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How to tell when you're NOT in a simulation

DRAFT - comments welcome

So if you've found this blog post, I'm going to assume you're already well versed on the simulation theory, and most likely think it has a fair probability of explaining our universe.

But, as you have probably determined, simulated universes can be nested. That is to say, that if one universe can run one or more simulations, then those simulations themselves can run other simulations within them.

It's [simulations] all the way down!

So, let's assume that you can find a way of traversing up the simulations (Ref: Are you living in a simulation? Nick Bostrom), whether that be through meditation, astral projection, enlightenment, drug trips, or even death. How do you know when you've reach the original universe?

We shall use the rough approximation that processing power increases each time you go up a simulation (ignoring time dilation, where a simulation with greater detail could just be run at a lower clock speed).

So, when you pop into the next simulation up (bucking today's trend that looks like people are trying to go down a level), here, I layout what I think you should look for:

Planks Constant = 0

Ask a physicist what the planks constant is measured at. As any computer simulation, there needs to be a level of detail or pixelation that enables the simulation to be calculated. Planks constant can be thought of as the pixel of the universe. As a general rule I would expect this to decrease at each time to you move up a simulation level. At the original universe, I would expect Planks constant to be zero (that is, there is no pixelation).

Infinite Speed of Light


While you're asking them what planks constant is, also ask them what the speed of light is. Again, if the universe is simulated then action and reaction need to be calculated, so things cannot happen instantaneously, therefore, in a simulated universe things cannot travel at infinite speed, but in the original universe there would be no such limitation and the speed of light could be infinite.

No Uncertainty Principle

There is no. I believe the uncertainty principle allows for a massively saving of computational power, as things do not need to be fully computed until it is observed. If you think about it, this creates an amazing importance on the observer, that the universe exists so that it can be observed, i.e. the simulation is run specifically for the observer.



Your life expectancy is to live "forever" and essential you are immortal. This is based on the logic that one possible reason to run a simulation would be that immortal beings want to experience the beauty to life that is created when that life is not indefinite and therefore has an inherit high value. They may well choose to run a simulation where life expectancy is not indefinite.

As an interesting aside, if I was to choose a simulated period of time to "download" into, it would probably be the 21st century where life is relatively pleasant with medicine and culture, but we have not reached to point of excessively increased lifespans or the ability to back ourselves up.

Infinite Size of the Universe


Again, relating to processing power, the size of the universe does not need to be limited if there are no computational limitations, therefore, the size of the universe can be infinite, so this would be another indicator to look out for.

Consciousness Singularity


undefinedConsciousness is formed of just a single consciousness, not not distilled into individual consciousnesses as we are in this simulation. A simulation could be a way of a super intelligent being, experiencing consciousness from individual consciousnesses within the simulation. Therefore, as you work your way up, you could find in the end you are part of a singularity consciousness.

No Physical Laws


Perhaps most strangely of all, the universe might not be based on any physical laws. Physical laws can be programmed and simulated. If you were struggling to imagine a universe considering the points above, at this point, it's pretty hard to visualise how this might work!

So, look me up when you get up a level or two, maybe we'll even be part of the same consciousness and we can reflect on how this simulation went :-)

About the author

I am a nerd by trade, specializing in Microsoft technologies such as Azure, SharePoint and Office 365 as well as other content management systems. I also enjoy graphic design in PhotoShop and tinkering around with Arduino's and Raspberry Pi's.

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