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My recent insomnia led me to think

  1. Jul 4, 2003 #1
    Being as it's summer and I don't have school I've been spending everyday -- and, recently, every night because I haven't been sleeping well -- reading. Well, I had an idea the other night, so I wanted to see what everyone else thought, and find out if I came up with something novel or if I'm just thinking what some other philosopher already wrote about a long time ago.

    Anyway, my idea is:

    Idealism is the philosophical doctrine that says that there's no external reality, that ultimately the world is only experienced in the mind and thus that's where it exists. Thus that implies that everything that I am as a person is only given meaning by other people. I only exist in the minds of other people; in their ideas of me, in their own subjective feelings and attitudes and impressions of me. And thus it's true not just of me but of everyone. We only exist in the minds of everyone else. All of our ideas are only given validation by everyone else. And we can call this collective of meanings God. Because it's the only thing that gives life significance. We, by existing, by thinking, by having consciousness (that is, by being human), give life significance.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 4, 2003 #2
    O.K. - So what?
  4. Jul 4, 2003 #3
    And yet you exist in your own mind as well, meaning it's ultimately up to you to decide "who" you are. I know that the tendency here is to follow the crowd, but that doesn't belie the fact that you should be your own person and have your own mind. :wink:
  5. Jul 4, 2003 #4
    ZK, the lack of sleep may be do to the fact that you are not doing any physical activity according to your description. Try to get out for at least an hour and jog, bike swim whatever you do. Walk a bike trail for an hour and a half but do some activity. Balance.

    Note: When doing the activity be aware of your surroundings and don't think.

    If you are looking for confirmation of your thoughts you will know you have not found your answer.
  6. Jul 5, 2003 #5
    tenyears is a smart boy, swimming laps, i know for me at least, is great medidation!

    your ideas are interesting, from what i understand you are saying:
    -we are 'validated' by others
    -this validation equates to god

    do you think you would not exist if noone knew about you?

    but then would god be able to 'know' your mind independant of the lack of others' perception, you have however defined god as this knowing so the answer to this is no.

    can we conclude then that if noone knew you, ie validated your mind, then there would be no god?

    interesting *strokes goatee* the reason i'm seeing for this angsty conclusion is that you yourself can validate your own mind which does away with the need of others knowing you to prove god exists.
  7. Jul 5, 2003 #6
    Actually, zk, you missed one thing in your philosophyzing (if that's a word), and that is: If everything were a product of your mind, then there would be no other people (they would just be figments of you imagination, so to speak), and thus, only your singular "mind" would exist. You cannot speak of "many people" if reality is produced in the mind.
  8. Jul 5, 2003 #7
    It is, except it's spelled philosophizing.

    That's true. Though does idealism always entail solipsism?
  9. Jul 5, 2003 #8
    Basically that's how I got thinking about it. I was wondering how existence could be given meaning if when you're gone no one remembers you. Isn't being dead and entirely forgotten essentially the same as having never existed? Anyway, I'm glad you and Mentat were able to point out inconsistencies. I didn't think the idea out when it came to me, I just posted it on here to get responses. I'm glad it did.
  10. Jul 5, 2003 #9
    I just thought about this a little and I can pretty much answer it with a resounding no. Our lives leave records beyond the memories we give others. The children we bear, our acts which effect the world (though which are not necessarily remembered by anyone, or remembered as being done by us), ect.

    That's it. I'm going to bed.
  11. Jul 6, 2003 #10
    Well if your consciousness has acknowledged something, where does that acknowledgment go when you die?

    To say that it ceases to exist, is to say that there's no beginning and no end to who we are, "consciously." It just doesn't make sense, because our consciousness is "aware" of too many things. For in many ways it seems like an "ongoing" sense of purpose.
  12. Jul 7, 2003 #11
    Apply chaos theory, and even taking a breath in a certain way ultimately changes significantly the way the world will be in 400 years. One easy way to see this is that if by a certain movement, a sperm is killed which could have produced a child, and a completely different child is produced instead.
  13. Jul 7, 2003 #12

    One would think that it wouldn't have to, but it seems that if all things are just "mindful products", then there needs to be one mind that is envisioning them, which is itself a mindful product. IOW, there would be no physical reality, only thoughts, and thus there would be no other people (because "other people" would exist as physically seperate from you).
  14. Jul 12, 2003 #13
    Speaking as a philosophy major, I can say that I've never had a philosophical thought that I haven't come across sooner or later in the canon. There truly is nothing new under the sun.
  15. Jul 12, 2003 #14
    And how interesting would existence as we know it be, if this held true in all areas? I mean how would be be able to feel a sense of fullfillment if there was nothing left to disccover, no stone left unturned, no question left unanswered? What then would we do in our human nature of curiosity and discovery? Isn't that one of the core traits that makes us humann? Personally if I knew everything there was to know about existense, I'd be pretty bored;)
  16. Jul 20, 2003 #15
    You have to get your priorities straight. Who says omniscience is boring? Oh well lol, take it from experience.
  17. Jul 20, 2003 #16
    Ya it would be something like that "oh I made a few more planets today, and then went back to the beginning of time again for kicks before I supernovaed a few suns. Blah blah blah zzzzzzz.
  18. Jul 21, 2003 #17
    You won't zzz when you have 2,000+ IQ. Can't you see how happy that guy is? And he also said they had humor in the 87th Century.
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