What are your thoughts on "reality" and our world?

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#1 Edited by qx0d (140 posts) -

What are your thoughts on "reality" and our world?

For example, do you think everything we see (the material world) is truly there, or do you think it might be some sort of an illusion or dream?

I once had an interesting thought. I thought we might just be a dream in another entity's mind. The "big bang" was the start of the dream, and who knows when the dream may "end."

I love thinking about stuff like this. Like... is the wall in your house really there? Or is matter a temporary illusion, a counterpart, to an eternal non-physical realm made out of solely energy? And what about thoughts? Thoughts aren't made out of matter, though they might descend from it. But how could thoughts (images) descend out from something solid? That doesn't make sense. To be blunt, meat can't send pictures.

People only know about matter and energy. And since matter is temporary, it seems to hardly qualify as "real." Energy, on the other hand, is eternal. Because of this, in a sense, matter is fake. It is the temporariness of matter that makes it fake. Energy would be the real one, because energy is eternal.

Another idea I've heard is, the dream realm is the real world. The dream realm seems to be timeless, while the material realm is temporary. So when you dream, you are experiencing the real world. And when you are seeing the material world, you are seeing temporary things. In short, the dream world is the real world and the material world is the dream world.

What are your opinions? What do you think is "real"? What are your thoughts on our world?

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#2 Posted by l34052 (3849 posts) -

Firstly there is no universal 'reality', it is unique to each and every individual. If you study quantum mechanics it suggests that nothing is really there unless it's observed, a group of Australian scientists devised an experiment to test that theory and surprisingly their results appear to confirm this.

That on its own is a very profound thought/discovery and it really does make you ask what is reality?

I spend a lot of my spare time researching this subject cause it's weird, illogical and seemingly goes against all reason and common sense and I'd dearly love to understand it.

Even something deceptively simple like the double slit experiment is mind blowing when you look into it, I'm not sure of the implications but there is something very strange going on there.

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#3 Edited by mrbojangles25 (42399 posts) -

Gamespot ToS don't let me discuss personal experiences with drugs and so forth, but I will say that some of the things pertaining to Ayahuasca ceremonies are pretty interesting; I'm not religious and I wouldn't say I am spiritual either, but that does not mean that I don't believe there is more to the world than what we see, feel, hear, smell, and taste with our standard senses. For example, someone being awake during a ceremony and seeing that one of their friends (also partaking) is struggling with someone (a "bad trip") and then astral projecting themselves over to their friends body to calm them, put their hand on their shoulder, etc; later, the friend who had the bad trip would comment "Yeah I saw my dead dad and was freaking out not having a good time then I swear to God I felt your presence right next to me and it calmed me down". I mean...it's kind of trippy.

Not to "nerd out", but I feel all this stuff we don't know will some day just be standard science; it only has the feel of magic or fantasy or paranormal because there is mystery around it, because we have not confirmed it yet.

@l34052 said:

Firstly there is no universal 'reality', it is unique to each and every individual. If you study quantum mechanics it suggests that nothing is really there unless it's observed, a group of Australian scientists devised an experiment to test that theory and surprisingly their results appear to confirm this.

That on its own is a very profound thought/discovery and it really does make you ask what is reality?

I spend a lot of my spare time researching this subject cause it's weird, illogical and seemingly goes against all reason and common sense and I'd dearly love to understand it.

Even something deceptively simple like the double slit experiment is mind blowing when you look into it, I'm not sure of the implications but there is something very strange going on there.

Any links to that study, or a specific name so i can look it up? I am genuinely curious.

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#4 Edited by KungfuKitten (25970 posts) -

My thoughts are that I am unequipped to know with much certainty. And that is coming from someone who has spend many years trying to answer that question in a satisfactory way. If I have to guess... well let's say I wouldn't bet on one horse. Part of me is religious, part of me is solipsist and part of me does not look further than what is tested and tried.

All three parts do teach me that doing good (as in bringing everyone and everything closer to their desired states) is of importance. Each in their own way.

My feelings tell me flat out it is of importance. Of all my parts it is the most clear on this. If I try not to think about things it becomes more clear than ever that helping people in general is the right thing to do. And if there is an afterlife or an overarching mind or all knowing being, generally speaking doing well for people is a good idea.

My philosophy tells me that a positive mind resonates with a positive world. To do well for others is to make your world a better place. If life is but a dream, then acts of good will make you a better dream.

Rationally you can do no worse or better than your best. (Given a choice between multiple things you will choose what you think is best according to your limitations and the situation.) However, having no 'free will' does not mean you should let go of what is right. It does not mean you cannot be steered wrong. It does not mean that things don't matter. If you focus on your direction in life, are you able to see the bigger picture without losing sight of the smaller one? All things being equally possible, we would prefer to live among happy people. Most trouble stems from misunderstandings and fears. If we can stem that tide, then you can feel good about yourself and your life situation will improve as well. It only makes sense - rationally speaking (so without fear or misunderstanding) - to help each other when we have that opportunity. Even if it doesn't always work out the way we expected it to. It's just hard to see that it makes so much sense because we get scared so easily.

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#5 Posted by ycdeo (2663 posts) -

The world is about money.

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#6 Edited by l34052 (3849 posts) -

@mrbojangles25:

Here's a link to a very much simplified explanation but there is a link on the page that takes you to a much more scientific explanation depending on how technically minded you are: http://themindunleashed.com/2015/06/new-mind-blowing-experiment-confirms-that-reality-doesnt-exist-if-you-are-not-looking-at-it.html

It's a truly fascinating subject that we're only just beginning to even remotely grasp let alone understand.

To quote Niels Bohr “If quantum mechanics hasn’t profoundly shocked you, you haven’t understood it yet.”

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#7 Posted by warmblur (1116 posts) -

I'm hoping we are living in a simulated reality so I can eventually make my own perfect world.

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#8 Posted by l34052 (3849 posts) -

@mrbojangles25:

If you're looking for a good intro to the subject have a read of this book by Professor Jim Al Khalili, it's not overly technical for the novice but it will give you a good understanding of the basic ideas and concepts of quantum physics.

http://www.amazon.com/Quantum-Perplexed-Jim-Al-Khalili/dp/0297843052

Enjoy and be prepared to have your world turned upside down☺

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#9 Edited by br0kenrabbit (15574 posts) -

@l34052 said:

@mrbojangles25:

If you're looking for a good intro to the subject have a read of this book by Professor Jim Al Khalili, it's not overly technical for the novice but it will give you a good understanding of the basic ideas and concepts of quantum physics.

http://www.amazon.com/Quantum-Perplexed-Jim-Al-Khalili/dp/0297843052

Enjoy and be prepared to have your world turned upside down☺

I've had some success recommending newcomers to the field watch The Elegant Universe. It's entertaining, easy to understand and covers many of the major concepts of QM.

Loading Video...

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#11 Edited by schu (9914 posts) -

I think that we're very wrong about a lot of things and we won't live long enough to find out. I think the double slit experiment stuff is bs. Flame shield up.

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#12 Edited by SUD123456 (5198 posts) -

Your entire 'human' existence and everything and everyone around you is not real. Instead it is but the beginning of your consciousness and the first stage of your life as a different entity. When ready, you will emerge out of your cocoon as a butterfly would.

Then you can take another hit from your bong.

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#13 Edited by MrGeezer (59707 posts) -

@l34052 said:

Firstly there is no universal 'reality', it is unique to each and every individual. If you study quantum mechanics it suggests that nothing is really there unless it's observed, a group of Australian scientists devised an experiment to test that theory and surprisingly their results appear to confirm this.

That on its own is a very profound thought/discovery and it really does make you ask what is reality?

I spend a lot of my spare time researching this subject cause it's weird, illogical and seemingly goes against all reason and common sense and I'd dearly love to understand it.

Even something deceptively simple like the double slit experiment is mind blowing when you look into it, I'm not sure of the implications but there is something very strange going on there.

Uh...I think you're misinterpreting things. The universe DEFINITELY existed for a long time before life in the universe was possible. So...it's exactly if the universe didn't exist until life arose to be able to observe it, and then billions of years of back-history was created the second that life arose.

EDIT: more generally speaking, of course what we see/hear/etc isn't fully indicative of what's there. Illusions are very much real. Hell, go stand by a lake and watch the waves ripple towards the shore. Pick a spot to look at, then just watch that spot of water for about 30 seconds. Now quickly shift your view and look down at your feet. You're going to see the ground moving away from you. Obviously, the ground ISN'T moving away from you, your brain has simply adjusted to the waves and has now altered how you see things in order to compensate. But it sure LOOKS like the ground is moving, no denying it. Sight/sound/smell/etc are potentially unreliable since they need to be processed by the brain in order to give any information, but your BRAIN exists. Otherwise you wouldn't be seeing things such as optical illusions (or, well, ANYTHING).

Something to note about the double-slit experiment: the result depends on if a second slit actually exists, not on whether or not you're aware that there's a second slit. So I think it's safe to say that the existence of the slit is at least objective and not up for debate. The results don't change depending on if an observer can see the slit, the results change depending on if the slit is there.

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#14 Posted by br0kenrabbit (15574 posts) -

@MrGeezer said:

The results don't change depending on if an observer can see the slit, the results change depending on if the slit is there.

The results do change if you observe either slit. That's the point.

And it isn't that things don't exist if not observed, it's that they become...fuzzy. Pinning down an exact location of something becomes problematic, as locality becomes difficult to define. Quantum tunneling is an example of this: sometimes a particles probability spread extends beyond an impassable barrier, but the particle has a chance of resolving anywhere within its probability range so it could very well resolve on the other side of the impassable barrier.

Tunneling Diodes operate on this principle.

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#15 Posted by Ovirew (8401 posts) -

Everything we're experiencing is real and is happening, from my perspective. I don't think I am anyone's dream. But maybe someone else is watching me. Or maybe my whole purpose is to be a watcher, to observe for myself or someone else. Maybe some singular event, or maybe to record my whole life from beginning to end.

I think there is more to "life" than just this existence. I think we lose our body and our mind, but our soul is what stays intact between here and the next step. I guess maybe our soul keeps some of our mind intact, maybe even some of our body? Our soul must grow and change due to our experiences in life. This life is a learning experience to prepare us for the next step, I think. The next step must be the real deal, the big thing. What we do here is important, too, but we need to master this before we are ready for that.

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#16 Posted by MrGeezer (59707 posts) -

@br0kenrabbit said:
@MrGeezer said:

The results don't change depending on if an observer can see the slit, the results change depending on if the slit is there.

The results do change if you observe either slit. That's the point.

And it isn't that things don't exist if not observed, it's that they become...fuzzy. Pinning down an exact location of something becomes problematic, as locality becomes difficult to define. Quantum tunneling is an example of this: sometimes a particles probability spread extends beyond an impassable barrier, but the particle has a chance of resolving anywhere within its probability range so it could very well resolve on the other side of the impassable barrier.

Tunneling Diodes operate on this principle.

Wait...you're saying that the same experiment gets different results depending on what each observer can see? I thought it was an either/or thing. That there's ONE result (either it behaves like a particle or a wave) depending on whether or not there's a slit. After all, whatever they're using to record the results would count as "an observer", right? I'm just curious how there could be two different sets of results depending on who is observing the experiment. Why doesn't the presence of a slit make the recording device record wave-like behavior anyway regardless of if anyone present knows that there's a slit?

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#17 Posted by br0kenrabbit (15574 posts) -

@MrGeezer said:

Wait...you're saying that the same experiment gets different results depending on what each observer can see? I thought it was an either/or thing. That there's ONE result (either it behaves like a particle or a wave) depending on whether or not there's a slit. After all, whatever they're using to record the results would count as "an observer", right? I'm just curious how there could be two different sets of results depending on who is observing the experiment. Why doesn't the presence of a slit make the recording device record wave-like behavior anyway regardless of if anyone present knows that there's a slit?

Sorry, I misunderstood you. I thought you were talking about one observer. However...

...In the Schrodinger's cat scenario, if Dr. Schrodinger decided to take a lunch break instead of checking on the cat, and sent a student to do so instead, the student is in a state of superposition from Dr. Schrodinger's perspective until he reveals the results to the Dr.

The overall take is that we only perceive a single single outcome. That doesn't mean there aren't other outcomes (and I don't mean other possibilities, I mean other successful outcomes).

It's all weird. And then there's retocausality. Let's not...ugh...let's not get into that.

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#18 Edited by schu (9914 posts) -

I think that time is an illusion.

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#19 Posted by baejoohyun1 (13 posts) -

I don't really care, I just want to finish my uni

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#20 Posted by VagrantSnow (98 posts) -

I don't believe in any unrealised truth to existence. I don't believe there is more to it beyond what is tangible. Reality to me is what I can make of it.

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#21 Posted by BlackBalls (880 posts) -

I don't dwell to much on the "what if" if more on the present. It's futile, unless you're researching the subject.

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#22 Posted by Craigslist_org (46 posts) -

Omg they harassed him at his job?

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#23 Posted by mumunaro (100 posts) -

Well im just glad others are spending entire lives researching this on my and others behalf because i just want to focus on life as i know it and be generally a good person.