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Is our personal reality separate from the Mass Reality

  1. Dec 15, 2003 #1
    riddle me this!

    Simply asked, is our personal reality unique and separate from the mass reality while participating in mass events?

    As an extension, are there an infinite number of realities co-existing simultaneously and creating the observable mass reality?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 15, 2003 #2
    simply answered, no.:smile:

    what if your coexisting number of realities contradict each other?
  4. Dec 15, 2003 #3
    I don't think we have a "personal reality" ITFP. We're a giant collection of cells, and there are plenty of giant collections of cells in the world...they do not create their own worlds.
  5. Dec 15, 2003 #4
    Re: Re: Is our personal reality separate from the Mass Reality

    But they do create an image of the world, and they do live inside the image. So in a sense it is correct to say that we all inhabit a personal universe and reality is what our personal universes share in common.

    I think you are confusing the power to create a mental representation of a reality with reality itself. It is a fact that we can and do create an image of the world in our minds. It's also a fact that the mind has limited powers to change the image of the world created by other minds - there are constraints known as the laws of physics. Last but not least, it's a fact that the real world only resembles the image created in our minds to the extent that the image is self-consistent.

    That last assertion probably needs explaining, but the point I'm trying to make is that it's a fact that we all inhabit a personal version of reality.
  6. Dec 15, 2003 #5
    Re: Re: Re: Is our personal reality separate from the Mass Reality

    Actually, we don't create an image of the world, though we do have preconceived notions about it, which are stored as information in the neocortex. If we produced a "mind-world" of our phenomenology, then we would need an internal viewer to see it. This leads to an infinite regress, which thus shows that such a thing is illogical (it's called the "homunculun" problem).
  7. Dec 15, 2003 #6
    Re: Re: Re: Re: Is our personal reality separate from the Mass Reality

    I don't think he means a physical image, just an internal representation/interpretation of the external world. We know that our perceptions, as percieved, are filtered and massaged long before they are accessible to our conscious minds. These filters and data massaging, in certain instances, have been shown to exclude things percieved at the terminal sensory organ (eg common habituation), as well as include things that didn't really exist in reality.
  8. Dec 15, 2003 #7


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    Re: Re: Re: Re: Is our personal reality separate from the Mass Reality

    You're obscuring the issue. I think we can take it as a given that each human has his/her own subjective experience of the world. We can call these subjective experiences "images" without assuming they are images-to-be-viewed-by-a-viewer in the homunculun sense. If you don't like "image," just call it "subjective experience." It's just a matter of language, and the essence of the idea is one that cannot be argued with.

    Each person has a sum total subjective experience of the world that is both unique and closed. Unique, because no one person's sum total subjective experience is identical to another's. Closed, because no one person's subjective experience can be directly experienced by another. So of course there is a sense in which each person 'occupies' (experiences) a phenomenological 'world' inhabited by none other.

    This is just a metaphor, of course-- to speak coherently of consciousness, sometimes we must necessarily make recourse to such metaphorical language. This language of course is not meant to be taken literally, lest we fall into the trap of thinking we have attacked the underlying concept when really we have just attacked an inadequacy of communication.
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2003
  9. Dec 16, 2003 #8

    The definition I intended was that reality is the sum total of our experience.

    What we see, feel(sense), touch, do and think is the reality we EXPERIENCE. Is our total experience separate from, and yet, included within the mass reality that we share.

    Is the 'shared reality' a complex mixture of all our individual realities blended into a mass experience??

    i submit that atoms, molecules, matter seen from another demension might simply be bits of energy interacting with each other. please note i said 'might'.

    asking questions is easy. are there any answers??
  10. Dec 16, 2003 #9

    The total of our experience includes dreams, illusions, hallucinations, as well as abstract thoughts. Most people don't consider those things as part of reality.

    How can something be separate from and yet included within? You mean, like the internal organs of a fish are separate from the ocean and yet included within the ocean? If that is the case, I can't see the relevance of the question. You may choose to classify things any way you like; you can see the ocean as made of water, salt, and fish, or as made of "watersaltfish", or whatever you like it. How you define it is not important, the important thing is that the statements you make are consistent with your definitions. If they aren't then no one can understand you, not even yourself.

    No, there is definitely more to it. There are things which happen regardless of our will, and things which happened when no one was around to experience it. That's why we call it "reality". Otherwise we would call it "mass delusion", or "mass dream" to sound better.

    Again, how you define it is not important. If "bits of energy" turns out to be fully equivalent to "atoms, molecules, matter seen from another dimension", then you would be correct, but then you wouldn't be saying anything new.

    Asking questions might be easy, but asking meaningful questions can be extremely difficult sometimes. If you study the evolution of human thought, you'll see that most of the greatest intellectual advances were achieved by realizing that a seemingly difficult question could not be answered because it was meaningless. Rephrase it, and the answer pops up right before your eyes.
  11. Dec 16, 2003 #10
    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Is our personal reality separate from the Mass Reality

    This is understandable, but, OTOH, it is sometimes necessary to make sure that the semantics are clear so that we aren't discussing two different things while believing that we're having one discussion, right?

    Like, in this case, it appears that olde drunk is referring to our subjective experience as though it generated its own representation of that which it perceives to be "real". This cannot be the case (by virtue of the homunculun problem) and that's why I mentioned it.
  12. Dec 16, 2003 #11
    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Is our personal reality separate from the Mass Reality

    "Filters" and "data massaging"? That sounds dangerously close to a Cartesian idea of consciousness. Could you clarify that further please?
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