Sunday, May 8, 2011

You're a Big Fake... But So Am I

A quick wrap up regarding Thor. I loved the movie. Loved, loved, loved it. I was 13 years old again. I was stunned that they didn't weaken him like I expected them to. He was a blond haired superman just like he was in the Comics, they were as faithful as could be expected and made Kirby's Asgard come to life. 'Nuff said.

In other news, I've been thinking. As always, by something I read (Click to have your mind blown). What if I...wait, I'm doing this wrong. Let me start over.

When I was a kid of 7 or 8 I lived with my grandparents. They lived in a scary house, built by my grandfather, deep in the woods. Built into the side of small mountain (or really big hill, you pick). It was scary. I mean, scary like I recall the Amityville Horror came out around the time I was living there and saw a glimpse of it - maybe a TV spot - and I thought  that house seemed much less scary than the one I lived in. It didn't matter how many lights were on, it would be dark inside the house. One side of the house faced a vertical mountainside, only feet from the windows, the other into a mountain a little further away, but still close enough to make out the individual trees. I knew things were out there, things that wanted me dead.

Heck, everything about that place was frightening. The 70 year old door locks, the kind with the iron, skeleton keys (no kidding), meant I was always locked inside a room, and even with a key, I couldn't make it turn the tumblers to get out. I had an episode in the bathroom once that I think left me scarred for life.

Most of those monsters and demons, I'm sure, spent time in the basement. My grandfather had dug it by hand, filling up wheel-barrels with dirt and poured the concrete himself. It had the texture of polished stone. Uneven, natural, curved, moldy, and dark. The brightest day couldn't bring enough light into the place - and the single, naked bulb that hung low in the center somehow only gave enough light to cast shadows. No horror story could compare to the things I envisioned that lived down there, day or night. Fetching a jar of beans from the basement was a worse punishment than any whipping I ever received.

That's all true, true to how it was to me as a child anyway, as an adult I still found the place creepy. But as a kid it gave me nightmares that still haunt me even now. I remember the dreams I had in that house to this day. It's been more than 30 years and I can still can't get them out of my head.

One dream disturbed me more than any other, I awoke in tears and nothing anyone could say would console me. 

I dreamed that nothing was real. Not you, not me, not this world. It was all fake, a lie, meant to deceive. My mother, my friends, my memories - none of it real. Not like the matrix, where I was sitting in a lab somewhere. But where the physical universe itself was false.

The thought that we're currently living in sophisticated simulation is not terribly new - it predates my childhood nightmares. The io9 story I read that sent me on this path today intrigued me though, because the conjectures I'd previously read on topic put the odds that we currently live in some sort of computer simulation at around 50/50 at best.

The paper I linked to at the top of the page puts it more like this - If we aren't a simulation then we're all about to die. Awesome. I'd be lying if I said I didn't think about this too, like the Fermi Paradox, it's always on my mind. But this isn't different in that the arguments are more nuanced and harder to understand.

I wrote last year, or maybe the year before that, about the mathematical model that predicts that we're all about to die. I'd never thought of combining the two unrelated items into a single proposition. So, please read the paper - or if you can't take it, then the io9 article I linked to - it gets more and more weird as we go along. It isn't just that this universe may be a simulacrum, but just like the movie inception, we may be simulations within simulations, like a matryoshka doll of reality.

Bizarre? Awesome? Stupid? You decide.


Rogue Mutt said...

Nah, Stewie on Family Guy created the universe when him and Brian were fighting over his time machine and triggered the Big Bang.

My grandpa's house was creepy too. I hated going upstairs; I always thought there must be ghosts up there.

Andrew Leon said...

First, you liked Thor more than me. My reaction to it is here:
although that's more about the experience of seeing the movie than about the movie itself. Mostly because I didn't want to give away any spoilers. However, since these are the comments, and you've already seen it, there were two things I have issue with:
1. The manner in which Odin lost his eye.
2. Loki's parentage.

Second, it's interesting to hear you talk about your grandfather's house. It sounds really cool to me. Just to say, my novel was inspired by my grandparents' house. It's funny how places can leave lasting impressions on us.

There is no spoon.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Enough weirdness for me right now, thanks.
And I thought Thor rocked! I'd only read a few of the comics (I'm a DC guy) but thought they captured him perfectly.

Rusty Webb said...

Rogue - Stewie created the universe eh? Well, that would explain a lot.

Andrew - Both points you raised regarding your Thor issues were noticed by me too. I kept wondering why they had Odin lose his eye at that time and place (he gave it up as payment for wisdom in the comics too, right?)... I figure it had to do with it looking cool on screen.

Loki's parentage struck me a little less odd, as I'm sure I'm a bit bad with with my Marvel mythology (and Norse). What was off with that? I thought he was Thor's half-brother in the comics but I wasn't sure.

I can be fickle about what bothers me in movie adaptations, but I generally tend to be pretty forgiving. They didn't detract from the story to me. I get more bent out of shape when they start behaving bizarrely. Getting into an argument or fight because the script demands it instead of because it makes sense. I thought the emotional rationale for everyone's actions were pretty justifiable, I can't ask for much else.

Seriously, the house was the creepiest thing on earth. I wish now I'd went an photographed it before it was sold a few years ago. I'm sure it would have haunted my hard drive too.

And yes, much wisdom can be taken from the lack of a spoon.

Alex - A DC guy? I guess the Green Lantern will be your big summer even then? I was a Marvel guy all the way, but I dabbled in DC.

Lemons Don't Make Lemonade said...

whoa, that dream sounds scary.

future movie material.

Fresh Garden said...

What a memory ~ Yeah!

A Beer for the Shower said...

My grandpa's basement was always creepy. It felt like someone was watching you. Later in life, when I was having dinner with my parents, I told them this, and my mom got the most freaked out look on her face, saying that as a kid she and her sisters always felt like they were being watched down there too.

Stephen Tremp said...

I hope to se Thor today ...making three trips to drop off and pick up the kids really breaks up the day. But if there is a showing at noon, I'm there. Thanks for the review. And I was a Marvel guy, not much in DC comics. Looking forward to Captain America and the Red Skull.

Nancy said...

When I was working at an outpatient clinic. I had a psychotic patient who believed everyone he knew had been taken over and that his mother, father, and brother including others were not who they claimed to be. I always felt so bad for the guy. I can't imagine what it feels like to go around believing you are completely alone against everyone. I asked him one time if he believed I was who I said I was and he said, "sometimes." So this guy couldn't even always have his therapist on his side.

It sounds like there was some kind of presence in that house. I don't claim to know much about it but if you and your mom and your sisters all felt something... I am a big believer in following your intution. I imagine that house must surely be in a book someday in the future.

Nancy said...

sorry I know it was her sisters not yours.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Dude, Bloggermis back and my post about you finally appeared!