members’ bar,
To lift cold gimlet eyes,

This is the stare of arms,
The dealer made of metal,
Gun metal if you want to know,
Funded through from prep,
To boardroom with a sneer,
This is the invention of
Inertial Dismay, Secured,
With mother’s money,

But now, the viscid senses,
Stirred by the scent of blood,
Are brushed away with mirth,
And rushed due diligence,
This is our worked solution,
Dismissed or left unmarked,
We are children of The State,
Ignored and forever ignorant,



Monday, October 19, 2015

The Last Dog Rose


Time is cruel, its measure forms,
Such barriers against our progress,
Stripping the world of syllables,
And rhythm until its simple blanks,
Are all that’s left to break a line,
Flowers wedded to design not space,

And if plants can muster thought,
And memory they must feel pain,
At loss, a grief for the ripped up,
Hedgerow, Autumn’s burning,
The unplanned fields of generations,
Turned to smoke and ash and lime,

Here’s our last pathetic Dog Rose,
Clinging to dead wood as if in flood,
It fears the current to the sea,
And salt which scours dry earth,
When artificial tides have turned,
And left the land for structure,

It drops its pastels to the stream,
That takes them greedily,
To drown or burn, no matter which,
(The project has no preference),
And we’re clear of them for ever,
Except for the wretched dealers,

Offering a precious stem for love,
A flower for your feelings and your bed,
It will sink beside you overnight,
Until disposed of in distractions,
Wrought from the pretend world,

And all are gone,

And all is gone.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

A Medic Shouts for Bandages

I do not remember anything,
This unknown damage seems to be,
Just existing, always there,
But with eyes forced shut,
And my arms strapped down,
I only sense my own nerves,

The place of my face and eyes,
Runs red or white or blue,
With liquids, undefined by me,
Maybe viscous, slow-flowing,
Perhaps something thinner, rarer,
Brain fluids seeping towards earth,

It smells calm like camping,
But what breathes for me,
Is some form of blank mystery,
This enriched air forcing itself,

Inside me like a rough kiss,
But all the time wet and dripping,
As remembered summer rain,
Close before the second psalm,

Something is a slight burn,
A warm trickle in all my vessels,
An army holding the line of pain,
In an uneasy truce on the perimeter,
Out there in murmuring lands,
Wild with auxiliaries,

In this strange confusion of flesh,
And wet earth about my face,
Something not me, is tugging,
In the space behind my eyes,
The place of Self in quiet thought,
The fragile light of consciousness,

I feel a hook, dragging at my mind,
Liquefying  the useless cortex,
Perhaps I am in line for Pharoah,
Mummified, debrained and dried,
To keep for purposes now lost,
Stood up each week as non-voting,

And though pain camps in the hills,
Around its fires and standards,
I'd seem to welcome a blankness,
The gradual removal of memory,
Painless, voided and defuelled,
A lasting life, unbothered,

But another sense is mended,
The previously unheard ring,
Of extended detonations,
Fills the world with new sounds,
A doctor, with nowt but verbs,
Calls for picks and swabs,

Her voice a strained shriek,
Penetrates the worst of it,
And gently calls my name,
Still present in my mind it seems,
Held in the dulled grey matter,
Evidently not her target,

The hook has pressed my eye,
And though shut, it sees lights,
Mathematical progressions
Of dancing squares and dots,
And I tense in the white cot,
A straggling of near-corpse,

Soiling the clean rooms,
Vague medical facilities,
Erected in haste, memorials,
To those who died in filth,

The pals, the regulars,
the mud angels and martyrs,
Of a war we thought we'd win,
When the world had hope,


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Brimstone

The photographer was felled by shrapnel,
Next to me,
His camera still clicking,
An ogive of decease,
Postmortem pictures,
Each focused perfectly by software,
Showed a line of steel and dead-eyed villagers,
Unshocked by just another life gone by,

My own skin, a little melted,
Caused no pain,
Until my fluids leaked into the chatter,
Of rescuers and outrage,
And carried by many bearers,
Like rivers between the makeshift ambulances,
I flew and fainted through the high dust,
Of felled and falling buildings,
Into an oven of bare and ringing metal,
Jerked into movement by a tuned hand,
That urged no delay,

But in a place of little safety,
Armoured with ragged crosses,
Painted hastily across the roof,
And struggling to be vertical,
I was marked as non-urgent,
By sleepless doctors,
Who made me sleep,
Until I woke up, automatically evacuated,
On the say so of my passport,
Empty of the memory of flight,
In a white room with curtains,
Lifted by the breeze of warm seas.


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Edge of the World

It's not true North as far as we can see,
Just the gusty edge of sun-swept docks,
Emptied of shadows by half-day closing,

An even sky lights a fisherman and his wife,
In an eyeless, slow-panning separation,
Black and white heroes of old labour,

Each not wanting to signal fears,
As he departs to the bobbing deck,
Of a boat that dares the sea to rage,

That dares the sea to sink it in a blink,
With heavy swells and temper,
Magicked from this flat calm,

The grey guttering town retreats,
Leaving the small speck of farewell,
Waving the boat to its far horizon,

Then slowly home to the empty chair,
And the fire, now less warming,
But alive now with the gathering wind,

That tunnels down the chimney,
Bringing the marshalling weather inside,
The smell of salt and the turning sky,

And now a book and bread and jam,
And the light failing in the North,
Just the wind now gets inside,

Faith sustains sleep now in this house,

But the returns are quietly marked,
The imagined ticks on the far sea edge,
Signal a mast or two and then a hull,

Then hulls of this entire little fleet,
The wood scraped to paintless wastes,
The hold brimmed with ice and fish,

The True North burns away in the sky,
Shining on shy reaquaintances,
The slight touch and held-back joy,

And Faith sustains sleep now in this house.