What is reality? That is, what makes something real?

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  1. Here to Help profile image60
    Here to Helpposted 14 years ago

    What is reality? That is, what makes something real?

    For example: Is sound real to a deaf man? Are colors real to a blind man? Is the imaginary friend of a child any less real than God to a Catholic?

  2. walk the line profile image60
    walk the lineposted 14 years ago

    Good question. Consider this, everything that we understand to be outside of us; the room we are sitting in, the city beyond our window, the space we see between ourselves and the stars is all actually taking place in the small volume inside our skulls as  the firing of neurons. There is no way to prove that the outside world is actually out there or that it is any less a part of 'us' than our physical bodies are. Because even our physical bodies are all also being processed and experienced in our brain, again in that small volume of space. So we try and draw distinctions by saying something is imaginary when it only exists in our heads, but all of 'reality' only exists in our heads so unfortunately we are in no position to be able to make any unbiased observations. I guess for simplicity sake we can call the dream we live in reality, but I suppose it's just an arbitrary label.

  3. Ashmi profile image59
    Ashmiposted 14 years ago

    That which does not depend on anything is Real. That which does not pass away is Real.

    Only the present moment is Real as the past no longer is and the future has yet to come. One exists in memory and the other in imagination.

    An object is real as long as we do not define or name it; as words and descriptions are conceptual and not factual. Mere imagination squeezed into a verbal definition.

  4. MickS profile image59
    MickSposted 13 years ago

    we are all deluded by the illusion of reality, born of the belief that we are separate from the elements that make us; everything is interdependent.

  5. peterxdunn profile image61
    peterxdunnposted 13 years ago

    Nothing is real until it steps up and smacks you right in the face.

  6. Research Analyst profile image72
    Research Analystposted 13 years ago

    Reality, in everyday usage, means "the state of things as they actually exist."

    Literally, the term denotes what is real; in its widest sense, this includes everything that is, whether or not it is observable or comprehensible.

    The term reality first appeared in the English language in 1550.

    It originated from the Modern Latin term realitatem, which was from Late Latin realis; the meaning of real existence is from 1647 onwards.

  7. Zenofsong profile image61
    Zenofsongposted 13 years ago

    Reality exist only within the mind. There is no objective reality "out there" but only subjective crisscrossing realities that make up a matrix of consciousness.

  8. Trevor Davis profile image55
    Trevor Davisposted 13 years ago

    I think therefore I am. I have thoughts therefore I exist.
                        - Descartes

  9. f_hruz profile image61
    f_hruzposted 13 years ago

    Objective reality exists all around you, with you forming a part in it. Your own subjective reality is mainly determined by your own ability to reflect on that objective reality and how well you can grasp an undestanding of it.

  10. Druid Dude profile image59
    Druid Dudeposted 13 years ago

    There is a duality of reality that is evidenced from the Greatest, to the smallest. It is evidenced in the fact that we are a creation like all creation. A product of the polarity of all things. Polarity is literally the positive and the negative, that which forms atoms, molecules, brings all things together to form all the aspects of this universe. Energy as a generic universal force, dictates the existance of polarity. In secular science, the apex being the theories regarding the creation of the Universe, the supposition is that everything came from nothing. It is this illusion which we are subject to. How does one get something from nothing? Even our top theorists credit a disembodied force...called gravity. In truth, something never comes from NOTHING, and the leap that our science can't make, is that this evidences the fact that there must, indeed, be a Greater something which exists beyond our material efforts to detect, and therefore, definitively define. So, it is my logical conclusion that the full reality is 50% what we can perceive on a material level, which can be accurately termed the material reality, and fifty percent a reality which is the negative to the positive, the Spiritual reality. The truth is a coexistence of both, a marriage, if you will, between the Spirit and science. The only problem is in conceptualizing where we, that is our reality falls: Positive Universe or Negative. This is important, because polarity does, over time, reverse. I could write a book on this one subject. Maybe two or three, it would be better to just contact me so we can discuss this further, in short, I like good questions because they require good answers. Many of those answers have been placed into my hands and I offer them freely to any who ask. Peace

    1. Jimmy Marulanda profile image54
      Jimmy Marulandaposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      So according to your perspective  is our reality?

  11. PhiMaths ATB profile image61
    PhiMaths ATBposted 12 years ago

    The way I see things, something is real if it exists objectively, thus reality is objective existence. This is difficult to define however. There is a gray area when it comes to mind-dependent objects, not to mention qualities/properties/universals. That said, I would hold that objectivity implies mind-independence, though this is contentious.

    On a side note, I find it interesting that there are so many skeptical and idealist answers to this question - I would not have thought that in the so-called 'age of science' such positions would have such strong followings.

  12. profile image0
    Nudelyposted 7 years ago

    No one seems to have mentioned dreams here. A dream is real... or  is it? I may have a dream that I'm touching a naked woman... that dream may be so real to my mind that it influences my body to have a nocturnal emission. When I wake I'll discover that the "woman" was never there, there was no petting session, only neurons and axons conjuring a fictitious snippet of a story were firing in my head. The evidence of the dream will need to be cleaned up much as if there had been a real woman there, who did trigger my mechanism, and who left before I woke... the mental vestiges in my head would be virtually the same, except there would be an air of certainty about the latter, and an air of wistfulness regarding the former.

  13. ninjaapple profile image73
    ninjaappleposted 7 years ago

    Nothing is real and everything is real. Stay with me here.
    In the realm of science, we define whether something is true if we can prove it. But just because we can't prove something that does not mean that something isn't real. Science has been wrong many times before such as when it was said the earth was flat, heat was a fluid, light is strictly a wave etc. Also, if we think of pink car, is this pink car in our head real?
    A very difficult question. Is any thought real? Language is a social construct. I language real? What about emotion?
    And again, a lot of things that exist came into inception through a thought. A man had to think of a car before it could be made. Bill Gates had to have the thought of creating his own business before it could become the empire it is today. So would you say the thought is not real? Is so, you are saying something that does not exist gives rise to something that does. And such and argument is very difficult to prove true, if possible at all.
    So, in summary, really something exists in as much as anyone of us chooses to give it life.The mental state bridges the tangible and the intangible, that which is easy to accept exists and that which is ever so elusive to do so. What is reality? Anything you decide is reality.

  14. discourse profile image61
    discourseposted 6 years ago

    Per the saying, beauty is in the eye of the beholder! Well, so is reality!

    There is no single reality/truth out there, but only different versions of reality each constructed from a specific perspective. Just like when there is group of people you might call freedom fighters or rioters in the street? Just like when the "reality" of colors gets controversial among different people, some African tribes have only two colors "dark", "light". They simply don't see what you see, hence it is not real to them!

    The misconception is that one might think "Oh ok! So nothing really exists!"
    That's not the case! Thing is all that exists has been brought into existence by our interactions with others, i.e., socially co-constructed.

    Take Age or Gender as other examples. What does it mean to be a woman or a man? Judith Butler is her performativity theory asserts that gender is a social construction as boys grow into men and girls develop into women only through the social conventions and norms around them.

    What does it mean to be old or young? Age then is a relative concept with different meanings across communities.

    All in all, all we are is shaped by discourses around us. The discourses which shape and are shaped by our social interactions.


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