Part 2. Life as a Dream

Science tells us that the world is not what it seems. The way the story is told and interpreted is that the world is `really' more like mathematics, like symmetries and information. Solid objects, for example, acquire their perceived sense of solidity from a rather limited set of interactions we have with them, within a restricted range of length and time scales. We are interpreting the results of those interactions by projecting solidity, etc., onto the structures we interact with, but such a projection is nothing more than a convenient trick, shaped by biological evolution to let us function optimally in a complex world.

This insight, formulated as the world being `really' mathematical, is limited in various ways, not in the least by the fact that we think about mathematics as formulas scribbled on pieces of paper. Thanks to computer technology, such a static view has now been replaced by a more dynamic view of what a mathematical world really can look like, feel like, taste like, through virtual reality, in itself nothing more than an immersive way of dealing with mathematical structures.

Through playing with virtual reality the message can be driven home very vividly: the world is not what it seems. Older metaphors that point in the same direction are: viewing life as a dream, or looking at the seemingly so concrete reality around us as having the fluidity of a reflection of the moon in a pond. Yet other metaphors: the world as a story, as a stage play, or more recently, as a movie.

In the following chapters, I have tried to explore some of the modern implications of viewing life as a dream.

Forward to next page

Back to previous page

Return to title page