Author of the Month

A Simple Explanation (cont.)
By Mike Knowles

I explained the game to him and Hubert nodded. "Art imitating reality," he observed dryly. "Of course," he said, "we must keep the analogy with computer games in perspective. In VTR we're playing for real, computer games are merely a relaxation." He went on to postulate that when we dream or hallucinate we're not entering a different conscious state, but taking a rest from what we term reality. At this point Hubert reminded me that his theory depended on the premise that all conscious living beings were just part of UCI as a whole. Our "conscious" part, that is. And that the feeling that we're individuals is an illusion. An illusion created by the brain. "Think of the brain," said Hubert, "As an organic version of those virtual reality goggles people wear. They merely enable us to partake in the VTR we've created for ourselves." When we relax and cease concentrating on VTR, either because we're going to sleep or because of chemical influences in the brain, the goggles power down and we begin to observe alternate realities. Because this is our natural function. UCI creates realities...period."

"In other words," I said, "we replace one virtual reality with another."

"Unfortunately, yes," said Hubert. "It seems UCI gets no rest at all."

"You mean we get no rest at all," I replied.

"Yes, it is rather confusing." Hubert said if his theory was true it meant that people suffering from mental illness were actually using defective goggles. I told Hubert that maybe we - as UCI - should improve our quality control. Hubert shook his head. "We have to take the bad as well as the good. Remember, this VTR is programmed to contain imperfections." Hubert then came up with the disturbing news that UCI - in other words us - creates evil as well as good. That UCI was responsible for creating Auschwitz and all those other horrors. "After all, you can't argue that we weren't responsible for that," observed Hubert.

"UCI was responsible," I said.

"We are UCI," Hubert replied.

"Okay," I said. "So what about someone who's in a coma. You know, when the goggles really malfunction. If they eventually awake they always remember nothing. Surely if they were creating alternate realities they'd remember them."

"You have a valid point," said Hubert. "And I've attempted to answer that one in my other theory. The one about the Absolute Law of Everything, or ALE. This is the law that governs UCI and states that whatever can be, will be. So, if it's possible for a physical reality to exist then it will exist. The proof, if you need it, is all around us. It's a self-verifying theory. And if it's possible for that physical reality to contain a pair of organic goggles that will enable UCI to observe this physical reality, then those goggles will eventually exist. When I said UCI has created this VTR it has done so using fundamental materials that have always existed. And they've always existed because they're all part of that state I called Absolute Something-ness. Surely you can see that?"

I thought I'd detected a flaw in his reasoning. "But before these goggles arrived - before organic life emerged on this planet - they didn't exist!"

"Not in their present form," said Hubert calmly. "But the fundamental elements that go into making them existed. What are you having for dinner tonight?"

His question puzzled me. "My wife wants to make a nice curry. Why?"

Hubert smiled. "Right now, that curry doesn't exist. But the ingredients to make it do. It's the same thing."

It all sounded too simplistic, so I decided to return to the question of morality. "All right," I said. "That means UCI - in other words we -selected two bits of ourselves to play the role of Fred West and his obnoxious wife. That UCI - we - selected a bit of ourselves to come up with Harold Shipman!"

"And Ghandi," said Hubert. "And Martin Luther King. The good and the bad. UCI as a whole exists outside of VTR. Out there the concept of good and evil doesn't apply. Outside VTR there's just an infinite amount of something-ness. Good and evil are concepts UCI has created. And you can't have the one without the other. Like it or not, it's part of this reality. VTR ensures that UCI gets the whole experience. Pleasure as well as pain."

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