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Reality is dead. And we have killed it.

May Nietzsche forgive us (that is, me) for disrespectfully paraphrasing him, but it’s time to proclaim that "Reality is dead. And we've killed it. " In other words, the illusion that we have created has become so real that we have forgotten that it is an illusion, and, for that reason, we have forgotten reality. And forgetting is a way of killing.

Allow me to share an example. Recently, when reading the cover of an important newspaper of a South American country going through one of its many political and economic crises, I found the following: the main story of that newspaper was not about the crisis, nor about potential measures to solve it, but about what the final episode of Game of Thrones would be or should be.

In other words, the fate of fictional characters living in imaginary realms occupied more space, with more explanations, and with more photographs than the fate of real people living in a real country and facing a real crisis. But, when competing against Game of Thrones, reality, however dark, moves to a second place, or vanishes completely.

Obviously, the topic is not new. About 2300 years ago, Plato already warned in his famous Allegory of the Cave that, under the right conditions, we, human beings, will confuse illusion with reality and we will live all our lives believing that “This is the reality” and that we have learned something about reality, when it is only a fantasy.

But in the case of the Allegory of the Cave, for the illusion to work, the people inside the cavern must be prisoners held by chains in their positions, so that they were always looking in the same direction.

And a fire was needed behind the prisoners and it was also necessary for someone, using that fire, to cast shadows on the opposite wall of the cave, so that the prisoners could see those shadows (believing that those shadows were all of reality). 

More than two millennia later, the cave is no longer necessary, and we don’t need people creating shadows. At present, we ourselves, without the need of any physical chains, constantly project images (shadows) in front of our eyes, using all kinds of screens and artifacts. At the same time, we are the ones who create those images (simulations) that then we take as more real than reality itself.

We ourselves are our own prisoners, and, even worst, prisoners of our own illusions, without knowing that we are dealing with illusions or that we are our own captors. For that reason, we no longer know who we are, and that extreme alienation leads us to a weaponized narcissism that further separates us from others and even from the universe.

As writer Emma Rubio said in a recent article: "The sad thing about all this is that, faced with this simulation, we no longer know what to do with the real world, we no longer see the need for that residue called ‘existence’ ".

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