Simulacra and Simulation

reading “Simulacra and Simulation” last night, i was intrigued by one of the thoughts. the argument was: if the simulation is good enough that it has symptoms of the original (for instance, a simulated illness producing a high temperature and nausea), it is then something in its own right.

a fairly high-level concept, but one that echoed for me because of the day i had. in the morning, i went with a young boy that i’m mentoring on a field trip with his class, to the Chabot Space Center. there i had the privilege of viewing an IMAX movie in a domed theater, so that the screen filled my entire scope of vision. for the first time in my life, my senses were completely fooled into believing that this film WAS reality. “this is the future of computing”, i thought, “to be completely immersed in the experience”.

as i had that thought, i thought about its ramifications. if the “simulation” of life, namely the soon-to-exist computer displays, is convincing enough to fool the brain, then what exists is no longer a copy of life, but a new life itself. we speak of this today, of people “living online”, but we still tend to view simulated life as a subset of real life.

it may become important to distinguish the two as technology advances further, both for the positive and negative sides of the issue. first, it is necessary to validate technological advances that improve life. if a device or technology creates a new form of life, that should be encouraged and respected. but at the same time, we must recognize the lives that we are living for what they are.

it is probably too early to judge the validity of a life lived online, but for now it is probably a good idea to constantly be evaluating what our lives are becoming in the mad rush to embrace technology.