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Reality is what we percieve.

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posted on Jan, 4 2010 @ 12:17 PM
What is Reality?

This question has plagued the mind of man since the dawn of time. Greek philosophers like Plato and Democritus argued between idealism where reality is composed of thoughts and ideas, and materialism where reality is composed of atoms and physical law.

Throughout the ages philosophers continued to expand on Platonic theory and material science in their efforts to better understand and define what we know about the nature of reality. The biggest challenge in our efforts to understand what reality is, lies at the heart of the observer.

Quantum physics reduces matter down to wave functions where matter no longer has solidity rather vast amounts of space. Physicists realize that the energy of which matter is derived exists as wave forms. This quantum model of matter reveals that matter is just information, like data stored on a DVD Rom. Organized energy in the form of wave functions that collapse into particles.

Psychology and neuroscience recognizes that the human body acts as an interface with this external stimuli [data] and how this data stimulates our neurons equates how we perceive the data. The Law of Perception dictates that external stimuli must be perceived by the senses and translated into a view by which the observer can experience.

How the process of perception works also dictates that each observer will process this data in a subjective way. The act of observing creates an experience called qualia where the observer has a response to the data that cannot be verified externally. Taste for example is a type of qualia as the chemical information in the object being tasted is irrelevant to the object, but relevant to the observer.

The act of tasting requires the observer to experience the qualia of taste based on the potential for taste within an object. What makes the taste real, is the act of observation. Without observing the taste, the reality of taste in that object exists only as the potential for taste. Two people can taste the same food, but may have totally different perceptions of the experience. One person may like the taste, and the other may not. The reality of that taste is different between two observers because taste is interpretation of experience and not physically measurable and quantified.

Another example of how reality is different between observers is easily demonstrated with a person how has color blindness and a person who does not. Both people can observe the same object but each person will render the colors of the object differently. Color is also a form of qualia because the information coming from the object again must be interpreted by the limits of the sensory apparatus and rendered by the physical brain.

To further demonstrate how reality is just information with the potential of being observed is also relevant to flowers and the UV spectrum. Certain flows have additional patterns of information invisible to human observation with physical sight. Insects which see in the UV spectrum can see these invisible patterns and experience the qualia of that information. Humans can only see this data through technology that allows a camera to film the flower within the UV spectrum.

Until we were able to observe this reality, we were blind to the reality of UV patterns on flowers. Our perception of a flower is different from the perception of an insect and how it experiences the flower.
The sensory apparatus has limits which restrict the perception of reality down to a very finite rule set by which the brain can then interpret the sensory data.

From this limited perception of data, the brain must render the findings into a view by which the observer can experience. This experience is what we call reality. Yet it cannot be verified, physically measured or quantified as an accurate model of reality. Each observer will have a slightly different rendering of reality within the limits of their perception. We only hope that this rendering is as accurate as can be to the actual physical stimuli.

What is reality? Is it the physical stimuli, or the mind rendered interpretation of that stimuli? It is both.

Reality is external information. Reality is also a mind-generated rendering of that information. Plato and Desocitrus were both right, but were describing two different states by which reality exists. To further our understanding of reality, we need to move out of a generalization of the word reality and understand that reality is composed of many experiences.

Physical Reality is what materialism worships, it is the substance of matter, energy and the Universe. It is the star stuff that Carl Sagan talks about.

Cognitive Reality is what idealism worships, it is the mind rendered interpretation of physical reality. It is not however, physical reality and exists purely as a mind generated phenomena. Cognitive reality is also non-physical reality and enters into realms such as dreaming, imagination, thinking. Every thought and idea that an observer creates exists within their own cognitive reality.

Thoughts, dreams and ideas may not be real to other observers, but for the observer having the thoughts, they are real. What they dream is real to that observer but has no measurable reality to other people. We can easily argue that they did not have a dream because we cannot measure it. That is the road of close minded scepticism.

The final reality aspect worth mentioning is the reality of the “self” or the reality of “you”. It is part of cognitive reality and Plato famously states, “I think there for I am” and it is the reality of “I am”. This reality exists as self-awareness, self-realization and is how we identify ourselves as existing. Because it is a cognitive state, it cannot be physically measured or quantified. We only assume you are you because you tell us you are. You may not be you if you have multiple personality disorder, so which one of you are we talking to? What are you?

Reality is a generalization of a concept that summarizes an idea. It is like saying chemicals and not having the imperial table of elements to describe exactly what chemicals there are. This ambiguous generalization is one of the reasons that science and philosophy have branched and not remained totally harmonious with what reality is.

We don't often think highly of ourselves and take for granted what we are. What should amaze us often leaves us feeling bored and mundane for example, how we perceive reality. This phenomena of perception is an astronomical process of raw biological computation. We are living, breathing rendering farms walking around rendering a model of reality on the canvas of our minds.

This canvas exists entirely in a mind generated cognitive reality. Our minds take sensory data translates the data into electrical signals which in turn carry information that stimulates our neurons and the end result is a cognitive rendering of interpreted data into organized thought.

If you close your eyes, your mind stops rendering visual data. When you open them, you are instantly rendering colors, objects and spacial distances. The distance between you and this text is just mental interpretation. You are seeing thought arranged in the form of distance, objects and shapes rendered on the canvas of your mind. The mind uses thought forms to represent data because in cognitive reality, all there is, is thought. The light that you see right now is actually your thoughts. You as the observer must also observe the rendered data objectively in yourself.

[edit on 4-1-2010 by YouAreDreaming]

[edit on 4-1-2010 by YouAreDreaming]

posted on Jan, 4 2010 @ 12:18 PM
Your body observed the external data, the mind observed the electrical signals, the mind rendered a model of reality based on this data an now projects this data into your mental canvas. Daniel Dennett is famous for interpreting this act of mind rendering reality as the Cartesian Theatre. You sit in the centre of this cognitive theatre watching the fireworks of your stimulated neurons in the form of mind generated reality.

All the space you see between the text and the keyboard is just neural calculations. The space inside your Cartesian theatre is an illusion. There is no space that big inside of you. What you see as space is just a mental projection on this theatre. You are observing the mind generated hologram as the experience of reality. It is argued that the act of observing happens twice. Once to gather the data, and once more to observe the interpretation of that data.

Personally, I find it amazing that each of us are massive reality rendering biological super computers. The CPU that is our physical brain functions at quantum levels as per Stuart Hameroff's research into the quantum mechanics in the human brain. His research proves that the brain takes incoherent energy such as thermal, chemical and electromagnetic and converts it into quantum coherent photons.

The brain uses photons as the data type needed to preform its calculations and rendering of perceived reality. The relationship between consciousness and this photon data type may be directly linked. Consciousness may be a response to organized patterns of light arranged inside the human brain and may be subject to quantum states such as quantum bi-location.

The link between our brains using photons as part of its data type to render reality and potentially linking consciousness to this arrangement of photon waves could very well be the reason why people can have precognitive dreams, or go out-of-body. These phenomena of consciousness may simply be quantum entanglement allowing consciousness in the form of photon cohesion to slip out of the limits of time/space.

In the end, reality is only real to the observer. Right now, you are that observer so this reality is what is real to you. Enjoy the mind-rendered interpretation of this data within your own biological rendering farm. May what your mind projects on your Cartesian theatre be a pleasant interpretation of what this data actually is.

posted on Jan, 5 2010 @ 01:14 PM
You took the long way of telling us that what we consider reality is actually just number of sensory inputs being experienced inside of our heads and that we can't be certain of objective reality, only the subjective.

posted on Jan, 5 2010 @ 03:00 PM
reply to post by YouAreDreaming

Im probably going to sound really dumb here but what the hey.

So where does the original data that we then interperate come from?
Is it just neutral data waiting to be transformed in to some thing real?
Could we interprate this data to be anything we wanted it to be, creating a new realm of reality for our selves only?

Lets say i took the colour yellow and decided it was green. Would i be destroying yellow from my reality and replacing it with green. Or would yellow still exist but i just interperate it as green?

Thanks you've left me with lots of questions now and you may in fact drive me insane.

Great post

posted on Jan, 5 2010 @ 03:11 PM
Yes it certainly is, thus MY user name....haha.
We must think alike....

posted on Jan, 5 2010 @ 03:58 PM

Originally posted by Algebra
So where does the original data that we then interperate come from?
Is it just neutral data waiting to be transformed in to some thing real?
Could we interprate this data to be anything we wanted it to be, creating a new realm of reality for our selves only?

Theoretically sure, but humans are also very social animals out of habit and predisposition, and in practical situations, half the time we are usually just trying to figure out what other people are doing or thinking just to better figure out how we personally think or feel.

Just think, in a situation like that, it would be very hard to make yourself interpret your reality completely differently, as it would mean no more contact with mundane and common ideas anymore.

posted on Jan, 5 2010 @ 04:05 PM
reply to post by bsbray11

So what your saying is, Theoreticaly you could redefine and transform your own reality. At the cost of Alienating your self from those perceptions and ideas that we all share. Possibly even losing any sense of any other person completely.

posted on Jan, 5 2010 @ 04:17 PM
@LikethePlague I would like to think that I elaborated on that concept with useful metaphors, but essentially yes it can be reduced to that for simplicity.

@Algebra I expand on this in another thread regarding Cognitive Reality, which futhers a decent down the rabbit hole of perception.

@percievedreality Your handle is most excellent.

I like to argue that reality is far greater then objective reality and fundamentally only exists to an observer. The observer's role is merely confirmation to reality that it indeed does exist, and vice versa. With out sentience observing this Universe, no one could argue it's reality. However, the case at hand is we are that sentience and we are able to discuss the nature of reality.

posted on Jan, 7 2010 @ 12:38 AM
What, you ask, was the beginning of it all?
And it is this...

Existence that multiplied itself
For sheer delight of being
And plunged into numberless trillions of forms
So that it might
-Sri Aubobindo

Our only true mission in life is to WAKE UP and REMEMBER who we are. This is commonly known as "Awakening" or "Enlightenment".

The inevitable truth is that- You are God.

And when a person has their "awakening", this is so obvious and simple that you laugh and say "OMFG....I REMEMBER!"

Many experience Awakening thru the use of entheogens....some thru meditation, fasting, sensory deprivation, drumming, dancing....anything that can induce enough of an altered state to put the Ego in a box long enough for your TRUE SELF to awake. It happens in an INSTANT. Total and utter realization...w/o any doubt. And you feel like you are finally HOME. This is why we are here! To find ourselves.

We are all God playing hide-n-seek for our own entertainment.



posted on Jan, 7 2010 @ 01:18 AM
This can't really be rebuked. To argue against this, one would have to be either A) capable of altering reality or B) capable of altering perception. Neither of these can be done in any way as to not have two constants.

There must be a constant and a variable... reality and perception are both constants....there's no test to be had here...just...unscientific assumptions....


posted on Jan, 7 2010 @ 01:27 AM
I allways like your posts! S&F

Reality is a feedback loop, you take information in, and you send information out from every atom in your body. the only thing we can pick up are from our 5 senses. this is how we interact with our reality, but there is some kind of underlying force that controls all that chaos, and creates order.

we live in a holofractographic universe. everything is expanding and contracting creating everything around you. the feedback loop.

My head hurrrrrts now!

posted on Jan, 7 2010 @ 01:41 AM
Reality is an Illusion that your mind percieves, and all your brain can do is try to interpret it.

posted on Jan, 7 2010 @ 01:43 AM
reply to post by SpiritHipHop

How does one perceive an illusion and project it as "real" and "interactive"? That's quite a trick...

posted on Jan, 7 2010 @ 03:07 AM
reply to post by SpiritHipHop

Reality is an Illusion that your mind percieves, and all your brain can do is try to interpret it.

it's not an illusion until you have lost your identity. ofcourse at that point, you too would be an illusion.

until then, right?

posted on Jan, 7 2010 @ 03:12 AM
if a tree falls in the woods and there's no one there to hear it does it make a sound?

is reality just objective, only to be percieved?
- hardly...that philospophy will empty you.

you find your power when reality is subjective to you. project your attitude and reality will sureley respond - it does it all the time, even right now.

[edit on 7-1-2010 by notsympl]

posted on Jan, 7 2010 @ 08:09 AM
Interesting Thread.

posted on Jan, 7 2010 @ 01:27 PM
@Boypony - You bring up some very interesting points that I have come across. I equate god to being consciousness and that we are all consciousness that flows from one unified field of consciousness, or universal consciousness. The one into many parts is an acceptable theory based on models within this universe such as cell division, atom to molecule relationships etc.

@Agree2Disagree - Which parts are unscientific assumptions?

@ugie1028 - You bring up a very valid point about a feedback loop. It fits in with my view of expanding and collapsing consciousness during wakefulness and sleep.

@notsympl - I don’t doubt that subjective reality is any less real then objective reality to the subjective observer. I think it is more real to that observer then objective reality could ever be.

posted on Jan, 8 2010 @ 04:56 PM
Good evening,
If reality is what we see, touch, smell or taste , we are wrong, these are electrical signals interpreted by the brain. am i right? i was just thinking it three weeks till now and stuck on it

posted on Jan, 9 2010 @ 08:43 AM
If perception is reality, then explain Helen Keller. All that stuff was happening to her while she was incapable of perceiving any of it. The universe didn't suddenly spring into existence as soon as she realized that it existed. It was always there around her.

Philosophy can be fun, but irresponsible extrapolation makes it appear to the average thinker as though philosophy is nothing more than five guys smoking pot while the cable is out for the evening. What happens then is nobody bothers to take adventurous thinking seriously, and it becomes less and less common in a society.

Science is a dog chasing philosophy's car as it whips down the street. It helps science if philosophy doesn't wrap that car around a pole while it goofs around with the radio.

[edit on 9-1-2010 by NorEaster]

posted on Jan, 9 2010 @ 10:04 AM
reply to post by YouAreDreaming

Very cool post. It is all subjective. Thats why we have so many people clashing and arguing here on ATS. We all come from different realities. We may think the other person is "dumb" fro believing something, but thats what all their sensory input is telling them to be true.

One rabbit hole we can really dive into with this is how our perceptions have been filtered more and more since birth as we identify with different ideas and viewpoints. A newborn baby is so filled with awe and wonder because they have no filter. Once they are "educated" they begin to see the world through the eyes of their educators more and more.

Could you imagine what the world would look like to children who were told that their state of awareness determined their reality? That there are no limits and science has a fraction of an understanding of our existence?

Reality is nothing that can be rigidly defined by anyone. If you have an open mind and learn to become the observer again like the baby does, your world will become mysterious and wonder-filled again.

Great post OP this is an extremly important topic.

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