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Define Perception and the world

  1. Nov 29, 2004 #1
    When I was about five, I was haunted by a shocking dream. I dreamt (it was more like a feeling than expressed in verbal thoughts) that I am all alone in existence, and is the sole consciousness of the universe. The people around me all mere products of my thoughts.

    I continued to be haunted by this dream occasionally until it gradually faded out as I grew older. Usually I would wake up panting in such occasions and felt incredibly lonely.

    (Well, I’ve pretty much faith in my sanity and I’m a normal boy!! :grumpy: )

    Can anyone make any sense out of this? Does anyone else share such experience too?

    P.S.: Tell me that you are real and exist. :biggrin:
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2004
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 29, 2004 #2


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    Well, I believe that I exist and am real. Does that help? :wink:

    If you feel you need more help than we can offer here, you should ask a professional psychologist. That said, I can't speak intelligently about the cause of your dreams, I can only offer speculation. But I can tell you that you aren't the first person to experience those thoughts. In fact, some people hold those thoughts as beliefs. Do you believe any of the thoughts expressed in your dreams?
  4. Nov 29, 2004 #3
    The Dream

    Your dream sounds quite profound, especially for a young boy of 5. It sounds more like a mystical experience than a dream, though it did appear to be quite frightening (to you).

    In monistic idealism one has to ask as to how the "one" consciousness becomes many. It seems you have quite an intuitive mind.

    Though some may say this is absurd, it is impossible to prove that anything exist outside of the mind. This can be applied to an individual mind as well as the minds of many. On the other hand, there seems to be quite a lot of experience to show that "other" minds do exist, or at least facets of the "one", experiences existence as the many.

    The dream you describe comes so close to what great philosophers have also asked or thought in the past that I question as to whether you are kidding us as to whether this thought came into the mind of a child at age 5.

    In any event, it is a deep thought all the same. :smile:
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2004
  5. Dec 7, 2004 #4
    I belive Akihiro, as I also had the same experience. I didn't experience it in a dream, nor did it haunt me. It occured in kindergarten...but these thoughts were feeding me, giving me my lucky spoon...etc.

    I thought my conscience was the "only" one--all else was just a set of actions from others and environment as predicted in my thoughts. I did not recognize the consciences in others--just my conscience, all else just fed it or affected its perceptions. For some time, I thought that this "all else" that affected my conscience were simply thought products were my unconscious. I used to have nightmares almost every night until 5th grade---not "scary" nightmares...but peculiar and strange ones whose environment, although not logically plausible, that evoked certain memories at times during my life (i had very accurate memories during those times--even after book/science reports from fourth thru eleventh grade...i remember the pictures, texts, paragraphs, and captions from the textbooks--from math averages..etc..etc)...memories that were confounded with fears (religious, physical, mental, etc). These unconscious thoughts would be what "haunted" me, as possibly the dream of Akihiro. (Funny though...these thoughts turned up in my dreams!)

    Until after 5th grade...I had no more such thoughts, and had a better grip on a more optimistic reality. However, no matter how fearful they were...I still seem to miss those perceptions; perhaps they evoked some other sense of nostalgia coded in unconscious form understandable only by the dreamer/perceiver, or were just perceptions of how I basically emotionally perceived these events in the waking world.

    Similar to that of Akihiro, i also felt that my conscience was the "only one"--i.e., only I perceived "emotions" and was truly "alive", where all else was just minor perceptions and products of my thoughts.

    According to Piaget, a child psychologist, it seems to be that such thoughts may be an advanced form of "egocentricism"--(for lack of better word?)...that only the child's conscience exists and only the perceptions of the child are real, somewhat speaking. I suggest that Akihiro read on about Piaget's view of child "egocentricism."--which i think was later proven false or not usually true--by a series of certain psychological experiments, such as this one (from "Psychology: Fifth Edition, by Carol Wade and Carol Tavris, page 503):

    Whene a "3-year-old girl was asked to place place the doll where the policeman could not find him. According to Piaget, she should be 'egocentric' and therefore hide the doll from herself as well. On several occasions, however, she placed the doll where she, but not the policeman, could see him."

    Although this is HIGHLY oversimplified and the child may be simple as well, it seems that Akihiro may have experienced a form of such "egocentricism"--where, in practicality, would probably repeat what the girl would do...but inside...may feel this concept of "egocentricism" (for lack of a better word?) where his conscience is only one...the only one with feeling or is truly alive--not a product of thoughts or concepts or predictions about nature/environment/other's actions...etc as everyone else

    I thought my conscience was the only one and--well, the things written in my above post. I understood that others may well have had consciences as well, but was unable to sense or feel it, so I considered that only I had a conscience--or for a better term, only i had "free will"--everyone else was just deterministic (kind of like robots, but not exactly), where people would be predicted as products of actions, environments, and basically my current thought and intuition--where, what I currently thought was real. I accepted the existence of the physical world, but did not believe in the widespread orientation of "free will"--or so i think--but maybe it was something else--

    -as said by Akihiro

    Well, that's my "two-cents"! :biggrin:
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2004
  6. Dec 16, 2004 #5
    "Let's say something, Max" did I said to myown. But what's myown? That's all I'm the onlyone to know about me. Right now, what you said about your "dream", it is not in yourown because you aren't the onlyone to know it. Don't try to know if people does exist. What's a thing who exists? You really want an answer? It is something about you think, it is something you believe, something you imagine. The hardest thing to accept it is the fact that if there are more then one reallity, we can not know anotherone. Why? Because if you knew the otherone, it will not be anotherone!!! Because you can think about this. And thinking is making the things are reall. Reallity is not only wat you can touch! That's wat an human believe because an human see himself as god!
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2004
  7. Dec 16, 2004 #6


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    This is a very interesting topic, especially since these feelings of being the only conscious being are reported from such young ages. Perhaps this naturally occurring feeling was the original basis or inspiration for the philosophical stance of solipsism, the doctrine that states that only "I" exist and every other person is merely a product of my thoughts (where "I" refers to whatever individual happens to believe in solipsism).

    Psychologists who have studied autistic people have inferred that autistics have a similar disposition, but in a much more extreme form. Autistics seem to treat people no differently than they treat inanimate physical objects. For instance, eye tracking experiments show that a 'normal' person, when looking at a human face, will tend to focus his visual attention on the eyes and the mouth. The theoretical explanation for this is that the person is searching for salient facial features to try to get a read on the emotional/mental state of the person whose face is being observed. Eye tracking experiments show no preferential clustering of visual attention on facial features for autistics; they seem to gloss over facial expressions the same way anyone might gloss over the details of a tree they happened to be looking at. Other experiments provide support for the notion that autistics seem to have difficulties creating coherent 'theories of mind' for humans, for instance tasks where the patient views a cartoon of a person performing some activity and tries to fill in a thought balloon representing what the cartoon person is thinking of. This all suggests that autistics do not regard humans as fellow conscious beings, as a 'normal' person tends to do quite automatically.

    As for the philosophical aspect of solipsism, there is no real way to disprove it. There appear to be no purely logical inconsistencies with it, and because of the philosphical problem of other minds, there is no empirical way to show that other human beings are conscious either. Probably the best evidence against solipsism is the correlation between brain activity and conscious experience. Empirical studies of the brain, combined with verbal reports, suggest that certain types of brain activity and conscious experience go hand in hand. If you recognize that you have the same type of brain as do other humans, and either take on faith the correlation between brain activity and consciousness or have this correlation demonstrated by a cognitive scientist studying your own brain, then the most rational conclusion appears to be that fellow human beings will have conscious experiences similar to your own.
  8. Dec 16, 2004 #7


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    It should be noted that there is no qualitative difference between a world in which solipsism is true and a world in which solipsism is not true, so there isn't any rational reason to be afraid of or haunted by the possibility.
  9. Dec 22, 2004 #8
    but if u really did believe in solipsism, then couldn't all of that stuff with the brain just be your imagination at work? so once someone is a "solipsist"(plz tell me if this is correctly spelled) it would be hard to prove to them that they are wrong.but if there brain does the same things as my brain, and they are real... if u are looking at it without being of that veiwpoint, it does seem wrong.
  10. Dec 22, 2004 #9

    Let's look at Solipsism from the point of view of 'COMMUNICATION'. The fundamental criteria for any communication is that it is quantitatively and logically impossible to instantiate any form of communication without first creating two or multiple spatio-temporal positions either in a logical space or in the real external world or a combination of the two. This remains true even when the type of conversation is mono-directional (one-way conversational) in scope. Even a solipsist, if it can think, write and speak at all, can never excape this fact. And I claim that no dudgy argument, however sophisticated, can undermine this fact.

    If this is correct, it seems that a solipsist is logically and quantitatively trapped in a completely 'MAD WORLD' for:

    1) When 'it' is thinking, it is talking to itself, for thinking is aslo (as far as I am concerned) two-way conversational in scope and in substance.

    2) When 'it' utters or says anything (if at all a purely mind can do so in the first place), it is in actual fact talking and responding to itself in absolute respect of the laid-down two-way conversational prinicple. For this strange behaviour could not be construed otherwise. This mad creature is talking to itself.

    3) When it writes a letter, a report, a news material, a book etc, we are entitled to claim and conclude very confidently that a solipsist is doing so all for itself. It is writing and reading what it writes in the mad world of solipsism.

    But whatever you are, count me out! You are a soplipsist. You have now posted a question and expecting a response, does my response imply that you are responding to your own posting? Is my response your response? Well, I don't think so, since I will with everything at my disposal resist you ever being me. Not because I do not like you, but becuase nature has made it so, at least until further notice.

    NOTICE: I refer to a solipsist as an 'it', because I am not clear in my mind as to its true nature and scope of being. All I can barely imagine is a spooky creature trapped in a boundless world of madness, completely devoid of truth boundaries that is apparent and typical of the real world.
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2004
  11. Dec 24, 2004 #10
    speed of light in relation to time

    could someone please explain to me the direct relationship between the speed of light being able to manipulate time,
  12. Dec 24, 2004 #11
    Disturbed 1, please do not be so disturbed by this natural relation that holds between time and the speed of light. Nearly every discipline I know loves to create fixed points .......FIXED POINTS OF CERTAINTY! This is also true of Physics. Physics, like every other discipline, loves to create fixed points of certainty. In the light of this, the speed of light was supposed to serve in physics as a fixed point of certainty, one among many classess of the physical laws. But the speed of light cannot be a fixed point of certainty because it fundamentally undermines the notion of 'STRUCTURAL AND FUNCTIONAL PROGRESS', and above all the notion of 'PERFECTION'. For a true fizxed point of certainty is that which permits things on their causal pathways to structurally and functionally progress ....... and subsequently to become perfect. That is, finally survive physical destruction!.

    The physcal laws are such that, the speed of light must finally be exceeded! The speed of light does not manipulate time, rather the speed of light can only be physically exceeded by moving physical entities. This possibility, if any, can never affect the notions of structural and functional progress and perfection. Anything that can overcome this 'universal constant' sets itself upon the path of physical progress and perfection. For what else could be more powerful than to act and react at time t=0! Maybe there is a size, or form that a thing must take in order to violate this limit. Because the speed of light suggests physical limitations, we must seek laws, states and forms that overcome these limitations!

    Remember, no physical limitation of any kind can limit the human progress! For we are naturally empwered to overcome all physical limitations! If you are a student of science, start thinking of creating things that physically violate the speed of light.This is not manipulating time....instead, it is freeing you from the the psychology of time!
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2004
  13. Dec 27, 2004 #12


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    i've had the same thought. that other "people" experience the same things i have reaffirms my belief that i'm alone. you may all just be points of emphasis for what i already know, that you're products of my mind.
    meh. i need some drugs.
  14. Nov 9, 2005 #13
    reality or existence which seem related to me, can be measured and confirmed by cubing information. I like the number 3. this leads to a very accurate perception of reality and existence. of course tools that are used to measure the information directly relate to its accuracy. Would you say that there is only so much information in this universe. could this number be increased, obviously never decreased. Perhaps some leaking of information from another universe. could this be the bible.
    Reality is closely related. reality holds true information while we try to grasp it's real value. Reality is kinda trapped in time, and holds time constant. even information, speed of light, energy can influence but cannot change reality. Reality is at the tiniest measurement of time and is left in information.
    I believe that information is a higher tool which is measured and left behind in the universe from energy and intelligence, over a period of time. information and energy can directly increase time value of the universe and life.
    Would you not say that as we speak the universe is on a collision course for the end of time as the universe we know. Well, using information and energy the time of the universe supporting life could be increased. this sounds so out of reach but is true. the same proves true for life. with an increase of information and energy the life span of human beings has dramatically increased in the past century.
    I would be interested to see if life span was increased by potential energy by traveling at high speeds. Perhaps life's biological clock would act different. Perhaps this could also lengthen the time of the universe.
    I find it hard to believe that the speed of light will slow down time. Wouldn't this mean that time was slowed down all around us, as we are surrounded by light in the day time. I find it hard to believe in time travel as I see time as a constant dimension.

    Please reply interested parties for chat
  15. Nov 9, 2005 #14
    If by solipsism you mean, as defined by Webster, "the theory that nothing exists or is real but the self", is this not disproved each time a solipsist dies ? ...for if nothing was real but the self of a solipsist, then all reality should cease to exist when the true solipsist dies. Or is it then possible that since many humans have in fact died over time, none of them were solipsists otherwise reality would have ceased to exist at their passing ? Likewise, it seems logical that solipsism is disproved even if all humans were solipsists...thus consider the possibility that all humans disappear from the earth tomorrow at 8:00 am ...does this mean the universe also then disappears at 8:00 am ? And, is not solipsism also disproved by the facts of geology and biology that the earth existed well before any human solipist "selves" in fact existed ? But then, perhaps you had another definition of solipism in mind than that provided by Webster which I find very easy indeed to disprove as presented above.
  16. Nov 9, 2005 #15
    please define solipsism
  17. Nov 11, 2005 #16
    I would agree with loseyourname's past thread

    "It should be noted that there is no qualitative difference between a world in which solipsism is true and a world in which solipsism is not true, so there isn't any rational reason to be afraid of or haunted by the possibility."

    Objectively there is no way to prove that solipsism exists or not. It should be an accepted perception of the world. It is up to us (me, for the time being) to decide which way we (I,for the time being) want to perceive the world.
  18. Nov 12, 2005 #17
    Define Perception and the world

    'The world' is what you 'perceive' ('evidence' of the senses). 'The' world, YOUR world, is merely a 'perception' within mind. It can not be known if there is or is not any 'world' in front of your nose.

    No, I am not 'real' nor do I have 'inherent' existence. This is what I have found thus far, anyway. I know enough not to be fooled by the 'fictitious evidence' (dreams) of the senses.
  19. Nov 13, 2005 #18
    This is an interesting statement, I don't think I have ever met anyone that did not know they were real. Could you please explain how YOU know YOU are not real..e.g., what logic do you apply to reach this conclusion ? Thanks.
  20. Nov 13, 2005 #19
    As this present understanding has taken perhaps 45 years to reach, you'll please forgive the precusory, sketchy answer.

    First, I do not KNOW that I am unreal. It is simply my present understanding, subject to change should I find sufficient 'evidence' to warrent such a change in understanding. All the indicators, physical, QM, metaphysical, mystical, etc.. seem to converge nicely, so far...

    'Reality', it has been said, "must rigidly adhere to that which is in an unchanging state of (omniversal) universal permanence" -Vedanta

    With this in mind, I whittled away everything that did not adhere to this definition. Am I my hand? No. Am I this body? No. Am I a husband? Of course I am a husband, etc, but that does not 'define' 'me'. When the wife dies, I am no longer a husband. Temporality. Unreality. 'Reality' is 'beyond' time, like a Planck moment.

    After carving away all 'temporal construct', what I found winking back from the QM 'probability/possibility/information wave field' (which fits the definition of 'Mind" as I see it) is Consciousness. All 'self' as 'other' has been eliminated as dependent on context (mind), a 'construct' in 'mind', a 'fleeting thought' with no independent 'reality'. 'Evidence' of the senses and mind is self-referrentially unreliable and disproven as reliable indicators of ('Reality')anything other than 'state of mind'.

    When 'my' (unreal egoic construct of 'self' within mind) consciousness ultimately dissolves back into Consciousness, Consciouness exists, there is no longer an individual 'I' to have or be conscious.

    The common understood 'reality' is a 'hologram'. I do not accept a 'holographic image' as ultimate 'Reality'. All that is 'matter', including 'me', in the observable universe' is 'hologramic construct' within Mind. Unreal.
    I see myself as a 'dream' within Mind, an unreal dream. Consciousness 'observes' the hologramic universe within Mind. Ego creates individuality. The disolution of Ego leaves, again, Consciousness and Mindfield.
    Consciousness, as far as I have found so far, is 'Reality'; the 'fiction' of material universe is not. All of and any Duality is a temporally dependent 'fiction'.

    I'm not sure how understandable all this is as it is so highly condensed, but I'd be happy to answer a question or two.
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2005
  21. Nov 13, 2005 #20
    Thank you for the very detailed answer, so much to consider. Just so I am clear, you seem to argue that, while you do not "know it", you hold a position that "you are not real", and all the evidence that has to date either come to your senses, or that which you mind-created, indicates that you are not real. Yet, you also seem to suggest that it is impossible for you to know if I am real, but you leave open the door that I may hold that I am real. We have a real 180 degree disagreement here, you hold that you are not real, I hold that I am, one of us must be incorrect.
    Now, I will just go one step at a time with your post. First I see that you have a definition of reality that is greatly different from mine. Here is your definition : 'Reality', it has been said, "must rigidly adhere to that which is in an unchanging state of (omniversal) universal permanence" -Vedanta
    I must say I completely disagree with this definition. Almost nothing in this universe is in an unchanging state, for example, all humans are the matter and energy from the meals they ate last week (my point being that the cell structure of my human body is constantly changing, is clearly not permanent, yet is very real, at least to me). Then we have the radioactive isotopes, constanting changing, not permanent, yet very real...the list goes on and on. So, your extended argument does not appear able to move pass your definition of reality, which I find to be illogical and not supported by the evidence of the human senses. For me, reality is simply "that which exists", then I move on to ask the question, can I know that I exist, and I find that the answer is yes, as I have previously discussed.
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