Summary of Session 10 (Friday, November 17)
"What is reality?"
chaired by David Heirtzler.
First some definitions:
Standard Dictionary (Webster)
1) Reality - Something that exists independently of ideas concerning it.
2) Reality - Something that exists independently of all other things and from which all other things derive.
Plato (Cave Anology)
There are levels of reality:
1) Shadows of representations
2) Representation of objects
3) Objects themselves
4) The sun which gives form to the objects
Anything made up of matter or energy is real.
Anything that is not subjective is real
Questions posed will be preceded by Q: Statements made will be preceded by S:
First questions were posed to help identify what is real and what is not.
Q: Is the Unverse outside our perception real?
Q: What exactly does it mean "to be"?
S: Forms are models which also give rise to "being".
Plato's analogy implies a hidden meaning at the lowest level and therefore may not be a good "definition" of reality.
Q:What does it mean for something "not to be"?
Q:Is Beauty real?
Q:Are concepts real?
Q:If an inventor creates and builds an invention, when does it become real?
Q:Are delusions real?
S: Nothing seems to exist independently.
Proposed definition: Reality is anything that interacts with consciousness.
S: Quantum Mechanics contradicts Webster there are always interdependencies.
S: Higher level of abstraction of Webster's idea (overarching) then implies "God"
S: Reality depends only on itself and so is independent of all other things.
Q: Are images real? What is imaginary vs real?
Q: What is the concept of reality worth?
Q: Do we live in a simulation and could we tell?
Q: Do interactions create reality?
S: Reality is a working model for ordering experience. Science uses it as a model to start with. Scientific models evolve but whatever reality is does not evolve.
S: Quantum Mechanics gives an answer when a question is asked and also talks of interaction.
S: Science is interested in the dynamics of things but not the larger question of what is Reality. Information may be missing out of the scientific definition of reality.
S: Lower case r (reality) - deals with perception Upper case R (Reality) - interface to that which is "larger" Science looks for little r. Religion looks for big R. Religion deals with the reaction to the isness of things you encounter.
S: Both existance and non-existance created at the "big-bang"
S: Memories help us recognize being and non-being
Q: Can Reality be brought out of the tangled hierarchy?
S: Being is perception. A sort of "Movie theatre of the mind". Experiencing a "whew" or "wow" or "awesome" state of mind.
S: Listen to Beethoven's 5th and not analyze it.
S: You cannot have something until you give it up.
What I got out of this discussion is that our "understanding" or perception of Reality exceeds considerably our ability to conceptualize it.
Our logical minds tend to get in a tangled hierarchy of concepts from which there appears no "resolution".
It seems to come to a higher understanding of Reality you must "allow" yourself to experience it and not to "think" about it. This is clearly an eastern philosophical approach to gaining "enlightenment".