To the Master of Cosmic Code, Impervious Storehouse of Higher Memory, Processor of Divine Wisdom and Divulger of Secret Things, the Illustrious Yet Not-Yet-Widely-Recognized-Enough Light-Emitting-Diode of Our Generation, the Guadalajara Rebbe,

Dear Guad,

Over the years, I’ve been collecting evidence. By now, it’s almost conclusive: The universe is a set-up job. The laws of physics, mathematics, biology—you name it—they’re all a façade.

I could fill a library with my proofs. But here’s the core outline:

Mathematics: Infinity. Cantor proved that all the finiteness we deal with in everyday life is really infinity in masquerade. Then Gödel went and proved that logic itself is infinite, and never ever resolves.

Physics: Particles. There aren’t any. We reduce the cosmos to its most basic parts, and madness stares us in the face. Things that disappear and appear somewhere else as something else, and never occupy any real space to begin with. I can quote Richard Feynman, who said his lectures on quantum mechanics were to demonstrate “Nature as She really is: Absurd.” Rabbi, how do you explain a normal universe made of pieces that are totally nuts?

Biology: Life and consciousness. Heisenberg hit it on the nose when he said physics as we know it can’t explain life. I don’t think any science ever will. From the outside, it can be made to look somewhat normal and logical. Start examining it, and there are just no answers. Why does this patient survive and the other guy doesn’t? Why does this seed grow and the other rots? And how will we ever explain this enigma that we know that we are thinking?

The Macrocosmos: Anthropocentricity. If any one cosmic factor were off by a hair’s breadth, we’d never have seen the light of day—if there would be any light, or day. Fred Hoyle, the astronomer, looked at this and concluded just as I did: “The universe,” he said, “is a put-up job.”

Conclusion: It’s all a prettied-up user interface thinly veiling a higher reality to which we simply do not have access privileges.

Let me give you an example to explain what I mean: I learned a little bit of Flash scripting. I know a little calculus. So I sat in front of my computer one rainy Sunday and designed this little ball. You drag it across the screen and drop it, and it bounces when it hits the bottom. It looks natural enough because I scripted in all the right parameters of elasticity, gravity, velocity and height. It’s very consistent, too: drop it from higher, from lower, throw it, push it—everything works according to the same rules. If you don’t mind my saying so, I think it’s neat.

So I show it to my buddy and he thinks it’s neat, too. I ask him, “So, why do you think the little ball falls down when you let go of it?”

He answers, “Because of gravity.”

“Buddy,” I say, “there’s no gravity! There’s no ball. There’s no up or down. They’re just glowing phosphors!”

“So why,” he asks, “does it fall down?”

“Because I scripted it to do that,” comes my answer. “There’s nothing there but my code.”

Now tell me the same doesn’t hold true with apples, planets and galaxies. Tell me that in this case, there really is gravity, and that’s all there is. Tell me this isn’t just someone’s virtual reality game, and that I’m not just another sprite.

Because, like I said, all the evidence leaks right through. And if it’s true, I want out!

—Perry Noid

Dear Perry,

You’re not paranoid. You really are an intelligent sprite. Everything you say is true. It just goes further than you think.

The world is a story. As you can see from Genesis, “And G‑d said, let there be . . . and there was . . .” Or as the ancient Kabbalistic text, Book of Formation, tells us, “With three things the world was created: with an author, with a book and with a story.”

The world is not just G‑d’s story, it’s His interactive virtual reality role-playing game, as Solomon the wise wrote: “. . . I was then his delight every day, playing before Him at all times, playing in His planet Earth . . .”1 Like the statement of the Midrash, “In the future, the Holy One, blessed be He, will show the tzaddikim His royal game.”2 And Rabbi DovBer of Lubavitch (1773–1827) explains at length3 that they’re talking about the game He’s playing right now.

We are His fantasy, each one of us. And the entire universe. And every other of the infinite universes He dreams about. In a moment, if He would decide to dream otherwise, we, our past, present and future would vanish like a daydream that never was. It wouldn’t detract from His reality in the slightest.4

As for all these laws of nature that seem so consistent and logical (until you examine them too deeply), they are, as you said, a façade over a deeper reality that would be too confusing for us. Like the graphic user interface laid like a thin skin over the real mechanics of the game, saving the gamer from struggling with C++ commands. And that deeper reality itself is no more than an interface over an even deeper one, as C++ protects the programmer from the subterranean nightmare of assembly code—which is only a veil over the indigenous language of machine code. And all this itself is nothing more than a fiction of an Infinite Mastermind Beyond All Code and Processors.

Is there anything real to it? There isn’t even any hardware. Or firmware. It’s like a kid once described daydreaming: TV without the electronics. The people, the forests, the waterfalls, the earth’s motion, the massive energy of the supernovas, the unimaginable intelligence of the supernal data processing entities we call angels, the bedrock parameters of logic, time and space—all are composed of nothing but the whim of the Unbounded Transcendental Imagination.

But even then, you haven’t gone far enough. Because there’s always a place where the analogy breaks down.5 Yes, we fantasize and He fantasizes. Our fantasies are distinct from our reality, and so are His. But from this point on, there’s a distinction:

We are stuck in a reality we did not create, and from there we fantasize. We gather the experiences of our world, rearrange them and build another one out of them. Therefore, for us there is a strict dichotomy of “Reality” and “Fantasy.” If the membrane of this dichotomy should rupture, all hell breaks loose, and we can no longer manage either world. A healthy mind is one that keeps the membrane firm and well defined.

He, too, creates fantasy, but there’s a caveat: He created reality as well.6

Before He began, there were no experiences to build from, no colors, no sounds, no space, no time, no rules of logic—no concept that there has to be logic to begin with. There was no existence, because He—as Maimonides explains in his perplexing Guide for the Perplexed7—is not an existence. He brings existence to be. As it turns out, Reality belongs to Him as much as Fantasy.

What is His reality? What distinguishes it from His fantasy? Simple: His reality is how He thinks about the fantasy. Just as it is with us: The fantasy may not be real, but the fact that we are thinking about it—that is real (as far as our world is real, of course).

So before He fantasizes a fantasy, He chooses for Himself a certain modality of being, a reality—a way of thought and consciousness that will conjure up this fantasy. In the language of the Kabbalah, these are the higher worlds, the world of Atzilut and beyond, with their backbone of Ten Luminous Emanations—the ten sefirot of Wisdom, Understanding, Knowing, Kindness, Judgment, Beauty, etc.—which will generate a world. After all, you need an imagination in order to fantasize. The sefirot are simply that—the modalities of G‑d’s imagination.

This reality then generates a fantasy. The fantasy is endless, but it can be spoken of in terms of three general worlds.8 It begins with the World of Creation. But that world doesn’t even know it exists, and G‑d wants a vivid, solid fantasy, so He extends His fantasy further and creates the World of Formation. In the World of Formation, the creatures are aware of their own existence, but they know they are fantasies. Not yet vivid enough, so the Divine Imagination extends even further and our world comes into being—the World of Action. In our world, we are such fantasies that we actually think we are the reality. Tell us about anything beyond us, and we will tell you, “That’s fantasy.”

We are the ultimate extent of fantasy. Post-production. The final edit.

Until something even wilder than fantasy happens. Something every game developer would give his kishkes to do, but just can’t. G‑d breaks the rules and ruptures the barrier between reality and fantasy—while keeping both intact. And that occurred when He gave us His Torah.

Torah comes to us from the higher worlds. From reality. It is the wisdom of G‑d’s own imagination. Not like human wisdom. Our sciences are the wisdom He grants our minds so we can get a handle on the user interface He has devised for us; so that things will seem consistent and we can play out the drama without too much confusion. But Torah is the wisdom by which He created that interface to begin with.9 Once Torah enters the world of fantasy, everything changes.

Imagine you are the author of the story, the master of the game. You have concocted myriads of characters, backgrounds, situations, themes and plots, and the story is rolling. But you’re not satisfied—because they are only your imagination. You don’t want to play against figments of your imagination. You want something real. You want to play head-to-head with a living being.

Imagine, now, that you could enter that story or game and walk into one of your characters’ lives. You could sit down and talk with him, and explain your ideas behind this story. Imagine it was a character who would have the openness of mind to follow what you are talking about, the humility to accept that he is just a fantasy—and the guts to argue with you about how the story should go.10

That character was Moses. Moses was the first character to bridge our world of fantasy with G‑d’s reality. He took G‑d’s story one step further. Further than we can imagine.

We can’t imagine our characters becoming real and still remaining fantasies. Because we are stuck inside the paradigm: we are realities creating fantasies. But here we are talking about the Absolute Being—to whom both the imagination and the imagined are one, to whom reality and fantasy are simply two modes of one being, for whom all things can converge. Moses reached to that place. Beyond reality. Beyond Torah. To the Giver of the Torah.

Moses encapsulated that experience and handed it over to us. When we study Torah, we allow G‑d’s reality to enter ours. We invite Him into our world. When we pray to Him and plead with Him, “Heal the sick! Feed the hungry! Give me a mind to think and a heart to feel!”—we become the character who tells the author how to write his story. When we do a mitzvah and choose good over evil, we let G‑d play His game from the inside.

In each moment of life, a door opens through which we can walk out of the bounds of being no more than a fantasy, and plug our entire world into the realm of reality. Eventually, we create the ultimate interactive game, as the world will be in the messianic era (that’s right, we’re still in beta).

Which brings us to the second distinction between our fantasy and His. As the Midrash tells us,

“This is the entire purpose of all created worlds, higher and lower: The Holy One, blessed be He, desires to dwell within the lowest of worlds.”11—that is, within the extreme extent of fantasy.

We live in a reality mostly beyond our control, and devise clever diversions to help us cope. The Holy One, blessed be He, chooses His own reality—all the higher worlds—for one purpose alone: so that he can merge them with His fantasy.

He lives for the game.12