?

Log in

Reality

« previous entry | next entry »
2009.06.19 | 04:54

This post was brought to you by a rather crazy old lady I’ve seen a few times on the bus. She’d pretty much chase people away from a particular seat, and stand in there. And then argue with the driver that he should turn off this “gas chamber”. So yes, she’s nuts. And evil.

Now, that made me think of things like… how odd it is, when someone has an issue with his or her brain, chances are they won’t even notice it themselves. It’s likely they’ll perceive the world as fine and peachy, while outsiders will be very aware of them being nuts.

It reminded me of the simulation hypothesis a bit — the simulants are unaware of being in a simulation. In other words, us being in a reality only we perceive and in one that really is the reality — no difference, can’t prove it either way, it’s just way more feasible and probable that the real reality’s case is the case.

So, the two things combined: if you experience something “extraordinary”, how do you know it was real? There’s no way to know. You’ve turned into an anthropomorphic dragon one night? Could happen! Or you could be nucking futs. Managed to kamehameha a fireball? Maybe you really scorched the next lamp post, maybe it’s only in your head. No use asking anyone — if they tell you you’ve indeed done those things, even then you can’t be sure, because maybe it’s just your perceived reality that they’re telling you this, or that you have a tail, or that you see the scorched lamp post for the next few weeks (or years as it would be in Budapest). Seen God manifest in front of you? Could happen. Or maybe it’s just your perceived reality.

Link | Scribble on a scale | Share

Comments {8}

Knasty Mike

(no subject)

from: knastymike
date: 2009.06.19 04:17 (UTC)
Link

You are describing clinical schizophrenia almost perfectly. It is one of the things I am most scared of, especially when I think that maybe the schizophrenics are really the only ones seeing things "correctly".

Scribble on a scale | String of scales

cabcat

(no subject)

from: cabcat
date: 2009.06.19 10:30 (UTC)
Link

Well at least she's not dangerous.
Reality is perception :)

Scribble on a scale | String of scales

Varinki

(no subject)

from: varinki
date: 2009.06.20 07:00 (UTC)
Link

She's viewing life though a strange and twisted lens. There is a scorched lamp post/power pole in town that was set on fire back in 1991 and it is still there now.

Scribble on a scale | String of scales

Michael K

(no subject)

from: cozycabbage
date: 2009.06.22 06:15 (UTC)
Link

And even if they do believe those things, I think if you balance them with drugs they'll remember themselves thinking like that and wonder what the heck was going through their minds.

I'm sure we've all had those days where we weren't thinking straight. In high-school, I once answered a test question, which asked, "Which of these is a strong base?" with, "Nitric Acid." I have no clue why.

Scribble on a scale | String of scales

Schneelocke

(no subject)

from: schnee
date: 2009.06.25 20:29 (UTC)
Link

Yeah, it could be.

On the other hand, it could be that you're not really a person but rather just a brain in a jar with some electrodes connected to it and that nothing in the world that you perceive actually exists. Or, for that matter, that *I* really am the brain in the jar and you don't exist. Or that we're all just subjects in a simulation of a universe being run on a supercomputer somewhere.

Generally speaking, I think that arguments along the lines of "how do you know your perception wasn't altered so that you perceive people as agreeing with your assessment of reality even when they don't" are what you might call a "deus ex machina" argument. It's rather like religious people saying "god works in mysterious ways"; a specific example might be young-earthers saying that the Earth looks older than ~6k years because it was created that way by god. (Which, if you assume an omnipotent god, is certainly possible.) It's not an argument that's incorrect per se, but it's useless.

Even if you do assume a non-theoretical possibility that it's true, I think it'd be worthwhile to run tests in order to reach a certain conclusion regarding the state of your own mind. Yes, it might be that the internal consistence you'd eventually find (assuming you would; if not and if it turns out you're *really* insane, everything's fine and dandy, of course[1]) isn't really there and is just caused by your insanity, but not being able to be sure you'd win is not a reason to lose by default for not playing.

Occam's razor would likely also apply

Besides, how can you even be sure that you're a (physical) human right now, living in a world of humans - and more specifically, the world of humans you know? As above, maybe you're just a brain in a jar, but nobody in their right mind would genuinely question that the world is real, at least in a way that interferes with their daily life; doing so would pretty much be the definition of insanity.

You can't be 100% sure, but not all possibilities are equally likely.

1. Probably not exactly a statement one would usually expect to hear from anyone. :)

Scribble on a scale | String of scales

Schneelocke

(no subject)

from: schnee
date: 2009.06.25 20:32 (UTC)
Link

Oh, and I have to ask... you didn't actually wake up as an anthropomorphic dragon, scorch a lamp post, and had someone else deny that one as well as your tail, did you?

No?

Pity, actually. c.c (Well, in a way. Chances are the military would take an unhealthy interest in you if it actually happened, of course, although in order for that to happen, other people would have to be able to perceive it. Curiously enough, this also means that if it raelly did happen - according to you -, having others deny it might actually be a GOOD thing in the long run; you get to live your life as a dragon, and you don't get hassled by anyone over it, either.)

Edited at 2009-06-25 08:34 pm (UTC)

Scribble on a scale | The scale before | String of scales

Ralesk Ne’vennoyx

(no subject)

from: ralesk
date: 2009.06.26 00:25 (UTC)
Link

Heheheh, no, it was all just a completely random what-if :)

Scribble on a scale | The scale before | String of scales

Schneelocke

(no subject)

from: schnee
date: 2009.06.26 00:54 (UTC)
Link

Yeah, I was pretty sure it was. :) Still a pity, though. ;)

Scribble on a scale | The scale before | String of scales