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Thread: Nature of Reality

  1. #1 Nature of Reality 
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    Hi All,

    I want to know whether 'reality' is absolute or 'relative'.

    Our brains are tuned in a certain way and are able to see (perceive) what they are programmed to do by nature. What if other realms of reality ( may be other life forms like spirits etc.) exist just in front of us and we are not able to see (feel) them even with our sophisticated instruments as it's again our brains that interpret the results of scientific instruments.

    Thanks.


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  3. #2  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    see Philip K Dick's quote in my signature


    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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    Kant's Rose-Colored Glasses settled this question for me. As all sensory perceptions are sensitive to the medium with which they are observed then reality is relative; for example, A rock is hard to human because of our composition. I'm not saying I believe in a thing-in-itself because, it is unprovable. So, reality is relative but at the same time it is absolute. It depends on scope. Yes, a rock is hard to a human but not to a species of diamond creatures; but, to all humans, rocks are hard. So, it is a human reality that rocks are hard. When you extend any argument to far, it can be refuted.

    But, I have often wondered about realms of knowledge unknown to us because they cannot be perceived by our senses or reached by any initial point we might investigate. Like, if humans had whiskers or another sense that detects (x) than, would we have explored (x) and in doing so reach conclusions that are at odds with our current conception of the universe. We cannot assume that our (and all known organic beings) senses envelope all the possible information within the universe but, on the flip side, we can reasonably assume that we (earthlings) are built for organic life on earth and all the information that could be learned about earth to us, can be.
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  5. #4  
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    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR View Post
    see Philip K Dick's quote in my signature
    The problem is that when we stop believing something, the thing that is left with us is again 'belief'( may be of some other sort).
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  6. #5  
    jjg
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    Things can exist without us having knowledge of them. Thousands of years ago, we didn't know about subatomic particles etc. but everything was still composed of those particles thousands of years ago. I don't know wht you mean by relative or absolute. The term reality is a hard one to define.
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    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deepak Kapur View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR View Post
    see Philip K Dick's quote in my signature
    The problem is that when we stop believing something, the thing that is left with us is again 'belief'( may be of some other sort).
    i'm afraid you may have misunderstood me - what i meant was that if i believe that something exists, i'm likely to see it
    e.g. i go to Loch Ness in the expectation that i might see Nessie, which makes it far more likely that i'll find things that to me are evidence of its existence

    if, on the other hand, i don't believe in Nessie, then all i'll see is a beautiful lake with waves, floating logs, maybe even otters, but no indication of anything like a monster

    which imo is a good indication that Nessie is fictitious and not part of reality
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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    English man using Nessie analogy, cliche.... lol
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  9. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by springpool View Post
    English man ...
    wrong assumption - guess again
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  10. #9  
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    Where is wales?
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  11. #10  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    not england + not everyone living in the uk is british
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  12. #11  
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    Ah, sweet generalizations. But, it was a joke. Jokes usually don't hold up to analysis (unless they're black jokes).
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    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    whatever the case may be, the Nessie example merely highlights the point i'm trying to make
    i could easily have chosen a different case in point, but that happened to be the one that popped in my head
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  14. #13  
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    That's fine sir. Your Nessie example is commonly known as Confirmation Bias in psychology. That is a very interesting thought for how people construct and add credence to their individual realities.
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    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    on the other hand, personal realities are subjective, and they're the type that disappear when the person dies or changes his/her mind
    objective realities, on the other hand, are people-independent
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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    I'm not sure objective realities are people independent. It depends, are you saying the universe because, yes that is independent of the human organism. But, everything used to measure it is not. I think our terminology needs to be cleared up if we're going to continue this discussion intelligibly.

    Specifically, what you refer to as an objective reality- using a more common term. Are you referring to a 'thing-in-itself'?
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  17. #16  
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    Isnt terminology that which is the problem here? Lets for the sake of argument say that reality, inherently is not relative but objective. Then perception is that which lends relativity to reality. Lets say the pink glasses: in reality the wall is white, i put on pink glasses and the wall becomes pink, reality didn't change just my perception of it.
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    An excellent point. A spectrum of sensory input that is out of reach of humanity; kind of like UV light. I also like your 3rd sentence. I feel like Nietzsche had something to say about now lol. I'll have to look it up tomorrow. I believe he is for an 'apparent' reality; to acknowledge that reality as it appears to us through our sensory extensions is reality. I think he may have done that because anything more was improvable and he wanted to use 'apparent reality' as a point of departure from classical metaphysics. I really feel like we are missing something here. I'll sleep on it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by springpool View Post
    An excellent point. A spectrum of sensory input that is out of reach of humanity; kind of like UV light. I also like your 3rd sentence. I feel like Nietzsche had something to say about now lol. I'll have to look it up tomorrow. I believe he is for an 'apparent' reality; to acknowledge that reality as it appears to us through our sensory extensions is reality. I think he may have done that because anything more was improvable and he wanted to use 'apparent reality' as a point of departure from classical metaphysics. I really feel like we are missing something here. I'll sleep on it.

    Just before sleeping, I got an awkward story in my mind. I will share it with you all. Plz don't lol.

    An alien (from another strange universe) comes to our universe and finds it all empty. He passes through planets, stars, blackholes etc. (plz ignore high gravity, temp etc. of stars, blackholes etc. to make this story credible) just like we pass through empty space. He utilizes all his scientific instruments but cannot find any trace of anything. He reports back to his fellow beings, " This universe is totally barren, empty and no kind of material is avaialble here." Obviously, he was not made of atoms or energy or dark matter or dark energy or whatever we may find in future and hence was not able to interact with what we have in our universe. His reality was what was ordained to him by nature or the superpower that made him in a different way from us. No matter how developed the alien's successive generations became, they still said that our universe did not contain anything. They still say the same thing though they are billons of years advanced than us. They are just like Gods in our comparison.

    A thing is coming to my mind after this. No matter what we call reality (absolute, relative, psycholgical, perceptive etc.), the thing is that all this is very troubling even if we become masters of this universe in the future.
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  20. #19  
    Teb
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    A worthy premise to explore. Yet this reminds me of the "light in the fridge" even if this being is from another reality or dimension it would still be its perception, i.e. our reality would still be here he would just not be able to measure it. microbes existed long before we created microscopes. Our inability to perceive them did not hinder their existence.
    Last edited by Teb; August 21st, 2011 at 06:39 PM.
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  21. #20  
    jjg
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    We can percieve things differently but if you are talking about actual knowledge then knowledge is public not private.
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    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR View Post
    on the other hand, personal realities are subjective, and they're the type that disappear when the person dies or changes his/her mind
    objective realities, on the other hand, are people-independent
    What about "measurements" in quantum mechanics? I don't know much about QM, but as far as I know, performing a measurement makes a difference. What constitutes a measurement? Is consciousness needed?
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  23. #22  
    Teb
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    Still one could argue that at the moment of measurement, the measurement was fact. It might have an influence on the subject being measured, nonetheless for that snapshot in time that was reality.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teb View Post
    Still one could argue that at the moment of measurement, the measurement was fact. It might have an influence on the subject being measured, nonetheless for that snapshot in time that was reality.
    But the definition of measurement seems to be vague. If it requires consciousness, the measured fact can't happen without the subjective consciousness of the observer.
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  25. #24  
    Teb
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    If by measurement we can agree that in this case, it is meant as an objective means to determine the facts relating to the subject being measured, then the subjective consciousness can be neglected. If i measure the length of a piece of rope, using a ruler, then no mater my state of mind 10cm will always be 10cm it is objective, if i leave the ruler next to that piece of rope anyone else can confirm its length.

    Now for the sake of argument we could say that I'm new to measuring and thus start measuring at the 2cm mark instead of the 0 mark. I would simply not be measuring as is agreed upon to be correct.
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    But, I think measurements are subjective all the time. If gravity is measured as 9.8 m/s on earth (really hope that's it) then, as an objective measurement, it should be that everywhere humans can imagine. A good parry would be to say that 9.8 m/s per second is the speed of gravity anywhere the conditions exactly match those of earth but, now our measurements are dependent on something. They cease to have any value outside of the immediate human realm. Teb, I get the point you are arguing and I've already agreed with it in this thread (in a different way). Everything is objective to a point. Humans can continue to demarcate lengths into picos or kilos or whatever the measurement may be but, that does not make them any more intrinsic to the universe. They are intrinsic to the human conception of the universe. I guess, what I'm saying, is everything depends on confines; realizations of the boundaries you are working within. A musician plays creatively within bars, the poet within meter, the physicist within measurements, and so on.

    I'd now argue that human reality is within the thresholds of our sensory and cognitive confines; one is fixed the other is not. And so, the physical reality available to our senses is the only one we'll ever know; it's like being born completely deaf, there may be sound but, you can't hear it and you can't prove it. The cognitive world continues to change. In that sense, reality is never stagnant- it is always in flux. It cannot be pinned down and can only be formulated to the extent of the information any one person has.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teb View Post
    If i measure the length of a piece of rope, using a ruler, then no mater my state of mind 10cm will always be 10cm it is objective, if i leave the ruler next to that piece of rope anyone else can confirm its length.
    Thats macroscopic. The measurement doesn't have a significant effect on big scales. I've talking about quantum level things. I've heard about strange versions of double slit experiments. Not from a reliable source though, I don't remember the source anymore. First they performed the normal double slit experiment with electrons and got the interference pattern. But when they added sensors to the slits to actually watch from which slit the electrons went they didn't get the interference pattern. They even claimed that it mattered if they looked at the sensor data. The sensors could be on and they still got the interference pattern if they didn't look at the results. If someone knows about these experiments or if they are a hoax, please tell.
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    In the video they talked briefly about the sensors at the slits. But do you know about a video or an article where they talk about the fact(?) that it makes a difference if you look at the sensor data or not.
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    I have heard about the sensing 'problem'.meaning the sensor is implied to alter the wave pattern....perhaps the sensors chemical elements create a field that alters the particles path ?...will try and find some info about this
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    Quote Originally Posted by Massi^- View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR View Post
    on the other hand, personal realities are subjective, and they're the type that disappear when the person dies or changes his/her mind
    objective realities, on the other hand, are people-independent
    What about "measurements" in quantum mechanics? I don't know much about QM, but as far as I know, performing a measurement makes a difference. What constitutes a measurement? Is consciousness needed?
    No, consciousness is not needed.


    Quote Originally Posted by Massi^- View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Teb View Post
    Still one could argue that at the moment of measurement, the measurement was fact. It might have an influence on the subject being measured, nonetheless for that snapshot in time that was reality.
    But the definition of measurement seems to be vague. If it requires consciousness, the measured fact can't happen without the subjective consciousness of the observer.
    It does not require consciousness.


    Quote Originally Posted by Massi^- View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Teb View Post
    If i measure the length of a piece of rope, using a ruler, then no mater my state of mind 10cm will always be 10cm it is objective, if i leave the ruler next to that piece of rope anyone else can confirm its length.
    Thats macroscopic. The measurement doesn't have a significant effect on big scales. I've talking about quantum level things. I've heard about strange versions of double slit experiments. Not from a reliable source though, I don't remember the source anymore. First they performed the normal double slit experiment with electrons and got the interference pattern. But when they added sensors to the slits to actually watch from which slit the electrons went they didn't get the interference pattern. They even claimed that it mattered if they looked at the sensor data. The sensors could be on and they still got the interference pattern if they didn't look at the results. If someone knows about these experiments or if they are a hoax, please tell.
    These experiments were being misinterpreted. All that matters is if something (a sensor) interacted with the electrons, or not.


    Quote Originally Posted by Massi^- View Post
    In the video they talked briefly about the sensors at the slits. But do you know about a video or an article where they talk about the fact(?) that it makes a difference if you look at the sensor data or not.
    It makes no difference whether someone looks at the sensor data, or not. If there is something that senses which slit a particle travels through, then the information about which path the particle took exists in the universe, and there will be no interference pattern. It matters not whether a conscious being has seen that information or not.

    Only nature needs to know.
    Last edited by SpeedFreek; September 13th, 2011 at 05:16 PM.
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  32. #31  
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    Reality is absolutely relative

    Would it be hard to believe that there's an absolute reality along with everyone's personal realities?
    Are all realities relative to the absolute reality? Yes.
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