The Couch

total access to reality?

Comments on total access to reality?

libertygrl
Administrator
Avatar

Usergroup: Administrators
Joined: Apr 16, 2005
Location: San Francisco

Total Topics: 425
Total Comments: 4673
Posted 03/07/09 - 10:18 AM:
Subject: total access to reality?
addressing the question of whether we have total access to reality, the following is my response to happycynic's post #33 from "Why care what others think?"

happycynic wrote:
we certainly do not have total access, if we did, you would have understood me the first time. actually i would not even need to say it. you would be all-knowing. perhaps i should have said we do not have total access to reality, but if you reread my post i still think that's very clear from context.

sorry, no, it wasn't totally clear to me from the context, not when you made 2 statements that explicitly stated that we do not have access to reality.

happycynic wrote:
you make it sound like reality is something we have access to

happycynic wrote:
but we cannot perceive reality in the the first place

i understand that you were trying to make your point clearer in context but from this end it only sounded self-contradictory.

thank you for your clarifications. smiling face

happycynic wrote:
we certainly do not have total access, if we did, you would have understood me the first time. actually i would not even need to say it.

do you believe that every potential will be realized? if so, then i think it can be said that we have total access to reality. granted, having a plane ticket to norway is not the same as norway, but it is certainly a means to get there, and if the desire is also present then who is to stop you from seeing norway?

i may not have understood you clearly the first time, but further discussion elicited clarification, as it typically does (among individuals with the genuine desire for mutual comprehension) until we both reach a point that we feel we have understood each other as clearly as is possible. at such point the potential has been realized. once potential has been realized, what more can anyone expect?
happycynic
Junior Member

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Mar 03, 2009

Total Topics: 0
Total Comments: 44
Posted 03/07/09 - 3:58 PM:

i guess that's the problem with "couching" wink an epistemological argument in a casual sort of phrase, is that what seems clear (from the point of view of the author) actually isn't (to the person s/he is writing for.) i totally accept the blame for that, even if i thought it was obvious when i said it.

what i think is the main cause of misunderstanding is that i was using "reality" and "objectivity" interchangeably. in my defense, i interpreted monk's "reality is something people have to accept" to mean objective reality.

my argument is actually very simple, we cannot be completely objective (i know, there's a synonym for "total") without knowing everything... and we cannot be "objective" without being totally objective. put in other words: any portion of the entire sum of all information produces a (relatively) subjective view. lets say we saw one side of every coin in the universe. there's still the opposite side, and perhaps different angles produce different reflections, and there is a context where this matters.

that is by definition a subjective view. if we had an objective view, we'd have total access to reality. i phrase it from two directions not to make the argument circular (the opposite ways of phrasing it are not intended to depend on each other) but to let you think about them either way. this is what i think it would mean to be objective in a way that it's NOT subjective.
Monk2400
Senior Member
Avatar

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Apr 19, 2005

Total Topics: 116
Total Comments: 1518
Posted 03/10/09 - 12:46 PM:

The idea that we do not have access to reality is bunk. If you don't live in reality, breathe reality, feel reality, have form in reality, then where are you? There is not such thing as non-reality. Reality is not opposed to a fanciful realm of the non-real. These are not two polar opposites circling in tension like yin-yang. Being is not opposed to not-being. Anything we speak of is merely a question of the clarity of our perceptions within reality. Negation, for instance, is not ontological, but merely epistemological.

One says 'well that's not real, because you only thought it'. Well, you are real, since you exist, and your thoughts are real, since you experience them, so at no point have we 'left' reality.


happycynic wrote:

i interpreted monk's "reality is something people have to accept" to mean objective reality.

...

if we had an objective view, we'd have total access to reality.


This idea of 'objective reality' seems to imply that there is an absolute fact of the matter. That despite any and all 'subjective views' of some event, there is a true and most 'real' fact about the event--its 'objective' character. But what can this mean?

We might be able to define such a perspective, but invariably we end up defining a Divine being. such as Leibniz, defining the Supreme Monad as that which perfectly represents all possible monads within itself.

But even in that case, it is clear that the 'objective view' is nothing more than the sum total, the aggregate, of all possible 'subjective' views. This suggests that the objective view is nothing over and above a series of subjective views, that the objective view is just an exhaustive series of subjective views--views from all possible angles and coordinates.

If we say that we 'dont have access to reality' then we suggest that reality is a 'something behind the scenes'. Phenomenology, happily, resolved this unnecessary division, by bringing being and essence together in the appearance--that is, by understanding that the essence of a thing is fully expressed in each instance it appears. There is nothing 'hidden' in appearances. Things are what they are.

We do have to accept reality. No matter how much we wax philosophic about being and essence, we still have to get up in the morning, eat food, excrete waste, and sleep in the evening. We might argue about whether the sky is in fact blue or whether circles do in fact have independent ontological existence, but these diversions do not change the simple facts about human being that we have to accept. Reality is reality for us, as it is for each creature. There is no 'priveleged' POV, hence, no 'ultimately real reality'. what we know and experience, despite what we conceive as being the limitations of our knowing and experiencing, is ultimately real for us.

And there's no way to get outside that.

8)
happycynic
Junior Member

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Mar 03, 2009

Total Topics: 0
Total Comments: 44
Posted 03/10/09 - 2:16 PM:

so we have to be practical, i never said otherwise.

only i've found that people preaching reality always end up attaching their own subjective terms which they assume are also necessary... i.e. the nazis and "we're right because we used science(tm)" or the religious because "god told us so," etc, when the fact is that our perception of reality is often challenged by the same people who go to the greatest lengths to establish it. this line between perception and truth is vital to understanding the world around us, and people routinely encourage each other to pretend it doesn't exist. i am merely pointing out that it does, and that it probably always will.

i wasn't attacking reality, i was only saying that things are often not as they seem. we have libraries full of history to challenge our once preconceived notions (do we have to accept those, too?) and yet every day more people dole out new preconceived notions as "truth." i wish it was just the creationists, but they're only the most noticeable. the same people that find them the most annoying are often nearly as guilty.

in short, reality is just alright with me (reality's just alright, oh yeah.) but it's still overrated, and my first instinct (this is not directed at you, friend) when someone says "reality is something people just have to accept" is to punch them in the nose, because i know they're up to something.

as usual, al said it better: "the true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination." also: "reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one." but he goes farther than i do. what i am arguing against is pride, not a quest for facts. the more certain people are they are right, the larger their mistakes tend to prove later. but i don't expect you to take my word for it, you'll probably figure it out for yourself someday, later on, when you're older and see how much your perception has changed.

Edited by happycynic on 03/10/09 - 2:29 PM
Monk2400
Senior Member
Avatar

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Apr 19, 2005

Total Topics: 116
Total Comments: 1518
Posted 03/10/09 - 6:22 PM:

happycynic wrote:

this line between perception and truth is vital to understanding the world around us, and people routinely encourage each other to pretend it doesn't exist. i am merely pointing out that it does, and that it probably always will.


Truth is just a value. And, like all values, is has no 'value' in reality. Reality is not true, because reality cannot be false.

In the end, there are no 'true and false' perceptions, there are only perceptions. And these either do or do not accord when perceptual agents compare them through language, or use them to act immediately in the world.

happycynic wrote:

i wasn't attacking reality, i was only saying that things are often not as they seem. we have libraries full of history to challenge our once preconceived notions (do we have to accept those, too?) and yet every day more people dole out new preconceived notions as "truth."


None of which affects reality one whit. All we're talking about here are narratives that are spun by semiotic agents. These are necessarily narratives about reality, and, in themselves, have the reality of being narratives. Woe to him who takes the poet's description of the sun rising for the sun actually rising in the sky! Such a one will find the cookbook a poor meal when he's starving.


happycynic wrote:

in short, reality is just alright with me (reality's just alright, oh yeah.) but it's still overrated, and my first instinct (this is not directed at you, friend) when someone says "reality is something people just have to accept" is to punch them in the nose, because i know they're up to something.


Like it or not, you can't deny your own existence. Nor can you will yourself to the bountiful anti-gravity gardens of Alpha Centuri. Nor can you float when you step off a cliff. No amount of epistemological wrangling will enable those things to happen. You exist, in a particular context, bounded by a particular POV. And there's naught to do about it.


happycynic wrote:

the more certain people are they are right, the larger their mistakes tend to prove later.


'Being right' is, of course, a state of clinging to a particular narrative, and hence, value-structure. Of course people make mistakes. But reality is the exterminator of mistakes. Which is only to say that if every other being, POV, and force 'disagrees' with you, your position is entirely subjective, ie, pertains all and only to your own personal narrative and does not form a part of dialogue, communication, information exchange, or the shared parameters of existence.

This usually happens when someone trys to deny reality instead of accepting it. Which means they're trying to fool themselves, first of all.


happycynic wrote:

...you'll probably figure it out for yourself someday, later on, when you're older and see how much your perception has changed.


Yeah, I can't WAIT till I'm legal drinking age!!! LOLZ :p
smokinpristiformis
child of the stars
Avatar

Usergroup: Moderators
Joined: Apr 20, 2005
Location: Belgium

Total Topics: 74
Total Comments: 1247
Posted 03/11/09 - 5:46 AM:

Yeah, I can't WAIT till I'm legal drinking age!!! LOLZ :p


Hate to disappoint you, old pal, but people tell me *cough* that toke beats booze hands down anyway. So alas, no great surprising new future in store for ya. hmm
happycynic
Junior Member

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Mar 03, 2009

Total Topics: 0
Total Comments: 44
Posted 03/11/09 - 8:45 AM:

happycynic wrote:

i wasn't attacking reality...


"Monk2400" wrote:
None of which affects reality one whit.


i never implied it did...

'Being right' is, of course, a state of clinging to a particular narrative, and hence, value-structure.


which is basically what i'm arguing people should try to avoid. i was also arguing that it can't be avoided completely.

This usually happens when someone trys to deny reality instead of accepting it.


this is where we disagree. people play the "reality" card all the time, as a circular affirmation of their argument. "you can't argue with me, it's just the way it is." i.e. accept reality. it's a non-argument, as you nearly said yourself:

Reality is not true, because reality cannot be false.

In the end, there are no 'true and false' perceptions, there are only perceptions.


that's not the way i would say it, but some of it supports what i was saying.
Monk2400
Senior Member
Avatar

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Apr 19, 2005

Total Topics: 116
Total Comments: 1518
Posted 03/11/09 - 11:53 AM:

happycynic wrote:

this is where we disagree. people play the "reality" card all the time, as a circular affirmation of their argument. "you can't argue with me, it's just the way it is." i.e. accept reality.


However, there are many, many instances where this is true. You come to a point where its either A or -A. It can't be both A & -A. So if someone is suggesting A & -A, well, they better just accept that its one or the other.

People can argue about what foods are most beneficial for human beings to eat, but they can't argue about whether or not human beings need to eat. That's just a fact about human reality that humans have to accept.

The way I see it, it seems like you're trying to suggest that the sun isn't in the sky by way of some fancy linguistic manuevering. People don't argue about reality. They argue about meanings of words. The immediate immanent suchness of the world, meanwhile, is right there before us, and no amount of fancy conceptual footwork changes it. We have to base of concepts on what is, not on what we would like to be.

Do you agree or disagree that there are simple facts about existence, about reality, that people must accept, even as axioms, and which cannot be denied or rejected? Even if we argue about the content of some particular axiom, the fact is that there is and always will be some particular axiom.

Acceptance of a starting point is the beginning of all logic. Reality is the ultimate starting point. Hence, accepting reality is the beginning of all logic.

8)
Monk2400
Senior Member
Avatar

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Apr 19, 2005

Total Topics: 116
Total Comments: 1518
Posted 03/11/09 - 11:55 AM:

smokinpristiformis wrote:


Hate to disappoint you, old pal, but people tell me *cough* that toke beats booze hands down anyway. So alas, no great surprising new future in store for ya. hmm


hahah..sure...'people tell you'...laughing

what, you're saying it even beats Belgian beer?? eek
libertygrl
Administrator
Avatar

Usergroup: Administrators
Joined: Apr 16, 2005
Location: San Francisco

Total Topics: 425
Total Comments: 4673
#10 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 03/11/09 - 3:08 PM:

M2 wrote:
We have to base of concepts on what is, not on what we would like to be.

what about schrödinger's cat? does our perception not also change reality?
happycynic
Junior Member

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Mar 03, 2009

Total Topics: 0
Total Comments: 44
#11 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 03/11/09 - 3:58 PM:

libertygrl wrote:

what about schrödinger's cat? does our perception not also change reality?


sometimes, maybe. it's possible there are two realities, and we're always restricted to choosing one. the two realities would be part of a larger reality and thus we could never have access to both, but this is a more extreme version of what i originally intended to say.

the essence of my original comment is more along the lines of, we cannot imagine, let alone experience or account for all possibilies, or even all of reality. quotes from monk:

You come to a point where its either A or -A. It can't be both A & -A. So if someone is suggesting A & -A, well, they better just accept that its one or the other.


a very fine way of wording something i hate, the fallacy of excluded middle. yes, we often come to the point where it's either a or -a, but we often come to that too early, and when we do, it's wrong, it's oversimplification, it's fallacy. but not always.

People can argue about what foods are most beneficial for human beings to eat, but they can't argue about whether or not human beings need to eat. That's just a fact about human reality that humans have to accept.


but there is some truth to the fact that they don't need to. humans don't need to as often as some people think, they don't need to very much when they're already dying, it's not just a or -a, black or white thinking produces fallacies all the time.

The way I see it, it seems like you're trying to suggest that the sun isn't in the sky by way of some fancy linguistic manuevering.


i have no such intentions. rather i'm trying to convey how in our overexcitement with facts, we too often force ourselves to overlook or overrationalize the obvious and miss important clues. if you're not guilty of it yourself you may not relate firsthand, but i'm sure you can find plenty of examples in other people if you're looking.

Do you agree or disagree that there are simple facts about existence, about reality, that people must accept, even as axioms, and which cannot be denied or rejected?


i disagree, but not strongly. i think it's probably useful (and probably accurate, that is to say we can probably get close to objectivity, sometimes) to accept certain simple facts and axioms, in other words to assume, even if it's impossible to be certain of anything.

we have lots of good evidence that the sun is in the sky, but we used to say that it was orbiting the earth, now we "know" (and you can take the quotes away too) that the earth orbits it instead. but, with only the movements of the earth versus the sun, and the sun versus the earth, it's possible either statement is true. without a third point of reference who is to say which orbits which?

and the fact that there is always a third point of reference we may or may not have will always threaten to change what we know about everything. but it probably won't, right? so we agree, but not completely. or perhaps you're exaggerating.

Acceptance of a starting point is the beginning of all logic. Reality is the ultimate starting point. Hence, accepting reality is the beginning of all logic.


you must forgive me if i find that funny (for any previously assumed meaning of the word "must.")

i'm surprised that no one has tried to tell me that by my own argument, i can't be certain i'm right about it. that's true, and perhaps it's a testament to the maturity of everyone here that no one's mentioned it, but i would have agreed. (at least i think so.)

another thing that i agree with is the idea that to have a reasonable conversation, certain things have to be taken as givens, common ground has to be found. this is a problem with many debates online and between world leaders... they cannot find a way to be objective, but if they don't find certain things they agree on, they cannot communicate at all. we all participate in assumptions and givens to make it possible to live. that fits with what you're saying, right?

for example (wherever i read or heard this...) there may be no way to know if there will be a floor under your foot when you get out of bed, but if you tested every hypothesis like a skeptic we'd never leave the house and live in terrible irrational fear, or simply never get anything done (and i think, and you think, we'd almost certainly starve.)

most importantly though, we can't get to every bit of knowledge through "reasonable" conversation, because that depends on what we consider reasonable (and this paragraph may totally restate my argument in more better terms.) sometimes the only way to accept facts is to suspend the others, if only for a moment, and then and only then can we finally see how the new perspective fits neatly into what we know about reality- even if (as einstein's relativity did) it actually destroys some of our preconceptions, it gives new life to everything else we know.

or: sometimes you have to reject reality to accept it. sometimes by accepting reality, we reject it. and we can blame ourselves for being human, i guess, but we're doing our best, and there's probably something to be said for that.

Edited by happycynic on 03/11/09 - 4:09 PM
Monk2400
Senior Member
Avatar

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Apr 19, 2005

Total Topics: 116
Total Comments: 1518
#12 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 03/11/09 - 6:13 PM:

libertygrl wrote:

what about schrödinger's cat? does our perception not also change reality?


No.

We have to think about it from the cat's eye view. Either the cat is alive or dead. It isn't existing in a interphasic fuzzy zone while it waits for a human being to look in the box.

Monk2400
Senior Member
Avatar

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Apr 19, 2005

Total Topics: 116
Total Comments: 1518
#13 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 03/11/09 - 6:24 PM:

happycynic wrote:

but there is some truth to the fact that they don't need to. humans don't need to as often as some people think, they don't need to very much when they're already dying, it's not just a or -a, black or white thinking produces fallacies all the time.


Details details. I suppose we could all work to become sun gazers or breatharians. Even then, though, we still have to reckon with the fact of an exchange of energy.

A and -A are only levels of epistemological clarification. we stop invesitgating any 'deeper' when its not convenient or practical. Thus we accept a polarity of opposition and hence a determinate structure to the world. For each level we pause at, no doubt there is an infinite series of further levels that could yet be defined and detailed. Each 'A' breaks down into infinite 'a' and '-a's.

But for most folks, this isn't very useful information.

8)
happycynic
Junior Member

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Mar 03, 2009

Total Topics: 0
Total Comments: 44
#14 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 03/11/09 - 6:43 PM:

Monk2400 wrote:

But for most folks, this isn't very useful information.


no, only for people who take interest in philosophy. it is useless if you insist quantum philosophy only matters from a cat's eye view, or if you like being right all the time, and smirking and rubbing people's nose in your brand of "reality." for everyone else that is interested in the nature of the universe, "question everything" is probably good advice- but i couldn't tell you.
Monk2400
Senior Member
Avatar

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Apr 19, 2005

Total Topics: 116
Total Comments: 1518
#15 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 03/12/09 - 9:13 PM:

The point is, we DO have access to reality. That's ALL we have access to. We cant NOT have access to reality. Its impossible for us to exist in anything BUT reality.

What 'things' we 'perceive' is always a matter of perspective. But that doesn't negate their appearance at a given level of perspective. We can regard a thing and say 'well its REALLY only space with some molecules spread out in a determinate pattern', but the fact is, when we grab the thing and bounce it off the concrete, its still a basketball. Thinking about it as molecules and space won't change the fact that when we look at it all we see is an orange sphere.

Pondering philosophical paradoxes doesn't put bread on the table or negate the fact, and yes it is a fact, that if I don't eat, my body will die, and there will be no more pondering of any sort. Limitations are inherent in the human condition. If a person doesn't accept them they're going to end up terribly disappointed, frustrated, or dead. We can haggle about what those limitations are, but there is also a number of facts we can't debate, things that we just need to recognize and move on. We can't sprout wings, we can't float in the air, and we can't continue living with our heads cut off. That's reality.
happycynic
Junior Member

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Mar 03, 2009

Total Topics: 0
Total Comments: 44
#16 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 03/12/09 - 11:29 PM:

The point is, we DO have access to reality. That's ALL we have access to. We cant NOT have access to reality. Its impossible for us to exist in anything BUT reality.


that makes sense most of the time, but very little when movies or books feel very real, when you have sympathy for characters that don't exist (and yet we can't stand for them to suffer,) and these are perceptions but the don't necessarily reflect reality. also, if you are religious than i don't expect you to defend that, but if you're not then it's difficult for you to explain to me that the people in church are experiencing reality. i feel quite differently about the statement you made when i'm asleep.

Pondering philosophical paradoxes doesn't put bread on the table or negate the fact, and yes it is a fact, that if I don't eat, my body will die, and there will be no more pondering of any sort.


and if god meant us to fly he would have given us wings, but just because limitations exist- doesn't mean that any specific limitation is indefinite. if you say "but there will always be some limitations," then yes i agree with you. the foundation of my original argument is there will always be limitations in our understanding, (or put in other words,) our world as we know it will always be slightly less real than real. but i guess you don't like that argument because it can't be proven. that said history supports only the idea that we will continue to look at the past as containing imperfections in our understanding, and surely that is also a lesson about the present, is it not?

striving to improve ourselves as people and as a species doesn't always put bread on the table, but we do it because (just like putting bread on the table,) pondering the universe is something that we do as humans. i wouldn't expect someone in a philsophy forum to be so hostile to that.
libertygrl
Administrator
Avatar

Usergroup: Administrators
Joined: Apr 16, 2005
Location: San Francisco

Total Topics: 425
Total Comments: 4673
#17 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 03/13/09 - 12:51 AM:

happycynic wrote:
i wouldn't expect someone in a philsophy forum to be so hostile to that.

happycynic, from my perspective it seems that you've misunderstood monk's reason for mentioning that philosophizing doesn't put bread on the table. you can easily scroll through his history of posts to see that he doesn't object to philosophy. the point is that philosophizing does not change certain facts about our existence, or as monk said it:

M2 wrote:
The point is, we DO have access to reality. That's ALL we have access to. We cant NOT have access to reality. Its impossible for us to exist in anything BUT reality.

What 'things' we 'perceive' is always a matter of perspective. But that doesn't negate their appearance at a given level of perspective. We can regard a thing and say 'well its REALLY only space with some molecules spread out in a determinate pattern', but the fact is, when we grab the thing and bounce it off the concrete, its still a basketball. Thinking about it as molecules and space won't change the fact that when we look at it all we see is an orange sphere.

Pondering philosophical paradoxes doesn't put bread on the table or negate the fact, and yes it is a fact, that if I don't eat, my body will die, and there will be no more pondering of any sort. Limitations are inherent in the human condition. If a person doesn't accept them they're going to end up terribly disappointed, frustrated, or dead. We can haggle about what those limitations are, but there is also a number of facts we can't debate, things that we just need to recognize and move on. We can't sprout wings, we can't float in the air, and we can't continue living with our heads cut off. That's reality.

and i wholeheartedly agree with the above post in its entirety.

happycynic wrote:
that makes sense most of the time, but very little when movies or books feel very real, when you have sympathy for characters that don't exist (and yet we can't stand for them to suffer,) and these are perceptions but the don't necessarily reflect reality.

i don't understand what you mean here when you say that these are perceptions that don't necessarily reflect reality. it seems that you are using the term "reality" to exclude our perceptions, and that is where i, at least, disagree with you. how is it possible to exclude perception from reality?
happycynic
Junior Member

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Mar 03, 2009

Total Topics: 0
Total Comments: 44
#18 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 03/13/09 - 1:43 AM:

t seems that you are using the term "reality" to exclude our perceptions,


oh, it's unreal (sorry, pun) that the two of you keep suggesting we have total access to reality, when you keep arguing with things you think i've said that i haven't said at all.

i keep clarifying, over and over... what i mean. a movie is not real, but we honestly forget (however momentarily) that it's not real, even autistics (who take everything too literally, and are just as likely to notice the static in a tune on a radio than the music) can sit and watch a movie and feel that it's real, but when we're done watching (or when a boom mic appears) we remember it's just a film, it's fiction.

i'm not drawing this big bold line between fiction and everyday life you're accusing me of, if anything i think fiction and everyday life are more intimately intwined than people tend to admit. money is a favorite example, what's money worth? it's worth whatever we agree it's worth. that's fiction, and it's very real fiction. people sell their time and bodies for green pieces of paper that by themselves are "just paper," that's reality, but it's also "reality" that they will find so many people who *insist* those pieces of paper are worth cars, food, even wars.

as for what's a basketball, a basketball is a basketball, but it's not always. they may change the official size (you know, the "they" as in "as they say") but when they do, a basketball will no longer be a basketball for practical purposes, other than historical commentary. or, i may wad a piece of paper and toss it into a wastebasket, thus transmuting a sheet of paper into a basketball.

but nevermind that, because we're getting so far from what i was saying. obviously it wasn't taken as it was intended (and that only proves my point...) but since you don't know what it was, let me just point you back in that direction.

do you disagree that the possibility of misunderstanding (even of everyone on earth at a given time, as with the idea of a flat earth) always exists? because if you agree that the possibility of (profoundly) misunderstanding the world always exists, you're not actually arguing with the main theme of what i'm saying here. you're just arguing with your interpretation, and that's fine, even though it's worth mentioning that we don't actually disagree.

now there are a million side points that could come up in the process of trying to explain this (i think it's just too simple to explain, because i have several times, and it's no special disability of yours or monk's,) but i keep pointing at something and you two keep asking what my finger has to do with it.

not that my finger isn't interesting, i'm sure it is, but it's not really the foundation of my argument.

" look, it's the side of the monitor -> "

" that's not the side of the monitor, that's an arrow. "

" that's not an arrow, it's a minus sign and a greater than sign. "

" yeah, it's two mints in one. "

" what do mints have to do with it? "
libertygrl
Administrator
Avatar

Usergroup: Administrators
Joined: Apr 16, 2005
Location: San Francisco

Total Topics: 425
Total Comments: 4673
#19 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 03/13/09 - 11:12 AM:

happycynic wrote:
do you disagree that the possibility of misunderstanding (even of everyone on earth at a given time, as with the idea of a flat earth) always exists?

no, i don't agree that the possibility of misunderstanding always exists. sometimes the potential for misunderstanding exists, but not always.

happycynic wrote:
i'm not drawing this big bold line between fiction and everyday life you're accusing me of

i haven't accused you of anything.

i told you what my perception is of what you're saying, in the interest of getting to a better understanding for you and me both. please take whatever time you need to explain your position. there's no hurry here, at least not on my part. is there on yours?

certainly most people (not all, mind you) can distinguish the differences in experience between sitting on a beach watching the sunset, watching a beach sunset on a television screen, and imagining a beach sunset while reading about it.

certainly if a person were to say that reading about a beach sunset is nothing in comparison to the "real" thing, it is not hard to understand what is being meant.

i hope this is the acknowledgement you're looking for, or at least part of it. smiling face

but reality includes all kinds of experiences, each of which are total and valid from any given perspective.

do you agree?


happycynic
Junior Member

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Mar 03, 2009

Total Topics: 0
Total Comments: 44
#20 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 03/13/09 - 11:58 AM:

certainly if a person were to say that reading about a beach sunset is nothing in comparison to the "real" thing, it is not hard to understand what is being meant.


and yet so many people that grow up on television think they have experienced the things they watched. if you consciously know better, then you are more conscious than the average person, who bases much of their life on television, or who believes they are a friend of a celebrity because they are a fan of a celebrity. i'm exaggerating again, and there's even truth to the other side of it-

for example, if you've watched pygmies dance on tv, then you've really watched pygmies dance, it is like being there, but it's not the same. then again, on some level it feels just as authentic when there are people dressed as tribal dancers, but they're really in a studio in california. the pygmies are real but the tribal dancers are not, and the difference is only made through context.

without someone openly admitting which is which, it's sometimes possible (but not always) to tell which dancers are actors and which are the real mccoy. but this is a metaphor that's gone out of hand, i'm only clarifying it (it wasn't all about television, it was just an example) because you mentioned it again.

no, i don't agree that the possibility of misunderstanding always exists. sometimes the potential for misunderstanding exists, but not always.


i'm not too attached to the word "always" in this use of it. the fact that "sometimes the potential for misunderstanding exists," satisfies what i was trying to say, if i think it understates it a little. i would say at least "often," but "often" isn't that important either. i think most importantly i would say "more often than we usually suspect." that's not just the basis for what i was originally saying, it's the essence of it.

i find it difficult to believe that you would disagree (although you don't seem to, really,) unless the simplicity of what i'm saying is being mistaken for a few metaphors i thought would clarify, but only made things more complicated. then again, as i admitted much farther up the page, by my own argument i could always be mistaken.

oh let me answer your question too:

reality includes all kinds of experiences, each of which are total and valid from any given perspective.

do you agree?


absolutely, although i think there's subjectivity to every experience of reality we have, i keep trying to say i'm not drawing a distinct line between the two. i said we never have total access to reality- but every response i've gotten seems to be a response to my saying "we have no access to reality" i never intended to imply anything of the sort. our subjective views are usually meaningful and somehow relevant- at least i believe they are, and see no reason not to think so.

if this clarifies things, i think one or more of you mistook me for a nihilist. if that's so, i'm the most reformed nihilist that ever was, i think we have our dances with reality every day, and i haven't thrown out the evidence we do, it's good enough until there's more, and it's possible that nothing is real, but i doubt it.

nihilism doesn't exist anyway.

Edited by happycynic on 03/13/09 - 12:10 PM
libertygrl
Administrator
Avatar

Usergroup: Administrators
Joined: Apr 16, 2005
Location: San Francisco

Total Topics: 425
Total Comments: 4673
#21 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 03/13/09 - 12:17 PM:

i definitely did not mistake you for a nihilist smiling face

HC wrote:
think there's subjectivity to every experience of reality we have, i keep trying to say i'm not drawing a distinct line between the two

it does seem to me that you are trying to draw a line. maybe not a distinct line, but a line nonetheless.

here we have two different things:

A) we have no access to reality.

B) we have some access to reality.

it seems to me that what you are saying is B, not A, am i right in acknowledging this much?

i think the problem is coming from the use of the word "access". access implies that there's a line, even if an indistinct one, don't you think?
Monk2400
Senior Member
Avatar

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Apr 19, 2005

Total Topics: 116
Total Comments: 1518
#22 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 03/13/09 - 12:18 PM:

happycynic wrote:

that makes sense most of the time, but very little when movies or books feel very real, when you have sympathy for characters that don't exist (and yet we can't stand for them to suffer,) and these are perceptions but the don't necessarily reflect reality.


Well, they are experiences, yes? And those are real? They are part of the fabric of an individual's lifeworld. We might be scared of the monster under the bed. Perhaps there is no monster (or ever was), but our fear is real, our reaction to the idea is real, and the idea is real as an idea.

Sure, we can deceive ourselves into believing that something is what it isn't, or in misidentifying common objects. We can make mistakes. But the fact that we can make mistakes means that there is some fact about which we are making mistakes!

We don't need the persistance of motion to be fooled and make mistakes. All we need is poor lighting. Or, even more simply, a lie. Someone tells us a lie, and--as is our nature--we immediately craft an entire narrative around that lie, and can and will live 'within' the boundaries of the lie.

But at no time will such a person exit reality. Instead, we might recognize that they are only doing what human beings--as semoitic agents--do, which is to define the narrative of their lifeworld, and, in effect, create a value-structure by which to navigate through the valueless world. But here we are not talking about changing 'reality', but about the dynamics of human pscychology--about how we receive and interpret phenomena.

Each person's take on experience is a reading of reality. Every person will have their own unique reading, that is, they will have their own unique value-structure that they impose on the facticity of phenomena. But, in general, there will be enough commonalities between all the readings that allow for a stable, well-ordered, and structured universe to exist. Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John all tell the story a little different, but in the end we can get that there is a particular story being told--and not four different stories.

In the same way, if I believe that my body is bullet proof because I drank a 'special serum' of chinese herbs hawked by an old man in china-town, and I go to test this belief, I suggest that reality will give me a rude awakening. Some facts we can't change by interpreting them a different way. Or, to put it another way, there are some rules that must be preserved, no matter what system of axioms one chooses.


happycynic wrote:

also, if you are religious than i don't expect you to defend that, but if you're not then it's difficult for you to explain to me that the people in church are experiencing reality. i feel quite differently about the statement you made when i'm asleep.


Dreams are just as much real as anything else. They are, after all, nothing but experienced phenomena. As for religion, religious phenomena are as real to the people that experience it as anything else. Sometimes, however, it is only their interpretation of an event that is 'religious', and not the event itself. This often happens when a religious narrative is imposed on a mundane event.

OTOH, the non-religious haven't cornered the market on reality. It may be that some 'religious' experiences are very 'real' in the normal sense, as being a natural part of the fabric of the universe, and not merely the projection of the imagination.



happycynic wrote:

and if god meant us to fly he would have given us wings, but just because limitations exist- doesn't mean that any specific limitation is indefinite. if you say "but there will always be some limitations," then yes i agree with you. the foundation of my original argument is there will always be limitations in our understanding, (or put in other words,) our world as we know it will always be slightly less real than real.


How would it be any more real that it already is? How does not knowing the intricate workings of some force or some object impact its reality? We really don't know anything about the sun, but the fact is its up in our sky daily, sending us its warming rays.

In fact, a greater, more thorough 'understanding' may produce the opposite effect--making the appearance less real than real, because it is experienced in and through such a complex web of concepts and relations. When we 'live in our head' we tend to ignore the simple and immediate conditions of phenomena as appearances. The experience of reality, as it is, is visceral, raw, immediate. Understanding everything about the physics of baseball is still nothing like standing in the batters box with a chunk of twine and leather coming at you at 100 mph. COnversely, one doesn't need to know anything about the physics to successfully hit the ball. Its just something you do.


happycynic wrote:

that said history supports only the idea that we will continue to look at the past as containing imperfections in our understanding, and surely that is also a lesson about the present, is it not?


We also like to look at the past and impose upon it the concept of 'improvement' and 'progress'. We like to see some sort of momentum carrying us towards 'perfection'. But this is just another narrative, a story we like to tell ourselves, a way of classifying our understanding about the reality we, and our parents, and their parents...etc, have experienced. In truth, we can only know what we know when we know it. Reality, especially as concerns past events, is what it is, and irrevocably so. You have to accept the fact of the past--whatever limitations where there, real or imagined.


happycynic wrote:

striving to improve ourselves as people and as a species doesn't always put bread on the table, but we do it because (just like putting bread on the table,) pondering the universe is something that we do as humans. i wouldn't expect someone in a philsophy forum to be so hostile to that.


There may or may not be a value in philosophy, depending on how one chooses to structure their value-system. But philosophers, no matter how profound, still need to eat, sleep, and defecate. No amount of twisting the cogito can change those facts about human nature. Philosophy, in its more earnest essence, is a drive to understand whats there. The starting point is accepting that there is something there. In phenomenology, we simply accept the entire world as a starting point, and then proceed by reason, to deconstruct it and reconstruct it, piece by piece, concept by concept, to try and arrive at a coherent picture, a strong and stable narrative--something that makes sense, but doesn't contradict the basic reality of the experience of reality.

In the end, though, human beings don't need philosophy to live. And I reckon a great many folk would do well to leave it be. Too many people spend too much time 'thinking' and not 'living'. IMHO.

8)
libertygrl
Administrator
Avatar

Usergroup: Administrators
Joined: Apr 16, 2005
Location: San Francisco

Total Topics: 425
Total Comments: 4673
#23 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 03/13/09 - 12:23 PM:

M2 wrote:
Too many people spend too much time 'thinking' and not 'living'. IMHO.

ha, cheers

back to the real world,
smiling facelib
Monk2400
Senior Member
Avatar

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Apr 19, 2005

Total Topics: 116
Total Comments: 1518
#24 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 03/13/09 - 12:34 PM:

happycynic wrote:

and yet so many people that grow up on television think they have experienced the things they watched.


In a way, they have. Whenever we observe human beings doing stuff, our mirror neurons kick in and basically mimic the brain activity for us as if we ourselves we doing that stuff. This is the essence of the ancient practice of apprenticeship--where an apprentice does naught but basically watch the master at work. Its an immediate empathic connection, driven by the brain.

Oh, its all like that John Fogarty song, 'I Saw It On TV'.

8)
Monk2400
Senior Member
Avatar

Usergroup: Members
Joined: Apr 19, 2005

Total Topics: 116
Total Comments: 1518
#25 - Quote - Permalink
Posted 03/13/09 - 12:40 PM:

libertygrl wrote:

it does seem to me that you are trying to draw a line. maybe not a distinct line, but a line nonetheless.

here we have two different things:

A) we have no access to reality.

B) we have some access to reality.


Also there's the idea, in the title of this thread, of 'total access'. My position is that the idea of total access is incoherent, because there is no such thing as a single priveleged perspective that contemplates all of reality objectively. Even God's mind is nothing more than the reflection of infinite subjective perspectives--seeing from all angles and coordinates. So, IOW, there is no 'reality' outside of the various subjective POVs that define various beings and coordinates.

In this sense, far from not being able to access reality, each subjective perspective is actually a fundamental component of reality. Or, put another way, reality is fully and completely expressed in and through an infinite number of subjective POVs.
Search thread for
Download thread as
  • 0/5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5



Sorry, you don't have permission . Log in, or register if you haven't yet.



Acknowledgements:

Couch logo design by Midnight_Monk. The photo hanging above the couch was taken by Paul.

Powered by WSN Forum. Free smileys here.
Special thanks to Maria Cristina, Jesse , Echolist Directory, The Star Online,
Hosting Free Webs, and dmoz.org for referring visitors to this site!

Copyright notice:

Except where noted otherwise, copyright belongs to respective authors
for artwork, photography and text posted in this forum.