X-Message-Number: 26060
Date: Wed, 20 Apr 2005 11:59:11 -0400
From: Francois <>
Subject: To Richard

Virtual entities don't actually exist you say. They cannot experience, nor
can we experience them, and the virtual dog cannot walk in virtual rain
because both are only electrons flowing in networks of transistors. Yet, I
know of at least one kind of purely virtual world that we can experience as
virtual entities right now. I have been in such a virtual world, so have you
and so have almost all humans living or dead throughout history. I'm talking
about dreams of course.

The dreamworld, by your definition, does not exist. All we really have
during dreaming are physical neurons transmitting electrochemical signals to
each other. They are the only "hard" observable reality in the dream
experience, the only things I would see if I tried to observe a dream with a
microscope. I will grant you that it is indeed the case. However, from the
point of view of the dreamer, this is very far from the truth. In my dreams,
I have walked in magnificent palaces, in exotic gardens, in ruined cities
destroyed by war. I visited other times, other places, other worlds and met
thousands of people. By your definition, none of that was real, and indeed
it wasn't. Yet, when I touched a marble statue in one of my dream gardens,
it felt to me like touching a real marble statue in a real garden. There was
no marble to be touched, and no flesh and blood hand to touch it, yet the
experience I remembered after waking up was of a flesh and blood hand
touching cool hard marble.

Of course, there was no uploading involved since it was still my own brain
experiencing the whole thing. But you cannot denie that dreams are
completely virtual experiences that completely feel like real ones. Even
though all that was really happening at the time was neurons exchanging
signals within the confines of my skull, I still saw and touched a marble
statue in a garden. Dreams are a proof of concept that life as a virtual
entity in a virtual world is a perfectly valid and satisfactory form of

And you could have chosen a less contemptuous location than your toilet as
an example of a place where I could already exist in encoded form. This kind
of cheap shot coming from an obviously intelligent and educated person
really saddens me.

The Devil fears those who learn more
than those who pray

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