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The Road To Becoming A Warrior Part 13

Updated on January 31, 2015

So the first thing we have to know if we are going to use logic and reason as our guide to understanding is: Is there such a thing as reality? Is there such a thing as fact? I’ve done a lot of writing on this subject before. The first Hub I wrote for Hub Pages was called: Observer driven reality check. It is a rebuttal to the idea that the universe is observer driven and that there is no objective reality. This idea has presented itself in its most recent incarnation due to a hypothetical interpretation of some of the observations of QM.

Perspectivism was a hypothesis made by Fredric Nietzsche who was an existentialist. These ideas that we create reality by thinking alone are not new and appear in some Hindu philosophy. There are other new age philosophies that advocate this line of thinking as well.

This subject has come up again as I write this series. I asked a good friend of mine: Spirit Whisperer, if he thought there was such a thing as fact. He replied:

“It depends on the meaning you attach to the word fact. If you are happy to believe in the illusion presented by the ego then facts will exist for you. I simply refuse to believe in any of the meanings that people call knowledge or facts because they are based on perception as I have explained above.”

So what he is saying is that because of the way we get information through our limited sense we have an ego which can only perceive things in our heads. What we perceive is not reality, only a perception and therefore not a representation of reality. So we can gather no facts because what we perceive is an illusion.

By saying one does not believe in any meaning that people call knowledge of facts because they are based on perception; are they not saying that they think that the idea of facts being based on perception is a fact? Otherwise what does the sentence mean? And that is what is at issue. Meaning.

Facts are facts. A fact is the meaning in and of itself. Yes, we all agree to the symbol: fact, as meaning a piece of reality or truth. But the meaning of a fact itself is irrelevant. 2+2 = 4 is a logical fact. You might say we can use it when we assign meaning to it like: 2 apples + 2 apples = 4 apples. It could mean I think I am rich with apples. It could mean I have enough apples to feed a specific number of people. It could mean many things to me. But the meaning I use it for is dynamic while the fact remains just a fact.

A statement like: I had coffee today, is a statement of fact or it is not. What that means to you is irrelevant to the fact itself. I did this or I did not do this are simple statements of action taken. If the actions were really taken then they are fact. If they were not they are fiction. But the fact itself is just a fact and has no other meaning.

You can refuse to believe the meaning people assign to facts. But the facts are just facts.

That’s why I talk about observation. When you observe something without interpretation you are not assigning meaning. You are simply recording an event. That is what the method of science is based on, just the recording of events.

Now, I do think reality by consensus is a not a logical way to look at most things. But when it comes to observation, if we can all agree that we see something happening, then the event is verified to have occurred outside “just my head.” Others see the same thing. Most of us drive a car. We recognize and agree that there are other cars on the road. We follow rules so we won’t hit each other.

These things are not just in my head unless I am the only person that exists. That idea brings up a world of problems and contradictions. If that is what you believe there is no more to be said because anything said is then just meaningless nonsense. If even I do not exist then the idea that I am typing this or the idea that you are reading is an illusion. There is nothing reading and nothing writing in such a case.

But were that true, what is doing the perceiving? This was Rene Descartes’ dilemma which provoked him to say: “I think. There for I am.” The “I” is doing the perceiving. But perceiving only makes sense if there is something to perceive. If the “I” is the illusion or creates the illusion then there is no sense to be made out of anything. We are all mad as hatters that do not exist.

What actually happened in an event is often a matter of interpretation. Some will agree that this happened and others may have seen it from a different perspective or angle and there will be those who agree that actually something else happened. But the fact that something happened and it happened outside my head is verified as fact because others saw it too.

This way of thinking that all is illusion comes in two forms. One form says there is no reality at all except the reality we the subjective cosmic consciousness create. In this one we are not real as individuals, only as a the consciousness. There is nothing but the consciousness and the universe and we are a creation of it. Everything we say do and think happens inside a cosmic subjectivity. There is no universe. No us. Roe, roe, roe, your boat. Life is but a dream.

The other type of argument is that again, we do not exist as individuals. Our individuality is an illusion cased by ego. Ego is just an emergent illusion caused by our limited senses. Its job is to just give arbitrary meaning to the flawed perceptions and images it gets and thereby it builds an illusionary world for us. In this model there is an underlying reality but it cannot be gotten to by thinking because thinking, logic and reason are illusions of the ego.

There is an underlying reality. But reality can only be come to by giving up meaning. There is no way to describe this reality because our version of reality is an illusion and does not even correspond to that reality in any way. We can gather no symbols for it because symbols are the domain of ego.

Therefore we can just talk about the fact that there is such an underlying reality and not say anything about it.

But can we? I know I am using logic here, but how can we say this model is a fact when it negates the idea of facts? So it is not a fact then? To be not a fact it have to be an illusion. Yet to be a fact it has to negate itself. Like when talking about god some theists tell us no matter what we think god is, it’s not that. But at least the theists say god is a real thing and therefore a fact. It is only the assertion of fact, of course. Saying something does not make it a fact. It only makes it a fact that you have said it.

So I feel sorry for poor Descartes because according to this model, his thinking is the illusion and he isn’t. Well wasn’t. Now he certainly isn’t anymore. And of course then I will get the argument that he is a soul or spirit somewhere so still is. You can’t win.

But all these philosophical questions are models. They are interpretations of what is happening in a realm we can know nothing about. At least not while alive or thinking. So what good are they to us?

It is true that we are not solid individuals. Even if you discount a speculative spirit or soul you are left with a pile of atoms which when merged together create a world of chemicals, which when merged make up a world of cells, which when merged make up an animal or human body. All the cells that merge have a life and die off to be replaced by others. The aging process is the slow decline of replacement. The system winds down and stops functioning. Then all the atoms or energy/mass of our body is transformed by merging with other systems through various means.

This is the wheel of life and is observable in nature. It is true then that the only logical thing that produces the sense of “I” is a combination of factors including our limited senses which isolate us, our memory capacity which records a history of the entire system and the events that have happened to it, and needs which are the only thing that drive us to do anything at all.

So are we an illusion? Yes and no. Yes it is an illusion that we are one solid integrated “I” separate from the body. But it is not an illusion that we are an individual system with a sense of “I” that had needs it has to fulfill or it will suffer. In one sense illusion and in the other not.

The basis of science is that there is a reality to study. It is a layered reality. Now supposing that is not true and all this is an illusion? What do we gain by knowing that? Nothing. It’s nice to know but I still have to get in the morning and go to work or they will cut off my internet service and I won’t have food that myself and my family need.

Regardless whether it this life we live is a reality one level and not on another or whether it is all an illusion makes not one bit of difference. I still have to live to live as if this is real or I suffer.

We have called this phenomenon cause and effect. It means that whether this is an illusion or not there are rules to the illusion. Whether we make our lives better or worse in the illusion or in reality it amounts to exactly the same thing.

So we can know a lot about the world and ourselves. We can know that if we do X, Y will likely be the result. So we do X or do not do X depending on whether doing it is favourable to our goals or not. Our human universal goal is not to suffer. That is achievable in this illusion. And if nothing else, the advice the masters and great thinkers, and grandmothers who came up with folk sayings, works to help us do that. No model of reality outside of this reality is required. And it is reality because we all share it. It is not just in my head or yours. We can create symbols that convey concepts about our lives and the universe. How to better our lives. How to be at peace with it all, whatever it may be.

Illusion or not is irrelevant. There is always mystery about the world. If like in the movie the Matrix we could take a pill or have an insight and be transported permanently to reality, that would be different. But that is no one is saying that in any model.

Even the masters who supposedly reach nirvana still live in this world and still have to eat and die before they get to supposedly live there permanently and never have to be reincarnated again.

No one gets out of this illusion alive. If we do wake up dead it will be a whole new ball game.

But that is just speculation.

If I tell you today that everything you do has been predestined and I can prove it, what does that change in your life? You do not know what is coming next even if it is all predestined and you have no free will.

There is no choice for you but to act the way you will act. But because you do not know you have no choice, because you do not know what is coming, because you are completely ignorant in this matter, it sure as hell looks like free will to you. Not only that, you have act as if you have free will. It makes not one bit of difference in your life. It’s nice to know but knowing it does you little if any good. Nothing you can do about it or with it. So who cares?

But again. If you know the rules of existence, you can live a better life. The better you can think, the more logic you use, the more you cultivate a logical mind the more you learn about this life and the better you can make it for yourself and others. The better you can think, the more logic you use, the more you can understand and thereby come to terms with yourself and find a strong inner peace.

You can’t do anything about it if it is an illusion, and that by no means is a fact anyway. Who could prove it? And you are forced to live it at least until you die. Better make the best of it, illusion or not.

And who is to say what the logical mind can actually accomplish in the next thousand years if we don’t go extinct? Who is to say we will not unearth some amazing facts about our existence and answer some of our burning questions definitively? Who is to say we can’t find the source through thought? Perhaps it is our un-evolved ego that prevents us from seeing it, but an evolved logical ego might be able to find it. And who knows?

The point is that we began without much ego as relates to thought, and were living in the trees not so long ago. Let’s give the process of evolution a chance before there are things we cannot know.


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    • profile image

      Ekkusu 6 years ago

      Yeah that's what I meant. English doesn't usually contextualize things very well wiyh regard to levels of description at which something is being said.

    • Slarty O'Brian profile image

      Ron Hooft 6 years ago from Ottawa

      There are a lot of contexts one can use the word know in. In the particular instance SW s talking about I said it because the argument I was putting forward claims there is no way to know anything because all is perception and not linked to an underlying reality.

      Logic is a tool. i can know I am using it without "believing in it". That is to say you can use a method without believing in it because it works, not because you believe in it or have faith in it. If it works you know it is working. If it does not then perhaps you stop using it. No belief required.

      To know is to experience. When one uses logic they experience it. If you know what logic is then you know when you are using it. You experience it when you use it.

      Tour interpretation of the experience is always up for debate but not the experience itself.

    • profile image

      Ekkusu 6 years ago

      Perhaps that "know" was written at a different level of analysis than the rest.

    • Spirit Whisperer profile image

      Xavier Nathan 6 years ago from Isle of Man

      Great, I look forward to reading that.

    • Slarty O'Brian profile image

      Ron Hooft 6 years ago from Ottawa


      The answer I wrote was so long and was going to be part of my next hub anyway that I just posted it as part 16 of this series. ;)

      Thanks for the inspiration.I wasn't planning on writing one today

    • Spirit Whisperer profile image

      Xavier Nathan 6 years ago from Isle of Man

      I just have one question about something you wrote:

      "I know I am using logic"

      If the I you refer to here is the perceiver then how can perception be knowing and what does logic have to do with truth if it too is a perception that is believed in?

    • Spirit Whisperer profile image

      Xavier Nathan 6 years ago from Isle of Man

      Sorry for the delay in getting to this chapter. Once again you have written a hub that is faithful to your principles. I admire this in you and perhaps it matters not the path we each take as long as we are true tour principles. Thank you.

    • Slarty O'Brian profile image

      Ron Hooft 6 years ago from Ottawa

      I have read Bills work and we do not agree on quite a bit, I'm afraid.

    • profile image

      Ekkusu 6 years ago

      Thank you for the detailed explanation. I was assuming some common ground on definitions, thinking you were working within Bill Gaede's definitional framework. I may have mistaken you for someone else. See hubpages com/hub/Why-God-Doesnt-Exist

      Anyway, lesswrong is a great site. Still they are a bit to beholden to the mainstream in my opinion.

    • Slarty O'Brian profile image

      Ron Hooft 6 years ago from Ottawa

      Ok. But my point is that sensation is a manifestation of stimulus. It doesn't matter what stimulus it is. So even if the thing does not exist there was a trigger that stimulated that experience. The phantom limb phenomenon is a good example. The leg or arm is not there but it is sensed as if it is.

      In this case there are two manifestations. The one from the eyes telling you the limb is not there and the sensation that it is.

      In this case it is easy to see what the reality is. But the sensation of the leg still being there is also brought on by real processes mistakenly reporting that the leg is still there.

      The mistaken/false sensation and our knowing it is mistaken/false can lead to an understanding of those processes. The "real" aspect of the experience shifts from an object (leg) to a process. The process/sensation exists, the leg is not.

      A process does not exist as an object, but rather as the behavior of a group of objects. An imaginary invisible pink squirrel does not exist as an object, but does exist as a pattern in the brain. The concept invisible pink squirrel exists as a concept but not as a real thing.

      I do not know who the BG is you are referring to so do not know BG's definition of an object. therefore I can't speak to that aspect of the statement.

      But thee is always something real creating the non-real or imaginary. It does not happen the other way around. Only real things have effects on the universe. Imaginary things only have real effects through real things. For example, if you believe in invisible pink squirrels you might build a shrine to them. The non-existent rodents didn't make you do it, the concept of an imaginary thing made you do it.

      A concept is like a computer program. it is an encoded set or packet of data and often includes motive instructions. The data may or may not reflect reality, but the concept is real in the sense of it being a set of data.

      Information does not exist as an object, though it can exist as the behavior or characteristics of an object. It exists physically as encoding in the brain or writing on a sheet of paper or on a computer screen or all of the above. The information either reflects reality or it does not.

      Interesting web page. i bookmarked it for future reference.

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      Ekkusu 6 years ago

      Why don't we call it a sensation then? Even with this word hoice, though, it is still to easy to confuse 'thing being sensed' where the thing is a physical object that exists by BG's definition, with 'thing being sensed' where the thing either dos not exist or is not even an object.

    • Slarty O'Brian profile image

      Ron Hooft 6 years ago from Ottawa

      I don't think I am equivocating. quite honestly. Do you mean you can imagine blue even if there is no blue object? Or you can hallucinate blue even if there is no blue object? Sure. But that imagination and hallucination doesn't come from nowhere. You are still experiencing something. a process is something. Light is something.

      You experience nothing and do nothing without stimulus.

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      Ekkusu 6 years ago

      I think you are systematically equivocating. For example, you equivocate on the word 'something' when you mention Descartes. You can perceive blue without there being a blue object to perceive in front of you. Google blueping on lesswrong com.