There are a lot of crazy thoughts out there, and the best ones contain at least a kernel of truth – or have some probability of being actually true. Here are some of my favorites, enjoy!
We may have no idea where we are.
Depending on where you are in life, this may certainly be figuratively true. But it could even be literally true. We live in a 3-dimensional world, with senses that have evolved to perceive and interact with it. However, our 3D world may very well exist in a 4D world that we just have no way of perceiving directly.
To illustrate this, we can imagine a piece of paper with drawings of people on it. People living on this 2D plain could move horizontally and vertically but could never protrude out of the piece of paper. The concept of a third dimension would be entirely alien to them, except for the thin sliver of color that they are made up of and that they are locked into – similar to how we are locked into the present moment and can’t access different times at our leisure.
It goes further when we introduce a 3D object into that 2D world. If we imagine pushing a tennis ball through that piece of paper, we could see perfectly well how that ball passes through. However, for the people living in the 2D world, the 3D ball would simply appear out of thin air, as a line that starts small, extends to the cross-section of the ball, and then becomes shorter again until it disappears.
Interestingly, the same should apply to 4D beings or objects. Not only could there be things and beings in a fourth dimension that we have no way of perceiving. Everything 3D should also have a 4D representation that mostly eludes us and that we can barely control – including ourselves.
Where are all the aliens?
Lots of people have heard of the Fermi Paradox. It basically says that probabilistically, we should have found life elsewhere in the universe already – but somehow, we haven’t. Some proposed solutions to this paradox are that the universe may simply not be old enough for more life to exist in it – and that life on earth may actually be the first of its kind.
Another theory is that far from being too young, the 16 billion years the universe has existed for could have seen other life. But since we, as a species, have only experienced a minuscule portion of that time, we simply missed it – either that other life is still to come, or it has already gone.
A third theory, and one that seems sound to me, is that of the Great Filter. It says that somewhere in evolution, there is a threshold that is incredibly hard to cross. In other words, most life forms simply don’t make it beyond a certain point. The only question that remains when following this theory is whether we already passed the great filter – or if we are yet to encounter it.
Are we even real?
Ever since it was popularized by the Matrix movies, thinking our perceived reality is an illusion has become somewhat mainstream. At the same time, few people actually believe that their everyday experience could be the product of a simulation. However, there is one very good argument for why our reality could really be a simulation: It is theoretically possible.
With our current technology, we are able to create some pretty convincing artificial realities already. With continuous advances in computing power, it is not too much of a stretch to assume that we will not only eventually be able to create seemingly real virtual realities, but that we will also be able to populate these realities with artificial intelligence that live in them.
What follows from this is one simple question: If creating a virtual reality with artificial intelligences that live in them is something we will probably be able to do one day, why should we be the first to ever be able to do it in the history of reality? Instead, would it not be far more likely that we are already artificial intelligences populating a virtual reality created by someone else? Thinking about it, even these hypothetical creators of our reality may already be artificial intelligences in their own virtual reality. Who knows, maybe it’s just virtual realities all the way down.
We may never find out the truth about any of these crazy thoughts. But isn’t it still fun to think about them?