Nature of Reality

CrotalusCrotalus Join Date: 2003-12-02 Member: 23871Members
<div class="IPBDescription">How does one define reality?</div>Just last week, I had to watch the film, Dark City, and analyze it for symbolism. In short, this film deals with the nature of reality and whether or not it is concrete or relative. I really DON'T want to give away the plot twists in this movie, because it is simply TOO GOOD to be spoiled, it's practically known to be one of the best sci-fi films ever. I reccomend you watch it for a real head trip. For comparison, The Matrix (first movie) is practically a really watered-down remake of Dark City.

Now, how does one define reality? Some believe that reality is a concrete universe in which all experiences can be equally felt by all of of the universe's members. Some believe that reality is nothing more than the sum of our experiences. This presents a small problem, because if the second theory were true, we would have no way of knowing whether or not the experiences fed to us were real or fake (like The Matrix). How do you guys feel about this problem, and do you have any other interpretations of reality?


  • SariselSarisel .::&#39; ( O ) &#39;;:-. .-.:;&#39; ( O ) &#39;::. Join Date: 2003-07-30 Member: 18557Members, Constellation
    All you have at your disposal to detect your surroundings are your senses. It is not possible to determine whether or not we sense reality or a substitute. If we detect that the logic of our surroundings is significantly different from what we are used to, we may think that we are no longer sensing "reality". However, it just comes down to what we are used to.

    If you want to define reality as some "true" state or the whole picture of the sum of all existence, then there's endless arguments that you could use to show that there is every possibility that we do not sense reality. However, humanity defines reality based on repeated encounters using their sensory organs.
  • MerkabaMerkaba Digital Harmony Join Date: 2002-01-24 Member: 22Members, Retired Developer, NS1 Playtester
    edited January 2007
    A cop-out short answer: Reality is perception.
    [edited insert] Ask yourself what your own reality is. How have you arrived at what you consider to be 'reality'? Aside from perception, you have memory of perception. You also have imagination; the ability to take what you have learnt and project it into different forms, effectively 'copulating' memories (events, colours, smells, forms - anything) to form new ones. Beyond this...I suppose you don't really have much. I consider myself the product of my previous perceptions, and I also believe that my view of the world is 100% the result of these perceptions. So, beyond that, I don't know what reality is - but I know what <i>my</i> reality is? Gah, my reality is not good enough to answer this question methinks <img src="style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile-fix.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile-fix.gif" /> [/insert]

    Beyond our perception, and those of others and the creatures of the world, the universe is a meaningless jumble of energy. I guess...

    I'd love to discuss this and theorise, but it's late here and also, I don't think I'm intelligent enough to discuss it without finding myself in a web of contradictions & falsities. But, generally I think the term "Reality is what you make of it" is quite underrated.

    It's ironic that despite all the philosophical ponderings I read, hyper reality comics I have divulged and psychedelic explorations of reality I have seen, I still am stumped with the question "what is reality?" and have nothing very useful to say.

    [Semi OT]
    If you're interested in a reality & imagination head-fission in the form of a hulking purple super hero who lives in a cardboard box, check out <a href="" target="_blank">The MAXX</a>.

    Fantastic: Youtube has MAXX episodes! Watch <a href="" target="_blank">Episode 1</a> if you have a spare 10 minutes and think you'd enjoy it <img src="style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile-fix.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile-fix.gif" /> This is a cartoon made for MTV, based off of...well, not based on, IS, a comic book. The cartoon is frame-for-frame, word-for-word, recreation of the comic. (which is genius) Really you have to watch the whole thing to get a real idea of what's going's not as straightforward as it seems at first, at all, in the slightest; it gets quite disturbing as well.

    The episodes range from A to T, 10 minutes each. Don't skip forward any episodes or else you might hear some HUGE spoilers...and I don't know why'd you want to skip forward anyway unless you don't expect to ever watch it all.
    [/Semi OT]
  • SteveRSteveR Join Date: 2006-12-25 Member: 59239Members, Constellation
    I have a feeling this may degenerate like the free will thread. I.e. It doesn't matter what reality <i>may</i> be because all we can be sure of is what it <i>appears</i> to be to us individually.

    I feel there is the distinct possibility that there's more to reality than we can perceive. It strikes me that connections may be possible on levels we don't understand.

    <!--sizeo:1--><span style="font-size:8pt;line-height:100%"><!--/sizeo--><!--coloro:#666666--><span style="color:#666666"><!--/coloro-->I mean... Einsteins theory of relativity is mind boggling. It's actually been used in the calculation and successful creation of fusion energy <a href="" target="_blank">(is it JET?)</a>. It just says all mass is energy in a different form! Huge amounts of it too!<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc--><!--sizec--></span><!--/sizec-->

    There is an old quote I quite like by some buddhist monk or something it goes;

    "I'm uncertain whether I am a man dreaming I was a butterfly,
    or a butterfly now dreaming I am a man"
  • lolfighterlolfighter Snark, Dire Join Date: 2003-04-20 Member: 15693Members
    I agree with SteveR. Reality is either subjective or objective, but in either case discussing it is futile. If reality is objective, there is nothing to discuss. If it's subjective, the potential span of the discussion is infinite, but it is impossible to find common grounds.
  • Lt_PatchLt_Patch Join Date: 2005-02-07 Member: 40286Members
    Personally, I see reality as what I believe to be true based upon everything that I am. Seeing something doesn't mean it's true...

    Basically, I see reality as being a comination of chemical impulses and synaptic transfers that tell me something is real.

    I have no big conspiracy that someone is manipluating my thoughts to give me a distorted sense of reality, neither am I a believer in pre-determinism (but that's another topic).

    Reality is what an individual sees with the universe. I see Depot reading this, and tearing my ideals to pieces (I can see you reading this right now <img src="style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/tounge.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":p" border="0" alt="tounge.gif" />), with some crackpot, old fogies tale about reality, and how they see it to be a corrupt form of sensibility. Mainly because that's what he is in my reality. Now, I'm sure that he's not all that in person, maybe that's just how I interpret his posts in the forum, and how I remember him sounding on NSRadio, and also his chats on IRC. From that exposure, I've built up a possibly corrupt version on him in my own interpretation of reality. (<3 ya really Depot <img src="style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/wink-fix.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=";)" border="0" alt="wink-fix.gif" />)

    Basically, everyone's reality is different, based upon their experiences, and impression of the people, and the world around them.
  • CrotalusCrotalus Join Date: 2003-12-02 Member: 23871Members
    If you interpret reality as a combination of your sense, then what about the reality of a robot with motors and sensors? Or a person whose sensors have been surgically removed at birth? Or even more scary, a young man who's sensors have been completely removed. This was successfully attempted on monkies before; the monkies are confined to a life of thought and memories?
  • LofungLofung Join Date: 2004-08-21 Member: 30757Members
    edited January 2007
    Sense is definitely not necessarily to be reality. Take an example when u are in the bus while it is turning round a corner, you feel like you are thrown out by a force. however, centrifugal force does not exist but centripetal force.
  • lolfighterlolfighter Snark, Dire Join Date: 2003-04-20 Member: 15693Members
    I don't see how the name matters. You'd still get flung to the side if you didn't grab a handhold.
  • MerkabaMerkaba Digital Harmony Join Date: 2002-01-24 Member: 22Members, Retired Developer, NS1 Playtester
    How about settling on discussing a more manageable question rather than the somewhat bold (and ridiculously complex) "What is the nature of reality?". I mean, really, that sort of question is the one that God would be asked in an exclusive.
  • CrotalusCrotalus Join Date: 2003-12-02 Member: 23871Members
    Well, sorry if you didn't know, but you have more than five senses. You've got these tiny motion sensors in your ear, which bascially look like rocks attached to hairs. When you move, the rock tilts and causes the hair to bend, which then tells you which direction your accelerating in.

    I also believe there is alot more crap going down then anyone knows about. Our senses have developed in order for us to survive, so we don't develop anything else "special" to sense anything else. take for example our eyes, they can only detect a narrow band of radiation. Reality would be completely obscured to use if we were able to see radio waves, micro waves, heat, etc... with our own eyes. Or the fact that we describe ourselves living in three dimensions, but we just might not be able to detect the fourth one that we've been moving through this whole time?

    If anyone knows anything about Quantum Mechanics, then they know that the theory has the most whacked out interpretations of reality ever. I'll post a few examples tomorrow, these are a real head trip...
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