The Un-reality of Reality

or is it the reality of un-reality

There is no observer independent concept of reality. Reality must always be interpreted from the vantage point or through the prism of whoever or whatever is observing it. Thus reality on its own can not exist without it being perceived and interpreted by an observer.

A case in point: If one goldfish swims inside a curved (circular) fishbowl, and another swims in a linear (rectangular) fishbowl, their view of the "reality" of the immediate world outside of their respective fishbowl would be substantially different. Could one goldfish "say" that its view of the immediate reality outside of its spherical fishbowl is truer or more factual than the view of his cohort inside the linear fishbowl?

Physicists like to talk about the concept of a "model dependent realism". The concept posits that a world picture or physical theory is a model that follows a set of rules that connect the elements of the model to observation. This is true even on the sub-atomic realm (quantum mechanics) where a particle has neither a definite position nor a definite velocity unless and until those elements are measured by an observer.

From the above discussion, it would seem reasonable to infer or assume that the physical laws in the sun-atomic world also operate in the much larger cosmic world.

So what would this mean to our conception and perception of Existence. It is undoubtedly difficult to tease or separate Reality from Existence. To some, if not most folks (who are neither clueless or naive) reality and existence are one and the same thing, so much like what Einstein said about mass and energy. To exist means to be actual, factual, and true. All of these are the same parameters that we define and measure physical reality.

It is of course true that on the purely individual basis, what might be real to one may not necessarily be real to another. From that perspective reality is subjective. Existence on the other hand is always observably objective. One either exist or one doesn't in so far as one and all the other material entities in the cosmos are affected by the laws of physics.

I believe that despite the subjective/objective nature of reality/existence respectively, there is obvious unity in that duality, because they confer truth to one another.

Is it too far out-field to assume that the events that led to the formation of animate and sentient entities that now populate the reality that is the universe had meaning and purpose? These purposefull beings (observers) are able to perceive and interpret reality (be it sub-atomic or cosmic), thus imparting reality to a universe that otherwise would not have been real were it not for the perception and interpretation by those entities.

Would it be logical to think that the creation and subsequent evolution of those entities were not pre-ordained by the laws that govern the universe..... that these laws, from their inception, to formulation, to effectuation could not have on their own, produced what those animate and sentient beings now perceive as the reality of the universe including themselves.

Some physicists posit that it is in fact NOT logical to think so. In arguing that there are no miracles, they say that those laws were selected (by whoever....call him God) because they were the only ones that made "sense". Since miracles are non-sensical from the point of view of those laws, the whoever selected these laws could not possibly go against his own laws.

Comments 14 comments

f_hruz profile image

f_hruz 4 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Is NATURE not the ultimate form of REALITY and all super natural creations by the human mind, of any kind, may they be in the form of art, religion or speculative philosophy, simply an expression of our inability to contain rational thought from over flowing into the absurd realm of speculation and immagination?

NATURE has it's exact laws - knowing and following them has given rise to various faculties of science which show us more than ever the presents of intellect within the natural order of thing without revealing any gods or other deities of any kind.

Franto in Toronto


A.Villarasa profile image

A.Villarasa 4 years ago from Palm Springs Author

@Fhruz:

"....absurd realm of speculation and imagination"? The man of the century, at least from Time magazine's perspective, Albert Einstein said (paraphrasing) that imagination is better than intellect. So I suppose when he formulated his equation E=mc2, his imagination had a lot to do with it, not absurdly, but elegantly.


f_hruz profile image

f_hruz 4 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

After all, Albert had, first and foremost, a highly developed sense for a rational, scientific form of thought and a clear grasp of reality unpolluted by religious BS, I would say ...


A.Villarasa profile image

A.Villarasa 4 years ago from Palm Springs Author

@Fhruz:

Hhhmm I didn't know you are on a first name basis with Mr. Einstein. If I remeber right it was Mr. Einstein who said(paraphrasing) ...God doeas not play dice with the universe. I am not sure if you could consider that religious bs.


f_hruz profile image

f_hruz 4 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

I can see you have a problem understanding who we are talking about, what the issue really is and why I have taken the time to address your clear expression of a confused state of mind ... HE never was a religious nut like you, even if he used the word god to explain the obvious absurdities religion has introduced into some mentally underdeveloped brains!


A.Villarasa profile image

A.Villarasa 4 years ago from Palm Springs Author

@Fhruz:

".. religious nut like you.." My mind has never been confused, let me assure you, on anything religious or otherwise.

But you resorting to name calling?........I think I heard someone tell me that in a debate, whenever one resort to that tactic, it is an indication that that person is losing the debate.


monkeyminds profile image

monkeyminds 3 years ago from My Tree House

"There is no observer independent concept of reality."

Reality is what it is regardless of any observer. Before there were any observers there was still reality.

Reality: physical presence; something somewhere; object + location

Concept: the relation between objects

Can you you show me where in my definitions an observer is called for?


monkeyminds profile image

monkeyminds 3 years ago from My Tree House

BTW, Einstein's famous quote, "God doesn't play dice with the universe." Was in this context:

Niel's Bhor, asked Einstein "Does the moon exist if no one observes it?"

Einstein responded: "I like to think that the moon is there even if I am not looking at it. ... God does not play dice with the cosmos".


A.Villarasa profile image

A.Villarasa 3 years ago from Palm Springs Author

@monkeyminds:

You, as an observer know that the material universe exist, basically after the fact. Since you confirmed (via your 5 physical senses)that the universe exist, you could now interpret that, based on empiric evidence, the universe existed before you or any other observer did, so now you are extrapolating that even if you do or did not exist, the universe still exist. But does it really exist if NO ONE knows that it exist. For what is the purpose of anything existing if NO ONE knows that it exist. The validity and verity of existence is ALWAYS dependent on an observer who could perceive it, interpret it, confirm it, and then extrapolate that it has pre-dated his own existence, and thus can say that even if he is not here, to perceive, interpret, confirm and extrapolate,that something exist


monkeyminds profile image

monkeyminds 3 years ago from My Tree House

Intelligence is the unlimited ability to conceive of concepts and apply them. I am intelligent, and can make the reasonable assumption that the earth was here before man was. It is ridiculous to propose otherwise.

On the other hand, the human sensory system is limited. For purposes of scientific inquiry we remove the observer with his subjectivity from the equation.

Something exists regardless of our observing it, regardless of our knowledge of it, and regardless of whether a single human is alive to conceive of it. Something exists by definition:

Object with location

There is no provision for an observer in that definition.

Purpose is for religion and philosophy, NOT science. Science is about explaining. If you are interested in science, perhaps you should read my Hub on the Scientific Method.


A.Villarasa profile image

A.Villarasa 3 years ago from Palm Springs Author

@monkeyminds:

And therein lies the rub....you are approaching the topic from a purely scientific/empericist perspective. In my hub, I have admitted as much i.e that an object may and could exist irregardless of whether some sentient entity is there to confirm its existence. I am approaching it from an anthropic-subjectivist-religionist-philosophic point of view, i.e. the REALITY of existence DEPENDS on whether IT is PERCEIVED to exist.

I believe that the cosmos was created by a Supreme Power (call him God), I believe that God created humans and other such sentient beings, anywhere else, to give witness to His creation, to confirm and admire its beauty. I believe that as a specie, it is Homo Sapiens' ultimate destiny to unravel and understand the mysteries of the universe.

Now you may or may not share that view.


monkeyminds profile image

monkeyminds 3 years ago from My Tree House

NOPE, regardless of anyone's POV, ability to observe, or their own existence. An object exists if it is an object with location.

If God exists, he exists because he is an object with location, just like any other object. This is why Atheists are the dumbest religion on the planet. Not only do they not understand this simple relationship, or that they are religious, they don't even know they are really not Atheists...they are agnostics!

“I actually think Deism, the possible existence of a divine intelligence is not an implausible postulate. And I won’t argue against it. It could be. I mean, the universe is an amazing place! So I think the possible existence of a divine intelligence is perfectly plausible.” – Lawrence Krauss, Physicist, cosmologist, proclaimed Atheist

Thanx for being honest. I only discuss existence from a scientific POV. So take care!


Akriti Mattu profile image

Akriti Mattu 20 months ago from Shimla, India

I really like this post.


A.Villarasa profile image

A.Villarasa 20 months ago from Palm Springs Author

Thanks Akriti for dropping by. The debate resulting from this post was interesting to say the least.

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