Could this be a positive cult religion?

IT’S ALL IN THE MIND

Mike Knowles

“The mark of a good philosophy begins with a statement that is regarded as too obvious to be of any interest and from it deduce a conclusion that no one will believe.”

Bertram Russell

My rival, Scientology, has Xenu who is the all powerful ruler of the Galactic Confederacy (a bit like Star Trek’s United Federation of Planets, only considerably darker). Xenu brought billions of his people to earth, tied them to volcanoes and killed them with hydrogen bombs.

As for me, I had to make do with a Danish physicist; a quantum computer scientist; a professor of philosophy; a Medieval Friar; an expert at advanced cell technology and a biologist. These are the people who inspired me to create what could be the shortest religion in the world.

On the other hand these people don’t have any hydrogen bombs at their disposal. And, if they do, then they’re keeping very quiet about it.

But what the Danish physicist and the quantum computer scientist do have could be considered to be potentially just as powerful.

A physicist once remarked that telling non-scientists about the weirdness of quantum particles was like giving a child a loaded gun to play with. Even Nobel Prize winning quantum physicists can’t get their heads around it! Not only can these particles can exist in two states at the same time, they can also be in two separate places at the same time and that two particles can communicate instantaneously no matter how far apart they are.

They could even be at both ends of the universe!

I think J. K. Rowling will admit that even Harry Potter would be hard pressed to come up with sorcery like that!

But I’ll leave all that stuff to the boffins.

Instead ScienCology presents you with a choice. In the film, “The Matrix,” the hero was given the choice of taking a red pill or a blue one. The red pill would lift the veil and show him that what seemed to be real was just an illusion. But, if he chose to bottle out, he could take the blue one. Whereupon he’d wake up in bed and blissfully forget everything that happened to him. ScienCology gives you a similar choice. Only this red pill is metaphorical. And, unlike the pill Keanu Reeves was offered, this one is considerably larger. That’s because some of the things I’ll be telling you are pretty hard to swallow.

The good news is that if you take this pill you won’t wake up naked inside a high tech pod to discover that you’re hooked up to a giant battery charger. Although some of you may hanker fantasies about that.

So what’s in this religion I’m offering?

ScienCologists like to make good use of Occam’s Razor. Philosophers and scientists regard this metaphorical shaving instrument as the intellectual version of your Swiss Army Knife. Occam’s Razor works on the Law of Parsimony (popular with those of a miserly, Scrooge-like, disposition) and states that “entities should not be multiplied beyond necessity.” In other words, the more complicated and convoluted the explanation is, then the less likely it is to be true.

If I may be allowed to wax lyrical, ScienCologists use the razor to shave away the layers of false logic to reveal the bullshit underneath. So, unlike the theologian, Saint Maximillian Kolbe, we won’t be using circular arguments. Kolbe pronounced that the Virgin Birth was far too deep and mysterious and regarded any attempt to explain it to be pointless. Thus using a circular argument to defend a form of childbirth that disregarded the laws of nature.

Nice try, Kolbe. But no cigar!

ScienCology has no places of worship and no clergy. If, after reading this explanation you decide it sounds interesting you can call yourself a ScienCologist. And what you do with ScienCology is entirely up to you. You could even do a Hubbard and use it to create a cult religion and make yourself rich. The groundwork has already been done. Whereas poor Hubbard had to construct his religion, here it’s all been done for you. And, whereas Hubbard’s crew churn out reams of books, pamphlets and other bumf, ScienCology is explained in six pages!

Better still; some scientists here on earth are starting to sound as if they could be potential ScienCologists!

Which cannot be said for Scientology.

At this point we should mention our nearest competitor in the theological stakes. I refer, of course, to Scientology! People have said ScienCology sounds similar to Scientology. But the difference between ScienCology and Scientology is more than just one letter. I like to think mine is a bit more scientific. For those who don’t know, Scientology is a religion created by the late L. Ron Hubbard. The author of such science fiction pot boilers as “Battlefield Earth” and “Typewriter in the Sky.”

Make of that what you will.

Christians have a series of interactive sessions freely exploring the basics of their faith. It’s called “The Alpha Course.”

Not to be outdone ScienCology also has an Omega Course! Why Omega? Because I believe the information we give you is as accurate as an Omega watch! And, by a happy coincidence, George Clooney advertises Omega watches! So, while our rival has Tom Cruise, we have Clooney (and let’s not forget Keanu Reeves).

When I started constructing ScienCology I wanted to replace the Biblical Genesis with the Big Bang Theory. After all, the story of Adam and Eve and a talking snake selling poisoned apples ran counter to advances in genetics and anthropology. Although not in Snow White.

But even the Big Bang is not without flaws. The most fundamental being the question of what happened before the Big Bang. Then I heard that some scientists speculated there was nothing before the Big Bang. Nothing-to-the-power-of-nothing, as one of them succinctly put it. Nothing-to-the-power-of-nothing had a nice ring about it. It described an absolute state.

Suddenly an intense feeling of excitement came over me!

Could the universe have been created out of nothing? Did nothingness have some special power which enabled it to trigger the Big Bang? This was Red Pill weird.

There was just one problem: as far as I knew there is absolutely nothing in nothing-to-the-power-of-nothing to do anything. In fact the term “nothing” presents us with a paradox. The only way to imagine nothingness is not to imagine it at all! Even the concept of “nothing” cannot exist in a state of nothingness because there’s nothing in there to create that concept!

Then I remembered that there are two sides to everything. And the opposite of nothing is something. In other words, if a state of nothingness-to-the-power-of-nothingness exists then, by that argument, so should a state of something-to-the-power-of-something.

And, lo and behold, something does exist! The universe exists!

I then recalled Steven Hawking arguing that time was created by the Big Bang. Thus solving the “what happened before” problem. Which begged the question; how long did it take for time to come into existence?

And this revealed another fascinating paradox!

In the absence of time it must have taken no time at all.

In other words it must have happened instantaneously! And, because it was instantaneous, you could argue that time has always existed. This was the simplicity ScienCology needed. It was certainly far simpler than the convoluted version of Genesis one finds in the Bible.

Then I came across the philosopher Nick Bostrom. According to him we could all be living in a computer simulation run by a technologically advanced human race in the future. Again this seemed to be the sort of red pill weirdness ScienCology needed!

Clearly Bostrom’s hypothetical computer is powerful enough to recreate the complexity of the real universe we once lived in. And there happens to be just such a potential computer! But more about that later.

To me one aspect of Mind is self-evident and requires no proof whatsoever. It’s the simple fact that the universe and everything in it would not exist without a conscious awareness of its existence.

But wait, I hear you cry!

Surely there’s plenty of hard evidence to show the universe existed before the Mind appeared. Yes. But that begs the question: how do we know that? We know it because the Mind tells us so.

Indeed, the Mind is the only reason we know the universe exists or ever existed!

But I will concede that the universe could have existed before the Mind. But what if there was no such thing as the Mind? That it was absolutely impossible to observe the universe? Impossible to the power of impossible.

Would the universe exist?

Some hardy souls say it would. These are the scientists who advocate the hypothetical theory of a multiple group of universes known as a multiverse. They’d argue that there could be universes where there are no conscious minds. But, once again, the concept of a multiverse was, surprise, surprise, created by the Mind. And in the absence of proof that’s the only place where it currently exists.

So how long did it take before the Mind appeared?

It’s been calculated that it may have taken at least 3.77 billion years before life appeared on this planet.

Or did it?

By now it should be obvious that the awareness of time requires a Mind to be aware of it. So, it stands to reason to assume that before the Mind existed there was no concept of time. So how long did it take for the conscious mind to appear? Well, as far as the Mind is concerned, it took no time at all.

I looked for a suitable analogy and thought of someone who’d just emerged from a deep coma. To them no time at all would have passed between going into the coma and coming out of it.

I also amused myself by considering what this could do to those religions that relied on the existence of a deity. I reckon even the most devout Christians may have to concede that a Mind must exist before there’s an awareness of God.

So, using the Law of Cause & Effect, ScienCology suggests that it was our Minds that created God, not the other way round. Of course religious people would argue that it was God who gave us the Mind. But then we’d wonder who gave God his Mind? Because without it God wouldn’t know he existed.

So who really is running this show? The only logical answer is it’s not God, it’s the Mind. The bottom line is we created God, not the other way round. In fact, according to ScienCology god should be worshipping us!

And there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be generous when the collection bowl comes round.

So here’s ScienCology’s final stab at Genesis. ScienCology argues that in the beginning there was Mind and before that there wasn’t even nothingness. It takes the Holy Bible 30,046 words to describe their version of Genesis!

Whereas we can do it using only 13 words! 30,033 words less, Making ScienCology the economical religion!

As you may know, computers work on the binary system. They only understand two things. 1 or 0, On or Off. If this was a human we’d be saying the lights are on but there’s no one home.

That’s what I thought until I read the book “Programming the Universe” written by Seth Lloyd, a professor of Quantum Mechanics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Lloyd explains that the universe is a physical system made up of “bits. In other words, the universe contains “bits” of molecules, atoms, and particles (to computer geeks a “bit” is the smallest data in a computer with a value of either 1 or 0). And each of those “bits” interacts with another and this interaction alters those “bits.” Therefore Lloyd tells us the universe itself it could be simulated by a computer.

Lloyd then points out that to simulate a few hundred atoms from the universe for a fraction of a second on your PC or Mac would take more memory than there are atoms in the universe. To make matters even worse, it would take longer than the current age of the universe.

But that’s if you’re using a conventional computer.

Except that Lloyd’s expertise is with quantum computers!

Lloyd tells us the universe is indistinguishable from a quantum computer.

Instead of an electric current, the quantum computer uses quantum fluctuations (a temporary charge in the amount of energy in a given point in space) to represent the binary On/Off sequences.

It sounded really red-pill weird. So what would be so special about this universe sized quantum computer?

Super-powerful computers have been the stuff of dreams for science fiction writers. Douglas Adams gave us a version with his “Deep Thought.” And what about Arthur C. Clarks’s “Hal” who raised havoc aboard “Discovery One” as it headed out towards Jupiter.

Except that Lloyd’s computer is based on science fact, not fiction!

The thing that sets the quantum computer apart is the fact it has the power to perform a number of calculations simultaneously.

Now try and imagine how powerful a quantum computer the size of the known universe would be. Our friend Lloyd came up with a calculation. According to him “a litre of the universe — roughly a kilogram of matter — can perform a million billion billion billion billion billion operations a second.” Lloyd even amuses us (and presumably himself) by calculating that since the dawn of time, the universe has completed around 10, followed by 122 zeros, operations on 10, followed by 92 zeros, binary digits. Which, in computer terms, is not to be sniffed at. So we can assume that with the right broadband package, the universe will have no trouble streaming movies.

So I was pretty confident that any universe sized quantum computer would have no trouble creating a simulation like Bostrom’s virtual reality. In fact, it could create as many of them as you wanted! And, what’s more, you wouldn’t need Bostrom’s race of super-intelligent humans to build this computer. Because it’s already been built and it’s working away all around us.

So I decided there and then what ScienCology’s Grand Hypothesis would be. The hypothesis is that we’re the result the ultimate form of computer simulation. That the universe has constructed the ultimate online Multi-User Domain. A multiplayer, real time, virtual world.

So just what sort of computer program are we talking about?

Well, the best analogy I could come up with was to compare it to a popular computer game called “The Sims.” (For those unfamiliar with this game, The Sims is described as a series of life-simulation computer games in which you create virtual people and control their lives).

Which you could argue is what the universe is doing right now. Except it’s using real people.

Unless, of course, you believe it’s God or Xenu that’s controlling it.

I then took this a step further. I remembered that the universe wouldn’t exist unless there was a Mind to be aware of its existence. And that’s when I decided ScienCology would suggest that the Mind created the universe.

And that Lloyd may have got it the wrong way round. That it’s the Mind that’s the quantum computer!

Let me leave you with this thought.

It may just a sheer coincidence that the universe is based on duality; it may just be sheer coincidence that quantum particles exist in two states. That using just two instructions even ordinary computers can create virtual realities almost indistinguishable from the reality around us.

Or are our computers trying to tell us something?

Just how many coincidences does it take to make a certainty?

We Sciencologists call it the Power of the Obvious! And it’s all in the Mind.

Your Mind.

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I’ve spent over 40 years working mainly in comics, along with contributions to TV, Radio, animation, gonzo-style journalism.

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mike knowles

mike knowles

I’ve spent over 40 years working mainly in comics, along with contributions to TV, Radio, animation, gonzo-style journalism.

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