My Views on Reality

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Reply Tue 1 Jul, 2008 10:35 pm
The last few days I've been working on my view of reality. It'll probably take a while to explain, so bear with me. I'll also dip into epistemology a bit.

OK, so what do we define as reality? One may say that we create reality in our heads, a subjective reality. Another may say that what we perceive with our senses is reality. Objectivists, for example, claim that what we sense is reality, no ifs, ands, or buts. This is taking an awfully big leap of faith, though, in that saying that our senses and perceptions are fully valid methods of understanding reality. Rather, psychedelic drugs and mental illness shows that people often perceive things that others do not. Thus, either the mentally ill are perceiving incorrectly or the sane. In either event, if one of the parties is correct, the other is incorrect; basically what I am saying is that perceptions are not always a valid representation of reality.

In fact, they never are! For if we consider the world of atoms and electromagnetic waves to be the real, objective reality, we can see that our perceptions are vastly off. The objective reality is a reality of existence and motion. If we perceived objective reality as it truly is (this is assuming the widely held belief of objective reality--of atoms and whatnot--is true. This may be wrong, but that's for a physics discussion.) then all we would perceive would be particles moving, bonding together. There would be no "objects," just a whole bunch of tiny particles interacting with one another.

Thus, it is clear that the reality we live in, based on perceptions, this subjective reality, is far different from objective reality. Subjective reality is composed of colors, things, and meanings. Our senses are not accurate translators of reality; they give us things such as color, taste, etc., which do not exist in objective reality. Sure, one could say that color exists in the wavelengths of electromagnetic waves, but what is color to us is different than scientific, objective color. Our perception of "color" is found only in our subjective realities.

So, there is an objective reality and a subjective reality. The subjective reality is the one we think we live in, the one we feel we live in; objective reality is what subjective reality is created out of by the senses. So, is the objective reality the true one, what is really real? Well, consider this: we have already proven that senses are unreliable, and all of our information about objective reality comes from our senses. Also, subjective reality is created out of our senses. So, everything we know about reality right now is unreliable, invalid, because all of it is based on our senses.

For example, I may say, prove this table (imagine there is a table right in front of me) exists. As far as I can tell, this would be impossible, because any argument for the table's existence would rely on my senses, and senses are unreliable. Thus, certainty about anything in objective reality is impossible. When talking about subjective reality, though, we can be certain. For example, I am certain that I perceive that this computer I am typing on exists. As to whether it really exists, I do not know. I am sure that I perceive it to exist, though.

So we can be certain of subjective reality and other things of the mind, because they are self-contained inside the mind. In math, for instance, I can be sure that 2 + 2 = 4 because math is an abstract concept that exists solely in the mind. We can be sure of subjective things, but never of objective things, for objective knowledge is based on senses, which are not entirely valid representations of reality.

Yet, what is reality? Existence? Could we not say that anything that I perceive truly exists, for it does exist in my subjective reality? Subjectivists would argue that the conscious mind creates reality and existence. However, there must be some level of existence that contains consciousness, for consciousness really does exist, and the consciousness is not necessarily part of the body.

Now, I made a pretty big reasoning jump by claiming that consciousness truly exists and is not part of the body. I mean, the most logical scientific explanation for the mind is that it is merely a result of the mechanistic operations of our physical brains. So, what is my reasoning for this? Well, it is rather hard to explain with words, for it is an argument of introspection, of individual experience within my mind. Also, there is no way of proving it to you, for it is based on my own internal experiences, which cannot be proven to others. The best way for others to understand my argument is to examine their own internal experiences and evaluate what they find. Now, I'm not even sure if others are conscious as I am; perhaps I am an anomaly, the only being conscious at my level. All human behavior could conceivably be explained by physical processes in the brain. So why do I think consciousness is a real, separate entity from the body?

Well, when I am conscious, I experience what can be best described as a unified awareness, all of my senses being combined into a structure of consciousness that would simply not exist if my behavior was a result of atoms merely moving around with electrical impulses, as a purely mechanistic view of the brain and mind would indicate. Now, whether this unified awareness does any thought processing or not, I am not sure. What this consciousness does is beyond me; I merely know that it exists and it is what I consider myself. Now, what consciousness is may not fit into the standard theory of a separate soul. One thing I have heard but know next to nothing about is the theory that consciousness is an effect of quantum mechanics. This would make sense; all thoughts and actions and whatnot could be explained by physical brain activity, and the physical activity creates a separate mind. This would still fit in with what I am saying; all I am saying is that my mind is not purely physical as far as we understand physics today.

So, what is the implication? This: though I am not sure whether objective or subjective realities exist, I know this: existence exists, and my consciousness is part of existence. I figure that if my mind didn't exist, I would not experience my unified awareness. Also, if my consciousness exists, there must be actual existence; existence that absolutely exists and not in the frame of reference of any other being, like subjective reality. I hold that there is absolute existence, that is, reality that exists independent of any frames of references. This existence is what I call true reality, for it truly exists and does not exist in the context of any entity, like our subjective realities.

So, what do I know about this true reality? Only that my mind is part of it and any conclusions that can be drawn from that knowledge, such as the fact that minds can exist, etc. As to anything else, such as how this reality operates, what the true laws of existence are, and so on, I know nothing. Notice how I use "know" in the present tense. Some who've listened to me explain this up to this point have expressed the conclusion that we can never know about true reality. However, this is a big assumption. The way I see it, since we do not know how true reality operates, it may be possible, for all we know, for our minds to become aware of how true reality operates. We don't know that this is impossible, for such knowledge would require at least a little knowledge already of how true reality operates.

Now, understand that I consider it possible that our objective reality may be true reality. So may our subjective reality. I just don't take these realities, either of them, as a given for being true reality. So, at this point in time, I, and most likely everyone else, cannot be sure of anything at all except for what we create within our own heads.

I hope you enjoyed my explanation of how I view reality. I would really appreciate any feedback concerning holes in my reasoning or other possible views concerning these subjects. Maybe sometime soon I will post a description of my take on ethics and why morality is, no matter what, arbitrary. Thanks,



Farthender
 
Ron C de Weijze
 
Reply Wed 2 Jul, 2008 09:30 am
@Farthender,
Objective reality is the sensed environment including the sensing organism. Subjective reality is the knowing organism including the known environment. Both may not (at all) be valid representations of what is further out there, but they may be valid and reliable representations of what happens where the organism touches or tests (same word in Dutch) the environment, for that is where subjective reality and objective reality are matched and coordinated. Anyway, that is how I came to see it.
 
nameless
 
Reply Thu 3 Jul, 2008 01:36 am
@Farthender,
Farthender;17538 wrote:
people often perceive things that others do not. Thus, either the mentally ill are perceiving incorrectly or the sane.

You are drawing a false inference here. Everyone perceives things that/as others do not. Where do you get the idea that perception is 'correct' or 'incorrect'? Where do you draw the line between 'mentally ill' (a definition please? Even the shrinks 'shrink' from that term these days). And 'sanity' is a legal term, not a medical/psychological term. You are creating a false dichotomy in your 'either/or' proposition. Were your premise correct, there would still be a wide continuum involved, transcending the 'correct' or 'incorrect'. Who judges for all? You? You and your friends? You and everyone who shares Perspective in the matter? Are the 'mentally ill' those who see things differently than you do, as you know that you are.. 'correct'? See what I mean?

Quote:
In either event, if one of the parties is correct, the other is incorrect;

Thats undigestible (and spurious) "if"! Why pit one Perspective against another? Its an old and fruitless game. The 'win/lose' days are already over. Win/win is the new order. All Perspectives are 'correct' within that Perspective, at that moment. Additively, all Perspectives give greater 'view/understanding' (Perspective!) of the 'whole'.
"For every Perspective, there is an equal and opposite Perspective." - Book of Fudd (1:1)
Not 'right', not 'wrong', just 'opposite'.

Quote:
basically what I am saying is that perceptions are not always a valid representation of reality.

All Perspectives are incomplete. That is what a Perspective is, a 'limited' view, hence, the more, the better 'representation of 'reality'.
 
Farthender
 
Reply Thu 3 Jul, 2008 02:37 pm
@nameless,
Quote:
You are drawing a false inference here. Everyone perceives things that/as others do not. Where do you get the idea that perception is 'correct' or 'incorrect'? Where do you draw the line between 'mentally ill' (a definition please? Even the shrinks 'shrink' from that term these days). And 'sanity' is a legal term, not a medical/psychological term. You are creating a false dichotomy in your 'either/or' proposition. Were your premise correct, there would still be a wide continuum involved, transcending the 'correct' or 'incorrect'. Who judges for all? You? You and your friends? You and everyone who shares Perspective in the matter? Are the 'mentally ill' those who see things differently than you do, as you know that you are.. 'correct'? See what I mean?

All right. I actually agree with you a lot, here; I guess I wrote this paragraph poorly. Anyway, when I say "sane" or "insane", I suppose I mean what people would think of as insane. Also, I was thinking more along the lines of hallucinations. My whole point is that people perceive things differently. As for how a perception can be "correct" or "incorrect", well, I suppose I'm operating there from the common point of view that there is an outside reality we are perceiving. I'm kind of saying that if one person perceives a chair to be at a place, and another person perceives it not to be there, that one of them is wrong.
Quote:
Thats undigestible (and spurious) "if"! Why pit one Perspective against another? Its an old and fruitless game. The 'win/lose' days are already over. Win/win is the new order. All Perspectives are 'correct' within that Perspective, at that moment. Additively, all Perspectives give greater 'view/understanding' (Perspective!) of the 'whole'.
"For every Perspective, there is an equal and opposite Perspective." - Book of Fudd (1:1)
Not 'right', not 'wrong', just 'opposite'.

Not just opposite, but contradictory. I'm under the impression that two contradictory things or statements cannot coexist. Of course, quantum mechanics would argue with me in this respect.
Quote:
All Perspectives are incomplete. That is what a Perspective is, a 'limited' view, hence, the more, the better 'representation of 'reality'.

Now, are we agreeing here? Because what I'm trying to establish is that perceptions are not always reliable because people can have contradictory perceptions, showing that one of the perceptions is invalid. And I don't mean "perceptions" like how I would use "Perspective"; to me, "Perspective" means point of view, and is more of a complex thing, such as the perspective of a teacher focusing on the behavior and teaching of her class, whereas a student's perspective may be more focused on fun and getting good grades. There perceptions, though, are merely the information their senses give them, rather than entire points of view.
 
OntheWindowStand
 
Reply Wed 9 Jul, 2008 02:20 pm
@Farthender,
Farthender wrote:
The last few days I've been working on my view of reality. It'll probably take a while to explain, so bear with me. I'll also dip into epistemology a bit.

OK, so what do we define as reality? One may say that we create reality in our heads, a subjective reality. Another may say that what we perceive with our senses is reality. Objectivists, for example, claim that what we sense is reality, no ifs, ands, or buts. This is taking an awfully big leap of faith, though, in that saying that our senses and perceptions are fully valid methods of understanding reality. Rather, psychedelic drugs and mental illness shows that people often perceive things that others do not. Thus, either the mentally ill are perceiving incorrectly or the sane. In either event, if one of the parties is correct, the other is incorrect; basically what I am saying is that perceptions are not always a valid representation of reality.

In fact, they never are! For if we consider the world of atoms and electromagnetic waves to be the real, objective reality, we can see that our perceptions are vastly off. The objective reality is a reality of existence and motion. If we perceived objective reality as it truly is (this is assuming the widely held belief of objective reality--of atoms and whatnot--is true. This may be wrong, but that's for a physics discussion.) then all we would perceive would be particles moving, bonding together. There would be no "objects," just a whole bunch of tiny particles interacting with one another.

Thus, it is clear that the reality we live in, based on perceptions, this subjective reality, is far different from objective reality. Subjective reality is composed of colors, things, and meanings. Our senses are not accurate translators of reality; they give us things such as color, taste, etc., which do not exist in objective reality. Sure, one could say that color exists in the wavelengths of electromagnetic waves, but what is color to us is different than scientific, objective color. Our perception of "color" is found only in our subjective realities.

So, there is an objective reality and a subjective reality. The subjective reality is the one we think we live in, the one we feel we live in; objective reality is what subjective reality is created out of by the senses. So, is the objective reality the true one, what is really real? Well, consider this: we have already proven that senses are unreliable, and all of our information about objective reality comes from our senses. Also, subjective reality is created out of our senses. So, everything we know about reality right now is unreliable, invalid, because all of it is based on our senses.

For example, I may say, prove this table (imagine there is a table right in front of me) exists. As far as I can tell, this would be impossible, because any argument for the table's existence would rely on my senses, and senses are unreliable. Thus, certainty about anything in objective reality is impossible. When talking about subjective reality, though, we can be certain. For example, I am certain that I perceive that this computer I am typing on exists. As to whether it really exists, I do not know. I am sure that I perceive it to exist, though.

So we can be certain of subjective reality and other things of the mind, because they are self-contained inside the mind. In math, for instance, I can be sure that 2 + 2 = 4 because math is an abstract concept that exists solely in the mind. We can be sure of subjective things, but never of objective things, for objective knowledge is based on senses, which are not entirely valid representations of reality.

Yet, what is reality? Existence? Could we not say that anything that I perceive truly exists, for it does exist in my subjective reality? Subjectivists would argue that the conscious mind creates reality and existence. However, there must be some level of existence that contains consciousness, for consciousness really does exist, and the consciousness is not necessarily part of the body.

Now, I made a pretty big reasoning jump by claiming that consciousness truly exists and is not part of the body. I mean, the most logical scientific explanation for the mind is that it is merely a result of the mechanistic operations of our physical brains. So, what is my reasoning for this? Well, it is rather hard to explain with words, for it is an argument of introspection, of individual experience within my mind. Also, there is no way of proving it to you, for it is based on my own internal experiences, which cannot be proven to others. The best way for others to understand my argument is to examine their own internal experiences and evaluate what they find. Now, I'm not even sure if others are conscious as I am; perhaps I am an anomaly, the only being conscious at my level. All human behavior could conceivably be explained by physical processes in the brain. So why do I think consciousness is a real, separate entity from the body?

Well, when I am conscious, I experience what can be best described as a unified awareness, all of my senses being combined into a structure of consciousness that would simply not exist if my behavior was a result of atoms merely moving around with electrical impulses, as a purely mechanistic view of the brain and mind would indicate. Now, whether this unified awareness does any thought processing or not, I am not sure. What this consciousness does is beyond me; I merely know that it exists and it is what I consider myself. Now, what consciousness is may not fit into the standard theory of a separate soul. One thing I have heard but know next to nothing about is the theory that consciousness is an effect of quantum mechanics. This would make sense; all thoughts and actions and whatnot could be explained by physical brain activity, and the physical activity creates a separate mind. This would still fit in with what I am saying; all I am saying is that my mind is not purely physical as far as we understand physics today.

So, what is the implication? This: though I am not sure whether objective or subjective realities exist, I know this: existence exists, and my consciousness is part of existence. I figure that if my mind didn't exist, I would not experience my unified awareness. Also, if my consciousness exists, there must be actual existence; existence that absolutely exists and not in the frame of reference of any other being, like subjective reality. I hold that there is absolute existence, that is, reality that exists independent of any frames of references. This existence is what I call true reality, for it truly exists and does not exist in the context of any entity, like our subjective realities.

So, what do I know about this true reality? Only that my mind is part of it and any conclusions that can be drawn from that knowledge, such as the fact that minds can exist, etc. As to anything else, such as how this reality operates, what the true laws of existence are, and so on, I know nothing. Notice how I use "know" in the present tense. Some who've listened to me explain this up to this point have expressed the conclusion that we can never know about true reality. However, this is a big assumption. The way I see it, since we do not know how true reality operates, it may be possible, for all we know, for our minds to become aware of how true reality operates. We don't know that this is impossible, for such knowledge would require at least a little knowledge already of how true reality operates.

Now, understand that I consider it possible that our objective reality may be true reality. So may our subjective reality. I just don't take these realities, either of them, as a given for being true reality. So, at this point in time, I, and most likely everyone else, cannot be sure of anything at all except for what we create within our own heads.

I hope you enjoyed my explanation of how I view reality. I would really appreciate any feedback concerning holes in my reasoning or other possible views concerning these subjects. Maybe sometime soon I will post a description of my take on ethics and why morality is, no matter what, arbitrary. Thanks,



Farthender


You are failing To realize that subjectivism is objectivisms child. All subjective thought is based off of what we sense. your example with math problem proves this numbers you say are subjective but numbers represent objective entities
 
Doobah47
 
Reply Wed 9 Jul, 2008 03:47 pm
@OntheWindowStand,
Reality is supposed to exist due to the senses, but the notion of 'truth' is completely debased and subject to doubt.

So, it is only an agreement that reality exists, although (due to descartes) reality must exist for one to experience, so in fact the aforementioned 'reality' is a different reality to the reality experienced by the senses of an individual.
 
nameless
 
Reply Wed 9 Jul, 2008 04:34 pm
@Farthender,
If I saw my name on your response, I might have responded earlier. I just happen to stop and see it. Would you mind? Thanx. Just leave it there when you hit the 'quote' button...

Farthender;17687 wrote:
As for how a perception can be "correct" or "incorrect", well, I suppose I'm operating there from the common point of view that there is an outside reality we are perceiving.

That is refuted. An obsolete notion that is dieing slowly. What we think to be an 'external' reality, is an 'appearance' to Perspective, and a 'belief' in that 'appearance' to be 'reality'.
'Consensus' has no relation to 'truth/reality'. Consensual ignorance remains ignorance.

Quote:
I'm kind of saying that if one person perceives a chair to be at a place, and another person perceives it not to be there, that one of them is wrong.

No! If there are two people in the universe, and they are both looking at a floor and one sees a chair on it and the other does not, standing there, there is no way to show that one is 'right' and one 'wrong'. Thats what Einstein said with his 'relativity'. Two people pass in space; is one moving and the other still? Both moving? There is no way to determine, no 'universal referrence point'.
Because one Perspective does not 'agree' with the local consensus does not make them 'wrong' or 'incorrect'.

Quote:
Not just opposite, but contradictory. I'm under the impression that two contradictory things or statements cannot coexist. Of course, quantum mechanics would argue with me in this respect.

Not 'argues with you', but refutes your 'impression', period. Obsolete.
Which makes you 'wrong'! Hahahahaha!
Seriously, maintaing your 'obsolete notion' puts your 'impression' on the subject out-of-reach of evidence, logic, rationality, into the land of 'belief', religion.
Your 'impression' needs to download the 'critical update' or face becomming obsolete, and a 'belief'.

Quote:
...rather than entire points of view.

All Perspectives (POVs) are limited (to one extent or another).
 
Ron C de Weijze
 
Reply Wed 9 Jul, 2008 04:55 pm
@nameless,
There is more where that came from.
 
nameless
 
Reply Thu 10 Jul, 2008 02:14 am
@Ron C de Weijze,
Ron C. de Weijze wrote:
There is more where that came from.

And a new reply 'where that came from' (this site doesn't notify of responses, or I'd have replied earlier).
 
Binyamin Tsadik
 
Reply Mon 22 Sep, 2008 05:12 am
@Farthender,
All measurements are only taken through interaction. Reality is therefore what interacts with us. What does not interact within the interaction of reality is therefore not real and on another plain of existance.

What is real to a fish in an aquarium? The food it gets, the one that gives it the food, the store that sells the food, those that produce the food...

Reality is a long chain of interactions. Anthing that interacts with reality is real.
 
jgweed
 
Reply Mon 22 Sep, 2008 07:17 am
@Binyamin Tsadik,
Reality can be taken in both a absolute sense and a relative sense; confusion results from making a series of statements that interchangeably use either definition.
In an absolute sense, reality can be opposed to appearance;in a relative sense, it can mean a object that is socially defined by rules and procedures.
 
Ron C de Weijze
 
Reply Mon 22 Sep, 2008 07:39 am
@jgweed,
I agree with that. The subjective view is relative; the objective absolute. The subjective is intuition consisting of what you sense and what you know, brought together by your effort; the objective is social reality consisting of material- and cultural reality, brought together by your people.
 
TickTockMan
 
Reply Fri 3 Oct, 2008 08:00 pm
@Ron C de Weijze,
At a lecture, science fiction author Philip K. D ick was once asked, "What is reality?" The only answer he could come up with was "Reality is that which doesn't go away when you stop believing in it."

Google his name. The forum censor made me put a space between the D and the ick, or it gave me a Philip K. ****. Jeeze.
 
mullikine
 
Reply Sun 5 Oct, 2008 11:22 am
@Farthender,
Why am I me?

The thought amazes me. Not the fact that two different people can have their own separate realities - I accept that one's reality is created by, or perhaps more accurately is the mind they are born with. The question that nags me is of my own existence. Anyone else's I can accept. But one's own, I think, is hard to comprehend. 'I think therefore I am' is a theory I like and accept - but 'I think therefore I am this' blows my mind.

Just think of how early card computer worked. Only using one computer program, you are able to process ordinary binary data, but the program can't process itself. No matter how hard you try, you can't get a program that just processes itself in its entirety without external factors. The same may be true of human intelligence at some basic level. There the dilemma? How can one understand themselves? One's mind just accepts itself - it must be wired that way.

I'm just speculating, but as children we think we are the center of the world. As we grow older we learn that we are not the only ones. Consider that it is natural for one to actually think this. But back to the original question! Why am I me? The view we start with is that we are the center of the universe! A very simple perception of the world. Maybe our true reality as you describe is the reciprocal of the most opposite reality there is, everything else.

This may help explain why it is possible that one's true reality as you describe could exist to an individual (there being only two realities, the individual's and the reality of everything else), whilst accommodating for the possibility of others' true realities.

:detective:
 
William
 
Reply Sun 5 Oct, 2008 06:25 pm
@Binyamin Tsadik,
Please forgive my utter stupidity. To me objectivity is something that actually exists and is real, like a rock. Subjectivity is just a matter of opinion and subject to the perception of an individual like is the rock heavy, smooth or looks like an image of Elvis Presley. Please, just when I think I have it figured out I get lost in all dialog that uses these words. Sorry for getting a bit off topic, Help!

Thanks,
William
 
Farthender
 
Reply Sun 5 Oct, 2008 11:40 pm
@William,
Well, truth be told, William, I kind of came up with my own definitions of those words--subjective definitions, if you will:bigsmile:--for the sake of what I was trying to say. I probably botched that, though, since this was written in two sittings, me just pounding on the keyboard. I think sometime soon I'll go back over this and try to say what I'm trying to say more coherently, because I don't think that what I wrote was effective at all.

In any event, I'm not even sure what the widely-accepted definitions for objective and subjective are, except for the external nature of the former and the internal nature of the latter.
 
Khethil
 
Reply Mon 6 Oct, 2008 03:32 am
@Farthender,
I think you've got it fine William and I'm glad you interjected it.

Objective reality does exist in rock-solid form, and although we'd have a hard time trying to prove it I believe it very hard to dispute. Also, just because I'm subject to my own little cage of perceptions doesn't necessarily mean there is no truth in what I perceive. There are many degrees of accuracy - given the cacophony of elements that constitute any objective truth aspect, it stands to reason that some we perceive are false while others are probably spot-on.

As far as the "why am I me"? Question: I'm not sure where, exactly, this comes. But its an interesting thought. If I understand the ownis of what's being asked here, I'd have to answer: There is no 'why'.

Thanks
 
William
 
Reply Mon 6 Oct, 2008 10:48 am
@Khethil,
Khethil, thanks, but I am still confused. As to the statement you made below:

"Objective reality does exist in rock-solid form, and although we'd have a hard time trying to prove it I believe it very hard to dispute".

Either something is or it isn't. What is there to dispute? Where am I missing the boat here. Thank's for your indulgence.

William
 
Khethil
 
Reply Mon 6 Oct, 2008 02:03 pm
@William,
William wrote:
Khethil, thanks, but I am still confused. As to the statement you made below:

"Objective reality does exist in rock-solid form, and although we'd have a hard time trying to prove it I believe it very hard to dispute".

Either something is or it isn't. What is there to dispute? Where am I missing the boat here.


Hey William,

Well, I hate to answer a question with a question but I'm not sure how else to simply answer this. How might we go about proving anything in objective reality? The instant the human element is introduced, so also is subjectivity.

------
 
 

 
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