is reality real?

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is reality real?

Postby TheHairyGuy » Sat Oct 12, 2002 8:15 pm

what if the whole universe is just my mind creating an environment for itself? what if none you guys, or anything for that matter, actually exist? if i really believed that i could do it, would my mind allow me to pass through a solid object, ie a brick wall?

what if our lives were just dreams that we wake up from when we die, and the "afterlife" is really the time we are awake and our "lives" are simply the time when our bodies are resting and our mind needs something to do?
"The eyes see only what the mind is prepared to comprehend." - Henri Bergson
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Postby TheHairyGuy » Sat Oct 12, 2002 8:20 pm

Magius, if you read this, please reply. i think your posts are rather interesting.
"The eyes see only what the mind is prepared to comprehend." - Henri Bergson
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Postby Brad » Sat Oct 12, 2002 11:19 pm

Try living like that.
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Postby Magius » Sun Oct 13, 2002 4:32 am

TheHairyGuy stated:
what if the whole universe is just my mind creating an environment for itself? what if none you guys, or anything for that matter, actually exist?


First off, I am flattered as to your curiosity to what I think, and I thank you for that; given how hard life is and how mean people can be, I welcome such questions. I say this because what you are doing is light years ahead of what MOST are doing. When I say 'most' I mean those whom I have encounters with, I don't mean most of the world's people. That would be getting ahead of myself. The above quote reminds me and coincedentally represents the definition of 'Solipsism'; which states that nothing exists but yourself, everything else is a figment of your imagination. It's food for thought, and I think it is wise to think about all things, but I wouldn't follow Brad's advice if I were you. There is a historical man who did. The guy, as far as I know, is only known as Pyhro, no not Phyro as in obsessed with fire, but Pyhro. Pyhro was a solipsist who doubted everything, one day his friends were laughing at him and told him that if he thinks he is the only one who exists than why doesnt he go and sit in the middle of a road and see what happens to him. So he did. A horse and carriage went by, ran him over, and killed him. I think Aristotles lesson of the Golden Mean falls in here, which states that all extremes are bad. One who used radical doubt and was successful in finding some truths was Descartes. Maybe if you read about him, it will help lead you on the path you are looking for.

TheHairyGuy stated:
if i really believed that i could do it, would my mind allow me to pass through a solid object, ie a brick wall?


Well if we are following the same logic here, then the wall doesn't really exist, its only a figment of your imagination. If your imagination has it set that you cant walk through a wall then you wont be able to. Atleast not by yourself without any tools, and without any serious harm.

TheHairyGuy stated:
what if our lives were just dreams that we wake up from when we die, and the "afterlife" is really the time we are awake and our "lives" are simply the time when our bodies are resting and our mind needs something to do?


Very ingenius my friend. I like it, I thought much of the same idea, its simply reversing what we think reality to be. Although I disagree that if it were the case that it would be because our mind needs something to do. I tend to follow Descartes on the perpetual thought hypothesis, only that I don't extend it after death. I think there are compartments in our mind (subconscious) that are always 'thinking'. I also disagree with Descartes notion that if we stop thinking we stop existing. I think it is more like when something goes wrong with a part of our bodies that seizes to provide the brain with something it needs, we die. Which is different. I also think that those who have had near death experiences were the one's whose body had died for a few seconds or minutes (not exceeding 5 since that is the dead brain state at which point people can still live, they are just brain dead and everything has to be done for them by machinery, ie.Breathing, eating, excretion, etc) had near death experiences because the brain still had it's necessities to some degree. Having these necessities, it began processing information from the most primitive parts of our brain, or so research says. These primitive parts bring up memories of happy places, scientist, believe it or not, actually think that it is the mind making death easier on us. What the truth is, is beyond the scope of my attention span right now. If I come up with any ideas I will let you know.

I think you are on a good train of thought, don't stop, elucidate your thought, construct them in whatever order suites your logic best and don't be afraid of what others think, or what it may mean in reference to currently held beliefs whether personal internationally accepted.

What's your take?
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Postby Youngman18 » Sun Oct 13, 2002 5:20 am

I think therefore i am
"Only a life lived for others is a life worth while ."

"Its all relative" -JJohnson
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Postby Truthseeker » Sun Oct 13, 2002 6:52 am

Yeah, it's me. That dirty Mr. Lee :)

Anyway, let's get right to the point: Dude you have an immagination!

Which is a good thing, although sometimes (in my opinion BTW people) it can be thought of as ridiculous and "out there".

(I understand this isn't the topic, but they said I had A.D.D :lol:

I like imagination because it can be used to create a beautiful story. I like it PURELY for that, although I know it can be used for 'other' things. Some such things could be; a movie, a play, music, art, etc.
Now all of these things which I have said; are good things. If you think this life is nothing more than an imagination in itself (if that is what you said), or if you think that we are in something like the Martix; then how come people are not flying through the air, turning into objects, lifting up houses with their minds, AND walking through walls, etc?

Now all of those sound awesome and 'cool', and sure, I'd like to do something like that! The mind goes on and on, but there is a point when it cannot go any further, and I beleive that is where the image of a higher being comes into power. For in this life, it would be useless to live, die, and end up in 'darkness' for eternity.
Clearly though, some people must want darkness in their 'made up worlds', so they say, "There is no afterlife, just the here and now!".

Anyway, cutting to the point: I beleive that this life is all planned out, just as society and goverments are planned out, just as wars are faught and kingdoms fall, just as there are no Akira-like teenagers running around destroying Tokyo :)
I beleive THIS is life, or else it wouldn't have been called life! Answer me this, "How can so much, be SO wrong, and that which is very remote be so right!?"
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Postby cba1067950 » Sun Oct 13, 2002 12:28 pm

Pyhro was a solipsist who doubted everything, one day his friends were laughing at him and told him that if he thinks he is the only one who exists than why doesnt he go and sit in the middle of a road and see what happens to him. So he did. A horse and carriage went by, ran him over, and killed him.


(Ignoring mr. lees comment about the matrix) The part where ... I forgot his name... jumps off the building and falls because he doubted the possibility of his own belief. Assuming he truely was obsessed with his belief and actually did believe he was going to survive would totally ruin this arguement but who cares. Assuming he could detatch himself from the natural fears he as a human is experience would he then be able to ignore the world and survive the encounter with the horse? I doubt it but then again that would be the cause of my question.

By reading this though I've realized that I don't ever want to know the outcome. That would ruin any imaginative thoughts. I wonder if I knew the answers to everything how I would look at imaginary things.
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Postby Magius » Sun Oct 13, 2002 5:58 pm

Youngman stated:
I think therefore i am


Yeah well, I think your not, therefore your not!
Couldn't resist, sorry, just kidding around.

Mr. Lee stated:
Dude you have an immagination!

I'm sorry, I am confused, who has an imagination? Please don't take this rude, just trying to help you learn the ways of a message board; so I give thee some advice. It usually helps to state the persons name in regards to what you have to say in response to what they said.

Mr. Lee stated:
I understand this isn't the topic, but they said I had A.D.D


Who said you had A.D.D?

You brought up a curious topic, I once dated a girl who had A.D.D.(Attention Deficit Disorder) and so I ended up studying it. Did you know that there is no REAL evidence to suggest that ADD is anything but children who were not disciplined by their parents, and hence grew up to have high drives of energy because no one ever showed them how to put it to use. Many feel that ADD is just a pharmaceutical ploy to get money. Furthermore, I honestly think that Ritalin (one of the drugs used to curtail the supposed effects of ADD) creates more problems then it solves. All in all, I have to say that I personally, do not believe ADD is an actual disorder.

Mr. Lee stated:
If you think this life is nothing more than an imagination in itself (if that is what you said),


That isn't what I said at all.

Mr. Lee stated:
or if you think that we are in something like the Martix;


I don't THINK we are, I am just open to the idea that we could be.

Mr.Lee stated:
then how come people are not flying through the air, turning into objects, lifting up houses with their minds, AND walking through walls, etc?


Turning into objects? Where in the matrix did that happen? Maybe you are confusing this with Terminator 2. Lifting houses up with our minds? Where in the Matrix did that happen? Maybe you mixing it up with Star Wars. Walking through walls? Where in the matrix did that happen? Maybe you confusing it with Ghostbusters. Anyway, to answer your question as to why we are not flying through the air is because only certain minds can be freed, those that can be freed will only be able to learn to bend or break the rules to a certain extent; the chosen one is the one who FLEW (NEO, Keanu Reeves). Remember, the rules can be bent or broken ONLY within the Matrix, not outside of it. Matrix is my favorite movie of all time, maybe if you watch it again we can talk about other things, that is if you are interested.

Mr. Lee stated:
The mind goes on and on, but there is a point when it cannot go any further, and I beleive that is where the image of a higher being comes into power.


Although there is much ambiguity surrounding the above quote from your post, especially about the word 'image' and a higher being coming INTO POWER, as if God was democratically elected or something. I will just assume I know where you are going with it and disregard the intricate details of your post. So I am left with asking but one(two part) question...How do you know, and why do you think that the minds concept of a higher being is the furthest point the mind can reach?

Mr. Lee stated:
For in this life, it would be useless to live, die, and end up in 'darkness' for eternity.


In which life, Mr. Lee? Who said life wasn't useless? Not trying to be pessimistic here, just trying to get you to trust and open your mind more to actually give us some rationality behind your statements. How do you know you even live? How do you know you will die? We still don't have a clear definition that fully encompasses what death is, because we don't fully understand death. Lastly, why do you assume that death means eternal darkness?

Mr. Lee stated:
Clearly though, some people must want darkness in their 'made up worlds', so they say, "There is no afterlife, just the here and now!".


This is what a true religious dogmatic thinker would say. "Clearly though, some people want darkness in their 'made up worlds'", this is not so. Just because someones logic leads them to believe that there is nothing after death, doesnt mean that they WANT darkness in their life. In the context that you are using 'made up worlds', it can easily be applied to all including you and I. Again you are restricting those who read your post to surcome to either one of two conclusions which you have set up in a way that your argument must win. But you have barely scratched the surface of the plethora of topics within your post.Without fully examining all possibilities you come out with your guns blazing accusing others of WANTING darkness and shovenistically saying that it is clear. It is like when parents say that their child is asking for a spanking, or is asking to be grounded - when a child disobeys they do not WANT to be punished, but they are willing to take the risk of being punished for the possibility of the enjoyment of what they want to do that is against the rules and the possibility that no one will know. Why dont you elaborate on why it is wrong to think "There is no afterlife, just the here and now!"?

Mr. Lee stated:
I beleive THIS is life, or else it wouldn't have been called life! Answer me this, "How can so much, be SO wrong, and that which is very remote be so right!?"


If I understand the first part of your quote correctly, things are the way they are because they are called it? What does naming something have to do with the reality of a thing? Does labeling something give it reality? So those things which we have not discovered yet, and hence do not have a name for, have no reality? To answer your question, I don't believe in right and wrong. By which I mean, that there isn't some over arching principle of what is good and bad given to us by God or any kind of higher power. It is but a conceptual creation by us to help guide ourselves in such a manner that we can get along the best in huge numbers within close proximity. Anything that is SO wrong, can quite easily be made to look SO right. When I ask most people if they think killing another is wrong in all cases they say 'yes'. But then when I give them a scenario and say, imagine a man walking down the street and shooting another man walking towards him on the same sidewalk, would you say what he did was wrong? They say 'yes' But then when I say that the guy who was killed was Adolf Hitler, do you still think what the shooter did was wrong, they say 'no'. Yet their original statement was that they agreed that killing was wrong in ALL cases.

Before I go, I will attempt to show you the problem with your style of logic. Please read with an open mind, my impedus here is not to berate you, make you feel inadequate, or to feel superior to you.

Mr. Lee stated:
If you think this life is nothing more than an imagination in itself (if that is what you said)


Let's represent this sentence with the Atomic Sentence Letter 'B'. So the logic goes... If 'B'

Mr. Lee stated:
or if you think that we are in something like the Martix


Let's represent this sentence with the Atomic Sentence Letter 'C'. So the logic goes... Or 'C'

Mr. Lee stated:
then how come people are not flying through the air, turning into objects, lifting up houses with their minds, AND walking through walls, etc?


Let's represent this sentence with the Atomic Sentence Letter 'D'. So the logic goes... then '~D'
The tilde (~) is used to represent 'not' in logic. So we are left with...

If 'B'
Or 'C'
Then ~D

Now my statement from my post is 'A', which isnt even in your argumentation, which means you have misrepresented my statement and have been arguing against a altered version of my statement. That is called the Scare Crow Fallacy. You also commit the False Dilemma Fallacy which is when one reduces several possibilities to two alternatives. It is the False Dilemma fallacy that bothers me most about your logic. Finally, you also commit the Fallacy of Composition which is when you make a conclusion that depends on an erroneous inference from the part to the whole. More simplified, it means that the conclusion you drew does not follow from the premises.

So you see, I have no way out of B or C. Since you didn't present any alternative. You should keep things open for other people to feel free to share their ideas with you. Hey, we all make these mistakes, I know I do.

I do apologize for the length of the post. :cry:
What's your take?
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Postby Truthseeker » Sun Oct 13, 2002 9:27 pm

Sorry, but I am finished with this topic. It's way too confusing to me.
There is 'one' thing I have learned from what you replied; there is no Matrix, only the one we make up with our minds.
BTW, I know I may seem like I am arguing to WIN my side, however I am merely trying to state that which I have known to be true by certain events in MY life.
I truely beleive if at least SOME of the things which I have witnessed and heard were explained to you; you would understand my position completely.
I was once an athiest as well, that lasted for about 2 months before I had a quick change around. I truely beleive that which changed me wasn't a 'person' here on earth, but rather the creator himself.
I would like to state MY personal view of life. First of all with the A.D.D thing, I AGREE with you completley. I extend that view to beleive that a LOT of mental illnesses are simply 'made' up by psychologists or other doctors.
Secondly, I beleive that all 'good' and 'evil' is simply opinion. However, I also beleive at the same time, that there is a God who knows what is RIGHT.
Now I may be wrong, but I am sure that there is a difference between what is 'good' and what is 'right'.
I beleive also that God is in complete control. I understand however that we do have 'free will' (i've changed my mind since my last post). The definition of this 'free will' to me, would take far too long to explain.
There is ONE definite thing that I know, and it is this; those who murder KNOW it's wrong. If they say it's NOT wrong they are either insane or lying to theirself.
Now I know that some people think there isn't a God, however, if we know murder is wrong, who put that feeling into us to believe that?
Question for everyone...
Why would God therefore intend for everyone to beleive they are in a fantasy world?
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Postby Magius » Mon Oct 14, 2002 3:37 am

I apologize for confusing you Lee. I was hoping I had cleared things up.

Mr.Lee stated:
I was once an athiest as well, that lasted for about 2 months before I had a quick change around. I truely beleive that which changed me wasn't a 'person' here on earth, but rather the creator himself.


Mr. Lee,
once again, let me remind you not to be presumptuous. The above statement by you suggests that I am an athiest. I am not.

Mr. Lee stated:
Now I know that some people think there isn't a God, however, if we know murder is wrong, who put that feeling into us to believe that?
Question for everyone...
Why would God therefore intend for everyone to beleive they are in a fantasy world?


Most would argue that we know murder is wrong because of our primal instinct for survival, our reason brings about not just the ability for reflection on ourselves, but also the ability for ourselves to reflect what something is like for another. So if our primal instinct drives us toward survival, hence we want to survive and believe we should survive, then we can project the same onto other, and actually feel bad for another when they are murdered - because we can imagine ourselves being that person (putting oneself in anothers shoes).

Your question for everyone is begging the question. For those who don't believe in god and want to answer, can't. But I will answer because I have thought of a similar thing in reference to Descartes and his proof for God, as well as his thought experiment of the Evil Deceiver. My answer is that it doesnt make sense for God (according to Christianity) to intend for everyone to believe they are in a fantasy world, having said that, why can we? Matrix wouldn't have been nearly as popular if people weren't excited by the idea. Maybe God wants us to believe we are in a fantasy world, because we are in one, and if we realize we are in one, like Neo did, we may be able to get out. Since the first step to solving a problem is realizing there is one.

What's your take?
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Postby Brad » Mon Oct 14, 2002 5:22 am

This might be interesting for the topic at hand:

http://www.bu.edu/wcp/Papers/TKno/TKnoElsh.htm.

Speculation is fine and fun but the onus of proof, insofar as we are attempting to say something philosophical, is still on those who speculate.

Added note: What would be the consequences of solipsism, of Matrixism, or any of the other speculations going on here right now?
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Postby Magius » Mon Oct 14, 2002 7:12 pm

I tried the link, got 'file not found'
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Postby cba1067950 » Mon Oct 14, 2002 10:58 pm

Mr. Lee wrote:Now I know that some people think there isn't a God, however, if we know murder is wrong, who put that feeling into us to believe that?


You could also argue society. Obviously pain is an unwelcomed stimulus for animals and plants (so I hear). So naturally being we're social animals I don't want to get hurt and nor do you. We call a truce and eventually the idea of death becomes one of an immoral belief. Although the absence of it has attracted many people through curiousity. Which is why gore movies are soooo cool! :evilfun: Also why killing bugs makes me feel like more of a man. Because men are warriors and bugs... they're my sworn enemy of course.

I tried the link, got 'file not found'


Me too.
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Postby Brad » Mon Oct 14, 2002 11:47 pm

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Postby Magius » Tue Oct 15, 2002 1:20 am

Brad,
the article you provided argues against skepticism based on logical reasoning in the system of logic. If this is all there is to reality then psychology is really logic, and so is everything else. As Polemarchus pointed out in one of his posts, you cannot disprove logic using logic. Well, his statement was actually, you cannot disprove logic because you have to use logic to disprove it. But I personally don't agree with that. My conversation with Polemarchus, and the article I read thanks to you (Brad) is quite coincidental, since this is the first time I am taking a logic course at this very moment - luckily for me I can converse with you guys about something I didn't have much knowledge of before, meaning the actual terminology and systems inherent within the subject of logic. But I was quite the logical fellow before I knew any of the terms or the systems inherent within the subject.
To simplify the matter, I will say that logic was made and is dependant within our understood reality. A skeptic doesn't doubt that an apple is in front of him, a skeptic doubts the REALITY of the apple in front of him. If a skeptic doubts the foundations of logic, that being the reality it is based on, then you unproductive to disprove a skeptics notions using logic.
Imagine Galileo disproving Ptolemy' earth centric model, attempting to convince the world that the earth is not at the center, instead it is the sun. You come along and throw his words into a varifiable logical system that churns out a negative, illogical, conclusion. The world would be square even now.
Within logic, the concept of Negation Elimination, is as basic as 1,2,3. But if I was to doubt the reality in which numbers exist, and hence bring into doubt of negating a number, or double negating a number. It would be a whole different ball game.
Furthermore, there are so many different signs, rules, and assumptions based within the subject of logic. Everyone I have talked to in university that has taken logic comes to notice that the signs I use are different from the signs they used. The infamous 'vel' or 'v' is suppose to represent the english equivalent of "or", but in logic it represents "or" and "and". So that AvB is true in all truth value assignments unless both atomic sentence letters have truth value 'false'. But if I say I am going to the store at 9am(A), or(v) I am going to work out at 9am(B); there is no possible way I can do both.
The realm of realities and logic should not be mixed. I come to wonder whether you are a thiest or not, Brad, if you are; I am curious what you would come up with if you attempted to apply logic to God. Afterwards, attempt to apply logic to love. Later, attempt to apply logic to actions of people who have a mental disorder. My point is, that much of logic, like life, is statistical. Only that, not all similarities between life and logic merge.

What's your take?
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Postby Brad » Tue Oct 15, 2002 5:32 am

To simplify the matter, I will say that logic was made and is dependant within our understood reality. A skeptic doesn't doubt that an apple is in front of him, a skeptic doubts the REALITY of the apple in front of him. If a skeptic doubts the foundations of logic, that being the reality it is based on, then you unproductive to disprove a skeptics notions using logic.


Roughly speaking, I think that's the point Elschoff is trying to make. If we take the dream hypothesis seriously, whether made by The Hairy Guy, Descartes, or Chuang Tzu (Am I a man dreaming of a butterfly or a butterfly dreaming of a man?), the proposition, I don't know that I'm not dreaming, becomes logically vacuous. That is, if we assume our reality is a dream, we have to assume that our previously justified true beliefs are false including the hypothesis that reality is a dream. It is the dream hypothesizer who must go elsewhere (other than traditional logic) to make a case for his hypothesis.

This doesn't rebut the sceptic, it just shows what taking the hypothesis seriously entails. Once the shock value of understanding the possibility that

Row, row row your boat
gently down the stream
Merrily, merrily, merrily
life is but a dream

is possibly true, what does it give us? As a quick aside, a former colleague of mine pointed out that this song is in fact nihilistic. :wink:

I am not a theist.

I am an anti-foundationalist, non-representational Pragmatist.

Sometimes. :lol:
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Postby Magius » Tue Oct 15, 2002 3:08 pm

:wink: I found your last word to be very sneaky....'sometimes'.
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Postby Brad » Tue Oct 15, 2002 3:36 pm

Why?

Actually, I didn't intend it that seriously but I was thinking of things like Heidegger's Being, Levinas' Other, and Derrida's Infinite Responsibility. I think, perhaps, Pragmatists belittle some of these ideas too quickly. To be honest, I'm not sure yet.

As far as Theism goes, I follow Marx in saying that I'm beyond atheism. I don't recognize the significance of the question, "What is God?" On the other hand, if you want to discuss religion, I'm all ears. Religion fascinates me.
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Postby BluTGI » Tue Oct 15, 2002 4:04 pm

I dont like the use of Dream Because Dreaming is also part of the reality in question. Thats another spin on this topic. A dream is not real when compared to Reality. But if Reality isnt real and the dream isnt real. then we must go to what is real. Like descartes.

IF god is created by man then that puts descartes out. That means everything is questionable right?

Why again did he say god was unquestionably real?
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Postby Magius » Tue Oct 15, 2002 6:17 pm

Because of the Causal Adequacy Principle (CAP), which states that you cannot get something out of nothing and you cannot get more from less. Which means that the only way a human being (imperfect, finite) can come to have an idea of something that is perfect and infinite because it was planted there. Descartes believed that God left his signature in us to discover. Personally, I think he is getting ahead of himself with this argument.
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arent there more important things you could think about?

Postby tRippq » Thu Oct 17, 2002 3:14 am

a little experiential time might be of use here. just watch your life, your daydreams, your speech, whatever for a while and see how many interesting things your nervous system can deal with aside from the whole dreaming vs. reality stuff.
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reality

Postby Mauve » Fri Oct 18, 2002 6:47 pm

I have had many converstaions o the nature of reality and come to the conclusion we live completely in our mind, we have very little physical space, since the world has no existance, and verything we see has been filtered through our mind and therefore greatly distirted and subjuective, so reality can not be defined as no one has the same perecpetions and reality as anyone else:D
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Postby Brad » Fri Oct 18, 2002 9:22 pm

What exactly are 'we' trying to define here? We live in our minds is already a definition of reality. You've also already implied that there is a mind-independent world, but it's a bit trickier than that. Rather than saying our view of the world is distorted or subjective, why not say that we describe that world through particular positions and for particular purposes and that that is what we should be doing. The problem with trying to define the way the world is, isn't about our problems in seeing the world as it is, it is in defining the world in one description and only one description, the way the world really is. That makes no sense to me. Better to have multiple descriptions for multiple perspectives and purposes.
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