Reality and Simulation

(Author’s note: This is one of those posts that I hesitate to publish. It’s… well it’s my “pondering stuff” voice, I guess. ¬†But what the hell, right? What’s the worst thing that can happen here? No one reads it? P’shaw! I ain’t ascared. of having no audience for this one. In fact, that might be a good thing. ūüôā )

“Simulation is the imitation of the operation of a real-world process or system over time… Historically, simulations used in different fields developed largely independently, but 20th century studies of systems theory and¬†cybernetics combined with spreading use of computers across all those fields have led to some unification and a more systematic view of the concept…¬†Simulation is extensively used for educational purposes…¬†Virtual simulations represent a specific category of simulation that utilizes simulation equipment to create a simulated world for the user. Virtual simulations allow users to interact with a virtual world.” –¬†

I’m reading Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures again. Every time I read this book I notice things I never noticed before. This time one of the things that has popped out at me is Eddy’s use of the word “simulate”. I probably didn’t notice this word the first time I read Science and Health – back in 1980 or so – because it wasn’t as commonly used as it is today. I wouldn’t have been able to relate it to anything in my own experience back then.

Eddy seems to have, once again, made a leap into the future with her use of the word “simulate” in Science and Health.¬†Though her book was first published in 1875 – almost a century and a half ago – it¬†makes mention of space travel, atomic power, and what today might be called quantum physics. So I probably shouldn’t have been surprised when I came upon¬†the word “simulate”.

Contrasting¬†¬†the creation of Adam in the second chapter of Genesis with the creation described in the first chapter,¬†Eddy writes: “Beginning creation with darkness instead of light, – materially rather than spiritually, – error now simulates the work of Truth, mocking Love and declaring what things error has done.” She¬†writes, “Close your eyes, and you may dream that you see a ¬†flower, – that you touch and smell it. Thus you learn¬†that the flower is a product of the so-called mind, a formation of thought rather than of matter. Close your eyes again, and you may see landscapes, men, and women. Thus you learn that these also are images, which mortal mind holds and evolves and which simulate mind, life, and intelligence.” A little further into Science and Health, and the author writes, “When we put off the false sense for the true, and see that sin and mortality have neither Principle nor permanency, we shall learn that sin and mortality are without actual origin or rightful existence. They are native nothingness, out of which error would simulate creation through a man formed from dust… Sin, sickness, and death are comprised in human material belief… They have neither Principle nor permanence, but belong, with all that is material and temporal, to the nothingness of error, which simulates the creations of Truth.”

It has been very helpful to me to see material existence as just a simulation – maybe one of those training simulators – providing me with the opportunity to practice separating the true from the false, to practice recognizing the real and eternal, and to practice translating all the good and beautiful we see represented ¬†in the “simulator” back into its spiritual form.

“Nature voices natural, spiritual law and divine Love, but human belief misinterprets nature. Arctic regions, sunny tropics, giant hills, winged winds, mighty billows, verdant vales, festive flowers, and glorious heavens, – all point to Mind, the spiritual ¬†intelligence they reflect. The floral apostles are hieroglyphs of Deity.” – Mary Baker Eddy