Reality might exist right before our eyes, but it could also be behind us, before us, beyond us, and, most unsettling, right beside us. Our concept of it is neatly trimmed to fit the confines of our own existence, but for centuries philosophers, scientists, artists, and psychedelic hobbyists have been challenging that orderly notion. Does the past really cease to exist a second later? If you have no concept of a ship, can you see one arriving on the horizon? Is the only thing holding your body together the illusion that you have a body at all?

As CreativeMornings’ Official Partner for Visual Inspiration, we were intrigued by May’s global theme, “reality.” With the tech world bursting with virtual and augmented reality innovations, social media redefining the line between digital and personal, and scientists uncovering the mysteries of the universe faster than ever, “reality” is ripe for analysis. We took on the topic by exploring unconventional, uncommon, and unnerving alternative realities in a unique series of posters.

Here are the five brain-liquefying theories that challenge our ideas of what is real.

SUBJECTIVE IDEALISM

Can something exist if it occurs outside of your perception? This theory is the origin of the age-old adage, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” which it answers with a resounding “Nope,” asserting that the limits of our perception also mark the boundaries of reality.

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BLACK HOLE UNIVERSE

Was our world forged in the unfathomable depths of a black hole in another dimension? This theory suggests that our universe began as a tiny, compressed speck that was squeezed, warped, and smashed in the enormous pressure of a black hole until it exploded into our universe. And, since the bottom of a black hole has never been calculated, it’s possible that we’re still spinning inside one today.

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MULTIVERSE

Do you have an evil doppleganger wreaking havoc on another universe? This theory posits the existence of an infinitely large multiverse, where every possible outcome of everything that has ever happened exists in its own world, meaning there is a universe where dinosaurs live on and where you did steal little Jimmy’s lunch money in the 6th grade.

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BRAIN IN A VAT

Is your brain secured firmly in your skull, or is it suspended in a vat on a shelf in a mad scientist’s laboratory? This theory explores the possibility that your conscious experience is a deceit, fabricated by an Evil Genius who feeds your brain electrical impulses that mimic its organic function.

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SIMULATION ARGUMENT

Are we all NPCs in a hyper-realistic simulation, our consciousness and personality the product of a master coder? This theory considers the possibility that our universe is merely a sophisticated digital illusion created by a super advanced “posthuman” civilization as a vehicle for theoretical cosmic research.

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The posters in this series were designed by Jordan Roland.