Dafremen "Prove to me that you exist."

Are these the words of a rational mind? The thoughts of a brain with one foot firmly planted in reality?
"I think, therefore I am" appears to be the ill-conceived basis for the "it's all in my mind" philosophy.

Indeed, examination of the evidence seem to indicate that there is no rational basis for EITHER of these two bits of existentialist, philosophical claptrap. Instead, what seems to be indicated is that both statements are little more than the self indulgent wishful thinking of a mind which has become entirely too impressed with itself. A mind that has focused its existential pondering on proving it's own divinity or divine origins.
You might as well believe one of the following, while you're at it:
"Existence was created by the brain therefore the brain is god."
"I am aware, therefore I proclaim my own existence, so has the brain spoken, so shall it be."
"If I can't perceive of it or control it, it's not real."
(Even MORE self centered)
"If I go...I take it all with me."(The power to destroy something is absolute power over that thing?)

If we ask someone to "prove it", we're usually satisfied to have it proven to our senses. We have established that something is likely to be true based on repeatable observations made via our senses. We process the external perception, then our internal perceptions (the non-observable portions of the final perception) play with the information in order to make sense of what we have perceived and update our experiences based on the available information.

If the notion that we THINK therefore we ARE hinges on our AWARENESS being the only irrefutable fact of our existence, then it hinges on an irrefutable assumption. For if the mind cannot trust it's external perceptions or the senses which provide that information, where did the ENORMOUS leap of faith occur that placed the mind's INTERNAL perceptions ABOVE scrutiny? You think? No you MAY think...orrr you MAY be a single part of a greater whole which is REALLY doing the thinking. Or perhaps, that same entity is really imagining you? You may not exist at all despite the fact that you believe that you are conscious.

Let's revise the opening statements a bit:

"I cannot prove the reality of my own existence, how about you?"
"There appears to be thought, therefore I MAY be."

Understand, this is one of the first SELECTIVE applications of logic made by the human mind in it's frantic search for an escape from it's own finite existence. It's suspicions apply to EVERYTHING which comes to it, everything which it perceives, EXCEPT for it's own internal perception.
The assumption being made that, the brain will not hurt or fool itself..."brain good, trust brain" "world hurt, no trust world."

Of course we know that this isn't so. Our brain may not hurt itself, but certainly in order to avoid discomfort, it IS willing to fool itself. Invariably it lies to avoid discomfort. In fact, although consequences and societal pressures may remove external temptation to cave into the brain's desire to lie to others, there are no such restraints, pressures or consequences when the brain lies to itself. It is free to fib as it sees fit in order to avoid discomfort.

Let's assume, for a second, that our ability to think DOES establish the reality of our existence; how likely is it that the human mind created everything around it? In order to answer that question, let's take a look at some of the most basic (and demonstrable) characteristics of human thought.

Pursuit of pleasure, avoidance of pain.
These are our primary motivator and deterrent. If an activity results in reward, it is repeated. If it results in pain, it is avoided. In each case, probability and extent of the final consequences is weighed with every decision, every conviction, every impression that forms in our minds. Note however, that past experience provides the crucial foundation upon which such decisions are based. Without any experience in a matter, with no rational basis upon which to decide, we have a 50/50 shot at being more right than we are wrong. The more experiences we have to draw data on, the more probably it is that we will be capable of making the decision that our brains finds to be most correct...the one with the most positive consequences or the choice with the least negative consequences. Always, we choose that which provides maximum reward in terms of what the mind considers rewarding. Given the choice, the brain pursues its OWN pleasure, seeks its OWN protections from discomfort.

Another basic characteristic of our thought process is our tendency to categorize, consolidate and define. These are manners in which we take enormous amounts of information and compress them into smaller, more understandable chunks. In return, we give up some of our ability to distinguish details with complete accuracy.(Not that we ever had such a thing.) The processes of categorizing, and define amount to what is known in computer sciences as a "lossy compression", because of the manner in which the limitations of the compression affect the final reproduced data. In this case, the data is memory of experience and the final data is how we PERCEIVE the thing which was experienced, the manner in which this "lossy" perception affects our internal perceptions and our ability to make rational decisions.

There are two basic standards for storage and retrieval of information: lossless and lossy.

As the name implies, lossless storage and retrieval retains ALL of the original data in storage.
Upon retrieval, lossless strategies reproduce the original data unaltered and with nothing missing.

Lossy storage (or lossy compression) gives up some of the original information in exchange for a desired improvement.

Usually lossy compression is used to make REALLY big chunks of data into really small stored data so that you can fit more information in the same amount of space. Categorization and definition provide smaller storage, faster retrieval and processing for the human mind, they also allow it to store HUGE amounts of information gleaned from experience into finite amount of memory available to it.

Information stored? For every experience:

The most important information deals with recognition. We must store the minimum information required in order to recognize this "perception" again.

Second priority, good or bad? What is good about this, what is bad...overall is it generally more desirable, or more undesirable? To what extent and with what degree of certainty? (If this is our first experience and we have had no other exposure to a given "perception/experience", our decision must be made without the benefit of these pieces. They will get filled in afterward, when the consequences are known.) These pieces of information, both recognitive and statistical are revised and averaged, shot through the internal perceptions/belief systems to look for and resolve possible conflicts, then it is re-stored.
(Explaining how, after meeting only one person of a given race who treated them badly, some people categorize ALL people who fit the recognitive profile if that race. They hate them, because to their irrational mind, that type of person means discomfort. The information is now processed for related entries in the experience. A relational database is built (not exactly, but more or less) like this:

Liquid - Flows. No distinct shape. Changeable. Matter.
Water - SEE:Liquid. Colorless. Odorless. Flavorless. Quenches thirst.
Tap Water - SEE:Water. May smell funny. May be discolored. May have an odd taste. Comes from faucet.
(REVISE:Water - SEE:Liquid. Usually colorless. Usually odorless. Usually flavorless. Necessary for life.)
Grandma's Tap Water - SEE:Tap Water. Smells good. Slightly discolored. Comes from Grandma's faucet.

Notice that "Water" no longer need to contain a reference to the fact that it flows, that it has no distinct shape, that it is changeable or that it is matter. All of that information was replaced with a reference to "Liquid". That reference, in turn, was the basis for replacing the "Liquid" characteristics in anything that refers to "Water".

Now instead of:
"Grandma's Tap Water - Flows. No distinct shape. Changeable. Matter. Usually colorless,may be discolored and is. Usually odorless, may smell funny, but smells good. Usually flavorless, may have an odd taste and does. Quenches thirst. Comes from faucet at Grandma's. "

We end up with:
"Grandma's Tap Water - SEE:Tap Water. Smells good. Slightly discolored. Odd tasting. Comes from Grandma's faucet."

At first this doesn't APPEAR to be a "lossy" method at all, until we look at what can happen if we update our statistical information on "Liquid" or "Water" or "Tap Water", then we start to see what we gave up for the ability to store more and process it faster.

Let's say that "Grandma's Tap Water" has statistically NEVER hurt us, or been harmful to us in any way. Furthermore, let's hypothesize and say that it won't EVER be harmful to us in any way. Now let's say that we have some bad experiences with tap water in other places. Almost without question, we will ignore the objective statistical data we have gathered on the consequences of drinking Grandma's Tap water. Instead, suddenly in our minds, there is a question, a decision to be made on whether or not to drink Grandma's Tap Water and "take the risk"(remember Grandma's Tap Water has never harmed us...nor will it ever..what risk?) of drinking some of that "Tap Water." The more often that "Tap Water" is accompanied by unpleasantness, the more likely that our minds will perceive "Grandma's Tap Water" as an unpleasant thing...along with all other "Tap Water". EVEN IN THE ABSENCE OF STATISTICAL DATA OF ANY SORT, our mind will alter it's stored memories of external perceptions to match it's internal perception of their relationships to each other. For the most part, this loss of resolution is acceptable. In many cases it's even beneficial, (let's say all Tap Water WAS affected, being wary of Tap Water, even Grandma's Tap Water, might be a good idea.) In addition it has the following added benefits which are particular interest to this discussion:

It allows for a seemingly endless stream of information to be both stored and processed efficiently by a mind with limited processing capabilities and/or storage space. This is almost ALWAYS the "why" behind introduction of lossy information storage strategies. Limited space for storage, limited time for processing.

It is here that begin to see the primary difficulty with the "everything is a product of my mind" philosophy. It is the finite nature of the human mind, which tends to dispose of the ludicrous notion that the individual brain has "dreamt up" everything which it perceives.

How the greatest human minds could have fallen into such a trap is no great mystery; when you comprehend immediately anything which presents itself to you, the idea that everything could have originated in your own mind certainly seems feasible, as though it has merit. (It doesn't.)

What of the dull and uninspired, the intellectually barren? However do they resolve the conflict between their immediate inability to comprehend something, and the belief that it was THEIR mind which conceived of that thing? How do they manage to ignore every piece of statistical information that they have ever stored concerning the level of their own intellectual prowess?

Imagine the scene:
Dr. Einstein enters the room to deliver a speech to the assembled student body of a small high school.
The audience is filled with "little gods" each creating this own existence and the existence of everything around him. Let's listen in on "our creator"'s thoughts for a second...shall we?

"Man this sucks. Who's the old do0d with the cool hair? Damn look at her, she's hot!"
Perhaps some OTHER would-be-god is the "creator" of Dr. Einstein's existence..let's check it out:
"If I cut a fart in a room and then leave, does it still stink?"

Dr. Einstein begins his address to the students:
"How strange is the lot of us mortals! Each of us is here for a brief sojourn; for what purpose he knows not, though he sometimes thinks he senses it. But without deeper reflection one knows from daily life that one exists for other people first of all for those upon whose smiles and well-being our own happiness is wholly dependent, and then for the many, unknown to us, to whose destinies we are bound by the ties of sympathy. A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving. I am strongly drawn to a frugal life and am often oppressively aware that I am engrossing an undue amount of the labor of my fellow-men. I regard class distinctions as unjustified and, in the last resort, based on force. I also believe that a simple and unassuming life is good for everybody, physically and mentally.
I do not at all believe in human freedom in the philosophical sense. Everybody acts not only under external compulsion but also in accordance with inner necessity. Schopenhauer's saying, "A man can do what he wants, but not want what he wants," has been a very real inspiration to me since my youth; it has been a continual consolation in the face of life's hardships, my own and others', and an unfailing wellspring of tolerance. This realization mercifully mitigates the easily paralyzing sense of responsibility and prevents us from taking ourselves and other people all too seriously; it is conducive to a view of life which, in particular, gives humor its due.
To inquire after the meaning or object of one's own existence or that of all creatures has always seemed to me absurd from an objective point of view. And yet everybody has certain ideals which determine the direction of his endeavors and his judgments. In this sense I have never looked upon ease and happiness as ends in themselves this ethical basis I call the ideal of a pigsty. The ideals which have lighted my way, and time after time have given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Kindness, Beauty, and Truth. Without the sense of kinship with men of like mind, without the occupation with the objective world, the eternally unattainable in the field of art and scientific endeavors, life would have seemed to me empty. The trite objects of human efforts possessions, outward success, luxury have always seemed to me contemptible.
My passionate sense of social justice and social responsibility has always contrasted oddly with my pronounced lack of need for direct contact with other human beings and human communities. I am truly a "lone traveler" and have never belonged to my country, my home, my friends, or even my immediate family, with my whole heart; in the face of all these ties, I have never lost a sense of distance and a need for solitude feelings which increase with the years. One becomes sharply aware, but without regret, of the limits of mutual understanding and consonance with other people. No doubt, such a person loses some of his innocence and unconcern; on the other hand, he is largely independent of the opinions, habits, and judgments of his fellows and avoids the temptation to build his inner equilibrium upon such insecure foundations.

My political ideal is democracy. Let every man be respected as an individual and no man idolized. It is an irony of fate that I myself have been the recipient of excessive admiration and reverence from my fellow-beings, through no fault, and no merit, of my own. The cause of this may well be the desire, unattainable for many, to understand the few ideas to which I have with my feeble powers attained through ceaseless struggle. I am quite aware that it is necessary for the achievement of the objective of an organization that one man should do the thinking and directing and generally bear the responsibility. But the led must not be coerced, they must be able to choose their leader. An autocratic system of coercion, in my opinion, soon degenerates. For force always attracts men of low morality, and I believe it to be an invariable rule that tyrants of genius are succeeded by scoundrels. For this reason I have always been passionately opposed to systems such as we see in Italy and Russia today. The thing that has brought discredit upon the form of democracy as it exists in Europe today is not to be laid to the door of the democratic principle as such, but to the lack of stability of governments and to the impersonal character of the electoral system. I believe that in this respect the United States of America have found the right way. They have a President who is elected for a sufficiently long period and has sufficient powers really to exercise his responsibility. What I value, on the other hand, in the German political system is the more extensive provision that it makes for the individual in case of illness or need. The really valuable thing in the pageant of human life seems to me not the political state, but the creative, sentient individual, the personality; it alone creates the noble and the sublime, while the herd as such remains dull in thought and dull in feeling.

This topic brings me to that worst outcrop of herd life, the military system, which I abhor. That a man can take pleasure in marching in fours to the strains of a band is enough to make me despise him. He has only been given his big brain by mistake; unprotected spinal marrow was all he needed. This plague-spot of civilization ought to be abolished with all possible speed. Heroism on command, senseless violence, and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism how passionately I hate them! How vile and despicable seems war to me! I would rather be hacked in pieces than take part in such an abominable business. My opinion of the human race is high enough that I believe this bogey would have disappeared long ago, had the sound sense of the peoples not been systematically corrupted by commercial and political interests acting through the schools and the Press.

The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed. It was the experience of mystery even if mixed with fear that engendered religion. A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, our perceptions of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which only in their most primitive forms are accessible to our minds it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute true religiosity; in this sense, and in this alone, I am a deeply religious man. I cannot conceive of a God who rewards and punishes his creatures, or has a will of the kind that we experience in ourselves. Neither can I nor would I want to conceive of an individual that survives his physical death; let feeble souls, from fear or absurd egoism, cherish such thoughts. I am satisfied with the mystery of the eternity of life and with the awareness and a glimpse of the marvelous structure of the existing world, together with the devoted striving to comprehend a portion, be it ever so tiny, of the Reason that manifests itself in nature."

Back to our "gods" that "created" that magnificent speech. That conceived of these incredibly thoughtful words and put them in the good doctor's mouth...because the good Dr. Einstein "doesn't exist" according to them...remember? Let's listen in on their thoughts again:

"Huh?! What the hell did he just say?"
"Thank gawd it's over...damn! she's cute."
"Hey there's Tina! I gotta get that algebra homework from her."

(Say the mighty brains...creators of all that is around them. "Prove to you that I exist" INDEED! Prove that I don't.
So far the evidence is starting to stack up overwhelmingly against the "brain-that-would-be-god".)

Dr. Einstein answers a few questions("How do you get your hair to do that?" "Did you really stick your tongue in a light socket to see what light looks like?") and leaves the auditorium, never to enter the student's perceptions again.

Coincidentally(?), our mind has made the decision that it never WANTS to imagine seeing this guy in person again. Sure enough, it is done, he never appears again. Wow. Now that WAS godlike.

How do we resolve these conflicts? How do we resolve our inability to comprehend with our vision of brain as creator?

Simple, who wouldn't like to look past all logic and rational thought to the possibility that we have hidden, deep in our minds, a really SMART brain that occasionally pops out and confuses the hell out of us?! Er....

Here are some facts:

We can't have imagine that which does not have some basis in that which we have experienced personally, or been exposed to in some fashion. Why don't the conversations and concepts of our adulthood manifest themselves during our childhood?

We choose the path of least discomfort. Seek pleasure, avoid pain. Why didn't the dream girl get imagined immediately? Instead we dreamt up 12 failed relationships first? Sounds like our "god" needs therapy.

Why didn't we? Against everything that we know about our motivations and personalities, we did these things that make no sense whatsoever...right?

Wrong. Why?

Experience is why these things happened as they did.

The perception, processing and storage of something which originated OUTSIDE of our own minds.We required the introduction of something that we did NOT have. Period.

If we made up our own bodies in our minds, why didn't we immediately being using them as intended when we conceived of them?
Why would we choose to be motionless, helpless, weak and small? Why go from conceiving of the finished product, to imagining and suffering through it's unfinished steps first? Why would we choose this?

WHY, having conceived of, created and finally PERCEIVED it's own body, having determined its form and functions from the moment in which it perceived its physical self, would the brain then imagine itself undergoing the tedious, frustrating and profoundly uncomfortable task of learning to USE That body?

We wouldn't. We seek pleasure, avoid pain. We move toward comfort, away from discomfort...always as the BRAIN see comfort or discomfort, as the brain perceives pleasure and pain.

Note the direction in which our life experiences lead us and drive us:

Always toward the least uncomfortable consequences. So WHY would we choose these things? Why, when it goes against everything that our senses and our knowledge of ourselves tell us?

Why? The answer is obvious, but we continue to avoid it:

We did NOT conceive of the body. It existed and we introduced ourselves to it, as we later did to so many other things which lie OUTSIDE of our minds. If the body exists, then it is plain foolishness to continue to try and deny the reality in which it exists.

Any attempt to deny the universe it's claim to existence is simply another expression of irrational fear by a very small, often irrational organism. All such attempts will be casually discarded by the reality around you. Shelter yourself from mortality if you must with silly mind games, but don't try to suck the REST of us into that tomb in your head as well.

We'd rather exist.
nocturnal oh my god you so need to find something better to do with your time. seriously. I'm concerned. 011106
Dafremen I wrote it on paper first. 7 pages, not counting Dr. Einstein's speech. (Just wrote Put Einstein Speech Here) 011106
Dafremen Nobody actually read this did they? Sigh. Too long?! Grrr where's The_Editor when you need him dammit? 011107
jaime ok, so that was pretty damn good.
the rest of yer writing is for shit though man.
phil ignore them
this part is genuinley good, I hope you made it up yourself
"it's own internal perception.
The assumption...
fib as it sees fit in order to avoid discomfort."
But many of your theories were outlandish, and I agree with too many different sides of the arguement.
phil you have to understand, that the human body is interlocked with it's reality. We being part of what's percieved does give us "powers".
And I warn you, we percieve totally different realities.
Theory #33423420980231.2---You are God, and you will understand yourself when you decide the time is correct.
Dafremen You have confused perception with reality. It is not. Although our reactions to those perceptions may allow us, through EXTERNAL application of control to alter that reality slightly (Earth is WHAT percentage of the matter in the universe? I repeat...SLIGHTLY alter), it is NOT our MINDS which create that reality anymore than the child who makes shapes using playdoh is creating the playdoh. He is not, we are not. We are simply shaping and interpreting something which was here before we became aware of it and will be there long after we've moved on. 020220
jackie "calamari frittata" mc cracken It's funny that one of the cornerstones of existential philosophty states "i think, therefore i am" but really, the more you think about it, the less sure you are sometimes.

unnerving isn't it?
phil I am not confused, I was trying to say, you can only percieve reality. 020305
Dafremen I just read this again...boy are my eyeballs tired. Point taken phil, I won't pretend to know what you intended when you typed that. We can only perceive reality, this is true. Even worse, our perception is not even firsthand, but subject to distortion by the various media through which it is perceived. 020623
sam dang you are smart! how do you know all this?? 030106
Dafremen Beer. Lots and lots of beer. 030403
stork daddy you could have saved a tree or two if you'd just said that we cannot have created the world since we have never known a time when we were not constrained by some aspect of it. unless of course we created the world and then removed our memory of this time, stripping us of our own omnipotence if that's possible. oh and as for the role that the mind does not forget...besides the beautiful sentiment in his speech einstein can also be qouted as saying, "Physical concepts are free creations of the human mind, and are not, however it may seem, uniquely determined by the external world." 030623
stork daddy yeah i like that...we designed it like a ride and then removed our memory so as not to cheapen the subjective experience of the ride 030623
Dafremen You gotta understand though do0d...sometimes they need you to break it down for them so that it goes better with beer nuts. Worked for me anyway. 030623
Dafremen Oh..and how many pixels per tree? : ) 030623
stork daddy i'm talking about the original 7 pages! and i'm all about the beer. the nuts are secondary. 030624
ferret reality is what the scientists say it is...... or is it? 030714
the scientists Yea. But if anyone asks..dafremen said it..not us. 030721
ashamnzhou the source of everyone being fucked up
is that they search for beginning ending
and being through completely physical
means interspaced with theological bullshit
however this physical understanding
is limited therefore they try to make
concepts into things that they can understand
aka theology
and intercede their understanding with it
Strideo "Prove to me you exist."

"Very well, I shall inflict pain upon you to prove my existance."

"How will I know its not just in my head?"

"He he, we'll just start somewhere else then . . ."

oldephebe hey we could use another round of ah socratic negative dialectic to endlessly exacerbate and elude having to assert our own position..anyone?

see: exist
epitome of incomprehensibility Hello. Epitome of incomprehensibility finds herself directed from the religion_vs_philosophy page into a well-argued and interesting piece on the fallacy of solipsism. However, I'd like to add that, from the little I know of philosophy and its history, it's not quite fair to draw a direct line between Descartes' "I think, therefore I am," and the idea that reality is all in one's head. Descartes began by questioning the fundamentals (what is existence? how do we know we really exist, anyway?), came up with his neat little Cogito Ergo Sum bit, and then made a set of deductions from this theory to form his philosophy--which was one of dualism, a separation between the material and spiritual/intellectual worlds. Which you may agree with or not. But it wasn't exactly "It's all in my head". 080517
dafremen Often, (if not always)one conclusion drawn is that once the "Am-ness" of the "I" has been "established", everything else's existence is suspect..except the "I".

I is a fallacy.
REAListic optimIST The concept of I is rooted in the experience of the division between desire and capability, subjective understanding and objective reality.

That there is a division is not a fallacy, so much as it is a natural outgrowth of the experience of ego. While ego is not a fallacy, it is not the sum of the truth, either. For the ego has difficulty with compassion and even reason, much less the results of scientific analysis.

It saddens me when I perceive a lack of compassion for the ego and its experience as "I". That experience is the truth of its perception, and perception is never truly true, but still retains its validity due to the place of experience within existence.

The experience of existence influences the participation of each being, and one's own participation influences the experience of other beings, and though that bit of influence is miniscule in the grand scheme of things, it's the sum of our divine gift of creation, and the beauty of that truth is that it CAN effect the world.

Personally, I believe that the reason I am here is to facilitate the universe's self-awareness and to help bring about compassion through acts of compassion and help bring about the creation of beauty by creating beauty whenever I can remember to, whenever I can look away from the illusion long enough to participate at that level.

As for you, I've no reason why you are here or what your experience is like. So all that stuff I said is nothing but claptrap to anyone else, perhaps even myself five minutes from now.
dafremen To give a show, get a show and watch God be. 131102
dafremen Still waiting for someone to point an "I" out to me that doesn't blink.

If we don't coddle the illusion while we're still under its sway, then our nonexistent donkey will take us for a ride..
REAListic optimIST As long as you are waiting for someone else to point "I" out to you, you are waiting for Godot. 131102
dafremen Name the waves in the ocean. Their names are "I" and "you" and change depending upon which one is lapping upon the shore at any given moment.

Your point about facilitating the universe's self-awareness is not only's to the point. You are the're a node of it popping up and looking around at itself. Ego itself isn't necessarily the human problem, it's over-identification with the ego that's the problem. It's being lost in the role.

Your point about "I" being the dividing line between desire and ability and the boundary between subjective and objective reality was brilliant, by the way. It may prove the existence of the role at least. The question it a fabrication of the mind, this dividing line? And does that make it real, simply because the mind fabricates it? Then Santa Claus is real and so are the demons standing in front of the schizophrenic.
what's it to you?
who go