Your Own Private Universe

April 1st, 2005 by Steve Pavlina

Can you prove the universe exists outside your perceptions of it?

Everything you experience of the universe comes through your perceptions or takes place in your imagination. Everything. All that you perceive to be scientific or logical or objective still comes through your senses and thoughts — people, places, events, dreams, … everything.

Here are some questions to consider:

How do you know you aren’t inside a simulation where everything you perceive is being fed to you, including the memories you claim as your own?

How can you be certain you even existed a year ago or a minute ago? If you came into being just now with all your memories, how would you know?

How do you know any of the other people you encounter are actually conscious themselves and aren’t just projections, like NPCs in a role-playing game? Have you ever experienced anyone else’s consciousness but your own?

How can there be any validity to claims of the existence of an objective universe outside yourself when you have no way of escaping your own limited viewpoint?

How can you prove the existence of anything outside your simulation without reference to the simulation itself?

When you aren’t perceiving or thinking about something, does it still exist? Can you even prove that a rock still exists when you aren’t actively perceiving it? Do the people in your life continue to exist when you aren’t with them? Or is the simulation more efficient than that, only generating what you’re experiencing right this instant?

When you have a dream, are the characters in your dream conscious, or are they projections of your own mind?

If you dream you’re in a room, does anything outside that room exist? Does your dream world bother to simulate what you cannot perceive?

Why do you think your waking world is any different than your dream world? Why do you think one occurs in your mind and the other outside it? Is it possible that both are occurring only within your mind?

Are you perhaps the only conscious being that exists in your universe? Is this a more or less valid assumption than to conclude that all the other characters you encounter are just as conscious as you are? Do you make this assumption when you dream?

You’ve been taught that you are a thinking object walking around in a material world. But is it possible that the material world is only a simulations that exists within your mind?

What if the entire universe only consists of what you perceive right now in this moment? What if outside of what you perceive lies nothing at all?

Have you ever seen glitches in your simulation?

Have you ever tried consciously directing your thoughts to make changes in the simulation (i.e. acting upon the simulation itself instead of within it)? Are you aware of what happens when you do this?

When your thoughts become incongruent with the simulation, which one of you adapts to the other?

When you focus on something intensely, does its presence in your universe increase?

Do you simulate a past and future for yourself to create the illusion of time? Do you project your past onto your future? Are you aware that you don’t have to do that?

Does your simulation teach you what to think about, or do you teach it what to simulate?

Why do you become tired the longer the simulation runs continuously? Why do you need to sleep? What happens to your simulation when you do?

What does your belief in objective reality do to your simulation? What would happen to your simulation if you believed it was totally subjective?

Are you free to think whatever you want?

When was the last time you created a thought that was not a reaction to some part of the simulation?

How often do you turn off the simulation? How does it feel when you do this? Do you even know how to turn it off?

Thought for food….

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