X-Message-Number: 16670
Date: Sun, 24 Jun 2001 14:56:35 -0500
From: david pizer <>
Subject: But, how can you know if your life is real?

There were several comments to my thought experiment, but no once could
answer the question telling how a person could ever know if his life was real?

>Subject: Re: Is life a game?

>  Well of course we're probably all living in a simulation. Every inhabited 
>universe has zillions of simulations with only one "real" level, so the odds 
>are huge that you're in a simulation.


A very interesting idea.  I am not a mathematician, but I'll bet that
someone could work out what the odds are or are not that we are in a
simulated life.  And it just might be that the odds favor one being in a
fake life over being in a real life.  Even knowing the odds predict that
one is in a fake life rather than a real life, the original question still
stands unscratched  "How could you ever know if you are in a real life (no
designer, all by accident), or a fake life?"

>From: Lee Corbin <>
>Subject: Re: Is Life a game?  How can you know?

>First, understand that *boredom* is not simply some kind
>of default state that happens to a soul (mainly because
>we do not have souls).  Boredom is an extremely sophisticated
>process built into people for the express purpose of aiding
>survival.  You may wish, in the far future, to turn off
>boredom for certain things, just as for some of us it's
>already be turned off for food and sex, and in just the
>same way that you may wish to turn off pain for certain

You must understand boredom in a different way than I do.  I think I
understand how drives for sex and food are built into our bodies.  But I do
not think boredome is built in to our bodies in such a similar way (if at
all).  The drive for food or sex is a physical, mechanical, concrete thing.
 Boredom is an abstract way of describing how you feel when nothing excites
you.  Are you suggesting that one will have to redesign hiself to be
something like an emotional-less zombie to avoid boredom?? 

>Second, I fear that your phrasing of the question "what
>does an immortal do?" carries the subtle implication that
>the immortal in question has reached a point of stasis.
>This is very common among all us millenarianists, because
>"Later" is always idealized as a Wonderful (but static)
>condition.  But perhaps a static equilibrium never obtains;
>one very well may be engaged in revolutionary growth at all
>future times.

If one has every possible virtual possession and every desire satisfied,
how is that not virtually static?

>Therefore, two things are nearly certain to be perpetual
>activities of an immortal:
>1.  Gratification Research.  (Self re-design to accomodate
>    enhanced experiences and capabilities.)
>2.  Mathematics Exploration.  (It can be shown that there
>    exist infinitely many mathematical theorems---very nice
>    if physical explorations ever come to an end.)

>Exercise for the reader:  What if one does not like math?
>(Hint:  see above remarks about "boredom".)
>Lee Corbin

In a particular way, exploring individual theorems forever might exist, but
in a more universal way, exploring theorems in general, might become
similar and boreing. 

But have you no possible answer on how one could know if one was in a fake
world or his own creation (made with his permission by someone, and not an
accidental world like we think we live in) ?

>  Louis Epstein:
>> I would speculate that in order to win, one would have to come to know
>> things that count for points before the other contestants did.  And the
>> piece of knowledge that would count for the most points would be to fully
>> realize that you are in a fantasy world.   

>Wouldn't that be held against
>the game designer,for creating
>an insufficiently convincing

So in this thought, the meat of the competition is not between two players
*in* the fake life as I thought at first, but between one player who
designs a game of a fake life, and another player who agrees to play (life)
in the fake life and see if he could ever realize he *was* in a fake life
and then be able (within the fake life) to prove it.

This reminds me of when I took wrestling in school.  One time one person
got the other person in a hold, the whistle blew and you got points for
getting away (if you could). And in the next segment, the situation was

So the question still stands undented, "How could one tell if one was in a
fake life?"

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