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What is reality?

  1. Sep 23, 2003 #1
    What is reality????????????

    Dear reader
    can anyone explain me what is reality????
    please, explain in simple words
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 23, 2003 #2
    It is always easy to quote a dictionary, but that would be being too smart.

    n. pl. re•al•i•ties

    The quality or state of being actual or true.
    One, such as a person, an entity, or an event, that is actual: "the weight of history and political realities" (Benno C. Schmidt, Jr.).
    The totality of all things possessing actuality, existence, or essence.
    That which exists objectively and in fact: Your observations do not seem to be about reality.

    And though this definition works for me on a base level, I dispute it.

    Reality, I think, is subjective. This statement in itself has a delicious and ironic dichotomy.

    Nothing in this world is true for all people and things. You can have a consensus on broad things like water for example, but the truth about water for one being can be substantially different for another. There are differing shades or spectrums of reality for everyone.

    Your reality about your life and your place in it is absolutely unique and though you may have consensus on a number of areas, these are infinitesimally small when compared to my view of your reality.

    It is a tough one to get ones head around because humans are drawn to seek the ultimate truth in things and thus end up in searches that either ultimately lead to the answers, answers are very often to questions that are radically different to those that started the search in the first place. Or to seek to disprove the others' "truth" or reality, the search for justification and worng and rightness.

    Reality is actually about responsibility, it is yours. You can’t blame anyone or thing or philosophy for it.

    I believe if we all on this earth realised this it would be a lot less complicated and less stressful. There would be more acceptance and tolerance. We’d laugh more and love the reality we have.

  4. Sep 23, 2003 #3
    Water is water, no matter what anybody believes. A person's beliefs do not necessarily have an effect on external reality.
  5. Sep 23, 2003 #4
    "Any connection between your reality and mine is purely coincidental"

    Kind of sums it up.

    I did not write my reply to get into a who is right debate, it is my reality. End of story. My reality does though by default insist that your reality might overlap at some point but for all intents and purposes is will be very different to mine, even on such things as water.

    I kind of hoped at the least that you could agree that my view was valid but not necessarily similar to yours. Though you were welcome to it if it suited you.

    I was wondering if you make a distinction between "internal" and external realities.

    For the record I am not a politician, but I could be called non-extremist in my views - moderate does sound a bit, well, moderate.

    As for a God, well, now we're on shaky ground.
  6. Sep 23, 2003 #5


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    I'd have to agree that reality varies person to person. I personally tend to think its some sick twisted video game to entertain the immortals.

    Nah, just kidding.

    Its a tough question to answer. I often wonder if the world is there when I'm not looking, or does my brain generate the terrain as I come to it like in a racing game?
  7. Sep 23, 2003 #6
    We are just part of reality. We are systems that interpret information in our own ways. We are a part of reality. What we think about it is just things moving around in our heads.
  8. Sep 23, 2003 #7
    Reality, contrary to popular endeavor, is that which you cannot escape.
  9. Sep 24, 2003 #8


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    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away."

    - Phillip K. Dick
  10. Sep 24, 2003 #9

    The resemblence is unreal.
  11. Sep 24, 2003 #10


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    So unreal that I stopped believing in it and it disappeared!

  12. Sep 25, 2003 #11
    Reality is what ever you want it to be until you see it for what it is. The question is will you be able to speak it?
  13. Sep 26, 2003 #12
    Can we stop speaking in riddles, please?
  14. Sep 28, 2003 #13
    in a word, no.

    There is reality, and there is what we observe. Our observations are based on our sences. We know that those sences can and often do lie to us. that is the objective, and the subjective. The truth, and what we construct from what we see and hear and feel. Whether or not the model of reality that we construct in our mind is close to actual reality or not is how we measure the truth in what we know. Lastly, reality may or may not be affected by our observations of it. (Schrodiger's Cat, anyone?) And the model of reality that we construct may or may not have anything to do with real reality.
  15. Sep 28, 2003 #14
    everything is real and nothing is not.
  16. Sep 28, 2003 #15
    The first problem is the simplicity that the reality that everyone encounters (just go outside) is overwhelming to your ability to describe it, absolutely overwhelming, and from that, the perspectivizational (like that word?) problems, and descriptions, that everyone will indulge in.
    It is impossible to describe, in accurate and complete detail, all of what you experiance in the outside (or inside, but I know some will attempt to fool me, along with themselves in believing that they can describe it) World, hence every description results in a "partiallity of truth accounting" which implies that reality is, in fact of totality, indescribable.
    The most that can every even be successfully approached, is 'selective slices' of small pieces of reality.
  17. Sep 28, 2003 #16

    Les Sleeth

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    I like your take on reality except for one thing: why is reality only "external"?
  18. Sep 28, 2003 #17

    Les Sleeth

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    Here's my contribution.

    Reality: all that exits.

    Confusion about reality stems from not differentiating between what exists, and our ability, as consciousness, to accurately perceive what exists.

    Some people believe reality can be known without personally experiencing it, say by faith in other's interpretations or through pure reason. Yet those most successful in working with reality again and again demonstrate that knowing reality is predicated on personally experiencing it.

    Here at PF, so often one witnesses debates about the nature of reality between people who have not personally experienced what they are claiming is true. That is why some suggest each person has their own reality, or that there are many realities. In actuality they are saying each person has their own interpretation of "what exists."

    So between conscious human beings, the issue of who knows reality (IMHO) first boils down to the quality of perception each individual has developed; and since sharing what we know is important to human interaction, second is the quality of our interpretative and communication skills (that's assuming participants are honest communicators).

    A final point I might add is that it seems to me that nature of consciousness, which I believe is fundamentally what a human being is, is to seek to know reality, whatever that turns out to be.
  19. Sep 29, 2003 #18
    Reality is. It is what is. There is ultimate reality, that which is, was, and always will be. There is subjective reality, that which we perceive as reality through our senses and our experience. Sometimes it even has some relationship with and models ultimate reality though rarely. There is material or objective reality, that in which water is water, a rock is a rock despite our perception of it. All three realities have been addressed here; yet, without discerning which reality one has in mind we disagree.

    There is only one ultimate reality, one ultimate truth that encompasses all other realities. We can only say that it is what is, whaterever that might mean or be. No one can know all of what reality is nor dispute someone else's difinition or perception of reality.

    Ultimately the only reality that we can know is the reality that we perceive in our minds. To us it is reality reguardless of how well it may or may not model true reality. Each perception is unique and different but never the less true for each of us. Ultimately the only reality that we can ever know, on this world, in this life, is all in our heads. Reality is therefore subjective.

    "I wouldn't worry about it none though.
    Those dreams are all just in you head"
    Bob Dillon's Dream
  20. Oct 4, 2003 #19
    Personally, I find it rather interesting that, even though reality is overwhelming in it's presentation to us, as per our inability to describe it completely, we can still, rather easily, deal with it in our interactivity with it....kinda neat Eh?
  21. Oct 4, 2003 #20

    Les Sleeth

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    Good observation. Assuming I emerged out of some "base" reality, what sets me (and all life) apart from the rest of it all? Well, the material "stuff" associated with life adapts, so of course after 4.5 billion years of adaptive changes we have tools to interact reality.

    Yet that doesn't explain what has caused living reality to adapt. The quantum explanation as of yet does not hold water, and the only reason it is cited as creation's first cause is because those citing are already committed to reality being purely physical. Without that bias, the question would still be open to any explanation which might answer it.
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