Thought Experiment 198: Dreaming of Life

Here’s another Question for you. I’d love to know what your answer is!

Question 198: If you could pass your whole life cared for in every way as you slumbered peacefully, entranced by wonderful dreams, would you do so?

Of course, my first thought is of  The Matrix, where people live their whole lives in a virtual world. But in that movie they never knew it and it was against their will so they could be used as batteries. Also it wasn't always pleasant for them.

In this thought experiment, you get to choose to go into the sensory deprivation tank where you'll live out your whole life. In this scenario your life will be whatever you wish and can be completely positive. Also, once you're in the tank and dreaming, you won't remember that the 'real' world exists.

So would you do it?

My initial reaction is to say Hell Yes! Life in the real world is tough, painful, sometimes sad and lonely. So yes, a part of me would love to say yes. I wouldn't have to die, or if I did I could make sure it was peacefully at a very old age after a fantastic life full of love, happiness and laughter, surrounded by loved ones.

But after a minute I realize this is not such a good idea. First, I see it this way, I think we make our own purpose in life. Living so that others have to care for me and I am a drain on society isn't a good thing. Especially if I'm not giving anything back to them. That's the real problem. One goal I have in my life is to leave the world a better place than it was when I was born. I can't really do that if I'm dreaming my life away.

It also brings up the question. Are you really living if you're all in your head? I think if you thought that your dream was reality it wouldn't matter to you. You wouldn't know you were dreaming so it would be your reality.

Wasn't there a movie recently .. I can't remember what it was. It was Repo Men. It was an okay movie, but it sort of had to do with this exact idea. I don't want to give the plot away, though.

So what about you? Would you dream your life away if you could, in bliss? Why or why not?




  1. Misery is an integral part of the human condition. Have you played a video game where there is no chance in losing? Lame.

  2. I'm with you in that I would hate to be a burden. On the other hand, no matter how long you live or how much pleasure or suffering you experience there is no sure evidence that anything you see, do, believe, etc. is actually real. Existence is subjective and solipsism leads one to the conclusion that life is pretty lonely and pointless already. The only way to react is to decide how far you want to fall into that hole. You could become a depressive nihilist and kill yourself or overindulge in mind-altering substances, or you could decide to believe in existence and reach any number of conclusions based on some morality of your own creation. I'm not sure if all of that actually means anything when you lump it all together like that, but I tried.
    Personally, I would not mind being able to lucid dream every night, but I would still want to wake to (what I believe is) a shared human experience where I can be instrumental in improving the lives of others.