As I have conversations with various self identifying Atheists around the internet, I have managed to find more than one who, in some attempt to make me question what I think I know, assured me I could not prove that I was not dreaming RIGHT NOW.
“You can’t be CERTAIN that God exists! You can’t even be certain you’re awake and not dreaming right now!”
This is one of those bite sized pieces of philosophy which is passed off as “deep” or “heavy,” but is in fact a sign that “something is wrong with people”.
I mean, I get it. It’s rare in dreams to even ask yourself “AM I DREAMING?” You just assume you are not, and go about the dream assuming that the experience is real. So, how do we know that we are NOT dreaming when we are awake and making those same assumptions?
Like, wow, man. What if we are the dream of a lizard on a beach?
What if HE is dreaming US?
The same way I know I am not wet right now. Because I know what it is like to be wet and to be dry. I know waking from dreaming because I have experienced both.
How we know dreams are not reality:
In dreams we perceive stories, events, people and places but we know they are not real and do not reflect perception of reality. The stories are not consistent, the timeline is not consistent. Time and space can change without any rules and there is no universal consistency from one dream to the next or one person’s dream to the next.
It’s the natural laws and consistency of time which helps us to tell dream from reality and it’s the universal perception of reality that helps us to know that it is real or dreams. In a dream, you can just suddenly BE somewhere when you were just somewhere else. Or a week can just have gone by or maybe it’s seven years ago. In waking life, the time stream continues at the same rate, in one direction, and to get into another room you have to get up and walk there. The experience is VERY different and if you actually TRY to think about it, you can easily tell the difference.
In fact, I have had dreams where in I realized I was dreaming. I suddenly became aware of the experience I was having and realized that I was in a dream. It’s not that unusual. It’s called LUCID dreaming. People claim you can do it whenever you want. They have web sites. Google it.
Now, can I convince YOU that you are not asleep right now? I have no idea. Can I convince you that I know I am not dreaming right now? Again, no idea. But I know when I am awake and when I am asleep because I have done both and I can compare them.
So, yes, I can be totally certain I am awake and not dreaming right now. If you want to argue with that point, then maybe you need to drink your coffee a bit stronger, because maybe you haven’t really been experiencing AWAKE quite enough to tell them apart.
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