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  #1    
Old March 28th, 2008 (05:23 AM).
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I'm not entirely sure if I exist or not, I believe I do, but I'm not quite convinced. After a long conversation with a good friend of mine, I'm now starting to see the world his way. The whole typical psychedelic "IT'S ALL FAR OUT THERE, MAN!" sort of thing. I used to be a firm believer of both science and religion, but after taking an epistemology class senior year in high school about two years ago, I started thinking much more differently.

Whenever I talk to someone or learn of a new theory, I think of Plato's "Allegory of the Cave"; where there are several men chained up in a cave, all that they can ever see are projected shadows of people walking back and foward on a bridge holding theatre props. There is a fire past those people, and as they move with the strange props, their shadows become stranger; but the point is, those shadows are all that those people know in all of existance. Then one day, one of the men is free (unknown if he breaks free or is released) is then sent to the world above, as he's climbing he sees the light to the outside. Scared of this light he wonders if he should move on, or go back to the safety of what he knows in the cave. He decides to head up, and finds there's an entire new world that he could never have perceived before.

Excited about this new find, he heads back down to the cave to tell the others. He attempts to explain to them what he saw, and they reject him. They curse him and call him insane for trying to claim that everything they know is not true, that it's merely a projection of what is really there. They deny him and hate him for attempting to claim otherwise.

Whenever trying to listen to someone, regardless of the side, I try to figure out if I'm either the man who discovered this new world, or if I'm one of the men stuck in the cave. I no longer hold science to be absolute truth, mostly in part that we're making new scientific discoveries every day. There was a time when everyone knew the earth was flat, there was a time that everyone knew we were the center of the universe, there was a time that everyone KNEW that science is infallable (now). I say to all of you, do not accept anything as truth right away, and instead take it with a grain of salt and decide if you believe in it or not.

I used to believe that for certain I exist, but am no longer sure; I could very well be a part of someone's subconcious or imagination. Maybe someone is unconcious and I play a part in their imagination at one point or another, and just for the sake of making sure I play my role, I have been given this entirely false and unreal existance. All to just make sure that this little pulse in this person's head plays out at the right time. Do I exist, do you exist?

If you have proof, offer it, if it can be doubted, even in the slightest I will not accept it as evidence. Truth is absolute, therefore there is no possibility to deny it. Show me undeniable evidence! DO I EXIST!? (Feel free to add in your own questions as well)
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Old March 28th, 2008 (05:41 AM).
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If you can be and you can think, you exist. There's nothing more to say. Unless you're a robot that goes onto forums to download information.
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Old March 28th, 2008 (05:44 AM).
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Quote originally posted by Oni Raichu:
If you can be and you can think, you exist. There's nothing more to say. Unless you're a robot that goes onto forums to download information.
Not good enough, no "I think therefore I am" copouts either. Real proof of real existance.
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Old March 28th, 2008 (05:45 AM).
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Quote originally posted by DavyJones4our:
Not good enough, no "I think therefore I am" copouts either. Real proof of real existance.
That is real proof and evidence, in my opinion, and seeing as you have nothing to back you up to say different other than to state what you've said I have proved that you exist.

Good day.
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Old March 28th, 2008 (05:48 AM).
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Quote originally posted by Oni Raichu:
That is real proof and evidence, in my opinion, and seeing as you have nothing to back you up to say different other than to state what you've said I have proved that you exist.

Good day.
Nay I say to you, Cheetah in a Tophat, for even though I believe I am thinking, it is very possible for me to be not thinking, and instead is just programmed from this person's imagination. Therefore I don't exist. I said UNDENIABLE TRUTH, no shred of deniablility can enter into my mind. Truth can not be even doubted, because truth is indeed true. And I doubted your proposed theory, therefore it is not truth and you have not proven that I exist.

Good morrow.
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Old March 28th, 2008 (05:50 AM).
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I used to think I didn't really exist when I was younger...

But whenever I thought of it I kept thinking where would my spirit go when I die... and if I had a previous life, why do I only remember this life as it's happening in perfect detail, yet not the previous one? Which would mean that people only have one life... and if we can't remember previous lives, living would be pointless... because we don't remember it... anyway, I kind of agree with that feeling that I'm not even real, but like, it's more as in... everyone else around me isn't real and my thoughts all will create something...

Too confusing to think about.
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Old March 28th, 2008 (05:52 AM).
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Quote originally posted by DavyJones4our:
Real proof of real existance.
Honestly, why do you think anyone actually cares?

All it seems to me is that you've brought the concept of our PMs to a deeply unecessary thread. All in a poor attempt to show off flawed philosophic drivel in order to boost credibility on a Pokemon website. It's a bit sad really...
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Old March 28th, 2008 (05:54 AM).
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Quote originally posted by DavyJones4our:
Nay I say to you, Cheetah in a Tophat, for even though I believe I am thinking, it is very possible for me to be not thinking, and instead is just programmed from this person's imagination. Therefore I don't exist. I said UNDENIABLE TRUTH, no shred of deniablility can enter into my mind. Truth can not be even doubted, because truth is indeed true. And I doubted your proposed theory, therefore it is not truth and you have not proven that I exist.

Good morrow.
Well, then there is nothing anyone can say to prove you exist, for every factor could just be someone's imagination making you think or do these things.

Well done. You've outsmarted a cheetah.
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Old March 28th, 2008 (05:58 AM).
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Quote originally posted by Oni Raichu:
Well, then there is nothing anyone can say to prove you exist, for every factor could just be someone's imagination making you think or do these things.

Well done. You've outsmarted a cheetah.
I'd hope to, since I can't even come close to running to. I've had a great answer from another forum I go to that seems to win my argument. But I'll wait until someone here gets it as well.

Also a note to Jaimes: If you post in this topic, I'm afraid it's wasted energy, as I am unable to see anything you post from now on. I do apologize for the wasted potential.
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Old March 28th, 2008 (06:01 AM).
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Seriously, why must people seek such complex knowledge? As you said in your first post, science has made the simple things in our universe more complicated, so why are you trying to complicate things even more? This can't be proved scientifically or religiously (after all, we are at the mercy of the gods) so just drop it.
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Old March 28th, 2008 (06:01 AM).
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Quote originally posted by DavyJones4our:
I'd hope to, since I can't even come close to running to. I've had a great answer from another forum I go to that seems to win my argument. But I'll wait until someone here gets it as well.

Also a note to Jaimes: If you post in this topic, I'm afraid it's wasted energy, as I am unable to see anything you post from now on. I do apologize for the wasted potential.
Then I insist that you take Jaimes off your ignore list.
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Old March 28th, 2008 (06:06 AM). Edited March 28th, 2008 by DavyJones4our.
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Quote originally posted by Gummy:
Seriously, why must people seek such complex knowledge? As you said in your first post, science has made the simple things in our universe more complicated, so why are you trying to complicate things even more? This can't be proved scientifically or religiously (after all, we are at the mercy of the gods) so just drop it.
For mere friction, to get people to scramble and think differently. Realizing they may need to hold their guard up for what they don't even see is there. People like to stay in this realm so much, they completely shut off their minds to the possibility of another. Many children hear stories of mystical battles between good and evil, stereotypically involving knights, dragons, and old witches with potions. When children find out that the possibility of the existance of dragons and magick is nigh impossible, they become upset, and grow up to shut it out one way or another. One decided to change the name of 'dragon' to 'dinosaur', to benefit the scientific community, and to help people become more secure in this realm. Another changed the word from 'potion' to 'medicine' because they expected magick to work in the exact same way as in the stories.

They believe that realm doesn't exist, and some (like myself) are starting to doubt the existance of this realm. Simplicity through complication.

Quote originally posted by Oni Raichu:
Then I insist that you take Jaimes off your ignore list.
And I'm disinclined to asquiesce your request. Also to make it much more fairerest, I will make the suggestion to him to add me to his ignore list. In the interest of fairerness.
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Old March 28th, 2008 (06:20 AM).
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Quote originally posted by DavyJones4our:
And I'm disinclined to asquiesce your request. Also to make it much more fairerest, I will make the suggestion to him to add me to his ignore list. In the interest of fairerness.
And I disagree. He did nothing to you except for debate and beat you while he was at it. Stop acting like an idiot and take him off. Now.
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Old March 28th, 2008 (06:33 AM).
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The Greeks said that something is alive if it fears its own death.
How do you define existence? How do you define your own existence?

We would not know anything about our existence if it wasn't for our sensory organs, which send electrochemical signals to our brain telling us whether something is hot or cold, solid or liquid.

A simple way to prove your existence is to study your relationships with other people. Relationships themselves prove that you are making a connection with another being of consciousness. If this reality, and by default our existence, does not truly exist, those connections mean nothing and there are no consequences for actions.

But I have to ask, why ask nonexistent beings such as ourselves such a question? If you only exist in consciousness, and we are only pawns of that, why ask us?
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Old March 28th, 2008 (06:37 AM).
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Quote originally posted by Heatran:
But I have to ask, why ask nonexistent beings such as ourselves such a question? If you only exist in consciousness, and we are only pawns of that, why ask us?
Good point, and one that hit me only moments before your post.
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Old March 28th, 2008 (06:48 AM).
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My good friend James Matthews helped me out with this. I believe his statements are true. It makes perfect sense if it's not tl;dr for you. And if it is, I suggest you don't participate in this thread.

Since Descartes’ brain-in-a-vat analogy, people have pondered whether they really exist. Even in today’s modern times, movies like ‘The Matrix’ exemplify the modern paradigm of Descartes’ example. So can we prove we exist? In this paper, I hope to show that we can, but not the context we exist within. I will use the example of ‘The Matrix’ to not only show that a theoretical Matrix could deceive us, but also a more plausible and finite Matrix.

Descartes’ ‘cognito ergo sum’ (‘I think therefore I am’) is a perfectly valid method of proving we exist. The fact that we are thinking about our existence proves we exist! Unfortunately, this is as far as Descartes and myself agree - he uses this argument to corroborate the idea that the mind can exist without the body. Yet how can a non-physical entity think? I firmly believe that the act of thinking is a physical process - sensory information (or other events) triggers neurons to fire within the brain that in turn excites various other areas and causes chemical reactions that consequentially affects what we think and feel. Therefore, an entity that does not physically exist cannot think.

Dualism complicates matters by creating a double meaning for ‘am’ (and any other word related to the person or being). There is the physical meaning of ‘am’, existing within the physical world. Then there is the more abstract meaning of ‘am’ - one’s personality, one’s being and (dare I say it) one’s soul. Therefore, I may be taking Descartes’ meaning of ‘am’ out of context by using it as a combination of both the physical and the mental (since the mental is physical).

The problem that surfaces here is the degree of physicality that has to be associated with ‘being’ (or am-ness). How much of our physical body must be intact to consider us being. Our current Matrix example is safe, since the body is kept intact. Yet, the brain-in-a-vat example is different. Since we are merely a brain in a jar of preservatives being fed information do we exist?

Yes - our physicality is important but not necessary. Needless to say, our brain is part of our physical being therefore we must have the brain as part of that ‘minimal body’. The rest of our body is used by the brain to solve it’s own shortcomings - to keep itself alive (heart and lungs for oxygen and blood), to gain data from the outside world (eyes, ears and tactile sensors) and to use its physical extensions (arms, legs and fingers) to move and influence its surroundings.

To summarize: “I think, therefore I am” has to interpreted from the standpoint that ‘being’ consists our physical location and our mental processes. Our mental processes are in turn a physical process in our brain; therefore if reductionism must be applied to this concept, then the brain (along with anything necessary to keep it alive - although this could be artificial) is all that is necessary to ‘be’. Therefore, the mere act of thinking is sufficient to prove that brain processes are occurring, thus one exists!

It is the context in which we exist in that is impossible to determine. The brain-in-a-vat, God as a benevolent deceiver, evil genius and ‘The Matrix’ analogies are all instantiations of the same problem that I will call the problem of contextual existence. While we can tell that we exist, quite where we exist and whether our reality is the real reality is something we will never been able to prove due to the inherent limitations our body and brain suppose upon us. It is analogous to us trying to think in four (or any number above 3) dimensions - it is completely unthinkable! Let us look more precisely at our example - The Matrix.

Given infinite knowledge (or infinite computing power in our case) it is quite impossible to definitively prove that you are existing in the now as you understand it (I am writing an essay at my desk on my computer while listening to music) or whether I am being harvested in a massive “human field” for my bioelectric energy and I am being fed information via an interface plugged into my head and spine!

As far-fetched as it may be, it is theoretically possible (especially if the year is 2301, I only believe it is 2001) and irrefutable. It does lead to a pressing question - is this existence I am supporting really existence in the philosophical sense? The main argument against this contextual existence is that we lack free will that marks our physical existence as ‘being’. I would argue that our free will is preserved, since it is a ‘black box’ situation - input is fed in from the computers, our brain makes the decisions and those decisions are mapped on to an output that the computer interprets and subsequently alters our ‘reality.’

Let us go back on our original given that we had infinite computing power and made it more realistic - finite computing power; would the thesis still hold? Finite computing power means that the world our minds exist in turns from a replica into a simulation - a finite representation of an infinite reality. Glitches are bound to occur (such as deja-vu in The Matrix) so couldn’t we tell that our reality was a farce? Of course not, we would know no difference - the computer could make chicken taste like oranges yet we would still think it tasted like chicken.

To conclude, can I prove I exist? Yes, I am writing an essay on the topic that essentially proves I exist! The mere process of thinking proves one’s existence. Descartes proved this (albeit unintentionally, using my interpretation) using his famous “I think therefore I am”. Yet, thinking does not (and will not) prove the reality (or context) in which they are thinking. It is an impossible feat to prove that our reality is the real one and no Matrix, benevolent deceiver nor evil genius is controlling it.
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Old March 28th, 2008 (06:57 AM).
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Logic man! If you don't exist, no one should've created this thread! This thread is very weird.
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Old March 28th, 2008 (06:59 AM). Edited March 28th, 2008 by DavyJones4our.
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Chibi, I definitally think you were in the right direction, but the wrong track. It unfortunately relies too much on physicality and "being" rather than focusing on existance. I understand what you are saying, but regretably, it isn't close to convincing me. But there was something Descartes said (that the other person on the other forum brought up) that helped me. I do truly appreciate the response, though.

Quote originally posted by Quasar99:
Logic man! If you don't exist, no one should've created this thread! This thread is very weird.
But what makes our logic or comprehension of it (for that matter) the highest and infallable?
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Old March 28th, 2008 (07:05 AM).
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Quote originally posted by DavyJones4our:
Chibi, I definitally think you were in the right direction, but the wrong track.
So is there a right answer to this?
I can't really make you believe anything.
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Old March 28th, 2008 (07:06 AM).
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Memories, memories is the key word to existence. Memories is what makes people who they are, if we were part of someone's imagination they would have to create every single entity's memory, but that would take more then a life time to do, so therefore we exist due to memories
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Old March 28th, 2008 (07:09 AM).
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Quote originally posted by Aniki:
Memories, memories is the key word to existence. Memories is what makes people who they are, if we were part of someone's imagination they would have to create every single entity's memory, but that would take more then a life time to do, so therefore we exist due to memories
Ooh, I like that theory. Though, it is possible, for the mind to be so immensely powerful to make up false backrounds (as Chibi paritally brought up).
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Old March 28th, 2008 (07:10 AM).
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If someone imagined it, this world would be a lot more interesting.
Someone could have a dream that a woman gives birth to an octopus, so if life is a dream, I see no reason that couldn't happen.

Pure imagination does not follow logic, reality does; nor does it hold truth, thus in theory we could never prove to you that anything is real.
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Old March 28th, 2008 (07:12 AM).
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forgot to mention, just one memory for a person to make they would be dead before they could make another memory unless they are short lives but yeah i like this thread so far, questioning existence
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Old March 28th, 2008 (07:14 AM).
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Quote originally posted by Aniki:
Memories, memories is the key word to existence. Memories is what makes people who they are, if we were part of someone's imagination they would have to create every single entity's memory, but that would take more then a life time to do, so therefore we exist due to memories
Not necessarily. You can remember certain events, but can you remember what's in between that? If your birthday is on August 23rd, you can remember pretty much everything about that date, but can you remember what you were doing 42 days before that if nothing special happened? Where did that time go? Was it lived if you can't actually recall it? If someone were to actually program memories, they wouldn't need to make a life time, just a handful of events. Birthdays, dates, weddings, funerals, sports outings, academic events, you can probably grab a list of what would be considered major life events and cater them to certain personality types.

Of course our reality is probably some speck on a tiny flower being protected by some giant elephant. Or not. We'll never know.
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Old March 28th, 2008 (07:16 AM). Edited March 28th, 2008 by DavyJones4our.
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Quote originally posted by :
If someone imagined it, this world would be a lot more interesting.
Someone could have a dream that a woman gives birth to an octopus, so if life is a dream, I see no reason that couldn't happen.

Pure imagination does not follow logic, reality does; nor does it hold truth, thus in theory we could never prove to you that anything is real.
Good concept, but not everyone is able to exactly control their imagination (or if you'd like, exchange that word for "dreams") very easily. And it is possible that this world that we percieve as "real" (which very possible is non-existential) is indeed all part of a fantasy world, and the real world is much more boring than this. Everything here we can't see as being all that glamourous because we're consistantly exposed to it, very rarely does anything truly "new" or "original" come up. But either way, it's still the point of it's all possibly false, and we don't need something "out of the blue" to show that we're not existant.

And, isn't imagination a sort of reality? So, does it, or does it not, follow logic?

Quote originally posted by Ryoutarou:
Not necessarily. You can remember certain events, but can you remember what's in between that? If your birthday is on August 23rd, you can remember pretty much everything about that date, but can you remember what you were doing 42 days before that if nothing special happened? Where did that time go? Was it lived if you can't actually recall it? If someone were to actually program memories, they wouldn't need to make a life time, just a handful of events. Birthdays, dates, weddings, funerals, sports outings, academic events, you can probably grab a list of what would be considered major life events and cater them to certain personality types.

Of course our reality is probably some speck on a tiny flower being protected by some giant elephant. Or not. We'll never know.
You can talk to the elephant, too? Nah, but in all reality (rimshot), memories aren't all that reliable, as you've stated. Also, what of those memories that we have, but have never happened. Like when someone makes the error "Man, that baseball game last Saturday was fun" but it was actually a memory from several years ago, or it's possible, not even that, it could've been a dream their brain processed as memory. Either way, it's nothing close to being able to provide evidence of existance.
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