In this amazing thought experiment, Alan Watts questions what you might do if you had all of the power of God.
By Alan Watts, Author of This Is It
I wonder, I wonder, what you would do if you had the power to dream at night, any dream you wanted to dream.
And you would of course be able to alter your time sense and slip, say, 75 years of subjective time into 8 hours sleep. You would, I suppose, start out by fulfilling all your wishes. You could design for yourself what would be the most ecstatic life. Love affairs, banquets, dancing girls, wonderful journeys, gardens, music beyond belief.
And then after a couple of months, of this sort of thing at 75 years a night, you’d be getting a little taste for something different. And you would move over to a more adventurous dimension. Where there were sudden dangers involved, and the thrill of dealing with dangers. And you could rescue princesses from dragons. And go on dangerous journeys. Make wonderful explosions, and blow them up. Eventually get into contests with enemies.
And after you’d done that for some time, you’d think up a new wrinkle. To forget that you were dreaming. So that you would think it was all for real. And to be, anxious about it. Because it would be so great when you woke up.
And then you’d say, ‘Well, like children who dare each other on things. How far out could you get?’ What could you take? What dimension of being lost, of abandonment of your power, what dimension of that could you stand?
You could ask yourself this ’cause you know you’d eventually wake up. And after you’d gone on doing this, you see, for some time, you’d suddenly find yourself sitting around in this room with all your personal involvements, problems, et cetera, talking with me.
How do you know that’s not what you’re doing? Could be? Because after all, what would you do if you were God? If you were, what there is, the Self. In ‘The Upanishads’, the basic text of Hinduism, one of them starts out saying, ‘In the beginning was the Self.’ and looking around it said ‘I am.’ And thus it is that everyone to this day, when asked ‘Who is there?’ says ‘It is I.’
If you were, God, and in this sense that you knew everything, you would be bored.
Because if looking at it from another way, we push technology through its furthest possible development, and instead of a dial telephone on one’s desk, a more complex system of buttons, and one touch would give you anything you wanted. Aladdin’s Lamp. You’d eventually have to introduce a button labelled ‘Surprise’.
Because all perfectly known futures, as I pointed out, are past. They have happened, virtually. It is only the true future, is a surprise.
So if you were God, you would say to yourself, ‘Man, get lost.’
Also Watch: The Dream of Life, by Alan Watts