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#47169 - 01/22/11 03:17 AM Re: What is reality? [Re: Jason King]
Fabiano Offline
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 Originally Posted By: J.K.
To say that something is "real" means that it is an object of a phenomenal state of awareness


Would you mean that if there is not subject being aware of the cup which is just now in front of me (as when I'll have left my house), the cup ceases to be real?


Edited by Fabiano (01/22/11 03:18 AM)

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#47170 - 01/22/11 05:21 AM Re: What is reality? [Re: Fabiano]
Diavolo Offline
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 Originally Posted By: Fabiano
Would you mean that if there is not subject being aware of the cup which is just now in front of me (as when I'll have left my house), the cup ceases to be real?


I don't know what King will respond but I would affirm this idea. The cup is only there because you perceive it as such.

Everything outside of your radius of perception stops being real.

D.

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#47172 - 01/22/11 07:47 AM Re: What is reality? [Re: Diavolo]
Phobos Offline
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 Originally Posted By: Diavolo
Everything outside of your radius of perception stops being real.D.


This is quite a shortcut! I don't understand why perception should equate reality. As far as definitions go, and as J.K. adequately put it, the word "reality" comes from the latin word for 'thing': 'res'. The idea here is that things have an actual, material, existence which is not linked to our perception.

Whether you perceive them or not has no effect on their existence.
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#47174 - 01/22/11 08:25 AM Re: What is reality? [Re: Diavolo]
Asmedious Moderator Offline
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 Quote:
I don't know what King will respond but I would affirm this idea. The cup is only there because you perceive it as such.

Everything outside of your radius of perception stops being real.


Yet if we do not see friends or relatives for a few years they still age and the next time we see them their appearance is different to us then they looked when we saw them last. Why do they change when they are out of sight and then appear to us older when we see them again?

If I was your best friend and had sex with your girlfriend while you were at work the act wouldn’t be real if you never found out about it? Your suspicions could never be justified until you saw us doing it?

Do you really believe that the world came into being only once you perceived it? Trees, rocks, dirt, airplanes and rocket ships did not exist until you knew of them?

I can imagine cars running on water, yet I can’t see any, nor can I create them with my mind no matter how hard I may try.

Seems like a far stretch to me.






Edited by Asmedious (01/22/11 08:29 AM)
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#47175 - 01/22/11 09:20 AM Re: What is reality? [Re: Asmedious]
Diavolo Offline
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It sounds counter-intuitive I admit and many people think what is real is real under all conditions. It is and it isn't.

Let's get back to the computer. I find it a useful context to explain this because at some level, one can see it as an extended mind.

When you play a first person shooter, you see the world (game reality) from the game's virtual self perspective. Whenever you move or look around, you see the world as it is there. But where you are not looking, there is no world. The data is only processed into a visual context whenever you observe something and everywhere else, there is no game reality. If you'd look at a cup there, it looks like a cup while observing but the moment you stop observing, the cup disappears and becomes raw data.

In our reality the same happens. We perceive a certain reality because we compile it. I don't know the ontological reality but what we know this far is that the raw data we perceive are quanta. What we do is, when observing, process those quanta our perceptions bounce upon and compile a reality out of it. When we don't observe, this reality becomes raw data again.

As such it is only because there are observers, a specific reality exists.

Take colors as an example. Colors are nothing but a specific wave and not until there is an eye perceiving this wave and a brain translating it into a color range, colors exist. The same happens in everything we perceive.

D.

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#47176 - 01/22/11 09:48 AM Re: What is reality? [Re: Diavolo]
Fnord Offline
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 Originally Posted By: Diavolo

As such it is only because there are observers, a specific reality exists.


I think Robert Anton Wilson does a pretty decent job of traversing this road with his ideas about "Reality Tunnels".

THIS is the short version, the longer one is out there somewhere, but I couldn't readily find it.

 Originally Posted By: Diavolo
When we don't observe, this reality becomes raw data again.


And that's the rub as we don't all observe in the same way. This is why the question "What is reality?" becomes largely unanswerable.

A different question could be "what is the reason that each person has an individual perception of reality?"
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#47177 - 01/22/11 09:53 AM Re: What is reality? [Re: Diavolo]
Asmedious Moderator Offline
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I believe that I understand exactly what you are saying, but in that case isn’t the data itself a reality of sorts?

When data affects change in an area filled with more data, that change is real and exists even without it being interpreted, even if no eyes and eardrums are there to interpret that data (light waves and the sound waves combining it all into the sensory perception of a tree falling in the woods) the “reality” of the data change is still there.

The chain of events in the building up to certain data, and the eventual outcome is specific enough that when several decoding units are there (several eyes, ears, nervous systems) they will most often interpret the data in the same way and will also be affected by it the same way.

The cup while you are there might be just a bunch of atoms shooting around at a certain rate, but even when you leave those atoms are most likely still there vibrating at the same rate as they were before you left. So that data for the cup doesn’t disappear. This can be easily proven by leaving a video camera aimed at the cup and if it is transmitted via satellite image around the world just about everyone looking at the “thing,” will still see it as being there.

So perhaps specific combination of data is the reality while the interpretation of it might not be.
Ok, my brain is starting to hurt again \:\)
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#47178 - 01/22/11 10:00 AM Re: What is reality? [Re: Fnord]
Diavolo Offline
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There reason we might never understand reality, or at least the ontological one, is that our brains might not be there to understand it, but instead to translate it into something functional for us to flourish in. As such it simply compiles something that is useful to us.

The reason each person has an individual perception of reality is because each person has a unique brain. On average there isn't much difference between the brains of most humans and as such it becomes evident why most people their realities match those of others. That's why I perceive a tree close to similar as you perceive it. Those that perceive realities that are rather different or contain different content, we call brain damaged or suffering psychosis.

Most of us share a general picture but the difference might be in the details.

D.

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#47179 - 01/22/11 10:13 AM Re: What is reality? [Re: Asmedious]
Diavolo Offline
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The quanta we perceive are again our compilation of the underlying data. Mind you, I don't state there is no reality. I do believe there is an ontological one but we create the veil that hides it.

As such, the cup is nothing but quanta to us but this doesn't imply those quanta inhabit that specific region that cup occupies. At that level, there is no difference between the cup, the table it stands on, and your hand holding it. It doesn't even need to be there to be there for us.

Your video camera idea does not change anything, you only add a step between it; we are still perceiving when we look at the images it transmits. But when we don't perceive, there is no cup. And no video camera either.

D.

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#47180 - 01/22/11 10:23 AM Re: What is reality? [Re: Diavolo]
Jason King Offline
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 Originally Posted By: Diavolo
 Originally Posted By: Fabiano
Would you mean that if there is not subject being aware of the cup which is just now in front of me (as when I'll have left my house), the cup ceases to be real?


I don't know what King will respond but I would affirm this idea. The cup is only there because you perceive it as such.

Everything outside of your radius of perception stops being real.

D.


This is an old problem in philosophy, but what we've come to understand is that "the tree falling with no one to hear it" is a mistaken notion. A conceptual "tree" will always have a conjoined conceiver. And any particular instance of a perceptual "tree" will likewise have a conjoined perceiver. Noumena, defined as they are, have no perceptors and are thus incapable of being talked about via the empirical discourse.

To cut the jargon and bring it back to Fabiano's Cup, I would say that the cup only has real existence insofar as it can be labeled as such. Diavolo intuited my reply perfectly. Blacklight tipped to you, sir.

JK
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#47225 - 01/23/11 06:53 AM Re: What is reality? [Re: Diavolo]
Fabiano Offline
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 Originally Posted By: Diavolo
 Originally Posted By: Fabiano
Would you mean that if there is not subject being aware of the cup which is just now in front of me (as when I'll have left my house), the cup ceases to be real?


I don't know what King will respond but I would affirm this idea. The cup is only there because you perceive it as such.

Everything outside of your radius of perception stops being real.

D.


I'm not surprised to hear this from you D. I find it consistent with your view of the reality (as far as I can grasp it). In other words, this idea fits well in your map, but what happens on the terrain ?

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#47227 - 01/23/11 07:32 AM Re: What is reality? [Re: mabon2010]
Dimitri Offline
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Describing and defining reality can be done in a number of ways. Various philosophical ideas and thoughts have made the mind ponder about existence and reality.
The keyword when it comes down in describing reality or perceiving it would be the term "assumption".

A certain object can be placed on a field and all kind of measurments can be done. We can calculate the height, volume, mass, shape, functions and material. It might be smelled, felt, seen or heard. But as soon as the observers turn around and leave the field for a while (be it behind a locked door or in the open field) we might assume the object would still be in the same place.

Such is the case of Schrodingers cat, put it in the box and we might assume it will be still alive or dead depending the knowledge we have available. Truth would be that we start to assume as soon as our senses are turned the other way.

Taking Schrodinger as an example once again, I assume his cat was still alive after being placed in the box. When typing to the readers here, I assume you guys are real world people.

Reality in that way is nothing more then an "educated" assumption with thanks to perception and events which enabeled the observer to see and perceive things as they are, leaving possible duality theories (good/bad, black/white,..) and illusions of the brain aside.

Note: While I used assumption/assuming as a keyword I must admit that the term "probability" is equally important and can be used as a synonim for this matter.
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#47228 - 01/23/11 08:17 AM Re: What is reality? [Re: Fabiano]
Diavolo Offline
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 Originally Posted By: Fabiano
I'm not surprised to hear this from you D. I find it consistent with your view of the reality (as far as I can grasp it). In other words, this idea fits well in your map, but what happens on the terrain ?


I don't really understand this question. When you observe the terrain it presents itself as a map; that is all there is to it.

D.

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#47229 - 01/23/11 08:59 AM Re: What is reality? [Re: Jason King]
Fabiano Offline
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I well understand this and off course it's counter intuitive and most people hardly grasps it.

But it's not new, if I remember well the Buddha gave once this example: if one look at a chariot, he intuitively believes it's well real. However if he starts dismantling it, soon there will be no chariot anymore but just two wheels, an axle, etc. Nothing vanished but intuitively it now becomes obvious that chariot is only a concept which appears less obviously when looking at a heap of parts. I think the Buddha went on in this reasoning by applying to the ego and thus showing how the ãtman can be illusory.

Note you can take it the other way around: before the first chariot ever existed, there were no chariot. One day this idea popped up in some man's mind and by assembling the parts and assigning it some function (i.e. carrying goods) the chariot becomes "real". So, the very first existence of a chariot is in some man's mind...

 Originally Posted By: Diavolo
When you play a first person shooter, you see the world (game reality) from the game's virtual self perspective. Whenever you move or look around, you see the world as it is there. But where you are not looking, there is no world.


Even if you see only a part of the virtual world when you're playing in the video game the whole virtual world is well modeled in the computer's memory. There are data representing the whole virtual world even if the computer hides and uncover some of it's part when you're walking around in it.

As we're talking about computers, let's stay in the field for a while. There are some interesting points when looking at data modeling as done in the frame of an IT project. There are techniques such as Entity-relationship modeling used to describe the entities and the relationships between them. There, an entity (such as a customer) has attributes (such as his name, address or marital status). One of the key success factor of the project is a good data design. It's there that it's decided which attributes are of interest in the frame of the project. For instance if the project is made for a fitness center, the customer's weight is probably an attribute worth of interest while the marital status is not. It'l will be the opposite in the frame of tax calculation and both will be probably of interest for a matrimonial agency...
All this for saying that entities are shaped depending on the adopted point of view.

A distinction I find also interesting is the difference between information and a data. An information is a fact, event, object, person... worth of interest in the scope of a project. Data is coded information. For instance the color of an object can be coded as one of {white, black, red, blue, yellow, green} or by the RGB value of it. The later coding is retain more information, it discards a lesser amount of the reality.

Reality can be of an infinite complexity and any model of it we can made is finite and as such will be unable to represent it in its totality.

Having (I hope) clarified this subjectiveness of reality let's come back to my cup. First, I might point out that even when I'll left my house, the memory of the cup is still in my mind. It's not really a perception it but I know that my cup is white and I can bet it'll be there when I'll be back. Second, even if the cup concept I assign to this object vanishes when I cease to think about it, the cup's matter does not vanish as soon as I close the door behind me. In this sense, the cup does NOT ceases to be real when nobody's there for observing it. One can also think about what's happening when I drop my cup on the floor and it breaks. It's not a cup anymore but the weight of all the pieces equal the weights of the cup. There is something which does not vanishes...

I'll finish by saying that even if such conversation is interesting and enjoyable I don't forget that philosophy mesmerizes. You can play with your mind, draw your map as you want but the terrain remains the terrain and coming back to Fabiano's cup might be worth for keeping your feet well grounded on earth...

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#47230 - 01/23/11 09:07 AM Re: What is reality? [Re: Diavolo]
Fabiano Offline
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 Originally Posted By: Diavolo
 Originally Posted By: Fabiano
I'm not surprised to hear this from you D. I find it consistent with your view of the reality (as far as I can grasp it). In other words, this idea fits well in your map, but what happens on the terrain ?


I don't really understand this question. When you observe the terrain it presents itself as a map; that is all there is to it.

D.


I would rather say that YOU make a map of the terrain when you observe it. The terrain just exists, it does not play a role in drawing your map, it's not the actor in this process.

Probably what I posted few minutes ago will bring some clarification.

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