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Fig 2.20 – Butterfly Dream

Text: Page 66 and 67

Butterfly Dream

Zhuangzi tells the famous Butterfly Dream story, which asks how one can know with certainty when one is dreaming or awake or know anything for certain. The story illustrates the distinction between waking, and dreaming is a false dichotomy because reality is relative because no one can prove if one is dreaming or awake. The Butterfly Dream symbolizes impermanence and death because in death one may be as happy as a butterfly, unaware of having been a human being. The Butterfly Dream also raises the question of whether one can trust the senses for knowledge and a higher state of consciousness. A question that would continue to plague psychology throughout its history.

1 comment

  • Michael Kramer

    Butterfly Dream is my favorite symbol because the morphing between insect and human

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