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Do you trust your perception and understanding?
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marto_motoko



Joined: 27 Nov 2005
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Location: Ni'ihama

PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 10:22 pm    Post subject: Do you trust your perception and understanding? Reply with quote

Well, do you trust your understanding of the world around you? Is what you think really how things are? Do you doubt your own ghost? If not, why? If so, why?


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Marto
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GhostLine



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Location: "the net is vast and infinite..."

PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 10:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i think we live in a world that tries its best to drown out such ghost utterances. like in the book, "Blink", our intuition, is often steamrolled by popular trends and ruled out by reinforced social responses.
i don't think i have any grasp on the "whole picture' at all.
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marto_motoko



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PostPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 10:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Personally I think I'm traveled and knowledged enough to think I have a big enough personal grasp on things, but I often question my own perception. I guess it's because I'm aware of the immaculate relativity of the word "truth" and what we see it for.

I often question my very presence and where I stand in the grand scheme of it all. Everyone who's been on the forum from long ago would know that I'm extremely similar to motoko in that perspective - I question the trust I have in my body, and value it very little. I wouldn't care if I swapped it, and even with a human body, I'm still skeptical on what keeps me human, other than the fact that I seem to meet the unwritten requirements.

Even though the idea of a ghost is rather naive, I think it seems very reasonable. I personally think there's a lot of truth to the ramblings of someone like Kim from innocence. Perfection is either for those completely devoid of a soul, or for those that have unbound reason: Gods and Dolls. If you think about it, we really cannot be quite sure of how much we belong, or what sustains our place as people, other than simply "because".


marto
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Aoi



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2008 1:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can be intellectually agnostic about their validity, but that still doesn't change the fact that everyone (being human) inherently, intuitively, automatically trusts their perception. It's all mental.
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GhostLine



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2008 4:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aoi wrote:
You can be intellectually agnostic about their validity, but that still doesn't change the fact that everyone (being human) inherently, intuitively, automatically trusts their perception. It's all mental.

I agree...that's why we generally make up value statements aimed at things understood, or pass judgements...we approve of our perceptions above others. I think that's why I'm not so quick to say I got it figured out. I mainly know my culture and have been raised in my social construct...we can try to graduate beyond our station, but we still are going to want to hold onto the rails of familiarity first. The best way I think to rattle your cage is to read, read, read...and not numb, numb, numb.... I'm finding that even learning about views that i disagree with help me stretch my Experience Points.
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Elmo_Redux



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2008 5:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think, therefore there is something out there that is thinking. This something thinks that it is me, and I call this something a mind. I draw no distinction between mind and ghost, so I have no reason to doubt my ghost(outside of the healthy scepticism and uncertainty I try to keep about all aspects of life no matter how absolute they are).

I trust my perceptions in that they are an mediated expression of the truth of reality, not the actual truth of reality itself. As a mere mediated experience my perceptions can be distorted or misinterpreted by the mediator(my mind), but nevertheless i can trust the fact that what they express is a simulation of truth. jean paul sartre once expressed this idea in his book Nausea that nothing exists only slightly, everything of reality is painfully 100% certain - but our passage through reality via our perceptions is wholly uncertain. I can trust my perceptions that far.


p.s. sorry to any Sartre fans as I just paraphrased and reinterpreted a whole book of ideas into one short sentence. Smile
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Individual Twelve



Joined: 27 Oct 2007
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2008 7:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My philosophy is this:

There is no point in doubting your own perception, because even if it's not correct, you still have to live in it, so you may as well just get on with life.

As you can see, my philosophy is designed to keep me sane. Razz
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GhostLine



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 12, 2008 10:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

well, all i can say is that this discussion has helped me overcome a major barrier in my life; i can finally accept that the purple bunnies ARE out to get me and they they are real despite what others say.... veritas, i say unto thee... brb, gonna go buy a pellet gun...

hahhahaa
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sonic
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 12:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Get Elmo to ice them for you. He offs bunnies. In front of small children Crying or Very sad

I am not a solipsist or anything like that (though I had moments when I was in my mid-teens). I often can't tell if people like me, don't like me, or don't give a damn, so I'm always wondering if my perception of other humans is correct. Do you think I'm a complete annoyance for posting this much? Does what I say even have a point? I have no definate certain answer, so like Twelve says I just do it anyway and mouth on and on like there's no tomorrow. I am more existensially dilemma'd over the state of my clothes when I run off to uni too late or whether people love or hate my work than I am over actual existensial questions. I trust my perception 'in the now' as much as I can, but I prove myself wrong all the time so it is quite a process. You have to trust your perception (on all levels, not just my shallow description), and simply be prepared to adapt really easily and quickly if you learn your perception may not be right.
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Synthetic



Joined: 20 Feb 2009
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2009 7:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think I can pin down the complete erosion of my trust in my senses to a number of things I have experienced.

1. Kant
I still remember how obsessed I became (and still am) with Kant's division of perception and reality. I must have been 15 or so and at the time I saw it as a problem, now I think I have glimpsed the opportunities it presents (which make up for the "problem" infinitely), so I see it in a more positive light.

For those not familiar with Kant, I provide a simplified explanation:
Already before Kant, the idea that some part of our senses were mediated was usually admitted (search primary-secondary qualities for more info). For example smells were different for different people, while other qualities for example the form of a cube was argued to be identical to everyone. Some qualities where thus subjective, while others where objective (independent on the observer). Kant's position is that all qualities are mediated, even introspection that had been in so high regard by Descartes was deemed to be mediated. So by consequence logic and mathematics (and science along with it) according to this view are not transcendent! There is no privileged access to reality!
I find this to be especially interesting in light of neurology, as such a perspective is compatible with empirical findings, even the most certain things seem to depend on the structure of our minds.

2. Lucid dreams
The first lucid dream I had was a peculiar experience. Back then Iójust like so many othersóthought that dream somehow are less real ("We dreams in black and white" is the perfect example of how little is commonly known about dreams) that waking life and I was in for quite a surprise.
I became lucid just when I was about to wake up and I can still kind of evoke the overwhelming sense of clarity I experienced in that moment when I think about it. It's probably difficult to imagine what it felt like, but you might think of it as alcohol in reverse. It happened just before I woke up, so I also experienced the "double body phenomenon" (when you mind still has a projected "dream body" and you at the same time feel you real body lying in bed) and I literally felt my clarity being drained as a woke up, the way our minds usually do when we wake up to forget dreams. It was a fantastic experience and I felt elated for the whole rest of the day.

Dreams show that our minds are fully capable to create ostensibly indistinguishable worlds. No need for the slightest input.

3. Neurology
Studying neurology is also something that really messed up my view of perception and understanding. I witnessed everything I knew about my mind being systematically demolished (or perhaps corrected is a better word). Split brains, agnosia, blindsight are just a preparation for the hard hitters: Blindness denial and hemineglect. And top that with color phi phenomenon and Benjamin Libet experiments on "backwards referral".

All that insanity still makes me uncomfortable when I think about it.
So what's left? After the rough treatment of those three things there is no way I'm still sane right? Actually there is something indefinitely worse left. Something that makes all I've mentioned so far seem like a mother's soothing reassurances in comparison.


4. 4-HO-MET
My god, there is no way to describe how completely messed up that was. There are no words to accurately describe such an experience, but it could be likened to setting your senses and reasoning on fire. I realized afterwards how unprepared I was to what actually happened, but now that I think about it there probably no way to be prepared.
Thinking about it made me realize just how frail our normality is and I find myself to know more about what consciousness is and isn't. It also gave me a greater understand and sympathy for those suffer mental problem, as you kind of get a view for "the other side". I do find it altogether to be an enriching experience.

DISCLAIMER
The substance is legal where I live, I don't advice anyone to take illegal substances. When dealing with mind altering substances READ UP ABOUT THEM AND BE AWARE OF THE RISKS TO MINIMIZE THEM.
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Freitag



Joined: 01 Sep 2008
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2009 9:52 pm    Post subject: Re: Do you trust your perception and understanding? Reply with quote

marto_motoko wrote:
Well, do you trust your understanding of the world around you? Is what you think really how things are? Do you doubt your own ghost? If not, why? If so, why?


Smile
Marto


I do. It is. I don't. Because...

I do agree that our senses are limited. We see only a fraction of the EM spectra. We feel only a limited range of temperatures (without the destruction of skin). We hear a narrow band of frequencies.

But all of these bring information into our minds and from there we build an internal model of the world.

And here is where I think that our senses are good enough...

Because form that model we make plans and predictions. And then we act on them.

Every morning I get out of bed and go brush my teeth. I do not perform any tests beforehand to determine if the ground is still there. It was when I saw it. My mental model of the planned action of brushing my teeth makes the assumption that the ground will remain there. And so far for over 40 years I have been right.

I have experienced terremoto and although it is a peculiar thing, it fits my model.

If my senses were ultimately unreliable my model would be wrong. I only have to fail to see a dragon one time or think I see a bridge instead of a chasm for my model to be fatally flawed.

But I have not been eaten or fallen through the apparent floor. Nor has anyone I've known.

The empirical evidence suggests that everyone model is right.




Unless I'm a butterfly dreaming that I am a man.
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Synthetic



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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2009 8:58 am    Post subject: Re: Do you trust your perception and understanding? Reply with quote

You stir up some interesting questions there Freitag.

Now, lets see if I understand what you are saying:
You believe that our minds make a model of reality, reality being the world described by science. Implicit in this is that minds are representational and their main task is processing information.


My view on this is quite different.

First of all, I don't think that the brain is representing anything, since there doesn't seem to be anything to represent in the first place.

Secondly, the idea that the brain processes information is quite puzzling to me, for there to be an informational relation between what we experience and reality, it seems to me that there must exist a 1:1 relation between experience and reality. Sort of like a map and the terrain have a 1:1 relationship. Problem is that the very nature of the nervous system works seems to rule out such a relation.

I also see a problem with comparing empirical evidence with the "model" of reality that your mind produces. Isn't the very definition of empirical evidence things that we observe in the word (things we observe in our model of the world)? You might object that we can make the measurement with tools, but then I think it is important to remember that there is always a human being looking at the results.
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Freitag



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PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, 2009 12:12 pm    Post subject: Re: Do you trust your perception and understanding? Reply with quote

Synthetic wrote:
You stir up some interesting questions there Freitag.

Now, lets see if I understand what you are saying:
You believe that our minds make a model of reality, reality being the world described by science. Implicit in this is that minds are representational and their main task is processing information.

No, reality being what is real. A scientific description of reality is just another model made by minds - following a specific set of rules.

Synthetic wrote:

My view on this is quite different.

First of all, I don't think that the brain is representing anything, since there doesn't seem to be anything to represent in the first place.

Secondly, the idea that the brain processes information is quite puzzling to me, for there to be an informational relation between what we experience and reality, it seems to me that there must exist a 1:1 relation between experience and reality. Sort of like a map and the terrain have a 1:1 relationship. Problem is that the very nature of the nervous system works seems to rule out such a relation.

I also see a problem with comparing empirical evidence with the "model" of reality that your mind produces. Isn't the very definition of empirical evidence things that we observe in the word (things we observe in our model of the world)? You might object that we can make the measurement with tools, but then I think it is important to remember that there is always a human being looking at the results.


The empirical evidence is that people do not suddenly disappear from awareness when they either their model lets them choose to do something that is in reality fatal, or they do some thing that violates a rule in our model putting them in a real state that we cannot (or do not) perceive.

I guess my foundational statement is that there IS an absolute reality.

And that through various senses we perceive that reality.

Our internal model is what lets us assume the ground will still be there after we have been away from the sensory input of that particular piece of reality.

If we don't agree that there is an absolute reality, then any other place where we do agree is pure coincidence. And I may not exist, I may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato.
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Synthetic



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PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2009 4:42 pm    Post subject: Re: Do you trust your perception and understanding? Reply with quote

Thanks for the reply Freitag

Freitag wrote:


No, reality being what is real. A scientific description of reality is just another model made by minds - following a specific set of rules.


I don't quite get what you are saying here, "reality being what is real" is a tautology, so it's not telling me anything. And you comment on science, does that mean that you aren't a scientific realist?

Freitag wrote:


The empirical evidence is that people do not suddenly disappear from awareness when they either their model lets them choose to do something that is in reality fatal, or they do some thing that violates a rule in our model putting them in a real state that we cannot (or do not) perceive.

I guess my foundational statement is that there IS an absolute reality.

And that through various senses we perceive that reality.

Our internal model is what lets us assume the ground will still be there after we have been away from the sensory input of that particular piece of reality.

If we don't agree that there is an absolute reality, then any other place where we do agree is pure coincidence. And I may not exist, I may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato.


I suppose it all depends on what you mean with "absolute reality". If you mean that there must be something beyond our senses, somewhere it all comes from before it reaches our senses, then in this sense I agree that there is an "absolute reality". Yet as I am constantly reminded (everyday when I sleep in fact) there is no way to know where it all comes from, may it be a "world" or a mind or whatever. I don't intent to mean that solipsism is the way to go, I see no reason why intersubjectivity could not be preserved to a certain degree among all human beings even though there is no direct relation between reality (ontology) and what we experience. I do likewise see no problem with consistency, the fact that our experiences are consistent only tells us that our brains aren't changing too fast.
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Freitag



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PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2009 8:52 pm    Post subject: Re: Do you trust your perception and understanding? Reply with quote

Synthetic wrote:
Thanks for the reply Freitag

Freitag wrote:


No, reality being what is real. A scientific description of reality is just another model made by minds - following a specific set of rules.


I don't quite get what you are saying here, "reality being what is real" is a tautology, so it's not telling me anything. And you comment on science, does that mean that you aren't a scientific realist?


Well I don't know what a "scientific realist" is so I cannot answer that, but your description of what is real depended upon another model. I am saying that there is a reality to be observed. And that we are simply discussing the validity of sensory observation as an accurate method to know what that reality is.


Synthetic wrote:

Freitag wrote:


The empirical evidence is that people do not suddenly disappear from awareness when they either their model lets them choose to do something that is in reality fatal, or they do some thing that violates a rule in our model putting them in a real state that we cannot (or do not) perceive.

I guess my foundational statement is that there IS an absolute reality.

And that through various senses we perceive that reality.

Our internal model is what lets us assume the ground will still be there after we have been away from the sensory input of that particular piece of reality.

If we don't agree that there is an absolute reality, then any other place where we do agree is pure coincidence. And I may not exist, I may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato.


I suppose it all depends on what you mean with "absolute reality". If you mean that there must be something beyond our senses, somewhere it all comes from before it reaches our senses, then in this sense I agree that there is an "absolute reality". Yet as I am constantly reminded (everyday when I sleep in fact) there is no way to know where it all comes from, may it be a "world" or a mind or whatever. I don't intent to mean that solipsism is the way to go, I see no reason why intersubjectivity could not be preserved to a certain degree among all human beings even though there is no direct relation between reality (ontology) and what we experience. I do likewise see no problem with consistency, the fact that our experiences are consistent only tells us that our brains aren't changing too fast.


I know of some people that deny the existence of a reality to be perceived - the claim that we are all some sort of virtual thought constructs. But I've never then understood what is supposed to be having those thoughts, so I don't pay much attention to them.

Your position seems to be different. I need to go re-read your bit about how thoughts work again and why that shows that we can't model reality.

But this part confuses me "even though there is no direct relation between reality (ontology) and what we experience". I don't see how there can be no direct relation between what is and what is perceived.

Object sits in sun light.
Photon bounces from object and hits retina.
Nerve impulse hits brain.
Image is interpreted.
I pet sleeping cat in sun.

There has to be at least a function relationship or parents would never be able to feed an infant and the species would die off.
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