DREAMS – what are they? Well, whether you realize it at the time or not, your dreams are comprised of a collection of things you’ve seen and experienced already; places you’ve been to, emotions you’ve experienced, people you’ve met, known and lived with. Dreams are far more than something you experience while you sleep; a dream can be an idea, a thought, a mental image generated in the depths of your mind at any time of day.
But how much time do we spend in this dream world? Do we exist in a false reality for part, most or all of our lives? Let’s find out, in our list of 4 reasons why you are living in a dream.
4: You Can’t Prove Anything Exists
Just because something can’t be proven isn’t a reason to believe in something, unless you’re a subscriber to Fox News, in which case knock yourself out kids!.. But since every human’s idea of reality is conceived in the mind, how can you prove that anything outside of your own head even exists at all? How do you know that the world around you is not just a dream created by your imagination? Well, some would say that because we can experience the world around us using our senses, we are able to judge what is and isn’t real. But these senses are just signals interpreted by your brain, and your brain can be tricked. Optical illusions, audio illusions, fake sensations of touch, taste and smell, can all be generated to make you believe something that isn’t true. Nerve signals might tell you that you’re sat in hot water when really you’re in an ice bath. You can believe a color is light when in another context it looks dark. You can’t rely on senses alone to determine what is real and what is not. The only thing that exists, of which you are certain of, is YOU. Based on this knowledge it is therefore relevant to ask; if your whole life was a dream, how could you tell? The human mind is capable of creating some astonishing experiences which we know don’t exist in reality, so it seems impossible to know at any one moment whether you are existing or you are in fact dreaming. Either way, your brain would have a hard time telling the difference – especially if it had never experienced true reality in the first place.
3: You Dream All Day
So let’s snap back to reality for just a brief moment and assume that we don’t exist in one giant Imaginary World. Let’s take it as a given that there is a world outside of our own heads and it’s the one we perceive via our senses.
Is it possible that we still might experience most of our life through dreams? Human beings zone out for between 13 and 70 percent of the day, depending on what we’re doing. During this time our body runs on autopilot, leaving the mind to free itself and daydream rather than paying attention to the more important task of driving that car, milking that cow or tenderly caressing your now angry lover.
These periods of daydreaming are supposedly when our most creative thoughts take place, but the fact that we spend anywhere between a ¼ and ¾ of our conscious life in such a state suggests that even when we’re awake, we’re still spending most of our time mentally existing in a dream reality of our own mind’s creation. Unless something major is happening which we really need to know about, like a cool explosion or Momma June charging towards us with lust in her eyes, it seems that our brains ignore what our senses are telling us about the world for much of the day, instead preferring to enjoy the recollection of previous thoughts and memories. For that is what daydreaming is – nostalgia. During these periods of detachment from the reality around us, we combine old memories and past emotions with new thoughts and creative takes on them. You think about how that old high school girlfriend might never have left you if only you could’ve grown a sweet-ass moustache. You ponder where you’ll be in ten years’ time based on where you were ten years ago and where you are today. You create little scenes and fantasy worlds which exist nowhere else but your own head, but which are based entirely on things you’ve physically observed or experienced. Even if you spend your days imagining what it’d be like to give a unicorn a reach-around inside the tomb of Genghis Khan, you’re basing that on artistic depictions of unicorns, photographs of real tombs you’ve probably seen in this world, and romantic encounters you’ve watched. When your brain daydreams it’s like a whole bunch of member-berries have come together and juiced themselves just for your pleasure. And this is a world you inhabit for a surprisingly large part of your life.
But regardless of how long you spend daydreaming, it does make you wonder how much of reality you miss out on while you’re doing this. What might we observe if we forced ourselves to spend less time daydreaming and more time taking in our natural surroundings, the emotions of others and the intriguing reality of the world around us? How would this change our perceptions?
For example; was your day today really as bad as you thought? Is this emotion based on what actually happened to you, or is it based on the fact you recalled a bunch of bad memories while you were daydreaming? And if so, how much has your negative perception of the past affected your actions later in the day? Your apparent bad day might now turn into a real one if you take your anger out on the cat or your boyfriend. So in this instance, your dreams would have become reality; and all because you believed them. The Human Brain edits our past memories every time we remember them. So if this is true, and we spend large parts of our day indulging in these daydream memories and having our lives ruled by them, doesn’t that mean that our brains are not just capable of editing the past, but they can also edit the present?
2: It’s Someone Else’s Dream
Just take a minute to think about how much of our world today is made up of other people’s dreams and ideas. How much of it is shaped by opinions, faith, predictions and theories. Political leaders take power because they promise to tackle threats we’ve been persuaded to believe in. Religions convince you of their take on reality and what you must do to survive the wrath of their many-tentacled God. Companies sell you products because they trick you into thinking you need them. Movies sell you fictionalized versions of human beings going on an adventure that never happened… unless it’s Space Jam, because that was totally based on true events.
It’s a stone cold fact that most of our lives are determined by the dreams of others; dreams people had in those moments of creative reflection we mentioned at the beginning, dreams which turned to reality once they acted on them. But ask yourself, why do buy into them? Let’s look at employment for example. Why do you work that 9 to 5 job? Of course you need food and shelter blah-blah, but beyond that, why do you do it? It’s because you believe you should. It’s to pay for the goods, services and lifestyle you’ve been told you need thanks to those who dreamed of capitalism. It’s because you’ve been sold the idea that hard work equals a good person. That more money means more freedom. But that’s someone else’s dream. You didn’t come up with that. The value of the money in your bank account and the value of the things you buy may seem fixed, even when they fluctuate, but in truth they are completely arbitrary. They are based on values dreamed up by those who sell them, who manufacture them, who pull their raw materials from the ground. These values have a basis in people, in their idea of how much they should earn from this particular act, and it is entirely up to you whether you choose to buy into these realities. I don’t think the new Mac-book Pro is worth several hundred dollars more than the last one just because it’s lost its USB ports. I don’t think Beats are any better than headphones one tenth of the price made from the same components. I don’t believe these things are worth what they’re charged, so based on the experiences in my reality; I have decided not to buy them. That’s the kind of person I am. But then again, aren’t mine and your personalities just a product of someone else’s dream too? And I’m not just talking about that time your old man dreamt about shacking up with your mom.
Your definitions of good and bad, truth and lies, fair and unjust – they’ve all been influenced by the dreams of your parents, friends, teachers, strangers. Your entire personality was formed through existing within the world of dreams you were born into. But this situation isn’t permanent. The world only exists as it does because people believe in the dreams of others, they believe in the systems which hold it together, allowing it to become a reality. If you stop believing and start to form your own dreams of how your life should be, what you stand for and where your future lies, maybe that’s the key to waking up. The key to freedom. The only way to achieve true happiness. I wonder if it’s like a magical fairy situation. If you don’t like the dream you’re living in and you say it doesn’t exist often enough, maybe it doesn’t.
1: We Have No Free Will
The only way it is possible to act without the influence of others is to live in a world where only you exist. No people, no food, no nothing. And even then you’ll still be under the influence of your own biological self. But how does this relate to the idea of living in a dream? If you exist in someone else’s dream it stands to reason that you would have no control over how you exist. Decisions on what you eat, who you love and where you spend your days would be the responsibility of someone or something else, but in order to retain the illusion of choice you wouldn’t know this. Your impulsive actions would seem like they were borne of your own mind, your own desires, your own free will. But free will doesn’t exist…and we have proof. Neuroscientific studies involving fMRI scans (Functional MRI) of the human brain have shown that our minds make decisions for us way before we do. We basically trick ourselves into believing that our actions are determined by conscious choices, when in reality the areas of the brain responsible for decision-making only become active after the decision has already been made by other parts of your brain via sub-conscious processes you are completely unaware of. Sometimes there can be as long as seven seconds between the unconscious decision being made and your own conscious decision registering. And while we don’t know exactly what drives these decisions or why our brain feels the need to trick us, what we do know is that this leaves even less room for free will to exist. After all, if part of your reality is controlled by the dreams of others, another part is spent dreaming about your past, and the rest is controlled by some biological processes you have no control over…what’s left for you to do? Just stand there gawping and accept your fate? If the human experience truly is devoid of free will, wouldn’t that make it eerily similar to what it’d be like if we were living in someone else’s dream?
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