Many of the movies that have hit the big screen over the last few years share a common subject as part of their storyline. These films question reality-or the real world, as we know it-pointing out that artificially created dream worlds or worlds produced by simulations can actually be quite realistic.
Movies, sequels and TV series like The Matrix, The Matrix Reloaded, The Thirteenth Floor, Harsh Realm, Vanilla Sky, Total Recall, The Truman Show, Strange Days, Dark City, Open Your Eyes, The Frequency, Existenz, and The One all examine the theme of just how seriously wrong we might be about what is reality and what is imagination.
These films also deal with suggestions, thus far represented only as food for thought at scientific gatherings, of how these questions could affect our lives. In The Matrix, for instance, the following dialogue takes place:
What is real? How do you define "real"? If you're talking about your senses-what you feel, taste, smell, or see-then all you're talking about are electrical signals interpreted by your brain.
Doubtless one of the foremost reasons why these films, based on scientific explanations, captivate the attention of millions is the fact that people now question the reliability of the external world's assumptions and preconditions.
These movies' themes had been the focus of philosophical research in the past, though not until the end of the 20th century did they receive the attention they deserved. But now, science has proven the subject this book discusses to be scientific fact, rather than a philosophical hypothesis.