Wednesday, July 08, 2015


Those who've played Sims more than a little know it's sometimes fun to "game the game", e.g. in some scenarios, just give each Sim a bed and a refrigerator.  The house can come later.  Give every Sim a smartphone... actually they didn't have those did they?

SimTopia is a genre with the premise that things basically work, and it's set up energetically to pencil out.  We surf the solar gradient, each a 100-200 watt bulb.  Keeping us lit really doesn't take that much energy, so we have disposable income atop survival.  Such is our game board (a sphere).

What some philosophers maybe miss about Utopian models is they're not so much "pie in the sky" as "in your eye" meaning if it's a believable model using existing technology, then the fact that we actually live in squalor only speaks to our inferior intelligence, our lack of competence.  Believable utopias seem to mock us from their perch in unreality, saying "you could have been here by now".  Those feeling superior to utopians are maybe not as well versed in math and science.

Yet feelings of inferiority have a lot of self-fulfilling aspects and I'm not so foolish as to grab the pulpit merely to sneer about our basket case Earth and preach some "I told you so" gospel.  That's too easy and cheap.  I will settle for "a bit edgy" in that it does feel uncomfortable that we so deliberately miss-steer.  We appear to wallow sometimes, even fly off the rails.

In the background:  Greece, a fiction -- but people feel strongly about stories (what else do we have?) -- is in financial trouble per narrative accounts.  An entirely different Sims game could try to give a sense of the dynamics there.  As a Cradle of Civilization and HQS for the Cult of Athena, I do think going back to first principles is a logical move.

However being a Cradle of Civilization doesn't always mean much, in terms of getting respect.  If people want good paying family wage jobs, how about repairing Baghdad (more cryptically "Algebra City" in some neighborhoods).  People today will diss their own cultural roots without much pause for reflection.  The slow food movement, like the slow reading movement, is about remembering to remember.

Does it pencil out?  What is the energy income of Earth?  Lets stop dialing back to writers in the early 1900s who had no pictures of Spaceship Earth yet, shot from far outside the atmosphere.  Lets remember this is 2015 and talk again about planetary biology, the prospects for human life.  There's a gas mix to talk about, sometimes known as "climate", and much more besides.

A Sims game is only programmable because so much is dropped out.  Only reality has enough computing power to compute reality.  The World computes the World.  The parts are even less of the whole than we'd realized, a negative way of talking about Synergy, but the good news is everything is under control, thanks to no tiny cabal.

Just saying:  in developing a game of Sims, a SimTopia even, I am not thereby gaining a Crystal Ball.  Too much is missing.  We're talking about a model, not an oracle.  No Holy Grail here either, sorry, just I welcome Greece for its logic (logos).  SimTopia should have some Greek features.