Dr. Johnson, when confronted with the argument that this reality isn’t the real one, said “I refute it thusly” and stubbed his toe. (Or was it that he banged his hand on the table?) This is enough for some of us. It isn’t enough for most. But all evidence – based on our own perceptions but more especially based on hundreds of years of observations backed by the scientific method – show indeed that this is reality, that there isn’t another reality. The problem is that we human beings want their to be another reality so much, or feel there is another reality so much, that we are unwilling to look at the evidence most of the time. Or, when confronted with this evidence, we twist it to our desires for an alternate reality, and pretend that this evidence justifies our feelings (rather than our reason), just like the people of the (not so new) New Thought do with quantum physics.
Though we now know that the desk I am sitting at, the chair I am sitting on, and the keyboard I am typing at are made of the same constituent parts, these parts are no more reality for me than ghosts. They only become reality when someone goes about splitting up one of these parts and making a bomb. Though we are seeing the tiniest pieces of the universe now, these are no more proof of an alternate reality than anything else human beings have experienced. Of course there is one substance at the bottom of everything, as there is only one universe (that we have experienced, anyway) so at bottom everything must be made of the same stuff. But to the average human being, that is not discernible (without a great deal of help in the form of technology and hundreds of years of scholarship) nor is it relevant. The atomic composition of my bed frame doesn’t change the fact that it fucking kills when I slam my toe into it, as I do every six months or so.
I can’t prove to you that this world doesn’t exist or that it isn’t really real or there aren’t other, equally important realities. We cannot disprove something that doesn’t exist simply because it doesn’t exist. One can never stop asking unanswerable questions about something that doesn’t exist. However, since an alternative reality has never been observed in a laboratory setting, it stands to reason (for those of inclined to reason over our feelings) that such an alternative reality does not exist. I’d put the probability at 99.9 % with the .9 repeating.
And we will never know for sure because:
- we can’t see what happened before the big bang
- we can’t see beyond the reaches of the universe
- we can’t see after death – of course we can do this, as we see exactly what happens to dead animals every day, but many of us if not most of us believe there is something in us that transcends death and makes it through to somewhere else and we who are still living can’t see what happens to this 21 grams of us, if it actually existed
- most people cannot tell the difference between their rational thoughts, their emotions, and their body – for example, many people interpret the fact that there body is cold as a sign that there is a presence in the room with them
As a result, I cannot prove to you that other worlds don’t exist. But I am convinced. And I have absolutely no fears that I will be wrong. If I do have a transcendent soul and I survive the decay of my body, then I will be proven wrong. But until then…