Real or NPC

Being that I believe in Simulation Theory, I tend to evaluate people on the basis of whether they’re actual players or merely NPCs (non-player characters). I was thinking about designing an evaluation to determine who’s who — like a Turing Test. But of course it relies on the assumption that other players share my perspective — it’s possible that other players relate to the game in a vastly different manner than I do. But I suppose it’s also possible that I’m not really a player, but a confused NPC.

From my perspective at least, I tend to judge people as actual players if they exhibit the following behaviors.

They demonstrate an appreciation for the absurdity of their humanness. In other words, “wow existence is weird huh?”

They demonstrate a well-functioning sense of humor. Being a human that poots and poops is a silly thing. Because we’re not natively so, being a human is an awkward experience that’s inherently funny.

They demonstrate an inability in dealing with humanness, i.e. they’re not an automaton effortlessly performing an assigned role. In other words, they don’t mechanically adhere to pre-fabricated societal roles. They’re confused or frustrated at times by the concept of existing — they may have an existential crisis for instance.

They try to figure out who they are and what their character is capable of. They engage in introspection and wonder about themselves.

Well those are just a few quick ideas. Again, I can obviously pass this test because it’s designed around me. But perhaps other players have a different way of experiencing the game. So, it’s not a sure thing. It’s also possible that we’re all players, and some of us just have a shallow gameplay style.

In other words, some people aren’t providing their full attention, their character is on auto-pilot most of the time. Whereas in a lot of video-games I’ll turn the “assists” and “auto-pilot” modes off and try to do everything manually. It could be the case with this world too, where I’m attempting to manually control my character without relying on too much assistance (or I just suck at this game even with the helper settings turned on).

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