Are we butterflies or computer games?



a close up of a butterfly on a flower: Tiger butterflies in Hong Kong. Photo: Martin Williams


© SCMP
Tiger butterflies in Hong Kong. Photo: Martin Williams

“Once Zhuang Zhou dreamt he was a butterfly, a butterfly flitting and fluttering around, happy with himself and doing as he pleased. He didn’t know he was Zhuang Zhou. Suddenly he woke up, and there he was, solid and unmistakable Zhuang Zhou. But he didn’t know if he was Zhuang Zhou who had dreamt he was a butterfly or a butterfly dreaming he was Zhuang Zhou.”

– the Zhuangzi

We are all nothing more than a computer game, according to tech billionaire Elon Musk. As he famously put it during a conference in 2016, “There’s a one in billions chance we’re in base reality.”

Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.

Personally, I prefer being a butterfly than a computer simulation. But with that kind of probability, can’t we

Read More