Forum: Arts / Philosophy

Philosophy
Is the world real or is it a illusion of the mind?
By YumYumDoughnutPremium member Comments: 8688, member since Sat Jul 10, 2004
On Sat Jan 16, 2010 08:29 AM
Edited by jazz_lover (99333) on 2010-01-16 08:31:51 Added Warning.
Moved to Philosophy by Lirit (28370) on 2010-02-17 01:35:59 This is really more of a philosophical quandry and discussion.

Time for a quick fun debate.
Prove to me that the world you live in is real. How do you know that you don't live in a box and everything you know is not an optical illusion of the mind.
How do you know that your best friend is not a illusion. Yes people around you know her, but what if THEY are also an illusion.
I would love to see the responses that people come up with.

WARNING

This is the debates board. If you post a comment that is full of gaps, I will debate against it. You are also allowed to come up with why my arguments are invalid. I WILL play Devils Advocate on this thread.

17 Replies to Is the world real or is it a illusion of the mind?

re: Is the world real or is it a illusion of the mind? (karma: 1)
By DefyingGravityPremium member Comments: 5265, member since Sun Jan 19, 2003
On Sat Jan 16, 2010 08:42 AM
“Skepticism, while logically impeccable, is psychologically impossible, and there is an element of frivolous insincerity in any philosophy which pretends to accept it.
- Bertrand Russell

To prove the world is real and not an illusion of the mind is 100% impossible. For starters, it would disprove radical skepticism which has been an infallible argument for centuries. I mean, how can one prove that the world wasn't created five minutes ago by a giant flying spaghetti monster from Venus who gave everyone personalities, memories, photos, and emotions and buried fossils, implanting false rationalities in our heads that we can date them and base our reality off of them? Impossible.
re: Is the world real or is it a illusion of the mind?
By YumYumDoughnutPremium member Comments: 8688, member since Sat Jul 10, 2004
On Sat Jan 16, 2010 08:46 AM
Edited by jazz_lover (99333) on 2010-01-16 08:50:24
^ Good point. I didn't mean literally go look for scientific data. I wanted to practice debate skills and I chose a silly lighthearted topic. I mean if you want to switch things around, you can be the devils advocate and I will try to prove why the world is real.

Edit

I do not mean that I will play devils advocate by saying something like " well aliens could have come in and...". If someone brought up fossil records, I may ask them to back up their claims by things they know. How do THEY know that fossil records are accurate etc.
re: Is the world real or is it a illusion of the mind?
By Shnaynaymember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 9967, member since Sat Aug 03, 2002
On Sat Jan 16, 2010 08:57 AM
how can one prove that the world wasn't created five minutes ago by a giant flying spaghetti monster from Venus who gave everyone personalities, memories, photos, and emotions and buried fossils, implanting false rationalities in our heads that we can date them and base our reality off of them?


That's freaky.

And to quote The Beatles, who know everything, "Nothing is real".

peace out
sh'naynay
re: Is the world real or is it a illusion of the mind?
By AlwaysOnStagePremium member Comments: 7417, member since Sun Apr 18, 2004
On Sat Jan 16, 2010 09:30 AM
We can only know that we are experiencing things: we do not know if it is real or an illusion and we can't make a true distinction between the two.
re: Is the world real or is it a illusion of the mind? (karma: 3)
By Sumayah Comments: 6879, member since Wed Nov 12, 2008
On Sat Jan 16, 2010 09:30 AM
Sure, I'll play. :D

The world is real. As much as I'd like to think that we all live in the Matrix and one little red pill will wake us from our dream. However, if this weren't real, why would I, a supporting unimportant character have a full, flushed out story line? Typically illusions are not cast for the masses, but for a small select audience. No one around me plays any pivotal role in the works of life as we know it. We are all background dancers, neither very bad to get sympathy but nor so good as to take the focus away from the important people. We go, we live our lives to very little consequence - the amount of trouble it would take to not only design and create and implant such trivialities in millions of folk who just don't matter would not just be a waste of resources but a waste of time and energy.

As a christian I believe our scope of purpose is more than just going through the motions of every day life. We are here to vindicate and worship God and prove that a free willed individual will follow his laws and guidelines by choice. Again, if the concept of God were merely an implant thought designed to give us everybodies a purpose in life, why give us the free will to choose to serve God or not, to believe in God or not, to believe in God, Gods, Goddess, Goddesses, or scientific theory and practical moral ethics? Again, creating such a diverse and extensive system would be pointless and wasted on the masses. If this were a giant experiment, testing the theory on millions of people again wastes resources and energy and that could best put on a cross section.

Speaking of free will. If this were not true life, if this were not real, free will would not exist. I would not dream that you would have different morals and standards than I would, I would assume everyone the same by default. Humanity is such a small minded creature that we want to think everyone is like us. Why would I imagine you different when it is ingrained in me to see you as being like me? Look at all the alien movies and shows, how often do the aliens show human features and characteristics? How often do they have physiology comparable to humans? Typically aliens are also bipedal, with two arms, a torso, a neck and a head with a face - two eyes, one nose centrally located, a mouth that is used for speaking and eating? And when they are not such a shape, then they are designed based off of a bipedal design and then morphed into something different - no legs, more arms, different shaped body parts, but the basic human structure is still implied or it is given a familiar shape, that of bugs, insects, or aquatic life. Aliens are never something we can't identify with because they in some way resemble our nature or he nature around us. Even in fantasy we create beings that are like us in some way, so the idea behind free will would not exist if left to one individual to dream up.

Finally, the world is real because we live it. Is an adopted child any less part of the family because they were not born physically into it and share the same bloodlines and descent? Even were our lives a grand illusion, the fact that we accept our lives to be real makes them real. The adopted child is a part of the family because the family accepts them as such. We are real because we accept our lives as such. If life were an illusion, a dream, implanted memories and thoughts so long as we are unaware and continue to live our life, how is what we are living any less real than the real life we don't know? So I hold that this is real, it is not fiction based on our sense of free-will and the extraordinary effort it would take to coordinate millions of souls in a elaborate hoax, and life is what you make of it, I believe it be real and I live my life according to that belief - what could be more real than that?
re: Is the world real or is it a illusion of the mind?
By YumYumDoughnutPremium member Comments: 8688, member since Sat Jul 10, 2004
On Sat Jan 16, 2010 09:35 AM
^ That is a very very good argument. I will take some time to see if I can crack some issues in it. From the surface of your reply, I am not sure if I can find a way to debate against what you said :D
re: Is the world real or is it a illusion of the mind?
By Shnaynaymember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 9967, member since Sat Aug 03, 2002
On Sat Jan 16, 2010 12:48 PM
We can only know that we are experiencing things: we do not know if it is real or an illusion and we can't make a true distinction between the two.


I think that's true. I've eatten acid on numerous occations, and had the power to do absolutely anything, including climbing all the way up a flag pole, and flying into a tree when some dogs came running at me. Could I actually fly? I don't know, because in "reality", people can't fly. In my experiance, there was one moment in my life where I could fly, and that was when I was faced with absolute fear of death, with two massive German Shepards running down a yard at me, and my only thought was, "I don't want to be on the ground anymore", and suddenly, I wasn't. I was dangling in a tree way out over a creek. I flew. And no one can tell me I didn't.

I understand that not everyone in the world drops acid, but in my reality, I do; I've paid for it, stuck it in my mouth, and all of a sudden, reality is no more ... and experiance is everything. What you experiance is real, unbelievable or improbable or even impossible - it's REAL. And people who did not experiance it are the first to tell you that you're crazy, or lying, or a freak - but that does not change what YOU experianced.

So, every person lives in a different reality. For those who have read The Lovely Bones, I think of reality as Susie's heaven. She "lives" in her own heaven, and parts of her heaven overlap or intermingle with other people's heaven, and some people that are consistantly in her heaven leave at times, to another part of their own heaven that does not mix with her's. That's what reality is like.

peace out
sh'naynay
re: Is the world real or is it a illusion of the mind?
By NadiaLadidamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 4229, member since Sun Dec 19, 2004
On Sun Jan 17, 2010 08:47 AM
jazz_lover wrote:

I wanted to practice debate skills and I chose a silly lighthearted topic. I mean if you want to switch things around, you can be the devils advocate and I will try to prove why the world is real.


It's actually not silly and lighthearted at all if you really want to get down to it. It's actually one of the biggest question out there. "What is the nature of reality?" The concept of our perceived existence as illusion is fundamental in Eastern Religion and contemporary New Age teachings such as 'A Course in Miracles'. However, I don't think that it can be proven one way or another, the way I look at it, it's a matter of faith. What is the nature of consciousness? God? What is the definition of 'illusion'?

I dig what Shnaynay is saying, having had similar experiences (no further details, folks ;) ) in my youth. Much of what you think, perceive, and feel to be 'real' is a matter of brain chemistry, cultural conditioning, indoctrination, etc.

Sumayah, I want to form a rebuttal of your position, but in my reality, an 8 month old has risen from bed and now demands my attentions. More later.
re: Is the world real or is it a illusion of the mind?
By Kekoamember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 8949, member since Sat Jul 19, 2003
On Sun Jan 17, 2010 12:27 PM
We're actually going to be discussing this in Philosophy, and I can't wait.

"Common sense" tells us that the world is real. However, drugs have been mentioned, and to the person taking them, whatever they experience is very much real. I think most of us have had those dreams that are so realistic, we wake up feeling sure that it really happened. Maybe what we're experiencing is halfway between an illusion and reality? Maybe we live off in some parallel universe?
re: Is the world real or is it a illusion of the mind?
By Sumayah Comments: 6879, member since Wed Nov 12, 2008
On Sun Jan 17, 2010 04:17 PM
NadiaLadida wrote:

Sumayah, I want to form a rebuttal of your position, but in my reality, an 8 month old has risen from bed and now demands my attentions. More later.


:D Yay! I think the whole thing is interesting and I look forward to your response!

Comment #8772341 deleted

re: Is the world real or is it a illusion of the mind?
By dancingdawg Comments: 210, member since Sun Jan 31, 2010
On Sat Feb 06, 2010 07:59 PM
It does not matter either way. Reality is what you are experiencing removed from the filter of emotion. i.e. if you are really sad about a breakup, you might feel everything is against you, but without the emotion reality has not changer.
re: Is the world real or is it a illusion of the mind?
By AlwaysOnStagePremium member Comments: 7417, member since Sun Apr 18, 2004
On Sat Feb 06, 2010 08:12 PM
I just read Harry Potter and I thought this was relevant:

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling wrote:

"Tell me one last thing," said Harry. "Is this real? Or has this been happening inside my head?"

Dumbledore beamed at him, and his voice sounded loud and strong in Harry's ears even though the bright mist was descending again, obscuring his future.

"Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?"
re: Is the world real or is it a illusion of the mind? (karma: 1)
By Heartmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 15032, member since Thu Feb 14, 2002
On Sat Feb 06, 2010 08:28 PM
Edited by Heart (21721) on 2010-02-06 20:29:52
It's as real as it gets.


If it could possibly get any more real, well, we'll never know.
re: Is the world real or is it a illusion of the mind?
By dust2dustmember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 4464, member since Wed Dec 07, 2005
On Fri Feb 12, 2010 11:12 AM
Of course it isn't real. Damn near everything around us is a part of our creation. The couch I'm sitting on, the language I'm thinking and writing in, the thoughts in my head, the history book I'm supposed to be studying along with the history in it. This debate even. Even the animals. Before humans there used to be LIONS in Italy and France. Dogs, domestic cats, ect. All of this is created by man and continues to be created by man. We've created this elaborate alternate-reality we live our lives in. That doesn't mean it isn't real. But its a reality that we've made for ourselves.
re: Is the world real or is it a illusion of the mind?
By dancer_all_daymember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 2326, member since Thu Feb 12, 2004
On Wed Mar 17, 2010 10:17 AM
Here's my thought:

I believe that the world is real, but our perception is what makes it seem uncertain cause the way we experience the world is based on our perception of it and perception is something that varies.

What I DON'T know for sure is what is the true purpose for our existence on this planet? In this world? In Space? What is the reason for this reality? Besides to reproduce, what are we reproducing for and why?

But then people just assume the world is the way we percieve it to be. But what if the world is actually different? If a fly could talk it might think the world is the way they saw it. Or a dog might say the world is black and white and they have no idea what color is or even that it exists. See what I mean? Reality is actually all based on perception which is variable.

We don't know how the world truly looks because we're only experiencing it with the senses and perceptions we are born with.

I don't mean to answer back with questions but it shows that my point is this: we don't know. It may be real or it may not. We don't really know. People could come up with scientifc, philosophical, psycgological ways of trying to prove things, but after everything, we don't really know.
re: Is the world real or is it a illusion of the mind? (karma: 1)
By angelfish10member has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 1463, member since Sat May 31, 2008
On Wed Mar 17, 2010 10:22 AM
We tried to talk about this for a day or two in my philosophy class. Then we decided that it didn't really matter either way because we all have to live in this world and experience it as though it were completely real. If it turns out that everything is just an illusion, we will still be walking around, touching physical objects, being alive, etc. This is a pointless discussion.

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