Today's Word: Simulation
"So you see, we're not really on earth, though I don't doubt there once was an earth -- probably long since destroyed by its own sun," said George Trenlor, president of the Lucas Falls chapter of the Society for and Enlightened People (SEP).
"We're really in a big computer simulator," said Kaleb, a news reporter for the Lucas Fall Observer.
"That's right," said George with a genuine smile. I might have a convert here, he thought.
"Isn't that just like that Matrix movie?" asked Kaleb.
"Well, yes, but Dr. Provelmein, the founder of our society, put forth this idea back in 1949. So you see, we knew about the Truth long before some Hollywood-types stole it."
"Right," said Kaleb, making a note. "And your society claims we invented the computers running this massive simulation ourselves."
"Not us, our ancient ancestors. Humans once had incredible technology. We once harnessed the power of stars and traveled this entire galaxy. But our people saw that we were essentially a blight on the universe -- we polluted everything, everywhere. They were so disheartened, they decided to build a simulation that would care for us and give us the semblance of a new start while also protecting the environment from our harmful influence."
"Uh-huh. And you also claim that most associations here don't matter?"
"They don't matter. Our children are not real; they're just computer programs built to simulate humans. We --"
"Wait, wait," said Kaleb, holding up a hand. "You're saying my kids aren't real because some computer randomly generated them"
"Not randomly. They are made to look and act much like real children created from your own genes might."
"How long has this been going on?"
"Twenty million years."
Kaleb stared for a moment. "Twenty million?"
"Then are you a computer program?"
George looked perplexed.
"Of course not."
"Then how could you be one of the original real people? Human's don't live twenty million years."
"I --" George swallowed. "I. . . never --"
"Only the first generation would have been real people, right? After that we would all be fake."
"Twenty-five years," said George in a choked whisper.
"I believed in this crap for twenty-five years and I never questioned it. I lost my wife, my girls. Oh, God, the kids -- my girls -- I thought they didn't matter. I thought they were just programs. I treated them that way."
Kaleb was scribbling frantically in his little notebook. After a moment he looked up into a face as broken as any he had ever seen in his twenty-four years.
-- david j.