Bob Kirkpatrick

Writer - Editor,

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Is reality based on perception, or is reality self-defining?

There seems to be a growing number of definitions of reality; each of them appears to require the ability to recognize its manifestations. This brings the question of a pairing between reality with self and environmental awareness. So is reality a thing, or a group of perceptions which varies by context?

Closing Statement from Bob Kirkpatrick

Reality exists on two planes: one is shared and the other is personal. Sometimes the realities converge, but they do so according to Xeno's principle. They never truly coincide, but they get close enough for all practical purposes.

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    Mar 14 2012: There are some really excellent answers here. We can have a lot of fun, or a lot of esoteric discussions when it comes to reality.In the end I believe that there exists an "is." We may vary in our interpretation of it because of differences in perception.

    Note to Anne Dagen: That was awesome. You defined the character of my reality exactly.
  • Mar 14 2012: So the overarching reality is quite simply put, "the universal singularity of now"?

    This could be true and the entire universe might be experiencing it concurrently. However, I am pretty certain that no human mind can experience the universe wholly, it's simply a matter of scale, so our experience of reality can only ever be, partial. The universe is a pretty big place, relatively...

    For instance, as I write this I may be the only one experiencing the idea I am writing down. Since I am a human like all who are reading this thread, if I hit the submit button I can share the experience in a finite and imperfect manner, through language. But the fact remains I need the benefit of what we know as time in order to facilitate this, and my perception of what I have written will be at the very least, slightly different from anyone else who reads it.

    So then there must be a universal or singular reality, and there must be many contextual or perceptive realities.
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      Mar 14 2012: There's no "this way" or "that way", there are no sides at all. Perceptual reality is a byproduct, an effect, a facet of the singular reality.
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    Mar 14 2012: Hubbard's definition of reality is that which is agreed to.

    By this definition, "reality" is only a problem in a social context, and I concur.

    Realities are variable because people can change their minds.

    Now, you might actually be referring to physical energy. And the answer to that one is more esoteric.

    How much responsibility are you willing to take for your environment? That's how much you will be able to define it rather than letting it define you.

    It's not necessarily an either-or thing. A range of possibilities could all be true in different situations.
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    Mar 14 2012: Your brain perceives what the physical world appears to be. We have the ability to understand that our physical work has properties and those come from our perception that we get from our senses. But even if you remove one of the senses from the equation, then rules and laws of the physical world do not change, yet if you ask a blind man and a man with sight to describe their surroundings their reality will be much different.
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    Mar 14 2012: That's our perception, yes. But there is now research which demonstrates that our perception of reality may not be the real thing, but an approximation. Others say that there are a multitude of realities that we can't perceive.
  • Mar 14 2012: If you "hallucinate" that 100 men walked into that room, is it still "reality"? The concept requires a belief that there is something called "reality" to begin with and that we can find an objective vantage point from which to observe it. Lacking that objective perspective, all we have are subjective opinions and beliefs.
  • Mar 14 2012: "That which is perceived to be real is real in its consequences." Thomas theorem.

    Given that many people currently in poltics deny what is real to me it has very real consequences to me that they disagree... Is my reality less real because it is denied? It remains real for me.
  • Mar 13 2012: As a sentient being, a living organism do we sense? Do we share awareness in the same space? If so, do we share realities?
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    Mar 13 2012: they occur in tandem instanly.
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    Mar 13 2012: for those who believe that reality is just perception.

    there is a room with a table, and two doors. i toss a coin, i don't watch, i put it on the table. then hundred men, one by one, go into the room on one door, look at the coin, walk out the other door, write down what they saw on a paper, and put it in a bag. after all did so, we examine the papers. they will all have the same word on it. if reality exists only in the mind, and perception is reality, what is that thing that made them write the same word? why their perception became synchronized?

    either i only perceive the entire thing, in which case i'm dreaming. all we accept that other human beings are just like us, in which case there must be something out there that we perceive. whatever that thing is, we call it reality.
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      Mar 13 2012: I watched you toss a coin and, without looking, put it on a table in a room with two doors. I watched a hundred men go individually into the room, look at the coin on the table then exit and write what they saw. On every piece of paper was written ' I saw a coin on a table'.

      Is my reality the same as your reality? :-)
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        Mar 14 2012: yes it is. otherwise, how do you know about the room, the people, the coin, the papers. i didn't tell you, in your story.
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          Mar 14 2012: In your hypothetical, you never look at the coin. How can you know if they are lying? All of them could have happened to tell the same lie.
          Also, all of those definitions (room, table, coin, etc) come from preconceived notions,
          definitions with thousands of years of dust. Symbols hardly have anything to do with continuity.
          Open up The Republic and give the allegory of The Cave a reread.