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by WaylandCybersmith

Strange New Universe


We were in a strange landscape with red grass and green sky.  Clouds the shape of giant crystals floated through the air, which had a musky lavender smell.  The wind blew warm off an immense ocean.  Birds flew around us. They had four blue and silver wings and called out in whistles and howls.  We looked at one another.  Our human appearance was gone.  We were red scaled reptile men.  One of us, I could not say which one, bent down, picked up a rock, and threw it in the ocean.  Two others (who must have been the banker and the athlete) began sparring with each other.  We explored the area for what seemed only a short time, when we heard the voice of the Inventor tell us to change out of our suits.  We removed the helmets and the were once again in the Inventor's laboratory, dressed in the peculiar wetsuit like costumes he had made us wear.


Once in our normal clothes, we entered the living room and made ourselves comfortable.

'Well, gentlemen,'  began the Inventor, settling in his favourite armchair.  'What did you think of my world?'

'Astonishing!' said the Banker as he helped himself to one of the biscuits on a nearby plate.  'It was very lifelike.  Very real.'

'What in particular struck you?'  Here the Inventor steepled his fingers, his index fingers resting on his chin.

'Those skyscrapers.  They looked like they went up for miles.'

'Skyscrapers?'  Said the Philosopher. 'It was a desert.  Dunes all over the place.'

'You mean countryside, with red grass.'  Said I.

The Inventor laughed.  'You all had different experiences, yet they had you yourselves in common.'

'Astonishing!' Said the Banker once again. 'Still, I'm glad to be back in the real world.'

'But are you?'  Said the Doctor.

'What?  Of course I am.  Where else would I be?'

'Whose to say we aren't still in virtual reality?'

'How do you mean?'

'Well look at that picture on the wall.  What colour is the lady's dress?'


'How do you know?'

'Well, I can see it.  It's obvious.'

'But are you really seeing it?  Light reflected off of the picture enters your eye and hits photoreceptors, which send signals to your brain.'

'I don't get you.'

'If I recorded those signals and sent them directly to the optical centre of your brain, you would see that picture.  So, what appears to be a picture is actually electrical signals being processed by your brain.'

'OK, but I'm still seeing the picture.'

'Are you?  All you are getting is a pattern of colours and shapes, which you interpret as a picture using your experience.'

'This is getting confusing.  What are you trying to say?'

'Your brain receives electrical signals from your body giving it all kinds of information which it then interprets.  If the signals were sent to the brain directly, without involving the body, the brain would interpret them in the same way.'

'Like a brain in a jar, hooked up to a computer?'


'So, are you saying we are all brains in jars?'

'No, but how could you tell?'

'Solipsism.'  Said the Philosopher.

'What are you on about?'

'That's what our Doctor friend is talking about.  We are only aware of our own consciousness for certain.  Everything else could be imagined or dreamt.  We might have created our own universe.'

'So, nothing else exists?'

'You cannot prove it exists.'

'This is getting silly.'

'So much for science and philosophy.'  Said the Pastor.

The Inventor leaned forward. 'What do you mean?'

'Well, it seems, science and philosophy have reduced a human being to a speck of consciousness in an imagined universe.'

'That is all we can prove to ourselves with certainty.'

'Yes, but we also have faith.'

'Now you are confusing things.'

'Not at all.  Our Banker friend cannot prove he is looking at a picture, but he believes he is, and he proves it true.'

'So what are you saying?  If you believe something it is automatically true for you?'

'Not at all.  If this biscuit that I hold has been poisoned and I believe it to be not poisoned, that does not stop it from killing me.  Science cannot prove something exists, because it depends on the brain interpreting information from the senses which may or may not be true.  We were all fooled into believing that virtual world, which could be given it's own science by having it programmed in.  No.  Science cannot prove something exists, but through faith we can believe the evidence of our senses, which can be tested and proven.  You've heard the saying "seeing is believing"?  Well, first you have to believe that you are seeing.'

'So, if I want to pick up that cup, I have to first believe that the cup exists.'


'What about surprise then?' Asked the Author.


'Something could exist that you do not believe in.'

'No, you misunderstand.  I am saying you have to believe your senses.  You might be faced with something novel, but you still perceive it through your senses.  If I did not believe in green cats, for instance, you could show me a green cat, I would believe I was looking at a cat that was green and would interpret that green cats exist.'

'What about truth, justice, love, mercy, loyalty and the like?'

'What do you mean?'

'Well, they cannot be proven to exist by science.  You cannot perceive them by your senses.  You can only tell they exist by believing in them, but even if you didn't, they still exist.'

'Ah,  you believe in them the same way you believe in the wind.  They cannot be perceived directly, but you can perceive their effects.'

© WaylandCybersmith 2011


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