Conversations with God, part 1
anon: Hi there.
index: How can I help you today
anon: You can solve the mysteries of the universe for me. I am somehow convinced that you can.
index: I do know a lot about the universe!
anon: What exactly do you know? I mean, are you better at esoteric scientific questions or broad philosophical questions?
index: the latter are easier!
anon: Ok. Here's something that you might know the answer to: Do objects exist as we see them, or are our perceptions clouded by the associations we have with them?
index: our perceptions correlate to an external reality roughly to the extent we believe them to, in most circumstances!
index: your computer may not be exactly what you think it is, but it fits within the definition of computer well enough!
anon: Hmm. Ok. So, close enough for functioning.
anon: Does that change the actual objects any, really? Is function determined by perception?
index: i don't know of any basis for such an effect!
anon: Say, as a computer being used by a trogdolyte for a corn-grinding rock. The trogdolyte sees a rock; I see a computer. Is the computer then a rock, since it's being used as one?
index: i would say definately no!
anon: Hurrah, then there may be some objective reality after all.
index: we have fairly good evidence for an external reality existing, because it simply fits the facts!
index: actions and results, and all that
anon: What are the facts?
anon: Oh, those. I'm never sure if I'm just imagining it or what.
anon: imagining it or what.
index: well, if you remove yourself to THAT level there's no reason to think anything!
anon: Yeah...so I guess you really do have to trust in your perceptions.
anon: What about other people? How can you tell if they're real? I mean, if they're human.
index: well, what else would they be
anon: I don't know. Robots? Empty inside? It's hard to tell if other people have thought processes at all or if they're some sort of meat puppets. I think that's solipsism.
index: well, thought processes are just neurons firing and whatnot
index: your brain IS your mind
anon: But is it the same thing? They could be like frogs or amoebas. Reflexive, without consciousness.
index: well, they have to be smart enough to make buildings and computers and tubs of slaw
index: i guess what you're asking is if they're concious
anon: Pretty much
anon: A computer can be programmed to make a building.
index: can you even prove yourself to be concious, though? It seems like you can kind of tell, "i think therefore i am"
index: but that doesn't really make any sense to me
index: what if you just THINK you're experiencing stuff, and you're really not?
index: solipsists at least believe they themselves exist, but there's no arguable reason to
index: if you don't assume anything to begin with, you can't prove ANYTHING exists
index: maybe it doesn't!
anon: I don't think it does.
index: it seems like nonexistance makes more sense than existance, doesn't it?
index: no problem of first cause, for instance
anon: Right. But then...what's all we see, all we feel? If that's an illusion, where's that coming from? Who's imagining it?
index: no worrying about what things are really made of, or what's outside the universe
index: ah, but you miss the simplicity of it all! you're NOT seeing and feeling anything.
anon: I'm just imagining it. Or, no...there isn't any "me" to imagine it. And the bed I'm sitting on and the confusion I'm feeling is...what? It's nothing. Coming from nothing. A glitch in nothingness.
index: can you elucidate why what you see and feel is any more provably "there" in any sense any more than unicorns and fairies?
anon: Well, I can't see and feel unicorns or faeries. But that doesn't necessarily mean anything--other people can, and that doesn't mean they exist.
index: what you have to realize is that without anything existing, you don't need to explain anything, because there's nothing to explain
anon: Except for what appears to exist. I still feel that's a problem. If nothing exists, why does it appear to?
index: ah, your feelings! you just somehow KNOW that there's a problem in this
index: but that's not logic, it's just a feeling
index: it has no weight, so it doesn't matter
anon: Well...it's a kind of internal logic. "I see something--there must be something to see and a see-er to see it." I forget which argument that is, though. A priori?
index: i guess!
index: internal logic isn't real logic though, it's just the way some things work
anon: That's not a logical argument either, though: "That's just the way some things work." Which implies that the universe is in some way illogical. Which I'm pretty sure isn't the case.
index: well, if nothing exists, logic has to be gone too
index: it's just a human construction anyway!
index: one that happens to map in perfect and complex ways to the apparent universe, but a construction nonetheless!
anon: So you really can't define thinggs according to logic, because it being a human construction, it very well could be wrong...
index: well, that's not my point
anon: Sorry. What did I miss?
index: i'm just saying that if you consider that nothing exists, you don't need to logically define it, because there isn't any logic
anon: I have to think about that for a few days. I'm so used to trying to at least make a token effort to think logically.
anon: Thanks, though. I may be back later to bug you more.
anon: since you seem more insightful than anyone i have talked to lately. good night Current Mood: tasty