2500+ years ago, the Buddha already taught that “one should observe how conditioned phenomena is like a dream, an illusion, a bubble, a shadow / reflection, like dew drops, like a lightning flash”, that consequently, one should and would then not be so attached by it (conditioned phenomena) and be agitated by it.
Here is an interesting article about how we might well be in a dream by an Oxford Philosopher Nick Bostrom:
Is your life really your life, or is it actually the dream of a butterfly? Or is it a complex computer simulation indistinguishable from “real” reality? Don’t worry, it’s just a glitch in the Matrix. It happens when they change something.
Questions about the nature of reality weren’t invented by high-as-a-kite college sophomores. Chinese philosopher Zhuangzi noticed sometime around 300 BCE that his dreams of being something other than human (a butterfly, most famously) were indistinguishable from his experience being Zhuangzi. He could not say with certainty that he was Zhuangzi dreaming of being a butterfly rather than a butterfly dreaming of being Zhuangzi.
The whole “reality is an illusion” idea has been kicked around by everyone from Siddhartha to the existentialists. It is Oxford philosopher Nick Bostrom who is most often associated with the idea that we are living in a computer simulation. His premise is based on a series of assumptions:
1). A technological society could eventually achieve the capability of creating a computer simulation that is indistinguishable from reality to the inhabitants of the simulation.
2). Such a society would not do this once or twice. They would create many such simulations.
3). Left to run long enough the societies within the simulations would eventually be able to create their own simulations, also indistinguishable from reality to the sub-simulations inhabitants.
Continued after the jump below