Though I recently admitted that I believe in UFOs and have had plenty of paranormal experiences to convince me that ghosts are real, I generally shy away from the lunatic fringe. No, seriously. So when I listened to a recent episode of the Strange and Unexplained with Daisy Eagan podcast that discussed simulation theory, I was understandably skeptical. In a nutshell, simulation theory posits that—you’ll want to take a deep breath here—reality is nothing more than a big ol’ computer simulation.
In other words, The Matrix is real. All together now: whoa.
To be fair, the idea isn’t that “out there” to a lot of surprisingly respectable folks. Philosophers like Plato, René Descartes, and Nick Bostrom argued in favor of a simulated reality. Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson is a believer. Elon Musk told an audience attending a 2016 tech conference, “The odds that we are in base reality is one in billions.” Articles about simulated reality appear in respectable periodicals like Scientific American.
You can go down a serious rabbit hole researching simulation theory. Knock yourselves out if you’d like. (I have. It’s a real trip. Red-pill-or-blue-pill stuff, for sure.)
Now, I don’t really believe I’m nothing more than a living, breathing avatar. Video game characters are all about collecting coins and just trying to stay alive! Which, umm, does pretty much sum up real life, doesn’t it?
In any case, one tale on the podcast did give me pause. Daisy talks about one of those Reddit threads where users shared some pretty interesting stories. One guy said he and his wife kept seeing the same person dressed in the same clothes walking the same dog at the same time and the same place every single day, without fail…only something like 75 minutes apart, because they left for work at different times. After comparing notes, they hatched a plan to pull over and start a conversation with the dog walker to determine if he was real. The very next day, he had mysteriously disappeared—and they never saw him again.
This tripped me out, because—as I’ve mentioned before—every morning before work, I go for a walk. I vary my route daily, never making the same loop two days in a row. And guess what? Every day for the past two years, no matter which way I go, I pass a man walking his dog. At the same time and same place given whichever circuit I’m making. He’s so punctual I could set my watch by him. This man is always wearing mirrored sunglasses, even when it’s dark. Most of the people I encounter on these walks will nod politely, wave, or say good morning. We exchange pleasantries and go about our business. But this dog walker never even acknowledges my presence. He just stares straight ahead and passes by without a word. It’s like the longest version of déjà vu ever.
So now, I’m tempted to say hi. If he’s a glitch in a simulated reality, that will throw the whole program out of whack. Then again, just posting this blog should alert the programmer that I’m onto him, which means the dog walker will not be in his usual place tomorrow.
Then again, maybe the dog walker thinks I’m a glitch. Who’s to say he doesn’t go home and tell his wife, I pass by the same guy at the same place and same time every day, and he never acknowledges me. Come to think of it, I’m usually wearing the same outfit, too. And of course, I show up at the same places at the same times. I’m pretty sure you could set your watch by ME.
OMG. Am I a simulation?!?!
There isn’t enough Tylenol in the world to clear up this headache I’ve got all of a sudden…