I'm new to metaphysics. So, I apologize if this is an established question.

I've been asking the question, could reality be a projection of another reality?

In geometry, you can project a three dimensional object onto a two dimensional plane.

You can debate whether the images in the two dimensional plane are real or an illusion. However, the primary issue is that points that are connected (or near by) may appear disconnected (or distant) and points that appear connected (or near by) may be disconnected (or distant).

This can be generalized, to allow projection onto three dimensional space and time. And it can be further generalized if we allow non-Cartesian geometry.

If we assume that there are chains of events, then such chains could weave in and out of space and time, closely connecting people and events from completely different places in the world over completely different time periods.

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    I made an edit which you may roll back or further edit. I wonder if you would consider a Platonic Form to be a projection of one reality onto our reality as an example of this? Welcome to Philosophy! Commented Jan 11, 2019 at 4:09
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    Most attempts at a unified theory use extra dimensions which are 'compacted' into tiny spaces and live 'within' our spacetime (String theory does this I think). But my understanding is that there are models that require our 3+1 dimensions to be "inside" other dimensions as a sort of projection. I can't remember where I read this now.
    – Richard
    Commented Jan 11, 2019 at 11:32
  • In metaphysics there is just one Reality. A projection would be part of that Reality as would be its source. Projections of this kind are not metaphysical ideas since they just push 'reality' back in an unstoppable regress. So I'd call your idea scientific, not metaphysical. The film 'Matrix' does not offer solutions to any metaphysical problems. The idea that events could be connected up differently is interesting. . , .
    – user20253
    Commented Jan 11, 2019 at 13:42
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    Consider en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holographic_principle. By that premise our 3-D reality is a projection of another, 2-D reality embedded in our own, but inaccessible to us. The projection doesn't even seem to go in the more logical direction. (This makes Black Holes hilariously close, to me, to Liebniz monads, which generate our image of reality by reflecting it on their surfaces and being connected to some underlying convention of harmony (gravity).) So it really matters what you consider 'a reality' to be.
    – user9166
    Commented Jan 11, 2019 at 19:59
  • Responding to PeterJ, "The film 'Matrix' does not offer solutions to any metaphysical problems.". The Matrix is my second favorite movie, not because of the solutions but because of the questions (and paradoxes). And don't questions lead to the truth? Commented Jan 11, 2019 at 21:33

3 Answers 3


This is indeed a long and well-established topic in metaphysics, going back, in fact, to the dawn of Western philosophy. We typically know it as "Plato's Cave." Arguably, of course, Plato meant it more metaphorically, and less literally than your version, but it's absolutely the same concept.

In Plato's Cave, the world we experience is a projection of a deeper reality, described through the metaphor of shadow images being cast upon the wall of a cave.


Your question doesn't says one reality is the subset of the other. So, I wouldn't agree with your opinion. But if you had changed the question a little, (Eg. Could the reality we believe be a projection of the ultimate reality?) I would certainly say, "Yes".

When you try to connect time with reality there must be some change in reality. And the change itself shows that the stuff you considered as reality is not reality. This is a contradiction because you use the term reality while there is change it. I mean, when you take even a short period you can't say what / which / when is reality.

  • "Did you think of the absurdity when you add time in reality?". No. Time is important. Commented Jan 11, 2019 at 21:42
  • @Abs Spurdle: I didn't use the apt word. Thank you for helping me to edit this answer. Commented Jan 12, 2019 at 1:40

This is the view taken by Plato in his philosophy. That is the phenomenal world reflects in a complex way the ideas, the major ones amongst them being truth, beauty and the good, with the good being pre-eminent.

In Islamic philosophy, the ninety-nine beautiful names of God ('asmu' llahi l-husna) manifest themselves in the world: mercy (al-rahman), compassion (al-rahmat) but also the avenger (al-muntaqim).

One might ask why ninety-nine? And indeed Spinoza asked the same question, and he suggested that a more rational theology, where the attributes of God were infinite, with only two made manifest to us, extension and thought.

The general philosophical term for this view is idealism.

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