Cameron Robert

This conversation is closed.

A deceptively simple question: What is, was, and will always be impossible to occur?

I'm having difficulty answering this question with any certainty.

At first glance, most people would agree that some things are impossible.
But then have a difficult time giving an example.

The imagination allows us to think of something seemingly "impossible" and then in the next thought, to think of a way that it might be possible.

Is this a true reflection of reality?
Might nothing be impossible?

Impassable numbers such as the speed of light and absolute zero are not as absolute as they were once considered to be.

This type of thinking leads to the suggestion that all endeavors will eventually succeed and that any idea put forth at one point was, or will be valid.

Dare I say, might a god exist, just not yet?
Can any of this be true?

As a caveat, this question does not concern labels.
It is impossible for a triangle to have 4 sides, but it is possible for a triangle to be modified in such a way that it now possess 4 sides. The label of triangle is no longer appropriate, but it was never meant to be binding in the first place.

Closing Statement from Cameron Robert

This conversation has come to an end and I thank everyone that took the time to participate.
We certainly did cover a lot of territory.

I think the take away message here is that nothing should be assumed.
At one time or another, we (all) assumed something that wasn't true.

In order to overcome this, we needed the help of another perspective.
Indeed, I started this conversation on TED to seek out this very thing.

Although I have not come across anything that I am convinced is impossible, another interesting question has arose.
As proposed by LaMar Alexander, it is impossible (for humans) to know what is impossible.

This may be true. But why might it be true?

Is it impossible because our minds are limited?
Is it impossible because impossible doesn't exist?

Are we unable to find the destination or does the destination not exist?

Either way,
I think it is interesting to think about the limits of the human mind and how those limitations might be overcome.
And also to consider that minds greater than ours might exist, conceiving of what is just outside of our reach.

Until then, think about it.

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    May 18 2013: It's impossible to imagine everything that is possible.
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      May 19 2013: What limits of the imagination are you referring to?
      Can you give an example of something that you cannot imagine?

      I hope you realize that by doing so, you have proved yourself incorrect.
      There is nothing beyond your imagination.
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        May 19 2013: Let's look at the rhetoric of the original statement. "Everything that is possible." I didn't say "Anything that is possible."

        If I had said "anything," then of course you're right because if I can give you an example of something that I can't imagine, the I'm imagining it, and if I can't give you an example of something I can't imagine then I can imagine everything. It's a nice paradox. :)

        But I said "everything." Sort of like the question of "can we conceptualize infinity when infinity+1 is infinity?" Do we have the ability and time to imagine "everything?" I don't think that's possible.

        Interpret it how you wish.
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          May 19 2013: Can you imagine a mind that could?

          I can.
          and I think you can too.

          This is especially easy if you believe in an omniscient being.
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        May 19 2013: 1. I don't believe in one.
        2. I meant humans imagining it. Sorry if I didn't imply that clearly enough.
        3. And infinity isn't a conceptual whole. It can't "fit" into a being. You study neuroscience don't you? Let's make some situations. If I say that one neuron=x information and x is infinity, I need infinity neurons in which the either the size is infinity or the density is infinity. If I wanted a size that is imaginable, the each neuron would have to fit an infinite amount of information, in which case I can't imagine that either.

        Trying to help you answer your question. I hope you made this thread to get an answer instead of promoting some mindset ;)

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          May 19 2013: I am certainly without an agenda.
          But I have yet to hear a convincing argument to the contrary.

          As I state in the initiation question.
          "I'm having difficulty answering this question with any certainty."

          My replies are in pursuit of the truth, pointing out flaws and imperfections.
          This looks one-sided because few have taken the position that everything is possible.
          I would not hesitate to point out the flaws in their logic as well.

          Neuron argument:
          This would be true if one neuron equalled one idea, but they may not.
          It is possible to create all numbers using 0-9.

          This may be true of the brain and it's hierarchical organization.
          The brain doesn't need to imagine all numbers, but has the pieces to do so.

          Infinity as a concept can also be represented as one neuron.
          This does not require an infinite number of neurons, but only one.

          The dimensions of a neuron are independent of its content.

          With all of this said.
          It might be possible for a new type or brain to exist or one that is computerized.
          Attaching one's brain to it might augment the current brain's ability to imagine everything.

          I don't mean to sound dismissive.
          I've already spend time considering the possibilities laid out here without success.

          I agree that this question is a difficult one.
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        May 19 2013: Neurons! Sure we can create any number with 0-9. But my original argument was that it would be impossible to create every number in the sense that we simply don't have the time.
        Sure, infinity is indeed a concept. But it's not a definable concept. Can I represent infinity as a neuron while truly maintaining all the aspects of infinity? Can I imagine a box that is "infinity" while still making sure that it isn't finite? No.
        Computers and brains would augment our power, but again both are bound to TIME.

        Sorry for the inconvenience Mr. Bosinski. I must study for my finals. We can continue this discussion tomorrow if you're still interested.

  • Jun 14 2013: I'm afraid you've missed the answer :

    A particle, we are told, is also a wave.
    Allan Macdougall

    It means, that not only everything you can imagine is possible , but anything you can't is possible too :)
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      Jun 14 2013: What is impossible about a particle being a wave?

      Can you substantiate your claim?
      How would you know if you were wrong?
      • Jun 14 2013: If i knew that i was right, sure i would be wrong :)
        I don't have claims !
        Your question is : how potential 'all probabilities' become ' actual possibilities " ?
        Did i restate you right ?
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          Jun 14 2013: I'm not sure that I understand what you are saying.
      • Jun 15 2013: Sorry !
        iow. how reality undergo the formality of actual occurring ?
        Is it any better ?
        Anyway, i have at least one impossibility, right now :
        it's impossible to explain anything without explaining everything.
        "Only he who comprehends the whole can also comprehend a part"
        The Whole is incomprehensible by definition.
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          Jun 15 2013: I don't think you understand what "by definition" means.
      • Jun 17 2013: 'by definition' - because of the nature of someone or something

        That's what i meant.:)
        Is there anything more to it ? I would appreciate your help .
        Thanks !
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          Jun 17 2013: "The whole is incomprehensible by definition."

          There is nothing about something being a whole that makes it incomprensible.
          I can eat a whole pizza or work the whole day, but this has nothing to do with understanding.

          By definition would apply to something like a bachelor.
          Who is, by definition, an unmarried man.

          If that man was married, he is not a bachelor, by definition.
      • Jun 17 2013: I didn't say ' whole' i said ' the Whole '
        The Whole is incomprehensible by the very nature of the Whole. It is unfolding/enfolding, it is always changing to stay the same. To put it simply, it's a System of infinite complexity. To comprehend the Whole one must see all points of the Whole with equal clarity at once.
        Apparently, we are talking about different things :)
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          Jun 17 2013: Well this again works.

          I can see a whole pizza at one time.
          I don't see why this "Whole" would be any different.

          I'm sure that if you believe in a god, then that being must be able to comprehend the whole.
          If it didn't, then it couldn't be god, by definition.

          If one had an infinite amount of time to explore an infinite amount of space, wouldn't they be able to experience all of it? Infinity is only infinity, no more, no less.

          But in general, I'm not convinced that the whole is infinitely complex.
          It has a finite number of rules that govern it, not an infinite number of them.
      • Jun 17 2013: You think you know what 'a whole pizza' IS ?
        Then try to cook it from scratch.
        Sooner or later you'll discover that you need to create the Universe first :)
      • Jun 17 2013: Re : if you believe in a god, then that being must be able to comprehend the whole.

        I am not a believer, but in my understanding, God is the Whole, no comprehension required when Observer is the Observed. Mathematically it's One without the Second.
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          Jun 17 2013: In all of those cases, we are talking about finite things.

          The laws of physics are a finite thing.
          Some laws apply and some don't.

          I'm not sure how your logic supports your initial assertion that for some reason the whole universe is incomprehensible.
          This would be especially true if the multiverse exists.
          Where one stops another can begin.
      • Jun 18 2013: "...we are talking about finite things."
        There is no clear cut between finite and infinite.
        Once more : "A particle, we are told, is also a wave."
        A particle ( finite ) never leaves the domain of a wave ( infinite) where it is embedded.
        They are entangled.
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          Jun 18 2013: No one disagrees that a particle can also be a wave.

          Actually, by definition, something infinite is not something finite.
          Adding one more number will never lead you to infinity because these are finite.

          Infinity is different in kind not in degree.
      • Jun 18 2013: Infinity is different in kind not in degree

        Yes, but on the other hand, everything is here, if it is not here it is nowhere else.
        It's another dimension, one must be tuned to it to be there.
        It's " see the infinity in the grain of sand "
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    May 21 2013: A particle, we are told, is also a wave.
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    May 20 2013: Violation of any of these three Classical Logic Laws is, always was, and always will be impossiible: 1) Law of Identity- An object is the same as itself. 2) Law of Non-contradiction- “A” cannot be both “A” and “Not A”. 3) Law of the Excluded Middle- Either a proposition is true or its negation is true. Also, the Cubs will never be world champs!
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      May 20 2013: Agreed, but these are all labels of what something is and do no dictate what something can be.

      An object can become anything.
      A tree can become a boat.

      A can be A at one moment and not A in the other.
      A meal can become garbage.

      Everything is possible.
      Is this true or false? and more importantly, how would we know the difference?

      Maybe this should be the Cubs new battle cry:
      Everything is possible!
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        May 20 2013: A boat is not a tree. A tree cannot be a boat while it is a tree. It must cease being a tree in order tom become a boat. It is, was, and always will be impossible to be both simultaneously.If A becomes something other than A, which is not A, it is no longer A. It cannot be A and Not A simultaneously. It is, was, and always will be impossible. Garbage can be a source of nutrition for a foraging animal, or a starving person but that does not make garbage a meal. That is a semantic argument and semantics are often illogical. The only way one could logically pronounce that everything is possible is if one were omniscient and that is, was, and always will be impossible (that's four examples I've offered). Either the Cubs will be world champs, or they will never be world champs, it is, was, and always will be impossible for both of those to be true simultaneously.
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          May 21 2013: Tree-boat and Boat-tree, both seem possible.
          I'm not sure that it has to stop being one to become something else.

          A basketball may also be a baseball player, although not very well.
          I don't see the necessity to destroy one to become the other, in all situations

          I do like the second part of this however.
          It seems that the cubs are destined to be champs or are destined to not be champs.

          It is equally possible for either to occur, but only one is possible.
          If one occurs it is at the exclusion of the other.

          If something never occurs, does that mean it never could occur?
          If the cubs never win does it mean that it was be impossible for them to win?

          What is this mystical force preventing them from doing so?
          Would going back in time, not be enough to change this outcome?
          If so, how and why?

          To be or not to be, but not both.
          Does that about sum up your position?
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          May 21 2013: Although, I did forget to add.
          Doesn't quantum physics allow for something to be in 2 places at the same time?

          If it is here, then it cannot be there.
          In this view, something can be both, here and there.

          Might this somehow apply to other attributes as well?
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        May 21 2013: RE: "Although I did forget to add. . . " When everything is theoretical and uncertain, as in QM, then I don't see why 11 things can't be 11 other things because there is no such thing as simultaneity. Information can be true and its opposite can also be true! Yes is no and 2+2= whatever we care to theorize it to be. Parallel lines can intersect and what goes up may not have to come down. Nothing is true and nothing is false. Everythig is, was, and always will be impossible. . . and possible.
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        May 21 2013: RE: "Tree-boat and Boat-tree. . . " Seriously? You can imagine the mesquite tree now growing in my front yard simultaneously being a boat in my front yard? I have trouble thinking you are serious about that. Sure the tree could be chopped-down, milled, dried, and made into a boat but it would not be a tree any more. A basketball player can stop playing basketball and begin to play baseball, but they CANNOT be playing both sports simultaneously.And, no, that does not sum-up my position. The three Laws of Classical Logic I shared with you sum-up my position about something being; was always; and always will be; impossible.
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          May 22 2013: I will take this response more seriously.

          According to laws,
          What it is, is A and A is what it is.
          Either it is A or it is not A.
          These are the only two options.

          This has no bearing on whether it is B or not B.
          (Although, it must be one or the other, according to #3.)
          For example, a man can simultaneously be a father, a child, a police officer, a citizen, and the list goes on. Having one quality does not exclude it from having another.

          This is certainly true when the same thing is viewed differently in different contexts.
          It may be A in the first, but B in the second.
          (These may be mutually exclusive or not)

          Not to be curt, but rather to be Kant.

          You are misinterpreting the laws to say, If A then not B.
          This is incorrect.

          A or not A.
          (To) B or not (to) B.
          This statement sums up the classic laws of thought.

          At this time, I would like you remind you that these are not natural laws.
          These were put forth by Socrates to define communication and formal logic.

          Put more precisely, the laws are better defined as:
          What is accepted to be A is A and is not not A.

          It is because we agree that it is, not because it actually is.
          The definition is based on our mutual acceptance of that term's meaning.

          This is a description of how we view the world, not as it exists.
          As stated by you, quantum mechanics seems to defy our view of the world.

          Therefore, do not be bound by how you think about the world.
          Rather, consider that this is a limited and inaccurate representation of what is.
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        May 22 2013: RE: "I will take this response . . . " On what do we agree? 1) It is not possible for something to be both 'A' and 'NOT A'. It is possible for you to be brother (A) and a husband (B), but it is NOT possible for you to be a brother (A) and a sister (C) because chromosome laws will not allow it. Therefore, "A" is "NOT C" and "C" is "NOT A". We cannot say that "B" is "NOT A", but we can, and must, say "C" is "NOT A". You cannot be both "A" (brother) and "NOT A" (sister). This truth is not dependent upon you or me believing it, it is true regardless of our assessment of its veracity. You can SAY you are both brother and sister but you cannot BE both brother and sister. Do we agree on this?
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          May 22 2013: Any transgender person would disagree with you.
          So would anyone that has an abnormal number of sex chromosomes.

          These are manmade divisions.
          An object can by many things and differ to the extent that it is each.

          A chair can be more stool-like or have some sofa-like qualities. It is not only chair.
          Labeling it as only one thing is an imprecise characterization.

          Nature does not say what is male and what is female.
          Many species are both, neither, or can switch between the two.

          This is the labeling conversation that I had stated above that I wanted to avoid.

          Possible and Impossible are mutually exclusive.
          Male and female, among many other attributes, are not.
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        May 22 2013: RE: "Any transgender. . . " So a transgender person actually takes-on the chromosomes of their new sex? I don't think so. You are arguing that it is possible for one person to be both a brother (XY) and a sister (XX) at the same time? Pure foolishness. Nature does not say what is male and what is female? Rediculous! Male and female are not mutually exclusive? Sure they are. Even a hermaphrodite cannot be both a brother and a sister. What you are calling labels are actually statements of infrangible facts. I suspect you think I am not serious here, and I have the same suspicion about you, so why don't you take the last word in our thread here and I will sign-off now. Bye.
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          May 22 2013: Then allow me to inform you.

          48, XXXX
          49 XXXXY syndrome
          49, XXXXX
          Klinefelter's syndrome
          Turner syndrome
          XX gonadal dysgenesis
          XX male syndrome
          XXYY syndrome
          XYY syndrome

          Do you consider a hermaphrodite to be a male or female?
          You apparently reject that it can be both.

          We are simply disagreeing about the boundaries by which these terms abide by.
          I don't see the world as black and white as you do.
  • Jun 15 2013: I think you question is somehow tricky, seems like you are accounting time in a rather unusual way, so I hope not to give you a naive answer.

    We all know one plus one equals two, that is present time and as far as there is written records it always has been that way, and even if we push time far back into the very big bang moment, 1+1 still yields 2, the same if we go forward in time to the end of the universe, 1+1 will still be 2. This is something you cannot bend or twist, it is perhaps the most fundamental law of both mathematics and nature, you may change the name or the graphic representation of the numbers 1 and 2, but the concepts of 1 and 2 will remain unchanged, therefore 1+1 always was, is and will be 2, so anything that contradicts this, is, was and will always be impossible.
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      Jun 15 2013: So this is a question about labels and categories.

      A bachelor cannot be married.
      Once he is married, he cannot be a bachelor.
      He cannot be both at the same time.

      This, however, does not address what he can become in the future or what he was in the past.
  • Jun 15 2013: If nothing is impossible, then impossibility is impossible. Therefore, asking if anything is impossible is like saying "this sentence is a lie".
  • Jun 14 2013: It's impossible for me to give you the answer to this question at this time.
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      Jun 14 2013: Just because it didn't happen doesn't mean that it was impossible for it to happen.
      • Jun 15 2013: Can you substantiate your claim?
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          Jun 15 2013: Yes. That thing can be done at another time.

          If it is possible now, it was always possible.
      • Jun 16 2013: But i said it was not possible now. It might be at another time, but not now.
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          Jun 16 2013: Correct, which is why it is possible.

          If you reread the question, it states:
          What is, was, and will always be impossible to occur?

          Whether something is possible or impossible is independent of time.
          This semantic point is a critical component of the question.
      • Jun 16 2013: I realized that after i posted my comment.
        It would seem that nothing is impossible. But that would not make sence, because if that were the case, impossibility would be impossible.
        You seem to be quite the gadfly.
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          Jun 16 2013: That sentence has a double negative.
          It can be said another way, everything is possible.

          But another interpretation is that the process of impossibility does not exist.
          Only possible things exist.
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    May 24 2013: sorry for the slow response Cameron. This question boggles my mind..A straightforward answer is that reality means everything that appears to our five senses - everything that we can see, smell, touch and so forth.
    However, Are we are part of a cosmic hologram? Do we exist in an infinity of parallel worlds? I do not believe we will ever agree on a universal definition.
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      May 24 2013: Wouldn't we if we uncovered the correct one?
      One day someone might find proof that we are in a hologram, then it would be difficult to not accept that definition.
      I don't think that the nature of reality is so elusive that it will never be explained.

      What if only a few people survived a mass extinction?
      Might the small number of people alive make this task easier?
      If it is able to be made easier, then it was able to be done in the first place.

      This question is really trying to define what the limits of our reality are (if there are any).
      Although history might tell us differently, I don't think that it is impossible for humans to all agree in the future.
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    May 24 2013: YOU don`t believe so,then tell me sth impossible,
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      May 24 2013: "sth" isn't a word, so I'm having difficultly understanding what you are saying.
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        May 25 2013: the 'WILL" in your question makes it hard to say that something is impossible even in future.
        for example,I say:"I can run 500000km per hour." do you believe it?is it possible?at the present time,it is impossible. but how about the future?it can be possible in future,can`t it?
  • Comment deleted

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      May 23 2013: So I've been down this path with Edward Long below.
      I encourage you to take a look at that conversation and see with what you disagree.

      This is about the laws of thought. Here is my interpretation.
      What it is, is A and A is what it is.
      Either it is A or it is not A.
      These are the only two options.

      Statements that are contradictory by definition, cannot be true.
      A married bachelor. An unmarried spouse.

      This becomes a question of whether things are black and white or are gray.
      To me possible/impossible is black and white, but most other labels are not.

      Is the convention that we have adopted, which allows us to communicate and reason, actually a feature of reality, or is it only manmade?
      Are we accurately characterizing reality or is it just an approximation?
      • Comment deleted

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          May 23 2013: Either A exists or A does not exist.
          Are there other options?

          Laws of logic are based on manmade conventions.
          Something is A because we have agreed that we can call it A.

          My main question is:
          Are the laws of logic truly a reflection of reality?
          What if they aren't?
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    May 22 2013: G'day Cameron

    For anything to exist it has to vibrate, nothing can exist without vibrating. An atom vibrates, the differentiation of colours is brought on by different frequencies vibrating to give certain colours everything is a vibration of one sort or another depending on the frequency of vibrations.

    You see something to be alive it has to feel & breath In some way or have organs & a brain but I don't because I see pass this & look deeper within the very structure in how each molecule is vibrating. It's these vibrative frequencies that give us different form like a kettle to a cup for instance or one person to another.

    I'm not offended by you just disappointed Cameron as I thought we were going to have an intelligent conversation but it doesn't look that way because you are stuck within one mode of thought & can obviously only think within that mode of thought but I don't.

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      May 23 2013: Can you post a link substantiating your claims about vibrations?
      As far as I know, a kettle or a cup are different things because they contain different proportions of different atoms.

      Inducing a change in the vibration of a cup doesn't turn it into a kettle, unless you have evidence to the contrary.
      I find this unlikely, however, as going to a concert would change each person's vibration and according to you, that person would not longer be the same person.

      Also, isn't something at absolute zero temperature without vibration?
      Temperature is a measure of kinetic energy.
      According to you, once this occurred, that thing wouldn't exist anymore.

      If you are talking about string theory, then that is completely different.
      The subatomic particles are proposed to be caused by strings vibrating at different frequencies.
      But this has yet to be determined experimentally.
  • May 22 2013: Well to start Science will never prove a negative. we will never have proof there are NO GODS OR GOD, we will never have proof there are NO GHOSTS or NO MULTI DIMENSIONAL BEINGS ETC... So yes there is something will never do.. prove something metaphysical doesnt exist.
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    May 21 2013: G’day Cameron

    In regards to the physical for example you can produce a number of kettles at the same time that are seemingly exactly the same but the physical structure of all the kettles are actually vibrating at a slightly different frequency because nothing is exactly the same even when it’s made in the same exact way.

    If I transported myself back to tomorrow these kettles would be vibrating at exactly the same individual vibration however because we are consciously aware of transporting ourselves back in time we have in fact changed the vibration of that time & I theorise we changes the said kettles vibration as well this is because everything vibrates & vibrations can & do affect each other. Take the shrimp experiment, the shrimp being boiled affected a plant in the next room.

    Light is a vibration so are brain waves & for us to be able to see & touch a physical item it has to be vibrating & the same goes with the mind, to be able to treat mental illness one has to have something to treat which is a vibrational frequency of some kind, everything in existence vibrates therefore in one way or another is alive.

    The thing is Cameron nothing is of the past or the future as it’s all of the now. You could look at a clairvoyant predicting the future & the only way they can do this is as if it’s already happened so everything is of the past therefore was can be re-experienced precisely however we are forgetting about the now, the now can only be in the now. It would actually make sense if everything was in the now not the past or future.

    People like the clairvoyant are connected to the inner self to some extent which allows them to make predictions, this is done by seeing everything as being of the now not of the past or the future.

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      May 22 2013: I'm not sure that I'm familiar with this "vibration" that you keep referring to.
      What is it? What creates it? What influences its behavior?

      I'm not sure that consciousness has an affect on physical vibration.
      What is the mechanism of action?

      I don't see how "plant consciousness," if that even means anything, plays a role here.

      If something isn't vibrating then we can't touch it?
      Why can't we? What isn't vibrating?

      If you think vibration means that something is alive, then I can't agree with your definition of alive.
      Also, saying that mental disorders are caused by bad vibrations, is no better than saying that they are caused by demonic possession. These simply aren't true.

      Are you unaware of these scams? If they were true, this guy would have found them.

      I can't say that your last two paragraphs are the least bit intelligible.
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    May 21 2013: nothing is impossible = Everything is possible
    dear, It seems that you are trying to find a logical reason for god existence,am i right?if it is so I have to say that
    god existence is not that much easy to understand because it is full of paradoxes[ you know, "paradox and logic" is like "water and oil"] ,for example: god is everywhere and is nowhere,we can see god and we can`t,we can feel god and we can`t.
    in this matter when you think you have enough information about god,you understand that you don`t have any information.something which is possible can also be impossible and sth which is impossible can be possible.[I know that these sentences might be confusing,but I couldn`t say it in other words.sorry]
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      May 22 2013: I have no divine agenda.
      It doesn't matter to me whether or not god exists.

      But if it is possible that he/she/it does, then we should explore it.
      We spend our time sending out messages to outer space, just incase we hear something back.

      I can't follow what you are saying in the second part.
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        May 23 2013: ok,if it is so, my answer to your question is: there is nothing impossible,because sth which is impossible now can be possible in future or maybe it was possible in the past, who knows!
        about the second part,to understand it better,I recommend that you read the translation of Hafiz poems.
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          May 23 2013: Can you substantiate your claim that nothing is impossible?
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    May 21 2013: A very interesting question.
    Unless the laws of logic change, then what is impossible shall always remain impossible.
    Of-course I have no problem with accepting the possibility of a "God"...
    Just have not come across a logically valid argument for (the Christian) God's existence.
    (I have many problems defining these two words (ironically) though : "God" and "existence")
    Yet I do feel it is more reasonable to argue our concept of "God" is just a by-product of evolutionary psychology.
    That the concept of "God" is produced by our "theory of mind" (or dualism).
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      May 22 2013: The inclusion of was, is and will be, is redundant only for clarification.
      Not all people consider impossible to be unbound by time.

      I'm not pushing one conceptualization over another.
      I am only considering the possibility that we may have been shortsighted.
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        May 22 2013: So I am unsure as to what this debate is asking.
        Are you arguing that what is impossible by definition may indeed be possible, due to our lack of cognitive abilities in these area's?
        Forgive me for not understanding!
        As stated above, unless the laws of logic (the premises) change. Than what has been impossible (in the past), shall always remain impossible. Look up the "Problem of Induction".
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          May 23 2013: I'm looking at 2 main things.

          First, since we can't prove that anything is impossible.
          Might this be a true reflection of reality?

          Are we prevented from knowing what is possible or is there really nothing impossible?

          Second, what are the limitations of what is possible?
          Can we determine these or even just what is not possible for our minds to understand?

          In the dark, it is impossible to see any objects.
          But using technology, it is still possible to detect and locate them.

          Might our cognitive limitations be overcome somehow?
          If so, we need to have a better idea of where those limitations are.
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    May 21 2013: Impossible is impossible.
    Impossible was impossible.
    Impossible will always be impossible. :)
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      May 21 2013: It is impossible for something to be impossible.
      Nothing is impossible.

      The negation of which is:
      Everything is possible.
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    May 20 2013: ...a deceptive answer - nothing much - a non-deceptive smile :)
    Best wishes :)
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    May 20 2013: a universal definition of reality
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      May 21 2013: I'm not saying that we have it, but what about the one correct definition of reality?
      Would this not suffice as a universal one?

      Are you suggesting that such a definition doesn't exist or that it can't be found?
      These are two different things.
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    May 20 2013: As heart beats continuously so also the mind keeps thinking always. Proven scientifically. It is impossible to stop thinking.
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      May 20 2013: A citation of that scientific evidence would be appreciated.

      What thoughts exist during sleep, coma or under anesthesia?
      These situations are certainly without thought.

      Please post any scientific evidence to the contrary.
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        May 20 2013: Net is replete with numerous articles on Brain activity in coma or sleep.... please be informed. Google search "Brain activity in coma or sleep"

        How Active Is the Brain in a Coma?
        FEB 4, 2013 07:00 AM ET // BY SHEILA M. ELDRED

        A new type of brain scan is giving neurologists insight into what is happening in the brains of patients who appear to be in comas.

        When doctors recently tested former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon brain with a functional MRI, they found "robust" brain activity when he was shown pictures of his family and heard his son’s voice. A stroke and brain hemorrhage left Sharon in a coma seven years ago.

        While the findings don’t change the prognosis of many patients, doctors are excited because the technology could foster a primitive form of communication with patients who are minimally conscious. It could also help prevent and correct misdiagnosis of patients who appear to be in comas, but are actually in a "locked-in" state.
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        May 20 2013: Functional brain imaging during anesthesia in humans: effects of halothane on global and regional cerebral glucose metabolism
        MT Alkire, CJD Pomfrett, RJ Haier, MV Gianzero… - …, 1999 -
        ... A review of the literature suggested that halothane might be associated with an interesting
        pattern of regional cerebral metabolic activity in which several brain areas might even show
        increased activity during anesthesia. Specifically, Shapiro et al. ...
        Cited by 149 Related articles All 5 versions Cite

        Please let know if you are satisfied.
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          May 20 2013: Neural activity exists in my hand, but I doubt that you would attribute thought to it.
          fMRI is not indicative that thought exists.

          Even in brain dead people, whether cortically or brainstem, both have some neural activity.
          Minimally conscious and locked-in are both "awake and aware" to some extent.

          Unfortunately, I am not convinced that all neural activity corresponds to thought.
          This is especially true of areas phylogenetically more ancient than the cortex.
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      May 20 2013: Unfortunately, not all answers are correct.

      Said another way: If it has occurred because it can occur, then it is possible for you to conceive of it.
      This is the negation of your previous statement.

      This means that you can conceive of all that is possible.
      I am questioning what this limit is and what is not possible.

      You have simple said that is possible to conceive of all that is possible.
      I agree.
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          May 20 2013: The first word spoken was entirely original.
          It was neither learned nor taught.

          Then where did it come from?
          It had to originate somehow, even if it was accidentally.

          Before Einstein thought of e = mc^2, it was inconceivable.
          Then how did he conceive of it?

          Original thought exists.
          It is possible for you to know something that no one else knows.
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          May 21 2013: Then do you believe that all organisms have thought?
          Does a worm or a jellyfish think?

          If not, then one organism at some time had to have the first thought.
          But if they do, then the first living being that existed had the first thought.
          I don't think you are proposing that bacteria or viruses have thought.

          I, as well as Einstein, don't discredit the help others had in helping him construct his theories.
          The people who taught him language should also be given credit.
          For he could not have uttered anything without it.

          But your reasoning seems to suggest that nothing is ever new.
          Diamonds are simply different arrangements of coal.
          Are these not two different things? Is one not new from the other?

          Also, by your logic, you and I are simply permutations of each other.
          Are you suggesting that we are both one and the same?
          Where do you draw the line on what is new and what is old?

          I hope that you can see that this logic isn't sustainable.
          Einstein was able to come up with something that his predecessors hadn't.
          Something different and new.

          But even if you don't believe that he, himself, made this new advancement.
          Then you must believe that someone, at sometime, did.

          And if it did not originate with that person, then from where did it originate?
          What is its origin? Who or what can claim ownership?

          Any original song is at least, in part, original.
          The first song to ever exist, would have had to have been entirely original.
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          May 23 2013: This is a pretty good understanding. Not even a need to cite einstein because you have it pretty sewed up.

          What is impossible? To conceive of what is possible.

          This statement is supported by the content of your statement : )

          We cannot conceive outside of our own amalgam of experiential reference therefore it is impossible to conceive of even a fraction of what IS possible (or simply what IS).

          Nice post!
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          May 21 2013: I would like to remind you that a lack of evidence is no evidence at all.
          But let's explore what type of answer would satisfy your inquiry.

          Any original idea that I express would be in the words I've learned from someone else.
          I could then make up a new word, but of course I would use an alphabet that I have been taught.
          I could then make up a new language, but somehow it would be affected by my original language.

          As you have stated earlier, words are not thought.
          The idea that I created, might be completely original, but it must be communicated.
          At this point, I am required to use methods of communication that I have learned.

          I think that it is obvious that although the communication may not be original, the idea is not bound by this limitation.
          Its manifestation is more personal and unique than what anyone has experienced before.

          If it wasn't, how would it be possible to know something that no one else knows?
          Being the first person to experience it, that idea originated from that person.

          At what point would something new exist?
          The next time you order a sandwich, you should not be surprised if you receive a soup.
          To you, they are both the same, completely interchangeable.

          You need to draw a line somewhere.

          What the big bang does not address, is where that initial matter came from.
          Even more so, what caused the big bang?

          You deny that things can spontaneously occur.
          Then what is your unmoved mover?
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          May 22 2013: Again, a lack of evidence is no evidence at all.
          If you cannot prove your position, then your lack of belief in mine does not hold water as proof that you are correct. It only makes it obvious that you lack the aptitude to discern what can be considered proof and what cannot.

          I am the only one who knows what I ate yesterday.
          Is this not an original thought?
          Is someone else privy to this information?

          If that experience did not originate with me, then from whom?
          Surely, you will not suggest that the earth, trees, and air communicated it to me.
          It did not originate with them, it originated with me.

          You are stating that I can't conceive of what does not exist. Correct?
          Do you think that god exists? If not, then there is one.
          The next big invention of the future does not exist by definition, but I can certainly think of it.
          The end of the world does not exist, but I can think that it might.
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          May 22 2013: I just thought of one! It's unlike anything I've experienced before.
          Unfortunately, words do not exist to describe it.

          Have your requirements been satisfied?
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          May 22 2013: Please explain why hallucinations do not count.

          I have ascribed a word for my experience: mju76yhn
          It is so original that it requires, not only letters, but also numbers.

          "all the experiences you had and extrapolate from that imagery something different"
          This is the crux of the disagreement.

          Even something different that I have experienced from before is not new, in your opinion, because I am basing it off of what I have seen before.

          Your definition of original excludes both A and not A.
          Both (things I have experienced) and (things I have not yet experienced) are not original.

          By the conventions of logic, this does not make any sense.
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          May 23 2013: I honestly, don't know what you would consider an original thought to be.
          You wouldn't know one if you saw one.

          What would one look like?
          Let's not even consider the task of proving it yet.
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          May 23 2013: So I think that this discourse on original thought needs to get wrapped up.

          Let's make some closing statements and see if we can at least separate what is resolved and what isn't.

          To take the easy way out:
          If an omniscient being existed, then it could have original thought.
          This is a valid statement.

          I will agree with you that thinking of anything original is impossible for a human.
          BUT, I do not think it is impossible for ALL beings.
          If it is not always impossible, then it is possible.

          Can we agree on this?
          and move forward on about we humans might bypass this limitation?
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          May 23 2013: Reading your initial statement over, it says that:
          it is impossible to conceive of what is impossible.

          But is there anything impossible, in the first place, to later conceive of?

          Is it impossible to do so because our minds are limited?
          Is it impossible because impossible doesn't exist?
  • W T

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    May 19 2013: To have a full and complete understanding of another human being.
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      May 20 2013: What would make this impossible?
      Currently it would be computational very difficult for us to do so, but I doubt it will be in the future.

      If humans can be summed up by the neurons in one's head, then this should be possible.
      Also cataloguing one's experiences would provide a similar understanding of an individual.

      With these two combined, nature and nurture, then a complete understanding would be possible.
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        May 21 2013: What would make this impossible?

        We cannot read minds can hook up all the gizmos and gadgets to the brain you want, but you cannot read a thought.......You would have to have access to a person's consciousness......and be able to know their past, in full detail....emotions and all....our thoughts change instantaneously.....without us even thinking....we take in everything around us. We feel an itch, feel cold, feel hungry, type on a keyboard, look out the window, hear the kids watching tv, plan dinner, and mourn the death of a loved one all at once, in a second, then the next second, our thoughts go somewhere else......

        This kind of insider knowledge on an individual is known by #1, the individual, and #2 God....noone else....noone.

        And for those that are atheists, or agnostics, then #1 only.

        Are you saying that summing up the neurons in one's head will make it possible to read mind's thoughts? Doubt it.

        And cataloguing experiences means nothing.........because humans are not accurate in their writing, oftentimes they write subjectively. And even if the writing is objective, the interpretations would be subjective and open for discussions. Have you ever read a debate on the Bible? Or belonged to a book club?

        There are lots of things that are impossible.

        And, if my arguments fail to convince you, then convincing you that there are impossible things is impossible. Couldn't help myself there Cameron ;)
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          May 21 2013: If god does it, then how does he/she do it?
          If the individual does it, then how does he/she do it?

          Answering one of those would give another the ability to do the same.
          Human experience is certainly objective, but it isn't entirely unique.

          You could imagine someone having the same experience as you.
          Finding more of the same, aggregate them where they overlap.
          And finally coming up with the whole picture.

          Our functional imagining technology, fMRI and PET, is currently very poor.
          But even these crude technologies can tell when someone is thinking something.

          It can be assumed that this will progress to answer, not when, but what?
          The content will be able to be assessed.

          This may be true, but I encourage you to keep trying!
          If you don't, we'll never know!
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        May 21 2013: I don't have the strength to keep up with you young fellow.......thanks for the challenging question, hope you find an answer that satisfies your mind............and your heart.
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      . .

      • +1
      Jun 16 2013: "Human experience is certainly objective". That is the impossible.
      And the answer to your question, which Cameron is looking for.
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        Jun 16 2013: Thanks for your insight Juliette.
  • May 19 2013: Perhaps Triangles can't have 4 sides, but a triangle can have 3 90* angles.

    But it also depends on how you define a 'side'. A triangle has three 'sides' and a face, which could argued to also be a side looking head-on.

    Sometimes it isn't about trying to be sneaky to get around a definition, but approaching a problem in a way that perhaps has never been approached before. You may still be wrong, but at least you didn't just accept things without trying yourself.

    Part of the beauty of science isn't in getting the right answer, but in using the right tools to get there. We may always be wrong. We may label something impossible simply because we lack the knowledge necessary to take the final steps. We may find that the impossible is merely waiting for the right person to look at it in the right way to redefine it as not only possible, but probably, and simple once it's seen right.
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      May 20 2013: Well then I hope the right person gives an answer here.
      I admit that I haven't found the answer.
      • Delta M

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        May 20 2013: Well then, perhaps the answer to the 'deceptively simple question' is indeed "nothing".
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          May 20 2013: That is the tentative conclusion that I've been able to come up with.

          I posted on TED just to make sure that there isn't something that I've overlooked.
          None of the posts yet have convinced me that I have.

          Of course, a lack of evidence is no evidence at all.
          Just because no one can think of something impossible doesn't mean that there isn't.

          I'm looking for positive evidence that this stance is correct.
          A poverty of evidence to the contrary doesn't prove anything.
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    May 19 2013: Psychology - the study of the human psyche

    The question of the psyche was originally for philosophers to ponder, but now the question has been given to cognitive researchers (and the respected mind sciences).

    The problem with studying human consciousness is we have no other type of superior consciousness to compare ours to, so we are in a HOLE as far as finding out where to begin what is 'conscious' or not. We have great ideas, like emotions, memory and reasoning that tell researchers we are conscious, but the general nature of such consciousness, it still a mystery. Because as soon as I rationalized 'this is my nature' I become aware and that 'natural tendency' no longer has as much of an effect on my future reasoning...

    Take the Myer-Briggs personality criteria for example: The test dictates your personality TYPE, so if the test is justified (by you or others) to be true and practical - you accept this assessment of YOU. Well, after this 'acceptance' you are no longer that type of personality, you are now 'more of' or a 'variation of' that personality type. Therefore having accepted who you are on an objective standard, has given you reason to alter future rationalities involving yourself.

    At the point where we actually begin to map the brain out (in an unified theory), we will still be left with questions of how to use those maps to better the human condition.

    So, what will always be impossible, has been and will be is - the perfect education system to train a human being.

    OR - just "perfection" in general.

    It is impossible for humans to be absolute creatures, being born subjective, but we can be objective (by taking from consensus and communities)... Yet, we cannot conceptualize what our species will become even in 100 years, so how can we be able to ever practice absolute reasoning as a casual occurrence?

    A lot is impossible, but it takes creativity and imagination to make practical developments from thinking 'impossible'
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      May 19 2013: Are you saying that if something realizes what it is, then it is no longer that thing?
      A human that realizes it is a human, is no longer a human?
      I don't see how this makes sense.

      Are you saying that in 1 million years from now, or even 10 billion years from now, this won't be accomplished?
      I give humans more credit and think that this type of advancement could be done in 100,000 years.
      Do you have a reason that it could never be done?

      Why might perfection be impossible?
      Anything that is completely pure is perfect in that way.
      Space that has nothing inside it (a vacuum) is perfectly empty.

      These are all possible.
      If you have more impossible things to name, then please do so.
      Don't hold back.
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        May 19 2013: " A human that realizes it is a human, is no longer a human?"

        Ha, this is why the social sciences should be stressed more.. Consider the variety of fields of study for the human body, let alone the brain and how the mind works. A better question: "If a human realizes/learns/rationalizes more about their biology, psychology, physiology, etc. they no longer are just a human?" Well, that still doesn't answer the very important question of "what is a human being?" How do we objectively describe ourselves if we are the consensus which establishes conceptuals categorizes? In another sense, how can an individual ever really realize their full potential if they do not know ALL the actuality that can be known about humans? And that answer, will suggest when an 'agent' realizes more about what it is, it is no longer the same agent.

        Maslow's Peak Experience // Buddhism's Satori - the questioning of self, and it's existence leading to enlightenment
        Nietzsche's Übermensch // Sagehood - the idea we must become more than human by understanding human nature
        (What it is to be human, is a matter of acceptability from society...While some say we need to "this" to be human, others will say "that" is the worth of being a human)

        Compare us to the people from 3000 years ago. I am assured, there will be far more differences than similarities. What will we emphasize as being "human" is a matter of social acceptance, not merely a time dimension. But, now considering the evolution of culture... A 100 years from now, where would our languages and philosophies have taken us? We will be "human" but less identifiable with us as humans now, for we would be more advanced. More developed humans, our ideas of ourselves and our conceptions would have also developed, thus different, thus impossible to solidify timelessly. Unless perhaps you say "we are celestial beings responding to other celestial beings" - which is just too holistic for my taste.

        Perfection is like beauty - perspecti
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          May 20 2013: You give examples in which learning to be human makes one more and less human.
          This seems to suggest that one can achieve all levels of "humanness."

          "when an 'agent' realizes more about what it is, it is no longer the same agent."
          Why this is true? An enlightened individual is still that individual.

          I'm not debating the definition of what it is to be human.
          I'm not sure what you consider impossible about this situation.
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        May 20 2013: Learning to be human cannot make one less human? If anything more of a human, when in pursuit of being better than a 'human' or normal person.

        "An enlightened individual is still that individual." This position doesn't seem valid. Enlightenment clearly implies wisdom obtained by trails of effort. How can someone who worked to be more of them self but not different from the person they were? Who a person is, is not a static agent. WE are agents of evolutionary adaption and social relations - if by nature we evolve, than by individual distinction that extension of thought should apply - we evolve when we adapt to reality.

        Please define human, in a way, that EVERYBODY will agree is an usable definition. Impossible.

        It is impossible these questions will be resolved and applied to public agencies in the next decade.
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          May 21 2013: A buddha is not born enlightened, but once he is, he stays the same person.
          The soul inside of him is the same, but it is now enlightened.

          Once enlightened, you Nicholas, would still be Nicholas.

          To take the easy way out.
          Human - what most people consider to be human.

          How could you know with any certainty that this won't happen?
          It is just as possible that you might die within the next decade or within the week.

          Just because something is unlikely, like a comet hitting the earth, doesn't mean it won't happen soon. As we have seen recently.
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        May 21 2013: Nice cereal box interpretation of Buddhism, but that's not the point of enlightenment and reflections on satori. The point is, that it is continuous once you begin on that journey. "Once you seen the peak of the mountain, you can't forget what you saw." A human is born with buddha or as buddha, which means we are already enlightened (or have the tools to be) but need to work to maintain the light. This changes a person, a name is not a representation of who someone is - nor their eyes. "A flower by any other name... still has the essence of a flower" We create our own essence constantly with our ideals of what is to be a good and proper human. To be happy. It is not impossible to know what makes everyone happy, it will forever be impossible to make everyone happy.

        Possibilities are all not the same, that is an absurd notion.

        There are impossibilities, but imagination allows us to overcome those thoughts, but we must IMAGINE how to, not merely because they do not exist.
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          May 22 2013: Reaching enlightenment allows one to shed the physical form.
          Liberation allows one to enter the true and pure form, nirvana.

          Speaking in terms of personhood in this context is futile.
          Also, I'm not really sure how this relates to the initial question.

          Why will it be impossible to make everyone happy?
          What if everyone becomes enlightened?

          So your stance is that through the power of imagination, all is possible.
          What physical limits does reality have that do not exist in the mind?

          What exists in your mind that was not gained from experiencing the world?
          All that exists in your mind has a basis in the physical world.
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        May 23 2013: "Why will it be impossible to make everyone happy?
        What if everyone becomes enlightened?"

        Your very LARGE what if should answer your own question.

        You never are able to shed your physical form, that's the 'IDEAL' the 'attempt' or 'desire' but never actually happens, but this desire seems to put other desires in perspective, which is the goal. To have a great perspective. Seriously, stop reading the side of the box and think its that simple.

        "So your stance is that through the power of imagination, all is possible.
        What physical limits does reality have that do not exist in the mind?"

        While I sit here at my laptop, on my floor, in my room. While I try to pinpoint and piece together who you ARE entirely, is impossible - enough cannot be known to understand. Imagination wise, "hell yeah" I can figure you out, but realistically, there are TOO many stipulations and assumptions involved to be totally accurate. Impossibility isn't the difference between real and unreal, it's the difference between how you think about real and unreal. The mind can make a minotaur a real-idea, but myself ever meeting one is impossible - at least on earth.

        "What exists in your mind that was not gained from experiencing the world?
        All that exists in your mind has a basis in the physical world."

        Fine and dandy, but what you take/learn with the actuality, is what is the overall potentiality of the object/subject (Aristotle). The "idea" of something is always greater than the "real" thing, therefore when one examines the "real" thing constantly more "ideas" are made. The limit of reality, and what is impossible, is if there is no way to not think without ourselves, without our minds. To assume we can "know" nothing is impossible, is to assume we "know" what is likely to be highly improbably or impossible - but, we don't collectively as humans even understand the mind we use in simple coherent explanation...

        I have given many examples of impossibilities, explore one or don't.
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          May 23 2013: I'm happy to explore them all.

          It doesn't matter how small a probability is.
          Any probability > 0 is possible.

          Then what does liberation mean?
          From what I understand, it means that one no longer needs to be born in a physical form.

          Leaving the cycle of rebirth is only possible by forsaking the physical and by recognizing one's true nature and becoming one with it.

          Cite something if you wish to argue differently.

          Why can't this be known?
          If every detail of your life was recorded as well as your genome, and epigenome, then why would it be impossible to?
          I understand that this is computationally very difficult, but I'm not convinced that it is impossible.
          These variables are finite and therefore able to be counted.

          "Impossibility isn't the difference between real and unreal, it's the difference between how you think about real and unreal."
          Are you suggesting that something is possible only if you think it is?
          I'm not sure how your mind has an effect on what is objectively real.

          A minotaur seems to have all of the components currently found in animals on this earth.
          Surely, geneticists will one day find a way to create this combination.

          "the "idea" of something is always greater than the "real" thing"
          How is the idea greater? What are you measuring this by?
          Are there not real things that we don't fully understand?
          Wouldn't the reality be greater than the idea of that thing?

          I would limit your use of the word always until you are serious about it.

          "The limit of reality, and what is impossible, is if there is no way to not think without ourselves, without our minds."
          I'm not sure if I understand this statement.
          Are you saying that it is impossible to think without a mind?
          I can't really say that I disagree with that, but any religious person would.

          I'm not sure if I understand the rest of the last paragraph.
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        May 24 2013: No, any possibility is not higher than 0 - outside of physics. This is absurd on at least three levels. And it is a degree of positivism that I find useless in genuine rationality - to suggest "anything is possible" is TOO idealistic to function in our current conditions of technology and our immediate understand of space, universe and time. I am one for idealism, Socrates/Plato, in pursuits of philosophy. But you are combining momentary conditions with possible reality, and of course THEN (in that mindset) nothing is impossible, but this isn't very practical thinking outside of say, theoretical physics? I cannot do that type of thinking when I research psychology; the mind sciences are still working on concepts let alone an unified theory of how the brain works - to suggest WE WILL have an unified theory, does not give me one now. So it is most certainly impossible that I CAN COME UP WITH ONE ON THE SPOT - but not impossible for there to be one. This division is necessary to be practical, because otherwise we will only get lost in our own conceptions. If you still feel as though NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE - this part of the discussion no longer interest me.

        Seriously, not going to talk Buddhism with you - check out The Zen Experience, or the Way of Zen, Zen for Beginners, and books like those. You clearly do not have a grasp (needing to cite wiki) on the material you are discussing but rather reiterating what a website says. Clearly haven't embodied it, and therefore will not discuss either. "Buddha is a shit-stick" - favorite quote

        Your response to minotaur example exist above ^

        The idea is always greater than the real, therefore the more you understand the REAL you can do more with the REAL! However, just because it is REAL doesn't mean you know what to do with it without more investigation or idea construction. Since things are interconnected (Mr. Buddhist) when the actuality of the thing is full, it will only still show more potential not more reality.
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          May 24 2013: I'm not looking for what is practical.
          I'm looking for what is.

          My definition of possible is not bound by time.
          If it is ever possible, then it is possible.

          I'm not exactly sure why you brought in religion in the first place.
          What a group of people believe to be true isn't necessary true.

          And thus, I couldn't find a scientific article to support my claims.
          I didn't realize that one could just cite a book and not give any quotations.

          But if you accept that convention, here is a book I think you will find most helpful.

          Your investigation of psychology obviously hasn't included the scientific method.

          Does potential not turn into reality?
          Certainly acid and mushrooms have the potential to change reality.
          Even if you wish it weren't so.
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        May 24 2013: Oh boy... "what is" IS always going! But part of what is going is DONE going (we can see the effects), at least in the moment, and by understanding the 'DONE-going-parts' or pieces we understand better how things go.

        FINE that is YOUR definition of TIME, not an objective one at all, time is relative to communication. To dismiss the relativity of time in conversation is to be absurd innately, have fun.

        Resisting my urge to continually suggest how much you do not understand what it is you are talking about...

        An additional book you should check out is Kuhn's scientific structure of revolutions, and you will see exactly what the 'scientific method' is, and what it is dependent on... And one of the reasons the book gets so much backlash is because he justifies "how/what a group of people believe can be necessarily true" not specifically data or merely 'method.' Thus the 'religious' type of thinking, is essential to understand how humans think - helps a lot in evolutionary psychology.

        Jesus help me!

        The anticipation of the potential is the always changing the actuality, even if actuality is prior to potentiality.

        And as that last statement is a personal attack, one that is CLEARLY unrelated lol, and it gives me joy. A sign of my correctness, that clearly, you have no idea of what you are talking about with Buddhism (satori, enlightenment, etc) and are doing no more than a commonly confused individual - trying to blend thoughts together when only knowing their most superficial definitions and concepts. And by feeling insulted, you have now resorted to personal attacks. But let me tell you when I was 19 I also fell into the same traps (and I notice when I let myself do so now), perhaps you will get out of your pitfalls in another 2 or 3 years.

        Good luck on your journey! Hope all I have said will linger in your mind enough for it to grow!
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    May 19 2013: Impossible to stop thinking till you are alive and conscious.
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      May 19 2013: I'm not sure if I understand your statement.

      Are you suggesting that thought occurs before birth?
      That thought exists without a mind?

      Even if this is true, you answer your own question.
      It is possible to stop thinking once you are alive and conscious.

      Therefore, not impossible.
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    May 19 2013: It is ,was and will be impossible not to get fired up by this question.
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    May 19 2013: G'day Cameron

    Was is pass tense therefore for the now & in the future was is impossible to occur as it was as nothing is the same as it's always changing, nothing stays the same including the way it was so was can't occur because it has changed from the way it was, if it's in the now it's something else not what it was when it was!!

    This might not make sense but every vibration changes so what once was can never be the same as it was as it's also changed it's vibration so it's impossible to achieve the way it was to it's exact vibration as one frequency change changes the said vibration to something else.

    So is everything possible, no not if it was but the now is a different story altogether!!!

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      May 19 2013: You misunderstood the question.
      It is meant to say, what is something that has these 3 qualities.

      Was never possible.
      Isn't currently possible.
      Will never be possible.

      This question has nothing to do with constancy.
      I have no doubt that things are constantly changing.

      But the real question is, whether or not there is a limit.
      Is there something that cannot be created or changed into?
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        May 19 2013: G'day Cameron

        The problem is Cameron you actually asked 'what is (was) as the first question' & the second question is "and will always be impossible to occur?" I actually answered both questions as the question itself goes. There is usually more than one way to answer a question by what it means.

        As you have said occur instead of occurred occur would have to state in the now so no it’s impossible but if you said “impossible to it have occurred” that would have changed the question altogether.

        Constancy actually means consistency or firmness which isn’t what I’m talking about, I’m talking about inconsistency as nothing stays the same so once was was can never be again however this is the paradox, the was can’t exist without the now so was can only seem to exist in the now but it can’t at the same time & that is another reason I said no not if it was.

        It's a paradox, was would have had to exist however it can only exist in the now but of course that’s impossible to our way of thinking, no question is simple if it’s a paradox. What I am saying is everything is in the now it never was or will be which of course is but another debate.

        I’ve actually helped you by looking at the questions in two different ways but both came up with the same answer.

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          May 20 2013: Well, this is somewhat interesting.

          So you are saying that once something is something it can never be that thing again.
          Things are constantly changing and would be impossible to be made into that thing again.

          Why do you think that this is so?
          If all of the atoms, subatomic particles and strings, if you prefer, were rearranged to a former state, then wouldn't that thing be the same thing it once was?

          Is there something about a thing that isn't physical and can't be reincorporated?
          I don't consider time to be a barrier to this pursuit.

          If one turns time backwards, then aren't all things that were made again?
          Can you give an example? This would further your argument.
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        May 21 2013: G'day Cameron

        I'm not saying I'm right in this it's just a different angle.

        It can never be exactly that same thing again once it was or yesterday will never come again & the reason for this is everything changes as nothing stays the same.

        If you could relive in the past in any way you couldn't know about it because it wouldn't be exactly the same because of your knowing, you would have to not know of it's past existence for it to be truly what it once was exactly, one frequency change like knowing of the existence represents a change.

        If you didn't know of reliving the past then it still can't exist because you wouldn't consciously know that you are reliving a past existence, if you’re not conscious of this it can't exist as everything is of consciousness I believe. If we are talking about a physical thing every physical thing changes with time, the atoms for instance change ever so slightly as it ages/breaks down just as we do.

        However if we went back in time the kettle would seemingly exist exactly the same because we are in the same exact time period in the past however it's not because everything is really in the now so there is no real past because of our own conscious awareness, if we went back in time consciously that would be the now for us as it is the now for us right at this minute, being consciously aware only gives us the now however if we weren’t consciously aware yes was exists & can re-exist however it can’t because your still living in the now as you can’t know of living in the past as this would be a vibrational change.

        Nothing is what it seems as it’s really all just vibrations anyway, everything looks different because it’s made up of different vibrative frequencies, all vibrations are of consciousness so yes I would say things aren’t just physical.

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          May 21 2013: So I think we need to separate this into two parts.
          The first is of purely physical things.

          I think they can be returned to exactly the same state.
          I can only imagine that this technology could be further extended to all parts of matter.

          Here is a great video of atoms if you haven't seen it already.

          I'm not exactly sure what physical thing you associate a vibration with being.
          Is this the vibration of a string? or of something like sound or light waves?

          Now the second one concerns things that rely on or are influenced by consciousness.
          I'm assume that you are referring, at least in part, to the observer effect.
          That a thing changes its nature upon being viewed.

          You are saying that we could never know for certain that we had been transported back in time, but that it would be possible for us to do so.
          Everything would be the same under those circumstances, even our "mindset," which would make everything exactly the same.

          I think that this situation would be possible, although difficult to prove.
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      May 19 2013: That's all fine and dandy, but you haven't named something in reality that is impossible.

      You say that imagination can produce an infinite number of things, but that reality cannot.
      Can you give an example?
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          May 20 2013: I'm not sure that you have named something impossible.
          The air flight example is of something that is possible.

          What do the natural laws prevent us from doing?
          What cannot occur because of them?
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          May 21 2013: For most of your statements you say, unless...
          This means that they can happen under the correct circumstances.

          Perpetual motion machines produce as much energy as they consume.
          It could be said that the water cycle is in some ways a perpetual motion machine.

          If all energy came from another source, where did the first energy come from?

          Also, it may be possible that in other universes these laws are violated.
          They may only have limited applicability.
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          May 22 2013: Sorry, I paraphrased. You used "without," just incase you forgot.

          Have you considered that we are not the highest being that evolution can produce?
          The intelligence of a monkey pales in comparison to ours.

          It is only logical to assume that beings more advanced than us would understand the world better than we do, simply because they are aware of more than we are capable of.
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          May 22 2013: Then these beings might not be bound by this limitation.
          I would agree that this is a limitation of the human mind, but not of all minds.
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    May 18 2013: Cameron,
    You say..."this question does not concern labels". Impossible is a it not?

    I perceive that as soon as we say something is impossible, we start to limit our imagination and creativity. Why spend time contemplating something that we think is impossible? To me, it IS a which I choose not to use because I think/feel it limits the possibilities:>)
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      May 19 2013: Most things exist not as one thing or another, but as degrees of many things.

      You could say that a chair has the properties of a chair, a sofa, and a stool, but in different proportions.
      It is most like a chair, but also similar to the other two to some degree.

      There are some things that can only exist as one thing or another.

      Living and dead are an example.
      Something is either alive or dead, never both at the same time.

      This is the same as possible and impossible.
      Something may be currently possible or currently impossible.

      I'm removing the time aspect and am inquiring only about whether something is ever possible.
      The thing exists independent of the label and is not contingent upon it.

      To label something as impossible does not limit what it can be, it correctly characterizes it as what it is.
      But again, you aren't addressing the main question, which is to name something truly impossible.
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        May 19 2013: I understand "degrees of many things" Cameron.

        I do not agree that living and dead is an example of "some things that can only exist as one thing or another".

        After a near fatal head/brain injury and emergency craniotomy, I was kept alive with life support systems. The body, for all practical purposes, according to the medical model, was not functioning on its own, so without the life support systems, if left "naturally", the body would have been dead. I was technically dead and alive at the same time.

        I agree that according to our perception at any given time, and based on information we may, or may not have, "something may be currently possible or currently impossible.

        I understand your about trying to understand my response?

        I believe that our perception of the "thing" in question, is indeed contingent upon information that we have at any given time. You just proved that with your response.

        In my perception, to label something "impossible" hinders our creativity and imagination, and therefor, renders it "impossible" in our mind and heart.

        I did address the main question it is again....
        "I perceive that as soon as we say something is impossible, we start to limit our imagination and creativity......To me, it IS a which I choose not to use because I think/feel it limits the possibilities:>)

        What part of the statement do you not understand?
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          May 19 2013: As per your own words, you were not dead.

          "near fatal head/brain injury"
          "I was kept alive"

          Also, the medical definition of death is "irreversible cessation of all vital functions."

          I'm not considering your opinion of the Truth.
          I am only concerned with the Truth itself.

          Our perceptions of the Truth have no bearing on it.
          Truth is objective.

          If you can't remain objective, then please remove yourself from the conversation.
          Your lack of insight will not be missed.

          It is obvious that your heart has taken control of your mind.
          Your emotions cloud your thoughts.

          Lastly, we are fighting for the same thing.
          The only difference is that I am looking for proof of what you have always assumed.

          You assume that nothing is impossible.
          I am looking for proof.
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        May 19 2013: Correct Cameron....the body was kept alive with life support systems. Again.....if the body had NOT had the life support systems it would have been dead. Since it DID have life support systems it continued to function.

        I am aware of the current definition of death, and the vital functions were kept alive with life support systems. What part of that do you not understand?

        I don't really care if you consider what I offer as "truth" or not. You asked a question which I am respectfully responding to.

        Remove myself from the lack of insight will not be heart has taken control of my mind and my emotions cloud thoughts???

        I am not fighting are fighting with yourself! I have not always assumed anything......what the heck are you talking about???
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        May 19 2013: Cameron,
        I just want to remind you that YOU brought the example of life and death into the conversation....

        "Cameron Bosinski
        2 hours ago:
        There are some things that can only exist as one thing or another.
        Living and dead are an example.
        Something is either alive or dead, never both at the same time."

        I followed your lead, and responded to your question. Be clear about what you are trying to achieve with this discussion.
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    May 18 2013: Everything is possible, but some things are very unlikely.
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      May 19 2013: I agree, but I'm not questioning probability.
      Might you have a better way to substantiate your claim?
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        May 19 2013: There is nothing preventing my laptop from spontaneously growing fangs and biting my hands off. The laws of physics allow that to happen, but I take my chances because of the low probability of it ever happening.
        If we reason in mutliverse terms, the number of universes in which I get bitten by any laptop is very low.
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          May 20 2013: Agreed.
          Why might this be true though?

          Saying it is easy.
          Proving it is not.
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        May 20 2013: It's not true. It's just likely.
        It's likely because of the general understanding we have of how things work in reality. It's likely that our understanding is trustworthy because of how much it can explain, and because it's constantly checked for errors and improved.
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      May 18 2013: I see your point Carolyn. If a culture evolves in a certain way, and at some point in the evolution, starts changing thoughts, ideas and beliefs, do you think it may be able to change? If the culture continues with the same structure, it may be impossible to change. If the basic structure of the culture changes, it IS possible to it not?

      So, the possibility or impossibility depends on the choices of the cultural group to continue building on old beliefs, or willingness to change? Change may be possible with different choices?
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      May 19 2013: So you fell into the trap I listed in the question.
      You proposed something impossible, then started how it could be possible.

      "as long as it builds all its social structures with this motif at it core"

      So you are saying that if society changed this about itself, then it would be able to reach equality.
      Therefore making this situation not impossible.
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        May 19 2013: 1-0 Cameron.

        You must feel proud of yourself...

        :D All sarcasm aside, I like your logic.
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    May 18 2013: becoming younger
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      May 19 2013: This depends on how you measure age.

      If you measure it by time spent alive, then a reversal in time would allow you to grow younger.
      If you measure it by biological age, as in how old your cells are or how old you feel, this is done regularly.

      People who age quicker than another can be slowed, but this does not yet address your point.
      It is possible by transplantation to give someone "younger" organs or to repair ones that have aged.

      In this way, the parts of your body can become younger.
      If they were all replaced, then that body as a whole would be younger than when it started.
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        May 19 2013: oh, yes. i forgot about reversing time. how silly of me.
  • May 18 2013: Maybe a reversal in time or reduction in entropy?
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      May 19 2013: The flow of time and entropy are equally favorable processes.
      The laws of physics do not dictate that they should flow in one direction or the other.

      Why it flows in one direction in our universe instead of the other is a mystery.
      But it is not impossible for it to do so.

      There is likely a universe in which time flows backwards.
  • May 18 2013: I think one answer is deceptively simple - seeing into the future is impossible.
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      May 19 2013: Seeing into the future is easier than you think.

      Without vision and hearing the future does not exist.
      Having only a sense of smell and taste, one can only be aware of the present as it is currently happening.

      Seeing, as a sense, allows us to be aware of the future.
      We can now literally see into the future and become aware of what will happen next.

      Predicting what will happen next IS seeing into the future.
      This is regardless of whether or not it will actually happen.

      It may not always be accurate, but it can be.
      Therefore, at least some of the time, your prediction will be correct and you had saw into the future.
      • May 20 2013: I agree, Cameron, that with a heightened sense of awareness, you are able to live fully in the present, and anticipate the near future, to a certain extent.
        It is, though, impossible to foresee where you will be 6 months from now, for example. I am someone who was aware, had my life going the direction I wanted, had the ambition and the motivation, but literally got hit by a car. There is no way, not even with awareness, that I could've seen that coming. I suppose this might be what you mean, that it will not always be accurate. In my case, that's true!
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          May 20 2013: I don't know if you believe in casual determinism.
          But if you do, one things causes another and so on.

          There are a preceding set of circumstances that put you where you are.
          It couldn't have happened any other way.

          Recording each of these in a simple pinball machine is possible.
          Expanding this type of computation to the whole world would be able to predict everything.

          It would validate that you are exactly where you are supposed to be.
      • May 21 2013: Cameron,
        as 'coincidence' would have it (which of course, it's not), I am dealing with this very topic and have learned some things since I posted the above comment 2 days ago.

        A series called 'Flash Forward' has set some things in motion, provoked me in a way I didn't expect, and got me researching 'casual determinism', the very thing you mention.

        I agree with everything you've said, Cameron, that we are exactly where we are supposed to be. Predicting the future is still up in the air for me, but that we end up where all our chosen paths lead us is, to me, an absolute truism.
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    May 18 2013: You gave the correct answer: Nothing is impossible, but I might add nothing is real.
    • May 18 2013: Now, that has got me thinking, Pat...
      What is 'real' to you?
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      May 19 2013: If nothing is real, then it is impossible for something to be real.
      Your logic is internally inconsistent and entirely unhelpful.
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        May 19 2013: Two different definitions of real.

        One is the reality of the universe. Most things that we interact with daily are real because someone created them. Which demonstrates anything is possible as long as people agree to it's reality.

        Second is the reality that would exist if the universe did not exist. In this sense there would be nothing left, in the frame of reference of the universe.

        What creates the creations? you might ask and that is what is real.
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          May 19 2013: Please continue this line of thinking in a different conversation.
          It does not apply here.
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          May 19 2013: For what it's worth Pat, I think it applies. I'm getting the idea that maybe our friend Cameron doesn't really want to have a conversation....or......he doesn't understand that people may have a different perspective? He already told me to "remove" myself from the conversation...LOL:>)
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        May 19 2013: Cameron

        Au contraire, I'm sure there are others who would like to look.
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        May 19 2013: Coleen

        I agree, Cameron should observe what ever he observes but is sorely mistaken if he thinks he is going to tell me, or you I suspect, what we see or what is real.