I remember my first encounter with expanding my mind when I was a freshman in college. My philosophy class and I read about Plato's famous "Allegory of the Cave. "
In this story, Plato sets up the story of two men who are chained in a dark cave from birth. The men cannot move their heads or bodies. All they know is the cave, the shadows of objects thrown on the cave wall from the fire, and the voices of people walking behind them in the cave.
Both men are eventually freed. He finally is able to see the fire behind him, as well as the objects being held by people walking by. He and his fellow man walk outside and discover water, animals, trees, plants, dirt, and so forth.
In the end, one of the men wants to continue learning about this "new" world. The other man would prefer to stay blind and return to the comfort of the cage. This got me thinking: maybe the world we know right now is just us chained, and we need to expand our minds and get out of the cave!
That's some pretty trippy stuff right there, isn't it?
I know. It's a crazy concept to wrap your head around.
It's comforting to know I'm not the only one who sometimes thinks about insane theories of the world and humanity, often times making my brain hurt and my body numb. Here are a few other theories thought of by some other philosophical and deep-thinkers on this recent Reddit thread.
1. Perhaps I Am Actually Stuck in my Own Mind
Perhaps my world is filled with people whose job is to make me feel normal, but I am actually mentally challenged and don't know it. Someone has set up a task I do every weekday from 9-5, to make me feel like I have an actual job. My coworkers are in on it. My boyfriend is actually my babysitter and checks on me every day. I don't actually know how to drive my car, but people stay clear of me, making me feel as if I know how to make an unprotected left turn or parallel park.
It's very Truman Show-esque, isn't it?
2. Upside Down
Imagine you are lying on the grass, staring at the sky. Suddenly, you realize you're actually stuck on an upside down ceiling and everything in the sky underneath you is so far away and at your feet. What we consider to be the floor, the thing that grounds us, and the unknown ceiling that is above us is actually the other way around.
3. As Small as a Grain of Sand
I know I am not the only person on this Earth who has truly taken a moment to pause and contemplate how tiny and small a human really is in the scheme of the universe. This is an insanely humbling realization. This makes you feel like all your problems are not as grand and grave as you thought.
4. The Universe's Funeral
It is strange to think about the inevitable death and destruction of the Sun, Earth, and everything we know as the universe. One such theory proposes that the real universe is equivalent to a boiling pot and our universe is merely a bubble beginning to form at the bottom of the pot. Our universe actually represents a false phase, a temporary state. Once the bubble pops, everything we know will disappear instantaneously into...what?
Into nothing. This leads to another strange thought. What does this "nothingness" even look like? Hopefully, we will not be alive for the universe's destruction, as I have my fingers crossed it doesn't happen for a very long time.
5. You Thought It, It Happened
Another sad but interesting theory is that every possible abominable thing that you can think of has probably happened to someone at sometime, somewhere. It's a horrifying and gruesome thought, but at the same time it makes sense. I also enjoy my own positive spin on it, which is every possibly kind thing you can think of has also happened. Phew. That makes me feel a tad better.
6. Turing Test: Are You Human Enough?
If a computer is smart enough to pass the turing test, it is determined that the computer exhibits intelligent behavior comparable and undistinguished to that of a human. Therefore, that would mean the possibility exists for a computer to be smart enough to know how to fail it, and pretend that it isn't able to pass the turing test. I personally don't need a computer to make me feel any more stupid. We have Einstein and Stephen Hawking for that already.
7. Roko's Basilisk
According to this theory, an artificial intelligence from the future will punish those who have not and are not helping with bringing about its existence. Some people even believe that just merely knowing about it can lead to a hypothetical punishment. This AI can be kind and friendly...as long as you help its actuality.
I now think I am going to go back to college and study science and computer science. You know, just in case.
Another theory discusses the possibility that we may think we know the relationship between anesthesia and pain, but it could be slightly off. We do know that anesthesia paralyzes us, causes us to stop feeling distress, prevents us from creating new memories, and knocks us unconscious. But what if while we are under anesthesia and paralyzed, we are still able to feel everything? A doctor could be cutting us up, and we could be very well aware of it. Although internally we are screaming in pain, we would have no way to express it, therefore our doctor would have no way of knowing. Then after, we are unable to remember it because, as we know, anesthesia blocks us from forming new memories.
This freaks me out. What if I was truly awake and stuck in my own head and screaming from the pain when the doctors fixed my deviated septum a few years back? I only remember waking up and not remembering anything at all. I'm scared.
9. Dead For Christmas
One of the saddest theories is the thought that not everybody who read this post will be alive by Christmas. Although it is horribly morbid to think about, it makes me appreciate the time I have with the people I love while I can.
10. Do You Have What it Take to be the Next God?
This one is actually my personal favorite. I will probably be thinking about it for a couple of weeks. According to the short story called The Egg by Andy Weir, when a person dies and meets with God, God will explain to him that he is going to be reincarnated into another life, and tells him that he has had lots and lots of past-lives. This time, this man will be born a Chinese girl in 540 AD. The man is confused as to why he is going back in time, and God explains that time is only a manmade concept, and therefore doesn't apply anywhere else.
The man then figures that if he has had many past-lives in the past, that perhaps he has interacted with himself as another life at one point. God confirms this and then reveals that the whole point of the universe is for him, solely him to mature. And that this man is actually everybody and anybody. Any time he was terrorizing another person, he was really only terrorizing himself. Finally, God tells him he is a fetus and will mature to become a god as well one day.
Andddd now my brain hurts. A lot. It's almost painful to think this much. I am unsure how a philosophy major can do it all day, because I now need to shut my brain off for a bit.