Once upon a time, I thought it through and came to the conclusion that I don’t exist. I don’t actually remember now how I determined that and, in retrospect, I suspect that my logic may have been faulty. Evidence seems to suggest that I actually do exist. For one thing, I seem to be physically real because I can feel my fingers on the keyboard, and my wrist itches because a mosquito bit me yesterday. Also, I can see my reflection in the window, since it’s dark outside and light inside. That seems to be a pretty good indication that I exist. And if I Google my name,

According to the internet, this is me and Gottlieb

the internet says I exist. (It also says that I was born in Russia in 1863, married someone named Gottlieb, had seven children, and died in North Dakota on February 25, 1939. That’s very interesting.)Then again, the internet has been known to lie before. And actually, I also really can’t claim that my reflection in the window is reliable proof of my existence; a reflection is by definition not real. I definitely can’t claim sensory perception as proof that I’m real, because that could just be my imagination.

This is Descartes, the guy who thought he was.

Of course, I could use Descartes’ logic to demonstrate my existence by pointing out that I think, therefore I am. The problem with that idea is that I can’t really prove to anyone else that I think. In fact, there are several people who would gladly testify that I don’t think. (To be specific, those people are my siblings)Nobody else can conclusively prove that I’m not just a robot with artificial intelligence (“Or artificial stupidity”, I’m sure my siblings would say) or some kind of elaborate illusion, or a figment of someone’s imagination. And if nobody else can prove my existence beyond a doubt, then it would be really jumping to conclusions for me to assume that I’m real.

It really does seem to me, though, that I’m conscious and sentient. But if I’m actually not real, how would I even know what real consciousness and sentience feels like? Maybe I just think that I can think because I don’t know what thinking really is.

The big question is, if I’m imaginary, who’s the one doing the imagining? It can’t be me; imaginary people aren’t capable of independent thought.

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