Re: virus: Re: alternative model

Martin Traynor (
Fri, 29 Nov 1996 14:50:55 +0000


On 28 Nov 96 at 13:30, Ken Pantheists wrote:

> From: "Martin Traynor" <>
> > Prove that you do not also participate in it [virtual reality] unknowingly.
> Well, barring any paranoid fantasy that would make "Total Recall" look
> like "the Wizard of Oz", I would wake up one day and say--- hmm. nothing
> on tv, I thnk I'll pop into Oprah's database and have virtual sex with
> one of those transvestites that were on last week.

You seem to be assuming that virtual reality is always accompanied by
a choice to participate. The original question seemed to imply that
wasn't a given. Either way, our apparent disagreement is down to
differing interpretations. I was allowing for exactly the kind of
'Total Recall' scenario which you assume can't happen. I remember a
quote (but I can't remember where from) which I'll paraphrase;

If we were pieces of code running in a computer simulation which was
accurate to the subatomic scale the only way we would notice would be
in strange observable behaviour at the quantum level caused by
rounding errors....oh.

> > reality that was created around you with subatomic resolution and
> > rich and consistent would be subjectively indistinguishable from
> > reality.
> One can't prove that any more than one can't prove that you your life up
> until now is nothing but a dream.

My point exactly, which was made in response to the question 'is
virtual reality formally distinguishable from subjective reality?' (or
words along those lines).

> Virtual reality is a very fancy, very precise CARTOON. It is a mutually
> agreed upon, mutually shared Hallucination. It is not your mind.

Sounds a lot like 'objective' reality to me; we all seem to see the
same things so we might as well assume it's true. Life would be
unmanageable any other way so it's an assumption I for one am quite
happy to make, but I *don't* assume that my perceptions are any more
an accurate depiction of objective reality (if such exists) than the
shadows on the wall of Platos cave.

> Are you suggesting that if a hypothetical person who was raised in a VR
> and suddenly had the goggles taken off would have no more subjective
> reality?

No. Their subjective reality would simply have to cope with a
paradigm shift in experience.

> The person would be shocked and his/her subjective reality (I
> still don't know exactly what we mean by this term) would have to cope
> with the experience of having what was once real suddenly ripped away.

Yes. How they coped would depend on the individual and their previous
experiences. Have you read 'The Republic'? I've just realised that
I've used a reference to it above without explaining. If you like I
can post the relevant passages (next week).

> I said:
> > - The two are necessarily different because one can be used to construct
> > the other.
> Martin asked:
> But can that difference be shown formally? I don't think it can.
> YES Seeing is not thinking.

But *thinking* you see is indistinguishable from seeing.

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