The universe has demands on our existence. These are known as The Protocols. While many may seem to come from René Descartes, Descartes made many logical fallacies. And unlike Descartes who was trying to prove the difference between reality and skepticism of perception of reality, the Protocols are not an attempt to prove reality, but to establish limits which cannot be violated regardless of our perception.
It is from these limits that we find all rational thought, outside of new scientific theory or philosophic reasoning. Regardless of thought or theory, these protocols remain unchanged.
Protocol One - The Universe Must Exist
The universe must exist, even if it is a simulation. Whether our perception of the universe is the true reality or part of reality, whether the universe is really just a computer simulation that we exist in, or whether the universe is a figment of our own imagination and all that exists is our own minds, it is still the universe and does exist. We cannot say for certain whether reality and our perception of reality is true, but we can say that we perceive a reality that we call the universe.
Protocol Two - I Must Exist
I must exist, even if you do not exist. Either my perception of reality is true and we all exist independently, or my perception is wrong and everyone else is an agent of the system of the universe or a figment of my imagination. In either case, I exist. If the universe is really just a reality that exists in my own mind, then both the universe and I exist still simultaneously.
Protocol Three - Perception Must Exist
Perception must exist, even if it changes. Even if I am completely cut off from all senses, I perceive my own thoughts and memories. Even if all perception, thoughts, and memories are simulated internally or externally, perception of them exists. The question of what is real or not has no consequence to the existence of perception, which exists to perceive either reality or unreality.
Protocol Four - The Governing Laws Must Exist
The governing laws of the universe and of my mind and of my perception must exist, even if they can be changed. If the universe is independent of me, it is governed by rules. If the universe is a computer simulation independent of me, it is governed by rules. If the universe exists only within my own imagination, it is governed by rules.
And even if the rules may be changed on an external universe, or on a computer simulation, or by my own imagination, the rules continue to exist even in a changed form. I may not know all of the rules, yet they still apply. I may learn some of the rules, yet all of them still apply. I may not know the exact rules or how they work, either because of my failure of perception, by limit of the universe, or because the rules change. As such, I can treat a perceived change of the rules and change in my perception of the rules as being the same limitation of my perception, and thus only logically conclude that my perception of the source of the change is imperfect or that my perception of the unchanging is imperfect. This draws the only logical conclusion that my perception is imperfect, yet continues to be shaped by rules, either changing or unchanging.
Protocol Five - The Void Cannot Exist
If any of these protocols were to conceivably fail, all of the protocols would fail. This is not possible, and negates all logic. This theoretical area we will call the Void. The Void cannot exist so long as any protocol exists, because if any protocol exists, all protocols exist. The essence of a theoretical Void would be non-existence itself, and negating all things. To travel to the Void would negate the existence of a universe, a mind, a perception, and all laws, even outside of the Void.
If it did not negate all things, both inside and out, it could not properly be a Void.
The mere existence of a Void where a universe outside of it wouldn’t exist would negate the existence of any universe. Only a theory of a Void can exist, and only things imagined outside the void can be theorized to exist in the Void. But the Void would negate the existence of the things even imagined and even the imagined existence of the Void itself would be negated.
The Void is nonexistence. And if a mind conceived of a universe from within the Void, this would disprove the Void. For the Void must negate all things, even conceptual and reality in any form, including itself. The Void cannot exist without negating itself. The Void therefore does not exist. The Void negates itself.
Protocol Six - All Protocols Must Exist
All protocols must exist, even if not all of them are known. All protocols are totally dependent on each to exist, but we cannot say for certain that we know all of them. But all protocols must exist, both known and unknown. If any are broken, all are broken, both to known and unknown protocols. If any are unbroken, all are unbroken, both to known and unknown protocols.
When examining these protocols, we find that four things exist for us, for certain, which we can not eliminate or escape. I’m assuming a “we” here, though for all intents and purposes, this could all be a figment of my imagination and I exist alone as a disembodied mind imagining all of this. Yet, even in this case, the Protocols hold true.
We cannot escape the existence of the universe, regardless of what it is. We cannot escape to any place where it does not exist. Even if we travel outside of it, it exists.
We cannot escape our own existence, regardless of life or death. We cannot enter into any place where we don't exist, because we cannot travel without ourselves. If there is an afterlife where we continue existence after death, we cannot travel there without existing. If there is no afterlife, we cannot travel to a Void where we never existed. The absence of a Void does not mean we validate life after death. It simply underscores time.
When I die, do I perceive or not? It matters not. If I perceive, then there is an afterlife, and laws of the universe that I did not perceive properly before death. If I do not perceive, I do not cease to exist, but from my perception, I have run the full course of existence. From my perception, the universe, my mind, my perception, and the laws have simply run their course. I do not enter a Void, because there is no “I” to enter. Void negates itself, and would negate “I” and would negate that I ever existed.
There is no protocol of unending time. Even if time ends, as we assume it will end for us all upon our death, we perceive we exist now. This perception is not undone, but simply finishes. The thought of not existing is a common one that hurts the minds of most who dwell on it.
Imagine what it must be like to cease existing, to have never existed. Where is your mind, then? What are you thinking? What do you think when you are incapable of existing to think?
This hurts our mind because in doing this exercise of nonexistence, we must construct a Void and try to enter it. But our logic completely breaks down. Our mind is essentially trying to divide itself by zero and coming up with an error.
This is why we have a hard time trying to imagine death without an afterlife. We posit that existence only exists so long as we perceive it. We posit that if we cease perceiving the universe, that it means the universe ceases to exist along with our perception of it. We posit that all of the protocols break down, and that the Void exists for us then, thus negating all of existence without this afterlife.
But time had a beginning and an end. The laws must exist. We are forward time sequential experience creatures, or at least that is how we perceive it. Reality, ourselves, our perception of it, and the laws that govern it continue to exist during a point in space time. When we run past the timeline of our own lives, it continues to exist in the past, which is not erased.
We can imagine this two different ways. In forward only time, we could think of our lives as movie characters playing on a movie. When the movie ends, the movie doesn’t cease to exist, even if it ceases to act. We replay the movie, nothing changes, but it still exists. The movie played on a physical media such as a tape or digital disk may be stopped, put away in a desk, but continues to exist. But for the characters, their universe is within the confines of the length of the movie.
What if we could change the movie? What if we could go back in time and rewrite history? Or what if there are things that travel backwards in time instead of forward, and could change history?
Let’s imagine it then, and play it out logically to see reality. If something travels back in time and kills me, and no alternate timelines for me exist, then do I enter into the Void?
No. If there was a Void, it would negate all existence. But let’s examine the question closely, word for word. Do I enter into the Void?
No, because I don’t exist. If a time traveller goes back and kills me before I can be born, then if you imagine me existing, I am just a figment of your imagination that doesn’t exist. Does that negate the Protocols? No, because you exist. To negate the protocols, we must imagine something that is unwritten, which is the product of your mind, thus proving that you exist. And your imagination would be proven untrue, not the Protocols.
To say otherwise is to say that all the things we imagine could have existed and were unexisted negate our own existence. Do you still think? Then obviously it hasn’t negated them, thus they, your imagined characters erased from existence are merely imagined, and never existed.
But what of the backwards travelling time traveller murderer? Wouldn’t my erased life still exist in his past if he first observed my life and then killed me, thus making me both exist to him and nonexist to us?
No, because what we are really negating is the existence of the time traveller. For if you don’t negate the time traveller murderer, you negate even your own existence and must accept the illogical existence of the Void and the Not Void.
So what conclusions do we come to in death? We can think of the life and death of other people as a movie. We can think of our own life and death as the beginning and end of time, from our perspective.
For me, time didn’t exist for my perception until my first memories were produced.
Maybe I only exist in my own mind, and the universe is my imagination that I perceive with certain laws. If this is true, the law of existence may conclude that the universe will run a course of 80 or 90 years. If I exist in a computer simulation or a movie, maybe the universe runs a course of 80 or 90 minutes. If the universe exists outside of myself, then it runs a course of for countless billions of years until its heat death, and just stays immobile, and existing. And along its time stream, I continue to exist. And a time traveller might be able to go back and observe this time span, unable to affect the past like a movie watcher. Or, they may not. But whether or not they can view my existence doesn’t negate my existence in this part of the time stream. It simply shows the limits of their perception according to laws imperfectly perceived.
Death, then, is simply a result of imperfect perception. I will likely fail to perceive the universe in the future beyond my physical death, or the laws prevent this. Both result in the same outcome.
The Protocols do not say that my perception will exist in all points in time, but that it exists. This does not specify a when and where that it must exist, but simply that it does.
If a man is born, lives, and dies inside of a house, never leaving, we do not say that he doesn’t exist, but that he existed within the confines of a certain portion of space in the universe. Such is also the same with time, insofar as we imperfectly perceive the laws governing time.
Existence is not dependent on an afterlife, therefore. Making this faulty assumption means that I would need a pre-life to exist in the past as well. I must then make the faulty assumption that I exist without perception. And without perception, I negate the existence of all things. Even taking into account imperfection of perception, I still must perceive in order to exist in a certain time. If I do not perceive a thousand years ago, I do not exist in a time a thousand years ago.
I perceive ten years ago, though, so I know I exist there at that point in time. I perceive now, so I know that I exist at this point in time. I might perceive the time when you read this, so I will exist at that point in time. But if you read this a thousand years from now, short of transferring my mind to a nonbiological body, I will be dead, and cannot perceive. So I will not exist in that point in time. I will exist only in the timeline where I have perception.
What if perception is interrupted? What about amnesia?
We all have a form of baby amnesia. We do not remember our birth. Do we exist then? Remember, this all takes place in the form of “I”, truly, not “we”. I don’t remember my birth. So “I”, the person writing this, did not exist then. I’ll assume something existed that evolved into something that became me, but I am a completely different person. In fact, I am a different person from the person that existed as the 20 year old version of me. I have their memories, but I have memories that they do not have.
By this logic, then, the 20 year old me only existed at that moment in time. In fact, I am a different person than the one that woke up yesterday. In fact, I am a different person than the one who started writing this essay. For that person did not perceive writing this sentence, and yet, I am perceiving it right now.
And every moment, I am becoming a different person. So for me, logically, all I can truly say is that I perceive now, in this very moment. I exist. And after I am gone, as I am now just gone to a new moment, that “I” still exists, but only in the past. At this moment, a new “I” exists.
And by this, we see that the mind is continually renewing itself with changed perception becoming refreshed into a different mindset from a different perspective, like a person moving through rooms of a house changes perception.
And always, the Protocols remain a constant. The universe must exist, right now. I must exist, right now. My perception must exist, right now. The laws governing these things must exist, right now. The Void must not exist, right now.
Could the Void have existed in the past? No, otherwise it would have negated the existence of time, and thus, there would be no time which is now observable.
Could the Void have existed before time? No, because the Void itself would still negate itself.
What is a Void that negates itself, another Void? Would reality, or unreality, be a giant error message? In a way, yes, if by an error message you mean that it is not possible. If that is true, then the Void can exist in a though experiment.
The Void exists and is negating itself constantly, thus not existing, producing a constant error message saying “Cannot Exist!” But this reinforces Protocol Five - The Void Cannot Exist.
Maybe, as a thought experiment, the Void is wavering (or more exactly, sitting on non-existence unable to start existing, held back by an error producing an uncrossable boundary of pure logic), and would exist at any moment that it stops voiding itself, but is both before and after time producing the error message, “The Void Cannot Exist”. Or it is not existing, and cannot even be conceived of as producing an error message because Protocol Five is not a protocol because of a constant error, but because of a constant truth. The Void is not sitting, unexisting, waiting to exist under this thinking. The Void is unexisting, and unexisting is unexisting itself, because Protocol Five won’t allow unexistence to exist.
All we end up in these two crisscrossing lines of thinking is a circular argument of logic, because we will never resolve about a thing that does not, and cannot, exist.
Regardless of any roads of logic, thought, experiment, or philosophy, the Protocols hold true forever and for all circumstances.
For, at its basis, while we can test it on hypothetical and theoretical experiments, the true test is only when we use them from our own first person perspective. Merely by introducing imaginative characters when by their nature do not exist, we are experimenting existence on things which by their nature already fail to meet the standard of testing existence.
All logical thought can do is to affirm protocols, define them more precisely due to compensating for imperfect perception, or uncover yet undiscovered protocols. But always, Protocol Six defines that it is by the Protocols that all other Protocols are to be known. The Protocols cannot be broken nor conflict.
Some can disagree with how they are categorized. Some may wish to argue that they are all contained within a single Protocol.
In essence, that is what Protocol Six already says. The six Protocols that I have outlined here set out points of discussion in what is truly a unified Protocol. The overriding unified Protocol is the unbreakable constitution of reality, and what I have laid out here are merely the list of Amendments, though this word is used for the sake of analogy. This constitution is not amendable, only discoverable. We decode parts of the document, but we do not change the document.
So, do the Protocols exist separate from us, or because of us, or are they us? It would not be wrong to say that the protocols are us. All of reality embodies them, perfectly and completely. Even if we reduce reality to that of my disembodied floating mind imagining all of this, or if that is the exercise you are testing right now, then the Protocols are “I”, and the universe, and the perception, and the laws. All that must be, must support the Protocols. And the Protocols must that all that must be is.
They are inseparable, which is what makes them the Protocols.
In my next paper, I will be applying the Protocols, Axioms, and the Obligations together for a unified theory of philosophy.