Explaining a VR RPG in a pre-electricity era

If the Matrix was set before electricity existed, how could someone explain how it worked?

Maybe it could be said that there were artificial brains that had a shared semi-lucid dream.

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
— Arthur C. Clarke

It would be easier to just say magic was involved but ideally the explanation should involve physical processes.

Descartes thought that perhaps an evil demon was giving him false experiences though that explanation involves a supernatural explanation rather than involving physical mechanisms.

Anyway in any movies, TV shows, novels, etc, is there a situation where a character is explaining how VR RPG’s work when their world is in a pre-electricity era?

‘The world you know is an illusion created by beings beyond your ken.’

Short, accurate, and to the point. Why you would ruin that by attempting to explain how the illusion was created, I don’t know.

What if they were a scientist and wanted an explanation? It is like when some guy was using a telescope and others didn’t want them to discover God’s secrets.

First, have him read and understand Plato’s cave allegory. Next, explain that the movement of the shadows is controlled by highly sophisticated machines. The machines are complicated, but at their lowest level are composed entirely of elements equivalent to a water valve.

“S’all a big magic lantern show, mate”

“It’s just phlogiston interacting with aether.”

Really, I don’t see any difference in explaining the Matrix to a modern-day person compared to a stone-age one.

I mean, do you know how the Matrix works? We don’t have any kind of neural connection to a computer. We can’t just download new skills. We don’t have anywhere near the computing power for even one person’s visual input, let alone a world of those people. Even MMOs have to be split among multiple servers in shards that don’t really interact all that much. When you get right down to it, all the Matrix’s veneer of computers and hackers is just so much modern mumbo-jumbo that makes no difference to the end result.

But even a stone-age simpleton knows what a dream is. It looks/feels real, but it’s not. There’s your explanation. Non-human intelligent beings have trapped everyone inside a dream.

Modern day people know what computer games with very realistic graphics are. They know that they are non-supernatural machines which no consciousness or life-force.

In the Matrix it is a shared dream. BTW in stone-age cultures they might believe that in some dreams people travel to actual places or that dreams involve contact with the supernatural or they involve knowledge of the future.

On second thoughts talking about an artificial brain could be confusing to some people - in the Bible I think they thought the mind came from the intestines and the emotions came from the heart.

That’s why dreams are such a perfect explanation for most low-tech peoples. It’s only with a modern person that you’d have any expectation that dreams are not shared and not real.

Plus, if we’re talking about the Matrix from the movie, “super natural” powers, prophecy and knowledge of the future are clearly key elements of the simulation.

Aristotle indeed figured that the heart was whence thoughts and sensations came from, while the brain was merely a blood-cooling device. Mind you, the guy also believed the vagina moved about inside a woman’s body, and that women had fewer teeth than men.

Bit of a quack, really.