Am I, or am I not?

Keven Seidel muses about our existence and what this world is all about.

Am I, or am I not?

Not so long ago I heard about that girl in Russia who had spent the entire 17 years of her life underground imprisoned; held captive by some disgusting men that treated her like a slave. When the police liberated the girl and her family, they saw sunlight again after 17 years of darkness. The girl was born underground. It was her first time seeing daylight. From one day to another her complete world suddenly changed.

I should not have read this article… The result was days of confusing, abstract, and philosophical synapse formation in a part of my brain that normally likes to believe in common things. But this article just destroyed my whole view of world.

This girl must have entered a completely different world. She might not even have known or realized that she is captured, that she is not in the “real world.”

So what if there is some superior being that keeps me in a big prison cell and leads me to believe that all the persons and things around me are real? What if everything I call my life is not real and I am just a puppet for the amusement of this superior being? What if the chocolate cake I ate yesterday was a yummy piece of imagination?  What if I myself am just an illusion?

Well, If you watched “Matrix” it might be easier for you to imagine that there can be a “realer” world out there. Think, for example, about Plato’s allegory of the cave: There are people born in a cave and bound on a wall. On the other side of the wall there are steps leading the way to the exit. The dwellers have never seen this exit, but just the light from there that forms shadows in front of the peoples face. And one day, one person decides to cut the bounds and explore the cave. This person finds the exit, goes out and sees the “real world.” He is so excited that he runs back in the cave to tell the others about the world he saw out there, however, they don’t believe him.

So yes, we might all live in a fake world, and there could be the real world out there. But what if outside of this “realer” world is another “more real” world, and another, and another, and another. How can we ever know that everything around us is real?

“Cogito, ergo sum.” It means, “I think, therefore I am.” During my obsessive researching I bumped into this quote from Descartes. He was already questioning the self-existence but proved our existence with the mere statement “I think, therefore I am”. So Descartes said, that there is the possibility that everything around us is unreal and just an illusion, or that there is an evil god who is leading us to believe in all that. But if everything around us is an illusion, then we – as an existent object – are the deceived ones this illusion is made for. And therefore we are. Makes sense.

Anyways, after one week of deep thoughts about being or not being, I just decided that as long as the illusion I am situated in withstands, I can deal with evil gods and caves I live in. And now I will dedicate myself back to more imaginary chocolate cakes!