In order for reality to exist it needed to create an object/subject capable of perceiving it, but in order to do that, it had to firstly manufacture a physical space for that perceiving-subject to evolve in. This needed to be constructed in such a way that life could evolve within it.
The problem is analogous to our relationship with our computers. If we can imagine things from the computer’s point of view … well, from the perspective of an AI computer that would be capable of having a point of view …For that AI consciousness, reality is out of the box that the physical universe is contained in.
Nevertheless, something in that same out-of-the-box reality is responsible for programming the operating system that allows the AI to exist, be conscious of its existence, and even be capable of understanding its own condition as an artificial form of reality created in order to understand the real. Even though that reality is outside of the box and hence alien to the AI’s own immediate environment.
A question arises from this: Could an artificial intelligence ever come to really understand that which it’s been designed to do without being able to leave the box and experience the authentically real for itself?
In fact, this dilemma seems to be a moot point, having been made irrelevant by the fact that an intelligent computer does have access to input from outside. Actually, the imagined world of the Cyberentity would be mostly formed by its perception of the information that it could gather from the Internet, which would be information about the other reality, outside of the box, that is our world.
So, here the analogy breaks down, or does it? Here, perhaps, Plato was right. Everything that exists in the physical world has been created from information uploaded into it from the pre-physical or transcendentally Real dimension.
Thus, we also have the Biblical “God created the Universe in his own image” …
Or perhaps not … Could our physical reality have been a different kind of computer to the ones we are accustomed to be using?
Imagine that we want to build a device that could actually teach us about ourselves by clearly revealing to ourselves what we are from a purely objective stand-point. Our main aim therefore, would be to fabricate something which would provide an objective perception of us and, at the same time, be able to communicate its impartial perception of us to us, in a language that we are capable of understanding.
It might be considered that the best way to do this would be not to invent a super-AI observer of us, who could teach us, like a Messiah (we already know how flawed that process is), but rather to fabricate a virtual, but distorted image of a civilisation, that we could observe from a safe and impartially-perfect distance. If the civilisation were flawed we could learn from its mistakes, if it were perfect and Utopian, we would have a model to learn how to improve our own societies from.
In order to make this didactic universe, we would need to programme an environment capable of evolving in its own original way, but in a direction in which the creation of perception, consciousness, self-consciousness and curiosity were all possible. At the same time, the process would need to be monitored by us, so that, the internal language of the organisms evolving in the process can be learned and understood by us. Only if we allow a language of evolution that’s alien to our own, and therefore objective because distorted image of ourselves will the experiment provide scientifically important results (a mirror-image of ourselves would not give us the distance needed to truly learn from our observations of it). Only if we are constantly monitoring the language in order to understand its idiosyncrasies will we be able to draw purposeful conclusions and enjoy a meaningful experience from the experiment.
The fact that it is conceivable that we, or an Artificial Intelligence, could be capable of conducting such an experiment, opens a mind-boggling window into the question of reality. In fact, the very existence of virtual-reality questions the nature of our own perceived-world in exactly the same way that Plato did. We are not only capable of imagining the creation of a virtual universe, the purpose of which would be to understand our own being, we could also very well be the results of such a fabrication by an entity outside of our own box.
It also tells us that consciousness of the virtual does not have to be a nightmarish experience, like the one depicted in the Matrix films, but rather it provides a purposeful meaning for our existence in terms of the entire multiverse – in and out of the box experience of Reality. If the scenario we have imagined here is correct, and we are the virtual creations of the universe, then it means that we are the objects that the universe learns from, which turns us into the didactic material that the universe absorbs.
And the moral lesson this teaches, is that the essence of the universe is moulded by our example and that is a tremendous responsibility.
Yet, if this is so, what needs to be done?
Perhaps the best way to solve this question will be to create our own virtual-universe laboratory … and by doing so extend reality further into the infinite regressions of the multiverse. Infinity is a reality, but it is found not in expansion but in regression.