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Following the White Rabbit: An Examination of Our Dreams and Reality

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Following the White Rabbit: An examination of our dreams and reality

Have you ever had a dream..that were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake from that dream? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world?”. This idea was posed by Morpheus to Neo in the Matrix, but the question itself has been pondered over by philosophers for centuries and many have reached the same conclusions. Our world as we know it may not exist at all and the lines between reality and dreaming are impossibly blurred. It is very likely that we do exist in a dream world because we cannot trust our perception of consciousness nor can we disprove the notion of the possibility of a simulated reality.

Our reality is an internally based construct. Everything part of our existence is processed through the mind. There is no real way of testing whether what we are experiencing is real. We take in information, our brains process it and create a feedback loop. Despite our perspicacity of what we consider to be existence, we live in a second-hand world. Hume states, “The mind has never anything present to it but the perceptions, and cannot possibly reach any experience of their connexion with objects” (44). The mind only is exposed to the conclusions it draws itself and doesn't have any other associations with the world around it. This makes the mind an unreliable narrator in the story of our reality. There is no way to disprove an altered existence and there is no way to prove whether our experiences are coming from some type of simulated reality.

The mind creates another problematic occurrence in trying to decide if our actuality is authentic. Dreams, especially vivid ones cause a famous question about what it means to be conscious. Zhuangzi, a Chinese philosopher explores this idea with a problem known as the Butterfly Dream, which tells the story of him dreaming that he is a butterfly and it is so real that, “… he didn't know if he was Zhuangzi who had dreamt he was a butterfly, or a butterfly dreaming his was Zhuangzi”(44). Dreams are periodically so vivid that it is hard to distinguish what moment is a waking moment. It could be that when we dream that is the only moment that we experience true reality. This problem was also examined by Descartes where he says, “…there exists no certain marks by which the state of waking can ever be distinguished from sleep…”(39). He cites that he has similar perceptions while he is awake and when he is asleep and since there is no way to differentiate the two it is entirely possible that every perception is false. Since we cannot trust our perceptions or say definitively that we are in what we define as reality, it is plausible that we could be in a dream world.

Since our minds are unreliable and our dreams indistinguishable from what we have labeled as the real world I think it is entirely

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