Thursday, July 13, 2006

On the Matrix and Fantasy

[*Update - Pic below]

I've been thinking about the nature of reality lately, and am wondering if we do not in fact live in a matrix. If it turns out we do live in a matrix, it would not bother me o
vermuch. What would bother me is if I didn't have access to the programming, the controls.

This, to my mind, is a very interesting philosophical question [sorry March!]. Given the knowledge that your physical body is in a pod somewhere, but your mentality exists in an electronic matrix indistinguishable from "reality", would you choose to stay in the matrix, or would you want out, and life in the "real" world?

OK, you probably said that you want the real world. Most would. Now what if I threw a curve into the mix? What if I said that you could set up your own matrix? That you had control over the "reality" in that matrix? Remember, it's indistinguishable from the "real" world.

Is it a little bit harder now to decide? For those of you that believe in a God, or afterlife, that may impact your decision to some extent. After all, how you live here on Earth affects your standing in the hereafter according to most beliefs. Would God approve of a person living out some fantasy? Would He approve of you attempting to cheat the reality He has already set into motion?

What if you don't believe in a God? Would that make it ea
sier to live in a manufactured fantasy, or would you feel that you're somehow cheating yourself from a true existence, with all its richness and mystery and randomness?

Me? Dude, I'd hop into my matrix faster than you can say "Jack Robinson". I like the randomness of the "real" world, so I'd leave that alone. But I'd make a few small modifications to my personal circumstances.

I'd set me up in a nice sized mansion on a hill, looking down onto an unspoiled lush valley with a clear blue stream running through it. It would be unsettled by humans, but lovely naiads and dryads would live there, and I'd frolick naked through the woods with them, gyreing and gamboling in not-so-inocent play.

My mansion would be many rooms, one being a huge wood-paneled library, with every volume and tome to satisfy the most sere scholar. There would be a music room, with the finest crafted instruments at my disposal, which I'd play with virtuosic flair. There'd be a media room, filled with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of the most excellent sounding comp
onents: a system so powerful that it would cause the involuntary evacuation of one's bowels, and a widescreen television so large and clear that it was like a matrix unto itself.

In the kitchen would be a tap for hot water, and a tap for cold water, and a tap for pineapple juice. It would flow non-stop, fed from the pineapple juice resevoir just over the hill, millions of gallons of pineapple juice in reserve for my consumption thereof. In the master bathroom would be stone and marble and gold fixtures, and the shower would offer hot and cold taps, as well as a special showerhead that blasted pineapple juice at 50 p.s.i. Whilst showering, I would masturbate in the fluid such that the runnoff would be two parts pineapple juice, one part my semen.

The mansion would be a tribute to my polygamist leanings, filled with filles of every hue and texture. They would have the intelligence of a female blogger, the beauty and body of a Hungarian princess, and the desire to fornicate with me like a bunny rabbit jacked up o
n crystal methedrine. And I, like the true gentleman that I am, would oblige them their desire.

I suppose I could go on and on, but I realize that this post should engender some debate as to the philospohical questions raised above. I would like to read some of that debate. I'd like every reader of this blog to chime in -- that means you KP; you too Nobby. I refuse to post anything further until I get some debate. I mean it, I'm on hiatus 'till I gets me some talk. Even if it's just your own matrix fantasy. Or if you think I'm full of steaming poo.

What? You don't give a crap if I stop posting? Fuck you.


So I was rapping with KP yesterday about his comment, and I was trying to explain some quantum physics to him, but he just kept looking at me with this blank stare. Rather than assume his incomprehension was my fault [through some failure to explain properly, or incomprehension of the subject matter on my part], I immediately insulted his intelligence, and said something like,

"Dude, your brain is like a walnut floating in a bath of pineapple juice."

And then I drew a picture so he could understand the image better. Apparantly, Hotwire is not the only artist in the house:


Nobby Burton said...

If pineapple juice and women flowed like water would they remain just as fulfilling? Maybe what makes them so satisfying is that they're not readily available in unlimited supplies whenever the mood takes you. You have to make a bit of an effort to go out and buy pineapple juice (or order online and await a Peapod delivery) and there's alway some excited trepidation before you arrange the next meeting with a girl in the pages of Barely Legal magazine. My point is that maybe you can have too much of a good thing.

However, I too might pick to live in the matrix, whether I have access to the programming or not. I suppose it woud depend on how shit real life is compared to how wonderful the matrix is. Like you said, you can't tell the difference. And if those buggers fighting the revolotion to live in the real world win and free me from my pod, i'll be mightily pissed.

Anonymous said...

The only thing I would change is my financial status. I would make myself rich enough so that I could do whatever I want without worrying.

Everything else would stay the same. Maybe I would program life so that I can actually get a guy to call me back now and again, but for the most part I like the randomness of life.

I have no comment about your polygamist stuff (MEN!!!!), but why would you need three woman when you could make the perfect one with this program?

I can't believe you'd give up the dome. Maybe it's on the property on which your mansion resides.

I can't believe you'd give up the dome.

Dim said...

I don't have much to add to this other than I now have a slushy headache and I will forever be unable to drink pinapple juice again for the rest of my days.

Thanks a bunch.

KP said...

I don't want to be accused of keeping you on hiatus by your rabid fan base, so here is my two cents.

Speaking of steaming poo, I was awoken at 3:30 this morning by a vicious need to evacuate my bowels. I ran to the bathroom still half-asleep hoping I would make it in time. Luckily I did, because I have never had such a case of explosive diarrhea. You know the kind where as soon as your skin senses the cold porcelain, it overrides any sort of attempt by your clenched anus to hold it back? Yeah, that kind. Anyhoo, I had managed to pick up the most recent issue of Wired before I sat down and there was this one page interview with a guy who chooses to view the world as one giant quantum computer. It is constantly running tests such as determining the flow rate of orange juice, as it pours out of its carton into my glass. I'm not too clear on the implications of this since it was a short interview and I was reading it at 3:30 in the morning, but I like this description. Lately I've been feeling like a computer simulation. Using the initial conditions that are my birth, what direction will my life take? Can it be modeled? Is it fixed or is there "free will"?

I also recently saw a program about string theory which is physics most recent attempt at modelling and explaining our universe. What my tiny little brain could comprehend of it, is that it suggests that anything that can happen, does happen, but we can only observe one possible outcome. I'm not doing this topic justice, but I don't really know what I'm talking about, so I'll move on.

So what was the question again? Would I live in the Matrix? As an idealist, my answer to that question should be obvious but I think Joey Pants said it best.

"You know, I know this steak doesn't exist. I know that when I put it in my mouth, the Matrix is telling my brain that it is juicy and delicious. After nine years, you know what I realize?"

[Takes a bite of steak]

"Ignorance is bliss."

March to the Sea said...

you can die in the matrix so I'd pass on it. I'd do one of those Total Recall things. In that I'd see bands that I want to see, I'd go places I want to go, fornicate (of course) do stuff like that.

I am with Fresh as well. There is very little I'd actually change in my life barring money. I too just wish I didn't have to worry. Need a car, wham. Want to get a steak dinner..done. Not greedy stuff..but no worry.

Road to the Isles said...

"They would have the intelligence of a female blogger, the beauty and body of a Hungarian princess, and the desire to fornicate with me like a bunny rabbit jacked up on crystal methedrine."

Why thank you for describing me with such eloquence ...I do have to say, I'd pass on the meth and I don't need a big mansion. And I'm with Fresh, one perfect women is all your could handle and need...

are we debating your perfect matrix world? or ours? too much for my purty little head to handle today...

Road to the Isles said...

one more thing..
"filles"...very nice touch..Bien Sur! And yes, I think you are full of poo..Mais Oui! ;)

emetic sage said...

first of all - nobby and kp, you guys kick ass. look at these comments you made. you guys have things to say. why are you so stingy with your words? i expect that to change.

nobby - you make a good point about the dangers of getting jaded. it seems that it's part of the human makeup that one must work to appreciate what one has. however, i'd like to give all these riches a try and see how long it takes before i get jaded. i bet i'd have a pretty good run.

fresh - even God was stumped by your request for a guy that calls back. i'd say the matrix is the way to go. as far as polygamy goes - you're probably right, i could make a perfect woman, but it's in the nature of fantasy that if one is good, then 3 (or 5, or 10) is better. it's actually more for the girl's benefit; clearly i would be unable to satisfy her on so many levels that it would be appropriate for her to have a bunch of friends to commiserate with. and if they started to "play" with each other, so much the better.

dim - dude, what's up? was it the semen? it's only one part; there's still 2 parts delicious juice....

kp - excellent stuff, man. if you're a computer simulation, you're a damn convincing one.

march - the problem with the total recall angle is that memory is fuzzy. wouldn't you rather live through your life in clear convincing sharp detail?

road - i think you're the only person who has an ego larger than mine.

Jocular Schlemiel said...

Not bad blog boss.

You know me though...I'd live in Quahog with my buddies Peter, Brian and Stewie.

Either that or of a place that had constant hockey fights while I received nobs and was getting paid for it while drinking Labatt Blue...and eating hotdogs. Yep, that about covers it.

And btw, I don't care if you stop posting, so fuck you too dick.

P.S. Don't write me up for mouthing off to my sup. I need this job. What? You are writing me up anyway? Go ahead dick. Write me up for slashing your tires too.

emetic sage said...

ah, jocular -- you've got to get some better fantasies, man.

oh, fresh -- you're right, i definitely would keep the dome. but it would have to be expanded, probably a 50-ft. diameter would od nicely...

Anonymous said...

God was stumped cause he's a man. Sorry, that was a mean bitter statement. I don't hate men. Just the ones who do not know how to call back.

Deep breath....okay I'm better.

I knew you wouldn't give up the dome.

And I knew eventually your wives would be playing with each other.

Viszlát Sjáumst said...

I've heard that runoff drink works equally well with two parts vermouth...

and you better clean the hood of my car when you're done, Maddox !!!

emetic sage said...

oh ho, viszlat! or are you sebastian clay? glad someone picked up on that...

fresh - i suspected it might come to this. ok, i hereby formally offer to be your man. i'll always call back, and ply you with watermelon and peanut butter. however, the flip side is that i am a portly balding man, whose voracious appetite is only exceeded by his towering ego.

Anonymous said...

You are very nice doing me such a favor. As long as you call me back, the other stuff doesn't bother me.

Oh and I forgot. If I could control my reality I would make it autumn all year round. And no, I don't love autumn because it comes once a year and I appreciate it more. I love autumn because everything is just cozy and I'm a cozy type of person. And the air seems fresher. And I like when the tip of my nose is cold.

Okay, that's enough from me. I'm going to go find something to do.

pog mo thoin said...

I don't think "simulated" or "virtual" anything is as good as the real thing and a matrix would fall into that. So you may argue that I wouldn't know it if I lived in a matrix and so what you don't know of reality, you aren't going to miss it but this is where I think a belief in something bigger comes in ... I think that every living thing has a sense of its "real" self in the whole spectrum of the universe - or is looking for it.

Anyway, I have been in places (physically, spiritually and mentally) that were like what my ideal matrix would be. I am lucky and count my blessings. I would just choose to spend more time there.

emetic sage said...

o fresh -- it's no favour. believe me. and i dig what you're saying about autumn -- i feel exactly the same way.

pog -- i was hoping we were gonna get here. trust you to take it right to the crux of the biscuit. because by any rational means of examining the question, the matrix is indistinguishable from reality. we can only know reality by the evidence of our five senses, and whether those senses are being fed by a computer program and hardware, or by more "natural" means, the end result to our brains is exactly the same.

it is only by invoking your "something bigger" that a true dilemma occurs. and since that something bigger cannot at this time be quantified, the whole thought experiment collapses into a matter of personal belief. which is just what life is anyway.

but, you can't tell me that masturbating in a shower of pineapple juice wouldn't do it for you....

defiant goddess said...

Yours is the second post I've read today about the Matrix.

I would certainly live in my own Matrix. To some extent, I think we all do already. I mean, by and large, we are all the center of our own universes and yet, in the grand scheme of things we're not so significant.

Even in the film, it was possible to make your own matrix. Remember the first bad guy was offered to come back into it as an actor or anything he wanted to be?

Interesting ideas.

gwendolyn said...

Sage, I agree with Pog on this issue; there is something ineffable about a human being that cannot be "quantified" by a computerized matrix. You're surrounding yourself with madeup creatures, and that can't be healthy, no matter how fun.

One of the things that would scare me would be the temptation to recreate lost loved ones. And of course they wouldn't be real. I think I'll stick with the real world, no matter how great the temptation.

emetic sage said...

miss gwendolyn, you bring up some great points as well. i guess the only thing i can do is counter with the old solipsist viewpoint -- that is to say, how do i know any of you are real?

KP said...

If real is what you can feel, smell, taste and see, then 'real' is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain.

Jocular Schlemiel said...

Amen KP. Amen.

Anonymous said...

It looks like the guys eye is exploding in that picture?

KP said...

it's not exploding, just beady

emetic sage said...

ah fresh, what you're seeing is the brilliance of my caricature of KP. what, on the surface, looks like an exploding eye, is actually a caricature of KP's "beady eye" staring at me. i understand your confusion -- my art is often considered really, really, really, really highbrow....

Hotwire said...

wow. a lot to comment on.

first of all, with the drawing, it looks a lot like late 1980s era daniel johnston - nice job and nice to have another artist in the proverbial house!

next, i concur with fresh. autumn year round would be sweet. especially here in new england. a certain air of melancholy and nostalgia that time of year.

as far as the matrix, i would consider governing mine and be able to manipulate the past in order to change the future. but that being said, since i have two kids that may wipe them out so i'm not sold on this. if i didn't have them, then i'd be all over it - kind of like ed harris in 'the truman show', but in a good way. but since i do (luckily) have them i suppose i have to keep on keeping on.

emetic sage said...

hotwire -- i'd never heard of johnston, so i looked him up. yes, i agree -- my art is a lot like his... if i had any TALENT!

Hotwire said...

the way most people know of him are from a t-shirt that kurt cobain used to wear with one of johnston's drawings. also, there was a documentary about him that was out earlier this year call 'the devil and daniel johnston' that was very cool.

KP said...

dude remember how i said that picture looked familiar to me? hotwire totally fucking nailed it. we played the devil and daniel johnston at my theater a little while ago ... for a week. that picture gets funnier every single time i see it.

emetic sage said...

hmmm, maybe i've got more talent than i'm aware of. my art is like a blank slate -- people see what they want in it. maybe i'll have to do some more drawings...