Life is But a Dream

Post date: Apr 23, 2011 5:53:05 PM

When I was in college, I took a class where I was required to read works by Chinese philosopher Zhuangzi. A number of my fellow students fell in love with one particular work: "Zhuangzi Dreamed He Was a Butterfly" (莊周夢蝶). Zhuangzi contemplates whether he is indeed Zhuangzi who dreams he is butterfly, or if in fact he is a butterfly who dreams he is Zhuangzi.

At the time I kind of scoffed at Zhuangi's idea because I had a more negative outlook on life and I thought all those students were annoying, so anything they liked was stupid. (Thankfully I'm not so pessimistic these days!)

But it's actually a really cool notion, and it's been explored many times since Zhuangzi, too.

One my favorite of H.P. Lovecraft's stories, "Through the Gates of the Silver Key," tells the tale of Randolph Carter, who begins dreaming he is a being a different dimension, only for those dreams to became reality. Recently the movie Inception explored the concept of controlling and shaping dream worlds, and it is suggested that the film's protagonist Dom Cobb's entire reality is only a dream.

So, maybe life is but a dream after all! But, as my wife and I were discussing the other day, if that's the case, we don't want to wake up. If I'm dreaming at this moment, I can't imagine that anything in the "real world" can possibly be as nice as what I have here in my dreams.