Life Is But A Dream?

Does Quantum Mechanics Reveal That Life Is But a Dream?

A radical quantum hypothesis casts doubt on objective reality

By John Horgan (directs the Center for Science Writings at the Stevens Institute of Technology. His books include The End of Science, The End of War and Mind-Body Problems, available for free at For many years he wrote the popular blog Cross Check for Scientific American)

My girlfriend, “Emily,” often tells me her dreams, and I, less often, tell her mine, which are usually too murky and disjointed to share. We try to make sense of our dreams, to find meaning in them. What do they reveal about our fears and desires?

Interpreting dreams is an imperfect, highly subjective art, as Sigmund Freud, in his rare moments of humility, would surely have granted. Dreams are entirely private, first-person experiences, that leave no traces beyond the dreamer’s fallible memory.

And yet making sense of dreams, it occurs to me lately, is not wholly dissimilar from making sense of “reality,” whatever that is. Yes, we all live in the same world. We can compare notes on what is happening, and draw inferences, in a way impossible with dreams.

And yet your experience of the world is unique to you. So is your interpretation of it, which depends on your prior beliefs, yearnings and aversions, and on what matters to you. No wonder we often disagree vehemently, violently, on what has happened and what it means. (