– written in BERLIN

A few days ago, I was having a drink with a couple of friends. I had just come back to Berlin from a long motorbike tour of Italy and my city appeared more charming and welcoming than ever. Enjoying the unusual warm evening, my friends and I were exchanging stories of our recent summer trips. 

The bartender, a super cute girl in her 30’s, was inexplicably happy to see us and offered us a drink. While tasting that white wine, one of my friends dared to say: – Whatever… Reality does not exist! –

Wait, what?

Other people may have ignored that statement and gone on with their drinking, but these friends of mine love to discuss philosophical and scientific topics — the challenge was accepted.

What about the touch of that glass? The scent of the wine? Its flavor? We all feel those things, no doubt about it. They must be real.

But, couldn’t it all be a mind trick? Your brain is telling you that the surface of the glass is smooth; that the wine smells good; that it tastes delicious. It is only an electrochemical impulse!

How can you be sure that the “out there” is real or that it even exists?

You can’t! Can you?

As far as we know, we may all live in a computer simulation, we could be a brain stored in a lab or a biological battery of an alien energy-producing system.

Yet, my perception, your perception, everybody’s perception, is always real. And that is a reality. A perceived reality. But if you need a mind to define reality — the question remains — does reality exist?

Why do we still place any trust at all in reality as it appears to us, in the world in which we seem to live?

Ok, I will be honest with you: I am not going to solve this in the next two sentences. This is a dilemma that has been around for a couple of years (ahem)… So, I can’t, there is so much to study and to discuss — from Renée Descartes to quantum physics. But isn’t the ability to pose questions what makes us human?

Inspired by this, for instance, I ended up discovering the essay Why the World does not Exist by German philosopher Markus Gabriel, somebody who spends his time with the definitions of “universe”, “world”, “reality”, and the likes.

Yet with the exception of the world, everything else exists; even unicorns on the far side of the moon wearing police uniforms (quote)

Oh c’mon Markus, now unicorns exist, but the world does not?!

I do not like this! I like the world and the universe! I must say, though, I am mesmerized by Markus’ arguments.

You know what I am going to do?

I am going to read Why the World does not Exist, get back here, and prove Markus Gabriel wrong.

So next time that I go drinking with my friends, I will use these new concepts and ideas with that cute bartender. Believe me, she definitely exists.

The “man eating” photo was taken in one of my trips to Mexico.
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Phaedrus’ Journey

by Arturo Robertazzi

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