The Simulation Hypothesis

The Simulation Hypothesis

2015, Philosophy  -   247 Comments
Ratings: 8.48/10 from 812 users.

Is everything an illusory simulation? Was the world created by a non-physical force that we can communicate with and possibly influence with our minds, thereby participating in the creation of our own reality? These are the grandiose existential questions central to this documentary, which introduces viewers to the concept of the Simulation Hypothesis.

Teasing that there are cutting edge physics experiments that imply Simulation Hypothesis could be true, the film begins by reviewing two primary philosophies regarding the nature of life: materialism and idealism. First introduced by Democritus, materialism credits the atom as the basis for all reality, making consciousness the result of a material process. Plato, on the other hand, believed it is the mind itself that gives way to matter; therefore reality is borne from ideas.

The Simulation Hypothesis, which the filmmakers parallel very heavily against the hit sci-fi movie The Matrix, argues that matter and ideas are the result of a complex digital simulation, something akin to a video game. Theoretical physicists make their case for a programmable universe, positing that there is evidence of computer code to be found in nature and we are, put simply, expressions of a code.

Are we ourselves composed of binary strings of 0s and 1s? Could it be that subatomic particles are nature's answer to the bits and pixels that digital worlds are composed of? Though dense in scientific jargon, there is an underlying creationist belief to Simulation Hypothesis - if, in fact, the world is a program, someone must have written it. But who, or what? The film suggests that humans have an innate mental connection back to this universal programmer through the subconscious.

The Simulation Hypothesis is a thought provoking exploration of the nature of our existence, playing into the universal curiosity of how and why we came to be. Relying heavily on footage from famous movies, animated models, and the occasional interview to illustrate the concepts being presented, this episode takes viewers to the intersection of theology and science in a way that is equal parts educational and fantastical.

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Jean Corriveau
11 months ago

This documentary entertains many misinterpretations of quantum physics and space. Also, it argues that since the physical world shares many similarities with computers, then it is one, and an intelligent agent runs it. This is humanizing nature.

Serge Petelin
1 year ago

The argument is irrelevant because all of reality is intrinsically just information. It doesn't matter what we think is reality.
To a ghost, another ghost is real.. Doesn't really matter what its 'made of'.
To consider it otherwise is just a reflection of our innate need to consider a Creator.
There is no Creator in the sense of what the thousands of religions consider IT to be.
The circular argument being "What created the Creator"
Lets go back to the argument "If I kick a rock and it hurts, then that's reality"
Which is all we need to know.

2 years ago

What a load of garbage. If you seriously consider the universe to be nothing but a computed design than you are neither brillant nor intelligent in any way. You are a re***d. There is nothing logic about the mere thought. And not a single relevant scientist agrees or partakes in these "studies".

2 years ago

If sim theory is true then we likely created the simulation bc if we are on the precipice of true ai and quantum computation then we have already embarked on this journey in a previous simulation

3 years ago


3 years ago

Isn' this idea just modern variation on God & religion? There is no higher purpose to our existence. If there was who created this higher power? So many theories now everyone thinks they're right. All this proof & knowledge humans think they have but actually we know absolutely nothing.

Chris Langan
3 years ago

This documentary should have cited the CTMU, which for the last thirty years has been the only well-developed mathematically formulated theory of reality simulation. The CTMU was first introduced in a 1989 paper describing the first detailed application of the simulation hypothesis (years before any other theorist enunciated it). Since that time, the CTMU has advanced considerably. The most recent paper, "The Reality Self-Simulation Principle: Reality is a Self-Simulation", was published recently in the journal Cosmos & History.

Graham Randazzo
3 years ago

Comparing Einstein to max plancke is disgusting. Theoretical physics is the realm of hucksters like Einstein who don't invent anything, are parasites and contribute nothing to society. Plancke actually did experiments and made huge advances in quantum mechanics.

3 years ago

einstein was a fraud proven by Bjorknes

Helmar Rudolph
3 years ago

@Janeen Clark - your "confusion" stems from the fact that you don't differentiate between waking consciousness (5 senses) and subconsciousness. That's why you cannot light a lightbulb by focussing your mental power onto it. You CAN, but at a heavy price!

Fact is that creation is and HAS TO BE subconscious. You only perceive the end result by means of your senses. The rest escapes your senses - and it HAS TO, because your senses are way too volatile and impermanent in order to accomplish anything worth mentioning.

And as people by and large have NO CLUE about the power of their subconscious mind, never mind its actual role and purpose in the greater scheme of things, they get confused and therefore utter things and ideas that are half-baked. Well, yes, half-baked because they only see the one side of consciousness.

Maceo Plux
4 years ago

A whole documentary and almost no original footage. The information was good, but the stock videos of atoms and clocks been thrown in a bin is super dull. Get an animator or shoot some interviews.

Dance With Fire
4 years ago

Interesting documentary but I would check Simulation Hypothesis book by Riz Virk and also Answers In Simulation by Vovchenko. They give a much deeper insight into what is possible.

Andrew Westwell
4 years ago

If we are in a simulation what happens when it ends do we wake up or are our minds wiped and we restart

mervin carter
4 years ago

What reason is there to think something cannot be known? Just because it's not yet known doesn't mean that it's not true, or that it can never be known. How can one find truth? It begins with contemplation and an hypothesis. It's not wise to ridicule others because they aspire for truth. What is the true nature of reality? If we knew it would enable more clarity and meaningful purpose in our lives. Information resolves uncertainty. I truly wish people would be more tolerant of other's opinions, especially those that are non-threatening. I applaud the thinkers of this world for at least trying, and not just accepting an existence void of truth.

4 years ago

It should be no surprise that some people waste a lot of time thinking on such things they cannot know, when they could spend that time doing useful things. It just shows how much ego certain people have that think they know, desire to believe they know.

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? And who pays these physicists or whomever, to waste time on such? I hope it is not tax funded. Unfortunately it wouldn't surprise me for that to be the case.

These famous time wasting people should be ridiculed rather than heralded. Solve a real problem if you are so smart. It would seem they would if only...

Why are these silly people made to be famous with such ridiculous hypothesis that some mistakenly call theories? Because the powers that be would prefer you to believe these ridiculous ideas ...which makes it much easier to push their agenda.

One could waste as much time on pondering why we die, if so much time and energy goes into growing and learning. Would that be time well spent?

Since time wasting thought seems to be the theme, I will waste another minute:

When I cut myself, computer code doesn't come oozing out. However, if an ant farm is a simulation of how ants behave in nature, then we could be in that type of simulation.

If nothing man has designed or created, occurred without first having an idea about it ...and if man is a product of "this" (universe?), how can one logically come to the conclusion that in every other area of whatever "this" is, it just occurred? No reason, no thought, no purpose, no desire, no intention, it just happened. Yet where did the matter/material come from to have that happen? Oh, it magically appeared from a big bang... that magically happened. Wow, impressive, make that guy famous.

Silly people are serious about ridiculous things and ridiculous about serious things.

Rog Williams
4 years ago

The problem I see with this is the same one that faces creationists.
If the cosmos is a simulation it follows that an intelligence constructed it.
By the same logic, that intelligence has to be a simulation constructed by a "higher" intelligence.
Turtles all the way down......

5 years ago

I can't believe this video is no longer on youtube...i keep telling people to watch it. So upset :(

5 years ago

I have never encountered a better explanation of the simulation hypothesis. I am by no means a materialist; however, I do not accept the simulation hypothesis. In my view, the non-local realm of consciousness predates and underpins the physical universe. I see no need to introduce an intermediate program or some kind of computer-like simulation into the picture. The "rules of the game" were present at the moment of the Big Bang; and, the universe has been on its own ever since.

florian pop
5 years ago

Bell's theorem is so difficult to understand.

5 years ago

This was very well articulated and put together. I have never been a big fan of the simulation theory, but the director effectively builds communicates the context in which this hypothesis had spawned: technically and culturally. I've looked at others' comments in which they falsely dichotomize the possibility of living in a simulation with "well because of x, then definintely y" (i.e. being able to engage in telekinetic actions) - there seems to be a bit of cognitive dissonance at play with this hypothesis (especially one that is heavily founded, logically and intuitively.) and I can't blame necessarily blame that reaction, this is heavy stuff. Though, if you have an open mind and are receptive to the thoughts, statements, work, and sentiments of the bonafide physicists cited, this is a mind-opening documentary. Bravo.

5 years ago

Programming due to curses done by those beings whom are programmed because of their belief of their existence to be immune to being other than ignorance, which becomes their ignorance. In essence we are they whether as above or so below, left or right. It is unknown, because us and those beyond don't know, because, the us or me are unable to comprehend, because we or me are not built to handle that beyond comprehension. Reality then becomes your wisdom is your ignorance, this in fact then comes from the illusion, and a real solid matrix, where any wisdom is nothing more than ignorance because a construct, whether abstract or concrete. It is built based upon a foundation of false becoming true. Hence then this documentary, part of the illusion.

Paul Johansen
5 years ago

Until one can "see" that there was no beginning, any other discussion is completely futile! No event can ever occur without a precursor. This is such a simple hypothesis it amazes me that most people fail to grasp it, so on that basis, a beginning for no reason, from nothing, is completely impossible. The cosmos is a recycling machine.

5 years ago

"We are living in in a simulation" physicists and cosmologists.
Yeah, right..............But when a religious person talks about God , they are ridiculed.
Who made the simulation?
Are the people who made the simulation living in a simulation?
Who made them?
But say the word "God" and people can't handle it.

Imran Khan
5 years ago

I have read book from Dr. Lanza, which seems to be the inspiration of this documentary. I don't always read comments or comment but here I was looking for some clues from the Materialist supporters who could guide me in the direction to negate all the scientific events/facts the documentary shows, or at least put their point of view but to my surprise I failed to find a single solid argument. And my search continues..

Steven Blue
6 years ago

Also,for your education and enjoyment, you might want to read Alexander Marchand's "The Universe is a Dream," a graphic-novel type book. A great introduction and summary of A Course in Miracles. (ACIM)

Steven Blue
6 years ago

I have not been in this 'dream.' (1977) I now find myself in this 'dream.' (2017)
I know that Only One Mind exists, and because of massive 'unconscious guilt,' that 'mind' has split, and split, and split again, trillions of times. So, there seems to be millions and billions and trillions of 'different' beings, when there exists only YOU, the reader of this comment. You are the only one here and you are reading a comment by another portion of Your mind that doesn't seem to be You, written to that portion of Your mind that seems to be currently reading this comment. What You experience here remains Your Personal Spiritual (not organized religion) curriculum. You Life remains Your Curriculum. You are here to learn how to Wake Up from this Dream and Go Home.
Pay attention!

While I was 'not here,' I had a conversation, w/three entities and learned from them that, when I went back into the dream, I would be provided with a curriculum that would lead me out of this Dream of Death. This Curriculum is not easy. It is simple, though it doesn't seem simple, and at the same time it remains very challenging. To introduce this curriculum to you, I will give you the definitive ideas from the Course below:
#1: "There is No World." (only Oneness remains real.)
#2 “The secret to salvation is but this: You are doing this to yourself.”
#3 "The World you see remains but an illusion of a world." Everything and everyone in this "World" changes constantly. That which humans call "God" did not create this Dream of Death, because what 'God' creates must be as eternal as himself. (Metaphorically speaking.)
#4 "The 'world' you see remains the outward expression of an inward condition."
#5 "Whatever is true remains 'eternal,' and cannot change or be changed."
#6 "Anger is never justified.
Note: If there is no one out there, toward whom could you feel angry?
#7 “The guiltless mind cannot suffer.”
The body remains a “learning device,” a communication tool.
#8 It’s this life, Stupid!; If peace is the condition of the Kingdom, then the mind must be at peace to fit in. And in order for the mind to be at peace, you have to "forgive.” All that appears to happen is just a dream. To wake up from the dream, you have to forgive every event, situation and person, because nothing ever happened and by forgiving them, you practice “advanced forgiveness.” By forgiving them, you are forgiving yourself for having dreamed them.

Repeat: The way to awaken from this Dream of Death is through total, uncompromising forgiveness of people, because they haven’t done anything, which is how you forgive yourself.
(for having dreamed them all up in the first place.)

#9 In regard to the ego’s many questions: “There is no need to further clarify what no one in the world can understand.”
There is no answer, only an experience.
There is only one Teacher of this Course ————— and only one Student. (You)
This curriculum was given the title, "A Course in Miracles." Ultimately, it remains absolutely necessary for you to learn it. Only the time and place for your learning remains up to you.
While this curriculum may not be for everyone now, you can familiarize yourself to it by reading these books: ACIM = A Course in Miracles
DU = The Disappearance of the Universe by Gary Renard
YIR = You Immortal Reality by Gary Renard
{Gary Renard’s books help make ACIM easier to read.}

That ought to be enough to pique your interest in Your Personal Freedom of choice in waking from this Dream of Death. Its not easy, as you have been asleep for millions of years.
Remember to forgive - the fastest way to wake up. Anyone your forgive remains an act of forgiveness toward yourself for having dreamed them up in the first place.
Good fortune and Peace on You,
Steven Blue

6 years ago

Reminded me of my favorite movie the 13th Floor. Simulationions staked on simulations.

Unfortunately we are stuck in a loop. No matter what you come up with you are still stuck with how did that become into being.

How did enegery or matter come from nothing.
Or it has always been here, hard to comperhend.

6 years ago

This is NOT a documentary. Its a copy/page video of a gamer guy.

Stephanie McMahon
6 years ago

Best doc on here. Everything is 100% true. You have a closed mind if you cannot see the truth.

6 years ago

If we really are in a simulation, there are a lot of corrupted lines of code that need to be deleted.....Janeen Clark............

6 years ago

I have done a lot of reading about the simulation hypothesis & surrounding ideas like matrioshka brains, dyson spheres, post-scarcity civilisations, post-organic evolution, brain emulations & so on. I think it is important to understand these ideas before joining any argument about simulated existence because they provide some kind of context in which such a thing might be possible. I am not saying that a simulated universe is or is not possible. I have no way of knowing.
I do find the idea intriguing in itself & also the ways in which people respond to it. I have noticed that even highly qualified experts like theoretical physicists, philosophers, quantum physicists, mathematicians & so on, often make rookie errors when dealing with this debate. These include assumptions about the possible objectives of such a simulation, the nature of base reality or original universe & what is being simulated. This has led me to conclude that we have never really ventured one step toward disproving this hypothesis. Again, I am not saying that I believe we do exist in a simulation. What I would say though is that I do find the idea useful when rationalising notions like synchronicity, absurdity & so on. Between certain of my friends & I, the phrase "simulated universe" has become a kind of running joke in particular circumstances.

6 years ago

if a photon was the size of a marble it too would give a non wave like pattern as it is a question of scale. looking at the photon collapses the wave pattern as the act of obesrving effects the path.

6 years ago

6 years ago

In 1931 Kurt Gödel proved two theorems ... the computer says no... funny how each age tech fashion becomes the new model of universe... in the past it was clockwork, now for some it is computer simulation metaphors...

Harsh Reddy
6 years ago

Now I am looking for hacks for this game called life. Any leads folks.

6 years ago

Even if our finite earth and neigboring planets within our solar system were an illusion and subatomic particles or bits of energy behave differently when observed by a concious individual this theorized simulation still has rules and laws. We all learn from birth till death that there is a certain order to the chaos of the universe. There is a polarity duality that everyone feels when things get out of balance... call it the tipping point between good/evil positive energy negative energy revolution invention or birth pains and cycles of a changing and evolving humanity of people toward some future... The hyper intelligent and ruling class of humans through unlimited greed and selfishness, culminating in 2 world wars not learning from the suffering of their ancestors might be doomed to repeat history yet again, but this time toward a religiously prophecyzed apocalypse. People have armed themselves to the point of nuclear annihlation. Evil does exist and through the ages has reared its ugly head pushing boudaries through the severe sins of individuals that today it is more deceptive. Because people have become numb passive and accepting that this the only way and this must be the way and there is no way to overcome inequality greed pollution war crime lies deception perverting truth and nature, but if you stop and think for a moment there absolutely must be and there is a better way before we all kneel before our creator and pound our chest in guilt we can easily take a step back and pound our weapons into plowshares and usefull tools for peace. God willing... He will restore the hearts and minds of some group of men who will so clearly and devotedly see this that they would be granted some even more powerful
Than nuclear force of immunity that together they would absolutely never allow armageddon to take place... nature is perverted and flipped upsidedown and the truth and guide book of life which sustained us for so many centuries and should still be carrying us forward with great examples of what a harmonious family and society should be... blossoming sharing, caring and bearing forth into being good fruit. But istead this journey into the future is today mutated, cloned, chemically engineered, processed, genetically modified mostly corrupted and teetering on the edge of self destruction... But with each life saved and new baby born I still have faith and hope.... my only hope is and a personal theory that I strongly believe is that we our bodies and souls are a form of energy... and with each passing minute we are compiling an exact record of our continuum which can be and will be played back like a movie... and by a jury of our peers like here on earth we will collectively decide and perhapse judged by an itelligence far beyond our own... An intelligence knowing every detail of our circumstances and motives and influeces that may have impacted our minds and health or development by a societal neglect or perversion of nature and truth by the vast media of informatio...that higher power or intelligence will decide if we remain on the great family tree of humanity which may get to continue on as some form of energy on a new planet bound by a more perfect easier set of laws and not a cruel primitive homosapian society hellbound toward self destruction... Imagine a divine ultra intelligent perfect alien race visiting earth and observing us humans from a distance with a telescope... It would be like us observing maccac monkeys at the zoo, now how would you and your young ones react when a dominant monkey terrorizes exploits or kills others in the group... In advanced alien societies in far away galaxies where hopefully our earthy energy or soul may be granted access or not.. there will simply be no room for this absurd and time wasting self defeating behavior. Everyone will have a purpose perverting and destroying nature might become impossible and the evil energy of destruction might once and for all be eliminated out of the equation of our coexistance and survival. Harmony happiness cooperation and an inclusive system of advancement based on hyper developing our strengths not exploiting one anothers weakness lifting one another up toward collective advancement for the good of the commonwealth and never reverting backward toward the darkness and ignorance of apes bashing their skulls in over posessing controlling finite recources food, water, a mate, land or power to make decisions or to exploit and control others toward a non harmonious and unagreed upon future state of reality... if divine prophets like Jesus, Mohammed, Siddartha (buddah), and many other famous ancestors and writers revealers of the truth and guide book of how to live a guilt free and resisting evil lifestyle were
Themselves tried and tested by the evil force like Jesus being told to bow to the devil only once and and all kingdoms would be his imagine how much easier and with exponentially increasing swiftness you weak humans will fall into the temptations that the evil one knows you are weakest against
The ancient guide books repeatedly warn of the fate of those who tried to swim against the current of righteousness... So wake up and at least try to make the rest of your temporary existance an acceptable one. You be the judge of your life time spent... observed as an outsider and consider if it is acceptable or would you be rejected by your earthly family tree and ancestors and the great variety of individual souls in the universe.

6 years ago

Crawl back under your rock.

Darrell Barnett
6 years ago

Why did God Create Mankind?
He must have wanted people who love Him to spend eternity with Him. So He either creates people with no choice (who can’t love Him) or He gives people the choice to love Him or not. When you are born again, your spirit is born again, and God’s spirit dwells with your spirit. Your sin nature is not born again. So you either choose the spirit (truth) or the flesh (a lie).
Most people think a temptation is just an annoyance that gets in the way of life. The truth is, temptations are the reason God created mankind and the earth. Without temptations mankind would have no choice between good and evil, and would not be able to love God. When you chose the spirit (God) you are choosing to spend eternity with God (heaven). Obviously this is very valuable to you. Which comes first the joy because of the value you will receive in the future or the ability to overcome the temptation. You would think the ability to overcome the temptation would have to come first and then the joy. How can you have the joy of success until you have success?
1 Corinthians 10:13
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
If you believe this verse then you can rejoice before you actually overcome the temptation because you trust God. A funny thing happens when you rejoice before you have overcome the temptation. The desire to yield to the temptation just goes away with no effort on your part. You can’t feel the joy of the Lord and temptation at the same time. So all you have got to do, to overcome temptations is to praise the Lord.
Boost Post

mike m
6 years ago

it seems most of you are home bound

6 years ago

@Janeen Clark, Triggered much? Lol.

7 years ago

Wow this has opened my mind .... People have to think fr a minute here .... Are we looking for an explanation to the universe in order to satisfy our current understanding or are we looking for an explanation in order to actually develop our understanding. ........ It may seem a bit weird this doc but it's really good at making u think .. Particularly one major point I took from this wowed me ..... Think of it like this , you don't know everything so shut the **** up and don't try redicule someone's explanation when all u as a person is doing is claiming everyone else's explanation . Unless if u give reasons on why u don't think so and offer ideas . Remember we all use to think that the earth was flat till someone thought different .

mike m
7 years ago

Here's all I know;
People, places and things don't cause your bad feelings.
Your attitudes towards people, places and things are the cause of your problems with them.
Change your attitudes and everything out side changes.

This science vs religious attitude is so problematic for so many of you deep thinkers.

Reminds me of the seagulls in finding Nemo:

mine MINE mine

mine mine mine

7 years ago

Its been long since people spoke of eternity, conscious awareness, cosmic energy and omnipotent, omnipresence etc. to give words for their EXPERIENCED FEELINGS. So experiences are experiences and can not be expressed fully. In such a state of things, trying to objectify the comprehension looks a futile effort but to have ones own satisfaction...Good documentary.....

7 years ago

@JaneenClark you're a bit of a closed minded prick, emotional no doubt, I would suggest that you be wary of critiquing things you do not fully understand. You seek to solve an equation that you do not have the right tools for.
An exercise for you, assume for 1 month that reality is in fact a product of consciousness and seek to change your world from that assumption. Remember the word 'product'. It is the cause of all things. I think you might have saved yourself 10 years of agony.
Furthermore, after you have made this assumption, continue to choose to expose yourself to more positive material from news to research papers to social interaction, you will find that the change in the perspective you feed your consciousness (through your brain of course) will lead to a more satisfactory life.

The Documentary was fantastic work, a good first step in the development of our feeble wisdom. Thank You

7 years ago

I have just 3 letters for you DMT. This is very likely a simulation. The simulation would be written by many not just a one. So no god there just someone creating it. Probably a model of a truly natural world. Prob caused by other humans. Just real ones.

Who knows why they would do it. Simulate global disasters to avoid them in the physical world? Who the hell knows.

7 years ago

Using scenes from movies to explain your ideas is crazy to me and I could have done without the terrible music as well. I felt like someone made a movie and used fiction to explain their facts while simultaneously hearing someone try to explain something they don't understand in the slightest. This was just awful.

Sir Bananas
7 years ago

I don't really think that we live in a digital system of simply"on" and "off", but at least a ternary system of yes/no/maybe, and basically there's a whole lot more "maybe" going on than anything. The wave form is the indication of the "maybes" and the observations are yes/no. As we flip a coin in the air its analogous to the wave moving through space. When it lands/when we make the observation, we won't predict that it is still spinning, we will predict that it lands on one side or the other, so in that way our observation is made at a particular point and affects what we observe.

I also think that perhaps dark matter is made up of, or stores all the unused possibilities.

Anyways, it was a cool documentary and I'll be sure to pass it on to my best friend who is of the idealist type even though I'm more of a materialist myself.

7 years ago

its no use being emotional about this subject, after all everything in nature suggests to be a product of intentional design. e.g how a seed responds to the soil, and time forming a tree in the process, the way earth is fine turned for the existance of life cummon wake up. yes people die and bad things happen but thats also no proof that the universe is not a product of design, your very own human body and its response to food and water suggest it is, you cannot over ride that, its too perfect to be anything else but design

7 years ago

While this doc might be entertaining, it is complete bunkum. There are no physicists, neuroscientists, cognitive scientists, psychologists, etc... who subscribe to the idea that reality is anything like virtual reality and that through our consciousness we can alter reality. The most recent advances in understanding consciousness actually DO localize thought in regions of the brain, and that mind is the activity of these thoughts. There is nothing mystical hear, just mysteries that can be studied by real people. The strangeness of quantum mechanics has been abused for many years by people who do not understand the nature of a theory of science. This strangeness is always interpreted as something mystical and magical. It is nothing of the sort.

7 years ago

Jannen is so right. Although I'm naively attached to the more traditional theories of the quantum physics/states, there is a huge difference between consciousness, and the subatomic state. I feel like I need lsd to watch any kind of pseudo science documentary posing as scientific theory