Does the external world exist?

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Or is it only a representation? I can't shake the feeling that there can be absolutely nothing said against idealistic solipsism.. it seems that it is here to stay with us until the last observable entity (read: human) is swiped off the face of the planet.

I've been having a discussion here for some time now and to avoid quoting all of my passages, I would like you to look through it and add/modify anything according to your views on the matter:
http://www.beyond3d.com/forum/showthread.php?t=37834

The most convincing "against" argument I've seen so far was this:
My birth is as fortuitous and unxplainable as the birth of the universe
(solipsistic & realistic positions respectively)...

Your use of "as" denotes equality, which is not the case. The birth of the universe isn't "as" unexplainable as the birth of the solopsist... it is more explainable, in that there are theories that are subject to testing and falsifiability. There aren't a billion explanations that have a logical basis, just a handful. That isn't the case for solopsism... it is as shielded from scientific inquiry as God apparently is. And while personal experiences might help one differentiate themselves as religious or nonreligious, personal experiences are absolutely ambiguous to the solopsist - they feel exactly the same from either viewpoint.

So instead of the mystery of the origin of the universe, which is currently unsolved, Solopsism "uncomplicates" things by adding the mystery of the origin of the solopsist whose unreachable mind created a dream universe which just appears to have a mysterious as yet unsolved origin? Yeah, I'll go with my first thought... solopsism complicates everything by adding yet another layer of necessary explanation. It's like religion, but without any of the satisfying side benefits.

What's really insane is to believe that your mind created a universe for you where you aren't the king, number one movie star, richest dude in the world, sex machine, epitome of health, etc. (not to mention an environment full of war, misery, death, disease, etc.). If you are correct, they you did a **** poor job of creating your fantasy world.
To which I replied:
If you are correct, they you did a **** poor job of creating your fantasy world.

I wouldn't argue with that m8

I have no idea how my mind could have created all of this, but then again, is it really necessary? Is Solipsism really an attempt to tackle the question of existence of the universe vs the individual and who created who and does it really qualify as a TOE (Theory of Everything)?

Don't know. What I do know is that I will always remain bound to my mind and my body and can't step beyond that , and after death won't even have the benefit of having those... I view the universe through my lenses, however accurate they are to other similar minds embedded inside the same universe that you say is outside of us all (in essence).

Think about it. The universe may indeed be oblivious to our extinction, just like it didn't care about the Dinosaurs back at the time, but it nevertheless leaves open-ended the question I have been mystified about for a long time now - how is it that, i'm concurrently everything in the universe (since I can only BE myself and noone\nothing else and the entire universe exists in my mind) and nothing (since I form a miserable point on a miserable point in a tiny little galaxy)...

This representation, however accurate it is of the universe, is too much to handle if you ask me.

Well, I never said that I knew how my mind created the universe, or even if it is reasonable to ask why it was created in such a way as for me to be the entire universe and yet be nothing on the scales of the cosmos, the earth,etc, not be a super-rich, always successful movie star/billionaire/ladies man/whatever.

I don't know why i'm not everything you just mentioned, but I do know that I can't step outside of myself and become someone else, nor can I ruminate existence and the universe without me.

If we're indeed only full individual represenations of the universe that amount to nothing at the end (since the universe existed and will always exist forever without us, as opposed to our tiny little time-windows), then deeming that "cruel" wouldn't cut to the core - it's damn disastrous, the biggest misfortune to ever befall any reasonable/unreasonable thought and no amount of religious/gnostic/atheistic/whatever healing could ever rectify this - believe me I know....

Either way, both positions are a mystery I'm unable to decipher or fathom in any way or form and no amount of mystical or other teachings which I went thorugh during my lifetime MAKE SENSE to me - do you know how it feels like? It's like people, instead of looking at a bare-naked truth lying in front of their eyes, truth as enigmatic and unexplainable as reality, are coming up with euphemisms or other alleviative measures to stave off these uncomfortable existential questions.

Last one i've seen was that we will find out everything after we die. Can you believe it? It makes even less sense than the rest of this horsecrap.

I can officially say that I'm not an atheist/theist/agnostic/buddhist/hinduist or a proponent of any other teaching or philosophy - nothing makes sense to me anymore and it has been like that for a while, and no one seems to understand that. It's either i'm a unique Solipsist or there is something terribly wrong with everyone but me.
What do you guys think?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
verty
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Well it seems inconsistent to say that it is a representation because that would surely undermine your knowledge of what a representation is. How could you then call it a representation?
 
  • #3
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I agree with your`s pretty much.
 
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  • #4
baywax
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Or is it only a representation? I can't shake the feeling that there can be absolutely nothing said against idealistic solipsism.. it seems that it is here to stay with us until the last observable entity (read: human) is swiped off the face of the planet.

I've been having a discussion here for some time now and to avoid quoting all of my passages, I would like you to look through it and add/modify anything according to your views on the matter:
http://www.beyond3d.com/forum/showthread.php?t=37834

The most convincing "against" argument I've seen so far was this:


To which I replied:

What do you guys think?
the discussion is about perception.
Every experience proves perception doesn't happen without biological physiology. end of (my) discussion.
PS. biological physiology happens with or without being perceived to have happened. (Proof; diversity of species, fossil records, fossil fuels, moldy bread discovered 1 year after expiry date.)
 
  • #5
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Yeah baywax, thats pretty much right.
 
  • #6
baywax
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Yeah baywax, thats pretty much right.
Well, i try not to believe everything I think, but there you go.

When Alex askes about "does the external world exist" you have to ask what he means by "external".

External to what?

External to an activated neuron? Or external to the molecules that compose a neuron? Or external to the atom's that compose the molecules that compose the neuron?

Which direction is external when you get to the mirco level? Is it when you look further in the direction of the micro or the macro? By what standard starting point is external used?
 
  • #7
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Im pretty sure hes talking about external to the earth and stuff. We`ll never really know a whole lot in this world as far as where we came from and where were going though.
 
  • #8
vanesch
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Or is it only a representation? I can't shake the feeling that there can be absolutely nothing said against idealistic solipsism.. i
Solipsism is indeed unfalsifiable, and this very idea proves that all of ontology is always based upon some hypothesis. Which doesn't make it a useless exercise, but which indicates the relativity of it.
 
  • #9
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Or is it only a representation? I can't shake the feeling that there can be absolutely nothing said against idealistic solipsism.. it seems that it is here to stay with us until the last observable entity (read: human) is swiped off the face of the planet.

I've been having a discussion here for some time now and to avoid quoting all of my passages, I would like you to look through it and add/modify anything according to your views on the matter:
http://www.beyond3d.com/forum/showthread.php?t=37834

The most convincing "against" argument I've seen so far was this:


To which I replied:

What do you guys think?

How can the universe be a representation, if you already doubt the existence of the universe?

A representation is a meaningless thing, if it does not represent something.
You can not have a 'representation' on it's own, without it representing something.
 
  • #10
baywax
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How can the universe be a representation, if you already doubt the existence of the universe?

A representation is a meaningless thing, if it does not represent something.
You can not have a 'representation' on it's own, without it representing something.
Generally metaphysicists call the universe a "reflection" of the self. So that, when they say the universe is a "representation" it means the universe represents that particular person who is experiencing the universe. Even other people and events are simply caused by what the self is going through.

then you have to ask "what is the self". That's when you get the reverse logic where you are a reflection of the universe (like with "as above, so below). If that makes any sense can you please share!?
 
  • #11
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The best way I can say it is reality is in the eye of the beholder.
 
  • #12
baywax
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The best way I can say it is reality is in the eye of the beholder.
Here are some other people's words to do with reality.


Belva Davis:
Don't be afraid of the space between your dreams and reality. If you can dream it, you can make it so.

Mark Victor Hansen:
Ideas attract money, time, talents, skills, energy and other complementary ideas that will bring them into reality.

Sidney Madwed:
Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image. What we continually think about eventually will manifest in our lives.

Unknown Author:
Reality can be beaten with enough imagination.

Albert Einstein:
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.

John Lennon:
Reality leaves a lot to the imagination.

Marcel Proust:
The real voyage of discovery consists of not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.

Francois Rodin:
The realities of nature surpass our most ambitious dreams.

Douglas Everett:
There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other.

John Dewey:
Time and memory are true artists; they remold reality nearer to the heart's desire.

Otto Rank:
What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality.

Earl Nightingale:
Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will one day become a reality.

Brian Tracy:
Whatever you believe with feeling becomes your reality.
 
  • #13
baywax
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How true do you think this is?

Sidney Madwed:
Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image. What we continually think about eventually will manifest in our lives.
 
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  • #14
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Solipsism is indeed unfalsifiable, and this very idea proves that all of ontology is always based upon some hypothesis. Which doesn't make it a useless exercise, but which indicates the relativity of it.
There are a great variety of ideas which are unfalsifiable. They can't be taken serious though.
 
  • #15
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Is solipsim for real?

If solipsism is the REAL, then everyone is talking to themselves, right?
 
  • #16
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If solipsism is the REAL, then everyone is talking to themselves, right?
Not everybody, just you. The rest of us don't actually exist. :biggrin:
 
  • #17
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What do we mean with reality, or existence?

Reality has to do with objective relations, and the acknowledgement that there are things which are apart, seperate and independent of us. To me an apple exist as a seperate reality, I am not the apple, the apple is not me. The apple is a different reality as me, and I am a different reality to the apple.
I can have the apple as an object (I can eat it, beat it, throw it, cut it, etc.) and the apple can have me as an object (it can fall on my head, etc.), which is to say that objective relations exist between an apple and me.

This is different as objects of thought, which are dependent of my thought and have no seperate existence outside of my thoughts.

Perhaps counter-intuitive (or not), but the concept of the universe is just a mental construction (the sum or set of all objective relations), which has no bearing on outside, external reality, since universe can not be objectively related.
The universe can not have an object independent, apart and outside of it, nor can there be an object that has the universe as an object.
Objective relations for the universe are not definable.

So, this is to say, the universe only exist in thought, because we created it.
 
  • #18
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Not everybody, just you. The rest of us don't actually exist. :biggrin:
Then who is sending my stock dividends?
 
  • #19
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So, this is to say, the universe only exist in thought, because we created it.
Maybe this helps explain why there are so many more scientists actually on the payroll than philosophers?
 
  • #20
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Maybe this helps explain why there are so many more scientists actually on the payroll than philosophers?
Maybe.

(additional filler)
 
  • #21
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Then who is sending my stock dividends?
Your imaginary stock dividends?

If vanesh is right that solipsism cannot be shown false, it still doesn't make it true. But it does show an undeniable possibility: stock dividends may be a mental representation of something else that we cannot grasp any other way. And of course, maybe not, and there is no way to know, so add this one to the list of philosophical propositions that turn out to be impossible to know.

Fortunately for me, it doesn't matter what truth lies underneath my mental perceptions. Here's what matters: whatever it is that I perceive as stock dividends still has desirable effects, perceptions that I find favorable. My reality consists of my perceptions since in the end what I perceive is all I have and therefore all that matters to me. Any underlying so-called "truth" is irrelevant if I cannot see it (in addition to being unprovable).

Maybe this helps explain why there are so many more scientists actually on the payroll than philosophers?
Outside academia, I wonder where philosophers are actually paid to philosophize. Most corporations don't need proof that they exist. Philosophy must be a hobby for most, not a job. (Of course the same can be said for golf and good golfers make a good living.)

Old Joke: Difference between a philosophy major and an extra-large pizza: the extra-large pizza can feed a family of four.
 

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