The Simulation: An Alternative Cosmic Theory

“So, what exactly is that?”

“In a word? That’s Genesis. Chapter One

I stared. Mesmerized. At what was not supposed to be, but was. And as I stared, I reminisced.

The journey to the present situation had been long, and convoluted. It had involved scores of eccentric and liberal minded people. And it had also span across several centuries. Perhaps, in a sense, the underlying thought behind the present situation had started with the Italian polymath, Leonardo Da Vinci. Da Vinci had, in his lifetime, thought about, and drawn, several artifacts that pickled even the most average mind, and triggered metaphysical questions. Or perhaps, with its intimate association with fractals and the Fibonacci sequence, this thought had, more correctly, started with yet another Italian, Leonardo Fibonacci – an entire millennium ago.

Either way, the journey was birthed in mathematics – the purest of human disciplines.

The Fibonacci sequence has always been regarded with awe by mathematicians. Consecutive numbers in the sequence show a weird interrelationship… one best depicted as the ratio Phi – which is approximately 1.61803. When this interrelationship is depicted graphically, a spiraling shape emerges. What is amazing about this shape is the sheer number of instances in which nature has encoded phi into its core makeup. From the microscopic instance, such as the DNA’s helical dimensions, to the average-sized, such as cowrie shells and floral presentation in most plants, all the way up to the shape of most galaxies, the Fibonacci – inspired spiral is ubiquitous.

Prior to the age of computing, the omnipresent nature of Phi in the universe used to be regarded as just but one of the many cosmic puzzles still to be unraveled. But as computing advanced, a few insightful analogies started emerging. Chief amongst them was the realization that a huge amount of complexity could be created from a simple iteration of fractals. Phenomena traditionally perceived as being chaotic, such as weather patterns, could be broken down to simple interactions of elementary principles. Given an exhaustive knowledge of all such elementary principles, and with enough computing power, all chaotic events in nature could be accounted for and, even more intriguingly, forecasted.

It was upon this cognitive foundation that the very seams of our universe started coming apart.

Slowly at first, but quickly gathering speed, a new paradigm started forming amongst the top scientists in the world. This paradigm had the scientists realizing that, with the ubiquitous nature of fractals in the observable universe, the amount of computing needed to encompass all cosmic information was finite. And hence, if the basic principles of the universe were to be tabled out, it was mathematically possible to simulate a replica of a small part of the universe, scale it up through numerous recursions, and essentially end up with another universe, similar to this one in complexity and depth of detail. And yet, even with all the vast scales involved in such an undertaking, the amount of computing needed would remain finite… and possibly even within human capacity.

Based upon this new perception, the scientists started researching on the upper limits of the universe – in a bid to establish, firmly, that this universe was, indeed, finite. Almost immediately, several upper limits started emerging. One of the most well-known such limit relates to speed – fixed at C, approximately 300,000 Km/s. The total electric energy of the observable universe, in electron volts, is estimated to be about 10 raised to the 27th magnitude. Time duration itself has a limit – but on the lower extreme – the Planck time limit… below which no meaningful event can occur. And of course, there is the fact that the universe does have a finite age – implying that at a certain time in the past, it didn’t exist.

With the observations on the finitude of the universe, a rather inescapable thought came upon the scientists: that the universe was containable – it had external limits in time, space, mass, temperatures and so on, and anything capable of grasping all these limits could, theoretically, contain the entire universe. In short, the entire universe could be the creation of another, vastly bigger, but still finite, entity. The finitude of this creator entity would explain the fractals and self-similarity observable all over the universe: with such recursion, the amount of control capacity – or computing capacity – needed to have a simulation the size and scale of the universe would be relatively small. Given this, idea that the entire universe was but a simulation was not only plausible, it was rapidly gaining hard credibility.

And so it was, that I found myself invited to a physics facility in Ellesmere Island – Northern-most of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, to witness as scientists began to create a proof-of-concept simulation of the universe. With present computing power, the actual fraction of the universe that could, in totality, be simulated, was slightly more than a cubed millimeter in size. But still, within this admittedly small space, all the fundamental dynamics that make the larger universe what it is were replicable. Through digital magnification, I could observe, within this artificial area, particle dynamics that remained consistent and coherent up to the quark scale. This was an extremely high level of detailing, hence the huge amount of computing needed to maintain it. I learnt that, with Moore’s law of computing, and given that fractals would soon be introduced into the simulation, an artificial universe the size of an average living room could be created within 60 years from now.

From my visit to the physics facility, a few questions remained unresolved. Firstly, since it was becoming rather irrefutable that the entire universe could be simulated, was our particular universe real, or simulated? Secondly, if this universe is a simulation, where are the simulators? And where does all the processing occur? Could the mysterious dark energy and dark matter observed in this universe account for such hidden resources in the universe? Thirdly, were all the trade-offs between time, space and gravity, as detailed out in general relativity, mere, and straightforward,

Another Day, Another Dream – Toolbox Kingdom

Where I live, slap, bang in the middle of Australia, we have four or so thousand of the most tribal Aborigines in Australia. Many of them are said to be disadvantaged, although, the truth is they have access to much more from Australian taxpayers than any other group in our country. Almost everything is free, but unfortunately, few take advantage of what is on offer with the sole exception of welfare payments, locally called, “sit-down money” for reasons I need not explain.

The sit-down money is largely spent on alcohol, cigarettes, some gambling and when it is spent on food, it is generally what most Australians consider junk food. However, this is not to tell you about the societal ills among the indigenous of Central Australia, but to tell you how I came to dream up the idea of a “Toolbox Kingdom”. (I’ll explain what that is in a minute).

Every so often as I walk the leafy streets of Alice Springs business district, I’m confronted by an indigenous itinerant who asks for cigarettes or money. When I explain politely that I’m not silly enough to smoke and pay taxes for Centrelink, (the Australian Government’s welfare agency) and have no intention of paying any more, I get a stream of insulting and indecent language usually starting with, “You white… ” Rarely, one of these people will tell me how my ancestors took their land from them and I can’t help thinking they could have done much worse than the British.

Now, keep that thought and come with me to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) where I spent three wonderful, interesting years between 2005 and 2008. Before I left Australia I did my research about the UAE and what did I find? A system of government modelled on the British Westminster System with a strong Canadian leaning. I found that while the British had been in the UAE, Canadians had also done a lot of setting up and implementation of schools, the tertiary sector, power distribution, and hospitals. Even the names of UAE Government Departments were modelled on those in Westminster countries. There are Chambers of Commerce identical to those in Australia and probably Canada, the UK and USA.

The only differences between the UAE and Australia is that Abu Dhabi emirate is filthy rich with oil money and shares it with the other six emirates. Secondly, it doesn’t have a democratic system of government, it is a benevolent dictatorship run by several related royal families all of whom are loved and admired by their 800,000 subjects. (This week. It could change next week)

Their wealth is such that they don’t really need do anything for themselves. Accordingly, there is an expat population around 90% of the total population. Expats do all of the menial work and most of the high-tech engineering, medical, scientific, educational, and business work needed.

At one time, the British boasted that, “The sun never sets on the British Empire.” For a long time that was true. Dozens of countries benefitted from a British presence that installed a system of democracy and governance that is essentially unchanged since its inception. It’s also probably one of the most robust in the world and many of us have benefitted from a British presence (even the USA!).

So, when my indigenous interlocuters advise me about how bad my ancestors were coming here in ships in the late 1700s and taking over, I usually reply that they could have done much worse. At one time or other, the Dutch, Japanese, French, Portuguese and other nations visited our shores. The Dutch explorer Abel Tasman named the state of my birth as Van Diemens Land. It’s now of course Tasmania.

While some of these visiting countries may have provided stable and efficient systems of government, as the French and Dutch have done in various other places, any of the visitors may have decided to treat the original inhabitants much worse than we have. At worst, they could have been exterminated as they almost were in Tasmania.

Australia is a country that works. Our system of government is not infallible, far from perfect, often annoying, but in the final analysis, it provides stability and an excellent standard of living for all our inhabitants. You know that you can go to sleep at night and that the military won’t burst into your house and take you away because you disagreed with government policy. If someone does the wrong thing by you, you know that the rule of law will support you as well as it can. Ours is a tolerant society (sometimes too tolerant) with a solid Constitution and freedom and opportunity for all.

Despite dozens of countries that work, there are still many that don’t. Some of the African countries for example, have needed assistance, according to my grandmother, (long deceased) for as long as she could remember. We are still providing food, blankets, medical aid etc after decades and countries are still not capable of self-direction and determination. It seems nothing has improved. We are apparently providing sufficient assistance to keep people living in poverty, some miserably so with preventable diseases etc, but not enough to get themselves out of the mire.

My dream (you never thought I’d get to it did you?} is that we provide a very large box… probably the size of a large ocean-going vessel, with all the laws, policies, structures for government and it’s departments, a comprehensive societal blueprint, document templates for contracts, rental agreements, wills, floor plans for hospitals, and everything else needed to establish a solid, Westminster style system within the countries that need them. This is my Toolbox Kingdom.

We would issue a Toolbox Kingdom to countries reliant on us for survival and tie our grant funding to implementation of the program. With the sole exception that the government would need to be secular (or else it wouldn’t work), nations would have latitude to do their own thing. As the dream goes, everyone would live in countries as good as Australia, the UAE, UK, other advanced European countries, the USA, Canada and all those that work well. Everyone would be well fed, clothed, housed, and kids would go to school.

Then, I wake up and I’m back to the real world of religious and tribal violence, ongoing poverty, incessant wars and threats of wars, and I realise that we as humans, although intelligent, are not yet intelligent enough.