Monday, July 07, 2014

Life is but a dream

Have you ever had a dream in which you try to write something down to remember it? I don't mean writing down your dream after you wake up. I mean, in the course of a dream, you think of something insightful, or a character says something catchy, and you're afraid you will forget it, so you attempt to record it by writing it down. 
The problem, of course, is the piece of paper and the words you write down are part of the very same dream. That's just as unstable, as evanescent, as everything else in the dream. What you write in a dream is just a figment of your imagination. The writing on the paper only exists in your conscious memory. If you start writing in a dream, the sentences begin to fade way before you complete them. The words only the page only exist to the degree that you are thinking about them. The moment your attention shifts, they vanish. And that's the thing about dreams. The scenes constantly change.
In principle, physical reality is more objective. More stable. It has durable objects. 
Ironically, though, physicalism is a lot like idealism. They might seem to be polar opposites, but atheism erases the distinction. According to physicalism, logic is all in the brain. Math is all in the brain. Morality is all in the brain.
But when people begin to develop dementia or brain cancer, the logic, math, and morality begin to disappear. It might as well be a dream, or subjective idealism, where something exists for only so long as you are conscious of it. Reality is the awareness of reality. 
If there is no God, if matter is all there is, then temporary brains are hard to distinguish from dreams. Grounding logic, math, and morality in the brain is like inscribing a book in a dream. As soon as the brain begins to deteriorate, the "world" of math, morality, and logic slips away like fleeting scenes in a dream. 

1 comment:

  1. Wow what a vivid illustration.
    On a tangent note, I've noticed at times I wake up from a dream where I thought it was something profound I thought or solved and started to grab a pen and paper but when I think about what was supposedly very profound in my dream, it start not making sense...I'm sure I'm not the only one!