“This isn’t Real”

Matthew John Partridge
4 min readSep 26, 2021


If you know where this quote is from, then step into the realm of the simulation theory, once again. Yes, I’m talking about the movie Divergent; a story that takes place in a dystopian and post-apocalyptic Chicago where people are divided into distinct factions based on human virtues.

However, if, by chance, you do not fit within a faction you are classified as “divergent” — a threat to society because you cannot be controlled. In the movie, all those who are divergent are usually destroyed because their ideology of peace cannot function with these individuals within the society.

The movie unfolds in a typical manner, seemingly displaying a beautiful, peaceful community that is clearly separated by their identifiable clothing, colors and behavior. What seems like utopia, quickly turns into a distorted lie and the truth behind this society is soon revealed.

Now, I certainly do not want to spoil the movie for anyone who hasn’t seen it, so I won’t go into too much detail about the plot, but more around the main character Beatrice Prior and how she handles part 2 of training for her faction Dauntless; a ruthless, fierce and combative group of people within society.

Although seemingly struggling with her physical strength, Beatrice soon realizes that she is unbeatable within her mind, destroying all the fear based testing she is tasked with. She soon realizes her trigger — the way in which she can beat herself, but more importantly, beat her mind. Once in the training simulation, she identifies that whatever she may be in is not real and repeats to herself “this is not real” which activates her intuition and allows her to escape all of her fears.

For me, watching the movie for the first time and being fascinated with the simulation theory and the potentiality that earth itself is a simulation, I was taken back by this and intrigued as to how much power these three words gave her. As soon as she realized that whatever she was in could be manipulated, she became the creator; giving herself the power.

She defied the laws of physics and remembered that there were no boundaries within the simulation as it was her world — her creation and a world where she had all the power to dictate every inch of her experience. This reminded me of myself, living within earth and rejecting the very existence we believe to be true.

Like Divergent, I find myself rejecting typical factions that tend to put us into a box because a test determined what we were. Like the sorting hat in Harry Potter, we simply cannot allow a test to determine the rest of our lives for us. How do you feel? What does your intuition tell you about yourself within the world? If you do not fit the mould, create a new one.

With one sentence, Beatrice was able to escape a glass box filled with water, swarming crows and fire. She used her mind to overcome the physical world around her, but she believed it first. See, it is one thing to tell yourself “this isn’t real” but it’s another actually believing it. If you believe this isn’t real, then reality soon becomes very distorted.

I am almost certain that earth is something similar — a distorted reality of conflicted ideologies. We do not know what we are because we are bound by the words that keep us physical. We are bound by the indoctrination from birth, reminding us that we cannot be anything more than human.

What if, like Beatrice, we soon realized that “this isn’t real” and we are simply living within a simulation which has barricaded us in. What if there is more to this than we realize? What if earth is like an untapped reservoir of infinite possibilities but we only believe the finite is possible. What if we are so bound to our physical bodies that we have forgotten we are infinite beings of creation?

Do we simply come here to learn, work and die? Is life really about our 9–5 job, having a family and living the last years out on our pension or retirement annuity? I’m a disbeliever. Life doesn’t have to be this mould we were raised to believe shaped us. Life can be whatever we want it to be. We just need to realize that none of this is real, it is all an illusion. An illusion that can be manipulated.

Find your trigger and expand beyond the physicality of restriction. You are more than your body, more than your mind. We are souls that live beyond our earthly bodies. We do not end up in a dark abyss (although some might) and everything just stops. It never ends. It continues to spiral and expand. We are beings that transcend earth and more. We just need to remember. We just need to realize. We just need to understand our own self and our own worth.

Stop limiting yourself and remember that “this isn’t real.”

Our brain simulates reality. So, our everyday experiences are a form of dreaming, which is to say, they are mental models, simulations, not the things they appear to be. — Stephen LaBerge