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A Cyberized Interpretation of Life and the Universe

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I think that we are most likely living inside a gigantic computer, although, of course, there is no way to know that.

Even if that is true, a simulated reality would be indistinguishable from "true" reality.

This is an old idea actually, and a modern term for this is generally referred to as "digital philosophy" which essentially maintains that all mental and physical activities are digitized information processing. Our brains, genes, living things, galaxies, planets, rocks, and everything else are essentially physical systems which are storing and processing bits of information in a systematic manner - similar to what happens in a computer. The universe itself behaves like a computer and as if it's running on a powerful program.

The more interesting thing about it are the close relationships that I noticed between such a computational view of reality and our spiritual existence (i.e. religion). For example, Allah says that the worldly life is just an "illusion" or a means of "deception." Surah 57:20: " ...whereas the life of the world is but a matter of illusion." And the day we are raised again, we will find that our visions and our comprehension have become much more different, focused, and sharper. It would seem as if we just woke up from a dream which people in this life call "reality." So, I think that this worldly life might just be a sort of gigantic simulation. It's not so real as we think it is. Everything around us is deceiving us.

 

We know that our every action and our thoughts are being recorded by the angels. Our good deeds and bad deeds are being written and they can be stored, retrieved, or even deleted as Allah wishes. And shaytaan is like a spammer; he whispers bad things into our heads that should be discarded immediately. He tries to corrupt our spiritual system with all kinds of bad things and bad ideas. But there are ways to protect ourselves, such as by performing the salaah or by doing dhikr, which are sort of like an anti-virus against the evil things that the shaytaan tries to infect us with constantly.

Another source of protection we have is the Quran, which is a guidance for humanity, a mercy, miracle, and many other things. It is also like a spiritual "control system" because the book is intended to command and regulate our everyday behavior. There were other divinely inspired books before the Quran (including the Bible and Tawrah) that Allah sent to His prophets. But, gradually, errors started creeping into those books because of human alterations.

So then, Allah sent another book and a final one, the Quran, as as an updated version of all the previous scriptures that were tampered with. Allah simply replaced the older scriptures with a new and a final scripture and this is known as abrogation (which also occurs in the Quran itself). In computer terminology, I think that this is analogous to an "over-writing" process in a computer program. When something is over-written, an old set of information gets replaced with a new set of information. In that sense, the Quran is the new data because it "over-writes" the older scriptures.

And on the Day of Resurrection, our skin, bones, fingers, and our entire bodies will be resurrected into one piece (as we were before). Our bodies will rise from the graves and return to an earlier form. They will be reconstructed to the very tips of our fingers. And I think that process could be something like a real-life system restore (as opposed to a computer system restore), but only Allah knows how it's done.


Ultimately, whether this idea is true or not probably doesn't make any difference. And these are just some analogies. I still wanted to hear what people think, though, because I don't think it's merely a coincidence that we find so many similarities between our religion and a computational/simulated view of reality as I explained above.

I just feel that we are living in a kind of programmed, simulated reality which is deceiving everyone by making us think that this is all real.

What are your thoughts on this?

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well the theory is that the universe may just be a hologram so you may be onto something there

I don't think it's a theory no more Well it's kinda true that everything we see when you look as close as possible is really just energy and not physical (friend was telling me about physics) and that our brain interprets what we see ( which can bring interesting points about Jinns and smokeless fire) but it doesn't mean it's not real it just that our understanding on how we see life is changing to non physical coz the universe is made from matter too

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Well, essentially, you can simulate pretty much whatever you feel like in a computer(assuming you have a machine capable of making an infinite number of computations for each unit of time), so the last assertion that 'it's not merely a coincidence' isn't really valid. Having said this, I suppose there is no reason to say your idea is false as a theory - dreams are constructs of a computer (your brain), and they feel real enough.

I feel that your analogies with respect to the Quran and Shaitaan (and possibly others) are off the mark.

Also with regards to being raised, you said: 'And on the Day of Resurrection, our skin, bones, fingers, and our entire bodies will be resurrected into one piece (as we were before).' However, if this life was a simulation, then dying would also have been a simulation. If this is the case, the day of resurrection would also be a simulation, because -unless you are suggesting that when you die in the simulation, you die in 'reality' - what relevance does the simulation have with being raised if you died in the simulation but not in the 'reality'.

I believe with respect to the word translated as 'illusion' (Ghuroor), you will also find it translated as 'delusion'(Sahih International/Dr. Ghali), deceiving enjoyment (Muhsin Khan), [goods and chattels of/means of] deception (Yusuf Ali/Shakir, respectively). I believe it has more to do with the relative worthlessness of this life's pleasures as a means of true fulfillment:

"Know that the life of this world is but amusement and diversion and adornment and boasting to one another and competition in increase of wealth and children - like the example of a rain whose [resulting] plant growth pleases the tillers; then it dries and you see it turned yellow; then it becomes [scattered] debris. And in the Hereafter is severe punishment and forgiveness from Allah and approval. And what is the worldly life except the enjoyment of delusion." 57:20

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Didn't Harun Yahya say something similar? That the world around us is not real? I think I heard it/read it one time, it was a while ago now though. I am putting it here now that I'm not 100% sure, cos I've had trouble on here before if I don't add a disclaimer!

 

I don't believe we are in a simulation though. Everything is real. What would be the point of Allah making a fake world, putting humans in it and letting them think its real? I mean we have been told we are accountable for our actions, what's the point if none of it is real?

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I don't believe we are in a simulation though. Everything is real. What would be the point of Allah making a fake world, putting humans in it and letting them think its real? I mean we have been told we are accountable for our actions, what's the point if none of it is real?

 

I do believe that everything we see are "real," but just that what we perceive makes up only the very surface of reality. There is a "greater reality" that exists beyond our awareness and which will be revealed to us in the next life. The present reality is not as real as we think it is. For example, maybe the keyboard that I'm typing on can somehow be turned into some other mysterious object, or a tree can turn into a cow, or a cow can turn into a monkey, and so on just like Musa's rod turned into a snake one time, or the splitting of the Red Sea, or the splitting of the moon in half, and many other "physcially impossible" things that occurred in the past. All these strange things make it seem as if the laws of nature can be "hacked" as if the world is a giant computer and then anything can happen. We call them miracles.

 

Also, maybe we are all participants of a gigantic simulated-reality game: we are the players in the game, and all our actions are being recorded in our book of deeds. The book is like a "scoresheet" because it records the points that we are earning and losing every day. And maybe the Quran is like an instruction book that is supposed to guide us to success. Winners go to Heaven and losers go to Hell. Some people will want to retry the game - just one more time. They will ask Allah to send them back to earth so that they can get another chance. But, there won't be any retries after the game is over ...

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Also with regards to being raised, you said: 'And on the Day of Resurrection, our skin, bones, fingers, and our entire bodies will be resurrected into one piece (as we were before).' However, if this life was a simulation, then dying would also have been a simulation. If this is the case, the day of resurrection would also be a simulation, because -unless you are suggesting that when you die in the simulation, you die in 'reality' - what relevance does the simulation have with being raised if you died in the simulation but not in the 'reality'.

 

There might be no discernible difference between reality and simulation because reality itself could be a simulation. Then, the whole universe could be regarded as a type of super powerful computer.

 

In respect to the resurrection issue, I think that resurrection is a physical process because the Quran says that our entire bodies will be reconstructed including even the smallest details in our fingertips. But, however the resurrection happens, I'm pretty sure that it's going to happen in reality. And it could be happening inside a simulation as well IF the universe is a computer. "Reality" and a "simulated reality" would be indistinguishable from each other in such a computational universe.

 

And I agree with you that the word "illusion" in the Surah that I quoted could very well be translated as "delusion" also.

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There might be no discernible difference between reality and simulation because reality itself could be a simulation. Then, the whole universe could be regarded as a type of super powerful computer.

 

In respect to the resurrection issue, I think that resurrection is a physical process because the Quran says that our entire bodies will be reconstructed including even the smallest details in our fingertips. But, however the resurrection happens, I'm pretty sure that it's going to happen in reality. And it could be happening inside a simulation as well IF the universe is a computer. "Reality" and a "simulated reality" would be indistinguishable from each other in such a computational universe.

And I agree with you that the word "illusion" in the Surah that I quoted could very well be translated as "delusion" also.

Are you sure you have the right tafseer of the Ayah? How can it be simulation if it's real? How can the universe be a computer if we are made from the same thing? i.e matter

 

The analogy you give is inaccurate. Life is not a game, it's a race to our goal in life as humans. Allah already knows about any deeds we commit so how our book a scoresheet, when we are entering Allah's Junnah by His Mercy?

 

Just because we haven't got much understanding of something doesn't make it any less real.

 

Some miracles we can know and understand how it happens but full understanding is from Allah alone.

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Ultimately, whether this idea is true or not probably doesn't make any difference. And these are just some analogies. I still wanted to hear what people think, though, because I don't think it's merely a coincidence that we find so many similarities between our religion and a computational/simulated view of reality as I explained above.

 

I just feel that we are living in a kind of programmed, simulated reality which is deceiving everyone by making us think that this is all real.

Assuming for a moment that the digital reality that you are describing is the way the world works, then it is real. Any thing other than that would be a delusion, wouldn't it?

 

So when you say: "It is deceiving everyone by making us think that this is all real" - well, it is real - it's just simulated. Does that really make a difference?

 

It would be deceiving us into thinking it's not simulated - but how does the simulation model add to our knowledge of the world? I don't think it does. It seems like an analogy - perhaps a perfect one - but it doesn't really add to anything functionally or predictive-wise.

 

In the case that the world isn't simulated, what would "non simulated" mean exactly? I don't understand what you mean by it. It seems to be that my non simulated you simply mean "I no longer think of the Quran as an updated version or Shaytaan as a spammer or etc etc" - it's not like it has changed anything about the world itself, it's just that now you aren't making comparisons of what we see with computers. So the only difference I see with a non simulated world and a simulated world as you have described it is that in the latter, you are comparing everything to its computer equivalent, which you do not do in the former. :/ Is that really.. you know... useful? :/ People who think that this world is "non simulated" (what you describe as "real") simply aren't making a rather unhelpful analogy. They still think the Qur'an is a final version of the previous scriptures, Shaytaan is bad, etc. So they see reality the same way, I think. The analogy or lack thereof isn't making any sort of fundamental difference. Right?

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Your description and analogies in your opening post kinda reminds me of what happens when people get really deep/passionate about an area of study/knowledge and then start seeing the world through those lenses- well at least, through the terminology and categorisations that field offers.

 

Don't get me wrong, I'm sure there are a lot of relevant and apt parallels between what you observe in the world of computational science (if that's even what it is lol, I am so clueless) and the things about abrogation/overwrites and Shaytan being a spammer (lawlz) but the theory seems a little whacky for me. Like Allah would have given us knowledge of what was relevant to us, no? And if it is all some grand simulation, now does that practically effect what our "mission" here in dunya/the giant SNES actually is?

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