“Reality is what you think it is.”
Have you ever thought about how much of reality is actually as you perceive it? As humans, we will only ever be able to see the world from a human perspective. And because of this, certain details of our reality will seem incredibly real, all the while being totally false.
Here are five theories posed by scientists and philosophers that shake the foundation of reality as we know it:
Presentism is a theory regarding time. It states that both the future and the past simply do not exist, that they are imaginary in the minds of humans. The only truly “real” thing is the present that we are currently existing in now.
Similar in a way to quantum mechanics, this theory says that things do not exist until we need them to exist. For example, this article will no longer exist once you close out of it and stop reading it. It will only exist again once you seek it out and open it back up again.
And the future cannot exist simply because time cannot exist both before and after it’s happened.
Brain in a vat theory
The basis of this theory posits that there is no possible way for humans to confirm that anything actually exists outside of our own consciousness. Consciousness is the only thing we know to be true, thus it is possible that we are simply brains in a vat that are being controlled and manipulated by an outside force, such as aliens or other humans.
If you’re having trouble thinking about this concept, try to remember the movie “The Matrix.” In this movie, the main character’s entire life is a computer simulation controlled by an evil artificial intelligence. It is only when he is taken out of this simulation that he realizes what his reality truly is: his body is stored in a vat, plugged into a giant computer system.
The multiverse theory has become popular in recent years as more and more people begin to speculate on just how big our universe is and whether or not there actually is only one universe out there. It states that there are an infinite number of universes similar to our own, each one having subtle or massive differences. For example, in this world I am a writer, but in another universe I am president of the United States. There are an infinite number of alternate realities, each one playing out somewhat differently than the next.
The theory behind ‘great glaciation’ says that our universe will eventually run out of energy, resulting in the entire universe becoming frozen and desolate. Essentially, because there is a finite amount of energy in the universe, and heat loss is a natural law that acts in the universe, eventually particles will completely stop vibrating, slowing down so much that everything in the universe will simply stop moving.
The great philosopher Plato once argued that everything humans perceive as reality is actually just an imitation of its true form. Mankind does not see the world as it truly is. There is, however, a world beyond our perception in which everything exists in “perfect” form. He says that our greatest chance at seeing these perfect forms lies within philosophy.
Plato was also one of the first people to explain that everything in the world is made of a single material, just that the material is rearranged to create different forms of matter. After scientists discovered the existence of atoms and molecules, Plato’s theory was proven true to some degree.