The Matrix

I very rarely watch movies or series; only about a handful of times during the past decade. As an ex- movie geek I lost this modern-day habit a decade ago, and it never came back.

Last month I finally watched the movie Matrix! I was surprised by the similarity of some of its scenes to my recurring dreams about simulated reality that I had prior to watching the movie, or any other similar motion picture for that matter.

My time of having dreams about simulations, precede watching Matrix and Avatar, as well as the newer series Black Mirror. During those couple of months, I was steering my lucid dreams to fantasize about the possibility of us all being inside some form of simulation. Every other night there was a new story cast behind my eyelids. I wrote down and posted some of them.

I got super excited about these visuals, and I communicated them passionately to the world. Little did I know that people had already masterfully depicted such fantasies in blockbuster movies. The dream imagery, that I appreciated and presented as novel, might have felt like old news to you.

Was everyone out there aware of this movie genre of simulated reality, except for me, the one person most expressly obsessed about it?

* * *

Anyhow, the similarity between my fantasies and some of those movies’ visual effects is strange. Why would such images be triggered in someone who hasn’t seen them before?

Consider particularly these three landscapes:

1. The consciousness warehouse (The dark room): There was this claustrophobic scene in some of those movies/episodes where all those “consciousness units” despite their differences were stacked up very efficiently as similar items in a “dark room”. This was behind the scene of existence, the kernel of reality and any other colorful happy realization of that was just an illusion experienced by those identical larvas that in reality live in a claustrophobic tight space like a lab, warehouse or a graveyard.

I hadn’t seen a scenery quite like this before, but the dark room occurred to me in several different forms; I experienced humans once as separate folders in the physical drive of a simulation server, another time as lots of tiny hardware modules burried under the surface of another planet after we had destroyed ours. Once again as information-like replicas in a “grid” of a library, and also as dormant larvas aligned next to each other like a graveyards. Think of those teleportation helmets in the Matrix or the transfer booths in Avatar. All these nightmares occured as disturbing and depressive recognition of the nature of true reality until I woke up and double-checked my body, making sure that I am made of real “meat” in the physical space.

2. Augmented objects with aliasing artifact: There was also this other visual effect in the augmented scences in Black Mirror where a simulated object was overlaid on the base reality, but with a slightly different resolution/texture. That also occured to me quite a few times in dreams (and reality!). Like this fantasy that people around me could be actually not in the scene but instead augmented objects overlaid on it; however so seamlessly that I had never noticed any aliasing artifacts in the border of their silhouette until a “glitch in the matrix” accidentally revealed them to me.

3. Object impermanence: The world goes as much as the observer goes. This crazy experimental possibility has a huge potentials to release wild imagination and was handed to me a couple of times in my dreams. Think of each object that you see and then there’s something behind it and let it surprise you in a stream of events that diverge faster than any other technique in dreaming!

On the extreme opposite of the object impermanence lies the object permanence in the mind, that is also a crazy realization. In a couple of breath-taking realizations I had the idea that the barriers around us are not opaque objects that stop the light from things “behind” them to reach us as observers. We are aware of the whole universe around us, but walls, surfaces and physical barriers overwrite our local observations and temporarily delete those further objects from our memory. As if we have full sight to the end of the universe and a sanctioning effect is additionally in place to give us an illusion of separation. That, could be hacked in my dreams, giving the observer ability to remove visual barriers wall after wall.

* * *

The fact that I intuited these landcapes before watching them gives them a universality beyond my dream journals and beyond their Hollywood representation.

Chances are that these images are triggered independently but by a common cause.

1. The dark room scenery can be sparked by the ordinary experience of some day-to-day man-made phenomena. An ordinary dictionary in a sense is a dark room for words, if each of them has an ocean of meaning. The same goes for books stored in a large library or our lost humans burried under a real-wrold graveyard.

2. Any experience with VR and AR can trigger this; The visual artifacts of the augmented objects, the aliasing effect on their borders or the pixelation on their surface.

3. The sceneries with hacked object impermanence may also be triggered by any experience in programming for CAD graphics. Having a history of placing objects in different layers of front or behind each other with respect to an observer, etc. Those real-life experiences could also be some hidden signals that had come back haunting me in dreams, though this time putting myself on the stage of the simulation.

Apart from these real-life experiences that can inspire our dreams to a Matrix level fantasy, what else can be in the play? That is my main question here.

Is there a deeper universality to those experiences that we tap in to subconciously every now and then as dreams, hallucinations or the work of art? Are there some visual archetypes in the collective mind of the mankind that extract those landscapes out of a common intuitive treasure? Like some neurological explanation that lies behind some common experiences such as out of the body or near-death experience. Say some brain circuitry creates similar funny illusions and trigger same visual effects in independent cases.

An alternative to all these explanations is pure coincidence, unless…

Unless we live in the matrix and we can tap in to its kernel every now and then!

* * *

Interesting similarities anyway! Please next time my dreams resembled a movie, do me a favor and mention the title in the comments!

All have a good day in the simulation.

Value-Fact Distinction?

There is this thing called “value-fact distinction”; it points out to the difference between “what is” and “what ought to be” (in Persian: «باید و نباید» vs. «هست و نیست»).

* * *

1. As a child I was not aware of this distinction. I think it is quite natural (a default setting) to experience the reality based on emotions and values and judge the world based on how it benefits us, as opposed to objective investigation out of mere curiousity.

That is, morality is – wrongfully and as a default mindset – assumed to be as objective as rationality.

* * *

2. As I grew up I started to spot relativity in our ethics and morals. I was convinced that factual statements are objective and can be evaulated as true or false, but ethical statements are subjective and right vs wrong is a matter of taste or perspective.

True/False and Right/Wrong duality may “feel” alike, and we apply both to our decision-makings in life. But we should not mix them while investigating the world: If we set out to inspect the objective reality, we should stick to the facts staying away from the subjectivity of ethics. Mistaking right or wrong for true or false is a trap.

Or facts are objective; values are not.

* * *

3. The weird thing is that the distinction between facts and values is fading again for me. They are coming together like when I was a child, but this time in a different way.

I ask what if facts and values are both a matter of perspective, in a fundamental way. That both rationality and morality are subjective?

Kids may know some things better, prior to their culturally biased upbringing.

Sporadic on the simulated reality


Simulated reality

Elon Musk amongst others brings some meta-statistical argument to show that we are more likely to be in a simulation than not; that we are most definitely not flesh, but words made flesh.

I don’t know how we can take someone’s word seriously, whose self is just an avatar in a simulation. That someone want to colonize Mars merely does not give more validity to their words, especially when they’re themselves made of words!

So what he is popularizing is given credit to the philosophers Nick Bostrom (2003) and Hans Moravec (1998) earlier. And I have found modern instances as old as Alan Watts (1972) expressing the same argument (here as the first fantasy out of three).

Transcending yourself, your simulators and theirs!

Whoever said it first, what matters is who did it first!

Saying that our bodies are not hardware and is instead of the sort of information/software is probably an unfalsifiable claim. It is like placing an object next to its meta level of existence and yet comparing them as two similar things. It is paradoxical like Russel’s antinomy that deals with a type of whether a set can be a member of itself or not. And in my opinion is as valid as saint Anselm of Canterbury’s ontological argument to prove God, brought a thousand years ago.

But well, if we are in a simulation and we can one day prove it, then we have understood things about those who programmed us. So why not continuing to extrapolate the transcendental cascade to know things about those who programmed them? And may be even hinting our simulators that they may be in a simulation too, and in what kind of simulation even.

Maybe that’s why they simulated us…

How to find out? With a simulation may be. Like program something that could tell us what’s going on beyond us and here’s the catch: beyond our creators and also their simulator!

A cascade of interventionist Gods

Now a deeper philosophical question is not whether we are in a simulation. As it can be interpreted differently based upon the definition of the God/simulator and is an unfalsifiable claim, a matter of faith. The more interesting question is, assuming that we are in a form of a simulation, is our creator an interventionist e onor not! i.e. Whether we are in a supervised simulation that changes sometimes based on how we act (are there miracles?), or alternatively we are just given a bunch of rigid rules and then left alone to compute.

Which itself boils down to whether our simulators are supervised by their intervening God or not.

If our creators are interventionist, how about their Gods? An interventionist God may be beyond us and so appear to us as having free will but for those who made that creature, itself could only be a type of abandoned code left to go down its own path. That cascade logically never ends.

Simulation depth

Opening this discussion, there can be follow-up questions:

What kind of simulation are we in? What are its boundaries and limits compared to our regular manmade type of simulations? Are we in a familiar type of simulation; say a huge multithreaded discrete finite algorithm? Or could it be fundamentally more complex than our currently familiar notion of algorithmic computation, a simulating program?

If we are role playing in a discrete and finite type of computation, then a full history of space-time can be given in a humangous binary file or technically a large integer on the tape of a Turing machine. And then we are some chunks of information on it; enumerable combination of finite symbols rendered locally or globally frame by frame, discretely in time (basic notions known in complexity of computation).

And in that scenario, will that universal machine even differs if a tree falls in a forest but no one is around to hear it? Will there be a sound calculated when there’s no ear? Or is it more likely (and efficient) for that simulation to go only as far as the observer goes?

Science is a Random Walk

Rain on asfalt.

“Science is a random walk of accumulated literature.”

What do I mean by this compact claim is that the scientific code and its instrumentation evolve organically within an ecosystem of ideas and objects.

By scientific code I mean its language, terminologies and formulations, as well as their results and interpretations. And by its instrumentation I refer to the science-making technologies; tools and instruments.

The scientific code in its evolving journey is profoundly sensitive to its initial states as well as randomness along the way. Random elements of all kinds such as mistakes and accidents, cultural bias, geographic self-reinforcement among the scientists, charisma, manipulation by power and even the order of discoveries. All of these factors have potential to deviate scientific claims to drastically different directions.

We are limited beings trapped in a narrow set of interpretations that we call reality and therefore we are not using our imagination as much as we can to realize how things could have been otherwise. More interesting, useful, truthful alternatives do not get the chance to be seen or discussed in the dictatorship of the scientific enterprise. And scientists are behaving very politely with a fear of being abandoned, excluded or fallen in the blacklist of pseudo-sciences determined by the dominant story. And things doesn’t have to be this way.

Now speaking of the chaotic self-organized nature of the scientific random-walk, we would like to believe that there is an objective truth out there that functions as an external field and leads the scientific endeavor to get closer and closer to an “attractor” of the ultimate truth, neutralizing the effect of its random fluctuations.

This is not obvious.

How do we know that we are dealing with a controlled random walk, that there is an attractor? There may be many attractors. There may be none. There may be infinitely many with a different cardinality even. If we are destined to one thing is that we belive in destinty. And we think of science as having a destiny too. This may be an unwritten assumption but widely accepted that there’s a naturally truthful science. It may be randomly deviating people admit, but it is moving towards the attractor of the holy truth. In my experience the common claim is that not only that truth exists, we are also approaching it rather effectively. And so how can you even dare to argue over this when you are wittnessing the fantastic discoveries and the ground breaking achievements of science?

I am not unfamiliar with this world-view and can comprehend their logic, but have a completely different idea. I am saying that the myth of a naturally truthful science should be debated because it undermines the profound chaotic nature of the evolution of the scientific code and its instrumentatlity. It should be questioned because it ignores how fundamentally trapped we are in our cognitive tunnel and left alone with a very narrow and specific set of wide-spread stories that we have made about the reality.

And let’s say that the attractor of reality does exist in a sense, and that we humans are getting there because we have launched an honest journey with a solid plan. Even if so, I think without bringing up discussions like this post, such a goal is unattainable and navigating towards such a truth is impossible. We can not be sure we are on the right path, let alone the only path, if we suppress any effort to overcome our blindspots, simply because we don’t see them.

So this is what I summarize in the compact claim that science is not about the truth. Science is about the instrumental growth of the human ape, developed and expanded collectively and in a deep sense accidentally. Science is developped with the help of the limited capacities of our brain and its selfish interaction with the environment, ultimately for the sake of survival. We are fundamentally trapped in this thinking organ and besides that we do not try to keep in focus what our hard-wired biases are, as much as we should. We don’t even ask simpler questions such as how our cultural biases shape the way we think often enough. The answers can be sometimes really surprising if we dare to digg into this.

While it is still a meaningful topic to question for example how science would look like for some alien intelligent life form, I will not go that far here. I am claiming that even with the very same structure of the human brain, in a parallel version of our – let’s say – post-agricultural civilization, branched out as late as five thousand years ago and formed with a different throws of dice, the scientific code could have looked very very differently. And at this point only imagination can speculate on this important question about “how else” things could have looked like in an alternative human society. Let’s just specualte a bit. This is pure contemplation:

I think we may not have come up with Newtonian mechanics and then two theories of relativity later on, very unlikely. Instead we could have had things in between or completely different models that would still work. For example with a whole new set of definitions angular momentum did not necessarily have to imply rotation and who knows may be not a single scientist of that parallel world would have even heard of the analogy that some particles rotate around others similar to our planetary system. Imagine the possibility that Einstein’s idea of spacetime was thrown earlier than anything like Newtonian mechanics, simply on a different food diet or given another set of conflicts, power shifts and revolutions.

Imagine Which parts of Algebra would look different beyond its symbolic representation. And then to explain our cosmos how would we expect more complex formulations – such as string theory – to have formed similarly out of a completely different context? The whole axiomatization of our mathematics and how it would state its open problems could look different. It stil can. My personal hope is that it could look more fractal, and more transcendental in a sense. Or not. But we may have not had the Euclidean dominance on our early geometries, the following Cartesian coordinates and thus the use of complex numbers in some form of electronics or any technologies that would give us functionalities similar to smartphones or chip implants. Instead remarkably different tools and languages would serve a similar purpose.

The most solid pillars of our sciences shake if we think in these terms. Even the idea of evolution itself which is the support story behind this post could be told differently. Darwinism and Lamarckism wouldn’t be exposed as distinct theories with a form of epigenetics as their compromise. Other good functioning legends could be told with a different order of discoveries and their marketing.

Well, and on the other hand some core ideas and theories could have been told similarly. And it is not quite impossible to contemplate and guess which of them. It’s very difficult to place a bet for me here but I think we would still have numbers in a sense, and mathematical constants. We would somehow know the families of π and e. We would have had telecommunication and eventually at some point we would sequence our genes and hack ourselves to the next level.

What would remain intact and what would change? This is an important question for all sciences and we do have the tools and resources to make a move towards some answers these days. It’s not necessarily expensive in terms of research fund nor environmental footprint to get on to this. Imagine we live in a world when a comprehensive digitized copy of our scholarly literature is publicly available with all sorts of accessible algorithms. We can now supervise machines to evaluate a whole body of the scientific literature in a matter of days if not shorter. Machines can now reveal contradictions and fallacies in proofs and arguments, detect and neutralize the marketing bias in scientific work to extract the quality, detect and promote ignored nobel ideas and bring up the missed gems, deconstruct existing notions to come up with new ideas, and simulate the future of the whole science itself in multiparallel versions.

None of rhis is any longer farfetched. For those of you who love brands and abbreviations, I came across SSK and SSI, one in many posssible projects of meta-science in this regard. They stand for sociology of scientific knowledge (SSK) and its complementory, sociology of scientific ignorance (SSI). The maturity of these projects were the dream of philosophers such as Fayerabend and Kuhn long before the age of Big Data. That idea didn’t take off and was suppressed by other dominant codes which could make more money and thus stood the selection pressures of the scientific enterprise better, to address its demends.

Fair! They were too vague and not regirous enough. And they were not affordable at the time. Our processing power is now millions of times bigger and the immediate availability of pretty much every important scientific idea that have been created is not a dream anymore. So we can get on to such a project again.

And those of you who love stories about AI take over, would agree that if we don’t do this, at some points machines will go ahead and do it for us; or for themselves. This one is not a new story anymore, since we have probably read a piece of fiction journalism on a similar idea lately. So, crazy ideas don’t seem that farfetched when they are repeated enough or endorsed by the public.

Science is an amazing achievement and the fact that its pioneers have constantly used it to transcend itself with new paradigms, ideas and breakthroughs is simply beautiful.

Science deserves to be better than an idiocracy. While, despite its core values of a truthful struggle, like other human achievements that have become old enough in a rigid framework, it seems attracted in to that direction now. People who rightfully claim that science is white or masculine are only scratching the surface.

If you love science, care about it. Try to see its fundamental limits and so transcend it. You may still call it science and I won’t argue over terms. I think it will still not be about finding the truth; however, it is a neater struggle to serve such a purpose.

P.S. I am not viewing this post as a truthful post, either. This is just a code. It’s a rather unconventional idea in the sphere of ideas out there. Your human brains recieve it; some relate to it and some object. The process of understanding something is a set of biochemical algorithms; Logic and reasoning have that shady characteristic in common with emotions and feelings. This is why there is so much disagreement out there in the world. It’s not that people are almost always wrong. It’s because folks are different and the evolution of their worldviews take totally different pathways and so different things make sense to them based on their previous experience and knowledge. From these many ideas out there some of them get lucky enough to survive, take over and dominate for a period but it is not necessarily an indicator of their truthful. Truth may be non-monotonic in a very deep sense. It is alarming when we realize that even if the external field of reality or the attractor of truth had not existed, we would still assume them. And what I have said here has been said before in different tones and terminologies. The scientific climate has not been so friendly to those ideas and they have not got enough exposure or resources. All instances of similar claims that I managed to find have faded out due to what I think as a form of early exposure. This post is not about the truth either. You can view it as a mutation that I would like to promote. This time around it may take off somewhere around here.

Ripple or break?

Faro, Portugal - September 2016

I learned at the coastline of Faro by the Atlantic Ocean, that wind waves show two very distinct patterns. They all attack similarly but decay in two different forms: ripple or breakage.

Most distinguishable waves ripple back smoothly. They come, have their time and leave peacefully just like cultural hypes or music genres.

Some of them on the other hand crash before hitting the shore. Then there’s chaos and bubbles, like wars and revolutions, strokes and backlashes.

I think the term “wave breakage” describes a variety of phenomena of over-exhaustion. It suits financial crises better than the “bubble burst” analogy. It describes a political counter-reaction better than the term “backlash”.

“A breaking wave is one whose base can no longer support its top, causing it to collapse…”

Nature works in beats and pulses at all scales; evolution and extinction of species, rise and fall of empires, boost and decline of cultures. Ocean waves manifest similar dynamics visually; They come, leave their mark and go back in one way or the other. 🌊

Riding the wave of humanity, we will have to go back too. That is inevitable. But will our wave ripple back peacefully? Or will it break down?

Science and Truth

Science is not about the truth. It’s about our instrumental growth.

It’s a human specific language for the short-term dominance of this very species; a subjective and relative cultural viewpoint; a man-made phenomenon not only sensitive to geography and demography of its producers, but fundamentally relying on our specific physiological features.

Science is a random walk of accumulated literature largely indifferent to the reality; a set of self-reinforced terminologies that has hypnotised our collective mind.

Science is one in many possibilities that turned out to be the dominant widespread culture of our time due to a series of thrown dice with similar dynamics as rock pigeons colonized the urban landscape worldwide.

So if you take all of it too seriously you may as well think of a pterodactyl as the superior form of a flying object; the shape of a moldy bread as the most genuine form of the truth, or the last check-mate snapshot of a mediocre chess game as the ultimate possibility of a chess board.

Capitalism, Space and Time!

Or Borrowing from far and future.

I had no major problem with capitalism until I realized how the beast actually works. I don’t share destructive non-libertarian views of communism or the world views of the abrahamic religions and Islam in particular. All of these dangerous ideas have a viral code for dominance and that is exactly why they have been dominating large parts of the world.

Now what I see about capitalism is frightening me even more than its key rival ideologies. And that is its simple code:

Capitalism does not deliver its massive value out of thin air. It largely borrows it from far in space and time.

And these two problems are one.

Far in space could be wherever it outsources the suffering to make a little local joy. Whether it be ethnic conflicts, African mines, animal farms, species in the oceans or cheap child labor economies, such blind treatment of these resources by the capitalistic machine is prone to overexhaustion. And this will mean that what’s far comes closer and closer. You see it has already sneaked in to our safe bubbles and we should get the message.

And what far in time means? Future. That too gets closer and closer. I think we all agree on that. So what can stop us from facing a deserted earth full of angry human apes killing each other?

Nothing. Literally nothing. No reform, no software upgrade nothing but the shut down of the machine at least with the current model.

This choice is inevitable, or else this greedy machinary will shut itself down but only after destroying all of us together.

A bigger picture than politics

From the futuristic people of the past, also listen to Terence McKenna on politics, after the collapse of the Soviets:

Consider three or four minutes from 3:35 to 7:10, on the corruption of the two-party system of the American Republic and that the change must come from the independents. Suits our time after a quarter century. Doesn’t it? Now we get why Bernie Sanders stood no chance from within the democratic party platform.

Now let’s ask a more important question:

How can a quarter century old lecture by someone who was not even interested in politics, describe the geopolitical events of our time more accurate than opinions expressed by the up to date political commentators, op-ed writers of the prestigous newspapers and well-informed talkshow hosts of 2016?

How can experts be so zoomed in on the local events without the ability or tendency to connect them and infer more reliable conclusions?

We are an interconnected society of apes. Our geopolitics has roots in a deeper context, our anthropological roots. Knowing everything about the conventional world of politics is not enough to make a single correct prediction about it if we miss the bigger picture.

The explosion of articles about the personality of Donald Trump, the daily political interviews of the state media and the government-funded experts are all missing it.

The futuristic people of the past

I find it worth listening to the futuristic people of the past. These are the visionary breed who see the future better than us. Now while their futuristic stories are sometimes our trivial past, it could as well be our unforeseen future!

There’s something about their way of observing the world that makes their ideas more resilient against the test of time. Those ideas die out with a different time constant than the normal so they will eventually win over the temporary opinions of the habitual daily routines, the temporary, the mortal.

Now with that in mind listen to Terence Mckenna’s interview on the power of the Internet, from 20 years ago:

At a penetration rate of perhaps less than 1% of its current rate, the rise of the Internet is referred here as an example for “the emergence of the transcendental object”.

Mckenna foresees the rise of the citizen press, new media and grassroot journalism before the creation of mainstream blogging or digital social networking services. He ellaborates so beautifully on the social aspects of the digital disruption before the rise of new business models powered by the Internet. He has great especulations on the future of augmented reality and in other sources he had predicts the rise of data science. And he spells the long-tail theory, what Chris Anderson and other visionary entrepreneurs of the Sillicon Valley started branding 10 years later (half way between this interview and us). Fun to notice that some predictions of the long-tail theory have already failed, while Mckenna’s ideas are still – mostly – valid. And last but not the least his deep insights on the “technological singularity” and the implications of extrapolating the Moore’s [and similar] laws and the take over of AI, are neater than what people like Kurzweil did, trying to coin the term to their names.

And the striking fact is that McKenna has done the same thing in several other fields, epigenetics, linguistics, anthropology and sociology. Pretty much anything that he has been queried by his audience after he was back from the woods to give talks on his new insights.

This is the power that you get when you leave the civilization and observe merely plants for a couple of decades away from an urban settings. Some turn into Charles Darwin. Some turn into Terence Mckenna. I am very excited to have found this profile. And now if you don’t find this interesting, go ahead keep reading the morning news, the scientific paper right in front of you, or the manual of your vacuum cleaner.

P.S.1. the content of your sweeper’s manual may be still valid in 20 years, so I take that one back!

P.S.2. Many futuristic attempts fail to understand the importance of that “meme time constant”. As an example, in the expensive Hollywood sci-fi projects we see that long-term trends are masked by temporary hypes. If a movie is made today to depict 2040 you see they introduce spaceships and flying cars too early, next to the to-be-extincted numerical keypads (too late). But not even a vintage radio is seen in the scenery. In a futuristic depiction I find it unrealistic not to present the past’s profound achievements in retro style. I however understand that not many others find it as silly, just yet.

Economics is not Science

I love this daring video:

At the very least neoclassical economics is not science. It’s an elitist made-up language based on fake concepts such as supply and demand to maximize fabricated quantities in order to exhaust the nature and abuse the people.

Its higly prestigious Chicago school with their fraud models of trade and their deceptive political byproduct, neoliberalism, is responsible for much of the blind destruction of the environment and the uncalculated harms to our societies and nature.

Their influential *thinkers* and theorists are responsible and must be held accountable for bringing humanity to the disaster that it is facing now.

And the most recognized awards and medals of honor should not go to those unintelligent short-sighted charlatans. They should actually go to the people who can possibly figure out how to reverse this effect; how to take us out of the deep trouble caused by those prominent economists of the neoliberalism. After fourty years or so it is time to make a global U-turn away from the policies advocated by the Milton Friedman and his fellow politicians on both sides of the Atlantic. Even so the consequences of their disastrous ideas are yet to hit us.

“Conventional economics is a form of brain damage.”

Well-said. Alter your language domain. Don’t be deceived by the illusions created by con artists. Stay real!