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Hobosnake's avatar

Are we trapped in/about to trap ourselves in the matrix?

Asked by Hobosnake (794 points ) October 5th, 2010

Before you respond, familiarize yourself with these 2 articles, or at least the basic ideas contained therein:

http://tierneylab.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/08/13/even-if-life-is-but-a-computer-simulation/#comment-176733

http://www.cracked.com/article_15243_the-next-25-years-video-games.html

looking primarily at the cracked.com article, I am forced to question whether our own imagination, being dwarfed by the computers hooked up to our brains, would simply shut off or at the very least become secondary. This idea carried out, especially coupled with a dissatisfaction with the real world, could very well lead to a loss of consciousness and connection with the real world. Now factor in the idea that we might possibly already be so connected, and the reality that we very well might not be conscious of it.

While I have trouble dealing with the immense philosophical and religious implications associated with this possibility, I believe the speculation has some serious value, whether for philosophical exercise, ethical questioning regarding where we are going, or the reestablishment of, restatement of, or renewed approach to what we value in life.

Even as a gamer, software engineer, and prospective game designer, I find myself more deeply disturbed than excited by these prospects, and it has frightened and moved me.

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7 Answers

Hobosnake's avatar

It probably won’t surprise many of you that this ideology constantly had me thinking back to some of the ideas inherent in Inception. Particularly prominent was the image of those who could no longer dream without being hooked up to the machine, and their resulting obsession with it and a sort of belief that the dream world was a truer reality than our own. Perhaps Inception was written with this idea in mind?

ipso's avatar

Which matrix?

Many are “trapped”, to varying degrees, in various matrices: consumerism, careerism, religion, nationalism, Padres fandom, ..Fluther – but none are truly virtual (yet).

Most importantly, they are participatory: we can choose to tune out (for now), depending on what your job is, or your family’s spending requirements/savings, religious indoctrination – you may be more “trapped” than others.

The only problem occurs (like The Matrix) where you have no choice. With new games, you have a choice – thus no “danger”.

Have you seen the movie eXistenZ (1999)? Or Strange Days (1995)? Or Ghost in the Shell (1995)? Variations on a theme.

This is old news. I had this philosophical debate with myself after spending about 20 hours straight playing networked DOOM with virtual people back in the day. Then later Descent.

CMaz's avatar

“could very well lead to a loss of consciousness and connection with the real world.”
Too late, mankind is already on that path. Choice being an illusion.

Soul is willing but the flesh is weak.

Fred931's avatar

Removed by me. (Just outside the ballpark of on-topic)

Hobosnake's avatar

@ipso haven’t seen any of them. I actually haven’t even seen all of the matrix, but I know the basic idea behind that and ghost in the shell. I realize the debate itself is old news, but the idea that it might become self-imposed in the future was interesting to me.

Zyx's avatar

This is really really old news to me, all of it. Stopped caring about spore before it came out.
Yes, television++ is the supermatrix but only retards would get trapped in it.
Having been born in 1990 I never really cared for reality and am for one glad to be rid of it soon.

Joybird's avatar

There is an old indian teaching that says, “some men listen to the voices within and they go mad, others become legends”. I have often thought of it in terms of determining what is insanity or madness versus functionality and just what determines that one has become mad.
In my own training with alternative states of consciousness there is heavy emphasis on learning how to ground and how to bring yourself back into full interactive consciousness with others in your waking life. There is also emphasis in some orientations to never travel into any altered consciousness realm without a guide to protect your welfare and others around you who if need be can pull you back from being lost forever in a realm of some altered state. Is not cyber space just another realm of altered states? Perhaps the madness occurs when persons no longer balance time spent in the realm with much more time spent in conscious reality with others in the same state of consciousness. To remain in an altered realm is to be lost forever in madness both as an allegory and in real life.

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