A Glitch in the Matrix (2021) Movie Script

Al right, so that's sef up.
And I'm starting
the video recorder.
Paul: And I'm just making sure
that it's recording.
Okay. So... Hello!
One of the things that
you wrote about was sort
of your first primitive idea
- of simulation theory as a kid.
- Yeah.
Rodney: Yeah, can you describe
what that was lke?
Can | do one thing before that?
Rodney: Yeah.
Cause this is gonna set
the tenor for everything.
Rodney: Please.
Paul:Okay. | was in a class
when [ was in college,
I went to the University
of Missouri, Columbia.
This was in the early '90s.
And a teacher was
in front of the class
and the teacher said,
"Something interesting
about the brain
is that we actually can map
what we think
about the human nervous system
by the highest feve!
of technology of the day.
So for example,
when the aqueducts were big,
people thought that
humors controlfed the body.
That different liquids
would come in and teach you--
or make you feel
a different way.
And then whenever
the telegraph came,
then alf of a sudden
we thought,
"Well, these are nerve impulses
that go down
sort of like wires."
And then she said, Now we know
that the brain is a computer.
And | raised my hand, | said,
"Because that's our highest
level of technology.
And she said, "No, the brain
is a computer.
And | didn't do that well
inthe class, but the thing is,
s0 when we talk
about simulation theory...
we, right now, are living
in a time where,
you know, you have
the PS4, PSVR,
you know,
{'m a Sony brand whore,
0 | apologize
for not throwing out
other things.
But the basic, you know,
virtual reality level
of simulation
is something
that we can use as a model.
But it isn't necessarily
what is going on,
and ! think that's important.
That we can use it
and we can understand
that's what's going on,
but we aren't necessarily
in a server room somewhere.
It might be something different.
You know, if you run into
a thing in the world
that you don't understand,
your brain is gonna go,
"Okay, maybe
this is what this is."
And as technology
gets more advanced
we'll have better ways
of describing it.
So, everything
that | describe here
keep in mind, you know,
I'm a 21st Century guy,
that's how my brain works.
If you're watching this
in the future, we aren't dumb,
it's just that we don't have
the tools that you have
to think of this stuff.
(electronic music plays)
(Indistinct conversations)
The title of my address is...
"If you find this werld bad,
you should see
some of the others."
(translator speaks French)
The subject of this speech...
is a topic which has been
discovered recently,
and which may not exist at all
| may be talking
about something
that does not exist.
Therefore, | am free to say
everything or nothing.
(translator speaks French)
We are living in
a computer programmed reality
and the only clue
we havetoit
is when some variable
is changed.
and some alteration
in our reality occurs.
Audience member:
So the idea is right,
any sufficiently
advanced civilization
could create simulation
that's like our existence,
and so the theory follows
that maybe
we're in the simulation.
-Have you thought about this?
- Audience member: And are we
- (audience laughs)
| am actually in a simulation,
and so are you.
So, are we living
in a simulation?
| find it hard to argue
against that possibility.
If all of this is some kind
of informational process
running in some machine.
The machine is not
in this universe,
it's somewhere else,
and this universe is
a consequence of its running.
This is kind of getting that
artifacting or whatever problem.
Rodney: Brother Mystwood,
hey, how are you?
Hello. | am sorry about
the strange lighting.
All' have is Christmas lights.
You talked about, you know,
sort of this journey
starting after a spade
of synchronicities.
- What were those like?
- Yes.
There's a number of rather
small examples.
You know, the kind of everyday
things that you would,
you know...
I'm thinking of someone,
and { turn the comer
and there they are.
| would start giving myself
sort of tests.
I'm thinking of an orange fish.
| would fike fo see an orange
fish in the next 10 minutes.
And 10 minutes later
in the walk,
[ turn down a street
and there's a restaurant
with an orange fish on it
that I'd never seen before.
So, small things like that
oceur with enough regularity.
| began to sort of track
my days numerically.
And if you'l allow me to go
on a tangent a little bit here,
| don't enjoy the average
five-day week.
| like to work in weeks
of 12 days.
| would notice that sort
of on every 12th day
| would see a certain
type of thing pap up
and | tracked this over the
course of about a year.
And long story short,
started to notice
you know, things that would pop
up with a certain regularity.
You know, on every third day,
for instance, | would kind of--
that would be when something
would happen
sort of related fo my career.
Or every fifth day
| would notice an interesting
synchronicity related
to my family,
so on and so forth.
And at a certain point
of course,
what becomes hard to delineate,
is this regularity
something that I'm noticing
or something that 'm making?
You know, is it a Schrodinger
type of situation,
where just by virtue
of staring at this thing,
it becomes something
that it's not.
One of the big things was
that | would go to a lot
of places with my parents
and they would be empty.
Or very faw people.
Like a shopping malf with not
a lot of people in there.
Driving down the road
and never seeing another car.
Things like that.
This is because | moved
from Pontiac, ifinois,
which had more people,
to Dorsey, Hinois,
which had like 500 peaple.
Our nearest neighbor was
a quarter of a mile
down the road
and alf that,
So ! didn't inferact
with a fot of people.
And one of the things
that I thought,
again, this is in my litle,
yout know,
{ moved there when | was in
like second grade...
In my little brain
1 was like, "A-hal
This is a great way
of saving time and money
because they won't need
to have as many people.
Occasionally, | would
gofo St Lous...
which was about 50 miles away.
But whenever we did,
my Dad had a very tight control
over our schedule
and our itinerary, you know.
- Once [ saw...
- (clamoring, gunshots)
...the idea of a facade,
you know, this is
on a westem movie thing.
Once | saw the idea of it,
1 was like, "Oh, well,
that's what's happening."
All this time that
we're spending in the car,
this 50 minutes
that it takes us,
we're inside this car
they're playing, you know,
this film of us driving
while they're changing all the
sets info the St. Louis set.
(construction sounds)
But I'm not gonna get to go
and see everything
because my dad is gonna
be there to make sure
that we hit the points
we're supposed fo hit
and then we get back in the car
and we go.
Can you see me? There!
| 'am an East Coaster
who lives in Los Angeles.
| have an electrical
engineering degree from Harvard.
I'm an entrepreneur.
And ['ve also--
I've got Crohn's disease.
And it all plays in
to the simulation.
1 think the sort of
basic idea is that
if you believed it enough...
incredibly high-power
computing devices
are gonna be distributed
in society
and that the computers
will get stronger and stronger
like our cell phones--
- Hey, you guys! Hey! No! Quiet!
So, you know, if there are
enough machines that are running
video game-style
world simulations
the question is, you know, if
there's that many fake realities
and only one base reality,
what are the chances that you
happen to be in base reality?
The odds that we're
in base reality
is one in billions.
(Skype ringing)
Well, | was at the time a...
kind of post-doctoral fellow
at Yale University.
The ideas in some vague form
have been with me
for quite some time
that amounted to something more
than just idle speculation.
And so | wrote that up
and published that in
Philosophical Quarterly.
And it immediately evoked
a huge amount of inferest.
And has continued to be
a huge amount of inferest.
it seems to come in waves
every year or two.
Some new set of people
discover it for the first time.
So | make a distinction between
the simulation hypothesis
which is the hypothesis
that we are fiterally
in a computer simulation
by some advanced civilization.
And the simulation argument.
And it uses some simple
probability theory,
but the basic idea can be
quite easily grasped.
Which is that at least one
of three propositions is true.
The first alternative is that
mos! all civilizations
at our current stage
of technological development
go extinct before they reach
technological maturity.
The second alternative is
that there is
a very sfrong convergence
in virtually all technologically
mature civilizations
in that they all lose interest
in creating simulations
of this kind.
They all lose inferest
in creating
ancestor simulations.
And the third alternative
is the simulation hypothesis
that we are almost certainly
in a computer simufation.
So if you reject these first two
propositions, it follows that
almost all people with our kinds
of experience are simulated.
And then, conditional on that
being the case, | argue
we should think we are probably
one of the simulated ones
rather than one
of the non-simulated,
exceptional, original ones.
Personally, for me,
it's all about probabilities.
I'm someone who thinks in terms
of probabilities, anyway.
And I've just found in my life
that there's lots
of low probability outcomes
happen again and again
and again, and again.
If I keep glancing off
to the side,
it's cause my screen's
over there.
Rodney: Oh, okay.
You're actually
at my drawing table.
So, if | keep
glancing over there,
I'm just looking at you.
And [l look back to camera.
What kind of drawing do you do?
- It depends. You know Moebius?
- Sure.
Yeah, | re-drew one
of his entire books
with characters fromPeanuts
instead of characters from him.
And then | just do
painting and stuff like...
just doodling like
fake Mignola stuff.
Rodney: Uh-hu.
Nothing that wonderful, but...
I'm working more
on the Moebius-style
for an entire new book
right now.
Rodney: That's cool.
So, are you a full-time...
- professional comic artist?
-No, no.
| wish. No, | do
Special Ed teaching.
Rodney: When did you start
thinking that there's more
to simulation theory
than Science Fiction can see?
Well, we know Musk. When he
started talking about it
I really started
thinking about it more.
The strongest argument
for us being in a simulation--
probably being in a simulaticn,
I think is the following.
That 40 years ago, we had Pong.
Like two rectangles and a dof.
That was what games were.
Now, 40 years later,
we have photo-realistic
3D simulations
with milfions of people
playing simuftaneously.
And if's getting better
every year.
if you assume any rate
of improvement at aff
then the games will become
indistinguishable from reality.
| think that triggered me
to really think hard about it.
Does any one of us remember
in any dim fashion
a worse Earth, circa 1977,
than this?
Have our young men seen visions
and our old men dreamed dreams?
| have.
Nightmare dreams, specifically,
of prisons and jailers
and ubiquitous police.
I wrote out these dreams
in nove! after novel,
story after story.
To name two in which
this prior ugly present
obtained most clearly,
| cite
The Man in the High Castle
and my 1974 novel about
the US as a police state
cafled Flow My Tears,
The Policeman Said.
I'm going o be very candid
with you.
| wrote both novels based on
fragmentary residual memories
of such a horrid
slave state world.
Or perhaps the term "world"
is the wrong one
and | should say
"United States,
since in both novels,
| was writing
about my own country.
Some peaple claim
to remember past lives.
| claim to remember
a very different present life.
| know of no one who has ever
made this claim before,
but | rather suspect
that my experience
is not unique.
| can even tell you
what caused me to remember.
In late February of 1974,
1 was given sodium pentothal
for the extraction
of impacted wisdom feeth.
Later that day, back home again
but still
desply under the influence
of the sodium pentothal,
I 'had a short, acute flash
of recovered memory.
In one instance,
I caught it all.
You are free to believe me
or to disbelieve,
but please take my word on it
that | am not joking.
This is very serious,
a matter of importance.
| am sure that,
at the very least, you'll agree
that for me even to claim this
is in itself amazing.
It was a great experience,
although a kind of
crazy-making one in a way.
And you're in the antechamber
of the quy's problems
and his trauma,
and his despair.
It was so-- such a vast text
that you kinda had fo do it
by attrition, realfy.
There were a number of things
that reatly worked.
One is that
when he was really engaging
in his own writing...
- (typing)
- ...we included that.
When he was
describing experiences,
we included that.
- (scribbling)
- There's a part where
Dick describes the writing in
"Exegesisas a "hell chore.
1 think it really shows
the chaflenges
of wrestling with
an extraordinary experience,
and particularty experiences
which we can find throughout
refigious history
of seeming insights
into reality that,
for whatever positive vision
they give you
about the true
nature of things,
do manage to undermine
your sense
that the everyday world
is at afl a coherent,
realistic operation.
And that's quite
a harrowing ride.
(wall crashes away)
| could probably put together
of all the various
small synchronicities
that kept popping up,
but they were just so mundane,
but there was so many of them
that eventually
Iook one of these,
you know, a particularly
auspicious day,
| guess, for myself.
And decided | was going to do
a sensory deprivation tank.
Which is not something
I had done before.
But it was just...
something that felt like it'd
be an inferesting experience.
And so, | did that.
And there's a guy
in New York here,
on 23rd Street
who has
a sensory deprivation fank
in his apartment,
which is a strange thing,
but you go in,
he gives you the spiel.
You ask him any questions,
and then you go into it.
And | , never having
had done this before,
I kind of went into it
not really knowing
what fo expect.
But he said, just sort of
ask for what you want
or ask for, you know,
what you'd like to know.
And the sense | got was fike,
"Yes, I'm asking the universe,
or whatever
but I'm also really
asking myself."
And maybe those aren't
different things, right?
The first few minutes
were very...
| was very aware
of where | was.
But after a few more minutes,
1 sort of stopped
sensing my body.
| could now hear my eyelids.
f could actually hear
what | thought might be
my nervous system.
I kinda, in that state,
had fo come out, and said,
Listen, I get the sense
that you're trying
to tell me something.
'm not sure | even knew who
the "you" was | was talking to.
I don't know if it was
the universe or...
{'m also an ordained minister,
80 | was raised with that.
So there's, you know,
there's a
God part of it for me.
(machine whirring)
Brother Mystwood:
Just sort of asking i
come out, just come out
and do what it is
you'd like to say.
(machine whirring)
(dramatic music playing)
Yeah, and 'm not
aNew Age guy atall.
Or at least | wasn't
before | did this.
But my head started to buzz.
My forehead just started
to violent pounding.
A swirling buzz that I
| felt like 1 opened up,
and | just
became aware like, "Okay
1'am not a body at all
tam a code.
| am a string of leffers
and numbers
and acids, and so forth.
And ! knew this, of course,
from DNA,
but more than that,
it means, you know,
- nothing on me is real.
- (shattering)
Brother Mystwood:
And nothing on anyone is real.
I'm pattern, 'm a code
constantly replicating itsef.
I'm a vibration,
and that's what it is.
Got out of the tank
and | started falking
to the guy.
And he was falking about,
"Oh, if's your
third eye opening
and sometimes that happens
And ! asked him,
"Well, what do I do with that?"
And he's like, I don't know.
Enjoy it."
I've always had a little bit
of a sense of this,
but this is the big event.
{was about 11or 12...
and I'm adopted.
- I'm a pastor's son.
- (pipe organ playing)
Paul:My adopted dad
is a pastor,
50/ go to church every Sunday.
And | believe at this point
in time, though,
it wasn't a Sunday service.
1 think it was like
an Advent service.
It was at nighttime.
And most people have
some reference for church,
but in case you don't,
there are people,
they're dressed up
and they're sitting in-
this is in the early 80s,
30 people dressed up more
than they maybe do now.
And they're seating in pews.
Pews are like long benches.
And they have
their hymnals open,
and they're singing.
(people singing in church)
Paul: And | fook around
at everyone singing
and | think to myself, "The way
we're making these noises,
is that we have these meat
flaps and we're forcing air
through these meat flaps
and we're making noise.
And we're animals, basically,
yet we put on all these clothes
and we sit in this place,
and we're making these noises
by forcing air
through our meat flaps,
and | start thinking about
how bodies move
and how weird it is
that they move that way.
And just the absurdity
of the situation
keeps on going around,
around in my head.
And I'm like,
Oh, none of this is real.
That's what's going on.
And as soon as [ had
that realization,
the only way
I can describe it is,
{ was nowhere, | was nothing.
| felf sort of like
loneliness was a thing.
{was the
personification of it.
1 was cut off from everything.
It was only me.
And it was soul-crushing
and claustrophobic.
But { didn't see anything.
It wasn't that | saw blackness.
I wasn't seeing
and | wasn't feefing.
It was this
almost negation of seif
except that [ was there
feeling this weird emptiness,
this gone-ness.
My entire life,
I'm living with family,
and I'm real used to it.
Specifically, my brother.
And then | go off.
You know, the parents
are always like, "You're 18.
We're kicking you out."
But | kinda beat them
to the punch
because, like,
the day after graduation,
| was out of town.
| had moved away.
And | didn't come back
for years.
But during that time,
I was just alone, you know.
| lived with a friend,
but | didn't have
my brother with me.
And all we would do
for like two straight years
is just play video games.
I worked at a Chili's,
and | would always come home,
we would do stupid things
like play Guitar Hero
for two straight days,
or we would get a game
and do it from front fo back,
and then just go back in
and just beat it again.
Al the time, video games,
for years and years,
that's literally all 1 did.
Didn't draw,
didn't do anything.
And so | got into
a dark place there.
It's like, "Maybe I'm stuck
in this rut on purpose.
Maybe it's not my design.
It's whatever."
I'm not religious at all,
but how do | reconcile feeling
like I'm in a rut, though?
Like a preprogrammed rut.
| have to go the science route.
And the only really blending
of religion in science there is
would probably be
a simulation theory,
to be honest with you.
Paul:When | had that
first experience
in the church,
the analogy that | use is like,
let's say that your grandpa
has a favorite radio.
And he listens to it
afl the time, and all that.
And one day, you decide
fo take that radio apart.
And you're looking
at all the pieces
and "Hey, hey,
[took this apant.
And then you realize you can't
put if back together again.
That's the feeling that | had
when [ was in that sort
of null state, if you will.
And in my mind...
that is what's outside
of the simulation.
Contemplating this possibility
of a lateral arangement
of worlds,
a plurality
of overlapping Earths
along whose linking axis
a person can somehow move
and travel in a mysterious way
from worst to fair
to good 1o excellent.
Contemplating this
in theological terms,
perhaps we could say that
here with we suddenly decipher
the elliptical utterances
which Christ expressed
regarding the kingdom of God.
where it is located.
He seems to have given
and puzzling answers.
But suppose, just suppose
for an instant
that the cause of the perplexity
lay not in any desire
on his part
to baffle or to hide,
but in the inadequacy
of the question.
"My kingdom is not
of this world,"
he is reported to have said.
"The kingdom is within you,
or possibly it is among you."
it was his mission
to teach his disciples
the secret of crossing along
this orthogonal path.
He did not merely report
what lay there.
He taught the method
of getfing there.
But, tragicatly,
the secref was lost.
The enemy, the Roman authority,
crushed it
When | saw Star Wars
this morning
{ thought to mysef...
dja vu.
Paul: The simufation idea
has been around way before
all of us started thinking
about computers.
The concept of people standing
at the Pearly Gates
and locking at their lives,
What is that if not
a debrief, if you will
after you get out
of a simulation?
Hey, Miller, look what | found.
Realistic, isn't it, Mr. Miller?
Nick Bostrom: Ren Descartes
tried to build an epistemology
from a foundation of skepticism
and radical doubt.
Narrator:/ will suppose
that some malicious demon
has employed his energies
to deceive me.
| shall think that the sky,
the air, the earth
and alf external things
are merely the delusions
which he has devised
to ensnare my judgement.
| shall consider myself as not
having hands or flesh or senses
but his falsely believing
that | have all these things.
A slightly more modem version
of the same idea
is the brain in a vat.
Where, again,
you try to challenge
the philosopher
fo prove that
the external world exists
and that he or she
is not a brain in a vat
in some
mad scientist's faboratory
being kind of fed inputs
that mimic what
the external world
would have done.
It didnt really matter
how realistic
these thought experiments were.
They were just
logical possibilities,
and the challenge was,
how can you disprove them?
He describes, "Imagine,
the situation.
There are figures chained
inside of a cave from birth.
They have no experience
of what's outside of it.
They're looking at a wall,
and on the wall they kind
of see this projection.
Orson Welles: You see men
passing along the wall,
carrying all sorts of arficles
which they hold projected
above the wall.
Statues of men and animals
made of wood and stone
and various materials.
Of the objects, which are
being carried in fike manner,
they would only see
the shadows.
Emily Pothast:
If's a very cinematic metaphor,
and ! just love that,
how that sort of imagination
of how film affects us.
And just like there's
fike that lossiness befween
what is really happening
and what perception shows us,
there's sort of lossiness
between what media
shows us and what
the real world outside
of that media
representation is.
So now,
it's not just what their senses
decide to show them,
it's what the media
decides fo show them.
All: And this is extremely
dangerous to our democracy.
Erik Davis:
Let's go back to Hindu myths.
You find these incredible myths
of fike, you know,
the king's going along and
stops for a well and he drinks
and then he goes and has
a whole other existence,
a whole other life.
And then pop! He comes back in.
And they'll even have worlds
within worlds within worlds.
So, you have the structure
of worlds within worlds,
and once you have that
it undermines the primary world.
It really kind of
crystalized for me
when | started observing
the experience
of the villager in Minecraft.
He's a massively simplified
version of us.
He has free will. He moves
about the space as he sees fif.
But the interesting thing,
is for me what it was
with the villager is,
you know, what does he do
when you, the avatar
come down into the game
of Minecraft?
When you inhabit your avatar
and you descend o Earth,
what does the villager do
when you encounter him?
He looks at you, you know?
He looks at you as if
you are the same as him.
Of course, you're not.
Because you are being controlled
by an intefligence,
a higher power.
Alex Levine:
Itd be hilarious if Elon Musk
was a player character.
And he just comes
into the game, fike,
"Hey, you guys know...
(chuckles) ...we're simulated.
This could be some simulation.
It could.
Do you entertain that?
Alex:But then he gets
fo fog off, go back to...
Artificer, heaven or whatever,
and faugh with his weird
extra-dimensional friends
"Hey, | was just playing around
with that simulation
again today.
And ! keep dropping them hints,
but no one's picking it up."
Brother Mystwood:
But it's inferesting because,
for me, the villager speaks to,
there are a few different
levels of what, you know
being raised in
the Christian faith,
| would call God.
There's the God
who made the world,
and then there's the avatar
who's descending in front
of you, and they're different
because the God
who made the world
is not the person
who's in front of you.
We don't get fo see that.
We don't get fo see
the creator of the game.
To extend this metaphor
to perhaps ridiculous lengths.
You know, one minute,
a pixel on your screen
will be representing a flower.
And it s that flower.
And then the next minute,
a villager will walk in,
and that pixel represents him.
That pixel is part of him.
It doesn't take much
to think about like,
Well, if | just extrapolate
that to three dimensions,
it's the same as atom
isin cells. You know, one year
this cell's part of me,
and then tomorrow
it'l flake off
and itll be part
of something else.
And every seven years,
our cells
replace themselves, anyway."
Chris Ware: Video game itself...
catches this
sort of sense of..
I don't know, more than
anything just like death.
Whenever | play it
with my daughter,
I fee! like we're dead
and we're flying around
looking at the world
or something.
If's the ony experience
I've had that kind of
closely approximates
what | imagine
a disembodied consciousness
might experience, or something.
| don't know how else
to really put it.
We build these pecuiar
She buitt giant-- Well,
"giant"is a relative term
when you're falking
digitafly being reality.
But giant scuiptures
of myself and my wife
amidst kind of
golden farmhouses
that then would go underground,
and train lines
or mine cart lines
that would go underground
and connect befween...
the landscape
that kind of pre-existed.
But now she's 14, so she's
kind of passed beyond.
But now she's in this
sort of baroque phase
where she
and some of her friends
now have gone back to Minecraft
and are now looking at
their worlds that they made
in their preadolescence
and kind of revisiting them,
and listening to the music again
and getting all tearful.
Soit's a 14-year-old nostalgia
for a lost world of innocence,
or something.
| guess when she's 40
and I'm 85, or whatever
and downloaded onto
aflash drive
we can continue to visit.
Philip K. Dick: My refationship
with the United States
has always been a very bad one.
It has always seemed to me
that | was about fo be arrested
by the American pofice
for some obscure reason.
Perhaps that's because
of reading Kafka's The Trial.
That book influenced me
very much.
You know, where someone
is arrested for a crime,
and he's never fold
what crime he's commifted.
When | was a kid, and one of
the things | really keyed into
was adults at the time
would repeat things
over and over again.
For instance, Newsweck magazine,
my dad used to get it
all the time.,
And we'd be sitfing around
the dinner table
and he'd say,
"Well, you know..."
and then he'd say word for word
a sentence that was read
from the Newsweek magazine.
So, it was like the magazine
programmed him fo say
that thing.
This wasn't an original thought
that he had.
And that's really where
it started, | quess.
You know, in my, like...
early childhood,
the concept that the people
that | was dealing with were,
| used the term
"chemical robots" at the time,
but the concept that
they weren't actually conscious.
They had these
repeated behaviors
that they would do
over and over again.
Rodney: Does the idea
of ancestor simulations
suggest that we are
retracing the steps
of the genuine society
that created the simulation?
Well, that's one possibility.
There could also be
all kinds of variations
ranging from
complete fantasy worlds
that bear no resemblance
to anything that existed
in physical reality
to variations of history.
Alf of that
is conceptually possible.
But an ancestor simulation
that | talk about in the paper
which is to consider
the type of simulation
where the simulators
would be creating
very detailed simulations
of people like
their historical predecessors.
Maybe not exactly
the same people,
but the same kind of people.
Back when | was 9?
Nine or 10,
| used to joke about
with my brothers and sister
that people would just go home,
and just fike sit down
and stare at walls
while no one was wafching.
You know, they would
just like...
you know, go home
and T-pose, effectively,
in their private spaces
when they weren't seen
cause they would just...
deactivate their programming,
I guess.
| used to joke about that,
but that idea ran with me
alot when | was older.
it kind of became
a little horrifying
that these people
1 would talk fo,
since nobody was watching,
the program would stop working.
Does not assume that
all the details of our world
would be simulated
to perfect subatomic precision
all the time.
And indeed,
that kind of simulation
might well be
completely intractable.
Obviously, it depends on
the kind of computer power
available in
the basement simulators.
If you have
infinitely fast computers, sure.
But, no, the idea rather
is that you would
be able fo create
a simulation capturing
only enough tha,
to the simulated creatures,
they couldn't telf
the difference.
And that would involve
some pretty clever foofwork
on behalf of the simulators
that they would be able,
for example,
to leave more detaif
in a particular part of reality
when we are paying attention.
But then not simulating alf
of those details all the time.
I'm occupying maybe
20 square feet?
And yet there's a whole
world that exists
because | know about it.
Itis here in my brain.
| worked with a company
for a little while
that launched what is now
a very popular app
that is
an interactive fiction app.
You know, there's an element of,
"Well, it's just like writing
a choose-your-own-adventure.
But what became swiftly...
obvious to me...
how simple some of our
own decision-making is,
from a coding perspective.
And... all right,
we're all good.
is a non-player character
that you will normally see
in a video game.
They're usually the people
that aren't controlled
by the player
of the video game.
They are the characters
that were programmed in there.
It's kind of like talking
to a person in real life,
but they only have a set amount
of things that they can say.
Hey, buddy, got a dead cat
in there or what?
And you only have
specific lines
that you can say back to it
in response.
| can only imagine
if | was really a gamer,
how | would experience
social interaction.
But even as a non-game player,
| sometimes find myself
you know, dealing with
non-player characters.
| work at a grocery store,
and | have a specific...
list of things
that | need to accomplish
when greeting a customer
and checking out their ifems.
And because of that,
it just made logical sense
that | create kind of
a mental script
that | go through
with each customer.
Brother Mystwood:
When this stimuli happens
to him, generally speaking,
he reacts in this way.
If's not ferribly
different from
the code that fefls
the chickens
of Minecraft what to do
or the turtles
inMario Brothers,
or the mosquitoes of me.
You know, they're all kind of
operating on the same
If this then that,
if not then don't.
It's not too much of a leap
to think that
consciousness may mean...
we are being inhabited
by some sort of
player-type intelligence.
The reason everyone loves
to be like,
"Oh, small world,"
is because it is, actually.
There just isn't enough
processing power
to render seven billion
There are not seven billion
Yeah, there might be
seven billion
in the general algorithm
of how many people are on Earth.
But when you start talking
to people,
there's probably like
a couple hundred thousand Al's,
that are serving as
the substream for the, you know,
"people you know" experience
that everyone's having on Earth,
So, when you find that
you know the same people,
or six degrees of separaticn,
it's just not a surprise at all.
In fact, it's a flaw
in the system.
And that's just the limit of
the actual processing power
of the machine
that the sim's running on.
Well, have you ever encountered
a non-player character?
Alex:{ mean,
you encounter them all the time
when you're walking down
the strest
and you don't inferact
with people.
Like, i's just like
in a video game.
If's just, there's much less
processing power
being aftributed
to the automatons.
But once you start interacting,
then something has to
actually serve
as the intelligence behind
that so-called human.
Society is rapidly secularizing.
You know, religion is
completely falling apart.
And there's elements of that
that are wonderful.
You know, | think religion plays
an overly restrictive role
in peoples lives too often.
Certainly, the religion
| was raised in does.
But { do know people
from my childhood
in a fairly
Evangelical Christian world
who, you know, wanted to...
would've committed
violent acts,
if only God...
if only God
wouldn't punish them for it.
Now, why it takes God
to do that,
as opposed to ones own honor
and self-worth and love
for thy neighbor, I don't know.
But that was case for me.
1 believe that this thought,
that we are living
in & simulation,
1think that is going
to just increase in popularity.
And for people who are
content to see
both sides of an argument
and that doesn't
split our heads in two,
you know, for people who are
content to see shades of grey,
| think that's a fine...
it's a fine idea.
Because we don't... you know,
it doesn't change anything
about my daily life,
And it shouldn't.
So | find the simulation okay.
So, if | was created
by a creator God, okay.
So, if 'm a random sparking
of cells, okay, fine.
It doesn't change much about
how | am living day to day.
But there's a lot of people
with very absolutist mindsets,
and | think once you tell them,
"Hey, you're a simulation,
the nihifistic
side of humanity,
their first reaction would be
"Well, it doesn't matter what
they do to anyone else,
because | know that I'm real,
and ! feel "
But if there's no proof
that they're real,
you know,
then what's the point of laws?
What's the point of alf this,
you know?
| do honestly think there is
a certain degree of...
inability to separate
real world
from digital realities
when you have something like
the shooter in New Zealand
live-streaming what he's doing
and going after people fike
he's in a first-person shoofer.
And going after the people who
were fike Muslims or, you know,
people shoot up synagogues.
Going after someone who is
constructed as an other
by the media that they consume.
We must meet the threat
with our valor, our blood,
indeed, with our very lives
to ensure
that human civilization,
not insect,
dominates this galaxy
now and always!
Emily: However, you end up
sort of in that place
where everyone you shoot at
just kind of disappears
and they were all pod people,
you know,
and they weren't real,
or the NPC meme,
you get into a place where
you kind of treat reality
like these are digital,
disposable bodies.
And so one guy might phug in,
he's Kanye West.
One person might phig in,
instead of doing that,
he's Michael Phelps.
They plug in and they play
and they stay at the top level
in some way that they can,
doing different exploits.
But then you have people
who log in,
they used to play a lot
and they were really good,
but then they unplugged
and didn't come back.
Years and years since
they were plugged in our reality
would be a celebrity
who was really good,
and then just fell from grace
and never really came back.
| can't name a specific
celebrity here,
plus | don't want to throw
that into your film.
Anyway, so they would
qo totally like,
they'd be going straight
and all of a sudden
they'll be doing something
that's totally perpendicular
to their normal
behavior patterns.
Cause in a video game,
you're doing it well...
then all of a sudden,
you just get bored
and you start doing something
totally different.
I've done that myself, you know.
I'm playing Grand Theft Auto
you know, you have millions
and millions of dollars
and all of a sudden it's like,
"Yeah, okay...
1 think I'm gonna hole up
in this apartment buiding...
and just see how many police
1can get to try to kilf me.
You know, then you kind of
just go for something crazy.
fonce said to my uncle...
What if this is all fake?
You know, what if
none of this is real?"
And he said, "Well, then what's
fo keep me
from going door fo door just
shooting people in the head?"
Or what's to keep me from,
you know, shooting you?
And it always struck me as,
"Is that what you want to do?"
Is the only thing
keeping you from doing that
the fact that the world is real
and there are consequences?
Did you see that video
of the gentleman
on the East Coast...
West Coast, I'm sorry,
who, he hijacked...
a commercial air flight
that was empty?
It was just him onboard,
and he had no training
And he started just flying
around the coast.
Woman: What the hell?
Oh, my God.
What is happening right now?
Did you ever see that?
He's flying and he's
talking about things.
Hijacker: (over radio)
This is probably fike
Jail time for iife, huh?
1 would hope it is
for a guy like me.
One of the things he's doing is
he's kind of breaking
people's perceptions
cause he's doing stuff fike,
he's doing loops and what not.
He's getting remarkably close
to the ground.
He's over the ocean,
over the land.
He's doing tricks.
Control: {over radio)
Just flying the plane around,
do you seem
comfortable with that?
Hijacker: (over radio)
Oh, hell yeah. I's a blast.
I've played video games
before, so...
I... L know what I'm doing
a little bit
And this is shortly before
he crashes purposefully
into a, [ believe an island.
Just offshore.
But yeah, it's nuts,
that one of his last thoughts
is how much it's like
a video game to him.
Then he crashes.
But yeah, there is a dark side.
There's people out there
who are gonna be
chaotic about it
Philip: ...very pronounced
would probably occur to us,
to many of us, again and again
and always without explanation.
The acute, absolute sensation
that we had done once before
what we were
Jjust about to do now.
We would have
the overwhelming impression
that we were refiving
the present. Dja vu.
Dja vu.
- Switch. Apoc.
- What is it?
A dja vuis usually
a glitch in the matrix.
It happens when
they change something.
What we need at this point
is to locate,
to bring forth as evidence
somecne who has managed
it doesn't matter how,
to retain memories
of a different present.
Latent, alternate
world impressions,
different in some
significant way from this.
If you remember a Kit-Kat
looking like this...
then you could be living
in an alternate reality.
Welcome to
"Conspiracy Chat N'That."
Today's topic is the
reality-bending Mandela Effect.
It's called the Mandela Effect
because hundreds and hundreds
of thousands of people
remember Nelson Mandela
dying in prison,
and that actually
never happened.
But hundreds and hundreds
of thousands of pecple are like
No, | remember Nelson Mandela
dying in prison.
But like that never happened.
Lauren Clarke: (over video)
So, when reports
of the former South African
president's death
became news in 2013,
it re-sparked
the previous debate
of whether or not
we've somehow slid
into an alternate timeline.
Narrator: The Berenstein Bears
children books have changed.
They used to be called
Berenstein Bears,"
and now they've always
been known as
The Berenstain Bears".
Over 10 thousand
Mandela effects
have been logged and confirmed.
Tana Mongeau: f you go back
and literally find
like a VHS tape
of like Snow White from 1998
and you put it in a VHS player,
they say,
"Magic mirror on the wall".
Tell me! Tell me, bitch, that
you do not fucking remember
"Mirror, mirror on the wall."
Well, that doesn't exist.
Mandela Effect?
Altemnate reality?
| think yes!
Alex: When | was young,
Hived in Mexico.
Very young, like 10 years old.
And then | returned there
for the summer
with my mother once.
{was 18 years old,
and ! really didn't
know anybody.
[ finally get a call
from some friends,
friends of friends.
These guys pick me up,
and there's all
these empties rolling around
and couldn't find a seat belf,
and | just said,
"All right, fuck it,"
1 opened a beer.
Then, we were driving
down a major street
in a city called Cuemavaca.
It had a cement divider
between the two sides...
- (car rewing)
- ...and the driver
for shifs and giggles
decided fo pop-
in an opening,
pop onto the wrong direction
and drive untif
there was another opening.
So we were driving
against traffic
in the wrong side
and no cars came, you know,
we didn't get in an accident.
So that was the first near miss
but | don't count that.
And so we headed off.
We went to a fiquor store.
They bought some more liquor.
They said, "What should we do?
Let's go to the pyramids.
So there was a pyramid in town,
and so we head over...
we climb a fence, we're
walking on a Mexican pyramid.
it's, you know, if's...
kind of an awesome experience
inand of itseff.
And they're getting bored.
They say, "All right,
that's it. Let's go home."
(bottle shatters)
And we get back in
the Wagoneer, and in Mexico
at that time of year,
this was summer,
they have monsoons
that fast five minutes.
Now the road's completely wet,
and these guys are drunk
and I'm sitting
in the back seat.
The driver says
to the passenger,
"Hey, man, why don't you take
the wheel for a sec?
And I'm sitting in the back
and I'mlike...
That's the worst idea
1've ever heard!
But it's too late, right?
if's too fate.
- And he grabs the wheel...
- (tires screeching)
...and the car hits the side
of the road right away,
but hits the curve and slides--
So it hits one side
of the street
and slides in
the other direction,
hits another curb
and flies through the air...
...probably about
a thousand feet through the air
and fands on the roof.
All the windows shattered,
and | broke ribs...
cause | took the impact
of the roof.
And gasoline
started pouring out of the car,
and I got the wind
knocked out of me.
I crawled out of the window
and gof as far away as | could,
and then a truck pulls up.
And they say,
"Oh, great. Banditos."
(police siren)
And then another car pulls up,
and it's the Federales,
the Mexican police.
You know, the banditos
Jjust leave.
And I'm like, "Oh, great,
the police are here."
And they're like,
"No, actually, it's worse.
If's worse that they're here.
"Once they learn
that we've been drinking,
they're gonna arrest us afl,
and then they're gonna ask
for a big bribe for you,
because you're American."
So | was standing
in the darkness,
and then another car pulls up.
A quy gets out, and he says...
"Excuse me.
1am the chief accountant
of the Cuernavaca
Police Department,
so the local ciy police.
And he knows about the
corruption of the Fedlerales.
And my hosts managed
to get the information to him
that they had hidden
an American in the darkness.
And they got me out of there.
But the whole thing,
it seemed 50...
0 implausible
that | had survived.
The fikelihood of all of that
was just so fow.
Somebody's gotta be
putting their hand on the scale
cause | kinda just
looked at it in terms of
the algorithm tweaking
so that things are essentially
more inferesting
cause if's a game.
Okay, so | think the first
like "public place where
| actually was able
to put a name to an idea,
probably the Matrix movies,
you know?
You can't mention simulation
without mentioning that.
The book he keeps
all of his stuffin's...
what is it called,
Simulation & Simulacra?
It's right there,
beginning of the movie,
just throws it
right in your face.
After the trilogy was over,
they released that animation
The Animatrix.
Yeah, | think that one
really hit it home.
Like, the idea was planted
and that thing really
pressed on it.
InRenaissance, Part |
and I, if's kinda hosted by
almost fike this
technology demigod.
Just kind of bringing you
in and out of reality.
You know, as far as like what's
going on inside the Matrix,
what's going on outside
the Matrix,
the history of
how the simulation was built.
I'moved fo Canada,
1 lived in Canada
for a couple of months.
And so my friend from Hlinois
drives up to Canada,
we're hanging out.
"What do you want to see?"
" don't know.
Let's go and see this dumb
Keanu Reeves action film."
So we go and see this movie
and it's pretty good,
prefty good, pretty good.
And then he gefs out
of the tank,
and we're like, "Whoa!"
Joshua Cooke: (over phone)
So, | was riding in a car
on the way homs,
and a friend of mine
- was in the car.
Joshua: (over phone)
She mentioned this movie
Matrix that people
were going crazy over.
People were going
to the movie theaters
15times in a row to see it
And that people were getting
obsessed about it
raving about it
"Oh, man, you gotta see it!
You've never seen anything
like it. And the graphics.
Oh yeah!"
And then [ heard him
say something
about a black trench coat
and stuff.
And that really hit me
for a few reasons.
One is, I had already had
a fascination,
an obsession really,
with the black trench coat
because of the movie
The Crow,
which was my first
movie obsession.
So | went to the
Blockbuster Video store.
And, from the very beginning
of the movie,
it had my atfention.
And it had kind of fike
a rough, aggressive,
you know, Rob Zombie,
heavy metal theme fo it
Narrater: The Matrix.
The soundfrack
that makes you go...
See, | thought about
the structure
of the whole thing,
like, what would it be
And an idea came to my mind
of what it would look like.
{ don't think it's just people
in pods somewhere else.
I think it's something
completely different than that.
I don't know. When | think
about it, ! think of fike
a giant white, brilfiant white
marble haflway, right?
And then there's like a
pedestal in the center,
and this giant black sphere.
And that black sphere, to
these people in this reality,
that's effectively a computer,
you know?
No, and that
computer's running
There could be
a little art museum card
next fo it that says
Universe... whatever".
And they just see what happens
out of that black mass
of stars and clouds, and deep,
deep, deep down,
peaple, like us.
And then you go on
from that model,
you wonder, "Okay
is it important to them?"
"Are we a very special case
that the entire reality
s focused on?"
Cause they're trying
fo figure out
what the point of life is,
and so they just keep
rerunning the universe.
| think what they want us
to do is improve upon
the simulation that
they've already made.
And this was where
we get into GANS.
| don't know if that's how you
pronounce it, but G-A-N-S.
Generative Adversarial Networks.
Basically, the idea is
that you have two Als...
and they're competing
with each other.
Al number one is the Forger.
It wants to make pictures
of human beings...
that fook like human beings,
enough to fool someone.
And then you have another one
that's the Inspector.
The Inspector's job
is fo tell the difference
between fake pictures
of people
and actual pictures of people.
And the two of them just run
atf each other,
boom, boom, boom...
Trying to fail,
trying o win, aff that..
until, eventually, you and
Iook at the pictures,
and they look real to us
because they've gone through
all these iterations.
But what are peaple if not..
adversarial networks?
Cop tries to solve crime.
Criminal tries fo beat cop.
I'm gonna kill you.
You idiot! You made me!
Hacker tries to hack a system.
A programmer tries
to fix the system.
Audience gets jaded
with this type of mecfia.
So somebody new comes along
and tries fo make
something better.
We are constantly getting back
and forth at each other.
If you fook at social media,
maybe this is why we're
always arguing
because we exist specifically
fo refine and hone things.
Inthe end,
what do we want to create
if not another simulation?
Joshua: {over phone)
Yeah, | mean,
there were a few lines in there
that were pretly deep.
Neo asked Morpheus,
"Why do my eyes hurt?"
And Morpheus looks at Neo
and says...
"Because you've never
used them before.
Well, I felt the same way.
And 1 felt like,
"Man, there's gotta be
more than this."
Okay, "You've never used
your eyes before
when he gets out of the Matrix
and everything's blurry,
that's very, very similar
to sort of what happens
in Platos Cave, when he goes...
When you're taken
outside the cave,
it takes a while
for your eyes to adjust
to what you're seeing
outside the cave.
And then, when he comes back
inside the cave
he can't see either
because he's used o seeing
things as they really are.
And so, you know, it says,
"Oh, and your friends
are sort of watching
on the projection screen,
And they give themselves awards
for being the fastest
and best at spotting
what's going on.
And you just aren't
interested in this anymore
because you've seen
S0 much more."
It's funny how this
just sort of like
value system
that allows us to believe
that we know something
that everyone else doesn't.
Like also contributes
to that othering,
when he's walking
down the street
and everyone is fake,
you know?
And then, yeah,
the person in the red dress,
and fater the guy's like,
"Oh, I engineered her."
Yeah, that seems like--
that is such
a school shooter fantasy.
You have these unique eyes to
see what no one else can see.
and everyone else
is just fike...
they're just aslesp.
Man: Sleep. Sleep.
Having told you my story
about when | was a kid,
when he got out of the fank...
the immediate thing that
flashed in my mind was, "Okay,
this is kind of like what
happened to me a that point,
but there was no fank
to get out of."
And | maybe didn't even
have a body, per se.
Joshua: (over phone)
I went to a store
in the malf near my house,
it's cafled Hot Topic.
{ don't know
if you've ever heard of it
And they had all kind of
goth wear,
black clothes,
black everything.
There was a fine of
trench coats hanging on a rack
in the corner of the store.
And | was with my sister,
And | made a beeline straight
for the trench coats, you know.
{ran. { ran fo them
and | grabbed one,
and | held it to my chest
real tight...
like it was fike
my girifriend or something.
{t was, you know--
My sister's looking at me like,
"What are you doing?
Whenever | would be going
through something really bad,
whether it was
being bulfied at school
or whether it was
being abused at home
| could escape.
I could feave the room.
| could escape
with the black trench coat on.
It was like the trench coat
was like a fiving,
breathing organism to me.
You know. It made me feel...
when [ put it on,
it made me feel strong
it made me feel powerfu,
It made me feel closer
to Neo than | ever been.
| would wear the trench coat
to the mall mainly.
{ would walk around the mall
Jjust afl day
with the Matrix music
on my headphones.
| had the soundtrack
it was in my CD player,
and people would
see me come in,
and they would just kind of
back away, you know.
And | had this sick thri
of wearing i.
So being Neo, being Neo was...
| felt for a long time
it actually saved me,
but il a certain point.
You know, everything
that's really happened
with me
has kind of dichofomy,
sometimes a paradox.
{'ve probably watched
The Matrix movie...
I don't know exact,
but know
it was hundreds of times.
After | saw it the first time,
| had to watch it again.
And then | had
to watch if again,
and { watched it again
and again and again.
There were days
when | would watch it
two or three times in a row.
And like the world
that they are in,
this boring, you know,
trite, mundane...
you know, just sickening world,
1 felt the same way.
| just felt fike
nothing was going right.
What the helf am | doing here?
And | felt like, "Man,
there's gotta be
more than this."
Maybe there's something
with this Matrix thing.
Maybe if's real.
Maybe it's not so fake
after all. You know, who knows?
Philip: One thing I really
want you fo know,
these claims
can neither be proved
nor can they be even
made to sound rational
in the usual sense of the word.
It has taken me over
three years fo reach the point
where | am willing
to tell anyone
but my closest friends
about my experience
beginning back
at the vernal equinox of 1974.
(translator speaks French)
Philip: One of the reasons
motivating me
to speak about it publicly
at last
to openly make this claim
is a recent encounter
I have undergone
which, by the way,
bears a strange resemblance
to Hawthorne Abendsen's
experience in my novel
The Man in the High Castle
with the woman Juliana Crain.
(translator speaks French)
Juliana read Abendsen's book
about a world
in which Germany and Japan
and ltaly...
Now this is a little difficult
if you haven't read the book,
but he wrote a novel
in which Germany,
laly and Japan
fost World War Il
And he was fiving in a world
in which
they had won World War Il
She felt she should tell him
what she comprehended
about the book.
In other words,
that his novel was true.
Chris: When | was working
ondimmy Corrigan,
the main character meets
his dad, and then his dad dies.
And as | was working
on the story itself,
| met my dad for the first time
and then he died.
John Updike said something
once about...
about the strange predictability
of fiction.
And he just kinda
let it go at that,
and didn't really
follow up on that.
But there is something
when you get into this...
imaginary world
of writing stories,
or reimagining memories
where you can kind of
start to feel like you're...
nof necessarily predicting
the world, but having some play
in the stream of it,
or something.
For several years, | 've had
the feeling, a growing feeling,
that one day a woman, who would
be a complete stranger fo me,
would contact me and tell me
that shie had some information
to impart to me.
And then she would appear
at my door
just as Juliana appeared
at Hawthome Abend'sen's door.
She would tell me exactly
what Juliana told Abendsen,
and that is that my book,
like his, was in a certain,
real, literal
and physical sense,
not fiction but the truth.
Well, this did
finally happen to me.
{ even knew
that her hair would be black.
One of the first things
that a lot
of science fiction critics
remind you
when you're talking
about science fiction,
"Science fiction is
not ahout prediction."
But of course people
think about it anyway.
And Dick has quite a few.
Like he's no stacker
in the actually anficipating
the future department,
especially around
consumer gadgets
and ideas about
consumer gadgets.
But I think
what's more prophetic
is just...
what if feels fike
to be alive right now.
You know, to be confused...
ontologically confused.
Like, I'm not really sure
where reality is exactly.
I'm certainly convinced
that there's a lot of
very dark forces on the rise,
and there are things that
are Irying to manipulate me
using information
or using my...
the fact that 'm stif
a subject of capitalism,
and they're kind of
manipulating that.
And, at the same time,
there's sort of like
desper rumblings
in the nature of the world
that seem really unclear.
And at the same time,
people seem potentially drawn
into their own sort of
solipsistic world
of like manipulating
with the world
through all these inferfaces
and kind of detaching in a way,
even at the same time
you're completely bound up.
And that's a primal theme
in Dick,
is the tension between
our social reality,
the reality as
a soclal construction
that we are always able
to kind of fragment away from
in generally harrowing ways.
We go into solipsism,
we go into psychosis,
we go into paranoia.
Hey, guys, | used
to be one of you!
- Stop selling...
- Erik: And so,
1 think he captures
the texture of our life.
I mean, especially, like,
Jjust as a trivial example...
the texture of like lots
of fiftle alerts all the time.
You know, pings on the phone
and here's your e-mail, ding!
And then,
"Oh, don't forget this."
That kind of mind
that's constantly distracted
by these little bits
of information tugging af us.
Some of which are
advertisements trying to like
Or you start thinking
about a frip
and then you write
somebody an e-mail,
and Goggle reads your e-mail
and then suddenly
all the adds are like,
"Trips! Trips! Trips!"
it's just like, "Whoa," that
fabric of consciousness
is just straight out of this--
(liquid static)
Joshua: {over phone)
| remember typing
"quns for sale
on like Google.
And-- In Fairfax, Virginia.
And | saw this place called
Galyan's Sporting Goods Store.
And | remember...
like a fow days after
1 looked that up, my father.
I was in the basement
with my father.
And he said,
"I've seen your searches
for guns for sale.
And looked at me,
he had like this
worriec/angry look on his face.
And | didn't say anything,
and I-
We looked at each other
for a good minute,
almost fike a standloff.
And then | just walked up
the basement steps and left.
So we never had another
conversation about if.
Erik:He had this great line
about, that he thought
that the contemporary world
was sort of recreating
the animist world
that people,
pre-modern people saw.
And his work captures
that sense
of a kind of
profane technological animism,
and aliveness
that is not very trustworthy.
| love you, daddy.
Erik: Dick was
always aware of the broken.
People are broken.
Technologies are broken.
Cosmologies are broken.
Gods are hroken.
Even though it seems like
other people
are just always paying
attention {o fike the new
and how the new technologies
can solve this thing...
Narrator: Your plastic pal
who's fun to be with!
Erik:...what I experience
my technological fife is like
is just a lof of broken things.
Jesse: So, you have
your giant developers.
You have Activision Blizzard,
they doWorld of Warcraft
and Overwatch.
You have EA, which is...
1 think I've seen EA
related to the Nazis
more than I've seen them
related to video games.
They're pushing out
these things now
where you're paying full price
for a video game,
but you're only getting fike
40% of a video game.
And the portion you get
is broken and buggy.
And sometimes like literally,
in the case of some games,
like I think the latest one
was Atlas, it's unplayable.
Like if's literally dead
on arval.
People were still paying
full price for it
and getting tricked info it
You can't get refunds.
They get patches
that don't work.
You're stuck
in these digital worlds
that aren't going so well.
And then,
when you get out of them,
you're stuck in a realify
that's not going so well
And you can't help
draw paralfels.
The grass is dead
on hoth sides of this thing.
Perhaps right now,
maybe our artifices
are a fittle bit more active
than we thought.
And they're just like really
hot-fixing a lot of things,
and they're quick-patching
reality right now,
and it's just like,
shit's hitting
the fan right now.
That's what's happening
outside the Matrix
in Neo's world, too.
it's like the real realty,
if you get outside
of the Matrix
is terrible.
The real reality is like war,
and you can't breathe.
To me, the subtext of that
is maybe there was
a taboo that we transgressed,
that we went past
the point of no retum.
Joshua: {over phone)
February 17th, 2003.
It was a Monday.
{ woke up. There was
a whole lot of snow outside
from a recent blizzard
we had just had.
And | walked downstairs,
| saw my father shoveling snow.
So I got my clothes on
and helped him shovel the snow.
And in the middle of doing that
1 remember my mother came out
and she looked up and she said,
"There's so much snow.
We're gonna remember this
for a long time."
1 spent the rest of the day
in my room
playing violent video games
and watching The Matrix movie
with my black trench coat on
and my gun in my hand.
As evening time continued...
paranoia sunk in even further.
Lightning struck my brain.
And this is what hit me.
| said to myself, the only way
1 could find out for sure,
I could find out for sure
if the Matrix was real
and [ wasn't losing my mind
was fo simply pick up
the phone and call them.
1 left my room
and | walked precariously
over to the house phone
in my parents' bedroom.
| slowly picked the phone
up off the hook
and then, taking a deep,
nervous breath
1 spoke those powerful words,
his words,
the final words of Nec,
"I know you're out there.
[ can feel you now.
1 know that you're afraid.
You're afraid of us.
You're afraid of change.
I don't know the future.
1 didn't come here fo telf you
how this is going to end.
{ came here to tell you how
it's going to begin.
You're gonna hang up
this phone,
and then I'm going to show
these people
what you don't want them
to see.
A world without you.
A world without rules
and controls,
without borders or boundaries.
A world where
anything's possible.
Where we go from there
is a choice up to you."
And [ hung up the phone
and | walked calmly back
fo the TV in my room
and began watching The Matrix
afl over again.
Joshua:And | remember
sitting there on my bed
looking up at
The Matrix poster,
just saying basically,
"Fuck my fife," you know?
| got my shotgun out and | ...
| put some slugs in there,
in the chamber...
and | slid the action forward,
and | left my room.
But before 1 did,
1 put a CD player on my head,
headphones on my head.
And this one was
a little different
thanThe Matrix.
This one was by a band
called Drowning Pool.
The words to the song wers,
"Beaten why for
Can't take much more
Something's got to give
Let the bodlies hit the floor
J (Bodies by Drowning Pool plays) &
That's what | was listening to
as | left my room
and | went downstairs to get
to the basement.
J (song continues)
And | remember
when | got fo the
bottom of the basement stairs
I saw my mother was sitting
there at the computer
with a smile on her face.
And she turned, she swiveled
in her chair to face me
and when she saw the gun
in my hand,
which she's seeing
for the first time ever,
her smile disappeared,
and I shot her.
I 'shot her in the chest.
And ! turned my attention
to my father,
who was on the other side
of the basement
and he dove.
He was at his computer, too.
And he dove under the table,
and he was looking at me
with a look I've never seen
on him before.
And just that look of shock
and disbelief.
And | remember | crouched down
to be level with him
and { shot him about
three times.
{ went upstairs fo refoad
and when | came back down--
Oh, I still had
my headphones on.
The words that were forced
info my ears were,
"Skin against skin
Blood and bone
You're all by yourself
But you're not alone
You wanted in
Now you're here
Driven by hate
Consumed by fear
Let the bodiies hit the floor
That's what | was listening to
when | went down
for the second time
to the basement.
1 was standing at the top
of the basement staircase,
and my mother was standing
at the botiom of the staircase,
holding her chest
as she bled out.
And | lifted the qun up
and | aimed it at her face.
She looked up at me
and she said...
she said, "Joshua."
She said, "What did you do?"
And she kept looking at me
for a minute, and she said...
she said, "You wouldnt."
And I putled the trigger.
When 1 pulled the
trigger and...
her face exploded.
Half her face, her eye
and her face exploded out
through the back of her head..
and her flesh was just
turned info like ripplets,
a hloody mess.
And it messed me up
really bad
because it wasn't anything like
1 had seen onThe Matrix.
You know? Real life
was so much more horrific.
It kind of jarred me.
I was stilf pretty numb,
but | remember it jarring me
cause it was different than
what | thought of The Matrix.
So | turned around
and | went upstairs
into the dining room.
| picked up the phone
in the kitchen,
and my sister was on the phone.
| didn't realize at the time
that my sister
was on the phone with my father
at the exact moment that
I kifled him and my mother.
She heard the whole thing,
and | didn't realize it
So here I am,
I'm at the phone in the kitchen
and | said, "Heflo?"
And my sister said, "Josh?"
And { said, "Tiffany?"
| said,
"What are you doing here?"
And she said,
Josh, where's Daddy?
| wanna talk fo Daddy."
And I told her, | said,
"Hang up the phone, Tiffany.
1 gotta calf someone.
And she didn't hang up,
50 let the phone hang
and | went fo,
my father had a celf phone.
{ went to his celf phone.
1 went outside.
Itook a Coca-Cola
out of the refrigerator
and | started to drink--
1 popped the top
and | started drinking it,
and | called 911,
When I hung the phone up...
1 got a call on my dad's phone
from a friend of his.
And my dad's friend said,
"Hey, Josh, is your dad there?"
And | said, "He can't come
fo the phone right now."
And he said, "Oh, okay.
Will you give him
amessage for me?
Just tell him | cafled.
Said, "Will you give him that
message for me?"
And | said. "Sure."
And he hung up the phone,
Ihung up the phone.
And moments fater,
the police arrived
at the driveway of my house
with their guns drawn.
About five or six of them
with their guns drawn on me...
fold me fo get
down on my knees,
and of course they arrested me.
Philip:4, in my stories
and novels,
often write about
counterfeif worlds
semi-real worlds, as well as
deranged private worlds
inhabited often
by just one person,
while meantime
the other characters
either remain
in their own worlds throughout
or are somehow drawn info
one of the peculiar ones.
This theme occurs in the corpus
of my 27 years of writing.
At no time did | have
a theoretical
or conscious explanation
for my preoccupation
with these pluriform
But now | think ! understand.
What was sensing
was the manifold
of partially actualized reality
lying tangent
{o what evidently
is the most actualized one.
The one which the majority of us
by consensus gentium agree on.
The real nub of it,
morally, ethically,
even kind of cosmologically...
is how we deal with each other.
Like, okay I'm in a simulation.
Okay, I'min a false,
phenomenal world.
How do | deal with this person
I'm in love with?
How do | deal with this person
who is my enemy?
How do | deal
with a dying parent?
But if have the hunch
that this is a simulation
and there are other people
like me there
who aren't just simulations,
it puts weird pressure
on my ethics.
How do | deal with somebody
else who's in a false world
but who's actually behind
that avatar is someone like me,
that | really want
to communicate with,
fall in fove with,
bond together with.
And that's really key
to Phil Dick.
Like yeah, Phil Dick
was kinda crazy.
He had visions
he could never decide
what they meant,
he's neurotic and pathological
and paranoid
and all those things,
but at the same time,
throughout all of the texts,
there's this
very grounded empathy
with people suffering
under these false conditions.
This very real portrayal,
very sobering portrayals of
human beings that are sti--
they have a heart.
And that heart is what
kind of keeps you going
as you suffer these various
nightmare scenarios
that he throws your way,
including the ultimate one
of just not knowing.
And | think that that's
one of the ways that people
get attracted
to simulation hypothesis
is because it seems
to maybe solve problems.
But I think it just makes
the problems even more...
you know, kind of poignant
and in your face.
Joshua: (over phone)
So when | met my lawyers
for the first time
in Fairfax jaif
they asked me about
my crime and...
and { told them | said,
"I did my thing
just like Neo inThe Matrix.
Like | was in virtual realify."
And that really took them
by surprise.
They weren't expecting that.
| also told them
that the moment of my crime,
I had also felt
atinge of remorse,
because it was
two strong things
at the same time,
that | was entering the world,
or exiting the world
of the Matrix.
And then real life,
with what I did to my parents.
My lawyers later
went to my house,
and they went upstairs
to my room
and they saw my enormous
Matrix movie poster on my wall.
And they saw
my black trench coat
laying out on my bed,
smoothed out on my bed.
They saw my black boots.
The ones like Neo wore.
And they began fo think
that they may have
an insanity defense.
They said that | , quote,
"Harbored a bona fide belief
that | was living in
the virtual world of The Matrix
at the time of the murders.
That was part of my defense.
- This isn't real?
- What s real?
Which was later dubbed
The Matrix Defense.
Joshua: (over phone)
The doctor, the psychologist,
Dr. Shostak, he diagnosed me
with a form of schizophrenia
called simple schizophrenia,
and that's when he made
the declaration
that people are scarcely real
to me and things fike that.
There were different events
that happened in my life,
different things | was feeling
that were in a combination
led up to me exploding.
The abuse | had been suffering
from my parents at home
for many, many years.
And then | had the bullying
at school
and the undiagnosed
mental ifiness | had for years.
And all of that together
kind of formed
aticking time homb.
{ call it the perfact storm.
But | , myself, | never made
any excuses for my crime.
And | just wanted to die,
you know?
it was like, just forget about
all of this stuff, you know.
And as a matter of fact,
at the end
of my sentence hearing
| got fo say
a wriften statement
to the judge out foud there.
And there | just,
{old him that
| wasn't making any excuses,
and { deserved
the death penalty,
| deserved to die.
And | think about
what | did every day.
1 wish | could take it back.
You know?
Joshua: (over phone) The movie,
The Matrix movie
has affected people
in all sorts of different ways.
It alf depends
on where you're coming from
and the psychology of it
Mine is just kind of
an extreme case.
There are people
out there today
who may be listening to this
that are going through
the same things that [ was.
And this is
the whole reason why
I'm even talking
about this today
because | know
I have a purpose,
a calfing in my life
to try to reach them.
Now that I'm in my mid-40's...
| 'am actually finally able
to deal with people
as human beings.
And you could
think of it one way,
if people are simulated,
they're getting better
and they're easier to relate to,
but is it possible
that | saw everyone
as these sort of robotic
humans walking around
because | couldn't
figure them out
because of a problem
with my brain?
And that's the thing,
| never wanna get locked
into the idea
that this is all fake
if in fact the reason
| thought it was fake
is because it was an easier
way for me to deal
with the complexity
of human existence.
| feel like being fully
in the body with another
is like sort of maybe
like seeing the light, you know?
It's the petite mort"
of orgasm.
Or just like the fusing
of consciousness with an other.
Audre Lorde talks about
the eroic.
And [ think the erotic
as a dynamic in reality
is an antidote to solipsism.
It's an antidote
to a lack of empathy.
Because it allows us to sort of
have a playful relationship
to the other.
There's that scene
inThe Matrix Reloaded
where Morphsus gives a speech
and tells everyone
that they're about
to be atfacked
by the machines.
This might be
their last night afive.
The machines have gathered
an army, and as | speak
that army is drawing nearer
to our home.
(crowd murmuring)
So, what do they do?
They play music. They dance.
And in the midst
of this stew of flesh...
Trinity and Neo sneak off
to this catacomb and make love.
This is a scene
that gets parodied a lot.
I think if's easy
to not take it seriously
because it's so earnest.
But if's also very tender.
It shows the characters
at their most vulnerable
with each other.
Neo tells Trinity
that he's afraid of losing her.
And she says,
"You're not gonna lose me."
She holds his hand,
"You feel this?"
I'm never letting go."
That's love.
You have fo be
very vuinerable to feel it
I think loneliness
and isolation and trauma
play very heavily
in the kinds of realities
that people construct
for themselves.
Brother Mystwood:
And if there's a player
that is responsible for me
and is playing me...
then, you know,
maybe he's a genius,
but maybe he's like
a 12-year-old kid.
So the thing I've gotta do
is I've gotta keep leveling up
and ['ve gotta stay interesting
for him.
Rodney: Do you make different
choices than you might
othierwise in order to keep
your player interested?
The way | think about is,
you know,
if you're playing a video game
and sometimes you see
like a giant blinking cursor
telling you to go
to a certain place.
| keep looking for those.
And when | see one, [l stop
and I'l pause and Il say...
Thank you for that,"
and I'l, you know--
And then every once in a while,
Il just make a completely
batshit decision
that no one seems to understand.
Including myself!
Like, "Well, well, well!"
| hope you're interested.
Just like
all the other theories,
no one's gonna know
until they're dead.
And | don't believe
that it's flawed enough
that it could somehow tear...
and we'd find ourselves exposed
out of The Matrix.
| don't think
that's how it works.
| think that
it's a solid system.
And whatever it is,
ends when you die.
But it's totally plausible
that you then wake up
in an arcade in the year 3000
and put another quarter in
and do another life on Earth
in the year 2019, you know?
There are these kind of
fundamental metaphors
about reality that we develop
through being humans
moving through time and space
on a planet.
So the metaphor of the journey,
"Life is Iike a journey."
Well, another one we have,
and we all have itis,
- waking up from a dream.
- (screaming)
What? Oh, I'm in this world!"
And just that. Not what
the nature of this world was,
or the nature of that world is.
We have this fundamental
cognitive experience
of shifting between
ontological frames,
sometimes quite abruptly.
Sometimes with
intense emotions.
And this is just
stitched into us.
So it's a fundamental hunch
that we all have
that the world
is not what it seems.
There's another world
behind this world,
or at the very least,
this world is capable
of falling apart.
- Truman; What's happening?
- Security guard: Nothing.
Rodney:{ don't know,
does thinking about
the simufation,
does that excite you?
Or does it sometimes
fill you with unease?
Well, | guess...
I've had
this simulation argument
for 5o long now
that it's hard to sort of
consider the counter faction.
Cause it's kind of become
50 much a part of
the way | view the world,
the simulation argument.
| do think that...
it makes it quite...
compelling that
this very general notion,
that there are more things...
in heaven and on earth
than are dreamt of
in our philosophy.
This sense that we are
plausibly very, very limited
in our understanding
of what the heck is going on.
We have made progress in that
maybe we have figured out,
you know, six of the 10 things
you need to have figured out
to really know what's going on.
But the thing is that each
of the remaining four things
might so radically
change the conclusions
until we get them all right,
maybe we are as lost
as you would be if you only knew
one or zero.
Jesse:/ was lying in bed,
1 was thinking about it
So hypothetically,
what if tomorrow
I dress in alf white
| slick my hair back,
and I'm like, "Hey,"
1 tell the local mediia,
"Here's the message that we
should be good fo each other,
I'm starting a new thing."
Building up almost
like a religion,
or just more of
a philosophy of,
"Hey, we are in a simulation,
0 let's, let's try and gain
the aftention of those people.
Now, those entities
are running the thing.
So going forth here,
we could do things like,
you know, gigantic light,
simultaneous fight displays,
glant monuments,
just a giant tablet that says,
"Hey, we know-"
or something profound.
And then in unison
just flashing lights out.
So, one person walks
by this black sphere
in their great
artificer haliway
that was never there before.
They'd be like, "Oh, hey.
Experiment whatever
s talking to us.
| mean, who knows,
if we just keep going with it
and going with it
and going with it.
Do things like crganize Earth
in a more watchful pattern
to get ourselves
spread over the universe.
'Cause the larger screen
we have to display our message,
the more attention we'll get.
You're dreaming.
Doug, was it about Mars?
Elon Musk:
Becoming a multi-planet species
beats the hell out of being
a single-planet species.
Then we get to, fike...
Star Wars fevels
of spread across the galaxy.
Perhaps our science
will progress enough
where we can actually
tap on the membrane between...
the universe
and what's beyond it
and perhaps gef a message ouf,
an active message
to an active fistener.
| don't fike to fuss or moan,
but if it weren't for you,
1'd be afl, afl alone.
It would be hilarious
if we were something stupid,
like, you know how computers
are in everything.
| mean, there's a computer-
this is a vape tank.
There's a computer in here.
There's a micrachip in here.
But if we're something like...
one of the numerous
computer devices
that's been thrown
into a basket somewhere
catise you have too much crap.
That would suck, 'cause then
we would never be found.
Maybe this whole project
that you're doing, right,
is the simulation sort of
flirting with you, if you will.
Like it's going,
"Hey, I'm gonna go ahead
and let you see a ittle bit
what 've got going on
under here.
And I'm okay with it
as long as you respect me."
What if the simulation
is like anesthesia?
Imagine, if you will
that you're going
through surgery...
and al of a sudden somebody
infroduces something
in your bloodstream
that toally makes
- the anesthetic go away.
- (heart beating rapidly)
Paul: Your chest cavity's open,
there's somebody
with their hand in it
and they're trying
to massage your heart.
And all of a sudden
you're back, lucid,
all the pain in the world,
and everything fike that.
You're gonna mess up
that strgery
by freaking out
and fiipping around
and all that,
Maybe that's what
the simulation is.
And by putting
this project out there,
we're messing up big time
and you're gonna cause
a lot of damage.
Paul: The other option, though,
maybe this is the
the key, if you will.
Maybe this is a situation
where the simulation is bad,
we shouldn't be in it,
and this is a failsafe.
Paul:So the person watching
this goes,
"Oh, maybe that's
what's happening with me."
And maybe, who knows,
yout know,
they're in
suspended animation somewhere.
They're the ones
who are supposed
to pilot the ship.
They're knocked out.
They're not responsive.
And so they create this movie
for them to watch
o that they start
questioning reality,
and therefore get out of it
(dramatic music playing)
(alarms blaring)
(spaceship rumbling)
(alarms blaring)
Paul: | have,
through dreaming and waking up,
lived thousands
of different lifetimes.
And so I'm not afraid
of what happens
when the simulation ends.
| am certain that when | die,
| will simply wake up
somewhere else.
How do | know?
Because | remember doing it
over and over and over again.
Alarm: Good morning.
This is your wake-up cafl.
Thank you for staying
af the New Darwin Inn.
- The time is 10:30 AM.
- {clicks)
(fire crackling)