Have you ever noticed how characters in our dreams have their own personas? The fact that figments of our imagination live a life of their own within our minds perplexes me. How do they have a backstory minutes after their creation, having just lost consciousness? Eyes closed, you’re out cold, next thing you know, “Meet Janet, she’s going through something.” You just created Janet 5 minutes ago but have memories with her that go back 5 years. And now the rabbit hole kicks in. What if we’re figments of someone’s imagination? What if we’re all side characters in someone else’s dream? It’s weird how on some days you can also taste the food in your dreams, smell it too, and sometimes you get hurt and you feel it too. How you can feel the texture of the walls. How the wind blows you into the far distance. How you can exist between 2 places at once. How you can watch yourself exist in those places. It’s weird how we’d see a character straight out of a TV show and just accept that this is the reality I live in. In these 7 hours with my head on my pillow, I live 7 days, years, lifetimes. What does it all mean?
The Brain fascinates me. Awake or asleep everything keeps working. Inherently, you could say human beings are just gooey pink lumps with fleshy bony exoskeletons. Does this mean that if you switch brains with someone, that person essentially becomes you or are we souls using brains as conduits to manifest ourselves into existence through these exoskeletons? In Tim Urban’s Wait But Why, he tries to tackle the issue of who we are under two theories, The Body Theory and The Brain Theory. In The Body Theory, we understand that most people equate who they are with their physical body. Well of course, if your body’s dead then you’re dead but Tim decides to test the theory by suggesting that let’s say we alter our bodies. If you cut your fingernails, does that mean you’ve now indefinitely changed who you are? Probably not. Let’s kick it up a notch and say you get a liver, heart, kidney transplant, or whatever. Does that inherently change who you are? Probably not. So technically, your body alone does not define who you are but how about the brain? This being the perfect segway to shift to The Brain Theory. If you got involved in a secret government operation where they made you swap brains with a random stranger, would you now change? Well, technically you’d still be you but with just a different body. But now let’s say that these heinous people instead swapped your memories or rather every bit of information from both of you and transferred it to the other person. You have the other’s brain and body now but you’re still you despite having changed every ounce of your body parts with another. This brings to light the third theory, the Data Theory. Maybe what defines us isn’t our brain but rather the memories and information within our brain. This is basically a rough summary of the article but it still gets the point across. So where am I getting with this?
I had a dream once where I had a friend that I had known for a while. A person I had never met before but seen in a movie. I was convinced we knew each other and had memories of a time we hung out or rather maybe I accepted that they were someone I had known for a while. In this state, with this different ideology of what my life was, am I to say that when I sleep the person I am no longer exists? Do I live my life based on the memories I had in my waking day or the memories I hold while I slumber? I’m not going to get into all the nitty gritty but you get the gist of it. But most of all, more than all this, what intrigues me is the fact that we don’t question it, most of the time anyway, until we wake. We don’t know how it started and just forget it over time. Going back to the first paragraph, about how we not only accept this reality but feel it too. Experience it too. What really intrigues me, for real this time, is how our mind or body or soul convinces us that what we see is completely real. Isn’t it fascinating? Imagine you could convince yourself there’s nothing and that nothing tastes like fries and you can hold these fries, feel them, throw them around, up, and into your mouth like popcorn. How are we able to harness a memory and replicate the feeling of accidentally cutting ourselves as well as part of the pain? Isn’t it scary how delusional we could become if we one day wake up with the same mental fortitude we had in our dreams only choosing to believe what we allow ourselves to and experiencing it to the point that despite how those around us might do their best to convince us of our delusion, we choose to keep in it because to us it’s as real as, well whatever we’ll choose to define as real at that point.
I wish someone could come around and tell us all the secrets of life. I’m not sure we’ll be around long enough to figure out all of this. Maybe someone did and I’m just too lazy to look it up online. Maybe they were onto something and the secret organization that controls the world had to “take care of them”. Maybe we don’t have to go that far in the end. If you can convince yourself that you’re eating a slice of cake while you sleep, maybe when you wake, you can take some of that mental fortitude and convince yourself to do that assignment you’ve been procrastinating on. Maybe all these dreams are just God’s way of showing us that if we believe in something strong enough, it can become real. That version of ourselves we see in our minds. Maybe not that person you see yourself with, but someone. You know what, sure, why not, maybe that person too. Maybe if we just believed in ourselves just a little bit more all these fantasies of ourselves would manifest themselves. Just something for you to think about over the week.