Lyrics written by Kris McDaniel
Kris McDaniel: vocals, keyboards, edrums, bass guitar, electric guitar, Hawaiian slide guitar, electric slide guitar
Ben Bradley: vocals
Cover art by Carrie Jenkins
The Experience Machine is a fictional device that appears in a thought experiment by Robert Nozick. The Experience Machine is capable of perfectly duplicating any sensation or feeling that one might have in ordinary life.
Imagine two people, Bill and Ted, whose lives are filled with experiences that feel the same to each of them. Bill believes he is at the University, studying for an exam that he must pass in order to pass a class; Ted believes he is at the University, studying for an exam that he must pass in order to pass a class. Later, Bill will experience the pleasures of going to a restaurant with a good friend; he will experience fine wine, good food, and fine company. Ted will experience these pleasures as well. However, none of Bill’s experiences are veridical. Bill has never been to a University, is not enrolled in any classes, has never eaten in a restaurant, and he has no friends. Instead, he has lived his life in the Experience Machine, which has produced all of the sensations and feelings present throughout Bill’s life. Ted’s experiences, however, are veridical. He really did study for an exam in a class he is enrolled in, and really did go to a restaurant with a good friend. Is Bill’s life going as well for him as Ted’s life is for Ted? Or does the fact that Ted has veridical experiences while Bill’s experiences are illusory imply that Ted has a better life than Bill’s? Is Ted having an awesome adventure, while Bill is having a bogus journey?
Would you enter the Experience Machine?
They say that I won’t remember the life I had outside after I enter
And oh the pleasures I’ll know, too many to mention
All the places I’ll seem to go, all thanks to this clever invention
But what does it mean when my friends all want to stick me in the Experience Machine?
And I want to keep it real
I care about more than the way I feel
Every day before he leaves for his business place, his family says that they love him to his face
He feels respected by his colleagues and superiors
He has no idea nothing is at it appears
He’s living the dream, but he might as well be in the Experience Machine
And he wants it all to be real
He cares about more than the way he feels
You are drowning deep in your own consciousness
While thinking you’re drinking from a well that’s bottomless
And though you thought that you were loved and at life were winning
You were sleeping alone and The world just kept on spinning without you
So even though I would never be aware that my life is in desperate need of repair
I’d give you the incredulous stare if you tried to tempt me with that infernal machine