Is reality all or nothing?

If something doesn’t exist, does that just mean it is non-existent through-and-through? Well, for sure I think it means it cannot be described as “existing”, or that it cannot fall under the category of “existing things”, but are there realms of things that fall outside existence as such?

For example, could existence fall on a gradient? Could things only half-exist? Could the existence of a thing be somewhat “faded”? The positions of particles in quantum mechanics, for examples, are said to be not fully determined until measured, but at the same time, not complete undetermined either. They are said to be determined probabilistically–that is, there is a higher probability that if you tried to measure the position of a particle, you will find it close to the peek of the wave function of that particle, than there is that you would find it farther away from that peek. That tells me that although the position of the particle isn’t fully determined (isn’t fully real), it isn’t fully undetermined (unreal) either.

For another example, could there be several categories of existence? Existence as such being just one such category, but perhaps there being many others? Could characters in fairy tales, for example, reside in a realm that isn’t so much existence but not so much non-existence either? And I don’t mean just “in the mind” as such, but in a realm other than just “non-existence”? And speaking of the mind, is that an example of a realm that coincides with “existence”? Existence being the realm of concrete objects and actual events and the mind being the realm of ideas and experiences?

Is existence/non-existence just black and white like that? Or is it more complex? Is it complex in such a way that one cannot really say: there are things that exist and there are things that don’t exist–QED? ← Just like that? Or do we need to be more subtle in our thinking about the categories of existence?

In approaching this problem I allocated all my resources to a dimension of unsubstantiated imagination.

And stopped.

Let me explain. I used to be a modal realist: meaning:

You can’t imagine it if it’s not real.

The hell realms I went through made modal realism a waking nightmare.

So…. I traversed these realms and realized not everything is substantiated. So I placed all my chips on this problem to a simulation dimension where it’s simulated but not substantiated if we don’t choose it.

There’s a lot more horror in existence than good. Walking the path of modal realism woke me up to more important truths to be firm about.

The one metaphysical certainty is; it is what it is, not what it isn’t.
Things are always what they are, never what they’re not, necessarily.
The trouble lies in our imperfect apprehension of things, not in things by themselves.
For example, I may look at what appears to be a patch of empty space and declare it to be empty.
But upon closer inspection with an (electron) microscope, it may be full of all sorts of things, bits of rock, gas, particles, waves.
It’s not that I was wholly wrong, that patch of space was approximately or relatively empty, it’s just that it was a simplification.
The cosmos is for all intents and purposes infinitely bigger than the brain, and the brain only contains billions of neurons, our senses too are limited and only good at certain levels of magnification, therefore our thoughts and language will always be at best more or less a clunky simplification of what is.

I don’t know much about quantum physics, but maybe all or some quantum stuff is just too small, fast, vast and interconnected for us to make predictions with as much accuracy as we’d like to.
Can we predict where lightning’s going to strike with a high or any degree of accuracy even with the best computers?

And it would make sense that the very act of measuring such tiny things would influence them, since we’re septillions of times larger than them.
The very presence of us and our instruments would have a profound physical impact on them electromagnetically and from all the stuff we’re continuously shedding.

Plus quantum particles and waves may be much vaster than we realize.
Perhaps they too are made up of septillions of things just as we are.
Knowing what they’re made up of would probably help us understand them better and what they’re going to do.

That being said, if quantum physics is partly determined by our psyche and/or truly random, than to the degree it’s determined by our psyche and random, it’s determined by our psyche and random, it isn’t determined by our psyche and random to another degree.
Different levels of magnification of our universe or other universes within the multiverse may behave in bizarre ways, they may lack certain features of our magnification/realm and/or possess certain features our magnification/realm lacks, but they still are whatever they are, they aren’t whatever they’re not.

If our (collective) imagination manifests in other realms, than those realms still exist as they are, not as they’re not.

A thing can’t be absolutely X and absolutely Y.
However it can be X in some ways and Y in others.


Well, I’d like to get clear what part of modal realism was the key factor for you–the fact that certain things cannot be imagined (hence not real) or the fact that all that can be imagined can be real?


Right, and I think what you’re getting at is how this line of questioning I bring up in the OP (is existence/non-existence simply black & white?) can be applied to truth just as much as to things. You bring into question the “truth” about a certain patch of space being empty, and it turns out that the answer isn’t a clear yes or no. It is empty according to the intuitive common sense notion of what it means for a certain region of space to be empty but science and the sub-atomic world paints a different picture, a picture according to which that space is full of entities and activities. So the truth of whether that space is empty or not becomes unclear. Could what I’m saying about the existence of things be applied to truths just as easily? Can things be “half” true? Can there be other categories besides merely “true” and “false”?

Again, I agree with this, but just with a footnote added: that this is more an aspect of logic than reality (though I think reality works like this too). There are phenomena in quantum mechanics that come close to violating this principle, but I don’t think they actually do. A particle, for example, can spin both up and down at the same time, but I don’t necessarily see this as a thing being what it is and not what it is at the same time. It just indicates that a thing being two seemingly mutually exclusive opposites does not entail that one can say it is not one of those opposites or the other. One must always say it is both at the same time. So for example, to say a particle is spinning both up and down at the same time does not give one the right to say it is both spinning up and not spinning up at the same time. If it is spinning both up and down at the same time, then it is definitely spinning up. It is also definitely spinning down. The crux of the problem is not in being forced to accept statements and their negations at the same time but to question our assumption that spinning up and down are really mutually exclusive. Maybe they aren’t. Maybe they’re more like a shirt being large and red at the same time.

Sure, but being X in some ways and Y in other ways isn’t really an example of what my OP is getting at. A box being empty in one sense but full of sub-atomic entities and activities in another sense is just the common way language must accommodate the complexities of reality. We are forced to accept both as how reality works, and split our language into two or more “senses” in which the ways we describe reality can be put, “senses” without which language has a hard time articulating our descriptions in a coherent non-contradictory way. But there’s nothing truly incoherent or contradictory about a box being empty in one sense but full in another. It’s still classic realism at the end of the day. But bring into question the reality of those sub-atomic particles and activities in the box–questioning whether they are only “half” real for example–and that touches more on the points I’m making in the OP.

And to your point that a thing cannot be absolutely X and absolutely Y at the same time, this comes back to what I said above about a particle spinning up and down at the same time. I’d say what is impossible is that a thing be absolutely X and not absolutely X at the same time, which I submit is subtly different from saying a thing is absolutely X and absolutely Y at the same time (unless what you mean by “absolute” is that a thing is only X and not anything that is not X).


What I figured out is that existence grants wishes;

But only the bad ones.

The genie has no power to grant the good ones.

Why? Because existence takes the path of least resistance… which is to harm.

Or maybe they’re made up of septillions of physical ingredients that’re just too small to see with our present technology.

As for half-existing, cryptids, ghosts and UFOs half-exist, they fade in and out of existence, either that or they’re interuniversal.

  1. By imagining something, it exists at least as an imaginary concept if nothing else.
  2. Under some Omniverse theories, every imaginable universe does exist. The problem with that idea is that some universes may not be technically possible in any sense as truly and absolutely impossible.
  3. The definiton of “nothing” refers to an entity that cannot exist in any sense, or it would be something other than nothing. There are considered different to be different levels of nothing and so different levels of non-existence.
    Levels of Nothing:

‘Niloc’ is a “Maximally meaningless non-dimensional root semantic (non)entity representing all of neutrality, zero points, and nulls, as a model of nothing.”" -Rainbow Rock

The categorization into the possible and the impossible is important to the question. I believe through-and-through absolute non-existence is that which is both impossible and unimaginable. Furthermore, all of that is an equivalent or single entity which one could call “Niloc” as per the Rainbow Rock definition. If all of the past and/or future exists in completion in some way, and furthermore all that is possible will occur at some point in time, then non-existence is constrained much more than people currently think of it as being, because all possibilities would exist as a reality in some frame. But, all that is possible is vastly different under different models of the universe, which are at times expanded as models of omniverse. Under the most expansive possible theory of Omniverse all that is imaginable is possible, and there isn’t anything that can’t be imagined. Under that most expansionist model of reality, there would be no through-and-through absolute non-existence by definition of the model, leaving the concept of nothing as an illusion.

Some would say there is absolute impossibility because otherwise there is a way in which unlimited evil may occur.

‘Poltergeist’ phenomena, whatever’s it’s caused by, spirits of the dead, or something we can’t even fathom, may have the capacity to affect things, but not the capacity to be affected by them, and so in that sense it’d be less existent than normal, everyday stuff which can both affect, and be affected.
Or in other words, the cause of poltergeist phenomena, whatever it is, may be partly intangible, not only for us but for all other things in the cosmos.
Perhaps there is no cause of poltergeist phenomena, maybe it’s just intermittent, meaningless motion in normally inanimate objects.

‘Dark matter’ may be another example of an unaffectable affecter.
Perhaps it’s not matter at all, but an entity that has gravitational pull, but itself can’t be pulled, pushed or affected by anything in any way, we can’t directly sense it because it’s intangible.
Intangibility could be said to be a form of demi-existence.
Conversely, there may be entities which can be affected, but which can’t affect.


Existence seems rather arbitrary to me. Sometimes it comes down on you with misfortunate, other times with great fortune. I’m not sure what makes the bad times the path of least resistance. But I know this: human beings are capable of great good. They don’t have to exercise it, probably could say they refrain from doing good more most than from actually doing it, but when they do choose good, it’s an effort that require a path with some, maybe plenty, of resistance.


I don’t know enough about quantum mechanics to agree or disagree, but my point is that the scientific community will tell you they’ve ruled that possibility out. All that leaves us with is metaphysical factors that determine what we measure of particles when we measure them.

Well, that’s an interesting idea. If they’re interuniversal, I can see some people saying they fully exist, just not always in our universe. But if you take the multiverse, they always exist in that.


By granting bad wishes. It means pleasure that will send to to a hell realm eventually.

If you wish everyone goes to their heavens forever …

Existence has to go against the grain and do work.

Much easier to harm than to build, repair, maintain and improve.

The path of least resistance is harm.

The rest are doing work.