Journal

Is what we dream real?


I was thinking about the nature of the internet. I’ve talked about it before and I imagine with a little bit of internal searching I could link to it in this intro. Maybe I will in post, we’ll see. But for now I want to ask and examine the question of whether what we dream is literally real. This might not be a very long ride but I hope it causes you to perhaps rethink the question as well.

What happens when we dream? What happens when we think? The answer is more complicated than how I’m about to explain it but for the purposes of this little post it will do fine. Basically your brain fires off a bunch of electrical and chemical (or electrochemical if you’re nasty) signals across your brain. The combined sensations of these impulses create a sense from seemingly nothing. We manufacture feelings of all types in our brain and then experience those reactions as if they were real.

But what if we did so because they literally were? I’m not saying that from a philosophical perspective either, I mean literally and physically. My reasoning comes from the globally known theory of relativity.

E = mc2

  This equation goes by another name: Mass-energy equivalence. Neil DeGrasse Tyson recently addressed this in one of his StarTalk podcasts. He can respect the concept of an organism that is made of pure energy because he has already witnessed organisms of pure mass. Mass and energy are equivalent and, through incredible actions, can be interchanged back and forth between one another.

  Your physical body is no more or less real than a photon. So what of those thoughts in your head? They are electrical impulses but electricity and mass are equivalent. Are you not creating reality but merely in a different medium? We are creatures of mass and naturally we hold more value in massive things (that is: things with mass, not necessarily big things). People may be unwittingly be creating like the very gods that they so deeply worship. An entire universe in our minds, no less real than the entire universe outside of our minds.

When you dream you are not merely dreaming. You are creating just like the demigods of Dungeons and Dragons or Marvel Comics. Those worlds might come and go in a flash but really that’s just a matter of timescale. In respect to the Earth we are less than the blink of an eye. For each thing there is some other thing that barely registers its meager lifespan.

This would put to rest a concern I’ve had with the idea of make believe. The idea that we could interact with something that does not exist seemed awfully strange to me. But if dreams, thoughts, and even digital things (like video game worlds) were not “fake” but instead merely different mediums of reality there would be no discrepancy. All things would fall under the same domain.

When Orgy said that she was nothing more than fiction they were more right than they knew, but perhaps for the wrong reason. We are all both fiction and nonfiction. Fantasy and Reality.

[This song is kinda sad to me now.]