Glitch in the Matrix or Something Else?

I saw one of the paranormal shows the other night and there were a few videos supposedly demonstrating possible proof that our reality is actually a computer simulation that sometimes gets glitchy.

One of the images was a bird stopped and motionless in mid-flight. It looked like a still photo which bounced around a little. Sure, the bird was motionless—but so was everything else.

The other two were actual videos and looked more interesting. One showed a large flock of sheep that were not moving much. There was an ear or tail flip here and there so they weren’t really motionless or “frozen.”

The other video showed a pretty interesting episode of what looked like what some would call tonic immobility in a squirrel. A person was hand-feeding the squirrel nuts and it suddenly froze for a short period of time and later just snapped out of it and acted normally. I wonder how a person got a wild squirrel to take food by hand.

Both the sheep flock and squirrel videos are available on the web. Some think the sheep become still because of a change in the weather, possibly rain. There was no explanation for the squirrel freezing.

Glitch in the matrix?

The squirrel might have been displaying tonic immobility, which can occur in certain animals. Probably the best-known example is the opossum. When it senses it’s in danger from a predator, it plays dead. There’s even a saying for this, “He’s just playing ‘possum!”

You can find the immobile squirrel story on the web by searching the term “catatonic squirrel.” In the article, the squirrel is called catatonic.

Catatonia is a complex neuropsychiatric condition in humans often marked by immobility and muteness. In a small percentage of cases, people can show purposeless agitation, or automatic, stereotyped motion.

In many cases, a small dose of benzodiazepine (usually injectable) can quickly reanimate a person who has catatonia, although the improvement is often only temporary. The usual course of treatment is to look for an underlying reversible medical or psychiatric cause and to apply effective treatment quickly, which can be life-saving.

Catatonia can lead to all kinds of complications because afflicted persons can’t eat or move. Some people who recover say that they felt extremely anxious or fearful during the catatonic episode.

Catatonia in humans is not the same thing as tonic immobility, a condition that is thought to be a survival mechanism in some prey animals in response to intense fear. If they “play dead”, a predator might not notice them or might let them go. But I can see why some people speculate there might be an evolutionary link between the two conditions.

These are interesting situations, but they aren’t evidence for a glitch in the matrix.

Author: James Amos

I'm a retired consult-liaison psychiatrist. I navigated the path in a phased retirement program through the hospital where I was employed. I was fully retired as of June 30, 2020. This blog chronicles my journey.

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