Sonder

n. The realisation that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own.

Each person is unique and conscious. Every random person I walk past on the street, sitting on the bus, waiting in line at Tim Horton’s. Everyone has a life, has thoughts, and ultimately exists.

Or do they?

What if people don’t actually exist, and the world I experience is created by my mind?

All of my experiences and interactions would be created by me, like dreams. All people and situations are my own creation, spawned from some subconscious depths of my mind. One might presume then that there’s a true version of reality that I exist in, like in The Matrix when Neo gets unplugged and experiences reality for the first time. Au contraire, this “true” reality has no obligation to exist. My mind could be existing only within my mind itself, a paradox of existence creating its own existence while not actually existing.

What makes dreams any less real than anything else, then?

Dreams are considered less real simply because of the preconceived ideas of what is logical or not. The social paradigms that tell you what’s “common sense”. Just a disclaimer, I don’t spend every day going around thinking about how existence cannot be proven, I’ll proceed as though it does just like everyone else most of the time. Occam’s Razor suggests reality does exist because it’s the simplest answer, but that doesn’t satisfy me when I stop and take down my suspension of disbelief. I tend more to the thoughts of Nihilism and the scepticism of how real reality actually is. Even my own mind doesn’t necessarily exist.

There are already branches of science and pseudoscience with evidence to support the idea that humans are all connected, and who’s to say that’s not because they are all part of the same false image? I’m sitting at a computer, pressing keys that make words appear on a screen, recording my thoughts. Does any of it exist? The plastic keys, the sound of a distant lawnmower out the window, the clutter on the desk? The very thoughts I’m writing?

I have no way of knowing any of this for certain, and that’s why these thoughts plague me so ferociously. Any evidence I might produce could be disproven easily as something else that doesn’t exist, a figment of my wishful mind.

So if the world might not exist, and I might not exist, and reality might not exist…what is existence? Why am I able to experience thoughts and time and the physical stimuli of the world? Maybe that’s the only proof I’ll ever get that reality actually does exist, at least that my self exists.

I wonder if Future Liam still has these thoughts.

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