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I exist but do you exist?

  1. Sep 28, 2007 #1
    I am sure of my own existance as I do have a sense of self. But the question that I am asking is a rather vague one. Do you exist? If the answer is no then the very purpose of asking questions from the non existent is useless. Even all the solutions you give to me are useless. Even the scriptures like the Bible, the Gita also are of no help(afterall even they do not exist.)

    What if I am seeing a virtual movie, in which all you people are virtual softwares. All the things that I believe in, all the past that has been told to me, even my own body, everything is just an illusion. I am talking of a supermatrix in which only one man is trapped in an illusion and everything else in the matrix is fake.

    Now the question is, "Is there any way to confirm your existance?"
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 28, 2007 #2
    I think that the only reason the matrix wasn't real was because there existed a real world to contrast it to.
    If you have no grounds for defining something, like our universe, if you have nothing to compare it to, then it will always be the only real thing that exists.

    The illusion of something will always be subjective, it will always be conscious knowledge.
    Thus my conclusion is that everyone else are real until you get knowledge that they're not, and if that was to happen then it would be based on yours or someone elses definition of real.
    It would not really be a universal truth but rather your viewpoint.

    Like the matrix movie, they decided to call the matrix fake, but is it really fake when everyones experiencing it or is it just another /type/ of reality?
    Just like other people might not be your /type/ (aka a computer simulation or otherwise)
  4. Sep 28, 2007 #3
    How can you be sure that you really exist?
  5. Sep 28, 2007 #4
    Something that does not exist cannot consider the question therefore the conclusion that oneself exists is obvious.

    Regarding proof that something other than oneself exists, I don't think there is a way to prove it. But I don't think it matters either. What matters is what affects you. "Nothing" cannot affect you. If this text affects your thinking then this text exists, this text matters. Whether it originates within your own self or from something external to your own self is immaterial to the effect it has on you.
  6. Sep 29, 2007 #5
    well briefly i always ask my self the same question .. what make me sure that everything realy exist
  7. Sep 29, 2007 #6
    Nothing is real, not you or me, we just think we are real, its a fantastic illusion, we exist only because something wants us too, why, I have no idea.

    Just enjoy the ride, the universe is experiencing everything we do and are.
  8. Oct 2, 2007 #7
    The short story by Robert Heinlein, "All You Zombies" I read in Mirror of Infinity: A Critic's Anthology of Science Fiction by Robert Silverberg. This anthology has Ellison's, "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream" and other greats. "All You Zombies" has haunted this solipsist poster for over 40 years.


    The solipsist path is clarified in studies similar to Surat Shabd.

    I exist at your pleasure. Exaggerated existence of the solopsist position bears a private discussion.
  9. Oct 2, 2007 #8
    I love you shadow, stole the thought right out of my mind, marry me(your a beautiful lady right?)? lol jk

    O and i was lookin at ur company site, whats your cheepest infrawoofer(learned that on the site)
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2007
  10. Oct 8, 2007 #9
    Haha, you're all just a creation of my perception of reality. :p

    So when I die, you'll all just vanish!!

    And another point is, how do I know that you exist?
  11. Oct 8, 2007 #10
    And the difference between creation and perception is..........?

    There is no better way to put this. You must be shown that I exist.
  12. Oct 9, 2007 #11
    Im sure you exist. 100 % sure.
  13. Oct 9, 2007 #12
    Since you and I both have all the resources in the world that give us the ability to discover our existence/nonexistence, and you aren't able to discover whether you exist or not, how should I know if I exist or not? Furthermore, if I don't know if I exist, why should I have the ability to know if you exist?

    I believe we all "exist" to some degree, and not only in this dimension. There may be other universes that collide with ours that we are unable to see due to different wave frequencies. Finishing that thought, you and I exist in our dimension, but to someone in another dimension who may be unable to see us, we should not exist (but we still do). Of course, things still exist even if they are unable to be seen. So you exist...I think. Of course, there's no firm way to confirm your existence. You could just be absolutely and positively mad, and I just a figment of your illusion!

    But also, of course there's that famous quote, "Dobito, ergo cogito, ergo sum/ I doubt, therefore I think, therefore I am/ Cogito ergo sum/ I think therefore I am." So, since you're doubting your existence, you're thinking, thus you exist, according to Descartes. So doubt not, he believes in you! Keep on existing!
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2007
  14. Oct 10, 2007 #13


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    It has sometimes been pointed out that it is man's ability to ask arbitrary questions that gets him into trouble since many of them cannot possibly be answered. If you look at such questions more carefully you notice what their flaw is.

    Suppose you somehow had already answered your question with a firm "yes, existence is an illusion". Then what does your secured state of illusive existence distinguish it from a (hypothetic from your POV) state where existence is real ? Can you name at least one feature of both worlds by means of which they can be told apart ? Of course you can't, otherwise you would not have asked this question in this forum.

    You might say, noticing the presence of such a computer that simulates you and the whole world would be a criterion. But have you got really any indication or evidence of that ? The fact that you can imagine such a criterion doesn't mean it exists. You could think of a little white rabbit (or the queen of hearts...) controlling the world as well as god or whatever your narrative preferences may be.

    Usually, we don't have any idea by which technical means we may answer a question before we have asked it. Trying to make a plan with pen and paper can sometimes clarifies matters and show us that we have no clue. If we are not able to find a decision criterion some time after asking a question (and the question about reality of reality is thousands of years old) there is a good chance that there is none, so the question itself is meaningless and trying to answer it is a waste of time.

    But maybe your question can actually be decided. Am I correct about you assuming implicitely that the mentioned illusion is perfect ? Well, then the conclusion is simple: if the illusion is perfect then, by definition, there is no way to confirm reality.
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2007
  15. Oct 11, 2007 #14
    It really matters, whether you exist or not. As, if you don't, then all my knowledge(derived from the external source) is simply rubbish. I must instead try to know what is real, else realize that this world is my own stage.

    This question is the root of a major epistemological question "What is the source of knowledge?"

    Perception is a source of knowledge, but should we believe in what we perceive through our senses. Shouldn't we doubt even the testimony of our senses.

    Secondly, I can't feel others emotions. How do I infer after all that like me, everyone else has emotions. What if everyone else is a mechanical robot.
  16. Oct 11, 2007 #15


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    Wrong ! Your knowledge refers to what you do or may experience. What you don't experience you can't have any knowledge about.

    If the world was your own stage, then don't hesitate to change it to your own liking. You have tried but you didn't succeed ? Well, this is what all of us have to cope with more or less.

    Come on, that's trivial. Of course we can't trust our senses. Everyone knows that if we're honest. So how do you think you're gonna be able to answer your "major epistemological question" ? There's myriads of ways the brain may fail to do what it's supposed to do. Certainly you don't expect to put this into one sentence...

    Nor do we. But have you experienced that everyone else is a mechanical robot ? Without experience there can be no knowledge. So it's the most economic way to assume that others act like you do because they have emotions - like you have. But it is an assumption and you will never get around this, no matter how long you study "major epistemological questions".
  17. Oct 18, 2007 #16
    Descarte coined “I think therefore I am” Descartes’ reasoning went like this:

    1. I exist
    2. If I exist God must exist (he provides an argument for this)
    3. God exist
    4. If God exist, God can’t be a deceiver.
    5. God isn’t a deceiver.
    6. Clear and lucid perception must be accurate.

    C. Perceived objects exist.

    I am personally more attuned with Transidental idealism/realism

    This is basically Plato’s cave allegory. You need to clear up what you mean by “exist”. Is existence limited to physical objects?
  18. Aug 11, 2008 #17


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    As this thread slowly drifts toward locked status I want to point out that you and everyone else would not be aware of existing without the stimulus of other things and people existing. Therefore... "because others exist (as well as gravity and trees and rocks etc...) I am aware of my own existence."

    You need the stimulus of other entities to experience the awareness of existence. Immediately this demonstrates the futility of the ego-emotional attempt to be the "last man standing" because, in effect, "standing" requires that you "stand" on something other than a so-called "illusion".
  19. Aug 11, 2008 #18
    The Logos provides the stimulus. Shaped into forms that resemble entities.
  20. Aug 12, 2008 #19
    To be conscious, is to be conscious of something.
  21. Aug 12, 2008 #20
    Seems so. Most amazingly, conscious of being conscious.
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