RE: The Matrix

From: altamira (
Date: Sun May 28 2000 - 12:58:59 MDT

Oh, OK. What you're saying is quite different from what Mike Lorrey wrote,
and I see now that you were actually the person who posted the original
message I asked about. And from your explanation I can understand why you
would say there may be no escape.

Although I'm familiar with the basic concepts of quantum mechanics, I've
never actually read the math involved. Regarding the calculus, I've always
thought it was pretty remarkable that a fiction built from a definition of
real numbers and a few operations and rules, could end up being so very
useful in "real life." My 16 year old daughter is studying calculus in
school and was having a hard time understanding some of her assignments, so
I got out some old real analysis books I had lying around and taught her
calculus from scratch, and she too thought it an amazing thing.

Of course I'm not qualified to pass judgement on quantum mechanics, not
having read the math. But this much I feel safe to say: quantum mechanics,
like calculus, is a model which is useful in studying and manipulating our
environment. I would predict that, like calculus, it won't be the final

The semi-solipsistic problem I alluded to has more to do with psychology
than with quantum mechanics, but the two may be more closely related than
one might think. I believe they are, but I would like to organize my
thoughts and data before writing more on the subject.


-----Original Message-----
[]On Behalf Of Dan Adams
Sent: Friday, May 26, 2000 7:26 PM
Subject: RE: The Matrix

Well, you must watch the movie (if not for this line
of thought, then, just because it's a great movie).
What I mean by simulational here is something
altogether different from the semi-solipsism problem
you're referring to below. By simulational, it is
meant that reality is inherently defined by discrete
mathematics - at the most fundamental level reality is
"grainy." This is because the ultimate basis of
matter/energy is quantum mechanical. What
ramifications does this have? Besides the interesting
fact that calculus (long held to be the true
mathematics which could so accurately describe motion
and changes of rate) turns out to be nothing more than
a helpful fiction with no basis in reality (i.e. it
was useful because it treated remarkably small
discrete changes in position and velocity as
continuous - something which, though innaccurate was
far more useful than previous mathematical models), it
can be shown that there is absolutely no experiment
which you could perform in such a universe which would
differentiate it in any recognizable way from a
quantum mechanical simulaiton running on some alien
Does this prove we're living in a computer? No. By
definition, that cannot be proved either. Therin lies
the far more devious realization - we MIGHT AS WELL be
in a simulation.

--- altamira <> wrote:
> Would you mind elaborating on what you said about
> reality being
> simulational? What, specifically, do you mean? Why
> would our simulation be
> inescapable? I've never seen *The Matrix* (after
> seeing the comments here I
> shall rent the video and watch it), but I believe I
> earlier mentioned a
> *Scientific American* article I read in 1974 about
> the unreliability of
> eyewitness testimony. This article started me on a
> branch of thinking which
> has led me to suspect that much of that which we
> think of as reality is
> illusory--or, you might say, a simulation of our own
> minds.
> Bonnie
> -----Original Message-----
> From:
> []On Behalf Of
> Dan Adams
> Sent: Friday, May 26, 2000 10:33 AM
> To:
> Subject: Re: The Matrix
> Indeed it is. I've been waiting for someone to say
> that :-)
> It really puts a cinderella spin on reality
> though...sure, they have to battle soulless machines
> bent on keeping them as their personal "batteries."
> Nonetheless, the underlying metaphysical statement
> that all of reality is simulational is completely
> true
> in a far more powerful (and, diabolical) way. Our
> simulation may be inescapable and there are no big
> bad
> robots to direct our anger and frustration at...
> --- "Ross A. Finlayson" <> wrote:
> > Hello,
> >
> > I saw the Matrix finally. It is a beautiful
> movie.
> >
> > Ross
> >
> =====
> -------
> Dan Adams
> Boston College
> 617.782.4050
> "I cannot articulate enough to express my dislike to
> people who think that
> understanding spoils your experience...How would
> they know?"
> - Marvin Minsky
> __________________________________________________
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