Jump to content



Photo
- - - - -

What is reality?


  • Please log in to reply
54 replies to this topic

#1 Jwheelz

Jwheelz
  • VibeTribe
  • 5,880 posts

Posted 03 February 2013 - 08:00 PM

We live in a complex world, putting aside the social constructs and peculiarities of the human species, just on physical traits alone our world is immensely complicated.  We have sensory organs and nervous systems which take physical signals and stimuli and convert them into electrical pulses which then transfer that information to our brains which create a model of the world around us.

 

Between primary senses like touch, vision, hearing, taste and smell and secondary senses like equilibrium and proprioception (ability to recognize relative positions of our limbs and bodies), we receive a tremendous amount of information every second. Over millions of years of the evolution of all terrestrial life the ability to process ever-growing amounts of information has ensured the survival of increasingly advanced species such as ourselves.

 

But even with all of these senses we only directly experience a small portion of the world around us. For example I was watching a program the other day about the unseen world and they were talking about the electromagnetic spectrum. They said something along the lines of this, although I may not have the exact cities and distances: If the spectrum electromagnetic energy was a line extending from San Francisco to New York City, the portion our senses can directly detect would be approximately 1 inch long.

 

The exact details are not important because the point is we live in a world for which we are vastly underequipped to understand.  There are animals who can perceive parts of the spectrum we haven't even known about for more than a few hundred years.  We have managed to create tools which augment our abilities and the more we look it seems the more questions we find.

 

It brings me to the question of this thread. What is reality?  Is what we see around us the limit of reality or is it just the bare surface of the nature of our existence? Many cultures and traditions say with some variation that we essentially are living in a dream, maybe there is truth to this. How much similarity is there between the way each of us perceive the world? What are the differences?

 

I'm hoping to provoke an ongoing discussion and to hear a wide variety of perspectives on these questions.

 

What do you think?



#2 hoagie

hoagie
  • VibeTribe
  • 19,454 posts

Posted 03 February 2013 - 08:26 PM

Having only what my senses tell me to go on, abd having no real way to objectively verify anything, it is easy to conclude that I may be the only "real" thing that exists (whoever "I" is).

#3 Cheezdude

Cheezdude
  • VibeTribe
  • 3,054 posts

Posted 16 February 2013 - 08:47 AM

Ok, I'll take a shot at this. Reality truly is what we make it. We can only perceive what's around us.

What we can see, and feel, etc. But that's obviously not all there is. If you've paid attention at all, 

there are hints, or clues to other reality's we can't see or feel. So, it becomes speculation. And we

all have a slightly different perspective on it. Even if I'm standing next to you, our perception of

reality would be shifted slightly from the other. In other words, I can't see exactly what you see,

even if we're looking at the same thing. So, it's really subjective. 

And based on that. there is no substantial difference between a dream and a waking reality.

They both exist in some way. So they are both reality. But that's not all there is. We will never

know all there is to know. But we can contemplate it. 



#4 Jwheelz

Jwheelz
  • VibeTribe
  • 5,880 posts

Posted 19 February 2013 - 01:50 AM

I agree I think it is very subjective,there is so much of our experience that goes into our own picture of reality, and there are so many factors and experiences we can have throughout our lives which can affect the picture that we construct of the world around us.

 

In keeping with that, I've just been reading a very interesting article about the way in which many of our modern ways of living separate us from the true nature of ourselves and the true experience of being outside of are constructed world. 

 

it's pretty long but here it is:

http://www.alternet....=0,2&paging=off

 

here's a brief excerpt about time which I thought was interesting:

 

 

[... in]  The Labyrinth of Solitude, the Mexican poet Octavio Paz states, “the conception of time as a fixed present and as pure actuality is more ancient than that of chronometric time, which is not an immediate apprehension of the flow of reality but is instead a rationalization of its passing.” He goes on to describe “original time” which “coincides with our inner, subjective time,” in which one's “subjective life becomes identical with exterior time, because this has ceased to be a spacial measurement and has changed into a source, a spring, in the absolute present, endlessly recreating itself.”

 

These descriptions of time are certainly different from the ways in which we are conditioned to conceptualize, and thus experience, time in modern Western society. Time as “pure actuality,” and as “a source…in the absolute present” connotes time as being and as presence, as the flowing of life, and as the flow through which we encounter existence. Experiencing time in this manner relates to the context and process of our lives, as well as the contents. In this mode of reality, by virtue of containing and underlying our experience, time becomes the ocean and ground of our being, and—through having been returned to its a priori or transcendent function—loses exclusive identification with going.

 

I have experienced the way time subjectively passes and I have enjoyed the times of my life where all sense of time's passage or even its relevance to my existence in that moment is gone and it really feels very right. I would even say getting back to that non-perception of time is a lot of the resetting that is so beneficial for our soul/spirits/essence or whatever you want to call it that many of us experience at festivals or on vacations or similar types of experiences when we are outside our chronological routines of everyday life.



#5 Jabadoodle

Jabadoodle
  • VibeTribe
  • 6,910 posts
  • LocationBoston MA

Posted 19 February 2013 - 06:51 AM

Excellent question J, I like how you framed it. I have some observations on this, but it's been a long while since I tried to put them into words. Will put it in the hopper and then try to join the hopefully ongoing discussion. 



#6 TakeAStepBack

TakeAStepBack
  • VibeTribe
  • 19,015 posts

Posted 19 February 2013 - 01:59 PM

It's a good question and an interesting discussion. Before proceeding though, I find it necessary to point out the definiton of reality.

 

re·al·i·ty  

/rēˈalətē/
 

 

Noun
  1. The world or the state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them: "he refuses to face reality".
  2. A thing that is actually experienced or seen, esp. when this is grim or problematic: "the harsh realities of life".
 

 

Synonyms

actuality - fact - truth - verity

 
 
The reason this is important is because it is the sword's edge of perspective. Each and every person has their own unique perspective (at least from listening to others, and in my own perspective :D ), but reality is not negotiable. It is the hard/natural sciences that we've given name and description and which we all, at least in large majority, agree to be true.
 
Such as the Earth is round. It wabbles around the sun in a circular motion.


#7 TakeAStepBack

TakeAStepBack
  • VibeTribe
  • 19,015 posts

Posted 19 February 2013 - 02:10 PM

It can also be more complex.

 

https://sites.google...logical-reality

 

 

 

Scientific vs. Phenomenological Reality

It is believed by many, that the mathematical means used to model nature, constitute a valid and intrinsically comprehensive means of understanding reality. Religion and religious experience, it is believed, certainly has a place in the modern scheme of things, but it is viewed as a projection of personal meaning onto the life we experience. It is not seen today as statements of and contact with an objective reality.

The modern scientific method of description is mainly quantitative. Reality is reduced to measurement (This is a legacy of Descartes). For example, suppose you were to show a scientist a table and ask him what it essentially is. He would first describe it as a top supported by legs. Both the top and the legs could be described as rectangular solids (These are geometrical entities). In describing the material, he would discuss the various molecular and atomic bonds which exist within the substance of the table. These would be described in terms of bonding angles (a quantity), and electrostatic forces (another quantity). This, in turn, depends on quantum mechanics (reducible to probability). For specific phenomena, reality is reducible to the measurement of a ruler or the reading on a meter. For general phenomena, mathematical formulae are applicable.

Is this view sufficient, or is there something more?

 

Read on at the link

 

http://www.world-of-...is-reality.html

 

Non-reality

simply means that there is no such thing as objective reality. Every possible observation or interpretation is tainted by subjectivity and therefore does not constitute truth. Nothing is real! This is supported by quantum theory, which states that prior to observation, nothing can be said about a physical system (read In Search of Schrodinger's Cat by John Gribbin for an excellent introduction to this topic). This theory is further backed by the Double Slit Experiment, which suggests our mere observation changes the outcome.

 

 

As Niels Bohr once said, "Those who are not shocked when they first come across quantum theory cannot possibly have understood it." Another quote by Richard Feynman goes "It is safe to say that nobody understands quantum mechanics."

We are all just guessing - albeit using all the scientific evidence gathered to date - and the universe could well be unthinkably bizarre. If we are on the right track with current theories, it could be terrifyingly bizarre. We just don't know yet.

This particular experiment, which remains one of the most famous and tantalizing experiments of quantum mechanics to date, implies that there are multiple realities where every possible outcome is played out in a parallel universe. Each scientist in each universe observed a different outcome, throwing our original question - what is reality? - into more chaos, as now we have infinite realities.



#8 Jwheelz

Jwheelz
  • VibeTribe
  • 5,880 posts

Posted 19 February 2013 - 07:23 PM

It's a good question and an interesting discussion. Before proceeding though, I find it necessary to point out the definiton of reality.

 

re·al·i·ty  

/rēˈalətē/
 

 

Noun
  1. The world or the state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them: "he refuses to face reality".
  2. A thing that is actually experienced or seen, esp. when this is grim or problematic: "the harsh realities of life".
 

 

Synonyms

actuality - fact - truth - verity

 
 
The reason this is important is because it is the sword's edge of perspective. Each and every person has their own unique perspective (at least from listening to others, and in my own perspective :D ), but reality is not negotiable. It is the hard/natural sciences that we've given name and description and which we all, at least in large majority, agree to be true.
 
Such as the Earth is round. It wabbles around the sun in a circular motion.

 

My entire life I've accepted that there is an objective reality, that there is definitely one set of circumstances which we all agree on and accept as the true nature of things. But quantum physics shows that reality itself is much more complex and stranger than we realize. When you get down to very small and when you get to the very very large our ability to conceptualize existence tends to break down. I don't know how far that uncertainty permeates in the world which we experience and the scale at which we experience it day-to-day.

 

It's very interesting to me though that reality and what is accepted as reality still requires consensus and mutual agreement. Because we're the same species though there's going to be commonalities in the way we perceive the world around us which would then promote mutual agreement since our senses function in the same way as everyone else. But there was a point in our existence where the reality of why people get sick is because of an imbalance in their 4 humors, or it was bad air. That comes down to a lack of understanding due to our inability to perceive the existence of microbes. We developed tools which allow us to see microscopic organisms which led us to the germ theory of disease.

 

I guess what I'm getting at with this thread is what undiscovered aspects of the universe or physics or whatever else might still happen in the future which could turn our concept of reality upside down again? As we increase our understanding that picture of objective reality itself can change. This doesn't mean the actual reality has changed but what if in quantum physics our observation is what locks it into a particular form, does it change the nature of what we're looking at just because of the fact that we are looking at it? I tend to think it doesn't but sometimes I'm not so sure.



#9 TakeAStepBack

TakeAStepBack
  • VibeTribe
  • 19,015 posts

Posted 19 February 2013 - 09:22 PM

Exactly, J. We don't know. We spend our "time" consrtructing reality based on our observable surroundings and understandings. These change over time, by either coming to new realizations with current understanding or breakthroughs in how we measure. Quantum mechanics is a really interesting and yet also dicey subject.

 

We go by what we know at a given time because we dont know anything else...yet. That always being the catch. We will probably revamp what we know about quantum physics in theory several times again too. It's subjective until we can nail it all down. We're nothing if not completely curious beings.

 

As someone once said "so called experts, we're all beginners."



#10 hoagie

hoagie
  • VibeTribe
  • 19,454 posts

Posted 19 February 2013 - 10:45 PM

Doesnt the fact that all we have to compare notes against is other humans' observations of the world around them prove that we have no objective idea of the world AS IT IS? It is self-evident that we are only able to sense only what we can sense...while knowing there are thing we cant sense.

What we sense as "blue" may only be "blue" to human beings. What then is "blue" if it cant be independantly verified? And how valid is any observation that is just echoed by another human, when it may be an anomoly of our sense organs...

#11 hoagie

hoagie
  • VibeTribe
  • 19,454 posts

Posted 19 February 2013 - 10:48 PM

It is entirely possible that human reality is conpletely different than dog reality, than cat reality, etc etc forever

#12 sullio

sullio
  • VibeTribe
  • 4 posts

Posted 27 June 2013 - 02:49 PM

Reality and our perception of reality is a giant ball of energy that's constantly re-absorbing itself. It has no beginning or end. It just "is"...

#13 hippieskichick

hippieskichick
  • VibeTribe
  • 2,887 posts
  • LocationAlbany NY

Posted 27 June 2013 - 05:59 PM

re·al·i·ty  

/rēˈalətē/
 

 

Noun
  1. The world or the state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them: "he refuses to face reality".
 
 
 

 

 

I just have to disagree with that definition. Like so many other things, we cannot 100% prove much of anything at all. And by trying to prove, or define reality, you would always need a reference point, and who defines that.

 

I'm with you guys, reality to one person is how they define it to themselves. Just like beliefs. Just like so many other things.



#14 JBetty

JBetty
  • VibeTribe
  • 5,169 posts

Posted 27 June 2013 - 06:03 PM

I'm with you guys, reality to one person is how they define it to themselves. Just like beliefs. Just like so many other things.

 

 

Perception is reality.



#15 hoagie

hoagie
  • VibeTribe
  • 19,454 posts

Posted 27 June 2013 - 06:07 PM

Perception is reality.

not at all!



#16 Jwheelz

Jwheelz
  • VibeTribe
  • 5,880 posts

Posted 27 June 2013 - 06:14 PM

I think of perception as the way we relate to reality.  Perception is definitely our experience of reality but I don't know if I could say it is reality itself. If that's the case then what are our senses perceiving to begin with?  Our senses pick up data about the world and then convert it into electrical signals which our brains then interpret into an internal mental construct of the world around us. It is an impression, a picture of our objective reality, I would agree that we don't directly experience objective reality, but I would also say that there still has to be one.  There is a planet we call Earth that we all are living on, it is a celestial body which orbits a much larger celestial body that we call the sun.  This is what I would call indisputable fact. The names and perceptions of these things may be different but at least at the level of scale at which we exist, I don't think you could say there is only an Earth because we all decided that there was. To me that would imply that we could all decide collectively that we actually don't live on a planet and that fact would actually change.



#17 JBetty

JBetty
  • VibeTribe
  • 5,169 posts

Posted 27 June 2013 - 06:21 PM

My perception of events around me most certainly IS my reality.



#18 Jwheelz

Jwheelz
  • VibeTribe
  • 5,880 posts

Posted 27 June 2013 - 06:25 PM

Well maybe reality is both subjective and objective. I would have to say the fact of existence as a thing sort of has to be objective in order for there to be anything for us to have a construct of in the first place.  But then you are right in saying there is a reality which only you can perceive and that by definition must be subjective.  That being said I believe that which is true not just for you but for everyone has to be by definition objective reality.  It's where the overlap lies where things get far more complicated.



#19 JBetty

JBetty
  • VibeTribe
  • 5,169 posts

Posted 27 June 2013 - 06:30 PM

Let's take Joker's comments in the WBC thread as an example:

 

 

I can understand the scuba, plane, mountain things etc... but this seems to have been done just to say fuck you to the WBC (and I can even see that to a certain point) rather than celebrating something they love. Hell, even the place they chose to have it at was built as a big fuck you to WBC. 

 

Why stoop to the levAl of such a hateful group on what is supposed to be a joyous day?

 

I just think that, in a way, it demeans the whole marriage ceremony when it's being done out of spite.

 

 

 

This is his perception of their motivation for getting married.  

He believes it to be true and there's no one who will ever convince him otherwise.

Hence, this is his reality, even though many of us disagree with his interpretation of the event.



#20 Jwheelz

Jwheelz
  • VibeTribe
  • 5,880 posts

Posted 27 June 2013 - 06:57 PM

Hmmmm.... but to me that's just a very strongly held opinion, its validity to him doesn't make it objectively true. Subjectively it's true to him.  But ultimately that's all subjective interpretation.  When you talk about meaning, I don't believe there is such thing as an absolute reality in terms of meanings of events.  Ultimately events actually have no meaning, that is something humans try to ascribe to things in order to better understand what they perceive.  I'm thinking of things on a more fundamental level, meaning the physical world in which we live.  People can argue till they are blue in the face that the world is flat or that there is no such thing as gravity, but no matter how hard one argues or opines, those things do not become any more true.

 

But then what I was saying back in February comes into play.  When you start to investigate deeper things like what gravity is, things get muddy again.

 

I think anything relating to human psychology or sociology is never 100% objective, but these are the soft sciences which by their own nature have to admit that to some extent.  The question is are these things really that different from what we consider "hard science" in the first place or not?



#21 TakeAStepBack

TakeAStepBack
  • VibeTribe
  • 19,015 posts

Posted 27 June 2013 - 07:09 PM

It's his perspective, it has nothing to do with reality, jbetty. Forgive me if J said the same thing in more words. :funny1:



#22 JBetty

JBetty
  • VibeTribe
  • 5,169 posts

Posted 27 June 2013 - 07:11 PM

His perspective is still the reality he lives in.



#23 TakeAStepBack

TakeAStepBack
  • VibeTribe
  • 19,015 posts

Posted 27 June 2013 - 07:11 PM

I think anything relating to human psychology or sociology is never 100% objective, but these are the soft sciences which by their own nature have to admit that to some extent.  The question is are these things really that different from what we consider "hard science" in the first place or not?

 

I would say they are, yes. The soft sciences draw conclusions in very different ways than hard sciences such as physics do.
 



#24 Jwheelz

Jwheelz
  • VibeTribe
  • 5,880 posts

Posted 27 June 2013 - 07:15 PM

you said hard :funny1:

 

 

 

 

I think they are different but in some cases the subjective/objective line is much harder to see... plus I'm trying to be intentionally vague in order to keep the discussion going :D



#25 TakeAStepBack

TakeAStepBack
  • VibeTribe
  • 19,015 posts

Posted 27 June 2013 - 07:19 PM

His perspective is still the reality he lives in.

 

Not if we go by the very definitions of these words.

 

Perspective (I'll take only the applicable definition to the conversation)

 

a : the interrelation in which a subject or its parts are mentally viewed <places the issues in proper perspective>; also : point of view

 

b : the capacity to view things in their true relations or relative importance <trying to maintain my perspective>

 

Reality

 

1
: the quality or state of being real
2
a (1) : a real event, entity, or state of affairs <his dream became a reality> (2) : the totality of real things and events <trying to escape from reality>
 
 
In this instance, joker is aware of the reality of the marriage. it's happened. His view why these folks held it where they did and for what purpose is his perspective.
 
Now, perspective can warp someones ability to navigate reality. Such as, maybe joker believes that all gay marriage happens to piss off WBC.


#26 Jwheelz

Jwheelz
  • VibeTribe
  • 5,880 posts

Posted 27 June 2013 - 07:21 PM

has a thread ever been moved from philosophical discussions to politics and religion? :funny1:



#27 JBetty

JBetty
  • VibeTribe
  • 5,169 posts

Posted 27 June 2013 - 07:22 PM

Actually, my original statement was perception is reality, not perspective.

 

As in - the way you view and think about things is indeed your reality.

Which may be different from my reality.



#28 Jwheelz

Jwheelz
  • VibeTribe
  • 5,880 posts

Posted 27 June 2013 - 07:26 PM

my reality can kick your reality's ass! :joker:



#29 hippieskichick

hippieskichick
  • VibeTribe
  • 2,887 posts
  • LocationAlbany NY

Posted 27 June 2013 - 07:27 PM

my reality can kick your reality's ass! :joker:

 

 

In your dreams!  :bear2:



#30 TakeAStepBack

TakeAStepBack
  • VibeTribe
  • 19,015 posts

Posted 27 June 2013 - 07:38 PM

Actually, my original statement was perception is reality, not perspective.

 

As in - the way you view and think about things is indeed your reality.

Which may be different from my reality.

 

Ah, forgive me.

 

Perception:

 

1
a : a result of perceiving : observation (see perceive)
 
b : a mental image : concept
2
obsolete : consciousness
3
a : awareness of the elements of environment through physical sensation <color perception>
 
b : physical sensation interpreted in the light of experience
4
a : quick, acute, and intuitive cognition : appreciation
 

b : a capacity for comprehension.

 

 

Perception can warp reality. Sort of like perspective. But reality still is hard and not negotiable. Joker's perception in the instance that he would believe all gay marriages happen to piss off WBC, does not align with reality. he may live within his perception, but it's not reality. One can have their own perception, or perspective, but they can not have their own reality.



#31 hippieskichick

hippieskichick
  • VibeTribe
  • 2,887 posts
  • LocationAlbany NY

Posted 27 June 2013 - 07:46 PM

But how does one define reality? The only ones around here to do that are humans, and all humans have their own perception on what reality is.... Majority rules, then? Nah...



#32 TakeAStepBack

TakeAStepBack
  • VibeTribe
  • 19,015 posts

Posted 27 June 2013 - 07:52 PM

But how does one define reality? The only ones around here to do that are humans, and all humans have their own perception on what reality is.... Majority rules, then? Nah...

 

If we can go around defining our terms however we like, it's going to make for a massive amount of miscommunication. I could design an entirely new way to utilize the english language, but that will hardly serve me in any positive way. That is, unless i can get everyone else i know to use the style in which I've concocted. So, in the instances of communication, at least from a universal concept, majority does in fact, rule. And i am one serious individualist. it's just not a practical concept to misuse language, since it is for communication.



#33 hippieskichick

hippieskichick
  • VibeTribe
  • 2,887 posts
  • LocationAlbany NY

Posted 27 June 2013 - 07:58 PM

Yes, I agree with that. Like the definition of 'normal' as well. In the sense of a standard definition, you WOULD need a standard. And majority rules.

 

But the original topic/discussion didn't really ask specifically about a personal view of reality, or a societal one... The posters in the thread took it as they individually percieved it - some as a personal definition (such as myself, JBetty, etc) and others were more focused on a general definition.

 

 

So, IMHO, there are different definitions, because there are different contexts. And perhaps another word can be used (like the aformentioned perception, etc) but because I believe that an individual gets to define their own personal reality, they can also call it whatever word they want. ;)



#34 TakeAStepBack

TakeAStepBack
  • VibeTribe
  • 19,015 posts

Posted 27 June 2013 - 08:03 PM

Yes, I agree with that. Like the definition of 'normal' as well. In the sense of a standard definition, you WOULD need a standard. And majority rules.

 

But the original topic/discussion didn't really ask specifically about a personal view of reality, or a societal one... The posters in the thread took it as they individually percieved it - some as a personal definition (such as myself, JBetty, etc) and others were more focused on a general definition.

 

 

So, IMHO, there are different definitions, because there are different contexts. And perhaps another word can be used (like the aformentioned perception, etc) but because I believe that an individual gets to define their own personal reality, they can also call it whatever word they want. ;)

 

 

:blowup:

 

 

Yes, they can. If they want to spend a lot of timing aimlessly navigating a conversation. or expect others to "know what they mean".



#35 sullio

sullio
  • VibeTribe
  • 4 posts

Posted 27 June 2013 - 08:04 PM

Time and space are biological constructs. They do not exist outside of living creatures.

#36 hippieskichick

hippieskichick
  • VibeTribe
  • 2,887 posts
  • LocationAlbany NY

Posted 27 June 2013 - 08:08 PM

:lol:

 

I felt I was pretty clear about my ideas. I said 'this is how I see it', and that's how others "know what I mean"



#37 hoagie

hoagie
  • VibeTribe
  • 19,454 posts

Posted 27 June 2013 - 10:10 PM

Time and space are biological constructs. They do not exist outside of living creatures.

 

Living creatures must live within a space.  As for time, you got me...



#38 sullio

sullio
  • VibeTribe
  • 4 posts

Posted 28 June 2013 - 04:12 AM

Living creatures must live within a space.  As for time, you got me...


Space is a perception. All is part of the same whole...

#39 Tim the Beek

Tim the Beek
  • VibeTribe
  • 17,439 posts

Posted 16 July 2013 - 08:15 PM

MU!



#40 china cat

china cat
  • VibeTribe
  • 15,577 posts

Posted 17 July 2013 - 01:13 AM

ooh, great thread. awesome place for me to continue avoiding grading of papers :lol:

 

TASB, video from What the bleep do we know?

 

not much to say on this now. but i thought this was a bit of a mind fuck:

 



#41 TEO

TEO

    VibeGuide

  • VibeGuide
  • 24,744 posts

Posted 17 July 2013 - 06:32 PM

154447_275638235909748_1825293428_n.jpg



#42 Jwheelz

Jwheelz
  • VibeTribe
  • 5,880 posts

Posted 18 July 2013 - 08:14 PM

ooh, great thread. awesome place for me to continue avoiding grading of papers :lol:

 

TASB, video from What the bleep do we know?

 

not much to say on this now. but i thought this was a bit of a mind fuck:

 

 

that video was incredibly interesting...

 

I have a hard time accepting the leap Chopra makes in concluding that our consciousness resides in the discontinuity. My feeling is just because we haven't yet discovered where the consciousness resides in the brain doesn't mean it doesn't. Of course it also doesn't mean that it does reside in the brain.

 

I tend to be in the world of science in which I don't try to draw conclusions about something if there is not enough evidence from which to draw a conclusion. It is difficult for me to make the leap in logic to accept a concept which doesn't have evidence supporting it and also doesn't have evidence dispelling it.

 

Putting that aside, I did allow myself to take part in the exercises he brought the crowd through which was an interesting experience.

 

I don't know what to think of what he says, some of it makes sense to me but some of it is just immediately repelled from me.  I like to keep my mind open to other possibilities besides my own assumptions and that definitely lead to some cognitive dissonance in response to what he was speaking about.  However I've had some experiences such as seeming awareness of the thoughts of those around me and a connection that goes beyond rational understanding.  I cannot say I've heard enough to accept this conception of the world however I've also had experiences with intuition that have surprised and confused me.

 

There was a point a couple months ago where I felt as though I was leading and teaching others in ideas that I wasn't even normally consciously sure about. Something about this time allowed me to accept it all as reality rather than another idea of reality.  There was a feeling that knowledge was coming through me rather than coming from me.  But there is a distinct possibility that those ideas were all fragmented in my brain and were just all coming together at that moment to show me that I knew more than I thought.

 

I guess to me that means that I still tend to think there is a rational explanation for those experiences but some small part of me may be open to the idea that there isn't one, and that something closer to what Chopra discusses might have some truth to it.  The philosophies he talks about essentially boil down to the idea that "God" is really a collective consciousness from which everything emerges including our own individuality, as well as in fact the physical world itself. And that consciousness is essentially a field of infinite possibility outside of space-time.  It seems this is where our understanding of the world itself breaks down and philosophy and quantum physics seem to somehow intersect.

 

I will continue to explore meditation, awareness and experience as a way of furthering my own first hand knowledge of the world around me.  That being said I still think there is an objective physical reality and that it would exist whether or not there are conscious beings to perceive it.  If you go far enough to say that physicality actually is an aspect of some greater consciousness well there's just no way to prove or disprove that, so it's not something I will try to do.  I will just say that the fundamental nature of existence and the universe itself is probably a mystery which we will never solve, I think it's beyond our abilities to comprehend.



#43 china cat

china cat
  • VibeTribe
  • 15,577 posts

Posted 18 August 2013 - 08:57 PM

thought of you, J, when I came across this today

 

The Self-Aware Universe:  Amit Goswami.

Consciousness, not matter, is the ground of all existence.” ~ Amit Goswami.  For those like myself who grew up believing that what you see is what you get, well, reading something like that quote from Goswami can be a total mind fuck for sure. The Self-Aware Universe was first published in 1995 during the initial introduction of the new physics movement. While many wonderful books have been written since then, with updated information even more mind bending concepts, this book is still very applicable today. It offers the reader an amazing introduction into an alternative way of looking at reality as it’s traditionally understood and experienced. Through the practice of meditation I’ve experience on a number of occasions what Goswami asserts when saying, Consciousness, not matter, is the ground of all existence. It’s just pretty cool to have some science behind it as well.

 

goswami.jpg



#44 Jwheelz

Jwheelz
  • VibeTribe
  • 5,880 posts

Posted 19 August 2013 - 12:41 AM

oh wow I'm going to have to check that out as my next read... thanks CC :mrgreen:



#45 Jabadoodle

Jabadoodle
  • VibeTribe
  • 6,910 posts
  • LocationBoston MA

Posted 23 August 2013 - 12:07 AM

Thought about this a lot. Will show my work later but my answer is:

Reality is the final arbiter of truth. 



#46 Jabadoodle

Jabadoodle
  • VibeTribe
  • 6,910 posts
  • LocationBoston MA

Posted 29 April 2014 - 11:50 AM

So, I think reality is really very simple. It's physics. The exact nature of what this "stuff" is and how it

behaves might be tricky for us to understand - but it's some simple stuff doing what it does. 

j7vi43.jpg

Various thoughts about this:

* Most people enjoy a good sunset. Many know that a sunset is "really" light being refracted by particles in the atmosphere. For some, I've heard, this knowledge can make a sunset less enjoyable. I don't get that. To me they are no less beautiful because of this knowledge. In fact for me that knowledge adds to the beauty; it's another entire level of amazement that there is a reason and that we humans can enjoy something that just IS. Same goes for rainbows.

* There is an issue in this thread about what we even mean by reality. Are we talking about one's internal understanding or about something else, something more pervasive that exists outside or Jack's understanding. I'm not going to tell anyone they read the question wrong, but knowing Jordan and reading his posts here, I'm pretty sure he wasn't initially talking about "what is your reality" but something deeper. Anyway, that's how I am choosing to think about his question.

* I have an example I keep in mind when thinking about these things. It's of a movie playing on my television. The "reality" is that all that is happening is dots of color are flickering on a screen and pressures of air are being created by the speakers. At some level, at what some might say it "technically" happening, that's it. But this is not true. First, of course, we can do deeper. We can say that even the dots of color are not happening but that "really" some photons are moving. Some quantum physicist might even say something about "string" vibrating. But it's also true that we can com up many levels. It's also true that plot and dialog and emotion are happening. Anyone suggesting that the "reality" of it is only dots and varying pressures of air is, well, missing other things that are just as real.

* And this brings us to language. When we start to think about "reality" our use of language gets tricky. It's not "impossible tricky" and it's not even all that deep. But we do have to keep in mind (and in language) what we are talking and thinking about. The difficulty comes because we are IN reality while trying to describe reality. Our language and our thoughts are symbols that represent other things. Some say -- and it's been said above -- that maybe we can't understand reality because of this. I disagree. We can understand it. We just have to take precautions.

* The main precaution is to always keep in mind our frame of reference. In most of the thinking and conversations that we have on a daily basis the frame of reference is a given. That is not to say we are always in just one frame of reference. No, we jump frames of reference constantly. Back to the movie analogy, when we talk to a friend about what happened in the movie, we talk about the characters as if they were real. We know they aren't, but we put ourselves into a frame of reference where they are. And, with no trouble at all, we can also jump to talking about how the actor played that character. We usually don't even have to define to the other person that we have switched gears; it's easy and natural. The same happens when we are talking about the TV set. We can talk about the lighting of the movie -- or if something is wrong with the set we can switch planes and talk about the physical TV set. No problem.

However, in discussions about "reality" this natural ability to know which frame of reference we're in can get a little fuzzy. It is not an insurmountable problem. It's not even that hard. But we do have to be willing to take the time to define where we're at -- what we're talking about.

* Another precaution is to define terms. For example, in the discussion in this thread it would be handy to have different terms for a single person's internal reality and for this other, bigger, deeper reality. I suggest "Personal-Reality" and "Actual-Reality" and "Ultimate-Reality". I further suggest that "reality", when not qualified, means "Actual-Reality". 

Why do I have "actual-reality" and "ultimate-reality"? I mean roughly the same thing by the two terms. I mean for "ultimate-reality" to be the deepest furthest truest statement of it. I mean "actual-reality" to be just a little fuzzier. A way we can still talk about "reality" without having to get into every sticky detail that, really, we just don't know yet. "Ultimate-Reality" will only come into play when someone is pushing hard on being supper concrete. 

But for now we can just use reality.

* I forgot to mention an important point about the TV-Movie metaphor. It's important to realize that the difference levels don't contradict each other. They are inclusive, not exclusive of each other. That is to say, even when we're talking about plot of dialog or love or hate or action in the movie -- nothing being said is made up or more or less than the dots and sound waves. 

Again, like defining terms or stating frames of reference, this is obvious once it's done. And because it's obvious it can seem burdensome and even unnecessary to do it. But as soon as you try to skip this step...big confusing trouble awaits.

* Now, if reality is so "simple" then were do we get consciousness, love, flowers, and all this really complex stuff?  The simple answer is that these are emergent features of reality. These things seem complex to us. We don't understand what "consciousness is" even though we are intimately familiar with what is like to BE conscious. Well, most of us do anyway ;)

* Let me step away from ultimate or actual reality for a moment and get into a higher (but still deep) frame of reference. Here I want to give examples that show that complex things can emerge from "simple" beginnings. 

* First though, I need to do something else here: I am not trying to present a proof that what I'm saying is correct. I do believe it to BE correct, but right now and here I'm not trying to PROVE it. Some might read this, as I would, with a skeptical mind. What I'm suggesting is a suspension of disbelief for a while. I'm not saying don't question it but only to do that later, after. 

Consider this, for a while, more like you are learning something from someone that you trust knows the answer. Like if you didn't know how an internal combustion engine works or how a computer functions. The person telling you about it would have a much bigger burden if you insisted that they prove every step. But if they are an expert, you can save them and yourself a world of explanation by believing them. By listening (or reading) to understand rather than to question. 

You can (and should) come back later with the critical mind. But for now, just follow along.

* Okay, back to examples that show that complex things can emerge from "simple" beginnings. The easiest of these to reference is evolution. I trust that most people here are both familiar with what that mean and agree it's "true". If you don't that's fine too. I'm not going to try to prove it to you, certainly not here. So if you don't believe it, well, this may be where you and I part ways. 

My point in bringing up evolution is that is shows that really complex things can emerge out of much simpler things. A book I love is, Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution the the Meanings of Life. The relevant thing for this discussion is how Dennett shows in layman's detail how "simple" elements can form to molecules and to life and to animals and to humans. 

In the other great book I love, Consciousness Explained, also by Dennett, he shows how consciousness can "emerge" from the brain. -- I'll be coming back to this later in the post.

My point here is this: If life can emerge from molecules and consciousness from the brain -- I believe all of our complex reality that we don't understand can also emerge from some relatively simply physics. 

There is another aspect of this too. 

Before people knew (assuming you're with me on this) before people knew about evolution, we had some really complex far-out ideas about life and where it came from. Same goes for consciousness for many people today. But the answers are right there. It's not so complex. Well, it is complex but not -- flailing for words here -- mysterious, unfathomable, inexplicable. 

Same goes for reality. 

* Now another question: If life is emergent from atoms and molecules, if the mind is emergent from the brain, does that mean that life and mind were part of, were inherent in, those atoms? Since there is love, life, and flowers, are they inherent in "reality". In a way I want to say no. In a way I want to say yes. I think we'll leave this for further thought later.

* Lets get back to personal-reality and consciousness. Now this is not, strictly, on the topics of "What is Reality" anymore. But since it was mentioned in the thread and since it interests me greatly, let me give you my answer (with any props going to Dennett). Consciousness is a map of reality that is in your head. Life can do much better when it can react to it's surroundings. A first level of this is simply reacting to the now: moving toward sunlight, moving away from extreme heat, etc. But if life can predict what might happen it's even better off. 

Picture a big cat hunting on the savanna. It sees it's prey, say a gazelle. It's following it's movements. Suddenly the gazelle walks behind a large outcropping of brush. With no memory and no model in it's mind of how the world works, the gazelle just disappears. Think about this. We are so used to having our own maps that I want to stress this point. The gazell is not just "gone from view" but, in a being with no internal model, it's gone. Not even like, "Hey, where did it go?" as you might see a dog do when you slight-of-hand a ball our of view. Rather like, the moment it's out of view...it just never existed. THIS is the level that life would be on with no mind. 

Consciousness evolved because it's very, very advantageous to have a model in our heads of the external world. We can access and manipulate that model even when the real thing isn't accessible. 

* So a little side note here. People talk about living in the now. I submit that this is a horrible idea, at least if carried to the extreme. We would be little more than amoeba if we really did this. So, of course, that is not what people really mean. I just wish they would say so. 

* Anyway, lets get back to maps and talk about a few features and flaws. First, a map will never be 100% accurate. We can not actually HAVE the entire world in our minds. The world is almost infinitely detailed and, just by the fact of pure physics, by the fact of the number of neurons and atoms and stuff in our heads, we can not represent something that has MORE "things" than we do in our heads. (sorry, not worded well there). 

But we don't let that stop us. Consider a road map, or a GPS for you millennials. They are exceedingly useful, but they never represent everything. We abstract certain details that we find are important to our goals. We have distances and route numbers but leave off the elevations and the colors of the houses. And for other purposes we build other maps. I hiker may well have a map that does show the elevations. But the map still does not show how each particle (or wave) of light glitters off the dew drop on the leaf.

The maps are great, but they are not "reality". The only way to experience reality is to be there. 

For people, in our minds, we make many kinds of maps. Some are of words. Some are of feelings. Some are so automatic we don't have direct access to what they are or how they operate; these feel to us like intuition. And thank evolution they do, else we'd be overwhelmed in every waking moment. 

And maps can be wrong.  Our thoughts can be mismatched to what's "really" happening. Our feelings about someone can be wrong. It's important we learn how to build accurate maps and critical we find ways of continually validating them. 


* What about that feeling we have of a "someone" that is conscious, of an "I" that is reading these maps? 

That's a false question. We ARE these maps. There is no mystical *I*. What you experience as consciousness IS what it is like (is what it is) to be a "map".

* New topic: It was talked about above that we, as humans, can not sense everything. For example, we (most of us) can not sense magnetism for example. We also can not see all the wavelenghts of light (like infrared and ultraviolet) and we can not hear all the frequencies of sound. Does this mean we can't understand reality?  No. It does not. It means that we can't directly SENSE all of reality. 

* Of course, that begs the question, "What does it mean to understand something?" This brings us back to what I was just talking about. We will never have within us a total representation of all reality. We can't. It's impossible. But "understand" is not the same things as "being".  This, again, is another question that we can ponder more about later. 

NOTE: At this point I'm running out of steam and just want to throw out a few thoughts for more discussion.

* What about quantum mechanics and all the strangeness that happens at that level? Well, first off, I'm very skeptical of anyone that says the emergent features we notice (consciousness, love, etc.) are due to or act in ways that are related to how quantum particles act. It's as if someone said that we as humans could be categorized as the periodic table is since, after all, we are made of particles. It's as if someone watching a movie tried to write or understand plot by the rules that govern how signals are sent over TV frequencies or by how routers work to move the bits for NetFlix. 

The features that emerge are based one (and, remember, not contradictory to) the underlying reality -- but that does not mean we (the emergent features) act or can be understood by the rules and actions of the underlying reality. Besides, as I understand it, most or all of the quantum strangeness does NOT apply in the frame-of-reference of larger (newtonian) objects -- and we are levels up even from that. 

In fact, doesn't that show exactly what I'm trying to say: molecules, bullets, planets -- they are emergent from the quantum world -- they don't contradict the quantum world, but the best way to understand them is NOT with quantum mechanics. 

* Okay, last point for now: What about the fact that we interact with the world? Isn't there something to be said that mirror the Heisenberg principal that a thing changes when is it observed? Yes. Yes. Our world (the human frame of reference) as well as the entire Actual-Reality is a complex adaptive system. There is feedback. We are not just observers, we have weight and action in the world. What we do does effect it. This makes for a situation that can be very complex to understand. 

A door latch is a simple and direct system. Easy to understand.

A Swiss watch (the old type with gears and springs and such) is a complex system, but not adaptive. So is most software. These are complex but still relatively easy to understand. 

An economy or a human body or a bio-sphere though are both complex and adaptive. Each little change results in numerous other changes. Making a model for these things is very difficult. But still, if we abstract enough, not impossible. 

Okay, that's what I have on that.



#47 holysmokes

holysmokes
  • VibeTribe
  • 1,871 posts

Posted 29 April 2014 - 01:58 PM

http://www.webball.c...ms/page3513.cfm



#48 Jabadoodle

Jabadoodle
  • VibeTribe
  • 6,910 posts
  • LocationBoston MA

Posted 30 April 2014 - 09:58 AM

So in the last post I didn't say much directly about low-level Ultimate-Reality other than that I thought the upper levels of reality (consciousness, flowers, love, life, people) are emergent from it. So now I'm thinking about closer to the source. Again I can't prove these things, but Jordan asked us what we thought, so here you go.

Existence Exists:
I meant to get into solipsism in the last post and don't feel like doing it here. But the one thing we can say for sure about Reality is that it exists. Even if we are just a "brain in a vat", something exists because, as Descartes put it: cogito ergo sum.

brain-in-a-vat-387x400.gif

E=MC2
This tells us that Energy and Mass are the same thing, or at the lest can be converted from one to the other.  The "C" is, of course, just a really big number that we then multiply by itself to get a really really really big number. 

Without worrying about why C happens to be the speed that light travels at through space, what can we gather from the fact that Energy is convertible into Mass and vise versa? As I understand it, Mass is simply energy concentrated, frozen if you will, into a stable form. Knowing that mass and energy are really the same thing, really probably made of the same "stuff" is pretty cool. It reinforces my thought that, as the Ultimate-Reality level, whatever is happening is really simple.

What is Time?
I think time is really an emergent feature of the fact that existence exists. Once more than one thing exists, whether is be energy or condensed energy mass, their will be relationships between them. In some sense, time is created the moment 2 thing exist.

Is All One?
Yes, but mostly no. In a sense all is one. Every single (or compound) thing is in relation to all other things. Every single thing may be made of the same Ultimate-Stuff (energy). At a higher level, all humans, for example, may be part of a line of things and actions that resulted in them and be part of an eco-sphere where actions far away can affect them and their actions can affect things far away in time and space.

But no, all is not one. Really. It's a nice and convenient metaphor and one I use, but it is applicable only at certain levels and with certain frames of reference. If all was truly one thing, well, there would be no differentiation at all. If that were the case there would be no love, no humor, no sex, and we would all die of boredom; but fortunately we wouldn't even exist.  

Is everything vibrations?
No. I assume many here have felt that and I have too. People attuned to music often think this or, rather, feel it. I think this is because it is vibrations in things that, well, make stuff interesting. Just as if all was one, if there were no movement in "stuff" there would be nothing but a grey static fog. Vibrations, changes, are what makes reality (life) interesting. Vibrations are, in some way, an inseparable part of (aspect of) stuff. 

When we feel this, it's a revelation. It's access to another aspect of reality. And since we often don't notice that (or didn't notice that) we feel that the vibrations are real. This can overtake us to feel that, somehow, vibrations are the Ultimate-Reality. But I think, like time and space, they are an emergent feature of reality. 

Alan Watts & Two Sides to Everything:
Watts, one of my heroes, posits that nothing exists but in tandem. He would say something like that it's not just "us" seeing the light of a star (passively) but that we as much create the light of the start by looking as the star creates the light. Maybe. I think he's close to right, but states it too strongly. 

I think it's true that things go together. There can not be "stuff" without vibrations and there can not be vibrations without stuff. But to say that one creates the other is, I think, not accurate. 

What is Energy?
If mass is just condensed energy, what is energy? I don't have an answer to this. The scientifically minded might give some definitions of energy here. And I'd like to explore that; though I'm not sure that at the Ultimate-Reality level our higher-level definitions of energy will apply. It's an open question I'd like to explore more later.

Are there other Dimensions?
Beyond the three dimensions we live in + time, we hear about other dimensions. As I understand it, many physicists believe there are about 10 dimensions. That would be 6 more than we are normally used to dealing in. I'll admit I don't know what that means. Keeping with what I've been thinking so far I'd say this: It may well be true there are additional dimensions that we, as entities that have some capabilities but not all capabilities (or senses) don't normally notice. Still, so far, I'd say these other dimensions are like the 4 we know -- emergent from a simpler reality. Meaning: They don't so much "exist" as they are descriptions of what does exist. 

Is Ultimate-Reality Conscious?
Here we have to stop and ask what we mean by "conscious". In so many cases people throw around words, words with big deep meaning, without defining them. God. Love. Consciousness. God is everywhere. Love is all you need. Cosmic consciousness. But what do you MEAN by these words? 

I think there is great misrepresentation when people speak or think about consciousness outside of humans and animals. 

Let's backup to what consciousness is for a human. It's a map of abstracted representation of other parts of reality. Once the map includes ourselves at some level we feel consciousness as we know it. So humans have a certain type of consciousness. Animals do too, though it's likely (almost tautologically) quite different than human consciousness. (Even from one human to another it's likely different, but that's a different subject). I believe even plant and rocks have some consciousness. 

But as we get to smaller and smaller (less complex) "things" I'm not sure using the word "consciousness" should continue to be used. Lets take rock. The face of The Old Man of the Mountain (on Cannon Mt. In New Hampshire) might have had, in some way, a consciousness of the world. As the sun hit it and it warmed up, the rock changed. As the forces of gravity and molecular attraction held it in place, it could be said (if we stretch the meaning of the word) that it had consciousness of the rest of the mountain of which it was a part. 

But I think this stretched the definition of consciousness beyond what the container of the word was meant to hold. I think speaking of it this was is misrepresentative. 

And the same is true of the very smallest items of Ultimate-Reality. Each item is certainly acted upon by the rest of reality. There are forces that entities of any size "feel". But to call this consciousness is, I feel, misrepresentative. 

Yet just because I'm giving up the word consciousness does not mean I want to revert to calling them "unconscious". I think it may be (MAY BE) helpful to think of the things these items DO "feel" in a way that goes beyond mere forces of physics. Again as before, I don't have a final answer here -- but would like to think of this more. 

As for a consciousness of the larger universe: Maybe there is a type of consciousness to being a solar system or a galaxy or a universe. Again, I think calling it "consciousness" probably hints to us (though unsaid) of a consciousness that is like being human. And that is so self-centered and hubristic as to be another mis-representation. If a galaxy or the entire universe has a "feeling" to being what it is, I think it's so far removed from what our feeling of being a conscious human is that to call it "consciousness" is wrong. 

Also, note that even in our own consciousness, we don't have access to much of what makes up ourselves. We can't for example feel the firing of individual neurons. We can feel it as a conglomeration, but we do not have access to it on a level of every molecule, every atom. In the same way, I doubt that any "higher" or "universal" consciousness has a direct awareness of each planet or person. -- Yet I feel that's how many people speak about it. 


Okay, that's what I have today. 

Enjoy your Reality, whatever it is.



#49 holysmokes

holysmokes
  • VibeTribe
  • 1,871 posts

Posted 30 April 2014 - 12:14 PM

http://en.wikipedia....and_an_elephant



#50 Jabadoodle

Jabadoodle
  • VibeTribe
  • 6,910 posts
  • LocationBoston MA

Posted 30 April 2014 - 12:32 PM

 

We certainly interact with Reality. No doubt about it. And knowing that we do is an advantage. 
 

It's true that we have to always be aware that there may be parts of reality that we can't access or aren't accessing. I think human science, some philosophy, and what I just typed, does a pretty good job of recognizing this. Science is also taking a pretty good whack at trying to be sure we recognize and "sense" the things that are beyond our normal human senses. We do this by using mind.