Sometimes, for brief moments in time, I experience a mild sensation of derealization, the feeling that my experience is not real. This isn't always linked to intense, peak experiences (deaths, travels to exotic locations, etc.), but often happens during banal moments in my life - walking the streets at night, taking in the neon lights and the signage of the urban setting.
I think this is attributable to two things: one, a mild decrease in the acuity of my sense as I age (particularly my vision), and two, the increasing amount of time that I spend in front of a screen. Since most of my work and passions involve screen-time, the screen has become the primary conduit through which I interface with reality.
In philosophy, a quale is a unit of perception: the colour red, the taste of salt on your tongue, etcetera. I wonder if "realness," as it is experienced by humans, is some summation of these individual quales, that, together, makes us feel "real" and present. Increasingly, I feel a thin film of unreality placed over some of my experiences in the world, even though I practice mindfulness and try to always "be" where I am.
Maybe Nick Bostrom is right. Maybe this all just a simulation...
people I admire
Bret Easton Ellis