An Analysis on “The Experience Machine” by Robert Nozick

Robert Nozicks “The Experience Machine” explains the importance of making decisions by using a machine that can help one create experiences. Sounds kind of absurd right? Well, allow me to delve deep into explaining it to you. In the beginning, he makes a profound statement that would warn a person who would ever think of using the machine. “All the time you would be floating in a tank with electrodes attached to your brain. “Should you plug into the machine for life, preprogramming your life experiences” (Nozick)? In regards to that, this is a recurring theme in the 1999 science fiction film The Matrix. The early history of the Matrix included the idea that humans reject a virtual reality that offers them paradise. Cypher (Joe Pantoliano) a redpill member of the Nebuchadnezzar had enough of being jaded and would make a deal and betray his colleagues and be reinserted in a less than perfect Matrix as a successful man than live in a harsh reality outside of the simulation. In hindsight, watching the film, viewers would be irate that he would betray his team but the way I perceive it is, depending on the individual and how dire they think their circumstances are for them to find an escape, being “connected” to a machine to experience happiness whenever they want doesn’t sound that bad right? Well, even though one would think he or she is seeing a certain thing, in reality they’re not physically doing anything while in the machine, because they’re just “floating in a tank making experiences”. So therefore it’s indistinguishable for one to realize if what they’re in is a reality or some kind of dream world. After analyzing Nozick’s statement on how the machine can create these simulated experiences that feel real, it seems that it all follows a relativism view. The reason being, there isn’t any certainty or validity to the machine for all we know it could do the opposite of creating experiences, it could ruin them or create undesirable ones that borderline on nightmarish. In addition, there is no objective truth to the machine, and outcomes will differ from person to person. Since this machine is programmed to create or even relive experiences it would be incomplete without knowing about oneself. In other words, one should understand that knowing oneself is more important than searching for experiences that merely show how one’s time was spent. What’s more important is what they gained from those experiences and found from that pleasure and enjoyment. In conclusion, find yourself first, and then you’ll be able to live out your experiences without assistance from a machine.

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