by Shelly Fagan
Photo by Mathew Schwartz
It is suggested that if our existence is predetermined,
we go through life in a "reality tunnel"...
This means we travel
through the universe, limited in what we can experience.
We must hit the major
milestones like career, marriage, illnesses, etc. but we are
free to move about our tunnel.
Not every moment of time
is hardwired into our experience, but our preferences may be
programmed to ensure we choose appropriately.
Before you reject the notion outright, there are some scientists who
believe this fits with the idea we are experiencing the universe as
as a Simulation
In 2003, Swedish philosopher
Nick Bostrom proposed we may
be existing in a virtual reality...
One reason for this
simulated universe may be a way our descendants could visit a past
while eliminating the inherent paradoxes. In this scenario, you
could kill your great grandfather and not destroy your own chance to
Bostrom's based his theory on one of three possible outcomes:
in the universe go extinct before they develop the
technology to create simulated realities
civilizations reach technological maturity, none run
civilizations would have technological know-how to create
multiple simulations, and that means there are many more
simulated worlds than non-simulated ones
Bostrom suggested that if
civilizations developed advanced technology that could create such a
virtual world, they would likely create multiple copies.
If our descendants managed this feat sometime in the future, Bostrom
argued, then the odds were that you and I are one of many copies
living in a simulation rather than the base reality.
if there are 10,000
simulated universes where copies of you exist, the chances of
your consciousness being the base original would be 1 in
In other words, if copies
could exist elsewhere, then many copies were made, and the odds are
you are not the original living in a base reality.
But is it
The question becomes whether,
you believe our technology could evolve
sufficiently to create a virtual reality indistinguishable from what we think of as
"the real world"?
The answer to this
question might determine whether
free will - or a limited version of
it - exists in your reality.
It should be noted that other scientists reject this theory. If
Bostrom is correct, this implies we are simply reliving a recreation
of an earlier existence.
Our lives, or at
least the major milestones, are predetermined by the actions of
our ancestors or the VR (virtual reality) designer.
Our critical choices have been made, and our decisions only seem
to be spontaneous and do not change those events we are destined
to experience - unless we introduce some element of
randomness or chaos.
We may be living out a
script and something else is pulling the strings - or at
least pointing us in the direction they want us to go.
Even if we have some measure of control, our preferences may have
been programmed to ensure that we make choices to eventually reach
We are programmed
to guarantee we move along a set path.
How to Move
Your Reality Tunnel
If Bostrom is correct, and we're living out an ancestor's script, or
we're NPCs (non-player
characters) in a computer game,
can we change
It depends on how much,
if any, of our life is predetermined and set in stone.
(marriages, births, careers, etc.) might be predetermined and
the rest is subject to change.
Most of that seems to
be controlled by our preferences, so there is some leeway to
Even if our path is
predetermined, it may be possible to loosen those controls for a
short period of time or even change the script.
Sufficiently motivated, we may be able to alter major events as
The secret is
choosing new experiences and specifically those outside
our comfort zone.
What would happen if
we refused to do what we "know" we should do in order to short
circuit the program?
If these are
predetermined major events in our life, what if we turned our
backs on the opportunity and went off-script?
Would this one act of
defiance derail the simulation and permanently move us to an
If our preferences
are a control mechanism to keep us on a predetermined path, what
would happen if we began choosing things we 'strongly disliked'?
While such actions may
not directly influence our reality, there is no denying that it
would open greater possibilities by expanding our experience of our
Most of us make choices (or avoid action) completely unaware of our
We move through
reality on autopilot and unconsciously think that the world "out
there" has total control.
We ignore that we can
choose to do something different.
Even seemingly innocuous
choices could alter our 'reality tunnel.'
Usually, we opt
for the path of least resistance by seeking comfort
and pleasure instead of fulfillment.
We insanely continue
to try solutions that have already failed and make no effort to
apply creativity to the problem.
Nothing happens without action.
Since your 'reality'
is dictated by your consciousness, you decide what
you are going to experience.
Whether this is
deliberate and planned is up to you.
The key is to take new
chances, act randomly, and introduce a bit of chaos...