The Impossible Question?

Reply Thu 22 Sep, 2016 08:43 pm
saw038 wrote:

I do not understand the animosity you have towards for merely posting a quote which I found interesting from a book on paradoxes I was reading.

I have no animosity.

I do not understand why you would let others do your research (work) for you, pretending you could never possibly have figured out how to find it on your own.

Reply Thu 22 Sep, 2016 08:46 pm
You seem quite accusatory, but maybe I misinterpreted you. I appreciate your information that you did in 30 seconds and it provided great food for thought. But the neuroscience behind dreams was not the only thing I was looking for when I posted my question.

I was speaking philosophically, and while you can find much from the internet and reading books, I really like to hear other people's opinions and takes.
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Reply Fri 23 Sep, 2016 12:16 am
Why does that matter? It all disappears when I wake up in the same place.
Reply Fri 23 Sep, 2016 12:25 am
It matters because when you wake up, you very well may be 'waking' up into a world that seems just as 'real' as the dream you are awaking from.

In the dream state, you believe you are really living it. You wake up to find that this is real and reality, but there are no guarantees that this is no more real than the place you awoke from.
Reply Fri 23 Sep, 2016 12:36 am
No, it's always felt a lot more real.

From Monty Python's Big Red Book.

The London Casebook Of Detective Rene Descartes - Chapter 1

The acrid scent of stale cigarette smoke hung wearily in the air of the dingy Whitehall office. The only sound was the querulous buzz of a prying bluebottle indolently hopping among the dun box files clustered above the fireplace occupied by the regulation Scotland Yard electric fire, one bar of which flickered hesitantly in a perfunctory attempt to warm the November gloom.

Detective-Inspector Rene `Doubty' Descartes absent-mindedly flicked grey-white ash from the sleeve of his only vicuna jacket and stared moodily across the pigeon-violated rooftops of Whitehall. `I muse,' he thought. `Therefore. . . .'

The ginger telephone shrilled its urgent demand. Descartes, rudely awakened from his reverie, snatched the receiver to his ear.

`Descartes here,' he posited.

`Sorry to interrupt, sir.' The familiar tones of Sergeant Warnock floated down the line. `Sergeant Warnock here.'

`How can you be sure?'

`I think I am Sergeant Warnock, therefore I am Sergeant Warnock,' replied Sergeant Warnock confidently. Some of Doubty's thinking was beginning to rub off.

`But if you thought you were Marcus Aurelius would you therefore be Marcus Aurelius?' parried the forensic savant deftly.

`Er . . . probably not,' admitted the trusty sergeant, chancing his arm. When the Detective-Inspector was in moods like this, routine business could take days.

`So simply because you think you are Sergeant Warnock, it does not necessarily follow that you are,' his postulate continued.

`But, sir, you said, "You think something therefore you are something".'

`No, no, sergeant, you haven't got it at all.'

`Well, sir,' the stalwart sergeant gamely countered, `there must be a strong probability that I am Sergeant Warnock. Couldn't we on this occasion proceed on that assumption.'

`I'm afraid that it is this "beyond all reasonable doubt" philosophy that has bedeviled the reputation of police thinking since the days of that woolly pragmatist Peel.'

`But this is an urgent matter, sir. The Prime Minister is on the other line.'

`My dear putative sergeant, this problem of your identity is something we are going to have to sort out sooner or later.'

`But it's the Prime Minister, sir.'

`But how do we know it's the Prime Minister?'

`Oh Christ.'

`This is a perfect illustration of my theme, Warnock . . .'


`. . . if that is indeed to whom I am speaking. If I cannot be sure of the Warnockness of the person or apparent person with whom I am at present speaking, how _a fortiori_ can I accept an authentication from this source of a third party of whom my direct and verifiable experience is even further removed?'

`He's rung off anyway, sir.'

`If indeed he was ever there.'

`Well if he was, sir, then he almost definitely asked you to call him back. Can I get him for you, sir?'

`Not so fast, sergeant, for I will assume for the moment that that is who you are.'

`Thank you very much, sir.'

`If I now call the Prime Minister, how is he for certain to know that he is speaking to me?'

`Ah but that's his problem, sir.'

`But how shall I know that I am speaking to him?'

`You're calling him, sir.'

`But suppose I speak to someone, thinking him to be the Prime Minister when in fact he is not; then the Prime Minister will be disclosing what may well be state secrets to another party, believing him to be me.'

`But surely, sir, just because you're speaking to a third party it does not follow as a necessary consequence that the P.M. is speaking to anyone at all.'

Descartes sucked thoughtfully at his familiar thumb. `. . . Good work, sergeant. Get him _toute suite_.' Then replacing the receiver he ruefully swung round on the familiar leather trapeze and stared wistfully out of the window. `Funny old London,' he thought. At least the pouring rain had stopped. Or rather, it certainly seemed there was no entity _a_, such that `_x_ is rainy and pouring' was true when _x_ was _a_, but not otherwise.

Reply Fri 23 Sep, 2016 12:43 am
Definitely an interesting read! But, I, from a subjective sense have to disagree.

I know you may not believe me and that is of course in your right to do so, but a few nights ago I had a dream where I remember recalling a previous dream and thinking to myself, "I know this with 100% to be real."

I later woke up confused, because I knew what I had experienced was real. I knew I was 'I' and I knew that I believed it to be my reality. I feared for my life and I thought with reason.

I cannot explain it and, of course, this is my personal account, but it intrigued. Later, I read this quote and that too intrigued me so I posted it to see what other's might have to offer.

I do recognize that I feel this consciousness to somehow be more real than my dreams, but at the same time, I cannot disregard the dreams where I have woken up relieved to find that what I had thought was real had not been.
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