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Top 10 Things That Don’t Actually Exist

by Gregory Myers
fact checked by Jamie Frater

Life is full of so many wonderful things. While some articles explore the most fascinating things in our universe that exist to entertain us, in this list, we want to go over some common things that people are convinced exist but actually aren’t real at all (at least the way people generally think).

Some of these things we take for granted every day, such as time, but in the end, they are only an illusion or a lie we have told ourselves or have been led to believe. While we may be convinced of it otherwise, the things in the list below don’t even really exist at all.

10 Subjective Reality

Some people have gone to philosophy class, heard that “reality is subjective,”[1] and came away with a very confused idea that there are multiple different realities around them, and it depends on “how they perceive it.” However, while all of our own personal realities will always be subjective, they will only be our own personal realities. Unfortunately, our own personal reality can never be right; it is just the particular wrong lens with which we view the universe.

By that token, we have to understand that there is really only one reality, and no matter how much we subjectively perceive it differently, one thing still happened one way in front of everyone, and not more than one thing because two people saw it differently. Of course, most people accept this already, unless they’ve been to just the wrong amount of freshman philosophy classes.

9 Objective Time (That We Can Perceive)

One of the strangest things we deal with every day is time. We accept it as it is, and for the most part, we see it as a system that is useful for us to keep things organized. However, if you talk to physicists, it may not even really exist at all. For starters, Einstein proved that time is relative, which sort of also suggests that it might not even really be a thing but just a macroscopic effect of something else entirely. Physicists are in a really controversial place regarding time and are trying a lot of different models to make things fit, but nothing quite works yet.

This is complicated by the fact that when they have gone down to super-small measurements on the Planck scale, time seems to cease to exist entirely.[2] If time isn’t actually real, at least in the way we perceive it, and we could understand what is really going on with “time,” then we might finally be able to get a full and proper understanding of the physics of the universe. However, one thing that most agree on is that if time does exist at all as we think, and there is a truly objective, set place for “time,” then likely the only true and proper delineator would be the actual center of the universe or something similar—a measurement we are completely incapable of making. This, unfortunately, means that even if our understanding of time is true, our use of it in our equations is probably still lacking in some applications.

8 Conditional Love

Sometimes, people will use modifiers like “conditional” or “unconditional” love, and some people have gotten confused about these terms over the years. It really started with people using the term “conditional love” to talk about people who didn’t truly love someone and just liked them when the terms were right. However, it has become muddled to the point that some people forget that there is really only one kind of actual love that has ever existed, and ever will exist, and that is unconditional love. And since there is really only one kind, there is no need for a modifier.[3]

Love is blind, love doesn’t care, and love simply is. There is no condition and never will be. Attraction, obsession, infatuation, and other things are not love and simply don’t belong in the same category. Love would not just die for someone; it would live for them with no condition, just a hope that the other person will be happy. This is the reason that some people who see their children grow up to do terrible things, despite being sad and disappointed, never stop loving them, because it never ends. That doesn’t mean, of course, that a situation like that doesn’t hurt terribly, but that is the power of love.

7 True Anarchy

Many young people think the notion of an anarchist “government” is a cool idea, and some actually go so far as to wear black, knock over trash cans, and set stuff on fire in the name of “anarchy.” However, the truth is that the truly lawless society that the crazier anarchists and some rebellious teens wish for is simply impossible. Even if society broke down, people would quickly start forming groups again, and those groups would start instituting their own rules.

If you decided that you wanted to make your own rules and do your own thing, you would either be entirely on your own or clashing with all the little governmental authorities that sprang up all around you. Either way, you would soon find that the world tends toward organization and community, that humans group together and make agreements, compacts, and laws, and that true anarchy is simply an unnatural state which is not something humans are inclined toward. The truth is that what many anarchists really want is a world free of consequences, and that will never exist. No matter how much society breaks down, there will always be consequences for every action—that is simply a law of the universe.

6 A Perfect System Of Government Or Even A ‘Best’ System Of Government

You will hear people argue that the perfect system of government is capitalist-based or socialist. Some will argue for more direct democracy, others for democratic republics, and some will even suggest more dictatorial-based societies, believing that if the right ruler is in place, a dictatorship can be quite effective. However, there really is no perfect society, government, or blend of ideas, and there is no one-size-fits all solution. And while some would argue that even if we cannot be perfect, we can still do our best, that doesn’t really necessarily fly, either.

There might be a form of government that turns out to be the best for a small region or a particular culture, but the idea that one system of government could be the best for every diverse people on this Earth, with so many different languages and cultures, is a little bit silly.[4] The truth is that every country should experiment with what works best for them at the time, instead of worrying if their government fits some stodgy academic’s idea of what the current best system should be.

5 A Worldwide Food Shortage

Many people like to talk about solving world hunger, and some speak of it in terms of growing enough food or having enough crops and livestock. Unfortunately, it’s not so easy as simply making enough food. The fact of the matter is that the worldwide food shortage some think of doesn’t even exist. Instead, what we have is a massive distribution problem and an even more serious waste problem. Not just the United States and Europe but pretty much the entire world in general dumps so much perfectly good food, some of it at the farms for looking bad before it ever even reaches the population, that it is truly horrendous.

On top of that, just the sheer amount of food that is not finished, thrown out before being prepared at all, and so many other such scenarios has led to such a saddening amount of waste that some experts believe that if we could properly distribute the food we are currently producing now, we could solve world hunger today.[5] The problem, of course, is the spending and infrastructure required to ensure that food ends up in the hands it is needed in.

4 Overpopulation

Overpopulation doesn’t really exist like people think, and the world is not overpopulated or even close to it. While we have infrastructure problems in terms of dealing with want and need, for something to be overpopulated, you have to have too many people for resources to take care of in a closed system.[6] However, the thing is that aside from the Earth itself, closed systems on our world are basically man-made twaddle that could be removed if the right infrastructure was either put in place or destroyed.

For the Earth to truly be overpopulated or reach the end of its carrying capacity, in a system where the planet’s resources and space were truly being utilized efficiently, would likely require an amount of people in the tens of billions at least. The Earth is actually quite massive, can fit a lot of people and animals, and can grow an incredible amount of crops. This doesn’t mean that our current problem isn’t real, as we have a lot of very real issues in terms of distribution, but the truth is that we are not nearly as in as much trouble as people think. It’s not that we are running out of resources; it’s that we need to figure out how to organize them better.

3 A Lack Of Enough Water For Humans To Drink

Another thing a lot of people think exists is a shortage worldwide in terms of water. Now, this one is a little more complex. Some experts believe that for the most part, if fresh water could be properly distributed to the right regions, they might actually have enough still. However, some are concerned that this is starting to change, as due to climate change and pollution, a lot of safe fresh water sources are disappearing, and this is a very real fear.[7]

However, we have to understand that apart from the possibility of pollution poisoning literally everything to the point that we all just die, there will always be an incredible amount of water on Earth, and while most of it has salt, that salt can be removed. Although the processes we have currently use a lot of energy and are somewhat expensive, if we made desalinization technology more energy-efficient, the only real problem would be distribution, and many places are already turning to this technology, as they are running out of other options. While there are issues to be concerned about still, we will likely die of a lot of other things before, as humans, we entirely run out of water, the most common substance on the planet Earth and something that makes up 70 percent of each and every one of us. As with food, the main issue is really regional and local distribution of the Earth’s abundant resources.

2 A True Silencer For A Gun

In many movies or other media, silencers are so effective that you either hear nothing or such a small sound that you think of it as just the movie’s way of reminding you that a gun was actually fired. People are able to fire guns in movies in very close quarters, and as long as they have a silencer, even someone in a room next door won’t hear them. However, in real life, silencers simply don’t tend to work that well, because guns are loud. In fact, “silencers” are actually known more appropriately in real life as suppressors.[8]

This is because, as you might have imagined, they don’t actually silence the sound—they just suppress it. Now, depending on how big and loud a gun you are using, and how good your suppressor is, you may have better results with your stealth plans than you might think from reading this, but just don’t expect it to work as well as it does in the movies. The fact is that no matter what tech we use, it is hard to entirely contain the sound—especially in a handheld contraption—when that much energy is being released.

1 Zero Gravity

Photo credit: jurvetson

One of the most confusing things about space travel is the concept of zero gravity, something that a lot of people take for granted but is kind of a misnomer. The truth is that you will never be able to get away from gravity entirely, anywhere in the universe, but you can still achieve that feeling of weightlessness, anyway. Even in space, there are still gravitic forces at play from the Moon, the Sun, and the various stars and such. However, if you are able to accelerate at the same rate as your surroundings, you can achieve the effect of floating, something that is done to help train astronauts on the so called “Vomit Comet,”[9] an airplane that goes into free fall for a short period of time to simulate weightlessness.

Those who have experienced the feeling of being weightless and floating in the air have described it as a truly bizarre sensation, because in so-called “zero g,” you cannot tell the difference between floating and actually free-falling toward the ground when you close your eyes. We imagine the Vomit Comet is necessary for this reason to get astronauts trained up first, because otherwise, during their first time in space, truly starting to orbit the Earth and float, they might start freaking out that they constantly felt like they were falling. By taking the most physically fit first and getting them used to the sensation, it helps to soften the eventual blow of that bizarre sensation of falling straight toward the ground in a panicky free fall.


Read about more things that aren’t actually real on 10 Nonexistent Things We ‘Discovered’ and 10 ‘Real’ Serial Killers Who Never Existed.

fact checked by Jamie Frater