Does reality exist?

In the video below, Eric Hovind asks Thunderfoot the following question: does reality exist?

The response Thunderfoot gives is that we operate on the assumption that it does.

Eric, on the other hand, thinks that reality exists and he says that he does so with absolute certainty (i.e. it’s not a mere assumption.)

What do YOU think?

Personally, I think the question is meaningless and that it cannot be answered.

The concept “reality” is without a meaning.

They also don’t appear to understand what the term “exist” means.

This is just such a special and unique blend of stupid; this thread and the question entirely, and your reply within it; that there is literally nothing to reply with.

But you did say this thread is stupid. My question is: why is it stupid?

That which threatens your own existence would be called reality. You can challenge the existence or nature of reality either if it does not threaten your own existence or if you’re not afraid to die.
(Im saying you can challenge it, not that it won’t exist anymore from it.) so my answer would be yes, it does.

But what is reality?
Is it something you can spread onto a piece of bread?

Seriously, what is it?

And most importantly, what does it mean for something to exist? When do we say “this or that exists”?

There are generic replies such as the one given by JSS.
Existence, he says, means affectance (or simply interaction.)

I reject such definitions on the ground they are insufficiently low-level. They are too abstract.

My definition is simple: we say “X exists” to mean that we predict that if we were to do everything that is required to observe X that we would succeed in doing so.

I say Donald Trump exists [within some time interval] to mean that I predict that if I did everything that is required to observe him [within that time interval] that I would succeed in doing so.

Very simple. Very precise/exact. Very concrete.

You will note that existence is a property of an observable.
To say that something exists (or not) that thing must be observable.

What kind of observable does the word “reality” refer to?
None, I suppose.

There is no “reality”.
There are models of reality.
And these are observable and they do exist.
But that’s NOT what people mean when they ask “does reality exist?”

Basically, we have a case of meaningless exchange of words.

Now Magnus, you must forgive me if I describe reality in terms of logical sequences, wherein, attached to them are propositions, or truth functions,

which may make sense.

To me logistics seems best, and I see the logic, the
modal logic sandwitched between the identifiable
direct connections to the most generally accepted sense of reality, the ‘shared’ general concept, with its changing specific applications.

For instance, one might think how Trump may think of people calling him crazy, mentally ill, the
Orange tweeting d’Potus man, etc., and you may
think a young man institutionalized for borderline personality disorder on the same level. What distinguishes the young, unfortunate man from the
highly priviladed Trump, who may have a similar
etiology, is the a billion dollars .Trump can deal with sticks and stones, he has had tremendous education and help, for everyone knows the truly wealthy is
truly crazy. The big difference with the boy, is that
he has a very thin veneer of seeing reality ‘for what it is’, whereas Trump has been around, he has a very reach relative perception, whichcould be surmised
as an overwhelming power to obfuscate huge
differences, changing the very reality itself.

That is why, a very powerful man, rather then being
changed by a non factual reality, -meaning- it is not
factually shared by the institutionalized young man, -changes that reality himself.

Reality is an effect of power plays and power plays are a result of long culminating series of control cues, in the usual method of classical conditioning.

The realities can become so different, as to Trump’s mentally ill way of perceiving reality, that for want of
a definition, the phrase ‘might is right’ becomes a

But most people adopt the cliche, by rote, because
they can experience only one dimension of reality:
The One Dimensional Man comes to mind, where the Other reality is repressed. This is why, shrinks argue about the supposed condition of Trump, some saying
he is ill, others not.They are stymied in a power play.

The reality becomes a matter of opinion , and there is a sense of illness which equates with powerlessness,
Powerlessness becomes a gradient within the measure of sensing a reality, which may have been repressed, where repression is a function of the above.(power, control).

The way we see and experience reality as a function of power and control, works for the young man as a
deconstruction: reality is deconstructed, de-realized,
by control-power mechanisms, which are internalized in the sense of the earliest, identifiable, structures-logistics of the mind, and its spatial-temporal
manifestation relates to a compensation of Otherness
which have infinite, and mystic areas of spaceless and timeless areas. He conflates the original structures with those ,which Sartre characterizes as
Nothingness. But this Nothingness is not really
nothing, it is really something between the absolute void, and existence. It is the very private time and space of the individual. It is, the excluded middle of
the soldier, dying in a brutal war whose causes he
does not understand. He is the trained killing machine, where his sense of humanity is suppressed, to act and feel like a killing machine, more animal
then man.

This suppression of reality is the dehumanization of reality, wherein lies the danger both eithermadness
or great violence.

Reality as a function of forces based in power plays (politics), is a game everyone is involved to a certain

Some parents teach their children , and warn them how their reality has to change to accord them an
easier transition into adulthood, where they have to

function even in the midst of the most dangerous and debilitating games which are played out.

At the same time, they have to eventually adopt the most pleasing and inoffensive mask, without which they cannot transact the business of life.

Reality then, becomes, literally, the mirror through
which it reflects its consciousness of it’s sense of self.

Thunderfoot says that in order to begin to model reality we need to assume that reality exists. “How else can we model it?”, he probably asks.

I think that he’s wrong and that he’s wrong because he’s stuck in higher levels of thought detached from lower levels of thought – from foundation. Namely, he takes language too literally. We say we have models of reality, therefore, he thinks, there must be something called reality. Otherwise, if there is no reality, how can we model it? And most importantly, how can we be sure to be anything more than solipsists?

Is there reality?
If so, where is it?

What we have are formulas that we use to calculate predictions. These are usually, not always, constructed based on some quantity of prior observations.

That’s all we have.

I think Thunderfoot has a point, but his level apprehending reality is higher in the sense , of unverified knowledge of reality, which maybe considered higher, but by the same token lower, based on a logical premise. That the model of reality is derived intuitively, suggests a modus operans of apprehension based on figurative or calculable methods, inasmuch as the level of today’s calculations were not yet available back then.

The apprehension back then, or currently using that method, does not yet differentiate the literal from the figurative. It is a holistic way to present the model, perhaps by re-integrating the two.

What that is, is what it is. It is not an idea born out of either.

Stupidity is bound and measured by a simple definition as labeled by what is known to be the difference between the simple and the complex with the simple labeled as stupid and savant idiots at times to the complex which is labeled and defined to be intelligent and intellectual. The question of whether reality exists, even as humor told in what could be considered intelligent fashion is but a dipping into stupidity whether pleasurable or not. Even if stupidity indulged at times can be labeled as intelligent and wise, it is not the standard definition of intelligent. Therefore the question of whether a reality exists when the answer is obvious that it does is stupidity itself. Such should not be considered an insult but a statement of fact even if said with the groaning as if a very bad pun had been told where one can understand being caught in the stupidity that finds humor in it while entertaining currently the standpoint that breathes out exasperated and frustrated that such is still argued or question to any degree of humor or intellectual pursuit. And then the simple fact of that is that the explanation of it all still just looks all wrong even if meant for the best. The slap in the face that should have never been.

I don’t know, but it may be also like saying “am I real?” If I’m real, then that which affects me and to a particular degree, is also real. To me, ghosts are not real. To some they may be and, to a degree that they even may cause them death. The body is real because it is affected by external forces, proving that reality exists. (To me anyway). The body (the brain) may be tired, impaired or malfunctioning, causing it to be (dis) affected by ever slighter forces (becomes sensitive), but this still would not prove that reality does not exist. So, I would agree with James on affectance aspect of it. It’s just a matter of degrees and intensity/variation. There is only one reality with different variations of interactivity within it. The question “does reality exist” is nonsensical in a way that it cannot escape reality itself, and is an interaction within itself. The person who asks this probably thinks that he can function outside of reality himself, but that is impossible.
I’d look into a potential case of depersonalization disorder.

Then what about virtual realty or simulations are they suspect as well of trending into the stupid? Or is naive reality the only key to the only mansion within many mansions?

The problem is that such definitions are too abstract.
For example, what does it mean that “the body is affected by external forces”?
Neither affectance nor force are terms that are defined in such a way that it is clear that they refer to something that is concrete.
I don’t know. Maybe this degree of precision is sufficient for you and you don’t want to go further than that.
I don’t know how you’re gonna discuss these things with others though.
Doesn’t look promising to me.

Why do people insist on making these things so complicated, it’s like tripping over your own words.
How is body affected? Simple, you spread arsenic-laced peanut butter on your bread and after eating it you will get sick. External forces affecting your body.
Does any person going through excruciating pain question its reality? I highly doubt it. Go and break someone’s leg and tell them their pain is not real and see if they will question it then.

You are not answering my questions. You are evading them and calling them too complicated.
You don’t have to answer them if they are too complicated.

My point is that the concept of reality is in many cases undefined.
Many people merely think that their concept is defined.

Personally, when I say “this or that is reality” or “this or that exists” what I am saying is that “I predict that if I did everything that is necessary in order to observe that thing that I would observe that thing”.
This is pretty much what everyone else means by “reality” and “existence”. Unless they are insane.

In order to be able to so much as ask whether reality exists or not, reality must refer to something that is observable.
Which, in the case of people who ask such meaningless questions, it does not.

The word “reality” to them refers to something that is mystical, something that cannot be observed.
Not to models of reality or formulas for predicting observations.
But to something beyond.

“Reality” and “existence” can refer to one of the following two things:

  1. model of reality (or formula for calculating predictions)
  2. category that includes certain predictions (those we accept) and excludes others (those we reject)

If you come to think about it, the two aren’t very different. Formulas can be used to derive predictions that we accept in order to generate the category we call “reality”. So #2 can be derived from #1. Moreover, formulas cannot always be reduced to a category (e.g. if they don’t have a limit on the number of predictions they can generate which is pretty much always the case) but every category can be represented using a formula. Hence why I side with #1 – formulas.

So that’s what reality is: formulas.

But this conclusion has the property of making some people afraid of it because it appears to them that it signals the beginning of solipsism. Which is stupid.

The reason we think there is such a thing as reality independent from our minds (even though there isn’t) is simply because our models of reality change through time. And they do so in a non-random and progressive way. One has only to look at how these models are created. Basically, we have some quantity of observations. Each observation is basically an event that has certain similarities to other observations/events and certain differences. Based on these relations we can construct a model that represents these observation in a way that no other possible model does. As time goes on, we acquire new observations. So our set of observations increases over time, and if we were to follow the steps of creating a model of reality in order to reflect this change, we would quite likely end up with a very different model of reality. Having two models of reality isn’t very convenient, so we have to decide: either this new one or the older one. One has to go. So we have to decide which one is better. How do we do so? Well, simple. The new model of reality is based on everything the old one was based + some more. The fact that the relation between their respective sets of observations is that of relation between supersets and subsets, we can easily conclude the new model of reality is better. (Of course, in reality, this is in most cases just an idealization, since it makes sense that some observations are lost – forgotten – over time.) Anyways, this acquisition of new observations and expansion of the set of observations that serve as the ground for model formation is what gives us the sense of progress and what creates the illusion of “reality that is independent from our minds”. The old model is now seen as an “illusion” and the new one as “truth”. Until the next update, that is. This is also what people mean when they say that there is only more/less true and no absolutely/ultimately true. And also, the fact that this pattern of behavior is not a necessity, that observations are not necessarily accumulated over time, meaning that the set of observations does not have to increase over time, is also the reason behind the existence of movements such as the so-called “relativism” which is in fact egalitarianism. If instead of trying to memorize all of the observations to the best of our ability we end up forgetting many of them such that we end up with sets of observations that are more or less equal in their size but considerably different in their content, we can create the illusion of equality. But that’s another story.

The point is this: there is no such a thing as “reality (or existence, or truth) independent from one’s mind”. That is a meaningless statement taken literally.

And there is absolutely no need to assume that reality exists before we can being modelling reality.

Except, if the modeling was done before our apprehension of it.

The modern epidemic, it appears to me, is the decrease in seriousness of people. Too difficult to be serious nowadays. People can no longer focus on a problem and solve it. They can only ridicule it, laugh it away, dismiss it, ignore it, forget it, pretend that it does not exist. That’s all they can do.

Let me take you down
Cause I’m going to strawberry fields
Nothing is real nothing to get hung about
Strawberry fields for ever

The question between the materialists and me is not, whether things have a real existence out of the mind of this or that person, but whether they have an absolute existence, distinct from being perceived by God, and exterior to all minds.
George Berkeley

The better question might be: Is the world/universe, as we see it, as it really IS ~~ and if not, how is it that we can all for the most part see it in the same way?


Therefore, if we really want to observe ourselves and find out what we are, we are really beings of energy and vibration, radiating our own unique energy signature -this is fact and is what quantum physics has shown us time and time again. We are much more than what we perceive ourselves to be, and it’s time we begin to see ourselves in that light. … is-energy/

So perhaps the reason which we can, for the most part, see things in the same way, is not because of our own individual minds but because of the level of energy frequency and vibration which each thing gives off. (banging my head).

I have often sat in front of a tree and tried to imagine what it would really look like if i had the lens to see it for what it really is. What would the energy frequency and vibration of a tree reveal of itself if we had the capacity to see it? Boggles my mind. Oh, if only we could see THAT!

Can you imagine how things would really look to us if our puny brains allowed?

Yes, reality does exist but what level of reality and how many are there?

Despite the unrivaled empirical success of quantum theory, the very suggestion that it may be literally true as a description of nature is still greeted with cynicism, incomprehension and even anger.” (T. Folger, “Quantum Shmantum”; Discover 22:37-43, 2001)

I wonder WHY this is? Is everything so set in stone for us that we are afraid to admit that what we see or think that we see is the only reality that there is?
What a loss that is for us!