Posted by: Mike Ferruggia | May 2, 2011

The Internet Microcosm

It is an accepted way to try to discern things about the macrocosm by looking at the microcosm and seeing the parallels. What is the nature of the universe and what is our place in it? I’ve had fun looking at the microcosm of the internet for some clues to the question.

The fact that the internet is a “web” and that it is a means for connecting us all together and providing a wellspring of knowledge and information at our fingertips is the obvious connection.

What has struck me recently is a fasscination with 3 D animation and the idea that we can create vast imaginary worlds populated by an infinite number of avatars, implying that the idea of parallel universes co existing and string theory are not so far fetched. Just as we have created game worlds like Halo and World of War craft, it would be kind of weird if characters from these various worlds interacted with each other. They just don’t, unless omeone created a game in which they did. So it stands to reason, if there are other worlds, other universes out there besides our own, it would be kind of quirky for them to interact.

The other thought I had is that what distinguishes a “living” avatar in a created 3 D world from human beings are all the things we define as life: consciousness, awareness, a soul, a spiritual life, and so on. These avatars don’t have that. But it raises the age old “Frankenstein” fantasy: what if they did? What is it that gives us definition of life, and is it possible to pass it on?

We are creative beings, and with 3D we can create very intricate, detailed, and limitless worlds, but it is clear to us that the world we create is merely an illusion and the sum of a lot of computer programming. What the avatar inside the program, if he or she were a conscious being, would see would seem very real with it’s own set of laws and physics. How could he ever know that everything around him was an illusion, albeit a very good one, and that things were being manipulated from a computer keyboard? Is that, in some mystical way, the nature of our existence? Are we simply living inside a cosmic video game? Man, this will make your head explode!




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