• Scenario 1: Walking in the mall,
you notice the people around you.
They are milling around, many of
them with bags in their hands.
There’s people sitting at the
benches and chairs conveniently
located in the center where dads
and husbands can sit while their
loved ones go into makeup stores
and retail shops…
Think: What do you notice about
the people around you in the
mall? Specifically, what state are
the people sitting on the benches
in? (Are they focused? Are they
If your thoughts were along
the line of my thoughts,
then most of those dads
and husbands and other
people sitting on the
benches have their heads
down looking at the phone
in their hands.
And many of the people walking by
you are barely dodging others as
they gaze into their phone
screens, and peer away for a few
seconds to ensure they don’t plow
What is so entrancing about those
little screens, anyway? This is where
simulation comes into play.
Chapter 8: Simulational Selves,
Simulational Culture in
*Note: The text in italics are things for you to think about and
Simulation is defined as, “An experience that is
self-contained, referring mainly to itself.”
We live in a culture where simulation is
extremely popular and definitely encouraged.
Think: With the idea of what you already know simulation
to be, what are some simulation experiences that you
More on simulation…
• Simulation is an act of imitation.
• It is something that is made to
behave like something else.
• It involves making
• It involves anticipation
• You must enter into a world.
– We partake in it only when
we enter into it.
• May contain identifiable signs.
– Signs that are references to the “real
– Example: A player can identify a sword in a
video game and the player understands
that the sword is for cutting things within
the video game world.
• Anything that happens in
a simulation stays within
• When we turn the simulation off, it goes away.
• Can be repeated over and over.
– Ability to make copies.
– Often there is a ‘reset’ button.
– Can start at the beginning
– Experience can be
• Simulation world has little connection to
When you partake in a
simulation, little else matters.
When we are one, we leave the
world with few consequences.
Simulation in cultures.
• Industrialized cultures
often have simulation
as a major characteristic.
• United States, Japan, Western Europe – All are
industrialized cultures with capitalist
economies, and simulation is largely
incorporated into everyday life.
• Spectator sports
– The Super Bowl
• Theme parks, Amusement
parks, Water parks, etc.
• Shopping malls
• Think: Considering the aforementioned
factors of simulation, do you agree/disagree that
all of the above examples are simulational experiences? Why
or why not?
• Weatherman, Phil Connors, is a
selfish, sarcastic man who lives life in irony. He
treats the people around him poorly, and he
only does things that benefit himself.
• Phil and his news crew travel to
Punxsutawney, PA to report on the annual
occurrence, Groundhog Day. Phil is also the
name of the groundhog that will determine
how many more weeks of winter there will be.
• After a nasty snow storm on Groundhog Day,
Phil wakes up to discover that it is Groundhog
• He will continue to wakeup to Groundhog day
over and over – He is trapped in a simulational
wonderland where there are no consequences
and nothing matters.
• In the beginning days of
simulation, Phil acts out. He
does anything and
everything he can think of…
He manipulates women for
sexual gratification, he is
chased by the cops, he buys
a Rolls Royce…
All of which have no
consequences because the
next day is like a ‘reset’
button. He judges life by
the value of fun.
• Pre-simulation and during the simulation, Phil uses
women. Throughout the film, the denigration of
women is linked with a simulational environment.
Seducing Rita, a member of the news team, is Phil’s
• Think: Do you think all simulations tend to
denigrate women? Are there are any simulations
that you can think that don’t denigrate women?
• In his “real”, non-simulational life, Phil exploits
women because he believes that his
treatment of them has no real consequence or
meaning. This treatment carries over when he
enters the simulational life.
Think: Why do many
simulations have a link to
denigration of women?
• Phil Connors is equated to the
groundhog, Phil. Phil is the “same” groundhog
that appears each year. Both Phils are caught
in a closed loop of simulation.
• Phil begins to use the repetitive nature of
simulation to his advantage. He goes out of his
way to learn, and then he uses that
knowledge the next day. He does this with
good things (such as languages and playing
the piano), but he also uses it to pursue and
• After many days of Phil
waking up to the same day,
he finally spends a good,
satisfying day with Rita (and
he doesn’t try to pursue her).
Phil’s outlook begins to
• He begins to treat others respectfully, and he
spends his days trying to help others.
However, he is still trapped in simulation. His
choices still don’t have any real effect.
However, he now is living entirely selflessly.
• His simulation ends when he tells Rita that he
loves her and he is happy. She responds
affirmatively. The next day, she wakes up in his
bed so he immediately knows something is
different. He is free of his simulation!
• Phil has left his selfish ways behind. He is now
focused on other people and their needs. And
he has a new appreciation for each day. His
newfound care for others breaks him of the
What can this film tell us?
• Groundhog Day shows self-absorption
to be simulation. The film depicts
simulation as negative.
Pre-simulation, Phil’s everyday
activities are a commentary on our
everyday activities. The film warns
us of how our daily experiences can
be simulational, and it warns us of
• Think: What are some of the simulational dangers that
this film addresses?
Groundhog Day vs. Today
• In a simulation-centered culture such as ours,
this film teaches us to be aware of the
simulations around us.
• When we are consumed in simulation, it’s
easy to be self-oriented and only care about
what entertains us.
What is the real danger of simulation?
• This film asserts a loss
of human interaction
when we get caught
up in simulation and a
• The film encourages a
simulation and it
renewed care for
those around us.
• Think: How has Groundhog Day and the topics
of this chapter made you think of simulation
(and the possible effects of simulation)
• This chapter is very applicable to the United States
because our culture is FULL of simulation. Personally, I
never realized that self-centeredness could be a
simulation. After reading this chapter, I have been trying
to be more consciously aware of the simulations that I
engage in. Partaking in simulation is a choice, and I have
been trying to choose to be in simulation less and to be
connected to my actual surroundings more.
Even our simulations have simulation!
Thanks for participating in this simulational experience!