The Situation

So there I was, convinced that I was now convinced of nothing.

If this was the situation, that one could not trust one’s experience of “reality”, then how on earth does one get out of the situation?

To make this clearer, imagine you woke up trapped in someone else’s body. The analogy is not exact, but go with it. You’re now suddenly this other person that everyone around you expects you to be. And you can certainly “go with it” quite naturally for some reason, for that it what it means to be that person or character, and to take over their body.

The thing, though, is that you know the situation! It is all going on, and you seem to be doing their thing, and everyone is cool with it, but you also know at all times, that wtf! You even find yourself thinking their thoughts! This is a sticky, strange loop.

In this situation, speaking of this to anyone “there” is going to get you in the loony bin. In truth, all your experiences are suspect, for not only is it the situation that you’re not really that person, but the whole world is now equally suspect.

Are these other people also in the same situation? Are they even “real”? Where are you? Is it a dream? A simulation? Magic? Madness?

What to do?

And just to make things really clear about how unclear this situation is, let us examine a more common one.

William S. Really, or Will as we’ll call him, goes to sleep tonight. In his dream, he sees himself as a young professional named Adam, who has a great life, and is finding himself chatting with his friends Brad and Jane.

They’re talking of many things, mainly that despite their apparent material success, they really didn’t seem to be all that happy. You know, the typical dating issues, and what not. As usual, Brad being brad, and rather codependent, he was talking about all his woes with the wife…

And Jane seemed particularly distraught that afternoon, as she drank her wine a bit too quickly in her angst and anxiety with her whole situation with her dad. She just had to disown him, she’d decided – it was too much for her now…

Now, let’s pause. A few questions I’d like you to consider:

Question 1. Does Jane know she is not a real person?

Question 2. Does Brad know he’s not real? Does Adam?

Question 3. Is Adam special in this situation?

Question 4. If Adam realizes he is in a dream, what can he do to wake up?

Question 5. What, if any, is the actual reality of this situation?

We will examine these and related questions in much more detail as we travel this journey together. It is probably useful, however, to pause for a little while, and really ponder the situation, and try to answer these questions for yourself.