This article started from a simple question. A simple question of “what if?”
What if the afterlife isn’t as great a place as it’s made out to be? The most commonly held view of the afterlife is that once we die we will go to a better place. But what if we don’t go to a better place? What if the afterlife is pure misery? What if we were only partially sent here by our ‘higher selves’ in order to escape the hellishness of ‘reality’?
This got my mind whirring. I was immediately reminded of this Matrix quote:
Have you ever had a dream, Neo, that you 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?
Most people can attest to the fact that life feels like a dream. So, what if life is a dream? What if we take this concept and add it to the previous concept? What are we left with?
We end up with the theory that life is but a dream. A dream that is but a fraction of reality. A dream that is a refuge from the harsh truth of reality. A place our minds are sent to to escape, to find solitude and peace. And every time we die we are reborn, awoken again into the real world. Awoken into hell. Reincarnation would be nothing more than falling back to sleep once more to escape into a sweet semi-conscious oblivion.
I doubt suicide would continue to be a problem if we knew reality to be as harsh as this.
This has to make one think about the absurd notion of Solipsism. Solipsism holds the view that one’s own mind is the only thing that is known and can be proven to be known. Therefore the Solipsist believes he is the only one in existence, and that reality is just an unconscious process of his imagination. For those who haven’t heard this philosophy before then it probably seems utterly ridiculous. And yet, the theory I proposed above would actually make Solipsism a viable possibility. Isn’t that just a weird thought?
What would that make reality? What is ‘reality’? Is reality truly what you make it?