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#26930 - 07/08/09 08:29 AM Reality: Just between the ears
Dimitri Offline
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Registered: 07/13/08
Posts: 3113
 Originally Posted By: Crowley-8lectures on yoga
At this point we may well be led to consider once more what we call the objective universe, and what we call our subjective experience. What is Nature? Immanuel Kant, who founded an epoch-making system of subjective idealism, is perhaps the first philosopher to demonstrate
clearly that space, time, causality (in short, all conditions of existence) are really no more than conditions of thought. I have tried to put it more simply by defining all possible predicates as so many dimensions. To describe an object properly it is not sufficient to determine its position in the space-time continuum of four dimensions, but we must enquire how it stands in all the
categories and scales, its values in all 'kinds' of possibility. What do we know about it in respect of its greenness, its hardness, its mobility, and so on? And then we find out that what we imagine to be the description of the object is in reality nothing of the sort.

All that we recorded is the behaviour of our instruments. What did our telescopes, spectroscopes, and balances tell us? And these again are dependent upon the behaviour of our senses; for the reality of our instruments, of our organs of sense, is just as much in need of description and demonstration as are the most remote phenomena. And we find ourselves forced to the conclusion
that anything we perceive is only perceived by us as such 'because of our tendency so to perceive
it'.

Here within this world and universe we can only observe and experience things. As we touch an object our skin makes contact with it. We feel the structure of this object. But do we feel? Thinking a bit makes me come to the conclusion I only have the feeling of touching something. In other words, I am perceiving an object. I perceive pulses from my sensory system within my body. This system emits pulses to my brain when it touches something.
But what triggers it? My hand (or finger) touches the object and I have the sensation that there is something. I see the object I touch, I have the sensation of feeling there is an object. I can try to smell the object and to taste it to see if it is real. But then again, when using my senses I only have the feeling the object is there.

I imagine/fantasise myself loosing all my senses, which means: loosing eyesight, the ability of sense, smell, taste and hearing.
How, with my mind weaponed only, is reality to be described?


Edited by Dimitri (07/08/09 08:30 AM)
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#26932 - 07/08/09 09:04 AM Re: Reality: Just between the ears [Re: Dimitri]
Saligia Offline
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Registered: 05/03/09
Posts: 37
Loc: Manchester, England
 Originally Posted By: Dimitri

I imagine/fantasise myself loosing all my senses, which means: loosing eyesight, the ability of sense, smell, taste and hearing.
How, with my mind weaponed only, is reality to be described?


The loss of all of your senses would most likely lead you to live in a mental world of remembered images, like a permanent dream. However, should you have never possessed any of your senses it is more likely that your world would be limited to a hazy self awareness and nothing else. Arguably though, if it was only the five senses you lost you would possibly also retain a crude awareness of where your limbs are in relation to the rest of your body (if accounts of amputees having "phantom" limbs are to be believed).
Apparently, people who are blind from birth will think and dream without any visual images at all. Their dreams in particular are dominated by audial thoughts (and to a lesser extent, touch, taste and smell, as with the rest of us). Assuming this phenomenon applies to the other senses as well; anything that can not be sensed will simply not exist in an individual's subjective reality.
Of course at the end of the day it's impossible to say exactly how somebody without their senses would experience the world, but based on the evidence at hand we can make a pretty good guess.

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#26967 - 07/09/09 12:06 AM Re: Reality: Just between the ears [Re: Saligia]
Jester Offline
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Registered: 02/05/09
Posts: 62
Loc: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Reminds me of the Brain in the Vat idea. Where essentially you place a human brain in a vat and stimulate the sensors of the brain. The brain would then "react" to the stimuli. The question is, are the reactions of the brain less real than what you and I perceive in the "real world." I guess that boils down to a situation not unlike the Matrix Trilogy.

To focus on sight for a moment, if a blind man dreams is it in text or images? How are the images perceived? Would what he thinks a chair looks like in his mind match what a chair looks like in the physical world? If we were to ask a blind man to describe the chair he is sitting on, could he just rely on touch to then formulate a description?

I don't know if I went off point, but discussions of reality are always interesting and can lead in many directions.
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#26968 - 07/09/09 01:54 AM Re: Reality: Just between the ears [Re: Jester]
Jake999 Offline
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Registered: 11/02/08
Posts: 2230
 Originally Posted By: Jester
To focus on sight for a moment, if a blind man dreams is it in text or images? How are the images perceived? Would what he thinks a chair looks like in his mind match what a chair looks like in the physical world? If we were to ask a blind man to describe the chair he is sitting on, could he just rely on touch to then formulate a description?


You know, that's an interesting question. My rational mind would lead me to ask, has he been blind from birth, or was there a period of time in which he was able to see objects and know what they were. A chair to a seeing person who never sees it used might lead him to think it was used for an entirely different purpose. But a man blind from birth... his other senses would form his reality. Would he dream of smells, or sounds, or sensations of touch? Interesting.

I do see a blind person from time to time when he's at the medical center here. Friendly enough guy, so I'll see if he has time to answer the question.
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#27810 - 08/02/09 10:58 AM Re: Reality: Just between the ears [Re: Jake999]
coelentrate Offline
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Registered: 07/07/08
Posts: 164
Loc: Dundee, Scotland
If reality were entirely subjective, there would be no blind repeatability. Two people on opposite sides of the earth wouldn't do an experiment and arrive at the same answer so consitently. You certainly wouldn't get it by two different methods: Einstein wouldn't have been able to mathematically predict things that we would see with an advanced instrument 50 years later.

If reality were a mental construct, we would not have our views of reality challenged by unexpected observations.

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#27899 - 08/04/09 05:15 AM Re: Reality: Just between the ears [Re: coelentrate]
god.over.djinn Offline
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Registered: 06/23/09
Posts: 75
Loc: Melbourne
 Originally Posted By: coelentrate

If reality were a mental construct, we would not have our views of reality challenged by unexpected observations.


This would be true if it was safe to assume that the entirety of the mind consists of what we are conscious of. Now, my own mind often surprises me, so it would be no stretch for a subjective universe to also be able to provide surprises.

G.O.D.
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#27926 - 08/05/09 06:14 AM Re: Reality: Just between the ears [Re: SkaffenAmtiskaw]
god.over.djinn Offline
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Registered: 06/23/09
Posts: 75
Loc: Melbourne
Hi,

 Quote:

In my view, both your opinions are true, for given, yet different values of 'true'. The eternal fence-sitter in any philosophical argument - that's me...


Well, I don't really see myself as a subjectivist. It is just that I think objectivists tend to take too much for granted. They form pretty shoddy arguments about why there really is a really real absolute truth to be all and end all.

I'd agree that dividing the universe into external (objective) and internal (subjective) is generally a useful model - but like any other model, it is a tool that can be picked up or put down as suits your evil plans.

G.O.D.
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#28290 - 08/11/09 01:56 PM Re: Reality: Just between the ears [Re: SkaffenAmtiskaw]
hard_rainus Offline
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Registered: 04/02/09
Posts: 5
This discussion seems to be based on a lack of knowledge of Kant. In the OP, Crowley claims that Kant was a subjective idealist, which is totally wrong. For those of you torn on the issue of idealism vs. materialism, I suggest you look into Kant's Critique of Pure Reason; many of your questions will be answered.
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#28300 - 08/11/09 04:33 PM Re: Reality: Just between the ears [Re: hard_rainus]
6Satan6Archist6 Offline
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Registered: 10/16/08
Posts: 2509
I might be blind, but I didn't see idealism vs. materialism debated anywhere in this thread.

I would like to add to the discussion here. Unfortunately, the points brought up have sent my mind into over-drive and it would be difficult to form a coherent opinion on the matter. Oh well, perhaps another time.
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#28402 - 08/13/09 03:57 AM Re: Reality: Just between the ears [Re: Dimitri]
zippadydooda Offline
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Registered: 08/09/09
Posts: 61
Loc: San Diego, California
I have the urge to sum up the discussion. In short the question is "how can you understand reality except by how you perceive it?". In short, I'll state my answer as follows. Reality is only what you perceive, and with lack of any valid perception, reality is only self awareness, and lacks ability to reason, due to lack of language. Lack of language is implied by not having the ability to perceive anything other than ones own existence, due to the fact that any method of learning other than creating cant exist. A sentient being which lacks perception besides self awarness would likely need to create its own language perhaps.

In my mind, a new question has hatched. If you have no perception, does the ability to reason still exist? More intresting to me yet, does self awareness imply perception?
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#28492 - 08/15/09 08:02 PM Re: Reality: Just between the ears [Re: SkaffenAmtiskaw]
hard_rainus Offline
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Registered: 04/02/09
Posts: 5
1. Good to hear it was educational

2. All apologies for the use of different terminology. When I hear someone ask whether reality is "between the ears" I assume they are discussing idealism. Of course, there is more than one type of idealism, so I was guilty of hasty generalization. The same goes for materialism.

3. Since there is no way for you to have actually read anything by Kant in the time between posts, I will assume the Wikipedia articles didn't help your thinking, which is not surprising.

4. What fallacies? When did he say that space and time are objective?

He did not want to get rid of causality. He read Hume and attempted to answer Hume's arguments about causality.

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#29262 - 09/04/09 09:53 AM Re: Reality: Just between the ears [Re: god.over.djinn]
coelentrate Offline
member


Registered: 07/07/08
Posts: 164
Loc: Dundee, Scotland
[quote=god.over.djinn]

I think objectivists tend to take too much for granted. They form pretty shoddy arguments about why there really is a really real absolute truth to be all and end all.
/quote]

I partially agree but I don't always like it.

I have, alas, studied philosophy,
Jurisprudence and medicine, too,
And, worst of all, theology
With keen endeavor, through and through—
And here I am, for all my lore,
The wretched fool I was before.
Called Master of Arts, and Doctor to boot,
For ten years almost I confute
And up and down, wherever it goes,
I drag my students by the nose—
And see that for all our science and art
We can know nothing. It burns my heart.

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#29263 - 09/04/09 10:40 AM Re: Reality: Just between the ears [Re: coelentrate]
Asmedious Moderator Offline
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Registered: 09/02/07
Posts: 1724
Loc: New York
Reality vs. Subjective interpretation of sensations available to us presenting itself as a false reality. What a mind fuck that is. Thinking about such things have kept me wide awake in the middle of the night many times, when I should have been sleeping.

Searching for answers have led me to scratch the surface of such ideas as “String theory,” ( referred to in an earlier post in this thread), multiple dimensions, questions about the universe, and all kinds of subjects that cannot have definite proof. (There’s a theory that if a person keeps walking into a solid wall over and over again, at some point, when the sub atomic strings, or what ever, line up a certain way, the person will walk right through the wall. From what I understand the odds of that are like throwing a billion dice, and having them eventually all land on the same number. Eventually, in a gazzillion years, the odds are it will happen.)

I am tempted to allow myself to believe what might in the cosmic scheme of things be a delusion. Which is to accept that, yes there is at least on some level a kind of reality.

This reality might not be an absolute truth in the universal sense, but instead it is a truth that my “self” can accept as a type of reality. It is the universal “truth” which has direct affect on my personal being.
This includes the self assured fact, that I will never pass through a solid object, that I will never walk on water, that I will die someday, and that life was not created by a supernatural designer. These are just a few things in MY universal truth.

Oh yes, I dare say, that I have FAITH in all this. And we all know what faith is.

Certainly, if I live long enough, parts, or maybe even all of my accepted universal delusions might be shattered. That is fine by me, because my universal delusions are not completely absolute and can be adjusted when new situations present themselves.

This is not to say, that all of the mind boggling theories and ideas are not entertaining to ponder, and research. Yet at the same time, they have no tangible affect on my present delusion of this thing that I consider to be my life.

If I ever become what by today’s psychological ideals is considered as being “insane”, then my reality will certainly change, and THAT will become my new delusion of life.
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#29269 - 09/04/09 12:50 PM Re: Reality: Just between the ears [Re: SkaffenAmtiskaw]
Asmedious Moderator Offline
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Posts: 1724
Loc: New York
I agree with your view on the difference between “Faith” and “Belief.”

My point however, was directed towards the idea that belief through proof, is subjective, and dependent on the cognitive reception of the individual (which I agree with mostly sort of I think), and in order to believe something, one is required to have faith in that their receptors and beliefs are indeed accurate.
Using the walking through a wall idea; I do believe that it is impossible for a person to walk through a solid object, and I have faith in that belief, even though I could never prove it as a fact completely. Because I will not be around for gazzillions of years attempting to walk through a wall. All that I can say for certain, is that the feat has never been scientifically documented, although according to “string theory” it is claimed by some that there is a possibility that it can happen.
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#29292 - 09/04/09 09:13 PM Re: Reality: Just between the ears [Re: SkaffenAmtiskaw]
Morgan Offline
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Registered: 08/29/07
Posts: 2956
Loc: New York City
Maw, faith doesn't need proof. Yes, it might deny it, but it doesn't need it to exist.

I agree with both your views on beliefs. Yet still, the person has to have the understanding of wheather or not what he is feeling is a belief or just a matter of faith.

I think about the walking through walls bit too.
About probability, high odds, unlikeliness, and impossible events.

Strange things do happen, and beat the odds.
My sister had 20 winning rolls in a crap game with my brother-in-law in Vegas. Whats the odds of rolling winners that often the first time you play?

I'm not saying that I think I'm going to walk through a wall at any minute but shit, if I had to get out of a building fast, it sure as hell would come in handy if the odds kicked in.

M
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#29311 - 09/05/09 07:28 AM Re: Reality: Just between the ears [Re: Morgan]
Diavolo Offline
RIP
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Registered: 09/02/07
Posts: 4997
 Originally Posted By: Morgan
Strange things do happen, and beat the odds.
My sister had 20 winning rolls in a crap game with my brother-in-law in Vegas. Whats the odds of rolling winners that often the first time you play?


It only appears to beat the odds when looking at this crap game only. But if you would look at all the rolls done in that time frame in Vegas or even in that specific casino, 20 wins in a row are part of the expected outcome.

The fact that those twenty winning rolls happened to her and on her first time playing is more a matter of luck than maths. If she could do it over and over again, then she would beat the odds.

D.

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#29330 - 09/05/09 01:43 PM Re: Reality: Just between the ears [Re: Diavolo]
Diavolo Offline
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Registered: 09/02/07
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To illustrate my point, check the video of Derren Brown's "The System". It explains pretty well how we tend to think that certain coincidences defy the odds but when when looking at the larger picture it is rather normal.

Derren Brown - The System

D.

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#29332 - 09/05/09 02:51 PM Re: Reality: Just between the ears [Re: Diavolo]
Jake999 Offline
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Registered: 11/02/08
Posts: 2230
Yep. Odds are pretty malleable things. In the whole of the world, the odds are that you won't meet many Mormons. In the state of Utah, the odds are that you will meet one within about two minutes.

Compaction and circumstance play a role in whether odds are impressive or just anecdotal. It's interesting that a person could make 20 straight passes at craps, but I've seen it happen several times, and have done it myself one night in Reno. So to me, it's a fun anecdote. The odds of it happening AGAIN are long, but not insurmountable. On the other hand, I have never had a Royal Flush in the decades that I have been gambling, so seeing one come up would give the impression that I beat the odds, although I see WIZARDS conjure them up at tables and the poker machines every time I go to a casino. Keno... I've never won. I even took an 80 ways ticket and lost. What are the odds there????

I was talking to Tom Breitling, who used to own The Golden Nugget Casino in Las Vegas... (no, I don't KNOW him. He was having a drink at the bar and liked my hat, which started our conversation.) He told me that there are all kinds of things that happen in Las Vegas on a daily basis that people would take to be a miracle of chance to beat the odds. People hit record jackpots. People have huge runs at craps. People run tables at Blackjack. They peg several numbers at Roulette. His words stuck with me. "That's great, because the big winners are big free advertising, and a drop in the bucket in the win/loss columns, most of the time. But we're still here, and they're still building major casinos in Vegas. Why? Because even when you're losing a few hundred thousand dollars, the laws of probability always favor the house."

The roll of the dice, the turn of the card, the stop of the wheel... they really don't have that much to do with odds, except statistically in a historical context. They're all "Zero memory, single event" circumstances. The only hand that matters is the one being played; the reality of the moment.
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