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Is anything real?

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by Ozma, Oct 17, 2016.

  1. Ozma

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    The other day I was extremely deep in thought thinking about the meaning of life and similar, and the one thing that really drove me crazy was whether or not anything is real. Being schizophrenic, I've seen plenty of things that I'm not sure are real or not. How do I know if anything I am seeing is actually there? How do I know that Everything I've known my entire life is actually real? How do I know that everything isn't just a figment of my imagination?

    What is everybody else's thoughts on the subject?
     
  2. Argentwing

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    The idea that everything you sense is imaginary is called "solipsism."

    I don't believe it for a moment. However, it is a possibility that our universe is a computer simulation, complete with the subtle irregularities that come along with one. Schizophrenia may be an evolutionary bug rather than a systemic one, but it's an example. Do you get some sort of treatment for your hallucinations? :frowning2:
     
  3. happydavid

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    Maybe wea make our own reality.
     
  4. ForNarnia

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    Whether it's real or not, I'm living it, so I don't really give a damn either way.
     
  5. HappyGirlLucky

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    Ooh, I love this topic!

    Does it matter whether life is real or not in the end? You are experiencing it, therefore it is real to you. I do understand that hallucinations not shared by everyone around you can be extremely unsettling, but I am talking about the rest of "reality". If what you experience follows a predictable pattern which never changes and others around you experience it too, then we can conclude it is a shared experience and thus our reality. That is how science works. If others deny the existence of what you are seeing or hearing, then chances are very high that you are having a hallucination.

    Whether or not reality is a simulation does not matter. Many religious people believe it is a simulation of sorts, with one or many gods as the conductor(s) of the simulation, but they experience reality just the same as non-religious people to a very large extent. The fact that we share the same experiences is what makes it "reality". There is nothing inherently real about anything.

    As an extension of the philosophical thought experiment "if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?": Would anything at all exist if nothing was around to observe or interact with it (even atoms, waves or forces)? In my opinion, I am making like Schrödinger and saying both yes and no. The matter would exist, but it would exist without ever being perceived and might as well never have existed in the first place. If our reality is constructed by outside forces, as in a simulation, that would actually mean we were created for a purpose which would make our reality more real than we assume it to be right now.

    It is very possible that the universe will eventually die in one sense or another, in which case matter no longer has any purpose and our reality would also have been without purpose, because no one could observe that we ever existed. So while we exist right now there will possibly be a time in the future where we never effectively existed because there is no trace of us left. With nothing left to interact with anything, time ceases to exist in the same way reality does. It both exists and does not, because nothing perceives it. In that case - for all intents and purposes - we do not even exist right now and reality is not real. It is a piece of something (time) which, with nothing left to observe it, never effectively did exist. So quite possibly we are nothing but a fleeting hallucination of the infant universe.
     
    #5 HappyGirlLucky, Oct 18, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2016
  6. Hushhh

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    Wow this is a deep topic.
    I appreciate life being a mystery and all, the experiences and journey of each individual varies from one another no matter if we put them in the same environment or not. There are things that people share too, and that's why people who relate to each other often end up closer than anyone else. There are theories that the earth is a giant hologram too, but again they're theories.

    I have to be straightforward though, hallucinations are not normal. I'm sorry other people cannot experience the way you see things around you, I'm sorry they don't think and feel the way you do. Sure others who have schizophrenia might have hallucinations but not entirely the same ones right? Normal people have deviations too, that means they're capable of overthinking, stress, and question life as it is as well.

    I'm sure your therapist talks to you about it right? It's always ok to know how other people think about it, but not all will understand what you're going through, you're aware of that right? People here will support you and be nice to you too, is that helpful? Of course, but be careful of those who might feed your hallucinations, those who would confirm them and acknowledge their existence, bcs along the way you might lose grip of reality, and when you lose it, only you can pull yourself out of it.
    Trust your psychologist and your psychiatrist, they have so many experience on these areas. There are tons of human research about the human mind that they can relay some of the basic things to you if you ask them.

    Goodluck and God Bless!
     
  7. Libra Neko

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    Ooh, another with schizophrenia! I used to wonder the same thing but have fortunately outgrown it and now just accept life.
     
  8. mangotree

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    "Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?"
    - Albus Dumbledore
     
  9. CassieMaes

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    I personally believe that we live in the matrix. That might not be true but it sure does answer a lot of questions. Whether it's in our heads or not, it doesn't mean it's not real.
     
  10. SkyWinter

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    How can the answer be both yes and no? It takes the existence of a planet for people to be born on it to observe it. If no one is looking at the tree in your backyard that doesn't mean it isn't there. 2+2 still equals 4 tomorrow even if every human on the planet dies today.
     
  11. mangotree

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    Do the thousands of species of deep-sea creatures that have never been seen, exist, even though no one has ever seen them?
    If those creatures have no senses of perception to perceive themselves or each other, does that mean they don't exist?

    Why does something have to be perceived in order to be real?

    A lot of things that are now real (e.g. technology) were once figments of a person's imagination. Does that mean the things were less real while in the person's mind than they are now that they have taken physical form?
     
  12. HappyGirlLucky

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    OK, this is going to be a long post, so I will put a TL;DR at the bottom if you aren't interested in my philosophical ramblings. :slight_smile:

    You cannot prove the tree exists without observing it. You have to observe it in some way to confirm its existence. You just assume it is there because you think it would be silly if it wasn't, but you can never prove it actually is there without observing it.

    Your mathematical argument is wholly irrelevant to this topic. I am not arguing that the properties of the universe will change, nor that this has anything to do with human perception or inventions (the language of mathematics, for example).

    Those deep-sea creatures are plenty observed, they make waves in the water and consume and generate energy throughout their life cycle. They are observed by everything around them, they - tiny as they are - also have a gravitational field around them which does affect other matter around them. They have a lasting effect and change things. Observing or perceiving in this case does not refer to the senses, but to matter and energy. I should have been more clear about that in my original post, sorry! :icon_redf

    Human imagination has nothing to do with this, thoughts are just electrical and chemical impulses in your brain. Of course those impulses are real and are observed by the world around you, whether you act on them or not, matter has still traveled and energy has been converted from one form to another.

    Let's take the freeze theory as an example, as it is currently considered the most likely final fate of the universe by many scientists. Because the universe is constantly expanding, it will run out of gases to form suns, and without suns there will be no heat energy. The end result is that the temperature of the universe will approach absolute zero. Now, I am not a physicist, (Quantum, feel free to step in and yell at me if I am completely off here :lol:slight_smile: but as I understand it, approaching 0ºK like that will freeze literally everything, even electrons will stop moving entirely. I assume gravity would still be there as the thermal energy should not affect mass or its impact on spacetime (but again, not a physicist, I just enjoy documentaries and philosophical thought), however because we are infinitely close to absolute zero, kinetic energy will also be infinitely close to 0. Time will effectively cease to exist as nothing moves. The universe will be frozen for a time infinitely approaching infinity in that final position.

    Of course, my view on how that means we have never existed is an entirely ontological one. We did in fact physically exist, I am not arguing that, but does anything exist without time? Again, this is a philosophical question of existence, not a factual one. I know the matter exists, but if it has zero impact on anything, you could argue that in a sense it does not actually exist.

    I am not entirely sure how to explain it if it does not make immediate sense why something which has zero impact and cannot be observed might as well not exist. This is not the best argument in the world, but let me borrow and build upon SkyWinter's mathematical proof for a second to try to explain it:

    2+2+x = 4

    Does the x exist in this equation? Yes.
    Is the outcome exactly the same without it? Yes.
    Is it entirely pointless? Yes.
    Will anyone assume it is there if it cannot be observed in any way? No.
    Was it ever there? Technically yes, but since no one knows or will ever know about it and it served no purpose, it might as well never have existed.

    We, and the rest of the universe, are the x in the case of freeze death. Nothing will effectively affect anything else anymore in that case, and since that will be the state of the universe forever, nothing might as well have ever existed.

    TL;DR: It is an ontological question for me. We did in fact physically exist, I am not arguing that but if the only thing left in the universe at "the end" is only practically timeless matter and there is nothing left to observe our legacy, did we effectively exist? My answer is no. Hence, we both existed and did not, we existed in the physical but not necessarily in the metaphysical sense.
     
  13. MagicPotato

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    I really like topics like this. I know this doesn't answer your question, but have you heard of a thing called "Last Thursday-ism". It's the idea that maybe everything in the world right know was created last Thursday. That means all the mountains, and even us with all our memories were all created just a week ago. Would there be any way to find out? There is no answer, but it's an interesting concept.
     
  14. 3n

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    Well put lol
     
  15. SkyWinter

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    If I see a Maple tree, and say "Hey, cool Maple tree over there." and then turn around to where I can't see it, the Maple tree doesn't cease to exist. I don't have to continually stare at something to prove it exists.

    Can you imagine if you said to someone "I saw a Maple tree today", and they said "Prove it".
     
  16. Skylar0

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    This is a great topic and here's what I think:

    I think we simply can never be completely sure. If between today and tomorrow, everything would increase a 100% in size, you wouldn't notice. Why? Because our perception stays the same. Thus, if we personally perceive the world today in a certain way, we believe this is the truth for as far as our understanding goes. I have had hallucinations as well and in the moment believed they were true, but questioned them later which again proves my point that we can never be certain.
    These questions sometimes drive me mad, but I still love to think about them. I mean, take our planet. There's been several people stating that there must be an infinite amount of parallel planets with life on them somewhere out there. But we don't know about it, therefore we might say it isn't there. Until we have seen it, we can't be sure, and even if we've seen it we still might doubt it. Even within our own planet we can say the same thing, because what if you've personally never been to, say, Australia? You might say it doesn't exist, but someone who lives there is pretty sure it does.
    I think that it is just your personal opinion and belief whether or not something is true to you. And again, I don't think it is possible to prove...
    Great stuff to think about and go crazy for, haha :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:
     
  17. Anthemic

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    I have questioned this topic many times in my life. I have "Pure O" OCD, so I tend to question a lot of scary things in a philosophical way. People like us have a chemical imbalance, so we will question things that tend to be controversial and scary. We are too curious for our own good, lol. I do not know exactly what it is like to hallucinate, but I have experienced paranoid delusions. My dad was Bipolar with paranoid delusions; thankfully, I am not Bipolar.

    I have come to the conclusion that, yes, we are real. The things you may see from time to time may not be real, but that isn't saying that all the things aren't real. The only reason this is true for you, is because of your condition. The human mind is a fascinating thing. It allows you to daydream as if you can see the things in your mind, while also seeing solid objects in front of you. That, in itself, is an illusion. But how can anything be an illusion if it isn't real? For an illusion to even exist, something must be real. If nothing were real, then there would never be an illusion.