1523. Dreams of Being Free

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It’s still Philosophy Week!

Today’s comic is a sequel to comic 971, and uses the same imagery from the Zhuangzi: a person dreaming they are a butterfly, and asking if maybe they are the butterfly dreaming they are a person.

Metaphor and analogy are powerful tools of the philosopher, and the history of philosophical thought is littered with beautiful imagery and charming thought experiments. Dreaming of being a butterfly is one such thing.

The imagery of a caterpillar surrounding itself with a hard, protective covering and then bursting from that cocoon in flight, beautiful, is incredibly resonant to me. Butterflies cannot be weighed down by their past baggage. Butterflies turn isolation into strength. Butterflies are real life phoenixes.

In comic 971, we concluded that Zhuang Zhou was not, in fact, a butterfly, by using neuroscience. In this comic, we do it again, this time with sad feelings. The conclusion is the same though. Zhuang Zhou, if you are reading this, you are a human, not a butterfly.

I’m so sorry.