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  • Writer's picturetrevorcarterva .

An Exploration of Reality

In my novel, Lost in the Abyss, I explore the question of what reality is in the context of a computer simulated reality. For the most part, reality is a subjective experience. We experience the objective world with our senses. Our senses feed information in our brains. Our brains make sense of that sensory input. Based on that input, our idea of reality is constructed. I think a similar process would occur if we could enter a realistic simulation.

Below is an excerpt from chapter one of my book.

Dr. Pervical “Percy” Monroe, a professor of neuroscience and a student of the esoteric, sat dangling his legs over the edge of a rock, looking down at a group of minnows in the water below, listening to the babbling stream as it beguiled his mind into a soothing lull—a familiar enchantment. As the tiny minnows grouped together near a rock, Percy played with the idea in his mind that the minnows were communing, contemplating their existence, wondering about the greater reality that existed above them; a world beyond their perceptual lens. A meeting of great minds, he thought, as the tiny creatures huddled together.

Percy had given a lot of thought to the nature of reality. Having studied human consciousness and simulation theory for several years, he was convinced that the human perception of reality was limited. Like the minnows in the stream, he wondered about what lay outside human perception. For several years, he had been thinking about the idea of merging human consciousness with virtual reality—a simulated reality. He understood the intricacies of the human brain; he knew the limitations of human perception. There is something more to what we call reality. Is this universe holographic? Do we humans, macrocosms of the larger microcosm—the universe—have within us the complete picture of reality? If the universe is a hologram, then each part should contain the whole. We, the fragmented parts of the hologram, should be able to understand the greater reality. Having also researched psychic phenomena for decades, he was convinced that human consciousness was more than just an emergent property of the brain. He had participated in controlled studies involving “out-of-body” experiences, where his consciousness, or a part of it, seemed to detach from his physical body and move beyond the three-dimensional world, into other realms of existence. Were those astral trips only illusions created by the brain or were they something else? Percy didn’t believe they were. But, being a scientist, he would have to wait for empirical evidence before he could accept that as fact.

Rays of sunlight broke through the clouds above, gleaming off the surface of the water. Percy looked up at the sky. Another beam from the sun wafted through the flocculent white clouds, striking him in the eyes. His vision blanched momentarily, washed out by the warm band of light. He lowered his head back down toward the water and fluttered his eyes, attempting to remove the spackled glints that distorted his vision. On the surface of the water, he could see a form of light that had an angelic form. Perhaps an aberration caused by light and shadow. The mind is a tricky machine; human perception can be easily deceived; it’s good at filling in the blanks—finding a signal in the noise where no signal exists. It’s a common phenomenon that anyone can experience just by looking at the clouds—pareidolia. Some people see an animal, while others see more abstract forms. But, just like the being of light Percy saw on the water, the clouds soon change shape and the image disappears. Such is the nature of all things, he thought—change is the only constant. This mortal shell that we inhabit will one day lose form and dissolve. But what of consciousness? Where does it go? Then he thought about the forces that create a cloud. Those forces, like consciousness, work together to create those fleeting forms. The cloud is a manifestation produced by forces mostly invisible to the human eye. The human body is a manifestation produced by that mysterious force we call, consciousness.

My protagonist develops a technology that pulls human consciousness into a simulated world that is a type of alternate reality. Those who are immersed in that world will experience it just as they experience the world they came from, the world they refer to as reality. Their senses inside the simulacrum are identical to their senses in the real world. Yet, they don't have physical bodies in the virtual world. However, their consciousness believes they have a body. That belief helps to construct their experiences inside the simulation. Could it be that we, those living in the physical world, don't actually have a body? Are our bodies only constructs of consciousness?

Lost in the Abyss is available on Amazon.

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