A survival guide for living in The Simulation

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/07/31/a-survival-guide-for-living-in.html


Seems to me that the best way to maximize your chance of survival would be to just stay home. (That also applies for pandemics.)


Maintain a healthy diet and engage in regular exercise!


Fitter, happier, more productive
Comfortable, not drinking too much
Regular exercise at the gym 3 days a week
Getting on better with your associate employee contemporaries

At ease, eating well
No more microwave dinners and saturated fats
A patient better driver, a safer car, baby smiling in back seat
Sleeping well, no bad dreams, no paranoia
Careful to all animals, never washing spiders down the plughole

Keep in contact with old friends, enjoy a drink now and then
Will frequently check credit at Moral Bank hole in wall
Favors for favors, fond but not in love
Charity, standing orders, on Sundays ring road supermarket

No killing moths or putting boiling water on the ants
Car wash also on Sundays
No longer afraid of the dark or midday shadows
Nothing so ridiculously teenage and desperate
Nothing so childish

At a better pace, slower and more calculated
No chance of escape, now self-employed
Concerned but powerless
An empowered and informed member of society

Pragmatism, not idealism
Will not cry in public
Less chance of illness
Tires that grip in the wet
Shot of baby strapped in back seat
A good memory

Still cries at a good film
Still kisses with saliva
No longer empty and frantic
Like a cat tied to a stick
That’s driven into frozen winter shit

The ability to laugh at weakness
Calm, fitter, healthier and more productive
A pig in a cage on antibiotics

(Thanks for lining it all out, Thom)


It’s Sunday. You wake up after a very pleasant sleep. You feel good.

Instantly I realize something is wrong.


I really dislike philosophy exercises like these (a lot of philosophy, maybe most philosophy), and I’m either missing the point, or I get the point and it fails to land with me.

We’re either living in a simulation, or we aren’t, but we should behave as if we’re not, as though life is completely real, for very good reasons. How is this an engaging line of thought? Is it the cleverness of the very good reasons? I am always left cold by these things.

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The appeal of it for other people is pretty obvious: some folks think that by figuring out the puzzle, they can become Neo in their matrix, and hack their way to superuser status.

From my perspective, these folks seem much more likely to become like Cypher, and act as tentacles for some other would-be superuser.


It’s not necessarily this particular example, just philosophical questions in general, where the answer is, it ultimately doesn’t matter, just always do X.

Are we in the matrix? Act like you’re not.
Do we have free will? Act like you do.
Is hell real? Act like it is.


One of these things is not like the others.


I immediately delete myself - permanently.


Also a movie which scraps one of the central characters and the resolution, but does have the virtue of ending with, among other things, Nick Nolte running away from the police in nylons and garters screaming “Maui! Maui! Maui!”


Any email from Musk goes straight into the trash.

The point is simple: reflect on yourself in a new situation, and you may learn something about yourself, and maybe even something about the world.

There is no indication whatsoever that we are living in a simulation, and that‘s why we should act accordingly. If there were proof that we are living in a simulation, we should definitely consider adapting our behavior.

The concept of hell is of the same kind as the concept of living in a simulation: just one of a million ideas with no proof whatsoever

Can you explain why you propose a different strategy here?


I immediately delete the Donald. :sunglasses:


Because the idea is that you are not already in hell.

Of course there are plenty of reasons to not be guided by the notion of punishment for violating the arbitrary rules of a paranoid, narcissistic and vicious bronze-age tribal chieftain, so one should specify whether they mean an biblical hell or one measured by some sense of real justice and morality…


Yes, exactly. I don’t understand how they are interesting or engaging. It’s like… arguing about the color of your invisible hat. It does absolutely nothing for me.

How can you be so certain? I mean, is that loaf of bread over there really “a loaf of bread,” or is it just a copy of the idea of what a loaf of bread supposedly is?

Sorry man, here you go, didn’t mean to bogart this thing.


Another version of this, I think, comes up with Larry Niven’s (and Spider Robinsons’s)concept of wireheads. I remember reading those stories as a teenager, and promising myself I’d far rather achieve pleasure through more authentic channels. I kind of wish I’d done a little more drugs back then, though.


The best argument that we are in the simulation is that at some point we’ll have enough computing power and storage to simulate a good-sized fraction of the universe (or what I perceive of it – proving you also exist is left as an exercise for gangs of roving solipsists), and in 18 months two such universes, so on ad infinitum. So once simulations become a hobby, there will be lots of them, which means the odds are much greater that this is a simulation than not.

If that’s the case, I really want to slap my “player” for messing with the government knobs.

But if you find this stuff intriguing, read William Gibson’s “The Peripheral” and “Agency.” Brilliant, beautiful books that deal with a future with access to “stub” realities that may be simulations, or may be portals into alternate realities, and there’s no telling which (but that’s not the point of the stories). Probably his best work to date.