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What is Real?

 
 
Reply Thu 15 Dec, 2011 11:07 pm
What is "Real"? How do you define "real"? If "real" is all what you can see, what you can hear, what you can feel, taste and smell; then "real" is only electrical signals perceived by your brain. Now, what if you could control these electrical signals; what if you could change these electrical signals, does that mean you could choose and control what another person sees? Let's say that you are actually controlling what another person sees. Let's say you choose what you want the other person to see. Does that mean there are two people at the same place and at the time seeing two different worlds? The question then is: who sees "Real"? You see real because this is the only world you have ever seen and is "real" to you. The other person says he sees "real" because that is the world he has ever seen. He does not know that there is another person in another world at the same time controlling him. His wildest dream may be real.

Likewise, we do not know whether there is another person in another world at the same time controlling what we see. Our wildest dream may be real. We believe reality is what we see but is it really? We believe in this world to be "real" because we wanted our minds to believe in it. Our mind tells us this world is "real" so we believe in it.

Have you ever seen your mind? Does our mind really exist? Is our mind "real"? How can this world be real if its belief comes from a fictional world, namely, our mind. We can create fiction but fiction cannot create us; fiction creates fiction. Does that mean that our world that we believe is "real" might just be fictional? If that is the case, then my question is:
What is "real"? How do you define "real"?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 10 • Views: 15,118 • Replies: 125

 
mars90000000
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Dec, 2011 11:11 pm

“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one”
--Albert Einstein--
mars90000000
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Dec, 2011 11:20 pm
Yes, i am aware that part of that is a quote from The Matrix, but i extended that thought to see what others think.
0 Replies
 
mars90000000
 
  1  
Reply Thu 15 Dec, 2011 11:40 pm
Any thoughts?
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Dec, 2011 01:56 am
@mars90000000,
Welcome to a2k.
If you examine the posting histories of me, JLNobody, Cyracuz and others you will find extensive discussion of that question.
e.g.
http://able2know.org/topic/1119-1
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mars90000000
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Dec, 2011 07:55 pm
That thread has been dead for 2 and a half years... safe to assume the point of view of people may have changed.

So no harm done in re-iterating. Smile
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Dec, 2011 08:39 pm
@mars90000000,
No harm at all. But my view on the nature of what is real--not quite the same as "reality"--requires the same interation. The "real" is whatever IS the case, whether or not I am aware of it. I have said that mirages are real, real mirages. But it is foolish to try to drink or swim in them.
0 Replies
 
G H
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Dec, 2011 10:58 pm
@mars90000000,
Quote:
What is "Real"? How do you define "real"?

One of the oldest could still be among the best: It is to have effectiveness or influence -- to be causal. Or at least the appearance of it, which is arguably all there ever is. But then that would make a psycho's hallucination of dead Aunt Martha into something that is responsible for affecting his behavior -- orders from the subjective phantom turned him into a killer, rather than scattered neurons firing or wayward biochemical levels. So one level having more privileged causal status than another creeps in.

Quote:
Likewise, we do not know whether there is another person in another world at the same time controlling what we see. Our wildest dream may be real.

Some of the wilder speculations tend to result from focus on what's possible from the standpoint of the individual (i.e., the standards for either "real" or "what's really going on" can be more lax). Incredibly, the individual has forbidden and immoral hopes available that cannot be seriously entertained publicly, though they be utterly absurd from the POV of the other half of the dichotomy that he/she is a card-carrying member of....

And in reference to that other half, the possibilities get more practical and restricted when considering what is tenable for a group or society. The latter (or those that are spokespersons for its "consensus") can presume by default or necessary prejudice that either the existence of community or that of a larger environment have complete independence from any particular member. (Unlike for the individual, solipsism [etc] here is not even a possibility, though providing amusing exercise, etc).

This lofty status might be considered a not always mentioned part of society's definition (or any environmental collective), and thus going against it would be to contradict an aspect of its very nature. As well, its institutional processes could be said to have "far less doubt" about its privileged position than what the individual does (due to the latter having been thoroughly conditioned by the former since birth).

There can be exceptions, though! A cult might accept that it existed only as a fantasy of Bob, if Bob was the cult's Leader. Yes, smaller groups may not always triumph over the individual, at least up to the time that they decide to hang a failed or exposed Leader.

The individual might also question if words like "society" and "community" refer to anything at all that could be considered a coherent entity. Unfortunately, similar criticisms could be reversed upon the individual. Regardless, each seems to have some degree of "effectiveness", depending on how a particular system is evaluating appearances according to its standards, methods, and biases.
0 Replies
 
north
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Dec, 2011 11:08 pm

Universe
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Dec, 2011 02:22 am
@mars90000000,
Over the years we have analysed "reality" on this forum, the only change I have detected in my own views is that I have shifted from the statement "the only reality we have is concepts", to the position of Wittgenstein, who would say "it depends how you are using the word "reality". Wittgenstein would look at usage statements like...

"Immigration is a real problem"
"Santa Claus is real for children"
"Get real"
"The ether was considered real by scientists prior to 1890"

.....etc, and point out there was semantic drifting according to context with perhaps no common denominator.

Now it is possible that Einstein was alluding to the relativity of "reality" with respect to observational context, and we can explain his word "persistence" by pointing to common physiology and purpose between consenting observers in communicative contexts.

(I acknowledge that some of these issues have been touched on by the post above this one)
0 Replies
 
mars90000000
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Dec, 2011 04:21 pm
Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.
~Philip K. Dick
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Dec, 2011 05:52 pm
@mars90000000,
There are so many views on "what is real" that it is hard to just pick one and go with it. None of the views are conclusive, though some go farther before they encounter serious problems to account for. Others have those problems accounted for, but face still other challenges. Some look promising, but they may yet fall apart in the face of some inexplicable mystery. To a large extent, what is real comes down to which paradigms we base our inquiry on. For all we know, reality as we commonly know it, is nothing more than a mass hallucination or illusion that we help each other sustain. What makes something real? The fact that is is what it is, or our belief that it is so?
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Dec, 2011 06:07 pm
@Cyracuz,
How can we go beyond what we believe to be so, especially if our peers agree? Don't we consider those who disagree with their peers to be insane?
We all agree that the emperor is naked.

The above is pure free association. I'm typing whatever comes to mind. Fun--for me.
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Dec, 2011 06:15 pm
@JLNobody,
Yes, fun for me too Smile
The way I think of it, all facts that science uncover are woven into a perception of what reality is like, and that perception, or rather the coherency of that perception, is a matter of belief. We have good reason for believing in it, it doesn't require a lot of faith on our part. But when someone challenges what we believe to be real, that does require faith, or at least trust.
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Dec, 2011 08:21 pm
How about "reality is what matters" ?
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Dec, 2011 10:02 pm
@fresco,
Never mind, no matter.
Who said that?
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Dec, 2011 10:02 pm
@fresco,
Never mind, no matter.
Who said that?
Lustig Andrei
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Dec, 2011 12:24 am
@JLNobody,
JLNobody wrote:

Never mind, no matter.
Who said that?


You did. Twice.
Cyracuz
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Dec, 2011 08:26 am
@Lustig Andrei,
Gary Snyder did too, it turns out:

Quote:
No matter, never mind.

The Father is the Void
The Wife Waves

Their child is Matter.

Matter makes it with his mother
And their child is Life,
a daughter.

The Daughter is the Great Mother
Who, with her father/brother Matter
as her lover,

Gives birth to the Mind.


Makes it sound like the universe came to be what it is by inbreeding, which I guess it did, since there isn't anything else for it to interact with. Smile
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Dec, 2011 12:09 pm
@Cyracuz,
Doesn't this apply as well to the mythical family ofAdam and Eve? Either a daughter reproduced with her brother or father or a son reproduced with his sister or mother. Supposedly there was no one else! Either we are the children of incest or--let's hope--that's just fiction..
 

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