“What if we’re living in a simulation, Adama?” Eva asked, sliding the hookah back towards her boyfriend. “What if we’re something like The Sims, doing only what our programs allows us as our ancestors try to get a better idea how their forefathers lived? Or what if we’re a holographic projection, sort of like shadows of Plato’s forms?”
“I hate it when you get bombed, girl,” Adama responded. “How would any of those things being reality change how you live? If you’re a simulation, you could only do what your programing allows. You’d be bound by the limits of the world laid out for you. You’d never escape the simulation, so what does it matter?”
Eva frowned and reached for the hookah since her boyfriend waved it off. The haze that clothed the upper half of the room’s atmosphere seemed to be enough for him.
“Don’t you think any potential programmer would have a moral obligation to create the best possible world for us?” Eva pondered before making the hookah gurgle.
“Do you think that’s what people do when they play The Sims? No, that’s boring. The program dictates you make them find jobs, dates – all the same things we do, I guess for the sake of doing something.” Adama leaned back on the couch and tilted his head up. The hazy air slipped into his nostrils like a gentle brook.
“You’d be lucky to be an avatar in a game like The Sims,” Adama continued, talking to the ceiling. “Imagine you were in a game like Fortnite. Do those programmers live by a moral code to make the best possible world for their program’s inhabitants? Don’t think so. All the inhabitants of that world do is kill each other.”
Eva blew a cloud of smoke Adama’s way. “You don’t think our ancestors could be trying to figure out what their forefathers were like?” she said with the last remnants of air in her lungs.
“Nah,” Adama replied. “Our records are pretty good going back to at least the turn of the twentieth century. It gets murkier the further we go back, of course, but then we’d be part of some ancient civilization and not inhabiting the twenty-first century. Assuming our records survive into the future. Even if the records didn’t, we’d just be guesses, approximations of their forefathers, and I don’t see how that would be helpful to our ancestors.”
“Okay, so what if we’re projections or afterglow of some real universe?” Eva continued. Adama was regretting talking his girlfriend into taking the Philosophy of Mind course with him at college. She only talked about the class when she got high.
“Are you saying that because we’re a projection that what we experience is somehow devalued by not being the real thing? How would we know we’re not experiencing all the same things, the same feelings, as our real selves? Whether or not it’s the reality of our situation would be pointless. Even if we were projections, how does that change anything? We wouldn’t be able to change our being projections. It wouldn’t change how we behave. We couldn’t change how we behave because only our real selves could do that, right?”
Eva looked down. “Could you smoke a little bit more, babe?”
“Eva, baby, I don’t need to alter my reality that much. I’m good right now,” Adama argued. “Why do people want so much to believe that this reality isn’t real anyway? You want to believe you’re a brain in a jar somewhere so that, what, you can escape responsibility? Find an explanation for why people can be so crazy? Believe that beyond this false reality the universe does in fact care?”
Eva was beginning to see the apple and laid back in the recliner across from Adama.
“I guess you’re right,” she said ad looked away into the recesses of darkness the apartment’s thick curtains threw. “What kind of world would our simulators be living in? Probably the same, huh? I guess it doesn’t matter if we’re simulations, holograms, or if this is as real as it gets. We can only do what we do given the laws of the universe we live in. The truth, whatever it is, doesn’t change much of anything.”
Adama leaned forward and opened his reddened eyes at Eva. “The truth isn’t even the truth. And that’s the truth. I still love you, though.”
“If that’s what either one of us want to believe,” Eva spoke into a shady corner.
“Is it possible for them to say that?” Dr. Amada asked his colleague about the holographic simulation.
“The parameters of their programming appear to allow for it,” Dr. Ave responded.
“What do you think it means?” was Dr. Amada’s next question.
“It confirms what we already know. It means whatever we want it to mean and that’s the truth,” Dr. Ave reminded.
“It hate that the truth is subjective,” Dr. Amada said as he reached for a modified beaker. He took a hose by its mouthpiece and puckered his lips around it.
“If the truth were objective, wouldn’t that be worse?” Dr. Ave rejoined as she waved the smoke away.
All Rights Reserved (c) July 2019 John J Vinacci