Tifa’s just saying what we’re all thinking
Pho date with Mikey
I’m barely touching the surface of harmony damn.
Round and round and round and round and round and round and r-
M is delighted by the changing of the guard
English 1C Paper on Reality
English 1 C
8 October 2014
Reality – Something and/or No-Thing/ Dualism
I remember how dark it was when I was climbing a ladder towards the roof of a skyscraper. It felt like it was the year 2047. There was no one standing outside to watch me; there must have been a curfew in place. What was my intent on climbing the ladder? I just wanted to see the city, everything from a different point of view. I finally reached the top but all I saw was black. There was nothing to see. Where did the city go? I looked into a billboard and remembered the words changing. I realized that I was dreaming. I lost my footing, so I slipped a bit and was staring at the edge of the sky scraper. I was afraid of falling off. I knew that I was dreaming, but why was I afraid? Because I had the feeling of fear; my dream became real. I woke up to the world that, I think, was familiar with. How do I determine what’s real or not?
Ever since the realization of the conscious mind, many people have been trying to determine what reality is. Philosophers like Hume would argue that reality is empirical; reality is created with sense perception. Other philosophers, like Descartes, would argue that reality exist because we are conscious, “I think therefore I am.” Then there are clashing philosophers that would disagree with both Hume and Descartes. Philosophers like Democritus and Locke would both agree that sense perception and our conscious mind are just interpretations and opinions created by our minds and that there lies the objective world, a world where things exist without the acknowledgement of our conscious mind, the world that does not have to be noticed to exist.
Clashing ideas are always disagreeing with each other, but what if both of these ideas, Subjective and Objective reality exist in harmony, in a world where both ideas are required or everything would cease to exist. What if reality is Dualism, two ideas coming together to create? I’ll first explain what subjectivity and objectivity is, then I’ll explain how both must exist to create harmony.
What is subjectivity? The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines subjectivity as:
“…Relating to the way person experiences things in his or her mind; based on feelings or opinions rather than facts…”
In other words, subjectivity is how a person interprets data, information going into the mind. One may ask, “If reality is subjective, and there are an infinite amount of conscious minds, then does that mean that it is possible for one thing to have an infinite amount of identities, qualities?” Yes, it is possible, with metaphors.
Metaphors, as what my professor would say, is seeing one thing as another thing; giving something more than one identity. Let’s start simple with the phrase, “This essay is hard to write.” This essay that I’m writing is not physically hard. The texture of this essay does not exist until it is transcribed into paper and even then this essay would not be hard. What is physically hard about writing this essay? People have evolved to use the word hard as another way to say difficult. “This essay is difficult.” “This essay is tough.” “This essay is challenging.” We used the word hard because, as stated above, can mean many other things. So why use metaphors when we can go straight to the objective, solid word itself?
In Concepts We Live By, by Charles Johnson, Johnson explains how argument is war. Johnson uses the same words that he would use during a strategic war briefing. Words like indefensible, on target, demolish, shoot, wipe you out, shot down were used to describe an argument. Johnson changes the identity of arguments by making the argument into a dance. He explains that the people that are in the arguments are the dancers and that they must work together to come to a conclusion. If the dancers don’t agree with each other, than the argument will never end.
Let’s take another example. Imagine a world where we only saw things as only one thing, one identity, one function, one truth. Our world would be limited unprogressive because there is only one. If people were to get stuck in quicksand and there was a hanging piece of vine at the edge, they would not be able to see that vine a life saving apparatus because they would see it as only a vine and nothing more. Metaphors are useful to help us see things differently. A great example of seeing things differently would be in Edwin Abbott’s Flatland:
“Place a penny on the middle of one of your tables in Space; and leaning over it, look down upon it. It will appear a circle. But now, drawing back to the edge of the table, gradually lower your eye (thus bringing yourself more and more into the condition of the inhabitants of Flatland), and you will find the penny becoming more and more oval to your view; and at last when you have placed your eye exactly on the edge of the table (so that you are, as it were, actually a Flatlander) the penny will then have ceased to appear oval at all, and will have become, so far as you can see, a straight line.”
The penny turned into a straight line by changing our point of view; that’s what we are doing when we are using metaphors. The real question then comes to play, if reality is subjective, how do we determine if what we are seeing is reality, how do we know if it is the truth? The philosopher that can answer that is David Hume.
In the book, From Socrates to Sartre: The Philosophical Quest by T.Z. Lavine, Lavine explains how David Hume is an expertise on the philosophy of empiricism. Hume believes that knowledge comes only from sense perception and that morality comes from sentiment or feelings; our knowledge is based on feelings. If our knowledge is based on feelings, then knowledge can be true and not-true because it is difficult for us, human beings, to determine truth in reality.
Let’s come back to the dream that I had the dream in the intro of the story. I was on top of the sky scraper and I had the feeling of fear from falling off, even though I knew that I was dreaming. Why was I afraid when I was consciously dreaming? Because having the feeling of fear is superior to having the knowledge of everything. For example, let’s observe radical religious groups that hurt people because their god told them to. Their knowledge of their reality stems from their strong feelings towards their religion, god. People know that they are hurting people but having the feeling of serving justice for their god creates their, subjectively speaking, horrific moral stance on human rights. The way people interpret reality comes differently by each person, so feelings are subjective.
To relate my dream to an article we read in class, let’s look at A Philosopher’s Nightmare by Jonathan Harrison. In this essay the main character, Ludwig, was displaced at birth. He had no body so the doctors had to transfer his brain to a computer. He was hooked into life support and continued to live his life for a long time. Ludwig was fed knowledge by sending electrical signals that gave sensations into his brain. The sensation is then interpreted into ideas, thoughts, and knowledge. Ludwig was technically contained in his dream since his mind wasn’t able to physically sense the outside world. To Ludwig, the mind is his world and his reality and to further support the existence of his mind, his self, Ludwig was able to retrieve sensations, feelings that made him feel like that he is alive. Ludwig’s life story is summed up by Descartes famous quote, “I think therefore I am.” If thinking is the minimum requirement to create reality, then my dream is technically another reality, another world, not just an imagination by another place to go to. But how did I get there? How did I transfer my mind into another world, the dream world? We are now traveling to the world of Objectivity.
What is Objectivity? The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines objectivity as:
“…Based on facts rather than feelings or opinions; not influenced by feelings. Existing outside of the mind; existing in the real world…”
Objectivity would be the raw information of an object or an event, information untouched by the conscious mind. Objectivity would also be things that do not require anyone acknowledgement to exist. Objectivity would be my car existing in the parking lot that would also exist, even though I’m typing my essay in the Library, away from any possible sense perception of their existence. The ultimate question that philosophers would ask is, “How does anything exist when they are not being perceived?”
In Stanford University’s Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Stanford explains how George Berkley believes that everything exist because of god.
“…If the other spirit in question is God, an omnipresent being, then perhaps his perception can be used to guarantee a completely continuous existence to every physical object. Berkley argued that God must exist in order to causeour ideas of sense. He also argues that our ideas must exist inGod when not perceived by us. If our ideas exist in God, then they presumably exist continuously. Indeed, they must exist continuously, since standard Christian doctrine dictates that God is unchanging…”
So does my car exist in the parking lot, without anybody else acknowledgement, because god is staring at my car? Perhaps. Does that mean all our thoughts exist because God has already thought of the idea and we are just replicating his thoughts and making it into our own? Maybe, but what would happen if we took out god as the factor of our existence? What happens in the middle where things are not being perceived, the middle that exists between me and my car that’s in the parking lot? A great radio series called RadioLab, broadcasted by KPCC, WNYC, and NPR, could explain a little on what’s happening in the middle, where we do not perceive.
A story called Decoding the Void on RadioLab told the listeners about the story of anesthesia. There was a time before anesthesia. Doctors would usually get the patient really drunk and restrain them so that they do not run away or move. Operations were being done while the patients were fully conscious until 1846. A dentist named William Morton created an anesthesia that is inhaled, ether. The history of surgery drastically changed. But what happens to the patients mind when they are under anesthesia? A science columnist named Carl Zimmer undergoes operation and writes about his experience. Time simply disappears because once a patient inhales ether; it seems as though the time, when the patient was under anesthesia never existed.
Something objectively exists while the patient is under anesthesia because the patient went from point A to point B, from before the operation to after the operation. Something is happening and we are not there to perceive the event, so therefore something exist because our mind and body was transported from point A to point B. We cannot say that there is nothing that existed while we are unconscious because of one question, “How did we get there?” Imagine walking on straight-line while your eyes are closed. Then imagine opening your eyes once you reached your destination. Well we won’t know if we’ve reached the destination until we open our eyes and during the time of walking you probably have traveled a distance before opening your eyes. But what were we traveling on while our eyes were closed? I don’t know but it was something objectively existing. Objective reality exists but it is almost impossible to understand or know the objective quality of anything. We know it exist because of the transportation from point A to point B.
So what is reality then? Is it Subjective, a reality created by how a person interpret things, a reality created with opinion, a reality created by ideas, a reality created with our conscious mind? Or is it Objective, a reality that is created by nothing but itself, a reality that does not need a conscious mind to exist, a reality existing outside the mind. Reality is a combination of both subjective and objective, reality is dualism.
What is Dualism? The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines dualism as:
“… The idea or belief that everything has two opposite parts or principles; the quality or state of having two different or opposite parts or elements…”
Dualism is having two separate things or ideas becoming into one. A great example of dualism would be in The Ant Fuge by Douglas R. Hofstadter. There is a huge image of MU in the beginning of this story. The letter M is constructed by the words “Reductionism.” The letter U is constructed by the words, “Holism.” How interesting, two separate opposite words, reductionism and holism, combine to create a word MU which sounds a little like a combination, “Me and You.” Dualism gets a lot deeper with the characters of the Ant Fugue.
There is a tortoise, a crab, an ant eater, and Achilles. They are all arguing what the image in the beginning of the story says. Achilles says, “Mu.” The crab says, “Holism.” The anteater says, “Reductionism.” The tortoise says, “Mu.” In my last journal I explained how all these characters are arguing with each other to come to a conclusion. I also explained how these characters were like the voices in a classical piece that deals with counter point, opposite notes going in opposite directions to create a musical piece. There will always be disagreement and there will always be a resolution. The same idea goes for what reality is.
That is how reality is. Subjective reality needs Objective reality to exist together or there would be no reality. Imagine a world with no subjectivity. Everything would all be the same. Everything would only have one meaning because there is only one truth, one identity, one quality that exists within an object. Now imagine a world without Objectivity. There would be no solid foundation of anything. Everything would always be changing. There would be no solid foundation of thoughts because objective reality does not exist. There has to be a marriage of the two idea and common middle point to where everything exist in harmony. The two ideas are always clashing but because of their clashing, it has turned into one idea, dualism.
Because of Dualism we know that there is something and there is nothing. The world of “Nothing” is just another form of something. Something would refer to subjective reality and nothing would refer to objective reality because we know nothing of reality and that’s a good thing because that means it is possible to have many different answers because we are not limited by one true answer. Even if the answer were true Objectivity will peel its skin and another answer truer than the last would step in.
Just think of it like this. Subjectivity is there to help find and create an answer. Subjectivity is our right brain, the creative part of the brain. Objectivity is there to tell us the answer. Objectivity is our left brain, the rational factual part of the brain. Dualism is required for our reality to exist in harmony.
Fever The Ghost - SOURCE
Fever The Ghost is weird. Super weird. Mysterious acid glam, psych pop could be one of the myriad of ways to classify them, bringing something unexplainably novel to the psychedelic renaissance. Unexplainable is what they aim for; creating an eccentric melange of sounds on each of their tracks, donning sparkly capes onstage, manifesting idiosyncratic art and air. Naturally, their music videos follow the same outlandish path. This trippy, animated glimpse into the peculiar universe created by Felix Colgrave, perfectly complements the funky fantastical tune, Source.
I like this girl a lot. I hope she likes me…