Rizwan “Riz” Virk is a successful entrepreneur, venture capitalist, video game pioneer, bestselling author, and indie film producer. Riz is the founder of Play Labs@ MIT, and Bayview Labs, a Silicon Valley investment fund, and he is a mentor/advisor at 500 startups, Griffin Gaming Partners, Ridge Ventures and the MIT $100k Entrepreneurship Competition.
Riz was an investor or founding team member at Tapjoy, Service Metrics, Discord, Telltale Games, PocketGems, and many others. His games included Tap Fish, Penny Dreadful: Demimonde, Grimm: Cards of Fate, and Bingo Run. Riz’s films have included Thrive: What on Earth Will It Take, The Outpost, Mythica, Sirius, Knights of Badassdom, and many others.
Riz writes on the intersection of science, science fiction, business, and spirituality. His startups, articles, and books have been featured in Techcrunch, Inc., Vox.com, The Boston Globe, NBCNews.com, Coast to Coast AM, and even the Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
Riz received a B.S. in Computer Science and Engineering from MIT and an M.S. in Management from Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.
Please enjoy my conversation with Rizwan Virk.
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Follow Along with the Transcript – Episode 332
Rizwan Virk 0:00
So why do we play video games, we play them to have experiences that we can't have outside the game. And so I might be able to fly on a dragon and fight orcs in a fantasy game, which I can't necessarily do outside. So we use it to have experiences of a certain type and then to level up and to occupy our time. And so when you say what's outside the simulation, right, there's lots of different theories. One is future humans. And there's something called an ancestor simulation, which is like if we were to run a simulation of ancient Rome, those would be like our ancestors, let's say or ancient India. Another is its aliens. But another is its us. Right? We are players. This is where the NPC versus RPG becomes important. We chose to come into the simulation to have certain experiences, and those experiences are our quests, and our karma.
Alex Ferrari 0:53
I'd like to welcome to the show Rizwan Virk. How you doing Rizwan?
Rizwan Virk 1:07
Doing well, thanks so much for having me on the show.
Alex Ferrari 1:10
I appreciate you coming on the show. My friend, I heard about you through a mutual friend. And I was like I need to speak to Riz ASAP because you combine quantum physics a little bit of game theory, as well as simulation hypothesis and my favorite guru of all time Paramahansa Yogananda and even wrote a book, your new book wisdom of a yogi. So I was like, Oh my God, if they would have built a guest in a lab, you would be the person would want to talk to so welcome to the show, my friend.
Rizwan Virk 1:41
Thanks so much for having me. I'm glad to be here. Especially with someone who's a big fan of Yogananda. I can see a couple of pictures there behind you as well.
Alex Ferrari 1:48
Yes, yes. Yogananda has been had a big impact on my life and my spiritual life and on the show, to be honest with you as well. So let's let's dive into a little bit of your of your, of your past, if you will, where you come from? So people understand you are? Can you tell the audience where you went to school and your you specifically your connection with video games and how that connects to simulation theory?
Rizwan Virk 2:16
Yeah, absolutely. So you know, I'm a computer scientist by training. I went to MIT many years ago. And then I became an entrepreneur in the software industry. Then I moved out to Silicon Valley and ended up going to business school at Stanford. And right around that time, I got involved with a video game industry. And so this was around the time that the iPhone had just can't come out back in 2007. And there were games on Facebook. And suddenly, Steve Jobs, whose favorite book, by the way, was autobiography, I'm sure you've mentioned that in the past, and we can tell some stories later. But you know, even he didn't expect that video games would be the most popular applications for the Fallen initially. And if you looked at the top grossing apps, in those first five years of the iPhone being out, they were almost always all video games. And even to this day, I mean, obviously, Facebook, and these apps get more usage now. But so I became involved in that industry, we had a game that was the number one game in the app store called Tap fish. We sold it to a big Japanese company. And then I became more of an investor and advisor to a number of different video games, startups. Probably one that many people might have heard of is discord, which started off as a video game company. Not many people know this. But then ended up as a chat app, you know, because the game wasn't that successful. But the app they had built for people chatting with each other while playing the video game turned out to be, you know, the golden thing there. And now it's used by so many people. And so during this time, you know, I was deeply enmeshed in how video games were made. And before that time, even during my life as an entrepreneur, I had been kind of living a double life. You know, during the day, I had been an entrepreneur in Silicon Valley and dealing with business issues, technology issues. And at the night and weekends, I'd like you know, jet off and do different types of explorations of consciousness, you know, whether it's out of body experiences at the Monroe Institute, lucid dreaming, workshops, shamanic, work a bunch of different things. And I talk a little bit about that my very first book, Zen entrepreneurship. But it was after I'd sold my last video game company, I was visiting a virtual video game startup in Marin County, which is right across the bay from San Francisco, the beautiful view of the city and you know, one of America's prettiest scenes, but instead of admiring the scenery, we put on this virtual reality headset, and I was playing a VR ping pong game. And so I started to play this, this game and you know, back then the headsets were bulkier than they are now. There were wires coming from the ceiling. The graphics weren't that great. And yet, the physics engine was so good and the responsiveness was so good that I felt like I was really hitting a real ball with the real paddle and was playing the real game of ping pong so much so that for a moment my brain forgot that this was a virtual game and I tried to put the paddle down on the two Remember when I tried to lean against the table? And of course, there was no table because it was just virtual. And I had said, and so the controller fell to the floor, I almost fell over. And that is when I began to wonder, okay, well, how long is it going to take for us to build something that would make me forget. And that's just for a moment that happened here. But make me completely forgot that I was inside a virtual world to build something like The Matrix. And so that was a point that I call the simulation point, which is like a technological singularity. And so, you know, I started to speculate on those stages. And we're about halfway there, to that point, where basically, the video games will become indistinguishable from physical reality. And then as I researched the subject, you know, I found out that there's a well known argument by an Oxford professor Nick Bostrom, who said that if any civilization ever gets to that point, they'll make lots of simulations. And inside those simulations, you'll have no idea that you're inside something like The Matrix. And so the idea is that, if it can ever be done, it's probably already been done. And we are probably already inside that one of those simulations that's running, because there's many more of those simulations, then there is a physical world or based reality. And so that kind of led to this startling conclusion that, you know, from a technological point of view, we are more likely to be in a simulated universe than a physical universe. And then I went and investigated what the Eastern mystics and all the religions were saying. And pretty much they've all been saying the same thing that the physical world is not the real world, that it is a kind of illusion or Maya set up for us. And then I went look at it, look at what the scientists were saying. And the scientists were saying that there is no physical world, right? They, they, they were trying to find this thing called, you know, the material world. And if you think of it, like this table that my laptop is on is mostly empty space, right. And then you look in the atom, and it's mostly empty space, and you look in the nucleus. And as they kept going down, like a bunch of nested Russian dolls, and you open up the last one, and there's nothing there. You know, all you get are bits of information. And so even the quantum physicists, we're coming to the conclusion that there is no physical world, at least not the way we think of it. And so, you know, really cutting across all three of those dimensions, technology, science, and religion, you know, particularly mystical sides of religion. That's what got me down this path. Exploring the idea that the world is a simulation.
Alex Ferrari 7:31
Oh, this is it's fascinating, because simulation theory has been around for a long time, I've been saying for the longest time, I know, I'm not the first to say but the concept of the video game makes so much sense when you start thinking about simulation theory. And also concepts of like reincarnation, where like, you literally have multiple lives to pass certain levels of a game. And I always use either Zelda or Super Mario Brothers or some some classic arcade game, but they just keep challenging yourself. And specifically, I'll never forget I went to when I was young, I was playing the sequel to Zelda which was link The Adventures of Link and we couldn't get past a certain level my friends and I playing all summer couldn't get past a certain level. And I just the heels man, the only way we're gonna get enough experience to beat this monster is to sit in this forest for like six hours and just kill like hogs to gain experience. So I went and I sat for six hours at night, and just sat there killing look low quality kills, but building up my experience, if I saw next morning, I woke up ill will go over there and I plugged it in. He's like, Where'd you get this and like I said, six hours and kill dogs for the whole night. Like, let's go and we destroyed the the, the villain or the the boss. But that's just I mean, even at that age, just thinking like, so reincarnation, when you come back, you're challenged with multiple experiences to level up, you know, and it's certainly like, you've already Oh, you've already conquered addiction. You did that in like five lives ago, you've already conquered, you know, hate, you really don't have that kind of energy anymore or abuse or, or this. Is this all making sense to you and your theories? And what your your hypothesis?
Rizwan Virk 9:15
Absolutely. Absolutely. So, you know, in my book, The simulation hypothesis, I get into a, what I call the questing model of karma, which basically said, Thanks, you can think of karma as a set of quests or achievements in a video game. And that's how we make video game today, right? You go in and you've got various quests and various achievements. And those are like experiences that you have, you have signed up for at some point in your life. And as you unlock one, you end up unlocking others as well and you start creating more of those. And so you know, that analogy of life as a video game works really well, particularly within the Eastern model, right, which, with reincarnation and the idea of multiple lives, but also there's what's called the NPC See version of the simulation hypothesis. And then there's the RPG version. And I think this is one of the most important distinctions. And most people who talk about simulation theory, don't really talk about it too much, but it's actually one of the most important aspects of this. So NPCs are like non player characters in video games. Who are like the AI characters like the hogs or other
Alex Ferrari 10:22
Right, like, you guys are just doing their thing. You know, like Wreck it Ralph. Exactly.
Rizwan Virk 10:30
Or, you know, there was a movie called Free Guy. Oh, yeah. A couple years ago Ryan Reynolds, yeah, who was an NPC he was the main color, right? But then he became conscious. And then there's the RPG version, where you have a player who exists outside of the video game. And then that player basically, you know, takes on the identity of the character or what we call the avatar, which by you know, by coincidence is an old Sanskrit term, which means to descend in fact, the guys who were there were building the first MMO RPG type game called habitat at Lucas at Lucasfilm, you know, the Star Wars George Lucas this company, they were looking for a term that would describe how they could be in this little guy back then we're talking eight bit graphics. So you know, very small characters, how they could inhabit that over, you know, the the phone lines, because they were using dial up modems on the Commodore 64, which is going back in my day as a kid. Like, programming and so they ended up borrowing this Sanskrit term for you know, the for, to descend when divinity descends into a character. And so in the RPG version, we exist outside of the game. And we play this avatar character inside the game, and we go through the whole thing. And then at the end, what happens at the end, and so you know, I spent a lot of time looking at near death experiencers. And a good friend of mine is a gentleman named Dannion Brinkley. I don't know if you ever had him on your show.
Alex Ferrari 12:00
Of course, he's one of my first he I think he was my very first near death experience, actually, Dannion Yeah.
Rizwan Virk 12:05
And the first one I read about as well, and he's become a good friend. But you know, he was from him as well. I learned the term holographic panoramic life review. And what many near death experiencers describe is being able to see your entire life played back in front of you, but played back not just like a movie projector, but in a fully holographic 3d way. And then you have to see what it was like, from the other person's point of view. And you know, Daniel was a bit of a bully when he was a kid was a big kid. And he used to beat up other kids. So he got to feel what it was like to beat himself up. And he actually shot people in the military. And he had to see not only what what happened, you know, to that person with the suffering when he killed them, but also what happened to their wives and children, like the ripple effect of their actions. And it turns out, this is something we can do in video games, right? The most popular content on YouTube today is videogame content, right? Like, like my nephew would say to his father, my brother, I want to see Star Wars. Oh, you want to see the Star Wars movie? And he was like four years old at the time? He's like, no, no, I want to see that man. And that woman played the Star Wars video game, right, which is recorded on YouTube. So you can replay the entire session now one of my startups I was involved in Silicon Valley, you could put on a headset, you could take a game like League of Legends, which is normally played on a 2d screen, you could go to any XYZ coordinate within that. So you could see what it was like, or in a game like Counter Strike Global Offensive, or, or Call of Duty, you can see what it was like to shoot yourself. Basically the kind of thing that Daniel described, but of course, only visual we're not, you know, the games don't have a feeling of me yet. But so, you know, as an engineer, and a scientist, I always think, how would this stuff work? And, you know, it's not just in the Eastern traditions also in in the Judeo Christian religion, there's the book of life. And in Islam, they're much more explicit. There's the scroll of deeds, with their two angels. One is writing down every one of your good deeds, and one is right now and every one of your bad deeds, and then you have to look at the scroll of deeds. Now. That's a metaphor, right? It's a metaphor from 2000 years ago, when they wouldn't have understood anything else. But of course, it doesn't mean there's literally angels with feathered pens writing down everything you do, what are they gonna write in English, Chinese Arabic, right? All it means is that everything is being recorded, so that it's there to be able to be played back. And that's what you can do inside a 3d, you know, virtual environment. And that's why this metaphor is a very powerful one. And, and it talks to Yogananda. So one of the reasons why I wrote this current book. Yeah, I'll tell you the story of how it came about. But Yogananda himself was always up on the latest science and technology and he came over to the US in 1920, as a young Swami, and you just it was right after World War One. He was on the first boat out of India after World War One and during that war he saw on the newsreels Some of the, you know, some of the most, most amount of killing that the world had ever seen, because World War One, they call it the Great War. They didn't call it World War One, right? Because it was the first time McCann, mechanized, you know, guns and killing machines had been used. And so there was death on an unprecedented scale. And he said, he said, Lord, what, why would you allow this much suffering? And he got back a clear answer during his meditation. And it said, that life and death are relativities in the cosmic green, think of the newsreels and the movie projectors. And the movies that you see. The characters are suffering, and they die. But the actors are not dying any more than you do when you die in this world. And so he loved that analogy of the movie projector. And he would encourage, you know, his students to look away from the screen, right? If you've ever been inside a movie theater, you've looked away from the screen. Well, why and you can see how, you know, wrapped up people are in the movie. And I used to do this as a kid, but too, you can see the flickering of the light, right? So you can see the frames, you can see that it's actually an illusion. And so my MO we translated as illusion, but the correct translation is something like a carefully crafted illusion. Like if you go to a magic show, you're prepared to be deceived. You want to believe that stuff. And you know, he's actually a magician who's doing, you know, doing some tricks on you. But that's part of the fun. And so, Yogananda would use the latest analogy. And going back to ancient times, you have the leela, which is the play of the gods. Then you have the stage play Buddha use the dream. A lot of Buddhists use the dream metaphor, Buddha literally means to awaken. And so I believe if Yogananda were alive today, he would say, well, it's like a movie, but it's interactive. We're all actors and players that Shakespeare's called, would call us. But we also watched the movie, we have a script, but we can change it. What does that sound like? It sounds like an interactive, massively multiplayer online role playing video games. So I think he would use that analogy today, very much to describe, you know, the reality of the world. Think of it like a game.
Alex Ferrari 17:09
So what's really interesting is when you said that everything's recorded. First thing that popped into my head is the Akashic Records, which is is not a new age term, it is actually a Vedic term, if I'm not mistaken, a lot of people like, oh, that's some new age, stuff like that. It's not that new. And it's old. In that concept of, you know, and I've talked to physicists who talk about the Akashic field, that we all are surrounded in the Akashic field and that everything is recorded, and we can access all of that. How does your hypothesis in in simulation theory and game theory, if you will mix in with this concept of the Akashic records or the Akashic field?
Rizwan Virk 17:52
Well, I mean, the Akashic Records fits in very well, because you know what I'm talking. So in my model, I like to talk about using kind of video game terminology. There's the rendered world, right? And so that is the world. So if you and I are in the same field inside a video game, right, we will see similar things, but not exactly the and this is what will tie to quantum physics, like my avatar will only see what what what I can see from my point of view and your avatar, and see what you can put what you see. So there's this dance of we only render right, those are the pixels that are being rendered. That doesn't mean that the rest of the world doesn't exist in existence information. And so, you know, we were joking about the Commodore 64, if you were to go back to the days of the Commodore 64, and say, Can you render something like World of Warcraft, or fortnight, you know, full 3d world? It would say, No, there's just too many pixels, or we can't keep track of all those pixels. But we can today, and part of the reason why is we have faster computers, but it's not just that, it's that we have optimization techniques, right? We have 3d models. And so we render only that which can be observed by our specific piece of the simulation, right. And so you and I, even though we might be standing in the same field, we might be seeing different things, in the same way that you and I aren't really talking about talking to each other. Now. I'm talking to my computer, and it's translating it into bits, and it's sending it back. And so this idea of rendering matches very much with the observer effect, which is the idea that, you know, that we have, the easiest way to explain it with the double slit experiment is the Schrodinger cat, right? Where you have a cat that's either alive or dead. Common sense tells us the cat is one or the other. We don't know we haven't looked at the box, right? And so it's a thought experiment by Erwin Schrodinger, which there's a 50% chance the cat is dead, some some poison being released after an hour. But what's weird is that quantum physics tells us that the cat is actually in a state of superposition. And when something is in a superposition, it's in both states. It's both alive and dead until the time that someone observes it, or someone really takes a measurement of that. And that sounds a bit All right, so what does that mean? That, that it could be both alive or dead? Well, what it means is that we have a probability wave of different possibilities. And what happens is the probability wave collapses when the observers there. And so the golden rule is, the universe only renders that probability that is observed. And so that's very similar to how we render video games, right? We only read your that which can be observed by, in this case, your avatar or your character. And then we cache it so that if multiple people observing, they'll see the similar things, but not necessarily and this gets into a whole area where you can start to explain a lot of weird phenomenon, a lot of unexplained phenomenon with this model of a video game, but we'll come back to that. So back to your original question, you know about the Akashic records, basically? Where is karma stored? Right? That's an interesting question. And you have people who do these Akashic Record meditation, where they will visualize a library like a grand library, and there'll be books there, and you open the book, but what you actually see inside the book, and you have near death experiences reporting something like this to you open the book, but what's inside the book is not picture. I mean, it's not letters, it's video. It's like a whole holographic theme. So it's actually recording. So I believe that the Akashic Records really is a recording of everything that has happened in inside this video game along with other probabilities and possibilities. And there's a lot of weirdness that when you get into what is the path in quantum mechanics as well, we can get into that as well. But I think that there's a pretty good, there's a pretty good match. Now there's a whole field of physics called Digital physics. You know, which, in the past, we've talked about physics, with mathematics, and with information, but now, there's this group of people working on digital physics, which is the idea that the world is information. So not only does energy get conserved, but so does information. Right? There was this whole thing about Stephen Hawking? And does information get lost in a black hole? Right, what happens to that information, and as far as we can tell, and this is sort of an evolving field, and people like Stephen Wolfram, who wrote the Mathematica software, or Ed Fredkin, who was a director of, you know, an early computer lab at MIT, we're working on cellular automata, which are like these processes that try to simulate like the game of life, where you've got these cells and but basically, that they're trying to get very simple rules. And if you run these rules a million times what happens? Well, turns out different things happen, and depending on what you do, but that's all a way of describing the universe using computer analogies and bits of information. And so this idea that information is never lost means that it has to be stored somewhere. Right. And, and so, you know, the way that I like to think about it is that the world is based on information. I mentioned this earlier that when they looked at the bottom level, there was a physicist named John Wheeler, who worked with Einstein, and he was born he was at Princeton, right across from Einstein. And he came up with this phrase it from MIT. And he said, if something is in it, if something is physical, like this book, the book can consists of at the bottom level, all it consists of is a bunch of answers to yes, no question. That's what particles are. And that is the fundamental unit of information, which is bits. And so I see the Akashic Records really being a place where all this information is stored. And then it's organized like a library system, right? It's organized around your gameplay session. What is it that just like, just like you could save, you could record and save on YouTube or stream through twitch your gameplay sessions, that becomes a window into this information, then you can choose the XYZ coordinates with which to view that, that that point in time.
Alex Ferrari 23:50
So let's go a little a little bit more granular and go deeper down this ridiculous rabbit hole that we've walked into. Because the heads gonna start to hurt in a minute. So everybody listening, prepare yourselves. So you mentioned that if we are in a simulation, and the theory states that we're half, you're saying we're halfway there, so that eventually we will have the technology to create a reality that's indistinguishable from the reality we live in right now. Then you also said that once you get to that point, there'll be multiple realities piled up on top of each other. Now I started going, when you said that in my mind, I started going back to the Vedic texts and the yogic philosophies, which talk about multiple realities, multiple levels of reality that you ascend to and if I'm not mistaken, please correct me if I'm wrong. There's either seven or 11 levels of enlightenment you as a soul grows that goes into these different levels. As you know, you go and the dimensions excuse me dimensions, there are multiple dimensions. Paths, we're in the three add dimension. Now we're talking about the fifth dimension is where we're kind of walking towards. But you know, someone like Jesus or Yogananda is in the seventh dimension, but then there's beings higher than that have evolved at a higher level than that and all this. So I'm saying all of this, because if we're doing that with with, with simulation theory, who is the programmer? Who is creating all of these simulations? And for what purpose?
Rizwan Virk 25:31
But that's the big right $64 million question that I get asked. Well, the first question I get asked was, Do you believe we're in a simulation? And my answer is, with more than 50% likelihood, we are in a information based reality that gets rendered, which is like a simulation? And the second biggest question is, okay, who's running it? And why are they running it? And so I like to say, Well, let's think about two questions. Why do we run simulations? And why do we play video games? And they're slightly different answers, but they're both related. Now, when we run a simulation, we might run a simulation of the weather, you know, to try to figure out what is likely to happen. Right, we will change variables. But mostly, we're trying to figure out what is the likely outcome, whether it's a fruit fly population, it's pandemic spread with certain variables. We'll go back and we'll change the variables. And then we'll say, Okay, this is the simulation. And so, it, you know, it's possible that we would run the simulation to see what would happen now there's a great speech by a well known science fiction writer, Philip K. Dick, who I'm sure your listeners have heard of, and, you know, Blade Runner Minority Report, and the Man in the High Castle, which was the Amazon theories recently. Now that one's interesting, because he had a speech in Mets friends in 1977. So like, almost 50 years ago, where he said, we are living in a computer programmed reality. And the only clue we have to it is when some variable is changed, some alteration occurs in our reality, we would have the sense of reliving the same moments we'd have a sense of deja vu, right. And so what he was talking about, and he explicitly said, there's a programmer and a counter programmer, and they would go back and change things and rerun the simulation. So each time you rerun the simulation, you get something slightly different, right? This is a aspect of chaos theory, most people have heard of the term chaos theory. But what it's really talking about is sensitivity to initial conditions. So if you change like one little variable, and you do a million steps to the future, you can have a vastly different outcome. And so he came to believe that the man of the High Castle, which is about a timeline where Germany and Japan, the Axis powers won World War Two, and then they divided America between them, he came to believe that that was a real timeline, that the simulators reset, like they ran it to see what would happen. Because when you have a really complex process, the only way to see what will happen, it's a term called computationally irreducible, complex process, the only way to see what's going to happen at step 1 million is to go to Step 999 999. Well, the only way to find out what's gonna happen there is good at 997. So you have to run the whole simulation. And so if the world is a computational irreducible process, you have to run different things at different variables. And you have to run it more than once. Getting back to your idea of different realities. There's also different dimensions like in Islam, there's this idea of the seven heavens. But there's also this idea of the seven URLs, which is really weird, right? Because he says seven Earth, each with their own atom, with their own Moses, each with their own Jesus, right. And so what you're really talking about are almost slightly different timelines that have evolved differently. And the number seven and Arabic in that case could also mean many. And so we get into the multiverse side. So I wrote a second book about simulation called the simulated multiverse, which is heavily based on this idea of Philip K. Dick and the Mandela effect, that things may happen differently in time. Okay, so that's the answer to the first question, is to get the most likely outcome or the most optimal outcome. And in that case, you can think of it as the simulator saying, Well, that wasn't the most optimal outcome with Germany and Japan won the war. Let's go back and rerun it. And so he came to believe that they told him supposedly, according to his wife, Tessa, who I interviewed, you know, what I was reading my book that they also prevented JFK being assassinated in Dallas, and they would run it forward, and then he would get assassinated in Orlando, or he would get assassinated in another city, and the ones where he didn't get assassinated would end up in some kind of wars. Really bad police. So they just rebounded back to where we are. That brings up a very disturbing possibility, which we don't have to get into now, but it could mean we're just on a branch to see what's going to happen, then that branch gets rewound. But let's go to the second question, which is why do we play video games? Which I think might be more relevant to the spiritual discussion. So why do we play video games, we play them to have experiences that we can't have outside the game. And so I might be able to fly on a dragon and fight, you know, Orcs in a fantasy game, which I can't necessarily do outside. So we use it to have experiences of a certain type and then to level up and to occupy our time. And so when you say what's outside the simulation, right, there's lots of different theories. One is future humans, there's something called an ancestor simulation, which is like, if we were to run a simulation of ancient Rome, those would be like our ancestors, let's say, or ancient India. Another is its aliens. But another is it's us, right? We are players, this is where the NPC versus RPG becomes important. We chose to come into the simulation to have certain experiences. And those experiences are our quests, and our karma, if you will, right, that's in the database. And we are creating all of those extra, you know, new quests for ourselves. And there are certain experiences of emotion like you mentioned, or addiction, right, these things may not exist in whatever form we are outside of the simulation, I don't take a strong opinion on what's outside the simulation. But if you think of a player and a character, they don't have to be the same, right. And so we could just know pure consciousness outside. And so we want to have these bodily experiences and experience the emotions inside. And so so you know, that's where I think that you get into the more spiritual dimension. And eventually, you can define the creator of all of this as God. But you can also say, there are many programmers, right, who are creating different pieces of it for ourselves to experience so that we can we can go to the video game designer, that's something we do, we'll create an experience, and then we go and experience it. And then we provide it to other people, to let them go in and experience it.
Alex Ferrari 31:54
So it sounds like there might be many programmers but somebody owns the school that all these are the facility that all this gear quote unquote, is living at. So there has to be something at the top orchestrating all of this, whatever that energy is. But I it as you're explaining it all, it all makes perfect sense to me. And you start thinking about it, like we have this, you're kind of reinforcing the spiritual ideas of reincarnation with Game Theory, which is, you started looking at it, it makes absolute sense. Now, you did say something, and I was gonna bring it up. But you said at first the Mandela Effect, one of my favorite topics to talk about other than what we're talking about right now. Because for everybody who doesn't know what Mandela Effect is, it's the point where things that you might have thought, you have a memory of really don't exist, but you completely believe they were a memory. So I'm going to ask you a few of these just to see what your answers are. was Ed McMahon ever part of the Publishers Clearing House?
Rizwan Virk 32:59
Right. I remember him being.
Alex Ferrari 33:01
Right. You remember him with a check at the door with the commercials? Right? Right. Yeah. never existed in this. Right? Never Existed. Is a jiff Jiffy peanut butter?
Rizwan Virk 33:14
Right. I always thought it was jiffy. Right. But right, if you look at it, right. And so there's a lot of these right, there's the burden. There's that
Alex Ferrari 33:24
The Berenstein Bears. Yeah.
Rizwan Virk 33:26
Where it becomes interesting, though, is, if you look at I talked about this in my book, The simulated multiverse, if you look at your closeness or proximity or significance to the event, okay, it's possible, the standard explanation, the one character that's different is one possible explanation. But when you talk about things that are very important to you, right, like, people, you know, saw, they thought Nelson Mandela died in prison. And there's a blogger who said that she was in journalism school. And she actually went to South Africa tried to interview him. In prison, it was told his health was not very good. So she wasn't allowed to interview, she came back started working for NPR. And then she remembers him dying. In prison, which of course, in our reality didn't happen until later he got out of prison and became president of South Africa, died in late 2013. But people remember his wife speaking at his funeral. And so, you know, for an ordinary person, you could make a maybe make a mistake, but for somebody that's close to it, like in this case, the journalist who was there remembers him dying shortly afterwards, you're less likely to make a mistake. And that's where biblical scripture you know, is my my favorite Mandela facts are the ones which are very difficult to simply write off as bad memory. So like, for example, the Lion and the Lamb, right, which is a phrase from Isaiah, I forget the exact verse number, right, but in the Bible, and yet, if you look in the King James Bible today, it says the wolf and that will lie with the lamb, no Lion and the Lamb.
Alex Ferrari 34:53
I remember the lion.
Rizwan Virk 34:56
And there are people who have like framed you know, references in that verse on physical object, right? And so now you're intersecting with scripture, and you're intersecting with physical objects. And there are people who claim their same King James Bible that they've had since they were a kid. Because at first I thought, well, that could just be a mistranslation or different addition. Right? And they're like, No, we have the same physical books that we had. And they're different now. So significance is high. Why? Because people memorize, you know, these verses, or prayers, you know, much more than they might remember the spelling of KitKat. Right. And so when you get to that level, and my favorite Mandela Effect is when it's not very well known. But it you know, that statue that thinker, you of course, you know, we're done. So, does he have his? Does he have his hand? under his chin? Or does he have it up on his forehead?
Alex Ferrari 35:47
It was always on his chin, but I was just in Italy, and I realized that he was it's up here if I'm not mistaken, or is it vice versa?
Rizwan Virk 35:56
Yeah. So mostly, if you go, you'll see it down until it's tightly clenched, you'll see it like this. Like,
Alex Ferrari 36:01
I always thought it was like this, like, like with the fist,
Rizwan Virk 36:04
But if you look like there's a statue here at Stanford, and I went looked at it, right, and it's actually like this. But there's a picture of George Bernard Shaw, dandy dancing in the pose of the thinker, which was taken the night before the first bronze statue of the thinker was unveiled in London. And he's going like this, on his on his forehead. So there's a picture of him saying in the pose of the thinker, and so you start to wonder what's going on. Now, getting back to my earlier point about little changes, if you run the simulation forward, turns out, a friend of mine for MIT was visiting here at Google. He's working for Google. And after I had written my simulation book, I was like, Okay, I'm done writing about simulations for now. And he goes, Well, have you heard of the Mandela Effect? Turns out, one of the best explanations for it is simulation theory. Because if you rerun the simulation, you might have different timelines, right. And they, if you change one small variable, it could change big things, or it could just change a lot of small things. And so it's very possible that people remember different histories. And this is really weird. But when you look at quantum physics, we talked about Schrodinger as Cat and the observer effect, well, there's something even more bewildering. It's called the delayed choice, observer effect or delayed choice experiment. And the idea is that not only you're choosing whether the cat is alive or dead, when you collapse the probability, you're also choosing the history of the cat, right, which is very strange. But what it means is that there's something called the cosmic delayed choice effect, where suppose there's light coming from a quasar that's a billion light years away from us. Right? So how long does it take for the light to get here? In years, right, light years. And suppose there's a gravitationally big object in the middle, like a black hole in the middle, let's say it's a million years light years away from us. And the light has to go to the left or to the right. And turns out we can detect which way it went here. Now, when would that choice have been made of whether the light goes to the left or the right in that scenario? A million years ago, right? But what quantum physics is telling us that choice is made today. So we are choosing from one of these possible, his theories, but it's not chosen until somebody observes and records the light, the polarization of the light that tells us whether it went to the left or the right. So even Schrodinger thought this was bizarre and he brought this up, because he said there are multiple simultaneous history's most people are okay with the idea that there are multiple possible futures, right? You know, you make one choice, you go this way, you move to Austin, you go that way. to LA, you go that way. But they're not used to thinking of multiple paths, multiple paths, I went to school in Boston, or I went to school in California. And that was the Mandela Effect, is interesting example of this, maybe perhaps people remembering one of these alternate simultaneous history.
Alex Ferrari 39:00
But that but that goes into the idea of there is no past, there's no future that all things are happening at this moment, which, which is a very, our programming and I mean, our hardware and our brains can't comprehend it just it doesn't, it doesn't compute. So we don't have the the hardware to to process that idea. But if that's the case, then things that are happening to us now affect past lives, quote, unquote, past lives, and they also affect future lives. And this is when the head starts to hurt a lot. Because if you if everything is happening at the same time, and I use the analogy of the record, the lifetime is the record, but we are the needle. And if we want to look back and have past life experience or past life, remember past lives, you move the needle over and maybe get a glimpse of the life in Rome or the life in Egypt or, you know the life in the Mediterranean or wherever it was, and you kind of go back now, I just have to ask you because this is I think he got with the first set If you're saying something in regards to the Mandela Effect, things that we're closer to, we have a stronger affection for maybe. And maybe we have a stronger memory of. So I'm a filmmaker. So there's two movies, two very famous lines in those movies. And I want to hear what you think of it. Empire Strikes Back. I'm sure you've seen it. Yep, of course. It's, it's Luke. I'm your father. Correct.
Rizwan Virk 40:24
That's what I remember. Right? But, but if you when you go back and look at it, right, it's not though. I am your father, right? That's what Darth Vader says.
Alex Ferrari 40:33
I mean, you literally see comedians, or you see that the spoofs of it? Lou, I have your thought like it's constantly. So that's such a strong memory, and then Field of Dreams. If you build it, they will come.
Rizwan Virk 40:49
It's not that line. I don't know. Do you know that when I don't know about that effect? I mean, I remember the line. Do you remember?
Alex Ferrari 40:55
Yeah. No, it's not they will come. If you build it, he will come. That's BS, right? Let's be honest,
Rizwan Virk 41:03
I did read about this when I was doing my research on the Mandela,
Alex Ferrari 41:06
Right! Because it's just like, No, they will come to James Earl Jones at the ends. Like if you build it, they will come they are all the people that come to the field. But yes, there is a version of that, that he will come which is the father of Kevin Costner sorry for the spoiler effect, guys. Spoiler, but, but it's so those two lines, since I'm a filmmaker, those are very strong memories. I remember seeing both of them. I remember seeing, I was in the theater, seeing a field of dreams. I was in the theater seeing Empire Strikes Back. And I've seen The Empire Strikes Back 1000 times because it's Empire Strikes Back.
Rizwan Virk 41:40
Yeah, absolutely. Me too, right.
Alex Ferrari 41:42
So it's, you know, go ahead
Rizwan Virk 41:45
You know, the vlogger, who coined the term mandela effect where she originally found, coined the term because it was because of Star Trek. It was she was at a conference in Atlanta, which is a Dragon Con, it's like Comic Con, but it's there. And there were there was a panel of Star Trek actors, the original series. And there were people in the audience. Now, nobody knows their Star Trek Star Trek fans. Our fans in the audience saying they remembered an episode that went like this. And the actors are like, we never recorded that episode, what are you talking about? And that was one of the origins of the effect. And of course, before the internet, it was hard to find people, other people who shared your memory, right. And so even in 1977, Philip K, Dick said, all you need to do is find a group of people who remembered an alternate path. So that's interesting that you remember both, but that's,
Alex Ferrari 42:37
It's like a booklet on both. So yeah, it's, you know, Fruit of the Loom not having a cornucopia. I mean, come on, you know, you start looking at logos and you start looking at it's, it's Berenstein Bears, it's not Berenstain Bears, that's ridiculous. You know, it's kind of things that that keep coming up. But this goes along with this idea of the simulation. And I've never really explored it the way you have in this conversation as well. Because you've really eloquently put out there this theory of using the video game as a model. And not only exploring it for experiences and all of that. But running the simulation again, and I hadn't heard that term before. Running it for the past, running it for the future. You know, I come from Florida, and we they ran hurricane simulations all the time, where's the hurricane gonna hit? And there's like, we have 45 models. 30 of them say it's going to hit Orlando, you know, but you know, five of them say Miami, but you so like, we're gonna take the 30. And that's kind of where we think it's going to go because that's the majority of the simulations where it's going. So it's, it's truly, truly fascinating how you've put this all together. Now. How do you think Eastern Eastern thought Yogananda and the Vedic texts, yogic texts and yogic philosophies. Where do they stand in simulation theory? And how do they either approve or disapprove of the theories that we're discussing right now?
Rizwan Virk 44:09
Well, so in my new book, wisdom of a yogi, you know, I have a whole chapter called, The world is like a dream, a movie, a video game. And you know, it's doing quite well it was actually so how I came to write this book is HarperCollins, India, reached out to me out of the blue, and said, it's the 75th anniversary of autobiography yogi and we'd like to write something that's more attuned to modern technology to younger people, as well as a set of lessons that people have learned from Yogananda his autobiography. And so that's what the book is. And so, you know, one of the lessons in the book is that sometimes the universe gives you a task, and whether you're ready to do it or not, you know, that task has been put in front of you, and you have to embrace it just like Yogananda was a young Swami and he was asked to come over and speak at the Congress of religions you know, in Boston in 1920, he wasn't the best choice. You know, he had never given a speech in English before, right? And yet, you know, he came over to represent, you know, India who, you know, the Hindu religion at that kind of yet it was his task, and he knew it the vision that he had had, and sometimes the universe gives us the task. And so that was, you know, this task was put in front of me rather unexpectedly, because here I am writing about simulation theory, and I write about business. And as an entrepreneur, and I was, Are you sure you want me to write it? I'm not even a Hindu, right, technically, I'm a Muslim. But I'm a huge fan of Yogananda. And so what had happened is I had been through some health issues. And I'd gone back and reread Autobiography of a Yogi which I do every few years. And I was sitting on a couch because I couldn't do much else for a number of months. And I wrote up some blog posts about, you know, what the book had meant to me and what other books there are like that that I could find. And that was part of the reason that reached out to me was because I had quoted Yogananda and the simulation hypothesis and, and I had laid the scenes with these blog posts. I was never intending to write a book, you know, specifically about him. But But I think it matches very well with the Eastern philosophies. You know, I've already talked about the idea of Maya, right, and the Leela? Well, it turns out, Leela means, you know, play a or game or play like a stage play, you can interpret it in any of those ways, right. And so if you've ever seen, if you've ever seen that game, chutes and ladders in the West, it's based on an old Indian game, which is Snakes and Ladders, and I came across a representation of it, saying that that game was called the Leela. And it was, you know, basically meant to simulate karma in life, you would roll the dice, and you would go up, and then you would hit, you know, a snake and you would have to go down. And if you reach the top level, it was like enlightenment, various levels of Nirvana and enlightenment, at the top. And so literally, you know, the Leela met the game of life. And so, this, this analogy of the game is one that I think and, and the video game is one that I think, fits very well within the Eastern traditions, particularly within Buddhism and Hinduism. Now, there are certain differences. And so like, within Hinduism, there's this idea of the soul and the Atman, going back and forth through reincarnation. And whereas in Buddhist Buddhism, some of the scholars would say, there is no real self, right? That what is the thing that reincarnates? Well, it's just a bag of karma. What does that mean? It's just information, right? That basically, you know, as the bag gets bigger, you have more karma. And then as you resolve it, it goes down. It's like a database that grows and then shrinks in size, and you melt back into the thing. And it's kind of like the NPC versus RPG versions of the simulation hypothesis in a way. And so there are a lot of little subtleties, but you know, you know, the Buddha talked about, you know, all phenomenon are like reflections in a very clear mirror, devoid of inherent reality. Right. And I think that's a good description of what pixels are inside a video game. And it turns out, it's not just the Eastern religions, this is what I find fascinating. Although I spend a lot of time on dreams and metaphors. You know, there's a whole Tibetan Dream Yoga, which was actually came through Naropa, who is an Indian St, where they learn to wake up inside the dream state, with lucid dreaming, and then they realize this is just a dream. And then they say, you have to take that awareness outside and do the same thing when you're in the physical world, but also, in the Koran. I was in the UK, and I just gave a talk at a conference Islamic conference about Islam in the simulation hypothesis. And there are verses in the Quran that say, we have set up this world for you as a game, as a sport, as a pastime, right for you to go and multiply with your children and riches and do all these things. That sounds a lot like, I don't know if you ever played the game of life when you're a little kid. Oh, yeah. You know, you had like, you've kind of moved around. And it reminds me of the legal representation and the way to represent what what this game might be. So I, you know, these are all metaphors that people use, and not the only way to talk about this stuff sometimes. But I think today's metaphors, if these religions were started today, and we would use a different set of metaphors, and it's something that the younger generation, I think finds more interesting because they've spent even more time in video games than we did in our generation. Our our video game used to be, you know, console single player, two guys playing next to each other. Today, they're used to being avatars. Like that's not even like a strange thing. There was a poll a few years ago that said, like, a group of Gen Z people prefer to spend as much money equipping their avatar in fortnight, or Roblox as within their physical like Nikes or whatever, buying physical thing. Sort of, I think it's a way into religion. That is also a way to bridge the gap. So you know, I spend a lot of time with scientists in academia and in technologists in Silicon Valley and with a lot of religious folks. I but it's a way to bridge the gap. Like one of the things that they were debating at this Islamic conference was installment when does installment occur? Of course, this is a big debate here in the US with abortion, when did the fetus get an actual sold and then have one. And there's like different answers for 30 days, 120 days, when they're born at the moment of conception, everybody has their own ideas. And I said, Well, I'd like to present you guys and they were like Ayatollah is in the audience, which is really odd for me. I like to present you a different definition of it's old man, it is when you put on the virtual reality helmet. And you forget, you know, what had happened? Outside, you know, what you were doing before, like, that is the process of installment. And so imagine take a position on the, you know, on the actual time, but it's a different way of thinking about what is it? You know, there's analogy like Rumi uses analogies of, you know, the body is like a layer of clothes, you just take it off, right. And that I think ties very much. So So I think simulation theory is something that most people in the religious world, especially the RPG version is something that, that they resonate with, as a way of talking about and it's something that you can discuss with serious scientists and people who are atheists have said, well, you know, if we're in a simulation that anyone outside the simulation would seem like supernatural beings to us. They could do you know, they can have superpowers, right. And in autobiography, Yogi, there's levitating things. They're saying that are by locating in multiple choices. There's, you know, palaces being built. There's Jinn who are like these entities that are pulling stuff out. And all of that becomes possible when you think of virtual reality, right? Because you can render things and Yogananda himself gives the description. Using light to perform these miracles. They basically take the what he called a life atoms and put them together into another body. That's how you can have two body
Alex Ferrari 51:54
So can you because this is fascinating, because I've always been, I mean, who hasn't been fascinated if you're, if you've ever read out about a yogi, or I've ever studied yogic yogic philosophy or the yogi's, the yogic powers, the famous yogic powers that are, quote, unquote, spiritual traps, and you shouldn't be focused on those. And they're just kind of after thoughts and all this kind of thing. But I always said that, the same thing like well, if we're in a simulation, then the yogi's have gotten a little bit understanding of how the code is written. And if they understand how the code is written, well, then they can break the rules, kind of like when you're playing Contra. And you do Up Up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, a start. And now you are impenetrable. And you can go through the entire game in five minutes. As opposed to if you remember, if you if I'm that old for everyone listening in the 80s and 90s. That's that game. It's a very famous cheat code, yogi's maybe evolved to a point where they understand how this reality functions and can break rules that we just can't break and would look to us, like supernatural, like walking on water, Jesus's miracles, fishing, you know, water into wine, fish out of loaves, all these, these miracles, and Buddha as well, and all these other Ascended Masters or masters who walk the earth, their stories, there's myths of these, quote unquote, powers. So what are your thoughts on that?
Rizwan Virk 53:23
Yeah, so you know, I spent a lot of time talking about the cities, which are like the super powers, in yoga tradition. And Yogananda gives us you know, these these stories, you know, there was the saints who could, who could basically produce any perfume on your hand, and you could smell it right. And he was not impressed because he's like you, you know, you're so spiritually advanced. And that's what you're doing. For a few. I always warn us, but but but I believe in autobiography, there's also an interesting karmic element to the superpower. So yes, one, I think video games gives us a way to be able to explain these things, right? It gives us a model and a framework. So for example, remote viewing, is one of these, you know, these powers where people can see what's happening? Well, in a video game, there's what's called a first person perspective. And you can shift to a second or third person perspective, right? You can see the person from above, and most people have near death experiences start off by saying, Okay, I was on my body, and I was looking down and I saw the whole experience. And Yogananda himself had little Samadhi experiences when he was young, where he could see everything that was going on around right him it was, as you know, an omni present 360 Well, you can move the virtual camera like kind of, if you remember the, they call it bullet time in the matrix. You can kind of that's done by moving the camera around, right? And so there's a virtual camera, and you can put that virtual camera at any place within the 3d world. So you know, normally you're stuck to seeing your own character, but there are video games and API's that let you then put the virtual camera somewhere. else then you can replay what happened at that point in time. So it becomes a way to explain, you know, many of these strange powers particularly with multiple avatars, right? I mean, you can actually have different avatars and you can look at them there's a story and at the beginning of Autobiography of a Yogi, the saint with two bodies that his father sent him to Banaras to go find this friend of his but he said, asked the SWAMI where he is he went and asked the SWAMI, the SWAMI just sits there and meditates for half an hour to an hour and Yogananda is, you know, annoying, because he's the 12 year old kids, and you haven't even told me where he is. And suddenly, the guy that he's looking for shows up, and he sees the SWAMI meditating, he's like, Wait, that Swami was just with me in the market? And he told me, you know, to come here to see you. And I followed him, and I saw him in the flesh, but you're gonna understand No, no, he's been sitting here the whole time, but he hasn't. And so it becomes, you know, a way to render another version, or you can have ghost mode and certain games where you can go, but your avatar isn't actually there, but you can see what's happening there. And you see lots of stories like this in the autobiography. So I think, you know, video games becomes a way to explain some of these powers, but also, I think, Yogananda also pulled in some very interesting elements of karma and explaining it with these miracles like one of the stories that I always remembered was Lahiri Maha Shai, who is Yogananda as gurus guru who met the seemingly immortal or deathless Baba Ji live, supposedly in the Himalayas for not just hundreds, perhaps even up to 1000 years or more, where he materialized an entire palace for him as the site of his initiation, and he would, this is an interesting lesson about karma. Because one, he says, this is like a dream world. So he was able to just fashion an entire palette. This sounds like a story out of the Arabian Night. In Aladdin, if you read the original story, the genie the genie or the gin, the genie is able to basically manifest an entire palace out of nothing for for Aladdin, and in this case, Baba Ji did it for him. And he said in a previous life, you expressed the desire to live in a rich palace. And that basically, what he was saying was that desire itself becomes the karma, right, that got recorded in the database. And he was by creating this, this dream palace for you, which looks like a real palace, we're going to resolve the karma and show you how the whole physical world is a dream world. And so many of these stories actually have hidden karmic lessons or lessons about how karma works in the same way that if you're watching, you know, Mission Impossible, or you're watching Star Wars, you might have a dream with the character that night. It's again made a karmic trace on you, you can let the small traces go by creating it in dreams, but the big traces, or the quests or achievements or tasks that you have to do in the physical world.
Alex Ferrari 57:48
So let me ask you this, then, since you brought up the matrix, one of my favorite movies, and I think probably the catalyst for popularizing the idea of simulation theory and the masses, you know, because everybody saw the matrix, everyone heard about the matrix, you know, it's like, it really wasn't one of those movies that that changed society. If we are Neo, in the matrix, is there a chance for us to break free of the matrix? And if there is, how do we break free of the simulation?
Rizwan Virk 58:23
Well, that's another one of those very big questions. Is, is how do we wake up? Right? How do we free and you know, in the Greek traditions, that when you incarnate you crossed, let's say, the river of forgetfulness, right, so that you forget what happened beforehand, and the Chinese traditions? There's Meng Pope, which is the goddess of forgetfulness, who brews the Treaty of forgetfulness that you drink. And so you know, there are different answers and different ways of going about it. Right. Some people think you can hack the simulation on a physical level, to try to figure out like, how do you overload the system? So there's a there's a sci fi movie called The Mandela Effect, which came out in 2019, where it turns out, the world is a quantum computer. And by using another quantum computer, you can actually overload the system. And you can go back, but I think that's what a lot of what the yogi's and the sages have been telling us. It's a Yogananda is telling us to look away from the screen and look to the light, right, because he keeps telling us to focus on the light, that everything is made out of light and the way he describes the Samadhi experience, which was given to him when he was still a young Swami by his, his guru Shri, you have to swallow taps him on the heart, and suddenly, he feels this divine love, but then he looks out and he's able to see all around Calcutta like that area of Calcutta. He could see like 1000s of people, but then he saw that everything is consistent of light, right, different vibrations of light. And so it gets back to that analogy. And so I think, you know, some people use DMT right? They use to get in different states and I've had people tell me, Oh yeah, well, I've used DMT. And I can see the lines of the simulation. And therefore, I think the first person who told me that was Sean stone or I don't know if you know him Oliver Stone son. He was one of the first people to say that to me, and many people have said that to me, and I, you know, I haven't gone down that route myself. But I do believe that we can calm our minds. If you look back at the original definition of yoga. Yoga, the term means like to yoke or union but if you look at the yoga sutra, which is written by Patanjali, and Yogananda quotes him and pretty much all the modern, you know, folks with all the modern Yogi's, we quote him, and he defines yoga differently, right? Not as the asanas, the physical postures, those are just one of the eight limbs of yoga, but his actual definition of yoga is, in Sanskrit yoga. Chitta Vritti Nirodha. And what that means is yoga is naroda means to stop or to cease. Chit diversities, vert, these are like little whirlpools. And Chippa is like mind stuff, some people translated as thoughts. But in this book, I offer a slightly different translation using some of Yogananda and Swami kriya. Nine does work in that area, but really translated as yoga is the stopping of the whirlpools of thoughts and feelings in the river of consciousness. Right. And so it's about all these crazy thoughts that we have, that if we yoga is when you still don't, so if you ever had a good yoga session, or physical yoga session, at the end, you might do the corpse pose, shavasana, or I like the translation, peaceful pose better. Right. But it feels like something isn't instilled, right, it feels like something had been caught, physically as well as mental, right, the two are related. And so the key is, like, if we're in a snowglobe, you know, snowglobes, if you shake the snowglobe, you can't see anything. That's us. The Yogananda calls it you know, the storm of 50s, right? That storm of these whirlpools of thoughts and desire and past with these are hardened into some scars, and they become part of our karma. And they become part of what are called will Simas, or our tendencies in the next life. And so, you know, what the Buddha said was, that which is subject to arising is subject to cessation. And, okay seems like a kind of an obvious statement, but, but it's actually perhaps one of the most important things you said, because it ties directly to the definition of yoga. If you stop doing this, that will stop too, right. So if you stop the breath is, then you can perceive what's outside the simulation. So I think it's a matter of consciousness and paying less attention to the physical world. And that's what the eight limbs of yoga are all about, right? There's all these different concentration, withdrawal of the senses, meditation, all of these things. Leave us.
Alex Ferrari 1:03:00
So with you said, you said DMT, and that's a really interesting idea. Were like ayahuasca and psilocybin and some of the psychedelics that people are using micro dosing now, as well. It's almost like a cheat, to break through. And I heard I think it was my Maharishi, who said about that? Because they gave him like, a whole bunch of mushrooms, and he ate them. And he's like, did nothing to him? And he's like, Well, of course, it would do anything. I'm here all the time. Why would I need this stuff to get to where I'm going? I'm already here. So he said, by taking them it's like, taking taking a psychedelic, it's like using a sledgehammer to break to make a to make a hole on the wall, where meditation is like placing a window in the wall. So it's always there. And it's not very violent, where the psychedelics are pretty rough. For my understanding, I've never taken any, but it's a rough trip. And it could be rough. It could be, you know, I've heard so many psychedelic stores. So just really quickly, what do you think? Why taking these psychedelics or whatever plant medicine, whatever it is mushrooms, Ayahuasca, kind of hacks, the reality hacks the simulation hacks the code, if you will.
Rizwan Virk 1:04:23
But I think what it does is it loosens it, okay. Remember, I defined installment as when you put on that headset? Or if you think of the matrix, you know, there's a plug in the brain computer interface. It loosens that connection. Right? And that's what it does. Now. It loosens it very quickly for a period of time. Right and that's where I think you're that's a great that's a great analogy there about the the sledgehammer No. But I think what they do is they loosen our identification with the body and our We're getting constantly getting information right from our sense. Right? And but this is why the yogi's emphasize this the world of the senses. Samsara what is it? It's the world of the senses. You know, Yogananda himself said, you know, let it be from science, then let man learn that the warp and woof, that there is no material world, right that the warp and woof material world is Maya, or illusion. And so it's a matter of withdrawing from all this sensory information. And I think it puts us in that state where it loosens that connection a little bit. So we can kind of look around, but not fully, right. So that's why people have bad trips. You know, the same thing that creates dreams can create hallucinations, but can also let you This is why dreams are such a fascinating subject. You know, Yogananda said, birth and death are like, you know, doorways to the dream, right are awakening from one dream to the next dream, right? There's this element of the dream and the physical world, but there are also dreams that are weird dreams that are just like regurgitating stuff that we had during the day. And then there are more spiritual dreams. And so you know, I think with psychedelics, we can loosen our grip on this physical reality. But we can also see a lot of weird stuff. And then some people claim to, you know, and I get people all the time emailing me saying, you know, they've seen this, and they've seen that, and they've seen the grid lines and the simulation and all of this other stuff. And I find it fascinating. I haven't tried it myself yet. But
Alex Ferrari 1:06:28
Me neither, sir, maybe one day we both go and trip together, sir.
Rizwan Virk 1:06:34
Sounds like a plan. Yeah.
Alex Ferrari 1:06:38
I could talk to you for another five hours, brother, I, this is please, I have to have you back. Because this is an endless conversation of so many different things we could talk about. And further the audience's understanding of the simulation that we possibly in, and how it connects to spirituality, which is really the focus of what I try to do is connect quantum physics connect these ideas to spirituality, the evolution of the soul. So I appreciate you, I'm going to ask you a few questions, I ask all my guests, what is your definition of living a fulfilled life?
Rizwan Virk 1:07:12
I think a fulfilled life is when you are at the right place at the right time doing the work that you were meant to do. That's different for different people. And it's even different at different times in your mind. You know, I tell the story and wisdom of a yogi, you know, the tiger Swami. And, you know, the tiger Swami used to fight tigers, right? Seemed like a bizarre thing to do with his bare hands. But eventually, you know, he was told to stop fighting tigers and the focus on his spiritual development. And he didn't, he ended up being mauled by a tiger. And he was out fighting his outer tigers. And then it took him six months to recover. And he had no more desire to buy tires. And he became a swami and became the tiger Swami. And so, you know, the lesson there is to spend time fighting your inner tigers, but I believe fighting Tigers was part of his karma. And so it was part of what he was made was drawn to it like a moth to a flame, right? It's something that I wouldn't be drawn to maybe you would
Alex Ferrari 1:08:09
No, no, not not in the wrestled in the Tiger World.
Rizwan Virk 1:08:14
Exactly. But, you know, it seems like a crazy thing to do. But, you know, we get drawn to the outer tigers in our lives. And I think that that that may be the right thing to do at that point in time. And then later, we realize, you know, there's something else we're meant to do. And for me, it meant shifting from the business world, to my writing, which is what I'm focused on.
Alex Ferrari 1:08:33
Now, if you had a chance to go into to a DeLorean and go back in time, and speak to little Riz, what advice would you give him?
Rizwan Virk 1:08:39
Well, that's a good question. You know, I would just encourage him to go with his interests, right, which which I, you know, I'd say for the most part I did, but oftentimes we get caught up in, in the expectations of our families and our peers in college. And even you know, I've lived in Silicon Valley for about a decade. And, you know, there's a lot of like, this kind of mind, think about what you should be doing and how you should be doing it. And so, you know, I'd encourage him always to just follow his own interest and explore those without worrying about what other people think,
Alex Ferrari 1:09:17
How do you define God or Source?
Rizwan Virk 1:09:19
Well, you know, God is ineffable, which is a term that many people use who had near death experiences. So I don't think you can define them directly. So you have to use metaphors, right? And the Sufis use the metaphor of the lover and the beloved, and the ecstasy. You know, so I just define God as everything that there is a part of God,
Alex Ferrari 1:09:44
And what is the ultimate purpose of life?
Rizwan Virk 1:09:46
I think the ultimate purpose of life is to enjoy the game.
Alex Ferrari 1:09:51
Very, very good answer, sir. Now, where can people find out more about you and the amazing work you're doing and pick up a copy of your new book Wisdom of a Yogi?
Rizwan Virk 1:09:59
So my website is called zenentrepreneur.com. And they can get download free chapters of my various simulation books or business books or the Yoga Book. They can also get, you know, wisdom of yoga on Amazon, you know, most local bookstores, if they don't have it, they can order it as well. I encourage people to go to their local bookstores when possible. And even if it takes a day or two they can get you know, they can get the book there. And on Twitter, or I guess it's no longer called Twitter. They can.
Alex Ferrari 1:10:28
What are they calling it now?
Rizwan Virk 1:10:30
Alex Ferrari 1:10:31
I know it's x. But it's it's not it's not called Twitter anymore. It's called like
Rizwan Virk 1:10:35
Sort of is but because you tweet still rule your suit now they changed it to say post repost rather than retweet. Right? So. But I'm, I'm @RizStanford like the university. And then, you know, depending on when this airs, I'm running a course on simulation theory called science, religion and techno philosophy on I taught this course at ASU and people kept asking me that weren't at Arizona State University. So I'm teaching it online at a website called morbid anatomy.com. So they can also go to my Twitter, my X.
Alex Ferrari 1:11:15
Oh, Elon, imagine the world with Elon without Elon? Would that simulation would be like at that point. And my friend, do you have any parting messages for the audience?
Rizwan Virk 1:11:27
Well, you know, I was in the video game industry for about a decade and I met one of the legends in the videogame industry. He was a guy named Nolan Bushnell. He's the founder of Atari. And he would always say, in order to make a game interesting, you have to make it easy to play, but difficult to master. And that's, you know, I think a good rule of thumb for thinking about life. It's easy to play, but it's difficult to master but it's okay. You know, you can keep working on your quests, and your achievements, and you'll get there eventually.
Alex Ferrari 1:12:01
My friend, I appreciate you and the work you're doing in the world. And thank you so much for this stimulating conversation, my friends that thank you again.
Rizwan Virk 1:12:09
Thanks so much for having me.
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