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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Drugs, Mental Illness, and Simulation Theory

Did you know that mental illness is partially driven by technology? Schizophrenics a hundred years ago were talking about being controlled by 'aether', invisible wires, and things like that. We can only describe things using the language and tools of our time, for the most part.

Plato and many others did well at describing these things using language and concepts understood by their peers, while avoiding things specific to our time: rendering, processing, displays, etc. As we get more technologically advanced, our views more closely coincide with 'reality'. Hence simulation theory.

Now I'm not saying that simulation theory is crazy talk. Hear me out.

If you wanted to hack into a website, say, you would most likely use an exploit. Generally, you would create an error condition using random numbers or events that would bring about a window of opportunity to break through security.

If *I* were a lazy programmer, attempting to simulate drugs or mental illness, I'd probably just use a lot of random values. I tend to think that this is what can create a temporary condition that can allow one to see the 'Sim'. It has a crazy sort of logic to it.

It's really distressing to think that our universe is created by lazy programmers, isn't it? Distressing, but not really surprising. Some poor other-dimensional contract worker is tasked with simulating mental illness, and uses a cheap random number generator to do his work for him, creating little exploits for the bold or unfortunate to use to break through and see the Sim.

Sounds about right. Then they probably over-taxed him, and shorted him four credits of overtime.

It gets worse, because who would believe anyone on drugs, or mentally ill? That's why I'm a writer. I can go on about this sort of dross for days, and I get a free pass.

(Editor's note: This is why I avoid drugs, now. I like normalcy.)

My favorite story (FROM BACK IN THE DAYS WHEN I DID DRUGS AND ENJOYED MENTAL ILLNESS):

My fiancee and I had been up for several days. She couldn't sleep, because I was still awake, and each time she started to doze, she would get up again to check on me.

I told her to put her head in my lap and rest, and that way she wouldn't have to wake up. So she came over to where I was on the couch, and we were face to face.

Her hair started moving a bit, like antennae. My hair did the same thing. I say a point on her face emit dotted line rays, and then she started turning into triangles.

My hand was on her shoulder, under her hair. I felt my hand pass through her, exactly as things behave when you render in 3D.

So, hallucination, mental illness, a glimpse into the Sim...or all three?

Philip K. Dick knows. But he's no longer talking.