Is the Universe a Bug or a Screen Saver?

In a conversation today with my friend Bram, a really smart cosmologist, I suggested that maybe the universe is just the output of a software error in a high dimensional program — basically it’s just a big bug! The owner of the computer could at any time detect the bug and simply reboot — that will be the end of it for us! But Bram one-upped me by suggesting that instead the universe is a screensaver. Funny thought. I wonder whose screensaver it is? Are they just out to lunch? Do you think it’s running on a Windows or Linux box, or a Mac?

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6 Responses to Is the Universe a Bug or a Screen Saver?

  1. west says:

    Nature is not proprietary but it doesn’t come with source code either (not that we know of?). I’d say it’s a Linux screensaver 🙂

  2. Nova Spivack says:

    Yeah, probably an open-source app under GPL too!

  3. Paul Hughes says:

    The late John Lilly had similar ideas in the 1970’s which he comprehensively articulated in his book, ‘Simulations of God’. Here is a couple of snippets:
    “… In this view what are we? We are small accidents in a current universe about to become obsolete… We may be only a product of intervening processes, accidentally generated in a small portion of Superspace. We worhsip ourselves, we worship our projections onto the universe as if we are God… Whe one realizes the structure of on his own brain, when he realizes that he is captured by that structure–he is captured by the software, the programs, the metaprograms stored in that hardware–then he becomes skeptical of ever having a direct apperception of God, a direct knowing of what the universe is.” – pg 171-172
    But then he ends the book on a more hopeful note,
    “If we are manifestations of Consciousness-Without-an-Object (i.e. consciousness is a fundamental component of existence), and if, as Frtanklin Merrell-Wolff says we can go back into Consciounsess-Without-an-Onject, then my rather pessimistic view that we are merely noisy animals may be wrong”.

  4. Nova Spivack says:

    Great quote Paul — I am much more of an optimist than Lilly — I believe that since consciousness is fundamental, and fundamentally unconditioned, it is always possible to break free of any conceptual programs (because they are not as fundamental). This is what makes us humans more than mere machines — and ultimately what makes human intelligence something that no computer can synthesize (because it is based on consciousness which is something fundamental and therefore cannot be synthesized).

  5. Paul Hughes says:

    Nova, I agree with you completely. It has weathered both my experiential and rational exploration. I’m still suprised though how many people still side with Dennett, when Chalmers makes such a more logically sound case on the matter.

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