Is there a way to tell when you are deluded?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Magical Realist, Dec 9, 2013.

  1. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

    My favourite version of a delusion is the one where someone starts out with a "definition" of God, then proceeds to show how their "definition" means God doesn't exist.
    An alternative delusion is where someone proceeds instead to show how their "definition" means God might exist.

    But all they can really show is that they've managed to invent a "definition", and that's all they have. The definition may correspond to something they can read in a book, but that doesn't give it any authority. The only true authority is personal experience, and there is no requirement that you convey in words what you experience.
    Believing that there is such a requirement is consistent with the delusion that a definition exists.
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  3. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    On the contrary, having a definition is what dictates personal experience ... what to speak of talking about personal experiences. In the absence of a definition, all one is left with is experiences practically non different from delusion.

    If you don't believe me just try and talk about your experiences of anything that is totally bereft of any supporting defintions
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  5. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    According to the vast majority of theists globally and their sacred writings/anecdotes God exists objectively and has physical interaction with humans and with nature. God is never so transcendent that he doesn't have SOME effect on the physical universe. Expecting some evidence for these interactions is not only logical but necessary to arrive at a conclusion on the existence of God. If he nowhere at no time manifests on what basis do we have for believing in him? And you claim there is evidence for God. What is this evidence?
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  7. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    And what if personal experience is totally lacking of anything like a God? What then?

    Definitions of objective things usually correspond pretty accurately to those real things themselves. I can read the definition of chair for example and get a pretty good idea of what a chair is. Definitions iow work and allow us to communicate with each other regarding the common objects of experience. God being one of these, we should expect that definition to also point to some common objective thing we can all experience. The fact that it doesn't strongly implies God doesn't exist, at least in any more sense than as a subjective fantasy in one's head.
  8. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    Having a transcendental nature doesn't mean one bears no effect on the phenomenal world. It means that the dictates of the phenomenal world are not sufficient to delineate the subject matter.

    Iow if you are talking solely and wholly about methodologies that have no scope for analysis beyond the phenomenal world you don't have the means to approach the subject ....
  9. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    IOW, transcendental = imaginary. Thanks for that clarification.
  10. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    On the contrary what is imaginary is the notion of you bringing sufficient philosophical tools to a specific problem you repeatedly insist on discussing
  11. wellwisher Banned Banned

    I have done this before. If I had a dream and tried to relate it in detail, I cannot prove the details of my dream even though what I saw was witnessed and processed correctly within my brain. We have all had dreams and know the essence of what I would relate, is probably reasonable and truth, but there there is no way to prove the details of what I say; real but not subject to proof at the level of what I witnessed. It is not a delusion but rather beyond the realm of science to prove. We can see REM but not the details.

    The philosophy of science was designed to factor out such things of the mind, or anything beyond the senses and/or sensory extensions (tools). . The method requires the phenomena be repeatable and reproducible by others, neither of which apply to dream details. Science hits a wall due to its own definition.

    The most important tool of science is consciousness. Without consciousness we cannot observe, process, theorize, etc., yet conscious also exists on the other side of the wall. We all can experience it, and might even esoterically describe it, but science cannot agree on a single definition since it is over the wall. It is there yet it is out reach for quantification.

    The question becomes, if consciousness is beyond the proof of science, even if we all have an intuitive sense of what it is, how does science calibrate this important consciousness tool before it draws conclusions of things beyond the wall? The philosophy of science limits this calibration to tangible things but not to what is over the wall.

    Religious experiences exist over the wall, like where consciousness exists. Science or atheism is not in a position to draw any conclusion until it can tell use how its calibrates consciousness to avoid system wide bias. It can only say we can't prove or disprove such things since it lies over the wall that was created by the founders of modern science. What we do know is it is not on this side of the wall.

    The wall is more than a metaphor since it is connected to the two sides of the brain.
  12. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

    If you mean you need a definition so that you can have personal experiences, I think you might be deluded.

    And, have you considered what not to speak, or not talking about personal experiences?

    Well, suppose I say there's this new drink out, and it tastes "amazing", what kind of definition is that? Or the latest Hobbit movie is an audiovisual "feast", really "convincing", brought the book to life; is that something that has any "supporting" definition? Or would I need to suppose you don't go to movies, and need to explain what sitting in an audience, looking at a screen, is like?
  13. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

    When you say "like a God", you mean "like any definition I've ever heard about"?
    What if "experience" is in fact, the evidence? How do you know for sure it isn't just that? Really simple, almost too simple to be true.

    But maybe it is true.
  14. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    Yes..the definition everyone understands by the word God when they speak about it. It's not that complicated.




    noun: God; noun: god; plural noun: gods; plural noun: the gods

    1. (in Christianity and other monotheistic religions) the creator and ruler of the universe and source of all moral authority; the supreme being.

    synonyms: the Lord, the Almighty, the Creator, the Maker, the Godhead; More
    Allah, Jehovah, Yahweh;

    (God) the Father, (God) the Son, the Holy Ghost/Spirit, the Holy Trinity;

    the Great Spirit, Gitchi Manitou;

    humorousthe Man Upstairs

    "a gift from God"

    2. (in certain other religions) a superhuman being or spirit worshiped as having power over nature or human fortunes; a deity.
    "a moon god"

    Nothing like God turns up naturally in our experience. I say naturally because it is a concept that is imposed on us by religion and culture. Like the concepts of Satan, heaven, hell, or sin. All just manmade ideas handed down from a time when stars revolved around the earth and lightning was God's judgement on towers that were built too high.
  15. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    The language of experience and definitions are more or less identical.
    IOW you can't have one without the other ... unless you have amnesia or something

    if that "not talking" etc arises from not having recourse to a definition, its probably a good indication that there was no experience either. IOW an experience without recourse to definition means one was oblivious to the experience ("I slept through the entire thing") or the memory of it

    an experience distinct from "dreadful" or "bland" .... or even in a more general sense, one can talk about the experience of "drinking" which distinguishes itself as an act distinct from many others.

    distinct from "dreary" , "hackneyed" etc etc ... and again, the notion of a "movie" indicates a functioning framework of definition ... in fact there are so many supporting definitions in this statement eg "book" "bring to life" ...Actually that entire sentence is one continuous stream of definitions that establish what is experienced and the manner of it in a particular way

    In the language of semiotics, which while also posing certain limitations in particular spheres is probably sufficient enough for the time being, they talk of both language (ie the way we define or contextualize an experience) and experience itself being products of re-presentation. IOW the tools of signal (an object/experience/ thing, etc) and signifier (what the said object/experience et al conveys) combine in a certain manner for the seer (ie the person who is having the experience) to manufacture or re-present something in themselves of "reality". This in turn produces many "codes" or language that summarizes experience or ways one has to be in order to understand the experience.

    So for instance, the very use of the word "movie" dictates not only the act of it (namely the projection of a film with accompanying sound) but also the behaviour required to "unpack" the experience into a meaningful event (or at least in a meaningful event as anticipated by the producers of the film and the film critics appraisal) ... eg sitting down somewhat quietly and attentively watching the reel unwind in a chronologically sequenced event from beginning to end.

    So if a film critic is talking about a film, he takes it for granted that his listeners don't need to be briefed on all these codes that surround it. And persons reading the experience expect the codes that surround film making to be present if they proceed to have the experience

    So as a comparison, if a group of 16th century tribes people watched the hobbit, they would probably have difficulty appreciating the critics words.
    Or if the same tribe accidentally go to a Chinese restaurant next door to the theater, one can understand by hearing their experience that they never actually went to the movie theater in teh first place
  16. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    then I guess the next question is why you insist on taking this word outside such definitions.

    You could say you have no experience and not sound like a fool, but to extrapolate your limited experience to all times places and circumstances is simply foolishness
  17. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    More adhoming by the desperate. Does doing this make you feel somehow superior?
  18. lightgigantic Banned Banned


    Its not a matter of superiority, its about not extrapolating one's limited experience to all time places and circumstances ... which is indeed foolishness
  19. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

    So the concept did not develop naturally? Do you think space aliens gave it to us?
  20. arfa brane call me arf Valued Senior Member

    But me telling you an experience was "amazing" doesn't actually tell you much.
    Really what it says is "I can't be bothered being more specific about it, so I'll just use a generally understood word". IOW, a word like "amazing" can convey a lot of things that may or may not be a part of a more detailed account. It isn't very "factual", whereas the experience, apart from any words that might have occured to me at the time or afterwards, was a whole lot of facts, only some of which I will be able to recall.

    But that can only be true of an experience which is in my past, and was a finite episode, like a movie.
  21. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    Sure it does.

    My point is that there exists the language to express an experience and regardless of your enthusiasm to impart that experience to others, that language is still present even on a mere individual level to enable you to process the experience in a meaningful way.

    If you didn't have the language you wouldn't be able to rate the drinking experience or compare it to other drinking experiences of both yourself or others.

    Its true of any experience.

    the moment you have the senses reporting information (ie signals emitted from signifiers) to a sense of "I" (ie the seer) , you have an experience.
  22. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

    Answer: When you no longer believe in the possibility that your wrong.
  23. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    So do you. Everyone does.

    What makes you think I'm belittling them?

    You can see for yourself that even you don't like to believe things out of fear, anger, under threat, or because you have no other idea.

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