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What is real

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Not sure if this goes here or should go under dreams annd consiousness but here goes.

What is the proof that we are not just biological machines that think we are conscious and have a soul etc?

I've just been reading up on some of the theories about how the brain works and one thing caught my eye. Scientists have found that when we make a movement the area of our brain that contols that movement activates BEFORE we consiuosly make the decision to move. This got me thinking that if this is indeed the case then it seems as if we are just following a 'program in our heads and the brain gives us the illusion of control/free choice. I've also thought that we really only have what the brain interprits from our senses to know whats real and whats not. Whats the difference between the brain experiencing the 'real' world and experiencing something in the 'dream' world, or while having an out of body experience for that matter.

Also I have relised that the only real way of finding out is to die, but of course if we stop exisiting when we die then we wouldn't know either way so this isnt really proof if you get my drift.

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Reality is the perception of it.

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The question of telling what's 'real' is a tricky one. I'm sure that for as long as people have been able to think abstractly, there have been people trying to answer the question.

Chuang-tzu had a dream, in which he was a yellow butterfly. As a butterfly, he flitted here and there, completely oblivious to actually being Chuang-tzu. And then he woke, to discover that he was a man. But then he wondered: now am I a man who just dreamt he was a butterfly; or a butterfly who is now dreaming that he is a man?

I'd argue that for something to be real it would probably have to be something that could potentially be independently verifiable. I can look at the Eiffel Tower and know that it exists in some way because I've seen it, but then the question is whether or not it's 'real' or just something I've made up. Having someone else tell me that they've seen it too will help to convince me that it really does exist, but there are limitations in this approach because the person (or people) that confirm it might also be figments of my imagination.

I can only see or hear what my eyes and ears tell me, but of course even this is filtered through my brain, which could be removing, changing or adding just about anything and there's little I could do to become aware of it. The fact that we're entirely at the mercy of our own biology tells me that there's probably not much that can really be done to produce any absolute answers of what's real or not, the best we can do is recognize our own limitations and use this knowledge to question what we believe to be real, and perhaps every so often notice something that isn't real, and discard it.

It's a surprisingly broad topic, ranging from pure philosophy to evaluating your own opinions on day to day matters, mental illness or lucid dreaming (notice something that's 'not quite right' in a dream and you might become aware of it, in turn gaining the ability to control your dream).

As for being biological machines, I believe you're correct. It's a matter of determinism, which roughly states that everything that happens is caused by something else; there are naturally rules or laws that determine what will happen and we're unable to deviate from it. In the same way that a ball has no choice but to obey gravity and fall to the ground when released, the chemicals that make up our brains have no choice but to do what they do in any given situation. I didn't really choose to type any of this, my brain decided it wanted to visit UM for whatever reason it did (I'm probably addicted, so it probably needed a dose of whatever chemical is released when I visit), my brain's heuristics determined how far I scrolled down the page and what link I clicked on, then my brain's chemistry decided for me that I was going to write this post.

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I agree with M. George Berkeley; there is no way we can know the absolute reality of anything, but then again! What is existence? "The question itself is so fundamental that it finds no answer; even the most profound meditation on the subject leads to an exasperating sense of impotence," in the words of Aleister Crowley. Anyway, what I have to say is: what does it matter? What does it matter what is real or not? What is important, I think, is not existence, but awareness. Awareness of something is the closest thing we have as to the knowledge of its existence, and since existence cannot be known and awareness can, what is the point of the question?

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Always an interesting question.

By "Real", do we mean one pole of a duality (with "Not Real" or "Illusion")as the other pole?

And if so, is it an either/or concept or is there a gradient continuity between the two?

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Posted (edited)

Because we are evolved organic beings, hosting evolved sapience, we are adapted to interact with, and perceive the reality around us

Think of it simply. Our eyes evolve as a sense organ to bring us information about our environment. Our eyes let us see wha t is there, and walk through doors rather than a wall (or in early man through the cave entrance rather than the cave wall :devil: )

Ie reality determines not jus t our physical organs of sight etc., but the accuracy of our perception, and thus of learned behaviours and responses. (The guy who continues to try and walk through the wall rather than the entrance has trouble finding a mate, among his other troubles like a flat nose)

Our mind complicates matters by adding so many dimensions to what we see, that sometimes we can even fool ourselves. :innocent:

But basicaly, the eye sees, the mind processes, ande body reacts in learned and programmed ways, and we survive.

And all of this is evolved to its present state because in a way it was inevitable. (Perhaps more synchronicity than inevitabilty.Certain dependencies in the evolutionary process created a predictable result) Our environment determines our form and function, and even our brain development.

However, any sapient being adds another dimension to the puzzle. WE not only begin to adapt our environments, we bein to alter ourselves, both physically and mentally. At timse this changed state makes it more difficult for us to recognise and assess reality, but if we are grounded in what and who we truly are, and how we got to be this way, it's not too hard. :rofl:

Edited by Mr Walker

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I keep thinking on how real dreams are sometimes. They feel real. We interact with others.Others recognize us, we remember seeing certain places before... Sometimes we even experience deja vu in dreams, sometimes things get resolved in dreams and parallel events happen in our "awake" state.

Sometimes I think we all are very much a pool of interacting consciousness. Not just on the human level... I have mentioned before that for example when I do some gardening.. for a short while afterwards whenever I shut my eyes.. or go into a day dream.. nap stage.. I seem to be aware of all the weeds plants I harshly ejected from my domain. It is almost like they have feelings too... According to Clive Backster My link They do...

I gather that is why some people who really respect their environment.. or those who are very close to nature say a little prayer.. ask politely or inform the garden spirits of their intentions.

I am coming more and more to the conclusion that we exist in or are influenced by many dimensions, that many are influenced by our current existence in this reality.

Maybe the Shamans, etc. may be on to something when they work.. heal...activate their energies.. travel in "dream time" to settle some of our earthly concerns.. when for example there doesn't seem to be any earthly... grounded cause and effect for certain happenings. It could explain some depressions...unexplained emotional breakdowns.. unexplained highs.. schizophrenic events.. deja vu... paranormal events... it could just be that the veils of other dimensional realities colliding.. connecting through the power of intent.. some sort of gravitational energy of situational events that are energetically alike being drawn together.

We could explore how cause and effect could jump or combine realities.

As we seem to "live" our dreams.. interact in our dreams... could not on some subconscious level.. our choices in our present.. " awake" focused reality get influenced or affected ( karmically ?) by what we did or didn't do in our " altered states reality" ( dream states.. meditation states.. visualizations) ?

We already try and " learn" new behaviours or get over phobias successfully by consciously visualizing scenarios.. role playing.. trying to control dream states.. hypnotism..

We can be paralyzed or made ill by fear.. by anticipating worst case scenarios... mentally creating stressful futures.. panicking about some trouble that may never happen.

None of these are real yet they feel real.. affect us physically.. affect how we react to our environment.

I do believe that the Monks and a few other wise ones have the right idea. "Be in the Moment" enjoy everything you do... if it is really dull or unpleasant.. change how you perceive it.. Only we can put our own individual style or effort into everything we do.. All our interactions are precious.. define who we are..or are not. Blind routine then is perhaps a waste of time.. you are no longer really " living it" ( unless you are mentally planning some future action..interaction... event.. outfits..composing works.. books.. songs...journal entries... conversing...) If you do something, do it well, learn.. expand.. explore.. or you are selling yourself short. Life is about growing.. learning.. living..growing with ,interacting with others...friendship... LOL.. I think it is adorable when old friends you haven't seen for year pop up in dreams.. and then some how you run into them in some really random way in the next few days...

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Brilliant CS, you always make me smile with your links. I never knew you could polygraph plants and to read of George Bernard Shaw witnessing a "cabbage boiling to death". Loving your logic and indeed this is an area that has fascinated me for some time. I have only managed to read bits and pieces on the subject but I am keen on this area in particular.

It is funny the question you ask actually. Two days ago my little daughter asks "What's real dady? Is this real? Is that real?" I did my best to try and explain that everything you can see, smell, feel, hear and tatse are real but her dreams and thoughts aswell as songs and stories were not real. It is funny because I had mentioned in a thread about the immaterial influencing the material and i think it's a really interesting subject.

I found thinking about design and art as related to this area. Think about the ancient world and how they thought about and then acted upon designs for jewellry and architecture. They included symbols from the otherworld to try and incorporate the magick into the items and this was how talismans were made and thought to have magickal properties. In a literal sense an object is just an object but if it uses symbols or is attched to a story then it becomes much more than that and will affect the consciousness and actions of the user.

...And everyone thought Prince Charles was crazy, well maybe he is and maybe he's not but palnts have a history that exceeds our own and should be respected. That there is a genuine plant consciousness is possible but our way of perceiving reality is limited somewhat by our reliance upon the senses.

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Is there a difference between 'What is Real' and 'What is Actual?'

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Reality is the perception of it.

Totally.

Your perception of reality, is your reality.

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my knee wigs are real i assure you

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Brilliant CS, you always make me smile with your links. I never knew you could polygraph plants and to read of George Bernard Shaw witnessing a "cabbage boiling to death". Loving your logic and indeed this is an area that has fascinated me for some time. I have only managed to read bits and pieces on the subject but I am keen on this area in particular.

...And everyone thought Prince Charles was crazy, well maybe he is and maybe he's not but palnts have a history that exceeds our own and should be respected. That there is a genuine plant consciousness is possible but our way of perceiving reality is limited somewhat by our reliance upon the senses.

--------

Am just adding to the discussion with this from Ingo Swann and experiments with plants:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

(plant experiments):

http://www.biomindsuperpowers.com/Pages/RealStoryCh6.html

... there were only two people present: Backster and I.

So I asked: "Are you going to influence the plant?"

"No," he replied, "you are."

I protested that I had no idea how to influence plants. But he smiled and said that all I had to do was TO THINK of harming it. "Just think of lighting a match with the intent of burning one of its leaves."

So, I thought as much while staring at the plant. And Behold! The polygraph needle went haywire -- so much so that the tracing went off the paper graph sheet.

Backster, typically cool as a cucumber, now seemed to get a little excited. "Can you do that again?"

So I tried again, and bingo by Ingo! He asked me to keep on doing it. But after a few more attempts the polygraph needle started not to react as much and finally didn't at all.

"What does THAT mean," I asked.

"You tell me."

Then a very eerie thought occurred to me, so astonishing that it caused goosebumps.

"Do you mean," I asked, "that it has LEARNED that I'm not serious about really burning its leaf? So that it now knows it need not be alarmed."

Backster smiled. "YOU said it, I didn't. Try another kind of harmful thought."

So I thought of putting acid in the plant's pot. Bingo! But the same "learning curve" soon repeated itself.

Now I already understood in my own "reality" that plants are sentient and telepathic, as all plant lovers know who talk to their plants.

But that plants could LEARN to recognize between true and artificial human intent came as a thunderbolt!

Among all this astonishment I came across the concept of the "learning curve" which ultimately was to play THE feature role in the development of remote viewing.

But Backster was moving on. "Do you think you could influence some kind of metal or chemical?"

"I don't know how to influence anything. But I could try."

So for several weeks I went to the Times Square lab to try to zap metals and chemicals -- and the march of what I was unknowingly being sucked into moved into October, 1971.

---------------------

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There is no reality -- only our own order imposed on everything.

Basic Bene Gesserit Dictum

Dune: House Harkonnen

I always find it interesting that it is only through secondary verification that we can prove something to be "real". As in, what we think we see, is simply light that has been processed through our eyes [insert the technical words and explanations here]

What we think we hear is merely the vibrations that have been processed through our ears

What we think we feel....

taste...

smell...

At the end of the day, its all just the recording, reality is the live performance.

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As for being biological machines, I believe you're correct. It's a matter of determinism, which roughly states that everything that happens is caused by something else; there are naturally rules or laws that determine what will happen and we're unable to deviate from it. In the same way that a ball has no choice but to obey gravity and fall to the ground when released, the chemicals that make up our brains have no choice but to do what they do in any given situation. I didn't really choose to type any of this, my brain decided it wanted to visit UM for whatever reason it did (I'm probably addicted, so it probably needed a dose of whatever chemical is released when I visit), my brain's heuristics determined how far I scrolled down the page and what link I clicked on, then my brain's chemistry decided for me that I was going to write this post.

Determinism is ultimately just as inaccurate as the absolute "most definite" for the reason that it is limited on the fundamentals that govern it. Determinism changes with iteration (which is obvious) however iteration in itself can lead to approximate definites based upon uncertainties capable of explaining the initial uncertainties to a greater degree of accuracy. In religion this would come across as (using the Bible here as an example) what could be said is "Being likened onto the body of Christ." (Keeping in mind that I'm not particularly religious myself, trying to build perception here.)

Ultimately I think what is certain is impossible therefore what is definite is also impossible. (From a purely 2 dimensional standpoint where perception is apparent.)

Thoughts? (I'm not sure if the religious example was needed here, trying to build the idea of average conformity based on perception.)

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In my personal opinion it's all based on subjectivity. Humanity has always questioned the boundaries of what we can interact with and beyond. But, like all curious and growing civilizations we've focused too much on what is beyond. Personally, I find we have should have an equal amount of fascination with what is in front of us. Our perception of reality is among the things we should pay attention to. You see, we have a habit of ignoring what is in front of us. Arrogantly we embrace the tendency to believe we know something thoroughly regardless of our actual knowledge. I find that humanity as a majority is not necessarily aware of what is in front of us, even amongst that which has become 'natural'.

However,

It is evident that our perceptions of reality become redundant; they are all integrated into our daily lives and thus we have a lack of awareness towards it. I fine analogy would becoming accustomed to a daily routine or starting a new job; when you are into the schedule the original anxiety towards said situation fades. Reality is subjective for humans. Like everything else, as we all differ our outlooks differ. This is rudimentary philosophy of perception. If you'd like to go into a broader perspective, what ultimately dictates what an individual establishes is 'reality' would stem from sentience. To be sentient is to think, and to think of course would be to have an constant state of suspicious consciousness. With that higher capacity we are allowed to formulate noted interactions of matter to reference at later dates; i.e. memory. Thus it should be self-explanatory with the correspondence between memory and reality - both originate from our overall conscious state.

I assume reality can be measured by our memory, of course, in that what we see determines how we'll gravitate towards matter or abstract ideas. It would seem 'experience' manifests in a way in relation to our conscious state that could be considered similar in a sense of measurement; just like years to measure time. In stead of years, however, it would be the gradual shift of our perception based on how we see life. Human subjectivity is based in an inherent fault, and that is sentience. I do not fully accept the idea of dualism on a practical level, but I do see it socially. I do see it manifesting through our faults, perceived perfections, thoughts and actions; on a societal level most blatantly - good and evil, black and white, red and blue, etc. Perhaps what is real isn't what we know, what we are, see, or what we do? Perhaps what is real, aside all the objectivity and subjectivity, is what we originally were?

Just some rambling.

The point is we do is exist. At least, in our own thoughts for now. Take heart in that.

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I find subjectivity breaks down when looking at a broader spectrum of populace. More definite "values" of "governance" become apparent. You can actually just look at the "time frame" of your life to find how subjectivity created definites in any case.

"Everything is subjective" is incorrect and correct. Probably why Socrates ended up with so many paradoxical statements and Quantum Mechanics doing the same since the English language hadn't/hasn't developed far enough to explain what was going on.

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Just wondering how does one define "what is real"? and what is "real" define as? Interesting posts, just trying to catch up with where it started and where it might be going.

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Just wondering how does one define "what is real"? and what is "real" define as? Interesting posts, just trying to catch up with where it started and where it might be going.

Accurately stated (in my opinion) in an earlier reply, "What is real is your perception of it." The absolute context of "real" can change depending on your understanding of the idea.

Determinism is an interesting point however loses accuracy in "future states" as evolution doesn't appear to be redundant. (One can argue that evolution is limited to the system that contains it (always approaching the limit of sustenance however never actually reaching it), which is probably why the human race appears to be conforming towards a virus more than anything.)) <- I think the reason this is occurring is because human idiocy hasn't evolved far enough to appreciate the fact that subjectivity breaks down on huge scales.

For me an interesting question brought up, Is there a difference between 'What is Real' and 'What is Actual?' I think in any state where perception is apparent what is actual is perception outside of that state. Ie. perception outside of perception. (Which makes sense, we can't prove 3 dimensions from 3 dimensions but we can prove 2 dimensions from 3 dimensions Ie. perception in 2 dimensions can be proved by perception from 3 dimensions.)

In my opinion where this is going after infinite iteration is trying to prove 3 dimensional existence (which is impossible using Mathematics which is ultimately 2 dimensional in nature.)

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Posted (edited)

How do we know what is real or not? I agree with Unity. Our perception of reality is our own individual reality. So what is real for one may not be for others. Just as what one believes in is different from what others may believe in.

Edited by AliveInDeath

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I find subjectivity breaks down when looking at a broader spectrum of populace. More definite "values" of "governance" become apparent. You can actually just look at the "time frame" of your life to find how subjectivity created definites in any case.

"Everything is subjective" is incorrect and correct. Probably why Socrates ended up with so many paradoxical statements and Quantum Mechanics doing the same since the English language hadn't/hasn't developed far enough to explain what was going on.

Paradoxes are hard to avoid as most things in life are contradictory.

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Reality is what is agreed upon.Without agreement, there is no reality.

Bob and Jan see a dog, the dog is real. Bob sees a dog, Jan does not. There is no agreement, If Bob keeps on insisting there is a dog there that Jan can not see,Jan will likely think Bob is crazy. Bob sees something, it is real, if only to him. If Bob perceives something that Jan can not, is it less real?? Perhaps Jan falls into the group that doesn't have a clue of anything other the standard group logic and perception. Then again Bob may very well be crazy as hell.

Reality is what is perceived from the viewpoint that is perceiving it; the spirit. When several viewpoints perceive an event differently there is disagreement, so someone has to be labeled as crazy, if even to soothe other viewpoints and make them right.There is no absolute truth or reality.

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Even if we are a dream within someone elses life, in essence, we are real.

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Reality is what is perceived from the viewpoint that is perceiving it

Can we ever define what is 'real' in the largest sense? After all, we are imbedded in our own objective/subjective reality which is self-referential. We can't see outside of our box because we are the box. All we can know is ourselves.

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