# Thread: Do You Really Exist?

1. ## Do You Really Exist?

Have you ever thought about the beginning? I mean, what was really here first, at the beginning of time? There are two simple possibilities. The first theory is that in the beginning there was Nothing. Absolutely Nothing. The second theory says that in the beginning there was Something. You and I know that only one of these theories can be correct, but which one is it? Which one is true?

The first theory says that in the beginning there was Nothing. Well, let’s take a look and see if this is possible, see if this is reasonable. An illustration may help us out here. Let's say you have a very large closed box. This box is locked, permanently, and has no openings or holes of any kind in its walls. Excluding the walls of the box itself there is Nothing, Absolutely Nothing inside our box. Not a particle of anything. No air at all. No dust at all. No light at all. It's a sealed box that's pitch black inside. OK, let's say your goal is to get Something--anything at all--into the box. But the rules are: you can't use anything from outside the box to do that. So what do you do?

Well, what if you try to create a spark inside the box? Then the box would have light in it, even for just a moment. That would qualify as Something wouldn’t it? Yes, but you are outside the box. So that is not allowed.

But, what if you could teleport Something into the box, like in Star Trek? Again, that's not allowed, because you'd be using things from outside the box. Here again is the dilemma: you have to get Something inside the box using only what's in the box. And, in this case, what's in the box is Nothing.

Well, maybe a tiny particle of Something will just show up inside our box if given enough time and chance. Maybe it will just “spontaneously generate.” That sounds possible, doesn’t it? After all, can’t virtually anything happen if given enough time?

That brings up the First real problem with our theory: Time. Time by itself doesn't do anything. Things happen over time, but it's not time that makes them happen. For example, if you wait 15 minutes for cookies to bake, it's not the 15 minutes that bakes them, it's the heat in the oven. If you set them on the counter for 15 minutes, they're not going to bake. In our analogy, we've got a fully enclosed box with absolutely Nothing in it. Waiting 15 minutes will not, in and of itself, change the situation. Well, you say, what if we wait eons? An eon is merely a bunch of 15-minute segments all pressed together. If you waited an eon with your cookies on the counter, would the eon bake them?

The Second problem is chance. Is there really any possibility that chance could make something appear in our box? Well, if we are thinking of chance as a supposed agent or cause of change, then absolutely not. Chance has no power to do anything or change anything in any way because it simply is not anything. To be more precise, it is nothing. Nothing cannot do something. Nothing is not. Chance has no power because it has no being. It has no existence. It has no more chance of doing something than Nothing has of doing something. There is absolutely no possibility that chance could ever make anything appear in our box. And even if we combine chance and time wouldn’t we still only have Nothing doing Nothing over a very long period of time?

The Third problem is this: why would anything just "show up" in the empty box without a cause? Remember, there is no cause of any kind inside our box. There is Nothing inside the box at all. So what's to stop that from remaining the case? There is Nothing inside the box to cause Something to "show up." But wait a minute, couldn't Something just create itself? Absolutely not! Self-creation is a logical and rational impossibility. For Something to actually create itself it would have to be before it is. That is scientifically impossible. It is impossible for solids, liquids, and gasses. It is impossible for atoms and subatomic particles. It is impossible for any form of energy, light, or heat. It is impossible for any form of life, simple or complex. Nothing anywhere, anytime, can create itself.

But, what about a tiny particle of Something, say an atom? Wouldn't that have a greater chance of materializing in our empty box than Something gigantic like the earth? That brings up the Fourth problem: Size. We need to remember here that size is relative. Something is only “tiny” or “gigantic” in relation to something else. An atom is indeed tiny compared to the earth, but the earth is also tiny when compared to the entire universe. Does that really make it any easier for the earth to materialize out of nothing? Even an atom would appear to be gigantic when compared to one of its own subatomic particles? And wouldn’t any subatomic particle, no matter how small, be gigantic when compared to Nothing which has no size at all? Now if you don’t think that the earth could just pop into existence from nothing then you must conclude the very same thing for a single atom. For size really is not the issue. The question is not whether something large or small in relation to something else could “show up”, but whether or not any thing of any size could just "show up" in our sealed, empty box. The real likelihood of any tiny particle materializing without a cause is no different than the earth itself materializing out of nothing without a cause! For neither is possible.

Now let's stretch our analogy a little further, literally. Let's take our box of Nothing and remove its walls. And let's extend the box so it goes on infinitely in all directions. Now an infinity of Nothing is all there is, period. This infinity has no light, no dust, no particles of any kind, no air, no elements, no molecules. It is absolute Nothingness. This Nothingness has no nature, no causal powers, no time, no space, no change of any kind, or tendencies toward anything whatsoever. In fact, we can truly call it Absolutely Nothing.

So here's the big question: if originally--bazillions of years ago--there was Absolutely Nothing, wouldn't there be Absolutely Nothing right now? For Something--no matter how small--cannot come from Absolutely Nothing. However, something does exist. Actually, many things exist. You, for example, are something that exists, a very important something. Therefore, the very fact that you exist is proof that Absolutely Nothing never existed. Now, if Absolutely Nothing never existed, then Something has always existed, and could never have not been. Something is eternal.

Whether or not we can wrap our mind around it, Something is eternal. The “Big Bang” theory rules out the material universe because it had a definite beginning in space and time. If there was ever a point in time when the universe did not exist then it is not eternal. Something outside the material universe must be eternal or else you and I don’t really exist.

2. "I think , therefore I am."

3. Most Awesome Other Dude:

If you exist then Something else other than you is eternal for you are part of the universe and the universe is not eternal.

4. There are a couple of problems with your hypothesis:

1. As far as we can tell, energy and the primary forces of physics are eternal. Energy is never created nor is it lost, it can only change form. Energy is 'something' that is eternal.

2. Something can come from nothing; in fact it happens all the time, everywhere. They are known as virtual particles because these pairs of particles come from nothing and typically annihilate each other very shortly after their creation. We can, however, measure the existence of these particles; they create a pressure known as the Casimir Effect.

Virtual Particles
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_particle

Casimir Effect
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casimir_effect

~Raithere

P.S. Welcome to SciForums!

5. I am Muslim, therefore I am.

6. Most Awesome Raithere Techno Dude,

There is no proof that energy or any other primary force of physics is eternal, in the sense that it had no beginning. We can say that energy exists now and that it changes in form and is never lost in this current material universe of ours. We cannot say for sure that there was or was not ever a time when energy did not exist. How do you know, as a non eternal being, that energy has always existed, without beginning? To know that energy is eternal you would have to be eternal yourself and have been a witness to it for all eternity.

Also, Virtual Particles have a very real and tangible cause. They do not come from nothing as you and others may suggest. They are caused by the very experiment that scientists use to create them. It takes a massive amount of energy, machinery, and intelligence to create them. I would hardly say that, under these circumstances, they come from nothing. As an additional note, they are obviously not eternal either.

Best Wishes! Thanks for the Welcome Dude!

7. Originally Posted by 1Dude
There is no proof that energy or any other primary force of physics is eternal, in the sense that it had no beginning. We can say that energy exists now and that it changes in form and is never lost in this current material universe of ours. We cannot say for sure that there was or was not ever a time when energy did not exist.
Nor can we say there was a time when energy and force did not exist. Either statement regarded absolutely is assumed.

What we can say is that in every observed case the 1st law of thermodynamics is correct and energy is conserved. Thus the principle of conservation is a law or a hypothesis that has never been demonstrated to be incorrect and explains all available evidence. Whereas the hypothesis that at some point there was nothing (non-conservation of energy) is purely hypothetical with not a stitch of evidence to support it.

Your hypothesis therefore, is based purely in an assumed premise while there is evidential support for an eternal Universe. Personally, I give more credence to that which has some evidence to support it.

Further, we might take into account quantum indeterminacy which suggests that existence might not be an 'either or' condition. This makes the all or nothing conditions of your thought experiment erroneous as a false dilemma.

Also, Virtual Particles have a very real and tangible cause. They do not come from nothing as you and others may suggest. They are caused by the very experiment that scientists use to create them. It takes a massive amount of energy, machinery, and intelligence to create them.
Absolutely not. The Casimir Effect can be observed simply by placing two plates very close to each other in a vacuum. No high energy experiment is needed. In fact, Casimir discovered the effect while studying colloidal solutions.

~Raithere

8. Thank you for your input on this Raithere. I really appreciate your opinion on this!

I will have to get back to you later on the energy thing. You make some very excellent points. Energy may be eternal. My initial thread statement above never said that it wasn't. I am still in the learning process on this topic and always will be.

I still have to discount the idea that Virtual Particles come from nothing. They have a real cause. According to what you said, they occur when placing two plates very close to each other in a vacuum. That is still not from nothing. There are two plates involved in this observation. Could you say the same thing occurs with one plate or without any plate at all? There is a real cause there involving real material objects. If Virtual Particles have any cause, material or not, or any kind of energy, then they do not truly come from nothing.

Regards!

9. If we can imagine a waveform of light where the E and H fields alternate then
both the e and h fields are zero at some point in their cycle, at that point we can essentially say they do not exist and yet the waveforms reappear, expand to some maximum and again collapse to zero. So how does that apply to the universe? If we assume a cyclic universe there’s no need to wonder about the emergence of a universe out of nothing.

10. Originally Posted by cosmictraveler
"I think , therefore I am."
That should be: "I think, therefore I think I am"

Do we exist?

Existence is only an abstraction of perception, your perception, or an electrons perception. On the absolute level, nothing exists, yet in duality, exists many folds of realities. We exist in duality with all other realities, yet ultimately we are the imagination of the absolute.

However, it is when we become conscious, that we trully don't exist. We attest to an existence that is subset from actual reality, when we have, are, and will always be in reality - so our existence is only an illusion.

11. One weekend while I was in college a bunch of us were going to drive from Southern Illinois University to Southeast Missouri State University for a "walk out" weekend -- go to the football game, hang out at our sorority's house at that campus, meet new and different guys we could scam for beer.

We were supposed to leave at 1:00 p.m. Arnold was going to drive (my three best friends in college were named Kim, so I just always used their last names). Omelson (another Kim) and I were in the car with her, waiting for the others to get ready and join the caravan. Naturally, no one was ready to go. Chicks would stop by the car, say they'd "just be a minute," they were going to grab lunch, they had to run to the store.... By the time everyone was finally ready to go, it was closer to 5:00 p.m.

The weekend was one of the strangest I've ever had. I lost my voice early in the evening (had to use a translator for the drinking games), lost a couple of the Kims at one point, and far too many other things to mention here. The semester that followed was similarly weird. In fact, my life from that point forward has been absolutely bizarre.

Omelson and I came up with a theory to explain the incredible string of events in our lives that have followed what was supposed to be a typical college weekend: during that four hour wait, we fell asleep in the car, and everything that has happened since has been a dream.

If that is the case, I exist, and everything that has happened since Labor Day weekend 1991, including me writing this post now, is merely a figment of my disturbed subconscious. This post does not exist, neither do Pentium processors, AIM, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the second Gulf War, Dubya as president, Hugh Grant and Divine Brown, Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, or Buffy the Vampire Slayer (only the last makes me a little sniffly...the rest I can't even explain). I exist, but no one I've encountered since fall 1991 does. I suppose that would include my boyfriend, but since he's gorgeous, smart, sweet, funny as hell and really talented, it only stands to reason that he would have to be a figment of my imagination.

12. More important then knowing or not knowing that we do exist is what we chose not to know, in this case I chose not to know that we dont exist.

13. I understand that sentiment. We TRY to create our own existence, and our own values, and purposes in life in constant struggle with the social paradigms - only to have them erased in the end.

What purpose is there to this life, other than chasing winds, and grazing fields. If you look at it objectively, our life is no different from a herd of sheep.

14. Originally Posted by 1Dude
Thank you for your input on this Raithere. I really appreciate your opinion on this!
No problem, it's an extremely interesting discussion.

Energy may be eternal. My initial thread statement above never said that it wasn't. I am still in the learning process on this topic and always will be.
We all are.

I still have to discount the idea that Virtual Particles come from nothing. They have a real cause. According to what you said, they occur when placing two plates very close to each other in a vacuum. That is still not from nothing. There are two plates involved in this observation. Could you say the same thing occurs with one plate or without any plate at all?
Well, there must be something for us to be able to make any observation at all but the effect does not seem to be dependent upon the materials of the experiment. As I mentioned, Casimir discovered the effect while studying colloidal solutions. This was because the observations could not be explained by the known forces and effects; there was something 'extra' in the equation that could not be explained.

This is explained in quantum physics in by the uncertainty principle. There is a level of indeterminacy that is not merely a practical limitation but an actual function of how space-time works. In other words, you can never quite reach a zero energy state because indeterminacy causes a fluctuation, sometimes enough to cause particles to come from nowhere.

There is a real cause there involving real material objects.
No, it seems to be a innate quality of space-time. Now we might ask what happens 'outside' or 'before' space-time but realize that you'll have to throw out all your preconceptions of causality. Without time how can you measure 'cause' and 'effect'?

~Raithere

15. Originally Posted by crazymikey
That should be: "I think, therefore I think I am"
I think, therefore I am works fine. For if I am not, who is asking the question?

However, it is when we become conscious, that we trully don't exist. We attest to an existence that is subset from actual reality, when we have, are, and will always be in reality - so our existence is only an illusion.
No, if there is an 'actual reality' of which our perception of existence is a subset then existence is actual. Unless you can explain a non-existent 'actual reality'.

Originally Posted by bitterchick
If that is the case, I exist, and everything that has happened since Labor Day weekend 1991, including me writing this post now, is merely a figment of my disturbed subconscious.
What's the difference? Awake or asleep what you perceive is a function of your mind. Unless you have some basis from which to compare relative states you have no choice but to operate as if what you experience is real. Congruence is the only real measure of reality we have and that is assumed.

Originally Posted by Greco
More important then knowing or not knowing that we do exist is what we chose not to know, in this case I chose not to know that we dont exist.
You can't know that you don't exist, it's impossible. If you don't exist then there's nothing to do the knowing.

~Raithere

16. Originally Posted by cosmictraveler
"I think , therefore I am."
Mind and mind's laws lay hid in night.
God said:"Let Descartes be", and there was light.
It did not last. The devil shouted, "Ho!
Here's Schrödinger's cat! Restore the status quo".

I choose, therefore I am.

17. [QUOTE=crazymikey]I understand that sentiment. We TRY to create our own existence, and our own values, and purposes in life in constant struggle with the social paradigms - only to have them erased in the end.

What purpose is there to this life, other than chasing winds, and grazing fields. If you look at it objectively, our life is no different from a herd of sheep.
*************
M*W: Life is relative to all creation. Our spirit is constantly in the process of creating us where we are. We exist with each other, but do ants know we exist?

The only purpose of our life is to be the physical vessel for our spiritual creator. Humanity is the face of god on Earth, and we are destined to become god on Earth.

We are different than a herd of sheep. Each level of existence has its place in creation.

18. You can't know that you don't exist, it's impossible. If you don't exist then there's nothing to do the knowing.
True enough. Perhaps, then, we fool ourselves into thinking that everything else around us exists ;-). Not unlike the brain being fooled into believing that the amputated limb is still there.

Welcome to the phantom reality syndrome

19. If you think you are a cabbage, are you a cabbage? Nope, you only think you are a cabbage. However, to you this is a reality.

No, if there is an 'actual reality' of which our perception of existence is a subset then existence is actual. Unless you can explain a non-existent 'actual reality'.
Ah, you see the "actual reality", is not real. It is only a conceptual duality of non-existence. Electrons, atoms, cells do not have consciousness, the concept of existence only arises when consciousness arises due to the aggregation of cells. In retrospect nothing existed, and when you arose, you fabricated existence.

In fact, the concept of duality means you can "exist" in a virtual world, or a "real" world, and there would be no difference.

20. We are different than a herd of sheep. Each level of existence has its place in creation.
Technically, we are not. We just have more activities, which we repeat over and over again, in various permutations - as do sheep.

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