Life is a dream
This question of who (or what) is dreaming who (or what), brought to mind two of my favorite pieces of literature: La Niebla (Mist) by Miguel de Unamuno and Las ruinas circulares (The Circular Ruins) by Jorge Luis Borges.
Towards the end of Mist, the main character, Augusto, is considering suicide and decides to go discuss it with the author of an article he read on the topic: Miguel de Unamuno. When they meet, Unamuno tells him he cannot commit suicide since he is merely a fictional character, a figment of Unamuno's imagination, and thus subject to Unamuno's whims. Augusto, angry, says he is not the ultimate author. Indeed, Unamuno might just be a character in God's dream.
Is God dreaming us or are we dreaming God?
In The Circular Ruins, a short story, a wizard goes by canoe to some burned ruins and lays down to dream a man into existence. After years of trying various tactics without success, he decides to consult with the god of the temple who happens to be the the god of fire. The god of fire says he'll help him out. Everyone will think his creation a man of flesh and blood. Only the wizard and fire will know the truth.
For two years, the wizard trains the man, who he comes to love like a son, but then, with sadness, he lets him go. He sends him downriver to another temple, but first, he wipes away the memory of the two years of training "so that his son should never know he is a phantom, so that he shall think of himself as a man like any other."
Time passes and he begins to hear stories about a man downriver who can walk through fire. The wizard worries that his son will come to know his true origins, but his worries are interrupted by a forest fire. Accepting that his time has come, he walks into the flames. It is "with relief, with humiliation, with terror" that he realizes that he too is the product of another's dream.
Is God dreaming us or do we dream God?
Is the butterfly dreaming Zhuangzi or is Zhuangzi dreaming the butterfly? I am not certain it is either. Rather, the question is who is the ultimate dreamer of all?
But in the end, does it really matter?