A Critique of the Simulation Theory and the Rise of Digital Totalitarianism (free booklet)
This booklet is part two of two texts. The first part is: A Critique of Ken Wilber – Updated.
The movie, The Matrix, is beginning to achieve more and more influence within philosophy and New Age. It is a 1999 science fiction action film written and directed by The Wachowskis. It depicts a dystopian future in which reality as perceived by most humans is actually a simulated reality called "the Matrix", created by sentient machines to subdue the human population, while their bodies' heat and electrical activity are used as an energy source. Computer programmer Neo learns this truth and is drawn into a rebellion against the machines, which involves other people who have been freed from the "dream world."
The simulation theory is closely related to this film, and this film is also central in my own concept of The Matrix Conspiracy. Very shortly the simulation theory is a theory about that we either live in a computer simulation, or that we ought to create one. There are pro and cons in this discussion, but generally theorists today agree about the possibility of the simulation theory. Therefore it is not far-stretched when I claim that we today can see an American totalitarian ideology, which are based on a Hollywood movie. In my article, United States of America: Homeland of the Matrix Conspiracy, I have shown how far Americans will go in their dream about the creating-your-own-reality utopia.
In this booklet I will present a critique of the simulation theory. In this way it will be a critique of the central assumption behind the matrix conspiracy. I will also show how this ideology is sought introduced globally. I will show how this totalitarian ideology right now is in progress of creating a matrix without that humanity is informed about it. I will reveal shocking documentation of how Google plays a global role in this transformation, and how Google commissioned management theorists advice politicians and business leaders in anti-democratic and illegal behaviors, that can lead to the final goal. This is, of course, something which the Communist party of China fully is embracing and supporting.
The booklet is divided into the following parts (in the PDF version you can find page numbers):
1) From Subjective Idealism to Digital Idealism
2) From New Age to Transhumanism
3) Nick Bostrom´s Simulation Argument (SA
4) The Dream-hypothesis and the Brain-in-Jar Hypothesis
5) Famous supporters of the simulation theory (Stephen Hawking and Richard Dawkins)
6) The Simulation Theory is Causing an Endless Split of the Thought
7) Digital Totalitarianism
1) From Subjective Idealism to Digital Idealism
New Agers believe that the Matrix is a living organism, or simply reality itself. But one should remember that they are advocates of subjectivism and relativism, or otherwise said: they are subjective idealists. In philosophy, idealism is the group of philosophies which assert that reality, or reality as we can know it, is fundamentally mental, mentally constructed, or otherwise immaterial. Epistemologically, idealism manifests as a skepticism about the possibility of knowing any mind-independent thing. In a sociological sense, idealism emphasizes how human ideas—especially beliefs and values—shape society. As an ontological doctrine, idealism goes further, asserting that all entities are composed of mind or spirit. Idealism thus rejects physicalist and dualist theories that fail to ascribe priority to the mind.
This is the reason why they can believe that the whole of reality, including the physical reality, is a mental construct. And from that it is also easy to infer to the idea that we could live in a computer simulation. You simply change the word mind with a new theory of mind: The Computational Theory of Mind. From there you go on to claim that all entities are composed by bits, and that the whole of reality is a computer simulation. This new form of idealism could be called digital idealism. And the people advocating it is called transhumanists. But basically, it is the same arguments as in subjective idealism. In this booklet I will work with three transhumanists: David Chalmers, Nick Bostrom and Ray Kurzweil.
In his article, The Matrix as Metaphysics, the Australian philosopher and transhumanist, David Chalmers, suggests thoughts like the above-mentioned (the article is printed in the book, Science Fiction and Philosophy – From Time Travel to Superintelligence - edited by Susan Schneider). Chalmers is quite open about that his argumentation is similar to subjective idealism. He just don´t like the concept of the mind (he doesn´t believe in a soul, for example). So, he changes it with a computational theory of mind (what I call digital idealism). From describing the argument about how god created the world, he goes on to describing the argument about that the world is created by computers. He suggests that underneath the level of quarks and electrons and photons is a further level: the level of bits. These bits are governed by a computational algorithm, which at a larger level produces the processes that we think of as fundamental particles, forces, and so on (page 40). God is replaced by computers. The universe is at bottom some kind of computer. There are all kinds of versions of this. If you are human centered (anthropocentrism) you could argue that the whole of the universe is created by ourselves as we will be in the future (digital idealism has no problem with time travel). You could also argue that the universe is created by extraterrestrial computers, evil scientists, machines, ideologies, etc. You could also say, like Ray Kurzweil, that we ought to create a matrix, so that the universe can “awake” to its real destiny as a virtual reality. In that way, he claims, all our problems will be solved.
In this booklet I will show why a simulation not is possible. But I will also show that this ideology is sought introduced anyway, and that this flawed metaphysics therefore will lead to a dystopia.
You can see the simulation theory discussed in this article in Scientific American, by Clara Moskowitz, April 7, 2016: Are We Living in a Computer Simulation? A popular argument for the simulation hypothesis came from University of Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom in 2003, when he suggested that members of an advanced civilization with enormous computing power might decide to run simulations of their ancestors. They would probably have the ability to run many, many such simulations, to the point where the vast majority of minds would actually be artificial ones within such simulations, rather than the original ancestral minds. So simple statistics suggest it is much more likely that we are among the simulated minds.
But the proposal of idealism is also the reason why they think you can´t get out of the Matrix (that is: from illusion to reality), since the Matrix is reality itself: a mental construct (New Age), or a computer simulation (transhumanists). What you can do – and that´s their proposed secret [sic] – is to realize that you can program this reality completely alone with the power of mind (traditional mind or computer mind), and according to your own wishes and desires. The illusion is here that you have lived according to what others have programmed you to believe. The latter is the only idea I share with them.
It´s puzzling that they don´t seem to have grasped the meaning of the film, The Matrix, only Morpheus´s introducing claim that the Matrix is everywhere, in the bones, around us, etc. They speak Agent Smith´s speak, and not the rebels. They speak about finding ways of getting on of this Matrix, rather than being interested in finding ways of discovering the truth; or rather: what they see as the truth is that they can control the Matrix entirely through the mind.
To teach people this, is the main job of the Matrix Sophists. But this is in opposition to the message of the movie the Matrix, which is, that we should create a rebellion, and try to get out of the illusion. The movie is showing a dystopia, not a Utopia, like most transhumanists would want. In that way you can say that the new Sophists are the “machines”, or the rulers of the Matrix, which keep people as slaves.
Elon Musk is obviously one of them. Here is a video where he preaches The Matrix Conspiracy´s propaganda:
The philosophical background for these hypotheses is to be found in Descartes and George Berkeley, the two philosophers behind the concept of the Matrix.
1) Rene Descartes
Descartes is the first to formulate the problem of the external world, and the modern dualism, which created the so-called mind-body problem. Descartes was very dubious concerning how much we can trust our senses. Therefore, he took up the question, Is life a dream? However, his intention with this was in his Meditations to develop a confident cognition-argument. In his Meditations Descartes presents the problem approximately like this: I frequently dream during the night, and while I dream, I am convinced, that what I dream is real. But then it always happens, that I wake up and realize, that everything I dreamt was not real, but only an illusion. And then is it I think: is it possible, that what I now, while I am awake, believe is real, also is something, which only is being dreamt by me right now? If it is not the case, how shall I then determinate it? Precisely because Descartes not even in dreams can doubt, that 2 plus 3 is 5, he leaves the dream-argument in his Meditations and goes in tackle with the question, whether he could be cheated by an evil demon concerning all cognition, also the mathematics. This radical skepticism leads him forward to the cogito-argument: Cogito ergo Sum (I think, therefore I exist). But he didn´t deny the existence of the external world. He described it in a way that resembles what would later be known as modern natural sciences. In the view of nature in natural science, nature is reduced to atomic particles, empty space, fields, electromagnetic waves and particles etc., etc. I have called this the instrumental view of nature.
2) George Berkeley
George Berkeley (also called Bishop Berkeley) developed the above-mentioned metaphysical theory called subjective idealism. Berkeley is famous for the sentence, Esse est percipi, which means that being, or reality, only exists because it is being perceived. The absurdity in Berkeley´s assertion is swiftly seen: If a thing, or a human being for that matter, is not being perceived by the senses, then it does not exist. In accordance with Berkeley there therefore does not exist any sense-independent external world. He ends in solipsism, the consequence that only I, and my perceptions, can be said to exist. Everything else is an illusion created by myself. Bishop Berkeley is the philosopher behind New Age´s adoption of the movie Matrix.
However, it is Descartes who is the main philosopher behind the movie. In modern discussions about the reliability of our cognition you often meet a variation of Descartes´ argument of the evil demon. The argument is: some day surgery will have reached so far, that you will be able to operate the brain out of a human being and keep it alive by putting it in a jar with some nutrient substratum. At that time computer research perhaps will have reached so far, that you will be able to connect a computer with such a brain and feed it with all possible data – that is: supply us with an experiential ”virtual reality”, so that we think that we have a body, that we have a life and walk around in the world believing, that we can perceive our surroundings, whilst we in reality only is a brain lying in a jar. It is this thesis the movie The Matrix is based on.
It is the brain-in-jar hypothesis which has been developed further into the soft-ware model of the mind, the so-called Computational Theory of Mind (we will return to this). The brain-in-jar hypothesis has been developed into different theories of brain emulation and mind uploading.
Descartes and Berkeley are the reason for why both New Agers and atheist materialists can believe in the Matrix Conspiracy: that we in fact are being deceived and are living in a virtual reality. In fact, we have two ruling metaphysical theories in the society today: materialism (leading to atheist fundamentalism) and idealism (leading to New Age). They seem to be each other complements.
Transhumanists like Ray Kurzweil and David Chalmers find it desirable to be able to live entirely in a virtual reality. Most New Agers doesn´t find it desirable, and is often advising us to unplug from the Matrix (though it can be hard to discriminate between certain transhumanists and new agers since they share the concept of idealism). New Agers often compare the Matrix with the Indian concept of Maya, and claims that we must plug out from the external reality, which they believe is a Matrix created by evil forces. We must therefore instead rely completely on our subject, which in reality is God. If we find this divine core, we will be able to create our own reality. But this is not what Indian philosophy says (nor the movie). On the contrary, the Indian concept of Maya claims that it is the subject which is Maya (the Matrix), and that we must plug out from the subject in order to reach absolute objectivity. In reality New Age is building on Bishop Berkeley and his subjective idealism. In that way New Age becomes a more sinister advocate for the evil machines in the movie. This is completely unwillingly (they have good intensions), and is rooted in the hopeless uneducated people within New Age, who especially via the internet can present themselves as experts in just about anything from spirituality to science, without the need to validate it. If you asked them who George Berkeley was, they wouldn´t know, and yet it is him they are representing.
2) From New Age to Transhumanism
What´s peculiar about transhumanists like Ray Kurzweil, David Chalmers, and Nick Bostrom, is that they seem to move from a purely materialist (physicalist) standpoint into some kind of weird digital version of idealism. They simply replace concepts of mind with concepts from computer science and cognitive science. They therefore come to remind about New Agers, and New Age is in fact using a lot of the same arguments. It is the create-your-own-reality postulations repeated as if it was science.
But it is still idealism, and it is precisely the same absurd postulations as Bishop Berkeley came with. And the absurd consequences are the same: infinite regress, solipsism, as well as the polarization-problem. I will return to these problems.
In order to explain their theory of mind I will refer to an article by Susan Schneider in the above-mentioned book Philosophy and Science Fiction – From Time Travel To Superintelligence. It is called Mindscan: Transcending and Enhancing the Human Brain. Here is her introduction to transhumanism:
…Transhumanism is a philosophical, cultural, and political movement that holds that the human species is now in a comparatively early phase and that its very evolution will be altered by developing technologies. Future humans will be very unlike their present-day incarnation in both physical and mental respects, and will in fact resemble certain persons depicted in science fiction stories. Transhumanists share the belief that an outcome in which humans have radically advanced intelligence, near immortality, deep friendships with AI creatures, and elective body characteristics is a very desirable end. Both for one´s own personal development and for the development of our species as a whole.
Despite its science fiction-like flavor, the future that transhumanism depicts is very possible: indeed, the beginning stages of this radical alteration may well lie in certain technological developments that either are already here (if not generally available), or are accepted by many in the relevant scientific fields as being on their way (Roco and Bainbridge 2002; Gerreau 2005). In the face of these technological developments, transhumanists offer a progressive bioethics agenda of increasing public import. They also present a thought-provoking and controversial position in philosophy of cognitive science, applying insights about the computational nature of the mind to the topic of the nature of persons, developing a novel version of one popular theory of personal identity: the psychological continuity theory.
In this chapter I shall amply science fiction thought experiments to discuss what I take to be the most important philosophical element of the transhumanist picture – its unique perspective on the nature and development of persons…(page 261).
And here is her introduction to the “leading theories” of the nature of persons:
1) The soul theory: your essence is your soul or mind, understood as a nonphysical entity distinct from your body.
2) The psychological continuity theory: you are essentially your memories and ability to reflect on yourself (Locke) and, in its most general form, you are your overall psychological configuration, what Kurzweil referred to as your “pattern.”
3) Brain-based materialism: you are essentially the material that you are made out of, i.e., your body and brain – what Kurzweil referred to as “the ordered and chaotic collection of molecules” that make up my body and brain (Kurzweil 2005: 383).”
4) The no self view: the self is an illusion. The “I” is a grammatical fiction (Nietzsche). There are bundles of impressions but no underlying self (Hume). There is no survival because there is no person (Buddha).” (Page 265).
Note the last distorted view of Buddhism, which I won´t go further into here. Also note that the whole thing is based on Kurzweil´s “philosophy”. In his book, The Singularity is Near, Kurzweil sketches a future world in which we (or perhaps our children or grandchildren) become cyborgs, and eventually entirely artificial beings. The creation of “superintelligent” AI brings forth beings with such advanced intelligence that solutions to the world´s problems are generated, rapidly ending disease and resource scarcity. “Superintelligenceand Singularity” is not a work of science fiction, however; it is Kurzweil´s prediction of the shape of the near future, based on our current science.
But not enough with that: this superintelligence will, through nanotechnology, expand into the universe and make it “wake up” and become intelligent (according to Kurzweil the universe is not intelligent right now, and there is no life other than us). In other words: the whole universe will become a virtual reality, and we humans will be a kind of avatars in this virtual reality. A kind of gods, who can create and manipulate with the universe as we want to (I will return to Kurzweil in the end of this booklet).
If we return to the above-mentioned theories of minds, then Schneider is correctly claiming that it is 2, that currently is the most influential. She hereafter suggests that the Transhumanist adopts a novel version of the psychological continuity view; that is, they adopt a computational account of continuity. She writes:
First, consider that transhumanists generally adopt a computational theory of mind.
The Computational Theory of Mind (“CTM”): The mind is essentially the program running on the hardware of the brain, that is, the algorithm that the brain implements, something in principle discoverable by cognitive science (Churchland) (page 265).
…Note that proponents of CTMs generally reject the soul theory. One might suspect that the transhumanist views a brain-based materialism favorably, the view that holds that minds are basically physical or material in nature and that mental features, such as the thought that espresso has a wonderful aroma, are ultimately just physical features of brains. Transhumanists rejects brain-based materialism, for they believe the same person can continue to exist if her pattern persists, even if she is an upload [to a computer], no longer having a brain (Kurzweil 2005) (265-66).
Simulated reality is the hypothesis that reality could be simulated — for example by computer simulation — to a degree indistinguishable from "true" reality. It could contain conscious minds which may or may not be fully aware that they are living inside a simulation. This is quite different from the current, technologically achievable concept of virtual reality. Virtual reality is easily distinguished from the experience of actuality; participants are never in doubt about the nature of what they experience. Simulated reality, by contrast, would be hard or impossible to separate from "true" reality. There has been much debate over this topic, ranging from philosophical discourse to practical applications in computing.
3) Nick Bostrom´s Simulation Argument (SA)
The simulation hypothesis was first published by Hans Moravec. Later, the philosopher Nick Bostrom developed an expanded argument examining the probability of our reality being a simulation. His argument is featured in Philosophy and Science Fiction in an article called, Are You in a Computer simulation? In reality it is a thought experiment. One should note that Schneider already in the beginning of the book is making aware of the concept of thought experiments. Both Bostrom, Chalmers and Kurzweil are building their “philosophy” on thought experiments. In this way they believe they can avoid critique. In the introduction to the book, Schneider writes about philosophical thought experiments:
Intriguingly, if you read science fiction writers like Stanislaw Lem, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, and Robert Sawyer, you are already aware that some of the best science fiction tales are in fact long versions of philosophical thought experiments. From Arthur C. Clarke´s 2001: A Space Odyssey, which explored the twin ideas of intelligent design and artificial intelligence gone awry, to the Matrix films, which were partly inspired by Plato´s Cave [note: among many others, they were, as mentioned, also inspired by Descartes, the dream-hypothesis, and later, the brain-in-jar hypothesis], philosophy and science fiction are converging upon a set of issues in science fiction that are philosophical intriguing. It is thus my modest hope that this short book isolates a number of key areas in philosophy where the interplay between philosophy and science fiction is especially rich. For instance, you might have seen the films AI or I, robot (or you may have read the stories they are derived from). An you might have asked: Can robots be conscious? Should they have rights? Is artificial intelligence that is smarter than us even possible? Or you might have read a time travel story, such as H.G. Well´s The Time Machine, and asked: Is time travel possible? Indeed, what is the nature of space and time?
The book delves into these questions, as well as many others, such as: Could I be deceived by the external world, as in The Matrix, or Vanilla Sky? What is the nature of persons? For instance, can my mind survive the death of my body? Can I “upload” my memories into a computer and somehow survive (as in the film Transcendence and the novel Mindscan)? Do we ever act freely, or is everything predetermined? (e.g. Minority Report). Should we enhance our brains, and even change our very nature? (see for e-g. the cyberpunk genre). (page 2 and 3).
As you can see, all these questions are related to philosophy of mind. There are pro and cons in these questions. But, as I make clear in my booklet, Philosophy of Mind, most are reductionists. Now, if we take Nick Bostrom´s argument, then one should be aware that we are talking about a thought experiment. He is also making clear that it does not purport to demonstrate that we are in a computer simulation (which is a bit misleading, since the argument constantly is used precisely in that sense). It should also be noted that he, contrary to Chalmers and Kurzweil, is a pessimist concerning the Matrix. But he still believes in its possibility. In other words: he is a pessimist transhumanist. Personally, I think there are good reasons for being skeptical about this “pessimism” as I will show later.
Bostrom claims, that his hypothesis shows that we should accept as true at least one of the following three propositions:
1. The chances that a species at our current level of development can avoid going extinct before becoming technologically mature is negligibly small.
2. Almost no technologically mature civilizations are interested in running computer simulations of minds like ours.
3. You are almost certainly in a simulation.
Bostrom claims that these three propositions may be prima facie implausible; yet, he says, if the simulation argument is correct, at least one is true (it does not tell us which). He writes:
While the full simulation argument employs some probability theory and formalism, the gist of it can be understood in intuitive terms. Suppose the proposition (1) is false. Then a significant fraction of all species at our level of development eventually becomes technologically mature. Suppose, further, that (2) is false, too. Then some significant fraction of these species that have become technologically mature will use some portion of their computational resources to run computer simulations of minds like ours. But, as we saw earlier, the number of simulated minds that any such technologically mature civilization could run is astronomically huge.
Therefore, if both (1) and (2) is false, there will be an astronomical huge number simulated minds like ours. If we work out the numbers, we find that there would be vastly many more such simulated minds than there would be non-simulated minds running on organic brains. In other words, almost all minds like yours, having the kinds of experiences that you have, would be simulated rather than biological. Therefore, by a very weak principle of indifference, you would have to think that you are probably one of these simulated minds rather than one of the exceptional ones that are running on biological neurons.
So if you think that (1) and (2) are both false, you should accept (3). It is not coherent to reject all three propositions. In reality, we do not have much specific information to tell us which of the three propositions might be true. In this situation, it might be reasonable to distribute our credence roughly evenly between the three possibilities, giving each of them a substantial probability (page 24).
In the book, More Matrix and Philosophy – Revolutions and Reloaded Decoded, Bostrom is featured in an article called Why Make a Matrix? And Why You Might Be in One. Here he claims that the argument haven´t been refuted (page 91). It is also a fact that his argument actually is being taken as an argument for that we live in a computer simulation. But Bostrom has himself cleverly avoided being accused of that.
I don´t understand that his argument haven´t been refuted, because the whole argumentation is an example of the thought distortion called Circular Arguments. Any philosopher left, who not yet has turned into a sophist, can see that. Already from the very beginning Bostrom is assuming that The Computational Theory of Mind is true. The whole argumentation stands and falls with that.
His circular argument takes the form:
A (simulated reality) because of B (the computational theory of mind)
B (the computational theory of mind) because of A (simulated reality)
Scientifically seen there is no proof for the computational theory of mind. On the contrary. In nuclear physics and the quantum mechanics we have learned, that there exist processes, which is not cause determined, and which do not follow the old rule about, that everything has to be continuous. Brain-functions are, as Roger Penrose has shown, in a wide extent quantum mechanical, and since the quantum mechanics breaks with the principle of causation and determinism, then the human brain is not fully a cause determined system. And then you can´t up from the ground explain brain processes from materialistic factors. Precisely the same is the case with computational factors.
The fundamental principles of classical physics, namely the perception of space and time as absolute and the principles of causality, determinism and continuity, must therefore be completely given up with the breakthrough of modern physics at the beginning of this century. The only exception is the principle that energy and matter are constant, which also in modern natural science is considered to be fundamental.
So, quantum mechanics disproves materialism, but it doesn´t prove idealism neither, as idealists seem to think. Because you can´t – as Niels Bohr points out – replace classical physics with quantum mechanics, because the validity of classical physics is a necessary precondition for, that you can describe the quantum mechanical phenomena and make account for the macroscopic (”classical”) experimental arrangement. Bohr is writing in a famous discussion contribution against Einstein, who didn't want to accept, that the causality principle has no validity in nuclear physics:
”…the account for all experiences – regardless how far the phenomena are lying outside the reach of classical physics – must be expressed in classical concepts. The reason is simply, that we by the word ”experiment” refer to a situation, where we can tell others what we have done and what we have learned, and that the experimental device and measuring results therefore must be described in the usual language with appropriate use of the terminology of classical physics.” (Niels Bohr: ”Atomfysik og menneskelig erkendelse”, Schultz´ Forlag, København 1957, s. 53.)
Note, that Bohr here speaks about the usual language (everyday language) supplemented with the terms of classical physics. This is due to, that he regards the concepts of classical physics as a more explicit formulation of everyday language. In that sense everyday language is a necessary precondition for all natural scientific realization, and nor can everyday language be replaced by an unambiguous and formalised, logical scientific language.
So, when there is no independent reason for believing A (the computational theory of mind) or B (simulated reality), then Bostrom´s argument can be described as viciously circular and should be rejected as a particular unenlightened form of begging the question. If there is no further support for A or B then it is equivalent to the impossible pastime of lifting yourself off the ground by pulling on both your shoelaces.
For instance, if someone tells you that there must be a God because the Bible or some other holy book says that God exists, and then, when asked how we know that what is written in the holy book is true replies that it must be true because it is the word of God, then this would be a viciously circular way of arguing. If there is independent proof that whatever is written in the holy book is true, or perhaps some other independent proof of God´s existence, then we would have reasons which support the conclusion but which are not obviously presupposed in the conclusion. As the argument stands, however, it would be totally unconvincing to an agnostic or atheist since it assumes that God exists, or that what is written in the holy book is true, both of which are major points at issue in such a discussion. It is precisely the same problem with Bostrom´s simulation argument. If you aren´t a believer in the computational theory of mind, the argument is worthless. And it is the same problem which other transhumanists, such as Ray Kurzweil and David Chalmers, run into. They have build extremely complex philosophies and argumentations up on circular arguments, which are begging the question.
In other words, if the presumption not is proved, either scientifically, or philosophically, via good arguments, the whole thought experiment is superfluous.
Simulated reality is a common theme in science fiction (click here to see a list). It is predated by the concept "life is a dream". It should not be confused with the theme of virtual reality.
I will note that a new article in Cosmos Magazine 02 October 2017 titled Physicists find we’re not living in a computer simulation suggests that some physical phenomena may be impossible to simulate.
The article goes:
The sci-fi trope might now be put to rest after scientists find the suggestion that reality is computer generated is in principle impossible, writes Andrew Masterson.
Just in case it’s been weighing on your mind, you can relax now. A team of theoretical physicists from Oxford University in the UK has shown that life and reality cannot be merely simulations generated by a massive extraterrestrial computer.
The finding – an unexpectedly definite one – arose from the discovery of a novel link between gravitational anomalies and computational complexity.
In a paper published in the journal Science Advances, Zohar Ringel and Dmitry Kovrizhi show that constructing a computer simulation of a particular quantum phenomenon that occurs in metals is impossible – not just practically, but in principle.
The pair initially set out to see whether it was possible to use a technique known as quantum Monte Carlo to study the quantum Hall effect – a phenomenon in physical systems that exhibit strong magnetic fields and very low temperatures, and manifests as an energy current that runs across the temperature gradient. The phenomenon indicates an anomaly in the underlying space-time geometry.
Quantum Monte Carlo methods use random sampling to analyse many-body quantum problems where the equations involved cannot be solved directly.
Ringel and Kovrizhi showed that attempts to use quantum Monte Carlo to model systems exhibiting anomalies, such as the quantum Hall effect, will always become unworkable.
They discovered that the complexity of the simulation increased exponentially with the number of particles being simulated.
If the complexity grew linearly with the number of particles being simulated, then doubling the number of particles would mean doubling the computing power required. If, however, the complexity grows on an exponential scale – where the amount of computing power has to double every time a single particle is added – then the task quickly becomes impossible.
The researchers calculated that just storing information about a couple of hundred electrons would require a computer memory that would physically require more atoms than exist in the universe.
The researchers note that there are a number of other known quantum interactions for which predictive algorithms have not yet been found. They suggest that for some of these they may in fact never be found.
And given the physically impossible amount of computer grunt needed to store information for just one member of this subset, fears that we might be unknowingly living in some vast version of The Matrix can now be put to rest.
Stories that suggest perceived reality is an artefact of a cosmic computer simulation abandon science and enter the domain of philosophy. And within philosophy it´s an old story. In my view there isn´t anything new in Bostrom´s argumentation at all. He is just taking up older ideas and altering them at bit. The whole argument stands and falls with the question: Is it possible to simulate reality? Answering yes or no to this question depends on which metaphysical theory you are in to. Most idealists answer yes, and, as we shall see, so do some materialists, though it is my claim that materialists in that case must take upon them an idealist worldview which is the direct opposite of their own materialist worldview, and who therefore end up in a self-contradiction. The reason why materialists like the idea is probably that computers sounds very materialistic.
Many people who argue for the validity of the simulation theory are reductionists; that is: they make their claim based on a believe that they are speaking scientifically, while they in fact are speaking philosophy. These can be invalidated on the background of reductionism itself (see my articles The Pseudoscience of New Age and Reductionism, and The Pseudoscience of Reductionism and the Problem of Mind).
4) The Dream-hypothesis and the Brain-in-Jar Hypothesis
We all have an experience of, how our senses and thoughts can deceive us. Therefore the question about, whether life could be a dream or an illusion, also always has occupied Man.
In the scriptless people´s religions, or in the world of the child, the dreams are episodes in the waking condition. To the poets - and in the various wisdom traditions in Western mysticism and in Eastern philosophy - it is not impossible, that the whole of the waking condition is a dream. As Shakespeare says in his play the Tempest: ”We are of the same matter as our dreams; our short life is encircled by a sleep.”
Spiritual practice can be said to consist partially of meditation, partially of Dream Yoga. Meditation and Dream Yoga are two sides of the same thing. If you nevertheless should try to discriminate, then you about meditation can say, that the three aspects of meditation are relaxfullness, awareness and heartfullness. These three aspects are trained through supporting exercises such as relaxation, Hara practice, as well as Tonglen practice (see the supporting exercises in my book Meditation as an Art of Life – a basic reader ).
In Dream Yoga you can say, that the day practice of Dream Yoga consists - besides the continuous exercises of meditation - in understanding the nature of thought distortions; in seeing their illusory nature, in seeing how they create your reality; that is: to realize, that a lot of your waking life also has character of a dream (the night practice of Dream Yoga is about writing your dreams down, and practicing in conditions of lucidity, as well as astrality, if such states should occur). – See my book A Dictionary of Thought Distortions, and my article What is Dream Yoga?
A lot of philosophers within European philosophy have also claimed, that life is a dream, or that the whole world is our own construction, created either by sensation or thinking. The best known examples are probably George Berkeley and René Descartes.
In European philosophy there is namely a strong tradition for only reckoning with two sources of knowledge: sensation and thinking. Berkeley reckoned with sensation, whilst Descartes reckoned with thinking. Berkeley is famous for the sentence Esse est percipi, which means that reality consists in being perceived (to be is to be experienced). As mentioned: the absurdity in Berkeley´s assertion is swiftly seen: If a thing, or a human being for that matter, is not being perceived by the senses, then it does not exist. In accordance with Berkeley there therefore does not exist any sense-independent world. He ends in the so-called solipsism, and so do all supporters of the simulation theory. That we will return to.
Descartes was also very dubious concerning how much we can trust our senses. Therefore also he took up the question Is life a dream? However, his intention with this was in his Meditations to develop a valid epistemological argument.
In his Meditations Descartes presents the problem approximately like this: I frequently dream during the night, and while I dream, I am convinced, that what I dream is real. But then it always happens, that I wake up and realize, that everything I dreamt was not real, but only an illusion. And then is it I think: is it possible, that what I now, while I am awake, believe is real, also is something, which only is being dreamt by me right now? If that not is the case, how shall I then determinate it?
Precisely because Descartes not even in dreams can doubt, that 2 plus 3 is 5, he leaves the dream-argument in his Meditations and goes in tackle with the question, whether he could be cheated by an evil demon concerning all knowledge, also mathematics. This radical skepticism leads him forward to the cogito-argument: Cogito ergo Sum (I think, therefore I exist). – [Note that Descartes´ philosophical skepticism not is the same as scientific skepticism (about scientific skepticism: read my article The Pseudoscience of New Age and Reductionism]
In modern discussions about the reliability of our knowledge you often meet a variation of Descartes´ argument of the evil demon. The argument is: some day surgery will have reached so far, that you will be able to operate the brain out of a human being and keep it alive by putting it in a jar with some nutrient substratum. At that time computer research perhaps will have reached so far, that you will be able to connect a computer with such a brain and feed it with all possible data – that is: supply us with an experiential ”virtual reality”, so that we think that we have a body, that we have a life and walk around in the world believing, that we can perceive our surroundings, whilst we in reality only is a brain laying in a jar. It is especially this thesis the movie The Matrix is based on. And it is fairly easy to see where it is Bostrom has his arguments from.
But the simulation theory faces precisely the same problem as the Dream Hypothesis and the Brain-In-Jar Hypothesis. A lot of so-called reductionists believe, that the Brain-In-Jar Hypothesis is possible. There are computer scientists, who believe, that you can understand consciousness as ”soft-ware” and the brain as a ”hard disc”, and that you in a very few years will be able to decode a human being for the whole of its content of consciousness, immediately before it dies, and therewith ensure its soul an eternal life – admittedly on a discette, but what the hell, it is after all certainly always better than to pass into nothingness, and the discette will after all could be played again and again.
This is probably the most extreme “physical” example of the top-heavy Indo-European symbolism of a ladder, which humans have to climb in order to reach knowledge. The knowledge of the heart and the body is completely removed. Only what is going on in the head is considered valid (in my blog post The Conspiracy of the Third Eye I have demonstrated that there in fact might exist a scary demonical thought behind this). It is also a hypothesis which materialists can acknowledge, though it in fact is based on idealism.
The Brain-in-jar Hypothesis says it in this way: existence, that which I, Morten Tolboll, calls reality, is an illusion, because the fact of the matter is this, that I haven´t got any body or any sense organs, but only are my brain, which is in a jar with a nutrient substratum, and which is connected to a computer, which provides me with experiences.
The problem is exactly the same as in Descartes´ Dream Hypothesis: existence, that which I, Morten Tolboll, calls reality, is a period, which after its end (that is to say: when I wake up from it) will be realized as illusory, in the same way as I realize a dream as illusory, when I wake up from it. That is to say: that, which I call ”reality”, is a dream, and that, which I call ”dream” (that is: the thing I am dealing with, when I am sleeping) is a dreamt dream.
Both the Dream Hypothesis, the Brain-in-jar Hypothesis and the Simulation theory are important in The Matrix Conspiracy. An important pedagogy of The Matrix Conspiracy is namely subjectivism and relativism, which claim, that there doesn't exist any objective truth. Truth is something we create ourselves, either as individuals or as cultures, and since there doesn't exist any objective truth, there doesn´t exist any objective scale of truth. Everything is our own thought-construction.
In the following I will show some epistemological problems, and hereafter I will go into some problems of mind which it also creates.
I will show the problem in relation to the Dream Hypothesis, and you just have to replace it with the Brain-in-Jar Hypothesis or the Simulation Hypothesis. They both end in the same problems.
Let us try to look at three logical problems, which the Dream Hypothesis (and therefore the Brain-In-Jar hypothesis and the simulation theory) runs into: The infinite regress, the solipsism, as well as the polarization-problem.
First the infinite regress:
I presuppose, that I - with the assertion that what I now call reality, is a dream - believe, that it in principle is possible, that I wake up from it and realize, that it only was a dream. In that case I shall after all find myself situated in a new reality, which relate ifself to what I now call reality, as this relate ifself to my nightly dreams. This ”new reality” you could then term ”the R-reality”.
When I wake up to the R-reality, I realize, that what I until then called reality, only was a dream. But using the Dream Hypothesis (whatever argument I might have for it) I must already now conclude, that the R-reality also could be a dream, which I, if I some day wake up from it, shows ifself to be contained in a R-R-R-reality – and in this way I can keep on.
If I say, that reality is a dream, and therefore ought to be called ”dreamt reality”, yes then I can not find any argument against, that it is a ”dreamt dreamt reality” or a ”dreamt dreamt dreamt reality” etc., indefinitely (this is actually how the concept of the Multiverse has been developed - the simulated multiverse exists on complex computer systems that simulate entire universes. The concept of the Multiverse is popular both in idealism and in materialism, and therefore both in New Age and in Atheism).
If you then take the solipsism:
Solipsism (of lat. Solus ipse, I alone), is the opinion, that I alone, and my states of consciousness, exist, or that I, and my states of consciousness, are the only things, which really can be realized. Everything else, for example other people´s consciousnesses and material things, which are claimed to be outside my consciousness, are problematic things.
The Dream Hypothesis (and therefore the Brain-In-Jar hypothesis and the Simulation theory) can for example only be stated in first person. There are not two persons who can agree about it, because all other persons than the person, which put forward the Dream Hypothesis, ex hypothesi are dream phenomena in his dream. When I – in first person – analyzes the eventual arguments against the Dream Hypothesis, I realize, that I don´t need to take them seriously, because they ex hypothesi only are dream phenomena, which can´t be compelling. But at the same time I realize, that all my arguments for the Dream Hypothesis for the same reason nor can be considered compelling. I have ended up in a self-contradiction.
Digital idealism, is, like Berkeleyan idealism a completely invalid point of view. When Berkeley was asked where our experiences is coming from, his answer was that they are coming from God. When he was asked how it can be that the experienced world is so permanent as it is (my desk is standing there every day; if I put a letter in the drawer and first open it in a month, the letter is still there, etc.) he answered that it is because God continually experiences everything – therefore my own world is there – not as independent of my experiences, but as God´s experiences – even when I don´t experience it.
Berkeley´s main point is that you can´t look behind your experiences, and that it therefore is meaningless to talk about a physical world behind them. But when you can´t look behind them, then you can´t see a God behind them neither. And how can you then argue, that the experiences are coming from God? Berkeley can´t answer this question, or, rather, he answers that God gives us the experiences because it pleases him, and in the Bible it is also written that everything is in God, and only can be understood by God, etc., but that is to wave goodbye to all philosophical argumentation.
In his article, The Matrix as Metaphysics, David Chalmers is also speculating over the above-mentioned problems, and can´t solve them. Therefore he is finally accepting Berkeley´s God Hypothesis as valid. He writes:
The God Hypothesis: Physical reality is represented in the mind of God, and our own thoughts and perceptions depend on God´s mind.
A hypothesis like this was put forward by George Berkeley as a view about how our world might really be. Berkeley intended this as a sort of metaphysical hypothesis about the nature of reality. Most other philosophers have differed from Berkeley in regarding this as a sort of skeptical hypothesis. If I am right, Berkeley is closer to the truth. The God Hypothesis can be seen as a version of the Matrix Hypothesis on which the simulation of the world is implemented in the mind of God. If this is right, we should say that physical processes really exist: it´s just that at the most fundamental level, they are constituted by God processes in the mind of God (page 53).
Note that Chalmers uses the terms: If I am right and if this is right…In other words: Chalmers is also building on a thought experiment, and therefore a circular argumentation, just like Bostrom.
In his next article, The Singularity: A Philosophical Analysis, Chalmers is continuing with his habit of circular argumentation. After having established the Singularity as a coming reality, he is the theorizing about how we can be integrated into a Post-Singularity World. Here he is going into the concept of gradual mind-uploading. On page 211, he is suggesting that, if we don´t live long enough for this to be a reality, we can start with preserving our brains for later uploading. This can happen through cryonic technology. He writes:
Cryonic technology offers the possibility of preserving our brains in a low-temperature state shortly after death, until such time as the technology is available to reactivate the brain or perhaps to upload the information in it. Of course much information may be lost in death, and at the moment, we do not know whether cryonics preserves information sufficient to reactivate or reconstruct anything akin to a functional isomorph of the original. But one can at least hope that after an intelligence explosion [a concept created by Ray Kurzweil, from whom Chalmers has most of his “arguments”], extraordinary technology might be possible here (page 211).
Note that he hopes that it would be possible. He is not hiding that all this is something he looks at with positivity. To a person who believes in the soul, it looks like a terrible image of hell. What if the soul can´t get released from the brain/body, if it is frozen down? This would be the same as being buried alive in a freezer for eternity. In the last part of this booklet, I will reveal that it is not unlikely that all this eventually will be implemented to all humanity by force, or rather: brainwashing people into accepting it.
In the same way as the God Hypothesis, the Simulation Hypothesis is a postulation which can´t be accepted in a philosophical discussion. It is simply religious, or digital ideology.
Now, if you then finally take the polarization-problem:
Reality seems to be an Otherness, which determines and defines the world – that is: a negation-principle. Any concept, anything, is defined by its negation; that is to say: what it not is. A dream can in other words only be defined from what it not is. It is for example not reality. This logic is impossible to get around. How can you altogether assert that life, or reality, is a dream (or a simulation), unless you know what a dream (or a simulation) not is? And here I am talking about that you, and therefore every single individual, have this knowledge. You can´t explain the simulation theory in any meaningful way without that you constantly are making discriminations between simulation and reality, between subject and object, etc. To say that discrimination also just is a simulation is not a philosophical argument, but a way of explaining away this simple fact. My professor in philosophy, the late David Favrholdt, has developed the polarization-problem, with inspiration from Niels Bohr, into what he calls The Core in everyday language (see my article Quantum Mechanics and the Philosophy of Niels Bohr).
The Brain-in-jar Hypothesis and the Simulation theory run into exactly the same logical problems.
To the common consciousness, or the common epistemology - that is to say: sensation and thinking - life could very well be thought to be a dream. The Wholeness could possible be sleeping. You could here very well imagine the validity of the above problems, but you end up in the three logical problems. It is precisely these logical anomalies, paradoxes and problems, which create Samsara´s wheel of eternal repeating up-cycles which is followed by eternal repeating down-cycles and vice versa (for example life and death, success and fiasco, joy and sorrow) – as well as the ignorance and the suffering when you are caught into this wheel, for example in the experience of nightmare and anxiety. All Jorge Luis Borges´ small stories are about these logical and philosophical problems. His stories are filled with mirrors, masks, endless series and regresses, labyrinths, doppelgängers, time, solipsisms and dreams (I have examined these logical and philosophical problems in my book A Dictionary of Thought Distortions, especially in the thought distortion I call Endless split of the thought which I will return to below. Also see my article Jorge Luis Borges).
As mentioned, there is also within the wisdom traditions a lot of talk about, that life is a dream. The Chinese philosopher Chuang Tsi wrote for example:
”One time I dreamt, that I was a butter-fly. Pleased with my fortune I flew around and wasn´t thinking about anything else than being a butter-fly. About Chuang Tsi´s existence I suspected nothing. Then suddenly I awoked, and it stood clear to me, that I was Chuang Tsi. But now I just don´t know, whether I was Chuang Tsi, which dreamt that I was a butter-fly, or whether I am a butter-fly, which dreams, that it is Chuang Tsi. There is necessarily a difference in being Chuang Tsi and in being a butter-fly.”
At first Chuang Tsi´s text seems to be even more radical than Descartes. But what you can say, is, that there is a radical difference between Chuang Tsi and Descartes. Descartes and Berkeley reckoned namely, as before mentioned, only with two sources of knowledge, sensation and thinking.
Chuang Tsi, as well as Medieval philosophers and a lot of Catholic philosophers in the present day, however speak about revelation as a third source of knowledge. Some of our temporal existentialists speak about a type of being-cognition, which neither is due to sensation or thinking. And finally a couple of European mystics, as for example Plotin, Meister Eckhart and William Blake, have spoked about an occult cognition of God and higher powers, which reaches far beyond the areas of sensation and thinking. You could term it the wholeness-cognition. And in the East (for example Chuang Tsi) such a third cognition is well known (see my article Paranormal Phenomena Seen in Connection with Mystical Experiences).
To this third form of cognition, life is not a dream, but the Good, the True and the Beautiful itself – reality. The path to this can be described as in the education novel: at home – the homeless - home. In the start, at home (if you not, through meditation and Dream Yoga, are working with the third cognition-form), the wholeness is sleeping. If you however start to work with this cognition, the education journey out in the world begins. The wholeness starts to dream. But the more realization trained, the more you realize the illusory aspect of the dream of the wholeness, and then the journey home starts. The wholeness begins to wake up, for finally, in the revelation, to be completely awake.
The truth in this awakenness - and which of course also is there hidden, both when the Wholeness is dreaming and sleeping - is precisely the instance which creates the logical, and insoluble problems with theories which only work with two forms of knowledge, sensation and thinking.
This truth is reality, or the Otherness.
5) Famous promoters of the simulation theory (Stephen Hawking and Richard Dawkins)
Stephen Hawking was apparently also supporting the Simulation Theory. In the documentary Stephen Hawking´s Grand Design, Hawking tries to explain what science can tell us about the meaning of life through physics, philosophical discussion, and Hawking's own unique scientific perception, he attempts to shed light on humanities most profound question Is There a Meaning of Life?
In the documentary Hawking says: “It might seem crazy to doubt that our concept of reality is true, but I think to find the meaning of life, we must ask the question: is there an independent reality or not?”
This part of the documentary could be called "Stephen Hawking raises an interesting question about observer-created reality in the first six seconds, followed by a narrator blathering on about the Matrix. First the brain-in-jar hypothesis, hereafter the simulation theory, and claiming: this is a genuine scientific hypothesis.” One might suppose that Hawking has approved the film.
The documentary ends with Descartes: we think therefore we are. The circle is closed: we´re back in black, back in philosophy, or rather: bad philosophy.
Yes precisely: we think all this, it is a theory. The title is therefore good: Stephen Hawking´s Grand Design. Hawking has replaced God and philosophy with himself. Because that´s what it is. The theory of everything is something we think (see my article Stephen Hawking).
Celebrity atheists also acknowledge the Simulation Hypothesis. We may be living in a world computed by superhumanity to emulate its evolutionary history. Obvious not knowing that this is an idealist idea, the direct opposite philosophical theory than their own materialism. This curiosity actually directly demonstrates my claim that atheist fundamentalism and New Age are the two opposite coins in the same Matrix Conspiracy (see my article Atheist Fundamentalism).
It is for example interesting that the two arch enemies Richard Dawkins and Deepak Chopra both are overall excited for Hawking, for two opposite reasons:
Richard Dawkins welcomed Hawking's position and said that "Darwinism kicked God out of biology but physics remained more uncertain. Hawking is now administering the coup de grace."
Best selling author Deepak Chopra in an interview with CNN said: "We have to congratulate Leonard and Stephen for finally, finally contributing to the climatic overthrow of the superstition of materialism. Because everything that we call matter comes from this domain which is invisible, which is beyond space and time. All religious experience is based on just three basic fundamental ideas...And nothing in the book invalidates any of these three ideas".
This paradox is just incredible funny, and it shows precisely the paradox: Hawking´s M-theory can be used to justify just about anything. Speaking at the string theory conference at University of Southern California in 1995, Edward Witten of the Institute for Advanced Study suggested that the five different versions of string theory might be describing the same thing seen from different perspectives. He proposed a unifying theory called "M-theory", in which the "M" is not specifically defined but is generally understood to stand for "membrane". The words "matrix", "master", "mother", "monster", "mystery" and "magic" have also been claimed.
So, with the Matrix Conspiracy we have two ruling metaphysical theories in the Western society: materialism (the bias of atheist fundamentalism) and idealism (the New Age bias). The consequences of both are a worship of the ego.
In materialism this could be depicted in Richard Dawkins´s notion of The Selfish Gene. In her book The Solitary Self – Darwin and The Selfish Gene, the renowned philosopher Mary Midgley, explores the nature of our moral constitution to challenge the view that reduces human motivation to self-interest. Midgley argues cogently and convincingly that simple, one-sided accounts of human motives, such as the “selfish gene” tendency in recent neo-Darwinian thought, may be illuminating but are always unrealistic. Such neatness, she shows, cannot be imposed on human psychology. Midgley returns to the original writings of Charles Darwin to show how the reductive individualism that is now presented as Darwinism does not derive from Darwin but from a wider, Hobbesian tradition in Enlightenment thinking. She reveals the “selfish gene” hypothesis in evolutionary biology as a cultural accretion that is not seen in nature. Heroic independence, argues Midgley, is not a realistic aim for Homo Sapiens. We are, as Darwin saw, earthly organism framed to interact with one another and with the complex ecosystems of which we are a tiny part. For us, bonds are not just restraints but also lifelines. The Solitary Self is a significant re-reading of Darwin and an important corrective to recent work in evolutionary science, which has wide implications for debates in science, religion, psychology and ethics.
My own claim is that Richard Dawkins´s notion of The Selfish Gene (or The Selfish Meme) is a pure fantasy of how the environment is stored in some kind of postulated cultural gene, which has no more scientific or philosophical validity than many of the theories of “the evolution of consciousness” we see in the idealism of New Age. Both are paradoxically enough new kinds of Social Darwinism. And both are involved in the rise of a new kind of fascism (see the Matrix Dictionary entries Richard Dawkins and The Matrix Conspiracy Fascism).
In idealism the ego-worship could be depicted as self-assertion (or even self-love): the ultimate narcissism. Both materialism and idealism are included in The Matrix Conspiracy, though idealism is the ruling philosophy. The reason why both is included is that they define each other; they are so to speak complementary to each other, because they mutually exclude each other and at the same necessarily must supplement each other. The reason for this is the polarization-problem.
On the possibility of living in a simulation created by alien civilizations Richard Dawkins says:
"Whether we ever get to know them or not, there are very probably alien civilizations that are superhuman, to the point of being god-like in ways that exceed anything a theologian could possibly imagine. Their technical achievements would seem as supernatural to us as ours would seem to a Dark Age peasant transported to the twenty-first century. Imagine his response to a laptop computer, a mobile telephone, a hydrogen bomb or a jumbo jet. As Arthur C Clarke put it, in his Third Law: 'Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.' The miracles wrought by our technology would have seemed to the ancients no less remarkable than the tales of Moses parting the waters, or Jesus walking upon them. The aliens of our SETI signal would be to us like gods ...
"In what sense, then, would the most advanced SETI aliens not be gods? In what sense would they be superhuman but not supernatural? In a very important sense, which goes to the heart of this book. The crucial difference between gods and god-like extraterrestrials lies not in their properties but in their provenance. Entities that are complex enough to be intelligent are products of an evolutionary process. No matter how god-like they may seem when we encounter them, they didn't start that way. Science-fiction authors ... have even suggested (and I cannot think how to disprove it) that we live in a computer simulation, set up by some vastly superior civilization. But the simulators themselves would have to come from somewhere. The laws of probability forbid all notions of their spontaneously appearing without simpler antecedents. They probably owe their existence to a (perhaps unfamiliar) version of Darwinian evolution ..."
Dawkins, Richard. The God Delusion. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2006. 72-73. Print.
If such aliens exist, why should they use computer simulation? The very concept of simulation is taken from our own language and refers to something we have knowledge about here on Earth. It is a projection of ourselves. And for the same reason: why should they be subject to evolution? Evolution is also something limited to our own knowledge. Richard Dawkins is obviously trying to attribute these aliens his own limited concepts. There isn´t any reason why we could not attribute them all kinds of other limited concepts coming from ourselves, for example magic and religion. If these aliens are so advanced it would be a mistake to use our own concepts on them at all.
Sam Harris makes the same mistake:
"Many people have noticed that there seem to be no new arguments for the truth of any of the world's religions. I recently stumbled upon one, however, and it has given me a moment's pause. ...
"Given these premises - that human consciousness is purely the product of computation; that our computing power will continue to grow; and that our descendants will build simulated worlds - it seems tempting to conclude that simulated people will eventually outnumber all the real people who have ever lived. Statistically, therefore, it is more likely that we are simulated ancestors, living in a simulated world, rather than real ancestors of the real, supercomputing people of the future.
"This is, of course, a very strange idea. And here is my own contribution: add to this strangeness the possibility that the supercomputing people of the future will build into their virtual worlds the truth of Mormonism, or some other faith that seems like it could not possibly be true at present. In which case, we may, in fact, be living in a world in which Jesus will return on clouds of glory to judge the living and the dead. Perversely, this could be a self-fulfilling prophecy: given how beguiled people have been by religious mythology throughout our history, our descendants might engineer specific religious doctrines into their virtual worlds just for the hell of it."
Harris, Sam. "Should We Be Mormons in the Matrix?" Sam Harris. 20 Apr. 2011. Web. 08 Aug. 2014.
It is interesting that Sam Harris all the time are using the concepts of mind and consciousness, in order to explain why mind and consciousness not at all are mind and consciousness, but results of computation. He explains away. He explains consciousness as being something which not at all are consciousness. A reductionism in other word. Why is that he with necessity must use the concept of consciousness, and must discriminate subject and object, in order to talk meaningful? Because that´s what reality dictates him (it is not a simulation), and therefore we must conclude that consciousness is an ontological fact.
6) The Simulation Theory is Causing an Endless Split of the Thought
As all theories of everything the Simulation theory ends in the thought distortion called Endless Split of the Thought.
The endless split of the thought implies the polarization-problem. Reality seems to be an Otherness which determines and defines the world – that is: a negation-principle. Any concept, anything, is defined by its negation; that is to say: what it not is. A dream can for example only be defined from what it not is. It is for example not reality. How can you for example assert that life, or reality, is a dream, unless you know what a dream not is? What is the good? This you know if you know what the evil is. This logic is impossible to get around.
The endless split of the thought has to do with the contradiction and split that are lying in, that the expulsion of the polar partners, as well as the negation as such, logical seen not is possible. All images imply the negation. But the more extreme you are thinking, the more you expel the negation, the larger are your contradiction and split.
You can see the logical problems manifested in a nightmare. When you in a nightmare are forced to confront the negations, but at the same time don't practise realizationwork and ethical practice in your awaken life, the nightmare will be characterized by contradiction and split. It is this doubleness, which creates the terror in the nightmare (see the entry on Doublethink).
The paths and the locations in a nightmare can imply two types of terror. The one terror lies in the paths. Each point on a path is determined by the negation of the point, which itself is determined by a third negation etc. The path constitutes in other words a series of points with no end. The points themselves are limited extents. This means, that there never will come a time, where you will get out over the limited points. On the path you become forced from point to point without ever being able to reach the unlimited, this endless, which would bring the path to finish. And yet the path is endless.
The second terror lies in the locations. When each location is determined by the negation of it, this means, that it might well be, that the location is divided from its negation, but nonetheless identical with it. This means, that each location is an endless number of locations, an abyss of worlds, countless, swarming, branching off to all sides in labyrinths, yet without that the worlds ever become mixed together. This is the nightmare from where the concept of the Multiverse comes, and to me it seems scary that this theory is praised as something fantastic. It reminds about something thought out by a body dissociated and schizophrenic mind. But it is a result of the top-heavy Indo-European symbolism. Energetically it looks like a reverse cone.
You can see these terrors illustrated in the stories by the before-mentioned Argentine author Jorge Luis Borges. You can also see it in M.C. Escher´s works, or in the movies by David Lynch.
Nietzsche is letting his ”Zarathustra” preach the teaching of the ”eternal recurrence of the same”. This teaching contains in its poetic language some complicated considerations over the problem of time, over the perception of time and the understanding of life. But in all briefness it says, that any event repeats itself in all eternity – that is: without change and without any kind of increase. History is a circle, and there isn´t anything, which hasn´t been before, and which doesn´t come again. A nightmarish thought because each event then must be an endless number of events, an abyss of events, countless, swarming, branching to all sides in labyrinths, yet without that the events ever become mixed together. The crucifixion of Jesus Christ has happened an endless number of times before, is happening again right now in an endless number of worlds, and will happen again an endless number of times in the future.
The weak nihilists break down, when they realize the meaninglessness in the eternal recurrence, while the superhumans on the contrary ”insatiable shouts Da Capo, not only to themselves, but to the whole play and acting”.
The problem of the endless split of the thought happens because of a lack of discrimination between the thinking and life itself; that is: the problem of magical thinking.
In fact it is the same type of split you can experience, when you are looking up towards the stars and become captured by this wonder over the infinity. How can it just go on and go on? But it is due to magical thinking, the lack of discrimination between the thought and reality itself. Something, which by nature is limitary, namely the thought, seeks to grasp the unlimited. Something, which by nature is expelling, seeks to grasp the all-inclusive. It results in a feeling of endless split, which again results in a lot of logical anomalies, paradoxes and problems. And it is these logical problems which lies underneath the thought distortions, for example Dichotom Thinking and Catastrophe-thinking, and therefore underneath a lot of inappropriate assumptions and rules of living.
It is precisely these logical anomalies, paradoxes and problems, which create Samsara´s wheel of eternal repeating up-cycles which is followed by eternal repeating down-cycles and vice versa (for example life and death, success and fiasco, joy and sorrow) – as well as the ignorance and the suffering when you are caught into this wheel, for example in the experience of nightmare and anxiety. All Jorge Luis Borges´ small stories are about these logical and philosophical problems. His stories are filled with mirrors, masks, infinite series and regresses, labyrinths, doppelgängers, time travel theories, other dimensions, parallel universes, solipsisms and dreams.
We have already examined the concept of endless series. But you must discriminate between the concept of endless series and the concept of endless regresses. An endless regress is an endless series, but an endless series is not necessarily an endless regress. You can very well operate with endless series without being involved in an endless regress, as for example when you talk about the cause of a road accident, which is enough explanation, though the chain of causes goes endlessly back in time. But if your thought is getting involved in such a chain of causes, then it ends as an endless split of the thought. This happens often in regression therapy, psychoanalysis, or self-analysis, where the discovery of the “cause” of, for example anxiety, doesn´t heal the anxiety, wherefore you are in need of new analysis, new discoveries of causes, and so on, in endless series, that are flowering in all kinds of directions. I have investigated this in my book A Portrait of a Lifeartist in the section about analysis.
Anyway, you can use the reference to the endless regress as an argument, when the understanding of a concept or a point of view – or the description of something – presupposes a final reason; that is: that the series of assumptions for the understanding have to end somewhere, but where the concept or the point of view nevertheless implicates, that the series continue endlessly.
In ancient India they meant that the Earth was a flat disc. When the children asked how the Earth could keep itself floating in the Universe, then the wise men said, that it was because it was carried by a giant elephant. When the children asked what the elephant was standing on, the answer was: on a giant turtle. And when the children then asked what the turtle was standing on, the wise men answered: now you are asking for more than can be answered.
This “explanation” on, how the Earth keeps itself floating, leads into an endless regress. It is no explanation at all, because it ends with a riddle that is as equally great, and which demands as much explanation as the riddle you started with.
Theories such as solipsism, Theories of everything and Time travel theories always end up in an Endless Split of the Thought.
Endless Split of the Thought implies the problem of the relation between thoughts and consciousness. In the following I will illustrate the problem seen in relation with Time Travel:
In Zen it is said about the process of awakening: ”In the beginning mountains are mountains, and woods are woods. Then mountains no longer are mountains and woods are no longer woods. Finally mountains are again mountains, woods are again woods.”
This refers to the three forms of states the wholeness can be in: sleep, dream, awake. When the wholeness is sleeping, mountains are mountains and woods are woods. This is the reality of the ordinary consciousness (the Ego-consciousness). The ordinary consciousness can sleep in three ways: 1) the dark sleep, which is the Ego´s deep nightly sleep; 2) the grey sleep, which is the Ego´s nightly dreams and other dreams; 3) the light sleep, where the Ego is awake.
The three forms of states the wholeness can be in, can also be described as the personal time, the collective time and the universal time. Furthermore it can be described as the personal history, the collective history and the universal history. Time and history constitute the structure under your thinking.
This structure is also called the astral plane, or the astral world. It is a plane of existence postulated both by classical (particular neo-Platonic), medieval, oriental and esoteric philosophies and mystery religions. It is the world of the planetary spheres, crossed by the soul in its astral body, either through the dream state, or on the way to being born and after death, and generally said to be populated by angels, demons, spirits or other immaterial beings.
The astral plane is connected with the so-called Akashic records. The Akashic records are a compendium of mystical knowledge encoded in a non-physical plane of existence: the astral plane. These records are described as containing all knowledge of human experience and the history of the cosmos. They are holding a record of all events, actions, thoughts and feelings that have ever occurred or will ever occur.
The Akasha is an “astral light” containing occult records, which spiritual beings can perceive by their “astral senses” and “astral bodies”. Clairvoyance, spiritual insight, prophecy and many other metaphysical and religious notions are made possible by tapping into the Akashic records. They are metaphorically described as a library. They can be accessed through astral projection, meditation, near-death experience, lucid dreaming, or other means.
The Akashic records are the wholeness, and as mentioned: the wholeness can be in three states of spiritual awakening - sleep, dream, awake – which again can be described as the personal, collective and universal time (or history).
Parallel universes, and other dimensions, only exist on an astral plane. I therefore accept the theory of Dimension UFOs. But there are also dangers connected with the astral plane such as for example spiritual crises (see my articles Spiritual Crises as the Cause of Paranormal Phenomena and Paranormal Phenomena Seen in Connection with Spiritual Practice). And the problem of consciousness is the same on the astral plane as on the normal plane. I will explain this problem below.
The Buddhist philosopher Nagarjuna said, that the Now´s lawfulness around the function of a universal negationpower, is due to, that energy works as streams and dividings within a superior wholeness. And because the wholeness is a reality, each part will always fit into a correspondent part. This means, that each part only can be understood in relation to its negation; that is: what the part not is. Firstly this implies, that each part comes to appear as part of a polarization-pair, or a pair of opposites – like in the teaching of Yin and Yang. In that way Nagarjuna´s philosophy advocates a kind of dualism if we shall use our thinking and language in an unambiguous way. Secondly it implies, that each part only can be understood in relation to everything else; that is: in relation to the wholeness.
So the more you, through the Ego´s evaluations, isolate these parts from each other, the more the abandoned parts will work stronger and stronger on their polar partners. Therefore these polar partners, in their extremes, finally will switch over in the opposite extreme. Another aspect of this lawfulness, or another way to describe this lawfulness is: energy returns to its starting point. This is also called compensatory karma, and the lawfulness works as wave movements and pendulum movements.
And since everything in this way only work correlative, yes, then Nagarjuna claimed, that we actually can´t say anything about the wholeness, only dualistic about the parts. Therefore he called the wholeness the Emptiness (´sûnyatâ) – a teaching, which had one quite determinate purpose: the neutralization of all the dogmas, theories and viewpoints, which ignorance has created.
The concept of emptiness refers to the intuitive experience of reality, that all inner and outer phenomena are devoid of independent existence and form of being. What they can be said to be, they can only be said to be in relation to something else, a complementary thing and vice versa. In that way they are nothing by virtue of themselves, and therefore nothing by virtue of something else either, etc. They are insubstantial, or as Nagarjuna calls it: codependent originated (everything that exists does so dependently on other things) (pratityasamutpanna). In absolute sense nothing exists independently, eternally or unchangeable. All existence is impermanent; everything that exists is transitory, lasting only a moment.
But this doesn´t mean, that Nagarjuna is an advocate of the absolute non-existence of things. Non-existence means namely neither negation nor opposition to existence. Therefore also non-existence is, as everything else, correlative. Codependent origination is what Nagarjuna calls emptiness. The creation of things, images and concepts ends in the emptiness. And by trying to reveal the unreality of the relative, conventional world, you can reach the absolute reality, which is lying in this emptiness. The emptiness is in that way the inexpressible (Nirvana). Because Nirvana is lying in the revelation of the unreality (Samsara), then Nirvana and Samsara is not at all different.
Nagarjuna´s teaching is in that way a kind of Dream Yoga.
What Nagarjuna´s teaching also tells us is that if we should use thoughts and language in an unambiguous way, it is necessary to advocate a kind of epistemological, or gnoseological dualism. In this dualism critical thinking is essential.
So if we should describe a human being in an unambiguous way, then Nagarjuna´s argumentation leads to the thought, that human beings have two complementary aspects: an energy aspect and a consciousness aspect. Seen from the energy aspect lawfulness rules: your body is subject to the physical laws of nature, your psychic system is subject to the lawfulness of the energy fields and of the energy transformations. The energy aspect is the area of compensatory karma; it is the area of experiences, the area of the personal and collective images of time, which work in sequences in past and future, and therefore in absence of awareness, or absence of consciousness. And that also means that it in itself is without realization.
The problem with time travel is then of course, that it is only in the energy aspect of humans you can talk about time travel (or the simulation theory). The same problem is happening when you on the astral plane try to go back or forth in time, you would then lose more and more consciousness. I will return to this problem below.
Seen from the consciousness aspect, then a human being seems to be akin to the wholeness, to be transcendent in relation to these lawfulnesses. The consciousness is the area of progressive karma, spiritual development, or spiritual growth; it is the area of realization, the area of the universal images of time, which work in synchronism with the Now. The Now seems to be a quality of awareness, and therefore also of consciousness and wholeness. Realization has to do with the three states the wholeness can be in: sleep, dream, awake. So it is only here you can talk about the spiritual insights of the great mystics. It is only here you can talk about genuine mystical experiences; that is: experiences, which are followed by realization. It is only here you can talk about spiritual growth (also see my article What is Karma?).
In time travel theories and in the simulation theory everything is reduced to the energy aspect, though. It is no coincidence when I say, that the thought about time travel is as old as the human thought, and that this has been shown in fiction, or, if in science, only as a theory. My main arguments against the possibility of time travel is namely that all the different theories of time travel (as well as the simulation theory) confuse thought with reality; that their arguments are based on magical thinking, even if they are materialists. The theory of time travel and the simulation theory are often supported by materialists (physicists), but they are ending up in subjectivism.
The past and the future, which theories of time travel are talking about, are the past and the future of the thought; that is: psychological time, not physical time. Or, said in another way: they are talking about subjective time, not objective time. So, when you are talking about traveling back to the past, you are talking about traveling back into the imageworld of what has been. And when you are talking about traveling into the future, you are talking about traveling into the imageworld of what could be. Said shortly: when you are talking about traveling in time, you are talking about traveling back or forth in the images of time, whether it is the personal or the collective images of time. You are not talking about traveling in reality. When talking about time traveling in reality you are confusing the thought (images) with reality.
If you should time travel in reality, this would mean, that you should bring reality with you, either back in time, or forwards in time. And with reality we are talking about the wholeness, everything. And with reality and wholeness I also mean the now and therefore consciousness. You would also have to bring the now, and the consciousness, either back in time, or forwards in time. And what becomes of the reality and the now you have left? And all the other people and their consciousnesses? And the whole of the universe? All this would now either be the future or the past. That would mean that time travel had to change everything in the wholeness, which then again mean, you had to change everything in an infinitely number of times. In that way a time travel theory would have to explain how everything had to be changed infinitely. A time travel theory had to involve a theory of everything, and a theory of everything is not possible as Niels Bohr claims. Because the explanation would never end.
This is precisely the same problem with the simulation theory. A simulation would have to change everything in the wholeness, which again means that it would have to change everything in an infinitely number of times. This is not possible. In that way the simulation theory would have to explain how everything could be changed infinitely. This explanation would neither come to any end. The attempt of simulation would never end. And therefore it is not possible.
If you traveled back and forth in time, then the consciousness of course should follow you, and therefore reality, and therefore the now, and therefore the wholeness, and therefore infinity. That would mean that the now you had left would have to change into, either the future or the past. Everything you had left therefore had be destroyed an endless number of times and when you arrive in either the past or the future everything should be created in an endless number of times. And that´s not possible. It would never end.
And if you should meet yourself, either as young (in the past) or old (in the future), who has the consciousness? Who is experiencing reality?
You can´t talk about consciousness in the energy aspect of Man. You can´t talk about consciousness (and therefore the now/reality/wholeness) in the same area as time travel. Nor can you in relation with M-theory or simulation theory. You end in an endless split of the thought.
The unbelievable size of the observable universe alone could indicate that it must be an illusion or simulation. It appears Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, Neil DeGgasse Tyson, San Harris and Richard Dawkins think so as well; that is: they think so. They have not used other sources of knowledge than their heads.
7) Digital Totalitarianism
When I´m talking about a coming Matrix Hybrid between Western Consumer Capitalism and Chinese Communism this isn´t even a prophesy. We already see the beginning. The Slovenian continental philosopher, Slavoj Žižek, sees the same: “capitalism doesn´t need democracy”, he says in an interview. He says that the economical globalization increasingly will be combined with stronger and more authoritarian national states. That is our future, and we already see it with Trump, Erdogan and Putin, as well as what is happening in China and India; an authoritarian capitalism. And he claims that the one who is the father of such a way of thinking is Lee Kuan Yew from Singapore. When Deng Xiaoping took the power in China in 1978, he went to the authoritarian Singapore and here he saw, how that system functioned. He then decided that it also should be like that in the the future of China, “and it works!” says Žižek. “But do you know what makes me pessimistic about that development? Slowly it happens – and this is very clear – that capitalism in lesser and lesser degree needs democracy.”
The so-called ”Californian Ideology” have emerged promoting a form of techno-utopia as a reachable goal. "The Californian Ideology" is a 1995 essay by English media theorists Richard Barbrook and Andy Cameron of the University of Westminster (download). Barbrook describes it as a "critique of dotcom neoliberalism". In the essay, Barbrook and Cameron argue that the rise of networking technologies in Silicon Valley in the 1990s was linked to American neoliberalism and a paradoxical hybridization of beliefs from the political left and right in the form of hopeful technological determinism. This ideology mixed New Left and New Right beliefs together based on their shared interest in anti-statism, the counterculture of the 1960s, and techno-utopianism.
Kurzweil is by far the most famous transhumanist. He is one of the founders of the so-called Singularity University, and is a director of engineering at Google. With the support of NASA, Google and a broad range of technology forecasters and technocapitalists, the Singularity University opened in June 2009 at the NASA Research Park in Silicon Valley with the goal of preparing the next generation of leaders to address the challenges of accelerating change.
With this we see the most scary part of what I want to explain in this booklet. Personally, I would guess, that most people (still) believe that the above-mentioned theories are far out. And I have shown them to be invalid. But this is precisely the problem. People don´t take it seriously. Because the theorists will try to get them forced through anyway. And then we have a Frankenstein scenario, a dystopia where people are forced to live after perverted theories of the human nature (Frankenstein´s project goes wrong due to a mix of power ideals and lack of understanding human nature). And it is happening right now.
In my theory about the Matrix Conspiracy I talk about five programming-technologies. One of them is management theory (about management theory, see my articles: Management Theory and the Self-help Industry, Self-help and the Mythology of Authenticity and, A Critique of Coaching).
I will now document how the above-mentioned Frankenstein scenario is enforced by management theorists controlled by the Singularity University. I will show how they are influencing politicians in Denmark (the same is happening in all other countries). I will in that connection mention two Danish authors: Markus Bernsen (journalist), and Mads Vestergaard (philosopher).
Markus Bernsen has written a book called Danmark Disruptet (Denmark Disrupted). The book is about how Denmark without bigger consideration has let itself be caught by technology enthusiasm and a disruption and algorithm logic, where it is about being digital frontrunners and participate in the, primarily American, tech giants´ agenda. The logic is that this is what a small country like Denmark needs to live by.
In Denmark it was seen in connection with a new employment act. With the exception of two parties, all political parties backed up behind the law, which opens for surveillance of unemployed. In an attempt to face long time unemployment, the law opens up for that you feed the algorithms of the office with all kind of personal information, whereafter they can tell whether the unemployed is in danger of ending as long time unemployed. The law was voted without much debate, without much consideration, and – as it would turn out - without that the politicians behind the political majority quite had comprehended the range of the law.
Again it is important to mention China. In the time of writing this, we see heavy protests in Hong Kong against a new law which makes it possible for citizens to be prosecuted in China. Why? Because the citizens know China. And that China is fully in progress of reintroducing hard-core Communism, as for example the new introduction of re-education-camps. China does this at the same time as it is embracing capitalism, or rather: techno-capitalism. Just think about it for a moment instead of celebrating how China finally is “opening up.” We ought to listen to why there are so heavy protests in Hong Kong.
In USA there has begun to happen a counter-reaction against digitization. Shareholders in Amazon are now beginning to question the ethics of, that the tax shy tech giant is using enormous amounts of money in developing its surveillance technology. A technology which has been accused of being both racist and stigmatizing.
In San Francisco – the unofficial tech capital of the world – there are plans about a direct prohibition against using face recognition. Because, while the police believe that it is necessary and required, more and more are warning against moving transitions towards a surveillance society. In that connection it is interesting that Nick Bostrom, who (apparently!) is a pessimist transhumanist, is out with a new thought experiment, and therefore a new kind of circular argument. He calls it, The Vulnerable World Hypothesis. I will not go deeper into it, since I already have shown the sophism of this kind of “argumentation”. But I will shortly describe it. Bostrom believes that it is sheer luck that we haven´t invented a technology that would destroy our world. Therefore, he suggests, we must establish a high tech surveillance society of Orwellian dimensions. Yes, you heard me right. First, he comes with a contrafactual hypothesis, and thereafter he suggests that we begin to take political action on the background on this hypothesis (which is building on a science fiction fantasy). He says that we must exit the “semi-anarchic default condition”, which we are in right now. He is quite open about that what he describes, is a high tech panopticon of the most extreme degree; that is: a global prison where we all are prisoners. But the alternative, he claims, is that our society will be destroyed. Here he puts up another sophistic thought distortion, namely a false dichotomy. False dichotomy is a misleading conception of possible alternatives. A dichotomy is a division in two alternatives. Often seen in the expressions Either/or – If/then, as for example: ”Either you are with us, or you are against us” – ”if I´m not always a success, then I´m a fiasco”. Similarly, someone who says that you must either believe that God exists or else that God doesn´t exist is setting up a false dichotomy since there is the well-known third option of the agnostic (download his article here).
It is unbelievable that this is what philosophy has turned into today, and it is scary that Bostrom himself in this way becomes a part of the danger he warns against.
Now, if we return to Bernsen´s article. In Denmark there is hardly any discussion about the warnings. Ok, the government has created a data ethical council and are willing to talk about responsible digitization, but it is at the same time working by full engines towards it.
In one of Bernsen´s great chapters, he tells about how the American tech giants Apple, Google and Facebook, under huge secrecy, have made their invasion in cities like Foulum by Viborg, Odense and Aabenraa. About Apple´s first soundings in Foulum, Bernsen writes: “The Americans began to visit the city regularly, and are lodging under false names.” Everything was secret and discreet and was surrounded by strange decisions until Apple´s billion-dollar investment was revealed. Only four people in the city council knew what was going on, says Flemming Gundersen, who was in the city council for the political party Enhedslisten: “I thought: is this really the way decisions are being made in Denmark when the big ones come and want to play?”
Apparently. Bernsen can´t go deeper into the case since it is blacked out. But he is convincing in his story about that something is hidden. Add to this that many people in Copenhagen would be surprised to know how staff is provided for free for Google´s Success Online-shop on Nørrbrobrogade Street 34: the tech giant coaches leaders to use the tech giant´s own tools, against that the local authorities deliver staff for free. Pure win-win, right?: the municipality of Copenhagen is accepting, and Google is entering deeper and deeper into the work of the municipality.
Bernsen describes our tech enthusiasm and absence of critical thinking (The Matrix Conspiracy is deliberately trying to eliminate critical thinking). He puts the date of the so-called disruption of Denmark to October 23, 2017, when the Singularity University was inviting to house warning for its Danish branch. Hordes of municipality leaders and private bosses paid up to $ 2500 for the entrance.
Bernsen sees this as an essential revival meeting.
Mads Vestergaard´s book Digital Totalitarisme (Digital Totalitarianism) begins by pointing out some unpleasant stories which is rampant in Western medias about China, where the central government in Beijing has started to introduce face recognition and handing out points to citizens for good and bad behavior. The goal is to ensure, that only the good citizens can have access to certain privileges, especially bank loans.
Vestergaard shows how we in the West fear this reality, which we see on the other side of the globe and in science fiction movies. Nonetheless, great parts of what many are offended over when hearing about Chinese digitization, are already a reality in our own part of the world, and many of the same thoughts, which the Communist party uses to legitimize this digital control over the Chinese, are also existing in the Western World.
According to Vestergaard, the tendency to collect records about the citizens in order to control them isn´t something which comes from a certain Chinese culture, or only exists under totalitarian regimes. The tendency is rather the consequence of a state´s eternal need for controlling the citizens, combined with capitalism´s build in drive towards gathering and accumulating information, which can be turned into profit.
Our counterpart to the Communist party in Beijing, is the large tech giants in Silicon Valley. Vestergaard shows, how the most bizarre part of this business, especially the Singularity University, is spreading an anti-democratic future ideology, where tech entrepreneurs represent a Communist-like enlightened elite, who shall lead our society into perfection. The others of us just need to remain passive, while we reverently and thankfully give them our data. Naive decision makers, not least in Denmark, have uncritically led themselves be abused as useful idiots by these ideological extremists and have, for years, sung the song of all kinds of digitization as an unavoidable movement towards a lighter, but also still accelerating future. A surveillance industrial complex, as Vestergaard calls it, where state and market flows together in suspect digital partnerships.
As Vestergaard shows, then the digitization and collection of data, are namely not without consequences. It can be used as strong tools of social control, it invades the peace of private life, and it can help to cement already existent inequalities in society, which now need to be justified by numbers and algorithms. In the most extreme consequence it can reduce decision makers and citizens to marionets in a totalitarian and undemocratic system, where everything is transparent and registered – except the large tech companies and their algorithms.
The power monopoly of the Communist party in Beijing is justified by that it is the few in the top of the party, which have the knowledge which is necessary for that the nation can be led towards growth, wealth and harmony. The party is the vanguard of progress. In Silicon Valley the entrepreneurs on the market have taken over the Communist party´s role as the farsighted planners. The new entrepreneur-technocrats are in that sense the best suited to steer the society in the correct direction, because only they have seen the future and can plan after it. The role of the elected politician will hereafter be to avoid stopping the “progress.”
This model is what the Google commissioned rapport, Digitizing Denmark, is lecturing about. It says:
Regulation can’t be allowed to hinder or slow down economic and societal development (page 16).
Got that! This is directly an advice about restricting the citizen´s democratic influence and political self-determination.
The rapport is made by management theorists from The Boston Consulting Group (download it here).
Part one of this booklet was about the New Age guru Ken Wilber, who more or less preaches the same anti-democratic ideas, and who has begun to adopt Singulariatism into his system. I mention Ken Wilber in connection with all this since I believe that it will one of the greatest mistakes to undervalue the influence from New Age. New Age is a spiritual movement that is far larger than all existing religions together. And New Age works in popular culture, which of course also means the internet.
I claim, that the rebellion against this ideology must be philosophy; philosophy in the ancient sense, where philosophy meant love of wisdom, and was a spiritual practice. We must become philosophical rebels and spiritual anarchists, who not are afraid of, for example, practicing loafing and civil disobedience; or said differently: who not are afraid of rejecting the social “order” in order to find our true calling in life.
The first part of this booklet: A Critique of Ken Wilber – Updated.
The Californian Ideology, by Richard Barbrook and Andy Cameron
The Vulnerable World Hypothesis, by Nick Bostrom
Digitizing Denmark – How Denmark Can Drive And Benefit An Accelerated Economy In Europe, by The Boston Consulting Group (commissioned by Google)
Articles on management theory, and its tools: psychotherapy and coaching:
Management Theory and the Self-help Industry
A Critique of Coaching
Self-help and the Mythology of Authenticity
Related in The Matrix Dictionary:
The Matrix Conspiracy
The Matrix Conspiracy Updates
The Matrix Conspiracy Fascism
Philosophy of Mind
Anti-intellectualism and Anti-science
Bridge between Science and Spirituality
What is Doublethink? (the propaganda tool of George Orwell´s 1984, and a warning against precisely what we see now: the big brother society)