Why? If for no other reason, I'm sick of telling people its like The Matrix.
Or so I thought. Because now with no outlet for my 'what's really real?' shpiel, and because Thursday was an off-day, you're stuck with the following.
I sometimes play an antiquated baseball video game- High Heat Baseball 2004. Curt Schilling on the D'backs on the cover. I own no X station or whatever the kids use to simulate reality these days. No, it's a PC game. Apparently, these are virtually obsolete. The company that makes High Heat- 3DO- no longer exists (but did it ever really? Ooooh. Think about that.) And because no upgrade is available, I still use an old sputtering operating system because I'm afraid an upgrade will be incompatible with the game.
But that's neither here nor there. Which of course leaves it nowhere to be, which is to say, it doesn't exist. Or does it really? (See, I just have to get this stuff out of my system somehow.)
Anywho, the 2004 High Heat game has a 2003 roster (but being the active GM that I am, I've made a few tweaks.) So "I'm" the Sox, naturally, and I'm down 4-1 in the top of the 9th to Cleveland, Mark Wohlers of all people on the mound (I thought he was long gone by '03 too.) 2 down. Things look grim. But Varitek, in the number 7 slot, gets on. I'd long since traded Nomar because he kept popping up, and watching his feet move around in the box was distracting, so I picked up Jose Vizcaino to play short. He normally bats 8th. But Billy Mueller is on the DL, so I've moved up Vizcaino to the 2 slot- he's hitting a robust .320- and I've called up Shea Hillenbrand from his banishment to AAA to play third and bat 8th. But now in the 9th, and because he's an f-word, I pinch hit with Jeremy Giambi, who promptly slams a triple off the center field fence, 4-2. Next up is Timlin in the pitcher's spot- yeah, in this alternate reality, there's no DH- so I send up Trot to pinch hit- both these lefties were on the bench, by the way, as Sabathia started for the Tribe. And Trot laces a double off Wohlers. Still two out, tying run on second, the lineup turns over for Damon, who singles to right to tie the game! I ended up winning in extras, Scott Williamson coming in for the save.
When philosophers update Descartes' thought-experiment about the evil genius who tricks the mind into believing in the reality of the simulacrum external world, they talk of a mad neuroscientist keeping a brain in a vat, stimulating it with electrodes to simulate an external world that doesn't really exist. (Or does it? No.) These examples are terrifying, for, among other reasons, they stipulate an utter lack of control; one is held captive to the whims of some omnipotent and unknowable force, and any sense of control over one's life is entirely illusory.
But when do I have more control? When I watch a "real" Sox game on TV, or when I can manipulate the video game Sox on my computer? And doesn't that control make it "more real"?
No. It doesn't.
Thanks for reading. Maybe next semester I'll put Descartes back on the syllabus, and you won't have to suffer through this again.
Also, when I lose to the Yankees in the video game, I get absolutely furious. It takes me awhile afterwards to calm down. Doesn't the strength of my emotion make it real, as in "I just know it to be true in my heart'?
No. It doesn't.