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 6 2011: sory, i didnt mean to say there are levels to how real something is, i completely agree that its either real or not. one more question, if 0. 00000000(infinite 0s)1 doesn't exist, which can be mathematically proven how is it that anything exists? i would think that is a glitch in math, like square roots of negatives
  • 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.
      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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    Mar 3 2011: the fiction is everything what we don't belive
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    Mar 3 2011: What we think about as real, isn't real at all, but just our perception of reality, which is naturally limited by our 5 senses. Just think about, more than 99 % of an atom is just empty space, yet, we see a whole world in all its diversity out there, which, to our senses, seems pretty much real.
    Coming back to your question, I think everything is fiction, in the sense that it is only the representation of reality (not reality itself) through our senses. Since all humans use the same 5 senses more or less in the same way, our perception of our surrounding is pretty much coherent throughout the human race, which makes it easy for us to accept it as reality.
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      Mar 3 2011: sorry, we have don't have 5 senses. :)
      this is a common misconception. we have many senses, depending on how you group them. what about balance for example? or hunger?
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        Mar 3 2011: I think you missed his point Kris.

        from what I gather Harald is saying we develop a mental model of the world which is not the world itself, nor is our model of the world identical to it, and yet all of our perceptions of the world are quite similar - regardless of how many senses we use.

        I think Harald brings up a good point when he says this is just one way to perceive the universe - a good and useful way but just one of many different ways - therefore when we think of reality what we really think of is our unique perception of the universe.
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          Mar 3 2011: You got it Jordan ;-)
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          Mar 3 2011: no i was just teasing him. and dropped in some fun fact as a bonus.
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          Mar 4 2011: Krystian, actually, right now I have a "sense" of'm off to dinner !
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      Mar 6 2011: Yes, but why is the perception coherent through the human race? I've often wondered whether we all truly see the same thing when we see ''RED" for example, or if a chair is truly a chair for everyone. The tendency, even for myself, would be to say ''yes'', but I am sure there are a million differences in perception for every single little thing from one person to the other. Plus there's the language issue. Red is only red because we define and label it as red. it could be yellow, rose, or kdauj5 for all we know, it's only a definition. So, if red is only a definition of ''something'', does that something appear the same to all of us or did we just learn to put it in the same category, under the same name?

      How about things that aren't explainable yet, like coincidences and thoughts and frequencies and other types of communication. No, there aren't 5 senses, there might be millions - or our senses might be able to sense much more that we are not aware of yet. And even 5, it's just a name, a mathematical definition embedded in our language.
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    Mar 2 2011: If we are "real" then it would seem our feeling would necessarily be real. And yet it isn't so. If we are hypnotized and told that we are feeling a certain way, we will express that feeling.

    I think it would be hard to draw a line and say this is real and this is fiction. Everything we see and do is filtered through our mental processes, which are based on our life experiences.
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    Mar 1 2011: if you continue that line of thought, you will quickly arrive at buddhism. if you are interested in the topic, i recommend to read about buddhism, but only from the original source, not western "gurus". many books of the dalai lama are out there, and they are very good.

    in the meantime, i try to present you a thought from a hungarian poet and writer, Sándor Weöres. the original is a piece of art, so i won't try to translate, just present the idea in a raw format. so here we go: "our existence is a lie. everything that looks real and solid, is just an illusion, they're fake. the only thing that is not a lie is the thing that looks the most unreal: imagination. we can see the truth only through imagination."
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    Feb 28 2011: The cool thing about colors is their inherently subjective - how do I know that red 4 me is not blue 4 u?

    This is an extremely philosophical & deep question but I think I know what you mean b/c I've spent a great deal of time thinking about the topic & researching it.

    There is a more fundamental reality than color b/c color is really in the same category as words & everything else. For what are the "fictions" you speak of, but mere symbols? Words are symbols, mental models are symbols, even color is nothing but light waves (symbols) interpreted by the brain & experienced as color. That's how I think of it the universe - in terms of dead symbols & live interpreters of those symbols. I believe that's the fundamental structure of the universe.

    You've discovered that each of us are utterly alone - I can speak to you & you can hear me but I can never know for sure that you have the exact same interpretations of my words that I mean you to have. Symbols are in reality dead & carry no truth or light until a living interpreter interprets them. In that sense we do create our own reality.

    Which brings me to my conclusion: The only 'realities of existence' as you would put it are Us. You, Me, Everyone, every living thing, every intelligence, grand as man & better, or infinitesimal as bacteria & smaller. This only makes sense if one accepts that all intelligence is eternally existent.

    This interpretation of reality has many interesting implications: 1 is the definition of love. To love someone while you can never experience their reality directly requires a great deal of faith. Love is therefore the choice to believe someone is a live interpreter & not a dead symbol - u can never know for sure as symbols can be made to mimic life. It is the choice to believe in them & desire their happiness. Hate therefore is the choice to believe they are real as u are, able to experience joy & sorrow, pleasure & pain, but desire for them pain.

    Only & who u choose r real in ur reality.
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      Feb 28 2011: thank you :)
      would you say feelings are realities? regardless of the fact that we might experience them differently and that your brain interprets them like any other information, is pain or happiness real? if not how exactly did we go from non-living to non-thinking to everything being a fiction?
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        Mar 1 2011: Feelings must be real - they're innate to your being. Yes they are experienced by the brain as chemicals making some neurons fire and not others but that's just their expression - their manifestation in this physical universe.

        Were there no physical matter you would still exists because as we discussed earlier all intelligence is eternal in nature or else this whole world view doesn't make any sense. So yes, it can be very complicated; this interaction of eternal essence and physical machinery of the body, but when it comes down to it we must conclude that feelings are essentially a part of your essence inseparably connected therefore feelings are as real as you are. They're as real as any of your actions are.

        I really love this conversation we're having, I'm actually holding back a lot of information I've pickup in my studies because I don't want to just lecture or sound crazy. But you are excellent at connecting the dots! I actually didn't know there was anyone else in the world who thought about this kind of stuff.
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    Feb 28 2011: Wouldn't a fiction be any thing subject to third party opinion? Anything you can not personally validate and authenticate is a fiction. A COIN is a Center Of Influence Network. The role models and proteges overflowing in your life that compel you to succeed your dreams. Those of us who live that example will drive personal and group transformation to recreate whole systems change. COIN of the Realm?
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    Feb 28 2011: Fiction and real are the notions developed by humans to classify things as per their understandings.

    People deny fiction because they think that it is not suitable for them.Now its ur choice to decide the defn of suitable in this context.