Miles (5.5) especially quiet as we were getting back in the car after an afternoon riding rides at the zoo. I asked him what he was thinking about. “Oh, nothing.” Then, two minutes later: “Daddy, did you ever feel like everything in the world is just your dreams and the world never really existed?”
A chill went up my spine. At first because it seemed so philosophical, and kind of precocious. But then I realized the chill was one of recognition – I remember having exactly the same thoughts at the same age, and actually becoming kind of obsessed with the idea that I couldn’t prove the reality of my own existence. Took 20 more years to realize that solipsism was actually a whole field of philosophy… the whole brain in a vat thing.
Another minute later: “Yeah, the world is basically a big ball of nothing.” Oh, great, now we’ve bridged into nihilism. Then, at break-neck speed, we snap back into kid territory: “I can’t make my pinky finger wrap around my other finger and I really want it to! … Can we get a dog?”