Solipsism

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Bowser, Oct 27, 2017.

  1. Bowser Life is Fatal. Valued Senior Member

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    It's an idea I've touched before, but in general it holds that nothing is certain other than the "self." When I reflect on my dreams, they are as real as any moment while awake. I am amazed that my mind can create a story without any effort on my part. It just appears while I slumber. The notion that we live in a dream is a concept that I have trouble accepting, but I find it fascinating nonetheless.

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  3. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

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    I can't recall ever having a dream that was as real as any moment while awake.
    Be a friend who says his dreams are like that, but mine are always sepia-coloured, I tend to observe in a mix of 1st and 3rd person, and I can never see minute detail like words.
    So I could never accept that my daily life is but a dream, as my dreams are a distinctly different experience.

    A brain in a vat / Matrix style of thing, though... yes, a fascinating proposition, but if we can never get behind the curtain to the "ultimate reality" of our position then I find it not worth putting too much effort in it.
    I find it an interesting philosophical path to explore, but not one to travel down permanently, so to speak.
     
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  5. Hipparchia Registered Senior Member

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    And have you found this to be the case in each of the simulations you have lived through?

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  7. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

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    I can only conclude that they must wipe my memories after each one.
    Maybe that's where my weirder dreams come from... A slightly defective mind-wipe!

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  8. Hipparchia Registered Senior Member

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    I wonder, if we are in a simulation, if I make the same mistakes in every run through. Just can't get to level 87!
     
  9. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    I believe that I have two very different kinds of dreams. One are experiential dreams where I seem to be someplace doing something, the other are problem-solving dreams where I'm struggling with some more abstract problem.

    I can't typically remember my dreams for very long after I wake up. They fade away. I do remember my impression of them in that short interval. They typically don't make a whole lot of sense and include huge non-sequiturs. The problem-solving dreams have never seemed to make much sense that I recall, and in the experiential dreams I might be one place and then suddenly another. In one dream, there was a door in my house and when I stepped through it I wasn't in California any longer, I was in Germany.

    To the extent that I can remember them, my dreams seem to be built around scraps of memory from my waking life. The problem-solving dreams usually have something to do with something I've been thinking about. The experiential dreams recall experiences I've actually had in life. I'm at work, I'm at the beach, I'm with somebody I know. But in the dream, these scraps are thrown together seemingly randomly. And interestingly, there seems to be some kind of process at work trying to create a narrative out of it, something that links all of it together.

    When I'm awake and can direct my critical rational faculties to recalling dream content (that ability quickly faces) it never makes much sense.

    So dreams only seem to me to mimic real-life experiences when my critical faculties aren't active. When they revive upon waking, the plausibility of the dream experience collapses (as does my ability to recall it).
     
  10. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    A dream's avatar or POV isn't normally in control of anything. It's the non-personal brain, that is transcendent or prior in rank to the contents of the dream's immediate phenomenal environment and the exhibited personhood, which is actually generating and poorly regulating the events. The waking "self" is also a product of that brain, so that the dream avatar and the waking self becoming conflated in a lucid type dream doesn't really change the fundamental agency in charge behind the scenes.

    Similarly in solipsism one's apparent embodied "self" would only enjoy the privilege of being another point of view for the objective "world manifestation", and otherwise would be just as powerless, fragile and short-lived as the rest of humankind that was limited to being observed from outside themselves (as objects; i.e., no verification of whether they have personal experiences or not). The identity and nature of the ultimate "dreamer" in solipsism would thereby be unknown, and could just as much be maintaining a multitude of co-existing avatars as that single one which is immorally deeming itself to be the sole POV.

    The ethical considerations enter the picture from the standpoint that society or a social organization -- in lacking any capacity for having experiences like its biological components, or in being the solipsist dreamer itself -- is inherently going to be against any notion of solipsism that would deny it authority and something more than superficial existence. The rules of that people collective or its moral urgency accordingly mandate trashing such ideas, so that it's a possibility purely applicable to the private entertainment of the individual. But as scrutinized above, the "I" engaging in such thoughts would be temporary appearance as well, like the avatar in an ordinary dream. Not the literal, metempirical agency supposedly responsible for the grand hallucination.

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  11. Bowser Life is Fatal. Valued Senior Member

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    I quite often remember my dreams, and they generally have very little association with my life. They usually cobble together from nothing. Occasionally someone in my life will play a role, but that is rare. My dreams, however, are not as linear as is life--events don't flow in a logical pattern. Pretty much anything is possible in a dream. A curious thing though: I've always been human in my dreams. I've never been a wolf, bird or any other creature in my dreams--always human.
     
  12. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    What do you mean by this specifically?

    Do you mean that, upon reflection (once awake), your dreams still seem so real that you might conceivably confuse them with reality?

    I've never had a dream that was so vivid that upon waking, I could still not be sure it wasn't a dream.

    Sure, while in the dream, one thinks it seems real. But that's because the critical-analysis executive functions of the brain are shut down.
    One can as easily say the same thing when under the influence of an hallucinogen.
     
  13. Bowser Life is Fatal. Valued Senior Member

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    Within the dream I'm not aware that I'm dreaming. I am submerged within the dream, and it is the reality of my experience. I once had a dream that I could fly. I didn't question it; I simply had a great time.
     
  14. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

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    Purely to explore this for recreational purposes...

    In a dream there's often amnesia, ranging from selective to wholesale, concerning the waking life. As well as new memories adapted for the circumstances of that simulated environment -- or memories that revise themselves to accommodate inconsistencies that crop up. So the sleeper's avatar is at the mercy of the dream's standards (they become the norm) when it comes to evaluating affairs.

    Thus there might be a possibility that if there was yet another level for our supposedly non-dreaming state of consciousness to "wake-up" from itself, then after re-acquiring the memories / knowledge and standards for that higher realm, we'd look back on this collective "dream" and realize how erratic it was in contrast to the regulating conventions we'd forgotten. As well as become aware of all the editing (retconning) that had been going on in this world to make it seem events were coherent overall.

    But while still in this virtual reality (or oneiro-cosmos), the very idea of the above would seem absurd because we've got nothing but what the internal story allows and conforms to as a measure or guide for what makes sense. The very notion of a "higher logic or revelation" that would expose the behavior and nature of this world as really being semi-gibberish seems impossible.

    As an alternative, it could be that only the bottom-most types of experiences featuring an external environment are poorly regulated. Which is to say, once reaching or returning to this particular nested level and beyond, the unfolding process of events starts becoming inter-consistent, the framework of these phenomenal continuums starts holding together well.

    The issue of lucid dreams -- where the supposed genuine waking self becomes conflated with one's avatar in the dream to the extent that matter can even be controlled by will, might have comparison to either enlightenment / revealed knowledge or becoming a "superhero" in religious folklore. Barring the unlikelihood of powerful prophets and temporarily embodied gods being born to human mothers having literally occurred in the past, the latter is yet to be witnessed.

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  15. Bowser Life is Fatal. Valued Senior Member

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    The impermanence of reality seems to hint that reality, itself, is not real. The cosmos is in a constant state of flux, ever-changing, never standing still. The one and only thing that does hold steady is awareness, the seer--the one that stands behind the mask, experiencing all of it.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm simply toying with the idea. I do find it interesting. I do appreciate you mentioning lucid dreaming. I've had a couple. My interaction within a dream in such a state was limited by my imagination. Where my mind had created the stage, the best I could do was test the environment.
     
  16. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Yes. That's what I was getting at.
    It's not that it seems so real, it's that your ability to objectively analyze its realness is severely compromised.
    When you're drugged, you think everything that's happening is real, because you are bereft of the executive functions that you normally use to incur doubt.
    Only afterward, do you say 'Duh. That guy had the head of a cobra - of course it wasn't real. I just never thought to ask myself that during the dream/drug state.'
     
  17. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Thing is, as soon as we acknowledge that our perception of reality is both incomplete and distorted, we see that it is not reality's shortcoming, but our own.
     
  18. Bowser Life is Fatal. Valued Senior Member

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    I've never hallucinated while under the influence, though I have experienced an altered state of mind while under the influence. I can't comment directly to your proposition because objective reality where my senses are involved have always been a constant, even while under the influence.

    The mind does try to make sense of what it seems to see. The other night I was puffing on a smoke at the back door when suddenly I thought I saw a critter trying to climb the tree several feet from where I was standing. I was a bit startled, but when I gave it a closer look I discovered it was a weed being pushed against the base of the tree by the wind.

    The mind is a creative force--maybe more than we are willing to admit. Our dreams are an example of its ability to create.
     
  19. Bowser Life is Fatal. Valued Senior Member

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    The mind is the aperture through which our perceptions operate. It always falls back on the mind, which is the point being made by the sages.
     
  20. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Neither have I, but I have it on good authority.
     
  21. Bowser Life is Fatal. Valued Senior Member

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    Many, many years ago I supervised a sheltered janitorial contract, working with people who suffered various mental health issues. The people with whom I worked were stable for the larger part, but it was still heartbreaking because some were fighting a constant battle with their personal demons. It was not uncommon for them to hear voices or see things that simply were not there.
     

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