%% Image selected per Image Pickin' thread: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/posts.php?discussion=1331078741013760100
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[[quoteright:300:[[ComicStrip/{{Bizarro}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/not-a-pipe-piraro_598.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:300:Nor is this an image by Dan Piraro.]]

->''"You never disappoint me. If they ever hang you, you'll be arguing about whether the rope really exists until the last minute."''
-->-- '''Hagbard''', The ''Literature/{{Illuminatus}}'' Trilogy

When someone wants to really blow your mind, they will show you something. It can be an ordinary object or a piece of music or anything really, as long as they can see or hear it. And then they say, "This ''does not exist''." With this mantra, the falsity of the world is stripped away and perhaps the hidden [[{{Masquerade}} mask]] of reality is revealed. This is often an indicator of a MindScrew.

[[SelfDemonstratingArticle You are not seeing this page]]. There is no page. There are merely [[ZeroesAndOnes a series of zeroes and ones]], grouped into TCP segments, interpreted as HTTP code, and displayed via a matrix of glowing dots; just part of a large and complex abstraction which people call a "page" by means of convention, even though it only superficially resembles a thin rectangle of plant-fiber covered in ink shapes. [[StrawNihilist Believe nothing.]]

Beware of who this is used on. Depending on the person, they may just bluntly disagree, causing the entire premise to fall apart. A common retort might be [[TalkToTheFist "This fist is not real."]] followed by [[AppealToForce *Pow!*]] This trope can be [[SeriousBusiness dreadfully annoying and dull]] if it takes itself too seriously or [[{{Postmodernism}} delightful and intellectually stimulating]] if it doesn't. Needless to say, it's very [[StockParodies easy to parody.]]

Compare TwoPlusTortureMakesFive, a darker version when someone forces you to see and believe things like these. Compare and contrast ClapYourHandsIfYouBelieve & WillingSuspensionOfDisbelief. Contrast PerspectiveMagic, in which reality conforms to even the unrealistic aspects of an image. See also {{Expospeak}} and TrueArtIsIncomprehensible.

[[SincerityMode Not related]] to YourMindMakesItReal.

!!These are not Examples. They are only our descriptions of them:


[[folder:There is No Anime & Manga Here]]
* [[DittoFighter Ditto]] in the anime and manga of ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'' have much more advanced shapeshifting skills than in the video game, but aren't particularly bright. In one case, a Ditto was shown a picture of a Dratini in a book and told to turn into it...and the Ditto turned into a book.
* ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamZZ'''s theme song tells that the show is not anime.
* ''Manga/JojosBizarreAdventureStardustCrusaders'' has Hol Horse try to kill Jotaro and co with his gun Stand (capable of firing bullets that he can control the path of) and the help of another Stand user whose power takes the shape of a comic book that predicts the future (but whose predictions can also come true [[ProphecyTwist in unexpected ways.]]) When he reads that Hol Horse is about to fire some bullets into a nearby pipe, causing them eventually to headshot Jotaro, he quickly does so, then panics when they barely miss him, causing him to lose track of his bullets until they actually ''do'' hit Jotaro...'s picture in the comic book from behind, [[HoistByHisOwnPetard and then keep going and hit Hol Horse right in the face.]]

[[folder:Most Definitely Not Art]]
* The TropeNamer: [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ceci_n%27est_pas_une_pipe "The Treachery Of Images"]] by Creator/ReneMagritte. And it wasn't a pipe, but a ''painting'' of a pipe - [[ItMakesSenseInContext you can't actually smoke or stuff a painting of a pipe, can you]]?
** Parodied in one of the Savannah College of Art and Design's annual sidewalk art shows. The first panel, labeled "Ceci n'est pas une rubber ducky" was a chalk drawing of a rubber ducky. The second panel, labeled "This is a rubber ducky" had a large rubber duck set on it.
** ''[[http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1053/530921810_f59ab404aa.jpg "Ceci n'est pas une peep."]]''
** [[https://web.archive.org/web/20070826114220/http://content.perspicuity.com/?q=node/330 This is not a drill.]]
** [[http://safebooru.org/index.php?page=post&s=view&id=234455 Ceci n'est pas une Tsukasa.]] Exacerbated by the fact that [[Manga/LuckyStar Tsukasa]], as a fictional character, doesn't exist any ''other'' way, either ...
** [[http://web.archive.org/web/20131225231622/https://neuromancer.hu/neuroblog/simpsonsnemcouchgag.png Ceci n'est pas une couch gag.]]
** [[http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/surrealistplumber.jpg "This isn't a pipe either"]] by [[http://www.bizarrocomics.com/ Piraro]].
** [[http://www.23hq.com/4394453/4880513_8f2bb3f5c1bc0a6cd1ce45bbf2d70c64_large.jpg Ceci, n'est pas une lune.]]
** [[http://www.smbc-comics.com/?id=3204 SMBC offers a different explanation]]
** [[HaveAGayOldTime Made even better]] by the fact that "pipe" is also one of many French slang words for "fellatio".
* OlderThanPrint example: Two Greek painters were competing who could make the more realistic painting. One painted flowers so well that bees were trying to visit them for honey. "OK, now show yours...take that damn curtain away already!" Only - the curtain was only painted, and so the painter got the prize because he fooled humans, not only bees.

[[folder:Neither Are These Comics]]
* Creator/ScottMcCloud (of ''ComicBook/{{Zot}}'' fame)'s ''ComicBook/UnderstandingComics'' takes this to a thought-provoking OverlyLongGag extreme as part of his demonstration of just how much the reader of a comic is mentally filling in. Not only is it not a pipe, it's not even a painting of a pipe. Is it a drawing of a painting of a pipe? No, actually it's not even that -- it's a ''printed copy'' of a drawing of a painting of a pipe. In fact, it's ''several'' printed copies, [[SequentialArt appearing in multiple panels, each one dependent on the reader to observe]].
-->''Do you hear what I'm saying? If you do, have your ears checked, because no one said a word.''

[[folder:Certainly Not Film]]
* ''Film/TheMatrix'': "Do not try to bend the spoon; that's impossible. Instead, only try to realize the truth: [[MemeticMutation There is no spoon]]. Then you'll see, that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself."
** Which was actually inspired by Baudrillard's ''Simulacra and Simulation'', which you can see on Neo's shelf earlier.
** In point of fact, once the kid hands the spoon over, it isn't even a real spoon...it's CGI.
* ''Film/MulhollandDrive'': "''No hay banda!'' There is no band. ''Il n'y a pas d'orchestre.'' [...] And yet we hear a band." A subtle clue showing that the whole thing is [[spoiler:Diane Selwyn's DyingDream]]. [[MindScrew Or is it?]]
--> "It is a recording. It is a tape. It is an illusion."
* Lampshaded in ''Film/PiratesOfTheCaribbeanDeadMansChest''. At the beginning of the film, Jack Sparrow broke into and out of a fortress in order to obtain a drawing of the key that goes to the eponymous Dead Man's Chest. Now all they have to do is find the chest, right? '''Wrong.''' First they have to find the actual key itself, because all they have so far is a ''drawing'' of what the key looks like.
* Played with in the MindScrew ''Film/VanillaSky'', at different levels :
** David has built [[spoiler: his dream upon memory caught from pictures of his youth. That's one of the reasons it becomes hard for him to leave it.]]
** David is also [[spoiler: accused of beating Julie Gianni. When seeing a picture of her, he declares that someone is "setting him up".]]
-->'''David''': "There is no [[spoiler: murder. [[PunctuatedForEmphasis There.is.NO.MURDER!]] ]] It never happened !".
* ''Franchise/StarWars'' gives us the wisdom: "Your eyes can deceive you. Don't trust them."
* ''Film/SpaceIsThePlace'': The black people wonder whether Music/SunRa is real of an imposter? Then he lectures them:
--> ''Iím not real, Iím just like you. You donít exist in this society. [[WhamLine If you did your people wouldnít be seeking equal rights. Youíre not real. If you were youíd have some status among the nations of the world]]. So we are both myths. I do not come to you as a reality, I come to you as the myth because that is what black people areó myths. I came from a dream that the black man dreamed long ago. Iím actually a presence sent to you by your ancestors. Iím going to be here until I pick out some of you to take back with me.''

[[folder:Not The Literature You Are Looking For]]
* In Creator/MarkTwain's story ''Literature/TheMysteriousStranger'', after the *ahem* ''friendly'' angel has wrought death, madness and devastation on the community, he tells the young boy/narrator that the boy ''is the only real thing in the universe, and that everything else - including the angel - is a figment of his imagination''. Twain was [[CreatorBreakdown not in a happy place]] when he wrote this. Adapted with much NightmareFuel in the stop motion movie ''WesternAnimation/TheAdventuresOfMarkTwain'': "Nothing exists save empty space and you. And you are but a thought."
* In ''Creator/DaveBarry Hits Below The Beltway'', Dave Barry wonders how lawyers become "people who refuse to make a simple, understandable statement about ''anything''," and imagines a scene in law school, with a law professor holding up a spoon, and [[ElectricTorture turns on the electrodes attached to his students]] each time they say that it looks like a spoon. This is apparently the kind of response the professor wants to hear:
-->'''Student''': In certain purely superficial respects, it may ''resemble'' what is sometimes called a spoon, depending of course on the definition of "spoon"; however, we intend to present expert testimony showing that there are a number of other plausible explanations, such that it cannot be determined beyond a reasonable doubt that this is a spoon, or, for that matter, ''not'' a spoon, per se, depending on who is paying us three hundred dollars an hour plus expenses. Nor have we established that, legally, that is ''your'' hand.\\
'''Law Professor''': Correct. ''(He presses the button again anyway.)''
* The novel ''Literature/NineteenEightyFour'' uses this trope endlessly and is one of the most basic functions of the party. A relevant part of [[spoiler: O'Brien]]'s conversation with Winston revolves around whether the Party could, pragmatically speaking, [[TwoPlusTortureMakesFive change reality itself]], with the torturer arguing that he could "float like a soap bubble" if he wanted to. After all, if Winston perceives (forcibly) such a thing, and it is on record, in what sense is it ''untrue''? Also, it is never revealed whether Goldstein or Big Brother are real, but it is suggested that, sociologically speaking, for all intents and purposes, they ''are'' real.
-->"Does BIG BROTHER exist?"\\
"Of course he exists. The Party exists. BIG BROTHER is the embodiment of the Party."\\
"Does he exist in the same way as I exist?"\\
"You do not exist," said [[spoiler: O'Brien]].
* Creator/TerryPratchett:
** In ''Discworld/ThiefOfTime'', Susan Sto Helit becomes a school teacher. We see her holding up a cardboard clock and asking the kids what it is. Susan is mildly impressed when one of the kids eventually guesses it's "all cardboard, made to look like a clock". One of the lessons ''Miss Susan'' drills into her students is "Always see what's really there."
** In ''Discworld/WitchesAbroad'', Granny Weatherwax is trapped in a maze of mirrors with infinitely receding reflections. She canít get out until she identifies the real one. [[spoiler:The person who set the trap should have realized this would never work on Granny Weatherwax, since she immediately points to ''herself''.]]
* ''Literature/GodelEscherBachAnEternalGoldenBraid'' plays with both the concept and the [[TropeNamer painting]], including [[spoiler:a character taking the pipe from the painting and smoking it]].
* In Creator/CSLewis's ''Literature/TheGreatDivorce'':
** The blessed former apostate finally gives up on trying to reason with his damned apostate friend not very long after the damned soul has gone so far off the deep end in his pseudo-intellectual diatribe that he ends up complaining about how the blessed man is talking "as if there some hard, fixed reality where things are, so to speak, 'there'."
** Painting as a way to depict particular subject matters or for its own sake is also discussed between a damned artist (who wants the paint) and his more heavenly-minded friend (who is trying to get him to focus on a much worthier Subject).
* In ''Literature/StrangerInAStrangeLand'' by Creator/RobertAHeinlein, Fair Witnesses will reply to 'What color is that house' with 'It appears to be white on this side', as they have not seen the other side, and even if they were to walk over there and look, they could not be sure that someone had not repainted it as soon as it was out of their sight. This extends so far that they will even look over at the house before answering, just to make sure. Note that in the case of this example, the house in question was the property next door to the one the woman lived at, and that she was probably very familiar with it. But her training was such that she was unable to assume anything.[[note]]Also, she had been specifically asked to "put [her] Fair Witness robes on", to help make this very point. Otherwise, she presumably could have gotten away with making assumptions like anyone else.[[/note]]
* A variation in one of the quotes from Kozma Prutkov, a pen name used by several Russian writers in the mid-19th century: "If you see a 'buffalo' sign on an elephant's cage, do not trust your eyes." Now go ahead, try to figure out what he/they meant by this (i.e. should you not trust that you see an elephant or that what you're reading is wrong).
* In ''Literature/ThePillarsOfReality'', it's part of the teachings of the Guild of Mages that everything (and everyone) else is really just an illusion. It might ''look'' like the world exists, but to actually believe so is a grave error that must be beaten out of acolytes before they finish their training. It's part of how they do magic; as far as they're concerned, they're just changing an illusion. However, the belief can cause serious problems for people around Mages, because Mages will feel free to treat "mere illusions" however they like.
* This comes up in a less philosophical way in ''The Hork-Bajir Chronicles'' of the ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'' series: Dak Hamee, a Hork-Bajir seer (a very intelligent member of a species which is otherwise biologically incapable of higher mental capacities) makes a drawing of a friend and essentially says, "Look! It's you!" The other Hork-Bajir doesn't really understand the abstract concept and replies, "No, that's not me, it's a ''picture'' of me."
* The narrator of ''Literature/TheDivineComedy'' spends much of ''Paradiso'' lamenting that even his most extensive and beautiful descriptions of Heaven are mere shadows of his memories, which themselves are shadows of the real experience. The inequality between reality, memory, and expression become a topic of discussion between Dante and his blessed great-great-grandfather, who experiences all these equally.
-->''"In mortals, word and sentiment [...] are wings whose featherings are disparate."''


[[folder:Not Television, Not Live, By No Means Contains Action]]
* In the surrealist Jim Henson-directed teleplay ''Film/TheCube'', one of the many odd characters the protagonist meets is a professor. The professor argues that none of the man's experiences is true, as reality itself is an illusion, and he is merely a character on TV. To illustrate, he picks up a hammer and explains that if you could look closer and closer at it you would see that it is made up of molecules, which are made up of atoms, which are made of energy and none of those items is "anything you could call a real thing". The man exclaims "You're right, it isn't real!". Whereupon the professor says "Then how do you explain this?" and hurls the hammer at the wall, leaving a hole.
* ''Series/BabylonFive'': The episode "And the Sky Full of Stars" plays with this. Sinclair is locked inside a virtual reality cybernet, which provides a realistic simulation to Sinclair's mind and senses. The villain ([[AllThereInTheScript "Knight Two" in the credits]]) shoots a sim-copy of Garibaldi "dead", then brings him back to "life" with no effort. There are, however, elements that ''are'' real, or at least grounded in reality: Sinclair, Knight Two, and pain. Later in the episode, Sinclair, frustrated with Knight Two's insinuations of him being a traitor, [[TalkToTheFist punches him out]] from within the simulation. Two, caught by surprise, is knocked ''out'' of the simulation.
-->'''Sinclair:''' Well, well. [[IronicEcho Looks like the pain is real for both of us.]]
* There's an [[http://markwatches.net/reviews/2010/12/mark-watches-firefly-episode-14-objects-in-space/ interesting contrast]] in ''{{Series/Firefly}}'' in "Objects in Space" between River and the villain of the week, Jubal Early. Both, one by accident, the other through upbringing and lifestyle, take an absurdist view of the universe - we ascribe meaning, but those meanings are flexible. The difference is that River searches for the meanings that everyone else ascribes to through the flood of information her damaged brain provides, while Early chooses the most pessimistic, destructive interpretation of everything to justify his bounty hunting lifestyle.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'': "That which holds the image of an angel becomes itself an angel." So...inverted? Still sort of played straight, though, since messing with this trope is basically the Weeping Angels' [[PlanetOfHats hat.]] Also played with a bit in Day of the Doctor -- [[spoiler: Time Lord paintings are bigger on the inside, so a painting of the Fall of Arcadia actually ''is'' the Fall of Arcadia, or at least part of it.]]

[[folder:Not Music, No Matter Your Tastes]]
* ''This is Not a Song, it's a Sandwich'', by Music/{{Psychostick}}.
* Probably "This is Not a Photograph" by Music/MissionOfBurma, although--in keeping with their [[TrueArtIsIncomprehensible commitment to obscurity]]--you can't really tell whether the song is a ShoutOut to Magritte, or something else entirely. Their tribute to "Max Ernst" is ''somewhat'' more straightforward, ending with a repeated "UsefulNotes/{{Dada}}" chant.
* ''This is Not a Love Song'', by Music/PublicImageLtd.
* Music/TheLonelyIsland's "Threw It On The Ground" : the guy is handed given a cell phone, and told that it's his dad (on the phone). He says, "man, this ain't my dad. This is a ''cell phone''." (So he [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin threw it on the ground]].)
* "Jazz is the notes you ''don't'' play." (Old adage, sometimes credited to Music/MilesDavis.)
** Played with in ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons''. In one episode, Lisa is at the Jazz Hole, enjoying the performance of a female electric violinist:
-->'''Guy:''' [Unimpressed] Hmph, sounds like she's hitting a baby with a cat.
-->'''Lisa:''' You have to listen to the notes she's NOT playing.
-->'''Guy:''' [Still unimpressed] Pssh, I can do that at home.
* In a reference to the TropeNamer, Music/PinkFloyd had the [[LimitedSpecialCollectorsUltimateEdition Immersion box set]] of ''Wish You Were Here'' [[http://img.cdandlp.com/2013/02/imgL/115844604.jpg featuring the subtitle]] "Ceci n'est pas une boite" (this is not a box).

[[folder:No Newspapers, Especially Comic Containing Ones]]
* In one ''Comicstrip/{{Dilbert}}'' comic, Dogbert was trying to get someone to invest in his latest "Give more money to Dogbert" fund. His argument consisted of handing a photo of a mansion to the very, very stupid client and saying, "If you invest in the Dogbert Deferred Earnings Fund, one day this could be yours!"
--> "I could own a mansion?"
--> "You could own a photograph."
* The comic ''Zogonia'' in Magazine/{{Dragon}} Magazine once featured a character buying an incredibly realistic illusion of a pipe. Disbelief, somehow, failed to get rid of it, indicating ''it may have been a pipe all along''.
-->'''Domato''': What's going on?\\
'''Dindil''': Kev is ''not'' holding a pipe, and I'm watching him.\\
'''Kev''': Strange...I ''am'' holding a pipe.\\
'''Dindil''': You are?\\
'''Domato''': Whatever you guys are smoking, throw it away.

[[folder:Decidedly Un-Radio]]
* Parodied in ''Radio/TheGoonShow'', in which photographs of something ''are'' the same as the real thing.
* In ''Radio/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy'' the Man in the Shack, who claims not to rule the universe, also claims to be unconvinced that anything he experiences is real. Another episode mentions a man who claimed that nothing was true, though he was later discovered to be lying.
-->'''The Man in the Shack''': How do I know the past isn't a fiction designed to account for the discrepancy between my immediate surroundings and my state of mind?
* In ''Radio/TheBurkissWay'' there's a sketch where a man is in a travel agency trying to decide on his holiday destination:
-->'''Customer''' What about that poster on the wall?
-->'''Travel agent''': It's a bit papery, sir.

[[folder:Something That Resembles Video Games But Isn't]]
* This is parodied in ''Videogame/KingdomOfLoathing'' with the [[http://kol.coldfront.net/thekolwiki/index.php/Not-a-pipe Not-a-pipe]]: "You do not light the not-a-pipe, and you proceed to do something with it that is not smoking. Whatever it is, it's very refreshing, and gives you the feeling that your head has been replaced with either a window or a giant apple."
* Another parody is the ''VideoGame/{{Lemmings}} 2'' level "Ceci n'est pas une pipe", which looks like a ''water'' pipe. The BilingualBonus is that ''pipe'' is correct French for a smoking pipe, but ''not'' a plumbing pipe (''conduit'') or the other kind of water pipe (''houka''), so it really "n'est pas une pipe".
* In ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII'', a Nobody sent to recover Roxas is baffled by photos of him. [[spoiler: The photos are also not real; Roxas (who himself doesn't really "exist" in a traditional sense) is trapped in a virtual reality program.]]
* Most of the more esoteric ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'' lore is pretty much made of this trope. For example: gods basically only exist [[GodsNeedPrayerBadly because people believe in them]]. And if different cultures have different interpretations of the same god, it splits into separate entities, known as "aspects". [[MindScrew Sort of.]] The [[ANaziByAnyOtherName Thalmor]] endgame is basically to "unmake" the universe and become/return to being gods by eroding the worship of Talos, a DeityOfHumanOrigin who helps to hold the world together, and make it so that the universe was never created. And that's not even getting into [[TimeCrash Dragon]] [[RealityIsOutToLunch Breaks]]...

[[folder:Variably Visual Non-Novels]]
* In ''VisualNovel/UminekoWhenTheyCry'', the only reason Battler has anything remotely resembling a chance is that most of what we "see" is [[UnreliableNarrator Beatrice's]] explanation of what happened. In the third arc in particular, she tries to distract him with shiny, epic magical fight scenes, but Virgilia points out that he could always deny that it reflected reality, since no objective evidence was left. She also states that since Rokkenjima is now a ClosedCircle, multiple truths can exist alongside one another until they're disproven. Later on, this trope becomes very important to the plot when in [=EP7=] we find out that [[spoiler:at least three characters are all the same person]].

[[folder:There Are No Webcomics Here, Move Along]]
* ''Webcomic/{{Concession}}'': This is a [[http://concessioncomic.com/index.php?pid=20061121 penis.]]
* ''Webcomic/{{Starslip}}'': Behold! This isn't the [[http://starslip.com/2007/12/05/starslip-number-667/ Spine of the Cosmos!]]
* ''Webcomic/GunnerkriggCourt'' has [[http://www.gunnerkrigg.com/archive_page.php?comicID=1072 this]] [[http://www.gunnerkrigg.com/archive_page.php?comicID=1071 lovely]] [[http://www.gunnerkrigg.com/archive_page.php?comicID=1070 secret]], courtesy of Coyote.
** However, this is a rare example of a justification ([[spoiler: Coyote only "exists" because the imagination of mankind ''says'' he exists.]]) . [[MindScrew Well, sort of]], Coyote being the [[TheTrickster tricky]] EldritchAbomination he is.
* In ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'', Alpha Jack Noir begins his [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=6&p=006778 Jailbreak Adventure]] locked up in a Prospitian jail cell. (Un)fortunately, there just happens to be a (crude drawing of a) key [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=6&p=006781 right on the floor in front of him.]]
* ''Webcomic/SaturdayMorningBreakfastCereal'' tackles the subject in its initimable style [[http://www.smbc-comics.com/comic/the-best-day-ever here]].

[[folder:This Is Not The Original Of What Was Found On The Web (That Itself Doesn't Exist)]]
* As part of Creator/ViHart's video about how she makes videos about how she makes videos about... she begins making the distinction between the her who's writing the script, the her in the video part, and the her as the voice over. This leads to her writing on her hand "This is me!", correcting it to "This is (a video of) me!", which eventually (after a lot of crossing out) becomes "This is your screen!"
* ''Website/TheOnion''[='s=] parody atlas ''Literature/OurDumbWorld'' claims that René Magritte made a ''second'' painting entitled [[Film/CrocodileDundee "Now This --]] '''[[Film/CrocodileDundee This]]''' [[Film/CrocodileDundee Is a Pipe."]]
* Carlos and the [[Podcast/WelcomeToNightVale Night Vale]] Science Team are [[BreakTheScientist plagued by this]]. They've spent over a year studying the house that doesn't actually exist, despite everyone seeing it, and it being between two other, identical, actually-existing houses. But Carlos and his scientists are pretty sure that, after making many complex measurements and calculations, it isn't really there.

[[folder:This Is Anything But Western Animation]]
* In one ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' scene, Peter bids on what he believes is a boat. It turns out he bid on a picture of a boat. The actual boat is revealed to be the next item for sale.
* Similarly played with in ''WesternAnimation/SpongebobSquarepants'', where Mr. Krabs offers Squidward and Spongebob an incentive for learning the names of customers by showing them a brochure of an exotic tropical cruise. [[WaterIsAir (Never mind how one can have a boat cruise underwater)]]. After Squidward goes to ridiculous extremes to earn the cruise and ending up being thrown in prison, Mr. Krabs visits the incarcerated squid and gives him his prize... the brochure. "It was takin' up too much space in me drawer!"
* ''WesternAnimation/HomeMovies'' - at the Medieval Faire, Mr. Lynch (who's really into the thing) spots Mc Guirk (who's working there because he needs the money) talking on his cell phone. Lynch tells him to get rid of it:
-->'''Lynch''': It doesn't exist!
-->'''Mc Guirk''': Lynch, I don't wanna have a philosophical discussion with you, okay?
* ''WesternAnimation/DanVs'': In the episode "Dan Vs. Art", Dan and Chris are trying to find the headquarters of Art Artstein ([[MeaningfulName he's an artist]]), which they've just learned are a converted toy factory. Chris remarks that this information doesn't help them narrow down their search, because the city has lots of abandoned toy factories. Dan points out a factory whose exterior bears a giant painting of a sign, with the text "THIS IS NOT A SIGN". Sure enough, Art Artstein is there.
* On ''WesternAnimation/RegularShow'', Mordecai and Rigby are asked to paint the garage door. As a prank, they paint it to look exactly like the inside of the garage. Unfortunately, Pops falls for it and drives his car through it, so Benson orders Mordecai and Rigby to go buy a new door.

[[folder:You Can't Honestly Call This Real Life]]
* Also, [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Map-territory_relation "The map is not the territory."]]
** The phrase is also a military aphorism to remind commanders that all the vaunted map reading (and later, satellite imagery, UAV recon, intercepted traffic, etc) is no substitute for a boots-on-ground view.
* The Xbox 360 was in low supply at the time and some crafty hoaxers at eBay managed to sell pictures of the actual console by hiding "This auction is not for a Xbox 360 game system, but instead a picture of one" within a lot of specs and praise for the console.
** The same thing has been done with pictures of a mobile phone. One would-be scammer was brought before Series/JudgeJudy, who was Not Amused.
** This actually still happens, though now with "This auction is for a Xbox 360 box" [[note]]Not a scam; the original box can double the value of some collectables, thus making such auctions actually theoretically perfectly legitimate transactions, as long as it's clear that what's being sold is just the original box.[[/note]]. Ebay also changed its rules such that such disclaimers are supposed to be much more noticeable.
* A RealLife theory that the universe as we know it is a three-dimensional hologram of an n-dimensional universe composed of nothing but information. We are the shadow cast by the true shape of the universe. Referenced heavily in Creator/WarrenEllis's ''ComicBook/{{Planetary}}''.
** More concretely, the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holographic_principle Holographic Principle]] in string theory states that all the information in universe is located in its boundary ó a region with ''fewer'' dimensions than the universe at large, quite contrary to everyday 2-dimensional shadows which are cast by 3-dimensional objects.
** In a similar vein, it's been said that the entire universe can be reduced to a set of quantum fluctuations in the same way a computer's graphical interface can be stripped down to binary.
* Various philosophers and religious scholars have debated this point throughout the ages. Creator/{{Plato}}'s Allegory of the Cave and the principle of Maya in Hinduism both stress this point for instance.
* Zeno's Paradox is a related concept (also featured extensively in ''Literature/GodelEscherBachAnEternalGoldenBraid''). Since you can continually halve the distance between two objects, and since there are an infinite number of points in between, it is impossible to traverse the distance. (Before you can go there, you must go halfway there. Before you can go halfway there, you must go a quarter of the way there. Before you can go a quarter of the way there...) According to records, the philosopher Diogenes responded by standing, [[CrowningMomentOfFunny and silently walking out of the room.]]
** Integral calculus provides the real answer to Zeno's Paradox: Though there ''are'' an infinite number of points, each point is infinitesimally small. Integration shows how an infinite sum of infinitesimal amounts converges on a finite sum. Without calculus, a lot of physics would be downright impossible. (Not to mention computing, because integration is how digital devices can approximate the non-digital world.)
** The above paragraph not necessarily slays Zeno's paradox with respect to RealLife physics - it's not obvious at all that time and space are continuous, in fact quantum theory plus general relativity suggests the opposite.
** Modern descriptions often depict Zeno as a crackpot philosopher who believed everything was just an illusion, but if one goes to the source (a secondary source, since we only know of him from Aristotle's refutation of his work) then a perfectly valid interpretation is that he was merely trying to point out that contemporary theories about the nature of space had logical flaws (much like Russell's paradox did for naive set theory). Concretely, Zeno gives ''four'' paradoxes, of which two are aimed at a discrete model of space and two are aimed at a continuous model. (It was probably because the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pythagoreanism Pythagoreans]] believed in discrete space that the discovery of irrational numbers was so shocking to them, although Zeno's argument is not about that.)
* Later, Berkeley argued that matter does not exist. The ultimate conclusion of his argument is that we are all basically being dreamed by God. According to Boswell, Samuel Johnson's response to this was to kick a rock and say, "I refute it thus."
* A [[http://snopes.com/autos/law/handcuff.asp man in Florida]] parked his car illegally and was mailed a picture of his illegally parked car from the police who said he had to pay a $45 fine. The man responded by mailing the police a ''picture'' of $45. The police's response? Mailing him a picture of handcuffs.
* "This page has been intentionally left blank." LIARS!
** "Leaving posters on this wall is illegal". Yeah, right.
* There exists a photo taken by Kunaver and Mohar, showing the famous Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek sitting behind a golden frame, called ''Slavoj Zizek does not exist''. This one actually alludes to Zizek's own theory of frame and appearance.
* The ''Stadtschloss'' (city palace) of Potsdam, which was heavily damaged in World War 2 and subsequently demolished on the orders of the government of the [=GDR=], was rebuilt after German Reunification as the new home of the ''Landtag'' (state parliament) of Brandenburg; it was inaugurated in 2014. On the outside it is an authentic recreation of the old building, while on the inside it is a 21st century building full of office rooms and the austere plenary session hall. To highlight this, they added an inscription in golden letters (reminiscent in form of those used by Magritte) on one of the outside walls: ''Ceci n'est pas un château'' ("this is not a palace").
* There is an urban legend about a philosophy class where the final exam was to write an essay arguing that a chair placed at the front of the room did not exist. One student simply wrote down "What chair?" and got the highest grade.

->[[GratuitousFrench Ceci n'est pas un lien]].