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Author Topic:   Is the world a construct of my imagination?
Guido Arbia
Member (Idle past 410 days)
Posts: 548
From: n/a
Joined: 01-19-2004


Message 1 of 33 (352714)
09-27-2006 9:29 PM


I think this would be good in the coffee house forum.

I am currently struggling with the objective concept of reality. I wish to believe that I am IN this world, and that other people like me exist, but when I come face to face with my own consciousness, all the evidence seems to point toward the notion that I am all that there is, and that reality is based entirley upon some component of my consciousness. It began when I realized that I could not imagine anyone else's consciousness but my own. Now, I do not mean that I can't imagine what they are feeling. I can do that, but in order to do that, I would have to use my own feeler to feel it. I cannot grasp the fact that they are conscious beings such as myself. It seems that there can only be one consciousness, and the notion of, "Why is my consciousness the one is the only consciousness" makes little sense, because consciousness is in itself, in my mind, essentially me. So no matter what, if a thing is conscious, that thing is me.

I really want this topic promoted you guys, because I need help with this situation. If someone could provide arguments to the contrary, reasonable arguments, that I could not refute with my "illusion" concept, then I would be able to have comfort and rest. I want to love people, but how can I love what is not conscious? If my mom is not conscious, then I cannot love her, and she cannot love me, because she is a robot, or simply an illusionary construct created by my imagination.

Perhaps this topic should not be in coffee house. As a matter of fact, this is very relevant to the debate, because it talks about objective reality versus subjective reality. It also talks about the possibility of a theoretical conscious one.

I know I sound crazy you guys, and I am probably psycotic, but this feels so real to me, or rather, unreal. You know what I mean. I don't even know if this universe exists. All I know is that I exist, and the contents of my consciousness describe some kind of universe. I enjoy being conscious, but the very concept thereof depresses me.

I've tried to use arguments such as, "Well, I can see myself in the mirror. Light is bouncing off of me, hitting the mirror, bouncing back, and going into my eyes. Thus I see myself." but this could all be part of the grand illusion.

I have also tried to think of the following.
1. If I am the only conscious one I am the universe, thus I am God.
2. Therefore if I am God, there must have been some point at which I was all powerful and all knowing and chose this life style.
3. But if I was all knowing, I would have known that by doing this, I would grieve myself.

But, unfortunatley, comes the counter argument.
1. However, I would have had more insight and would have possibly known that this would happen, but found a greater reason for this.

But this counter argument doesn't make sense.

So, that means that there must be something beyond my will which is making me experience these things. And if there is something beyond my will, thus something beyond me, I am not the only existance. But that doesn't prove I am not the only conscious one.

Please help me you guys. I really want some help. I want this topic promoted ASAP. I don't mean to be pushy, but I just can't live like this anymore. I want to have empathy, and compassion, and faith. And I want to know that reality is real.

Edited by Guido Arbia, : No reason given.


Replies to this message:
 Message 3 by Sour, posted 09-27-2006 10:43 PM Guido Arbia has not yet responded
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 Message 5 by nwr, posted 09-27-2006 11:26 PM Guido Arbia has responded
 Message 6 by Parasomnium, posted 09-28-2006 3:22 AM Guido Arbia has responded
 Message 11 by ramoss, posted 09-28-2006 9:45 PM Guido Arbia has not yet responded
 Message 13 by Legend, posted 09-29-2006 7:09 AM Guido Arbia has responded
 Message 15 by mike the wiz, posted 09-29-2006 7:53 AM Guido Arbia has not yet responded
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AdminNosy
Administrator
Posts: 4754
From: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Joined: 11-11-2003


Message 2 of 33 (352722)
09-27-2006 9:58 PM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
  
Sour
Member (Idle past 324 days)
Posts: 63
From: I don't know but when I find out there will be trouble. (Portsmouth UK)
Joined: 07-27-2005


Message 3 of 33 (352727)
09-27-2006 10:43 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Guido Arbia
09-27-2006 9:29 PM


Guido,

We had a brief conversation in the chat room. You are encountering solipsism. The wikipedia entry is a good start, but it is an irrefutable philosophical device of little practical value.

You may encounter it as an end game in arguments that get all existential.

It's a good thing to explore and you are not psychotic, although I might be saying this because your subconscious made me....


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Guido Arbia, posted 09-27-2006 9:29 PM Guido Arbia has not yet responded

  
RAZD
Member
Posts: 19756
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 5.5


Message 4 of 33 (352729)
09-27-2006 10:52 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Guido Arbia
09-27-2006 9:29 PM


I wish to believe that I am IN this world, and that other people like me exist, but when I come face to face with my own consciousness, all the evidence seems to point toward the notion that I am all that there is, ...

So you have had no surprises in your life? No waterballoons in the back?

{abe}

I want to have empathy, and compassion, and faith.

This may be more the problem then the solipsism. And have less of a clear answer. See
http://www.psy.mq.edu.au/staff/dmcilwain/empathy.html

It's hard to second guess on little knowledge\understanding ... let me know what you think applies.

Edited by RAZD, : added empathy info


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we are limited in our ability to understand
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This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Guido Arbia, posted 09-27-2006 9:29 PM Guido Arbia has not yet responded

  
nwr
Member
Posts: 5585
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005


Message 5 of 33 (352732)
09-27-2006 11:26 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Guido Arbia
09-27-2006 9:29 PM


If you don't believe we exist, then how could we possibly persuade you otherwise. Why would you pay any attention to what is said by an illusion (or what you take to be an illusion)?
This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Guido Arbia, posted 09-27-2006 9:29 PM Guido Arbia has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 7 by Guido Arbia, posted 09-28-2006 7:12 PM nwr has acknowledged this reply

  
Parasomnium
Member (Idle past 773 days)
Posts: 2191
Joined: 07-15-2003


Message 6 of 33 (352749)
09-28-2006 3:22 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Guido Arbia
09-27-2006 9:29 PM


A foothold out of solipsism
Guido,

When you say "you guys", who are you talking to? Are we not just part of your consciousness? Consider this: the fact that you pose this question the way you do, and that you expect an answer from us, isn't that a tell-tale sign of your doubt about your solipsism? After all, if you were really convinced of your solipsism, then this venue would not offer a solution, would it? Whatever we would say - or rather, whatever you would have us say - it would have come from your own mind.

Yet you try this in earnest. To my mind - and I assure you that it exists independently from yours - this means that you have doubts about your solipsistic thoughts. That's a foothold, you can use it to climb out of your predicament.

And here's another thing you can try. Consider your position in your thought-up world: you are not God, you are not the president, you're not even grown-up if I remember correctly. In fact, you are pretty powerless, you cannot change the way things are.

Now, can you think of a reason why, if your solipsism is true, your situation would be like this? Why isn't your world perfect and why are you not the most powerful being in it? The fact that your situation is far from perfect suggests an outside influence over which you have no control. That means that not everything is in your mind.


"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science." - Charles Darwin.

Did you know that most of the time your computer is doing nothing? What if you could make it do something really useful? Like helping scientists understand diseases? Your computer could even be instrumental in finding a cure for HIV/AIDS. Wouldn't that be something? If you agree, then join World Community Grid now and download a simple, free tool that lets you and your computer do your share in helping humanity. After all, you are part of it, so why not take part in it?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Guido Arbia, posted 09-27-2006 9:29 PM Guido Arbia has responded

Replies to this message:
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Guido Arbia
Member (Idle past 410 days)
Posts: 548
From: n/a
Joined: 01-19-2004


Message 7 of 33 (352955)
09-28-2006 7:12 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by nwr
09-27-2006 11:26 PM


If you don't believe we exist, then how could we possibly persuade you otherwise. Why would you pay any attention to what is said by an illusion (or what you take to be an illusion)

Because whether or not you are an illusion, if you sastify me logically, theologically, philosophically, and scientifically, I will be able to believe you, and you thus could prove your own existance.

Edited by Guido Arbia, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by nwr, posted 09-27-2006 11:26 PM nwr has acknowledged this reply

  
Guido Arbia
Member (Idle past 410 days)
Posts: 548
From: n/a
Joined: 01-19-2004


Message 8 of 33 (352957)
09-28-2006 7:17 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by Parasomnium
09-28-2006 3:22 AM


Re: A foothold out of solipsism
When you say "you guys", who are you talking to? Are we not just part of your consciousness? Consider this: the fact that you pose this question the way you do, and that you expect an answer from us, isn't that a tell-tale sign of your doubt about your solipsism? After all, if you were really convinced of your solipsism, then this venue would not offer a solution, would it? Whatever we would say - or rather, whatever you would have us say - it would have come from your own mind.

My doubt of solipsism is fading and so is my empathy. It's a horrible thing. I don't know what to do.

Yet you try this in earnest. To my mind - and I assure you that it exists independently from yours - this means that you have doubts about your solipsistic thoughts. That's a foothold, you can use it to climb out of your predicament.

I am trying. Everytime I barely convince myself of objective reality, I am sastified only briefly. Then I return to my questions.

And here's another thing you can try. Consider your position in your thought-up world: you are not God, you are not the president, you're not even grown-up if I remember correctly. In fact, you are pretty powerless, you cannot change the way things are.

Now, can you think of a reason why, if your solipsism is true, your situation would be like this? Why isn't your world perfect and why are you not the most powerful being in it? The fact that your situation is far from perfect suggests an outside influence over which you have no control. That means that not everything is in your mind.

But this outside influence could merely be a component of my own existance. It could be my subconscious mind, which sustains the illusion of the universe.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by Parasomnium, posted 09-28-2006 3:22 AM Parasomnium has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 9 by Sonne, posted 09-28-2006 9:02 PM Guido Arbia has not yet responded
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Sonne
Member (Idle past 4006 days)
Posts: 58
Joined: 05-20-2006


Message 9 of 33 (352991)
09-28-2006 9:02 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by Guido Arbia
09-28-2006 7:17 PM


Re: A foothold out of solipsism
Hi Guido,

But this outside influence could merely be a component of my own existance. It could be my subconscious mind, which sustains the illusion of the universe.

I marvel at the processing power of your subconscious!

How old are you, Guido? Have you ever been in a long-term relationship? This provides a compelling insight into another's consciousness - I guess because you journey together from being strangers to (what feels like) sharing your consciousness at some level.

Also having the pleasure of sharing your life with another animal provides further insight into the independent consciousness of other beings. Observing unexpected turns and twists and complexities in their personalities.

Most people would have had the same thoughts at some stage. Life's reality checks tend to put us into perspective.

To me you were non-existent until I first read one of your posts here. And now you are another person out there.

Kakariki


This message is a reply to:
 Message 8 by Guido Arbia, posted 09-28-2006 7:17 PM Guido Arbia has not yet responded

  
kuresu
Member (Idle past 589 days)
Posts: 2544
From: boulder, colorado
Joined: 03-24-2006


Message 10 of 33 (352995)
09-28-2006 9:35 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by Guido Arbia
09-28-2006 7:17 PM


Re: A foothold out of solipsism
just don't do what Descarte did--stop thinking. Once he did, he stopped existing :laugh::rolleyes:

Why does empathy have to be linked to there being only one consciousness? It doesn't.

There is an objective reality. Here's why. Does the universe stop existing once you die? Of course not. I still exist, nevermind that I've lost three grandparents. When I die, the universe will still continue to exist. Furthermore, what sense does it make to exist in a world that is x years old, if you yourself are only less than x years old? My brother will live after I die. My children will. You will. You could say, as a counter, that I am just imagining them die, and that they never existed to begin with, except as a figment of my imagination. Well, how can I imagine my grandads experiences in the military? My grandmothers experience with kids? My brother's life while I'm not with him? WHy would I go to all the trouble of creating histories I know nothing about? I wouldn't. I don't know half the stuff my grandfather did, and I'll never know. And yet, he lived his own, complete, existence.

Point put simple--there is an objective reality. It exists because the universe has existed before and will after I live. It exists because others who live while I am alive have their own, complete, experiences, of which I will never know anything about. That last bit is important, because why would I, rationally that is, create so extensive a world I will never know?


Want to help give back to the world community? Did you know that your computer can help? Join the newest TeamEvC Climate Modelling to help improve climate predictions for a better tomorrow.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 8 by Guido Arbia, posted 09-28-2006 7:17 PM Guido Arbia has not yet responded

    
ramoss
Member
Posts: 3100
Joined: 08-11-2004
Member Rating: 4.1


Message 11 of 33 (352996)
09-28-2006 9:45 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Guido Arbia
09-27-2006 9:29 PM


It reminds me of a quote from Einstien.

"Reality is an illusion, abeit a very persistant one".

If what you experiance is reality, then there isn't any problem.

If what you experiance is an illusion, if it is relatively consistant, and you act as if it is reality, does it really matter? Would you really
want to know what reality actually is?

Do you want to take the red pill, or the blue one?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Guido Arbia, posted 09-27-2006 9:29 PM Guido Arbia has not yet responded

  
crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 12 of 33 (353013)
09-28-2006 11:43 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by Guido Arbia
09-28-2006 7:17 PM


Re: A foothold out of solipsism
My doubt of solipsism is fading and so is my empathy.

Oh, come on.

Look. Even if you're God, no man is an island. You've constructed a reality for yourself where the combined efforts of many are superior to the individual efforts of one.

So merely out of practical, selfish benefit, it's in your interest to treat the rest of us illusions like we're real people. You're under no obligation to stop being a solipcist - many, many people adopt this very view (or appear to or whatever) - but, just like atheists confronted with the absolute lack of universal moral law enforcement, it still behooves you to interact with your made-up society in a moral way.

It's like playing Solitaire. Obviously they're your cards, and since it's a solo game, there's nobody to stop you from putting cards wherever you want. But once you start the game, what would be the point of cheating?

Honestly I doubt that the habits of a lifetime of empathy for your fellow human being are going to evaporate completely because you discovered a little sophmore philosophy. Go down to a coffeehouse and use this bullshit to seduce freshmen. Solipcism isn't worth a good goddamn for anything else.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 8 by Guido Arbia, posted 09-28-2006 7:17 PM Guido Arbia has not yet responded

  
Legend
Member (Idle past 3082 days)
Posts: 1226
From: Wales, UK
Joined: 05-07-2004


Message 13 of 33 (353056)
09-29-2006 7:09 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Guido Arbia
09-27-2006 9:29 PM


Guido Arbia writes:

I am currently struggling with the objective concept of reality

I am currently struggling with debt, illness, pressure at work and family problems.

I'd love to have the time and energy to struggle with the objective concept of reality.


"In life, you have to face that some days you'll be the pigeon and some days you'll be the statue."
This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Guido Arbia, posted 09-27-2006 9:29 PM Guido Arbia has responded

Replies to this message:
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Guido Arbia
Member (Idle past 410 days)
Posts: 548
From: n/a
Joined: 01-19-2004


Message 14 of 33 (353057)
09-29-2006 7:25 AM
Reply to: Message 13 by Legend
09-29-2006 7:09 AM


I am currently struggling with debt, illness, pressure at work and family problems.

I'd love to have the time and energy to struggle with the objective concept of reality.

I don't think you would. Once you are convinced reality is an illusion, you will be upset.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 13 by Legend, posted 09-29-2006 7:09 AM Legend has responded

Replies to this message:
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mike the wiz
Member
Posts: 4637
From: u.k
Joined: 05-24-2003


Message 15 of 33 (353059)
09-29-2006 7:53 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Guido Arbia
09-27-2006 9:29 PM


Stop torturing yourself with thoughts of fear
Reality is at odds with consciousness. Our dreams are inconsistent, reality is consistent. In our minds we want things immediately, in reality, things just happen how they occur. God wouldn't submitt himself to harm if he exists, because logically, all evidence shows that living things protect themselves.

Because you cannot feel others' thoughts doesn't mean they don't exist. From my perspective, this universe is all my dream, because I can't feel your thoughts. Get your lil feeler out and look at those lil happy babas enjoying toys. How can you say they are robots!! I, like you, cannot feel their minds with my baba feeler. Everybody has the same problem!

The fact is, that if you were God, then you would always make it so that you could get what you want eventually

Since you don't always get what you want and you've ended up this way, you cannot be God. That's a pretty solid conditional implication because any God worth his salt just wouldn't be that stupid. Cetainly he wouldn't be able to make such an elaborate playstation game called, "Guido Arbia".

I cannot grasp the fact that they are conscious beings such as myself

Neither can anyone, fully, because your consciousness is limited to your being. If anything, this is an evidence that people WHO ARE CONSCIOUS, are limited to their own bodies. This detachment, actually evidences that because of your complete inability to feel their consciousness, they must have their own, because if it wasn't theirs you'd be able to feel it.

If they were you, they would act exactly how you do, and not be able to perform brilliantly, according to diversity within conscious beings. Because they out-perform your consciousness in many areas, and don't mimic your abilities, then logically this suggests that people therefore have their own consciousness. Perhaps you cannot do art. If you take a course you'll improve, but you'll never be DaVinci.

You've got to acknowledge that nobody has a "feeler". We can only empathize by putting ourselves in other people's shoes. Everybody, like you, considers that they are the one's with the only consciousness, and that it is all a dream. If it is, another consciousness would have had to imprison us in this dream. If you are God, then you'd simply wake up.

You have to start thinking logically, and read over this post, instead of getting worried and confirming the delusion.

Hope this helped.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Guido Arbia, posted 09-27-2006 9:29 PM Guido Arbia has not yet responded

  
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