What We Could Learn from the Ancients
Assuming we admit that things we don’t have the tools to figure out may exist
By MARTIN REZNY
I would say that experts like mathematicians certainly have the right mental tools that are needed to figure out how something like a simulation hypothesis would actually work in reality. Having the tools is however not the same thing as having awareness or lacking negative bias to a degree that would allow one to recognize a problem worthy of an attempt at its solution.
That’s at least how I see the importance of “enlightenment” or “awakening” in terms of anyone’s real ability to make a breakthrough discovery. I would honestly say that my math skills are insufficient to tackle things like theoretical dimensions properly, though I do think that I have a decent ability to see the potential of things, but that’s equally limiting in the end.
As for our ancestors, I think I can say some things about what they knew that we probably don’t that may be relevant specifically to simulation hypothesis. Biologically speaking, their cognitive capacity was pretty much the same, possibly slightly better due to more severe selection pressure. There were some real differences though impacting their ability to understand certain things that are much more difficult for us to see today.
Like literally “see” — due to light pollution, most of us don’t see the stars at night as well as our ancestors did, especially the most ancient ones. It’s not an accident that they were able to build structures like Stonehenge already in the stone age, aligned to the movements of the Sun, Moon, and the stars, visible to them clear as day, albeit at night.
For that reason, it was also very easy and logical for them to track the correlations between the movements of all of the celestial objects and various occurences on Earth and in their daily lives, from weather, to social changes, to individual behavior, not separating the material physics from the “meaning physics” and learning more about both as a result.
Today, this is known as the cursed pseudoscience of astrology, which won’t be touched by any serious scientist even by a pole of infinite length. If this universe is a simulation and therefore likely fractal in nature, the astrological maxim “as above, so below” is exactly the paradigm that one should adopt to try to find that out.
The connection with astronomy also makes it incorrectly seem as if this protoscience was something like bad astrophysics. At its core, its about time and mind, nothing more, using astronomy only to chart natural clocks. The method used within it is another cursed ancient companion to a modern scientific discipline — numerology.
Numerology is an attempt at qualitative math, since trying to figure out “meaning physics” requires math that can process meaning in a universal way so that multiple people can understand the same symbolic representation in a substanstially exact way. The ancients might have done it poorly, but we’re not even trying to prove that properly, let alone attempt to crack “meaning physics” ourselves. Unless there’s particles, we don’t care.
Oh we do use some primitive versions of the same tools under different names in a much less rigorous way than the ancients did — there are ideal typologies, psychoanalysis, anthropology, etc. They also definitely have uses in qualitative research unrelated to astronomical phenomena, psychology disconnected from natural time cycles, or storytelling and game design.
I can, and do, use some of that already in my writing and game design ideas and it works brilliantly in the same way that Campbell’s “hero’s journey” monomyth did for Star Wars, or Dan Harmon’s simplified version of that he calls the “story circle” does. Those are not about universals of how material things work in the world, but they do work because there apparently are universals in what kind of stories humans find interesting and meaningful.
Numerology and astrology were the tools that ancients used to discover these sorts of insights, and that gave them what we now call the classical culture, still appealing to unrelated civilizations thousands of years later because it contains messages universally applicable to any human being. I suppose it’s the storytellers who sort of maintain this sort of scientific tradition alive, though in a highly disorganized and rudimentary manner.
I guess it would take some “enlightened” scientists to try to continue in it where the ancients left it, seeing the potential value of the effort. It doesn’t seem very likely, of course, when many material scientists rather than changing approach to something like consciousness when material science struggles to figure it out find it more logical to decide it must not really exist then. The only phenomenon any of us can truly be empirically sure exists.
It’s no secret that modern qualitative science is rather underdeveloped, but again, the preferred response of material scientists is to poke fun at it rather than to work toward fixing it — since we can’t do it very well, it must surely be unimportant! All I know is that there are many new approaches that could be tried that haven’t yet been tried, in modern times at least, and that many things thought to be dead ends or superstitions should be reexamined, as they never really have been properly examined to begin with.
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