If A Tree Falls In The Forest by Shamoun Murtza


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I’ll start with the disclaimer that I am not a Ph.D. My formal education in Physics reached its zenith with my concentration in Applied Physics for my bachelor’s degree. But I never stopped searching for the truth, about the nature of our universe. Listen at your own risk, you have been warned.

If a tree falls in the forest, and there is no one there, does it make a sound? I say, not only does it not make a sound, but it doesn’t even fall. The classical view of the universe is that it exists and that we, as tiny parts of that universe, observe it. But what if it’s the other way around? What if it exists because we observe it? I think that might be the case. My theory of reality aligns with the idea that we live in a simulated world.

The simulated world theory is not unique. It recently got some media attention when Elon Musk shared his belief in it. But does the simulated nature of reality manifest itself in observable physical phenomenon? This is the question I’ve striven to answer for a few years now.

Early on in my quest to identify signs of a simulated universe, I realized that my approach would have to be in the spirit of thought experiments, but what surprised me, was how quickly it became more of a philosophical paradigm shift that led me to the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.

First let us identify known physical behaviors that are somewhat odd and not perfectly understood. If we can explain them with a new theory, then that theory has some legs.

Let’s focus on Modern Physics. It turns out that while Newtonian physics is great when dealing with relatively slow speeds and average masses, it does not work well when dealing with very small and fast particles. Let’s look more closely at the theory of Special Relativity as proposed by Einstein, in 1905.

The theory of Special Relativity relates to the structure of spacetime. We will home in on time dilation and the finite nature of maximum speed.

Time dilation means that by moving, an object’s time slows down relative to an observer. The faster you move the more pronounced the effect. One way to think about it, is that there is no ‘now.’ Every time we move, the time in our frameset is slightly different from anything that did not move with us. Our ‘now’ is different from everyone else’s. We all live in our own time bubbles. Our perception of spacetime is constantly changing relative to others and is unique to us.

The theory of special relativity states that no object can move faster than the speed of light. Indeed, even attaining the speed of light is not possible without breaking some of the theory’s math. This results in mathematical abominations like an undefined value for time. Go faster than light, and your time will become imaginary – as in a complex number.

I submit, that reality is instantiated in realtime from the perspective of the observer at the speed of light. This means that nothing actually exists.

Shamoun Murtza
If A Tree Falls In The Forest

Here comes the new think. I always perceived myself to be part of an immense universe, that I shared with all creation across space and time; reality existed and I perceived it, by interacting with mass and energy – like light, waves, and different particles. I was just an observer getting input from my environment, and then interpreting it to create my reality, inside my own mind’s eye. But what it if this was not the case? What if it was the other way around? Maybe reality is calculated in real-time because I am here to observe it. Datum, like electromagnetic waves, photons, and matter are computed from my point of view by some entity – let’s call it nature itself. Everything feels real, but it is actually virtual. Nothing is there unless it’s being observed.

The concept of a simulated universe opened new venues of thought in my mind and led me to postulate that I indeed might have had it all wrong before.

I submit, that reality is instantiated in realtime from the perspective of the observer at the speed of light. This means that nothing actually exists. But rather reality is calculated starting from the position of the observer and emanating outwards at the speed of light.

This calculation of reality would need to happen constantly and from every observers’ point of view. I know, how could anything calculate that much information? It boggles the mind. But probably not much more than an iPhone would confound someone from 200 years ago. The question is does this fit with the observed phenomena we just talked about? Let’s take a look.

If reality is created at the speed of light nothing can travel faster than it, because if it did it would end up in spacetime that has not been rendered yet. I can’t be somewhere I can’t see. Time dilation would come about because as you move, the particular version of reality you are observing would have gotten out of sync with an observer’s version of reality.

There is more to the physics of this reality, but what of its philosophical implications. Maybe, just maybe, we are each the center of our own universe, quite literally. We create our own reality, our own truth. As we move through life, we define our own time, our own space, and diverge from each other becoming more and more entrenched in our own world. That does not mean that we don’t see each other and intersect with each other’s reality – but we do so from our own time, and our own space. Only to move on and experience the world of our own creation.

Descartes got it wrong when he wrote “I think therefore I am.” Maybe, just maybe, “I am, therefore it is.”

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