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Beyond Pandora

Beyond simple curiosity, this is Thinking Too Much. If you're interested in philosophy and/or wild theories, you've come to the right place.

Location: Australia

Paddling somewhere between a mad scientist and an organisational artist. Indecisive, inconsistent and often incoherent.

Friday, December 12, 2008

How we construct reality


I think, therefore I am.
I am aware.
(What am I aware of?)
I am aware of being fed information.
I am aware of previously being fed information.
(I cannot remember not being fed information)
I am constantly being fed information.
The information I remember is similar to the information I am experiencing.
I trust my memory.
I have two functions that I am aware of - Memory and Sensation.
I am constantly being fed information.

I can sense other creatures that are very similar to my sense of myself. (People)
These creatures react in similar ways to me, so seem to sense the same things that I do.
These creatures communicate with me information that they claim to be memory. Often parts of it match my own memory, others are stored as uncertain memory - Imagination.
I can sometimes sense things that match things that have previously only been imagined. The imagination becomes memory and I can begin to trust in things that I have not already sensed - what I imagine.

I can not experience directly other's experiences and imagination, so I cannot integrate them into my own experience but i can to some extent integrate them into my imagination.

I trust what other people tell me because although some of what they say is unfamiliar, much of what they say matches my own experience, therefore I can believe their experiences as much as my own - although what i imagine of their experiences is different to what they actually experienced.

I see other things that are similar to me - people, and things that become similar to me - children, therefore I assume that I was once a child.
Children initially cannot communicate and do not seem to conceptualise in the same way that I do, but later they can, so they must have learned these things, and I must have learned these things.

Either I learned these things from without or I learned these things from within - Either I gained knowledge and sentience by observing the world or some higher power imparted the knowledge within me.

If I learned these things from without, then everything I know can be broken down to experiences through the senses. Also some capacity to store these experiences, developing a memory, developing a way to compare current with previous experiences. Imagination and senses are what I base knowledge upon.

If I learned these things from within...

Either way, there seems to be some quality that seperates humans from other beings in that humans are the only things seem to be aware in the same way as me. If consciousness comes from within, humans are favoured. Theoretically, a horse could begin to develop consciousness. If consciousness comes from without, humans are differently developed.


If I am not aware of something, I cannot understand it.

My knowledge of the world (awareness) is based on things that I am experiencing, things that I remember (previous experience), and things that I imagine (usually based on things that other people have experienced - eg I can believe in Japan, even though I have never been there, because people can describe it to me in terms of experience. I can therefore imagine it, and believe in it.)

I start off merely sensing. The now is my self.
I then develop memory. My memory and my sensations are my self.
I can also develop imagination.

If I can't imagine or remember something, and am not experiencing it, it is not part of my knowledge.

What things do not fit into these categories?


No-one has experienced unconsciousness - which is not to say that no one has ever been unconscious, but that no one can sense while unconscious (?) so cannot remember unconsciousness so cannot describe unconsciousness so unconsciousness cannot be imagined or integrated into a worldview.
Unconsciousness is unknowable.


Either I accept that there are things that will always remain unknowable, or I decide that they are unknowable because they do not exist. If I choose to take the latter path, it means I believe that my consciousness cannot stop existing. Unless I believe I am immortal, this means I believe that my consciousness transcends my body.

1. I can imagine being immortal, staying the way I am now forever, but physical evidence refutes the idea. I would have to believe that I am different to all other humans.
This means I could decide that I am not human - but again physical evidence refutes that idea.

2. I can sort of imagine consciousness transcending body, which physical evidence cannot prove either way.
Going with this would mean I should not trust sensation.

I tend towards the belief that consciousness is linked directly to the body - without one, the other does not exist. This is in opposition to the idea of a conscious soul.

There is more evidence in favour of my mortality, and perhaps of my consciousness not going on forever, so I accept that there are things that are unknowable - that are completely beyond my comprehension

3. I cannot imagine being dead, but I can believe that I will be dead. This means I should also be able to believe in many other things that I cannot imagine.
This means I should not rely on my own experience.

Death is unknowable.
(Dying is knowable)

"Either I believe in things I cannot imagine, or I believe I will never die."


We could believe that our consciousness is eternal and the world is illusory, despite being unable to experience anything outside the illusion;
Or we believe that our consciousness is not eternal, which means that we accept the destruction of our consciousness despite the fact that we can't comprehend not being conscious.
Either way, we believe in something we cannot imagine, let alone experience.


"The mind is real, merely creates the illusion of experience"

This implies a disconnection/discommunication between the conscious and unconscious mind. The unconscious mind literally creates reality and the conscious mind experiences it.
Because the conscious mind cannot control the subconscious mind or know what the subconscious mind is doing, the conscious mind has no way of knowing whether the world is an illusion or not. The question becomes irrelevant, because there is no difference.
The conscious mind treats the world it experiences as real.

(This would be different if we could prove the existence of the subconscious mind, the disconnection between it and the conscious mind and/or reconnect it with the conscious mind)

The only reason we have a concept of illusion vs. reality is that our experience/our senses can contradict itself/eachother.
Senses: Touch, Taste, Sight, Hearing, Smell.
(Plus imagination - our ability to picture something we haven't physically experienced. We can do this by receiving a description of the thing and relating it to things we have experienced previously. Belief is what we call trusting our sense of imagination.)
We think of ourselves in a stable reality when these senses give matching information - when we can experience things through all of the senses.
When the senses contradict eachother, reality becomes broken up according to our senses. We can see things we can't touch (eg, a rainbow), can feel things we can't see (eg, the wind). Yet we tend to believe that both the rainbow and the wind are real. We base reality on what is there, rather than what is absent - i.e., we trust that rainbows are real, even though our other senses tell us there is nothing there.
The sense of imagination is a different matter. If what our other senses tell us disagrees with what we imagine (i.e., if something isn't the way it was described), we tend to discard the image in favour of the experience. Probably due to the fact that image can change very easily.

(When we are told two things that contradict eachother, we choose to believe what best matches our own experience, or what best matches what we already believe.)

In this way, reality can be defined as what we experience through our senses in addition to what we imagine, except in the cases where image alone contradicts the other senses, in which case we trust our senses.
Illusion is trusting the imagination when the other senses contradict it.

By this definition, a person who claims that the world is an illusion and the reality is something beyond, is not adhering to reality - they are trusting to illusion.

The idea that there is more to life/existence/the universe than what we can experience is not living in illusion. Claiming that this idea is absolutely certain (and living accordingly) is living in illusion. In other words, being open to other possibilities is fine. Behaving as if those possibilities are real when there is no positive proof is illusion.

There is certainly more to life than what we *usually* experience/imagine. Certain drugs can change your mental state & your awareness. This new awareness could be considered a limited perversion of reality, else something closer to 'true' reality - or just a different awareness, some aspects highlighted and some dulled. Imagination, for instance, taking over your other senses.

There are states of consciousness - realms of experience - which I cannot possibly conceive without experiencing them.


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