The bullet cluster. Image Credit: NASA/CXC/M. Weiss.

What If Our Universe Simulated Itself Into Existence?

Are we living in a simulated universe? Here are two striking theories suggesting how the universe may actually be a simulation.

Even a few thousand years ago, Plato suggested that what we see could not be real and should be a simulated universe. With the advent of computers, the hypothesis breathed new life into many parts of society. The idea that our reality is actually virtual and guided by certain codes is already out of the realm of science fiction. It falls among the theories of serious researchers and scientists.

In 2003, the respected Swedish philosopher Nick Bostrom published his report on whether humanity does not live in a computer simulation. I want to say that this report will soon be 20 years old and was written when technology had a completely different face. What would it contain if it was written today when computers and everything connected is already on a completely different level?

Anyway, Bostrom suggested that a higher race, which will probably remain hidden from us forever, controls this simulated universe and everything that happens in the world and with us. Well, if you want to read the real full paper, you can do it HERE.

However, the purpose of this article is to discuss a brand new theory that was just brought to the public, and it closely refers to Nick Bostrom’s thesis from 2003.

Simulated Universe: What does the new theory suggest?

This new curious study was conducted by the team of the Quantum Gravity Research institute in Los-Angeles, who also wrote an impressive paper on the subject titled “The Self-Simulation Hypothesis Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics.” If you are interested in reading the whole paper in-depth, you can do it HERE.

Anyway, the new theory took its core from the Bostrom theory of 2003, suggesting that we live in some kind of a simulated universe.

However, the team went in a different direction from this point, suggesting another version that does not include an advanced alien civilization. Instead, their theory is that our universe self-simulated itself and connected it with quantum mechanics’ general idea.

How is it different from Bostrom’s hypothesis?

While both theories suggest the same general idea – that we live in a simulated universe, differentiate in the main approach. In other words, we can distinguish Bostrom’s hypothesis as more materialistic while the team of the Quantum Gravity Research took a more non-materialistic approach.

According to Bostrom, everything in our simulated universe is a working mechanism, programmed by an alien ancestor. He believes that every human development or advancement is another test, stimulated by the sole desire of our creators to test our capabilities.

Based on the more recent hypothesis, however, the simulated universe exists and can move forward through thoughts. This, of course, instantly raises the question of how would this simulation have its beginning? The team explained this with the short term “timeless emergentism,” which refers to the concept that time does not exist. Instead, our simulated universe is the one main thought that consists of countless sub-thoughts that create and explain everything that exists in our world.

Personal Thoughts

As a personal note, I cannot express my support for any of these hypotheses. Simply said, living in a simulated universe is possible. I agree with that. However, I do not particularly agree with the two theories we discussed above. I personally do not believe our world is being controlled by an advanced lifeform. Perhaps life on Earth was stimulated in the beginning but not with this purpose.

As to the more recent theory suggesting that our simulation is created by thoughts, I simply think that it raises more questions than it is able to answer when explained. Let’s assume that thoughts are structured in a hierarchical order, suggesting that we live in the one “great” thought that encompasses our reality. Everything else is created by sub-thoughts that stand on the lower level of the hierarchy.

This would mean that all living beings, including humans, are yet another sub-thought, while all we do, experience, etc., is a step down the hierarchy and is another form of sub-thoughts. As logical as this may sound, I personally would ask the question of how we actually manifest physical objects with our thoughts, and is it possible that our thoughts are so powerful?

Instead of distinguishing between the two concepts, I would combine the two theories suggesting that the world is created by thoughts and a lot more materialistic.


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Written by Vladislav Tchakarov

Hello, my name is Vladislav and I am glad to have you here on Curiosmos. My experience as a freelance writer began in 2018 but I have been part of the Curiosmos family since mid-2020. As a history student, I have a strong passion for history and science, and the opportunity to research and write in this field on a daily basis is a dream come true.

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