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  #1  
Old 07-26-2005, 03:43 PM
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Dark_Me Dark_Me is offline
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Existence

This question was origanally my signature(and still is).
The question is this; Do we exist?
How do you know?
Are you sure?
I think whether we exist or not is a rhetorical question.
It cannot be answered as if we don't exist then we cannot percive reality and so prove that we don't exist. If however we do exist we cannot percive something that does not exist and prove that we do.
It was just an interesting question and I thought it would make a good signature.
I created this thread as it creates some intresting descussion and everone wanted to answer it.
So I created this thread so people(or others) can try to answer it.
Oh and remember this reality is independent of our perceptions (probably another thread).
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  #2  
Old 07-26-2005, 05:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark_Me
It cannot be answered as if we don't exist then we cannot percive reality and so prove that we don't exist. If however we do exist we cannot percive something that does not exist and prove that we do.
Let's break this down:

Quote:
if we don't exist then we cannot percive reality and so prove that we don't exist
If we don't exist then we cannot percieve reality - ok this is true. If we can't percieve reality then we cannot relate to reality, and we cannot observe real things. If we cannot observe real things then we have no basis on which to constuct concepts. That means there are no shared concepts, and indeed no intrinsic concepts. That means that we can't think, and certainly cannot communicate concepts. So if we don't exist we really don't exist.

Quote:
If however we do exist we cannot percive something that does not exist and prove that we do
If we do exist we cannot percieve something that does not exist - ok, this is prety well true, although I can come pretty close to concieving of things that don't exist, I'm somewhere lose to it. Nevertheless since we don't not exist asyour first statement shows, clearly we do exist, and I'm not too worried about whether I can concieve of things that don't exist or not, sice I know I do exist.

QED - we exist, well at least most of us. Of course you may not exist, but if that were so it would mean that I can concieve of things that don't exist, so what the hell!
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  #3  
Old 07-28-2005, 06:49 AM
Mike Dubbeld Mike Dubbeld is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark_Me
This question was origanally my signature(and still is).
The question is this; Do we exist?
How do you know?
Are you sure?
I think whether we exist or not is a rhetorical question.
It cannot be answered as if we don't exist then we cannot percive reality and so prove that we don't exist. If however we do exist we cannot percive something that does not exist and prove that we do.
It was just an interesting question and I thought it would make a good signature.
I created this thread as it creates some intresting descussion and everone wanted to answer it.
So I created this thread so people(or others) can try to answer it.
Oh and remember this reality is independent of our perceptions (probably another thread).
Good mind joke --- mind.

Mike Dubbeld
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  #4  
Old 07-30-2005, 05:01 PM
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Dark_Me Dark_Me is offline
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Quote:
QED - we exist, well at least most of us. Of course you may not exist, but if that were so it would mean that I can concieve of things that don't exist, so what the hell!
I'm not saying that we cannot concieve of things that do not exist, such as say the wheel. What I am saying is that we cannot percieve things that do not exist. The inventor of this wounderous creation could imagine or concieve of it but could not pecieve it, eg touch, feel, any of the ten senses.
Also, how do we know that we exist, there is no proof of this except for our personal experience, which for all we know is false.
In the search for this answer questions arise such as; What is thought? What is existence? What is perception? and as probably no one has answered these questions this makes finding the answer all the more difficult.
What I think I'm trying to say (I think) is that to tell if we exist we first must define what existence is.
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Old 07-30-2005, 06:15 PM
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Now you'r changing the rules.
I said percieve except in the last statement where I said:
"If we do exist we cannot percieve something that does not exist - ok, this is prety well true, although I can come pretty close to concieving of things that don't exist,"

What you really mean, is

In what way do we exist?

However I have bnasically answered that in the first part:

Quote:
If we can't percieve reality then we cannot relate to reality, and we cannot observe real things. If we cannot observe real things then we have no basis on which to constuct concepts. That means there are no shared concepts, and indeed no intrinsic concepts. That means that we can't think, and certainly cannot communicate concepts.
We actually exist in the way in which we percieve we exist. You really are here (or there). What we see is what we get.

The reason why this is, is because all possible things exist. And we are possible, hence we exist.
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Old 07-31-2005, 01:57 AM
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another question is what about when we believe to perceive something, that really isn't there, like mistaking a rope for a snake, and then having an anxiety attack over the 'snake'. Do we ever really know that what we perceive is really true? Or, like what I think Symptom is saying, what ever we determine is, will be for us (whether true or not doesn't matter, because we're living regardless).

A Buddhist may answer phenomenally we exist, nuomenally we do not
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We ourselves are not an illusory part of Reality; rather we are Reality illusorily conceived - Wei Wu Wei

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We only believe in that which we do not know to be true.
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  #7  
Old 07-31-2005, 05:26 PM
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Symptom777 Symptom777 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2pac
another question is what about when we believe to perceive something, that really isn't there, like mistaking a rope for a snake, and then having an anxiety attack over the 'snake'. Do we ever really know that what we perceive is really true? Or, like what I think Symptom is saying, what ever we determine is, will be for us (whether true or not doesn't matter, because we're living regardless).

A Buddhist may answer phenomenally we exist, nuomenally we do not
Um,not really. There's a difference between percieving reality, and not percieving reality - or rather between percieving reality and percieving non-reality.

The rope is not a snake, although our reaction maybe the same. Ghosts don't exist because some people percieve them. But interestingly, you have shown a flaw in DarkMe's argument - we clearly can percieve that which does not exist. I think both he (and indeed I) were assuming accurate perceptions!
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Old 08-01-2005, 02:32 PM
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Kolriss Kolriss is offline
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Simple argument:

I believe I exist, but if this is not true, then I am an illusion. However, an illusion can't fool something which doesn't exist, so for me to be tricked into thinking I exist, I have to exist.

This is effectively the basis of Descarte's cogito ergo sum - "I think therefore I am". Effectively you were right on top of the answer in your first post: if you don't exist, then you can't perceive reality... and therefore cannot perceive that you exist. But you do perceive you exist, and therefore you exist.
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Old 08-01-2005, 07:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Symptom777
Um,not really. There's a difference between percieving reality, and not percieving reality - or rather between percieving reality and percieving non-reality.

The rope is not a snake, although our reaction maybe the same. Ghosts don't exist because some people percieve them. But interestingly, you have shown a flaw in DarkMe's argument - we clearly can percieve that which does not exist. I think both he (and indeed I) were assuming accurate perceptions!
thanks, see your point on assuming accurate perceptions, but that just raises another question. Maybe on the definition of perception. Let's go back to the rope/snake. If one were to truly perceive reality, one would see a rope. However, I see a snake. So now I'm not truly perceiving reality, but conceiving reality as I see my mind's idea of what I believe to be true, not what is really true.
so, the question is how do we know that our percepts are true and not concepts? How do we know that anything we see is the truth and not our mind's idea of such truth (which would be relative to that truth - or false)?
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The idea of liberation automatically inhibits the simple realization that we are free.

We ourselves are not an illusory part of Reality; rather we are Reality illusorily conceived - Wei Wu Wei

Understanding is forgiveness

The essence of all is the essence of all

The secret is silence

We only believe in that which we do not know to be true.
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  #10  
Old 08-01-2005, 07:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kolriss
Simple argument:

I believe I exist, but if this is not true, then I am an illusion. However, an illusion can't fool something which doesn't exist, so for me to be tricked into thinking I exist, I have to exist.

This is effectively the basis of Descarte's cogito ergo sum - "I think therefore I am". Effectively you were right on top of the answer in your first post: if you don't exist, then you can't perceive reality... and therefore cannot perceive that you exist. But you do perceive you exist, and therefore you exist.
similar question. how do we know that we are perceiving our existence and not conceiving our existence? does it matter?
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The idea of liberation automatically inhibits the simple realization that we are free.

We ourselves are not an illusory part of Reality; rather we are Reality illusorily conceived - Wei Wu Wei

Understanding is forgiveness

The essence of all is the essence of all

The secret is silence

We only believe in that which we do not know to be true.
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  #11  
Old 08-01-2005, 08:01 PM
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Symptom777 Symptom777 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2pac
thanks, see your point on assuming accurate perceptions, but that just raises another question. Maybe on the definition of perception. Let's go back to the rope/snake. If one were to truly perceive reality, one would see a rope. However, I see a snake. So now I'm not truly perceiving reality, but conceiving reality as I see my mind's idea of what I believe to be true, not what is really true.
so, the question is how do we know that our percepts are true and not concepts? How do we know that anything we see is the truth and not our mind's idea of such truth (which would be relative to that truth - or false)?
I think I answered this elsewhere. It's to do with our ability to communicate with each other. In short, if we don't share these precepts, we can't sensibly discuss them; there has to be real things there for us to form concepts about them.

Here's the link (again, I think!):

http://www.uwichill.edu.bb/bnccde/ph29a/putnam.html
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  #12  
Old 08-01-2005, 09:30 PM
Androclast Androclast is offline
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However much I disparage the work of Descartes in every other philosophical area, I think he was right in one thing: that we are here contemplating things, even our own existence, indicates we exist. That leaves open everything about the nature of that existence, be it dream, deception, mundane reality, or whatever. People should try and realise that non-existence is truly oblivion: it's not some state of just not being corporeal, as we are here. It's the absence and denial of everything of thought and existence. Being able to pose the question means you do exist, no matter what you are.
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  #13  
Old 08-01-2005, 11:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2pac
similar question. how do we know that we are perceiving our existence and not conceiving our existence? does it matter?
I don't see how it would matter. Either way, if it's an illusion, we'd still have to exist to be fooled, and thus we exist.

And yes Androclast - I have to agree. Descartes may have been... less than tenable in most other areas, but he got that one thing right... although he took his sweet time to explain it.
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Old 08-02-2005, 12:12 AM
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I think it depends a great deal on what you believe yourself to be.

If you believe you are a superior being, then you do not exist. This isn't to say there isn't an existence, but existence believes itself to be something it is not except in its own perspective.

Like 2pac said, are we percieving or concieving our reality.

Existence IS the ONLY thing that exists. If you exist, then you are existence, not a human, animal, symptom of the universe, or anything else. We use language to describe our forms/minds, and end up making a mistake along the lines of a toe suddenly becoming conscious and believing it is seperate from the foot, body, and mind.

Existence cannot become unexistence because unexistence doesn't exist. "Nothing real dies; nothing unreal exists".

Our notions of death are conceptions based on our inability to conieve of our existence seperate from what we think we are, the body. The body is not the beginning or end of existence, it is merely a tool/symbol of existence. The body is not unique in that existence isn't partial to any particular form. If it does become partial or 'attached' then it believes it can fall into non existence (which doesn't exist) when the body dissolves. It is no longer aware of existence beyond seeing through the mask of the body, identity. Existence is beyond the body and is not effected by its fate. When you believe otherwise you will experience resistence/suffering.

I AM before I think, I think and therefore 'know' that I AM. Is this not true? Do you not dream or dissapear into a really good book? When you aren't thinking of yourself, where do you go? When you suddenly reappear in your awareness after attending to something else, where have you been? Your presence only results when thinking/being conscious that you are there, but when you aren't doing that the 'I AM' is still there, oblivious, and consumed into some activity, but there...
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Old 08-02-2005, 04:36 AM
Mike Dubbeld Mike Dubbeld is offline
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2-Pak (does this mean you are 4 short of a 6-Pak? )

You are talking about solipsism. Only I am real. The fact that we color/bias perception with distal ques/a priori knowledge does not mean there is no universe. The very fact that when I look at the umbrella and see something different than you as a mind is proof of objectivity. We do not know what is 'out there' we can only ever know our tainted perception of it. The noumena cannot be perceived because to be perceived is to make use of the senses which along with the mind distort the raw physics of the situation. We add order to the universe. It is because what we see is different something is 'out there.' 'Matter is the permanent possibility of sensations.' John Stuart Mill.

Below is out of Chapter 2 Concentration its Practice of the Patanjali Yoga Sutras by Vivekananda (in his book Raja Yoga). The swami's comments follow the aphorism. These aphorisms also delineate the need for a soul - without a soul knowledge of a thing becomes impossible from infinite regress of memory. An infinite number of knowers --- Curiously, this is a good example of the Einstein notion of 'frame of reference'. Is there such a thing as an absolute frame. Yes there is. We are the center of the universe. It is the universe that is moving/changing. Kant put man back at the center of the universe also with what he called his Copernican Revolution. (obviously in metaphysics).

Don't laugh to hard when you read the words 'magic lantern.' This was written over 100 years ago when movies were just coming into the world - like Charlie Chaplin silent flicks.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Start Vivekananda Raja Yoga Chapter 2 Concentration Patanjali Yoga Sutras 15-21

15. Since perception and desire vary with regard to the same object, mind and object are of different nature.

That is, there is an objective world independent of our minds. This is a refutation of Buddhistic Idealism. Since different people look at the same thing differently, it cannot be a mere imagination of any particular individual.
(There is an additional aphorism here in some editions:

"The object cannot be said to be dependent on a single mind. There being no proof of its existence, it would then become nonexistent."

If the perception of an object were the only criterion of its existence, then when the mind is absorbed in anything or is in Samadhi, it would not be perceived by anybody and might as well be said to be non-existent. This is an undesirable conclusion. ó Ed.)

16. Things are known on unknown to the mind, being dependent on the colouring which they give to the mind.

17. The states of the mind are always known, because the lord of the mind, the Purusha, is unchangeable.

The whole gist of this theory is that the universe is both mental and material. Both of these are in a continuous state of flux. What is this book? It is a combination of molecules in constant change. One lot is going out, and another coming in; it is a whirlpool, but what makes the unity? What makes it the same book? The changes are rhythmical; in harmonious order they are sending impressions to my mind, and these pieced together make a continuous picture, although the parts are continuously changing. Mind itself is continuously changing. The mind and body are like two layers in the same substance, moving at different rates of speed. Relatively, one being slower and the other quicker, we can distinguish between the two motions. For instance, [frame of reference/Einstein] a train is in motion, and a carriage is moving alongside it. It is possible to find the motion of both these to a certain extent. But still something else is necessary. Motion can only be perceived when there is something else which is not moving. But when two or three things are relatively moving, we first perceive the motion of the faster one, and then that of the slower ones. How is the mind to perceive? It is also in a flux. Therefore another thing is necessary which moves more slowly, then you must get to something in which the motion is still slower, and so on, and you will find no end. Therefore logic compels you to stop somewhere. You must complete the series by knowing something which never changes. Behind this never-ending chain of motion is the Purusha, the changeless, the colourless, the pure. All these impressions are merely reflected upon it, as a magic lantern throws images upon a screen, without in any way tarnishing it.

18. The mind is not self-luminous, being an object.

Tremendous power is manifested everywhere in nature, but it is not self-luminous, not essentially intelligent. The Purusha alone is self-luminous, and gives its light to everything. It is the power of the Purusha that is percolating through all matter and force.

19. From its being unable to cognize both at the same time.

If the mind were self-luminous it would be able to cognize itself and its objects at the same time, which it cannot. When it cognizes the object, it cannot reflect on itself. Therefore the Purusha is self-luminous, and the mind is not.

20. Another cognizing mind being assumed, there will be no end to such assumptions, and confusion of memory will be the result.

Let us suppose there is another mind which cognizes the ordinary mind, then there will have to be still another to cognize the former, and so there will be no end to it. It will result in confusion of memory, there will be no storehouse of memory.

End Swami Vivekananda Raja Yoga Patanjali Yoga Sutras Chapter 2 Concentration Its Practice
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Also, the fact that we do not see the 'physics of the situation'/bias the raw data from the senses is not a bad thing. It is the reason for your being here to read this. It is a survival mechanism to make sense out of the situation fast - and survive. The mechanism in the mind for doing this is called 'constancy' (search it). There are various types. Rotating a bowl in front of a room of 30 people, they will all say they see the top of the bowl as round. But this would be impossible unless I held it perpendicular to them. Yet they would all tell me the top of the bowl is round. They add order to the universe/see more than the physics of the situation/raw data. They use 'shape constancy'.

An example of size constancy would be if you took someoneís picture and asked them how tall you think they are and they report 'about 5 feet 2 inches.' But the picture is clearly less than 8 inches. Most of the time this biasing of the data is correct (or we would not be here with bodies). That is no call for despair - this biasing of the data by the mind. As long as we all see through the same type of filter, (the nature of the filter is the same if not its 'cleanliness') then this reality as presented by the senses can not be complained about. After all, we only see something like 1/millionth of the visible spectrum. Would you then start complaining about that? A dog's sense of smell is so much better than ours that they can literally 'see' the world through their nose. Snakes have heat sensing 'pits' that are similarly incredible. There is no winning/end to such arguments of the defective senses and mind. That is why it is so important to transcend BOTH of them as they are limited instruments for comprehending Reality.

Mike Dubbeld
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