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Everything's the same?

  1. Oct 21, 2003 #1
    A depressing thought...

    This is kind of a spinoff of numerous other threads.

    A couple of months ago I became fixated on a depressing thought that everything (physical) was essentially the same thing, thus everything lost its importance, which lead to nothing really matters. Not completely sure why I connected the three in my mind, but they naturally seemed to coincide. Anyway, thinking everything is the same made it really hard for me to find interest in anything. I also started to question the significance in what I perceive(could it all be just a sort of illusion?). All in all this was acting as real downer.

    I havn't spent too much time in the philosophy forums, but I recently started browsing through them. I found it interesting to see how widespread doubting reality is. Seems a few others have grappled with similar confusions.

    My reason for posting is to take sort of a poll:
    Have any of you ever fallen into the same or similar train of thought and it made you lose interest in things, or just make you question your senses of reality? (I realise this could be just a yes or no answer, but feel free to elaborate...or merely comment:smile:)
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2003
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 22, 2003 #2
    yes. i have thought of and lost interest in many things because of the everything is the same stuff. But I'm not sure what kept me going for i think im not interested in anything still. I decided that since everything is the same, maybe i should just focus on living. Since thats what life is all about. I am also very interested in human behaviour. I seek deeper meaning in every word that comes from anothers mouth. I seek deeper meaning in every action from anothers doing. Lots of the actions i review are my own.

    I figured theres almost absolutly nothing we can do about being absolutly differnt. So whats the point? There's no point. You can enjoy singing the song that never ends, dispise it or just keep wondering why doesn't it ever end.

    I'm lost.
  4. Oct 22, 2003 #3


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    It is interesting to see that lots of people share the same thoughts as you. I recently posted a poll that has something to do with this topic in the classical physics forum..it ended with the conclusion that everything is made up of these fundamental particles. It is depressing to think that everything is essentially the same and what you view may not be real.

    A couple of years ago, i read a book that had a character who discovered that everything was indeed the same and became so depressed that he killed himself. That is not the way to go! Even if everything is physically the same, what we percieve does differ and does matter. Im not saying to go live in a world that you think may be an illusion, but you should try and deal with your realization by accepting it and moving on.

    OR even better you could find some sort of connection in if everything is the same then what are the possibilities that this could lead to.. i dont really know what im talking about
  5. Oct 22, 2003 #4
    Drugs and therapy? Could be a brain-wiring problem, or a chemical imbalance, or even Seasonal Affective Disorder...and you could need to see a doctor about it.
  6. Oct 22, 2003 #5
    Wasn't that much of a downer. Really only made me lose interest in photography and other hobbies. Plus, I guess I should have added that the thought doesn't bother me like it did before.

    Your full of it, aren't you?
    Psychiatric drugs have caused more suicidal tendencies than they have cured.
    Brain-wiring problem...what does my brain have to do with this?
    Seasonal Affective Disorder? HA! When did they come up with that one?

    Thanks for your concern, but I think I'll be just fine.

    Ok.. this is kinda off topic now, but whatever.
  7. Oct 22, 2003 #6
    right, so back on track...

    i was depressed for two years in part due to that realization. I too lost interest in just about everything. And honestly, the only reason i didn't kill myself (because i was to the point where i so no reason to live,) was because similarly, i saw no reason to die either. I just became apethetic about everything.

    Just as i was coming out of depression though, i discovered the joys of hedonism. I figured, yes, everything is exactly the same, nothing really matters, so, if i'm gonna live here, i better darn well have a good time and be happy. Life took an interesting turn...

    I think i may, just may, be growing out of that now. I'm sort of developing a great appreciation for beauty. Now i'm like, yes, everything is the same, but isn't it amazing how somehow it ends up looking like this? or sounding like that? or working this way? I suppose that's why i've a renewed interest in science and math (and my grades.)

    It's weird though, because the way i act now and feel is different, but i still think the things i did when i was depressed. Certain things are still depressing, but other thougts, like everything being the same, has gone from really depressing to enlightening and not depressing at all.
  8. Oct 22, 2003 #7
    Ditto. That's much the way I feel about it now. Looking back, I remember how depressing it was to think of everything as the same few particles, but I don't remember why it was soo depressing. More specifically, I dont really know why I thought nothing matters as a result. From the age of like 10 I had excepted the concept of the atom, but it never really affected my feelings until recently(few months ago). Maybe I just never really thought about what it ment? I'm think there is probably more to it than that. I'll have to ponder that one some more I guess.

    Anyway, I'm finding it neat (in a sense) to see how this is common. I kinda felt mine was an odd case.
  9. Oct 22, 2003 #8


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    Some thoughts are depressing because we are in a completely different state of mind when we experience them. The inevitable heat death of the universe and guaranteed end of all life at one time bothered me, but now I can't understand why. Maybe it's because nihilistic thinking, while having a devastating initial impact is ultimately liberating. It's as if we're pulled out of cozy warm little idealistic world into a cold, empty universe. Cold, yes. But the fresh air is good for the soul in the long haul.
  10. Oct 23, 2003 #9
    well i lost interest but i can't say that suicide crossed through my mind. I honestly believed by understanding that everything is the same. We must try and understand why everything is the same. So you see i didn't lose total interest i guess. But then i thought of the importance of me being alive and concluded that the importance was insignificant. Then i thought of the process of death and realized that death is not technically the end of ourselves. Considering the circle of life. I also thought that perfect can not exist in a group and can only exist alone. So in order for a perfect entity to exist was for everything which is the same to be as one. So the importance of ourselves goes much greater considering that the essence of our being is a key ingredient to a perfect existance.
  11. Oct 23, 2003 #10
    Everything is unique !

    I did once get stuck in that rut. I think this is a problem with reductionism, so it's not surprising that scientific-minded people should suffer from this. Reductionism is a powerful tool for scientific understanding, but it doesn't necessarily capture the whole essence of the nature of our universe.

    At least as important as questions about what something is made of are questions about how things are organised. Organisational and informational characteristics are critical and the universe seems to have many emergent ways to self-organise. Biological evolution is one example. Cultural/memetic evolution is another. The degree of organisation increases with scale, so this is just not something you can see clearly with a rectionistic approach.

    Because of the ways it has been misused, I'm almost embarrassed to use the word 'holism', but I just did didn't I. And I'll use it again:


    There, that wasn't too bad was it?

    Above the atomic level, every 'event' and every 'object' is unique. At a human scale, events are so complex that they can have a unique meaning or a whole set of meanings to be precise. I'm presenting 'meanings' as real events because the human perceptions of events are really part of the same event.
  12. Oct 23, 2003 #11
    isn't it amazing how when some one says that the universe will end one day sometime billions of years from now we find that depressing.

    Apart from the fact that we have essentially no idea about the life expectancy of the universe we are so prepared to believe that it will end. I have it on good authority that it wont end....don't ask me where I got this from because I wont tell you.

    Ans sure as Gale17 wrote a lot of joy can be got out of seeing how much diversity can be made out of two poles. neg and pos.

    I look at an orange and I am impressed....two poles of attraction and we have an orange. wow....some creative genius at work I think.

    even the ability to see it in the first place....the human eye...I mean to say.....how can you possibly get depressed.

    I too went though a similar depression that lasted about one hour when I lost my Innocense abotu life but then as I said even that is a miracle of hormonal engineering.

    How to make infinity out of one + one?
  13. Oct 23, 2003 #12


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    Actually, the end of all life scenario is the logical result of entropy ruling out. That alone would be enough to depress a scientific minded person in the 19th century. The cosmology of this century makes matters worse with an expanding universe It seems one would have to deny many aspects of physics outright, or find solice in theories that are very far fetched and have no supporting evidence. For someone who puts a lot of value in scientific theories, so unsupported ideas are not likely to be comforting.
  14. Oct 23, 2003 #13
    Just becuase we've only seen one Big Bang doesn't mean it's the only one, to me it would be naive to think after all of this time we had found something that could only happen once and in one place in this seemingly limitless universe.
    I went throught that too, it seems to be a teenage thing usually, I like to get depressed sometimes but I didn't recognize this was a way to do it to only see the similiarities of things with a twist of reductionism, so then would finding the differences in things and trying to see outward and or holistically or the relationships of things in an imaginative way make one happy?
    I might have to try these a bit.
  15. Oct 23, 2003 #14
    one must not forget that reproductive regeneration is also a scientific fact. The universe is no different.

    WE as humans are able to cope with entophy by reproducion and death.

    Death elliminates the entrophy and birth regenerates the aliveness.

    The universe may be expanding now and later it may shrink only to expand again it may oscillate in the same way a particle does but over a greater time frame of reference.

    It is always important to balance fatalism (death) with optimism (birth)
  16. Oct 24, 2003 #15


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    The universe is not a biological machine. Besides, without useable energy even living organisms will stop reproducing.

    Not in 100 billion years we won't. Think about it for a moment. The sun is dead. All the stars are dead. Where is the energy going to come from to grow our food? Perhaps we can find a way to tap energy from black holes, but even they will die out someday. So we have an empty universe with no source of energy to feed ourselves. Life as we know it at least, will not be possible. Besides, who would want to live in an empty, dark universe like that anyway? A starless universe can be a depressing thought to astronomers.

    That doesn't even remotely make sense. Death and birth does not change the fact that the overall system is increasing in entropy.

    We can speculate about ways that life might be able to go on, but none really have any evidence. The oscillating universe was an elegant way of doing so, but we have much evidence that the universe will in fact expand forever, removing any possibility for a bounce. Even if a crunch were to happen, more problems arise. Assuming the universe could somehow bounce from a singularity, the problem of entropy again comes up, with a little order being lost for good with each oscillation.

    Other theories, such as inflation may allow the universe and life to exist forever, but none of those theories really has good supporting evidence.
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