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
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
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
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
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]