Wednesday, 4 July 2007

The Concept of Reality

Reality exists independent of the mind. The mystic is often heard to say "reality is an illusion". But if it were true that reality was merely a figment within imagination, then by definition we would not be able to concretize that 'reality' through the laws of nature.

The fact that the conscious mind sometimes poorly grasps aspects of reality, says more about human consciousness than it does about reality. Indeed, those trained in the sciences are often better at framing existence and identifying aspects of reality, than are those untrained in such endeavors.

Just because certain aspects of reality are hard to grasp is not an excuse to say: "Therefore reality is an illusion". ...Rather, we should readily understand that reality is full of complexities. Indeed, the physicist Richard feynman once said: "I think it is safe to say that no one understands Quantum Mechanics.".

Professor Richard Dawkins of Oxford University gives a good evolutionary definition of why our brains might be so poorly adapted to grasp the universe, at the level of the very small. We evolved in nature in what he calls "middle World" - and thus, the very small and indeed the very big, did not impinge on our senses. Thus, we have not evolved brains which are particularly good at grasping aspects of reality outside the realm of middle-world sense perception (not to be confused with Tolkien's Middle-Earth in Lord of the Rings).

I take reality to mean the totality of existence. Thus, the concept reality simply means all of existence. In other words every aspect of existence is part of reality. Thus, reality simply means everything which is real.

But what does it mean to say everything which is real? ...Is there any need for the qualification 'everything'? Well, if reality means the sum of everything in existence which could be subsumed to be real, then what else is there. Only a mystic believes in the supernatural realm of the unreal. Therefore there is no need to qualify reality with the statement "everything that is real" ...Because there is no such thing as the unreal... The real is all there is. Well, at least that is so in the mind of the objective thinker who does not believe in supernatural claims, which presume unreal realms and unreal entities such as: heaven, hell, God, ghosts etc.

Supernatural simply means 'above nature'. But this is really the same as saying non-reality or reality in suspension and the suspension of the laws of physics. Again, this is another way of a mystic making the claim that reality is an illusion.

The rational individual knows that the laws of physics cannot be suspended. The theists have a name for this suspension, they call it a miracle. But again we are in the realm of fatuous arbitrary claims. Has anyone ever produced scientific evidence that points to even the smallest possibility of miraculous events? No, never.

A mystical minded tribesman may stand fixed on the spot and wish for a miracle as the tsunami races toward his rooftop. But this is simply an obfuscation of the real and pretense that reality can budge to his inner whim or prayer. Reality will not budge and it will not because it will always obey the laws of physics, independent of the mind... That is reality.

Reality is a man-made concept. It is a conceptual label of mankind, used to identify laws of nature within existence. But existence itself is not dependent on mans mind... Existence simply is.

Albert Einstein once said: "Existence, exists" ...I take that to mean that existence simply is. it is eternal and thus has no prior cause, first mover or God. It, is certainly true that our own universe at one time didn't exist. But that is not the same as saying existence at one time did not exist. I take our universe to be one small part of existence and I would go further and say existence must exist everywhere and there is no place where it cannot exist. Now, perhaps some areas of existence contain dead universes with no life whatsoever... But they would still exist and would therefore be part of reality. Therefore their is no place anywhere, where reality is not... There is no such thing as nothing from which something can be born. There is only an all pervasive existence which we identifiy as reality.

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