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The Tinkered Mind
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November 1st, 2020
Lucilius paused to breathe, having exhausted himself with a winding and long winded argument about simulation theory.
“And that,” Lucilius said, “is why I think we are probably in some sort of simulation.”
Lucilius’ friend who had been listening all the while shook his head gently with a smile.
“I am literally on the same page with you.”
Lucilius looked at his friend a little sideways. “That a sly joke?”
“What do you mean?”
“Well,” Lucilius said, looking around at their surroundings. “It doesn’t look like we’re actually on a page, I mean, literally, does it?”
Lucilius’ companion looked around, still a bit puzzled. “I’m not sure what you mean.”
“Well, you said you’re literally on the same page with me, correct?”
“To literally be on a page means that there would have to be an actual page, like in a book, and we’d have to be on it, physically, literally.”
Lucilius watched the pieces slowly click together in his friend’s mind.
“Duh, yea I think I meant figuratively.”
“I figured.” Lucilius said with a bit of a chuckle. “People love to swap it out with literally, because I think it has a bit more of an authoritative crispness to it. A bit like underlining a word.”
“You’re probably right. But…why did you think I was making a sly joke when I said ‘literally’?”
“Well,” Lucilius said, “this goes back to what I was saying about the possibility that we might be living in a simulation. In fact..” Lucilius trailed off, gazing into that invisible middle space of memory. “Had a weird encounter with someone once that reminds me of this.”
“Someone recognized me in a crowd and they knew who I was, knew my name and everything, because they said they’d read about me in a book.”
“You have a book about you?”
Lucilius shrugged with an expression of nonchalant unknowing. “I don’t think so. Certainly haven’t been able to find one, and you’d think I’d have known if someone was writing a book about me.”
“Weird.” Lucilius’s friend gazed off for a moment. “But what’s that got to do with simulations?”
“Well, if that book does exist, who’s to say it doesn’t have a story about the two of us sitting here and talking.”
The eyes looking at Lucilius grew suddenly wide. Lucilius’ companion looked around. “Certainly doesn’t look like a book to me.”
“Of course it doesn’t, you’d be a character in that book, and just like I was saying about simulations, the concept of a character in a book applies perfectly: does a character in a book have anyway of knowing if they are actually a simulated person contained within the words on a page within a book?"
“I suppose not if the author wants them to know.”
“Exactly,” Lucilius said, then he burst out with a short laugh. “I suppose it’d be more appropriate if I recycle your unintentional joke:
I think we are on the same page, figuratively… and, maybe even literally.”