Thought Experiment

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

A man had a dream he was a butterfly. In the dream he felt with his whole heart that he was a butterfly. Then he woke up and realized he was a man.

But then a thought occurred: why couldn’t he just as easily be a butterfly having an intensely real dream that he was a man?

Trippy, right?

This mind twister by Daoist philosopher Zhuangzi makes you question if our perceptions are always truly reflective of what is real. For instance:

I perceive something to be important. Could it actually be unimportant?

I perceive something to be impossible. Could it actually be possible?

I perceive that person to be wrong. Could they actually be right?

I perceive this thing about myself to be unacceptable. Could this actually be acceptable?

Isn’t it mind blowing to consider how perceptions are so highly fluid in their substance, but how solidly they create our reality?