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Ambar Kleinbort

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What is a fiction and what is real?

National identity for instance is a fiction, constantly being constructed and reconstructed. But what exactly is the definition of a fiction? Is language a fiction? After all words are no more than made up sounds that only account for 7% of communication. The best I have come up with is that realities, such as colors, are impossible to explain, while fictions are not. Can you come up with anything better for the sake of my sleeping hours? Also, why do you think people denny fictions so much, perhaps because they mean all they know about themselves is not real, their identity is a fiction, so is this why people developed this amazing ability not to think? Is existence the same as reality(because fictions do exist)?

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  • Mar 3 2011: And because all these perceptions differ slightly they're not reality; instead they're better referred to as fiction?!

    Harald, you admit to a reality although say that we only have the ability to conciously experience a fragment of reality's totality, which I agree with of course, but why are our experiences fiction and not simply a partial represention of the real?
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      Mar 3 2011: Hi Rory,
      In order to know which is a partial representation of reality and which is not, we first would have to have a clear and objective understanding of reality. And this, at least in my opinion, is not the case.
      So, it might well be that some of our perceptions are a partial representation of reality, but others are not.
      Example:
      a) colors: colors are not objectively real. What we perceive as color is just the result of absorption/reflection of light from an object. There are many animals that have a different or no perception of color at all.
      b) solid matter: as I mentioned below, what we perceive as solid matter is to more than 99 % made out of empty space. Yet, we perceive it as solid. On the other hand, there are subatomic particles that just go through matter as if it weren't even there.
      Maybe fiction is too harsh a word, but I would say that our reality is being far from real ;-)
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        Mar 4 2011: alright, colors are just light waves, but can't light waves be real? i think if they wearen't we probably wouldn't be here, its obvious we cannot fully perceive reality. perhaps there are levels to how real something is, well not really but we can try to classify things. The least real would be human made concepts rather than actual existing things, for instance identity or education. Then there would be what you can sense such as objects which probably go along with a lot of things we can't sense, and so on. We can also base what is real on what it appears to cause, for instance wind is real because we can feel it and because it changes the weather and many more reasons. The more things that become unexplainable when you take something away, the more real that something probably is. Does that make sense?
        • Mar 4 2011: I agree with Ambar. And isn't that pretty much how science works: it explains phenomena and how they feature in the system of reality (whatever it might truly be) and readjusts it's views based on evidence to fit any new explanation that is needed. This would seem reasonable to me and scientific study, although often said to be empirical, is not solely based on our senses, but technological improvements can help us to perceive things we otherwise could not. For example, noone could have a reasonable personal fiction about the nature of quantum reality, but there is a reality. I just can't accept that the lines between fiction and reality will always be blurred!! :)
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          Mar 4 2011: Ambar, Rory:
          If we can agree that we cannot fully perceive reality, how do we know that what we perceive is actually real and not just our (subjective) perception ?
          I don't thinks there are levels of "realness". Either something is real or it is not. I can't really imagine anything in between.
          Ambar, you say that we can base what is real on a cause. Take the wind example. Why do we feel the wind ? It is because we have a sense of touch that reacts to the wind. If we wouldn't have this sense, we wouldn't feel the wind. We might see trees waving in the wind, but we might conclude something completely different from this movement. Maybe we would conclude that the trees move on their own and not because of an external force ?
          I believe, that we accept as real what we can sense in some way with at least 1 of our 5 senses. But are our senses really giving us a correct representation of what is around us ?
          Rory, as to you last sentence: I don't think that lines between reality and fiction are blurred. There is only one true reality. That we are not fully able to perceive it, is a different story ,-)
          P.S. look also at our macro world and compare that with the quantum world. Reality, seems to be different in those 2 realms, yet, the macro world is made out of the quantum world.
        • Mar 13 2011: Hi Amber, don't worry to much about what is real and what is fiction. We are all brainwashed from the time we are born, the power of suggestion is nearly all powerful. For example: religion, evolution, science and last but not least magicians. Without it where would they be?

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