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Nicolette Sinensky


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How does virtuality translate into reality?

This week in my bioelectricity class, we spoke about electrical stimulation of nerves. One method of stimulation is to place a electrode directly on the surface of a nerve. One of the considerations of this method, however, is that the anode (positively charged side) and cathode (negatively charged side) of the electrode each cause a redistribution of charge around the electrode. Consequently, the anode induces a complementary "virtual cathode" and the cathode creates a complementary "virtual anode." These components aren't actually there, but we can observe a similar redistribution of charge that implies that something unseen is going on. Despite the fact that these components are not physically present, they have real effects on the functionality of both the electrode and the nerve. The virtual cathode and anode can cause a very real, measurable voltage change in the nerve, and can effectively block a nerve signal, which is dependent on the voltage.

In what other ways can intangible entities have physical manifestations? In this case, the unintended effect has a negative consequence, but can we find useful applications of such a circumstance?

Also, if these imaginary aspects can effect reality, what does that say about our definition of what is real and what isn't?


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    Apr 8 2012: Laws and rules are intangible entities for instance. They are real all right. They do have physical manifestations as well. Some of them are law enforcement, juries, human relationships, and ownership.

    Evolution has made sure that reality is accurately presented to us with the help of our nerve system and our sensors.
    So the real trick is not to mix our personal thoughts, the nerve system and sensors input to our brains and intangible entities that are commonly accepted and they are stored to our memory.

    Games like chess is a perfect example. Two players when they are playing compare their personal performance in responding to problems and situations. That is why you have a winner. The game is a common "reality" that they agree to define as a priority to solve among other things. During the game the two players might have misconceptions about the tactical situation. But what exactly happen can perfectly defined and justify the result at the end of the game.
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      Apr 9 2012: Interesting metaphor. So do you think that only the reality that everyone can agree on is real? We all perceive the world differently, so must we adjust our own perception to agree with everyone else and settle on a common truth? I would love to hear your thoughts on this.
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        Apr 12 2012: You don't have to agree with anyone else. You don't have to disagree either. Your observations must be independent. People around you might be right or wrong. For your opinion you are solely responsible, period.
        The world has two interacting "realities". The first is the physical "reality". The second is the "reality" of intangibles. Both are real and both interfere-interact with each other. For instance when you are in a family, nothing physically stops you for doing anything you like. But being in a family, which is in our case an intangible entity, forces you to go back to your home and make some arrangements with other members of your family almost everyday, or at least regularly. Also forces you to carry some obligations. You must remember birthdays (intangible), help with the chores (physical) and adjust your behavior. Like no loud music, being polite with older members and demand some respect from younger ones (intangible and physical) (LOL).
        Example: Ideologies are intangible entities and as a result we have pacifists to kamikaze fighters.
        Survival and survivalism is the other edge of reality. It has no intangible entities. You must survive. You can kill your dog, you can eat a man and can do other wild things (LOL). But survival is not considered "living" and "life". It is a tactic that help us survive a difficult situation. We want intangible entities in our lives to consider that we live. We want love, success, recognition, and to give joy and happiness to others.
        Finally what I said is when we collect information for various events some times we disagree with others in what happen.That is human. Some times we totally agree which is not always good (LOL). No matter how our perception worked the facts are always there, but yet impossible to collect them all 100% most of the times. Facts are a mix of physical data and intangible entities = reality.
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      Apr 9 2012: your comment about chess got me thinking about human interaction and what 'virtual' things go on that may or may not effect the end result of an interaction. for example during a chess game, a player might try to read the intention of his opponent, like in poker, and perhaps their reading of their opponent comes from the facial expression of the opponent, which is influenced by what the opponent is thinking about. but the opponents thought is really only known by him, and of the many interpretations that can be made, only one of them will be the exact (or close to) truth of what the opponent actually was thinking. Same is true in all kinds of interactions, except with chess, it's harder to gauge how correct interpretations are. Those virtual emotions and virtual interpretations all somehow effect the end result
      • Apr 9 2012: So the truth or validity of something is contextualized. Then with greater variables or uncertainty introduced into the experiments we get less "truth" or "reality" in an absolute sense.
        Nicolette, you state that we must alter our perceptions to agree with others and settle on a common "truth". Why would we want to, rather, a simple statement of our assumptions. It is like in arguments, where too often people believe that there is a winner or loser, or the attainment of truth, or right or wrong, or a moral judgment, whatever ...... such is based upon the intentions of the arguers. Some ague to learn, review, study, understand their perspective, others perspectives, etc...Some to win. Now, with your settling on a common truth to hold, for what purpose, to what end, and what result. My favorite perspective on matters such are these are the relativity of reality, the Spinozoan, "nothing is good or bad except insofar as HOW it affects each individual mind", moral relativity, classical music good for the person who likes it, possibly bad for the person who likes rock music, neither good nor bad for the person who can not hear. At the heart of enlightenment thought, and the quest toward discovery. A pursuit toward the true, the beautiful, the right, the good, the just.....why lay down the gauntlet, and give in, for satisficing, for the sake of a peace, for the sake of a deformed equality, for the creation of a bland uniformity....I would caution against such, that would be an unfortunate descent from our given humanity, perhaps into the hell of those who shout the loudest, referring back to the earlier part of my reply, the import of intentions, in the light of moral relativity, may lead to the construction of truths unworthy of Man for the parochial betters of some, whose perceptions might be unfit for our common digestion.
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        Apr 11 2012: Hi Sophie, I posted a reply to your comment about "what the students are thinking" as revealed by their facial expressions during a live vivisection to demonstrate electrical stimulation of nerves at http://www.ted.com/talks/the_cockroach_beatbox.html You might find it relevant but it will likely be deleted quickly by the moderator, whom claims to be thinking that this kind of post interferes with free expression. Thanks for your insights.
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        Apr 12 2012: Facial expressions are real facts. They belong to reality not to virtuality. The second part of the following term "virtual reality" is something that confuses most of the people. Chess on the other hand is a virtual battle. The pressure and the emotions that are developing in a chess game are real too. That is the purpose of the game after all. Virtuality is a vast area that yet hasn't been developed in its full potential and has many things to give to human race.

        I could give many examples that prove virtuality's huge force and potential (I am not going to, LOL). The reasoning and goals behind virtuality are still very primitive in global scale and the high technology behind it doesn't make things better. Still many work has to be done around this area and research as well.

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