I’ve decided to change the title of my book from Invisible Agents of Creation to The Universe Is Fake, and What to Do About It.
Well, actually, that was the original title when I first published it a few years back. In the book I make the case that there are certain numbers—27.32, 366, 18.6 and few others—that occur so often in and around our Solar System and ourselves that this couldn’t be coincidental. There were enough of these pattern numbers, as I call them, that justified supposing there was some sort of intelligent Agency that tweaked, for example, the sizes of the Earth and Moon in relation to each other, and tweaked many other things as well.
The book examines the implications of this. Certain aspects of the universe have been adjusted, altered, twiddled, so we would eventually notice and wonder why. I thought this justified stating that the universe is fake, and I knew, based on previous experiences, some of which I relate in the book, there was something we could do about it. We could contact this Agency and get some answers.
Fine. I stand by all of this.
But then a few people told me that saying the “universe is fake” was too bald and too bold a statement. It might turn people away. Couldn’t I tone it down somehow? Couldn’t I find a less controversial title? Besides, that word “fake” didn’t really fit, they told me. “Altered” and “tweaked” have different implications than the word “fake” has.
I gave in. I changed the title to Invisible Agents of Creation. Yes, these agents are invisible to us, and yes, they are responsible for at least modifying certain aspects of the universe we observe.
But changing the title made the book invisible. It also removed the punch, the cognitive surprise the original title supplied.
Changing the title was a mistake. I shouldn’t have done it. I didn’t see this clearly until recently.
I was talking with a friend of mine, Leo, about whether the world was a simulation, as suggested in the movie The Matrix. Leo had read Invisible Agents and when I said the original title had been The Universe Is Fake, he immediately said, “Change it back, Fred. that’s a much better title.”
Well, a fake universe is in some ways the same as a simulated universe. The two concepts are different, though, which I’ll come back to in a moment. Nonetheless, I was happy to find someone who thought the original title was better, and I knew I had to change it.
Do we live in a simulation?
No, at least not the way most people understand the concept. We are not “coppertops” hibernating our lives away in little vats—not literally. But there’s a metaphor hidden here that I’ll come back to. The popular idea, and one that materialists like to glom onto, is that we’re in a video game. They look at current video games that get more immersive each iteration, especially when you don the VR goggles and the rest of the gear. How much more powerful do these games need to get before we’re fooled into thinking we’re inside such a simulated reality?
Of course, this argument is hogwash. Let’s look at that word, “simulation.” What a demeaning word to describe ourselves and the wondrous natural world! I have the picture of a teen-aged boy, or a twenty-something or thirty-something gamer, goggles on, holding the game controller, jacked into the latest title from Silicon Valley, nearly oblivious to his actual surroundings IRL—in the real world. The argument for making him a computer simulation himself is the now-popular idea that consciousness is just information and computation. This argument is advanced, for example, by Rizwan Virk in The Simulation Hypothesis. Mr. Virk, according to his bio on the back cover of that book, runs Playlabs@MIT, a video game project at MIT. He puts forth the amusing idea that consciousness can someday be “downloaded” into a computer.
Isn’t your consciousness more than mere information and computation? Do you see the problem? Where is identity? Where is love, compassion, hope, beauty, right versus wrong, integrity, service, any sense of the sacred? Where is the experience of life? Nowhere. Life is experience—and a computer can never have human experience.
No, we aren’t in a computer simulation.
(Note: In my professional life I was a computer programmer for over thirty years, which included work in AI—artificial intelligence, when I was at IBM. I can tell you that the appearance of computer “intelligence” is all smoke and mirrors. This “intelligence” is fake, as is the promise—or hope—that the entire universe can be programmed. This whole idea is itself fake and wishful thinking.)
Still, the universe has been altered by somebody. Some Agency has diddled part of the observable universe in a way that is apparent to us humans. How could I reconcile this with the simulation idea?
Changing the title back
Suppose our perceptions contribute to some kind of “faking.” There is an idea in Hinduism that the world we perceive is in a sense maya—illusion. To greatly simplify for this short article, for one reason or another, we do not see the real world; what we see is in a real sense illusory. If we could deepen our consciousness and thereby see deeper, we might apprehend a more real universe.
And here is the sense where the word “fake” applies. Our universe—the one we ordinarily perceive—really is fake, because there is another one hidden within or behind it that is much more real.
So I’ll cut off the metaphysics for now. I explore this idea in the book in greater detail. Suffice it to say this understanding finally convinced me to change the title back. (With a new cover – not the one shown here.)
In the next few weeks I will move the materials on InvisibleAgentsOfCreation.com to (back to!) TheUniverseIsFake.com. The transfer should be invisible to visitors (of course it should be Invisible!), and I’ll keep the Invisible URL active for a few more months, but it will automatically redirect you to the new/old site.
The second edition
At the same time I’m changing the title, I’m significantly expanding the book with lots of new material. I will more fully address the subtitle of the book: what to do about it. Plus, there will be new material on our mind-blowing orientation to the Milky Way galaxy, a lot more material on music and its effects on us, and a few new numerical “coincidences.”
A new printed book and eBook should be available by April or May. I’ll keep you posted.