Caller “Josh” from Episode 21:20 – Further Thoughts

I understand what Josh is asking with regard to hard solipsism. I’ve held since I’ve understood the problem that we can’t know reality is what it seems to be. But we are confronted with no option but to accept what we’re confronted with as the foundation of what’s presented to us to work with. What is the alternative?

When I hear something like Josh has to offer, my immediate thought is how it’s possible that someone can’t differentiate between accepting what confronts us as unavoidable, versus accepting what we aren’t confronted with, and calling that unavoidable.

I get what Josh is trying to communicate. He’s saying that he sees the same reality I do, plus god. And he’s suggesting that just as I accept the rest of that reality, he must accept that same reality, plus god. And we both agree that we shouldn’t deny what we’re confronted with in some unavoidable way.

However, Josh seems to want to define a “feeling” that something is there, with being confronted by that something in a manifested form. The disconnect is that I don’t believe there is a computer on the desk in front of me based on a feeling. I believe it based on a manifestation.

I’d like Josh to imagine a reality we both agree is not real. Let’s say Josh and I have access to a video game that includes some form of simulated reality. In the game, as we navigate the levels, we encounter characters that are manifestations built within the simulation—trolls, goblins, elves, humans. They have territories they inhabit and weapons they use. Some of them can use magic. I tell Josh about a magic golden sword that the elf can access. He has not encountered this yet, so I navigate the game to show him the sword, and there it is, in a box that the elf opens. We both see it, and it manifests to us just as the characters and the territories and other weapons. Josh tells me the humans raise horses. I say I haven’t seen horses in the game. He then navigates to a part of the territories I haven’t visited yet and shows me stables and fields filled with horses.

None of this is real, and yet there are things we can see manifesting, and things we experience with regard to this game. For example, the humans can’t fly, but the elves can, using elf magic. The golden sword can be used by the elves and humans, but turns to ash once it’s grabbed by the hilt by a troll or goblin. And so on. None of this is real—we know it’s only a simulation—and yet there are rules. There are parameters. There are things we can see manifest, and things we can test to see whether they can or can’t be done.

Then Josh tells me the dragons are his favorite characters in the game. I say I haven’t seen the dragons yet, and ask if he will show me the dragons. Josh tells me he can’t show me the dragons. In fact, he can’t actually see them manifested. But he has a feeling there are dragons in the game. I ask him why? He can’t explain it. It’s just a feeling that he believes would not exist in him unless there were dragons in the game.

Even though both Josh and I know nothing in this game is as it seems–it’s all simulated and fake, there is a great deal of difference, between the characters we can encounter in the game, versus the dragons Josh simply feels must be there, although neither of us actually can observe their manifestation in the same way we experience manifestations of every one of the other characters. In the end, whether the reality we inhabit is real or unreal is irrelevant. What difference does it make? What matters is the difference between how we’re determining the elves “exist,” and how Josh is determining the “dragons” exist. When Josh says the dragons exist, he means something very different, apparently, than what we mean with regard to the elves.

I don’t understand what Josh is considering “existent” with regard to the dragons. I don’t understand how a “feeling” within one’s mind translates to a manifestation outside one’s own mind. Just because the reality is all simulated does not make the dragons just as “tangible” within the framework of this game, as the elves. Accepting the existence of dragons in the game—by either Josh or me—represents a departure from how we have, with every other aspect of this game, agreed that things “exist.”

It could be that Josh is trolling. But even if that’s the case, he is by no means the only person to ever use this explanation for the existence of god—to assert that somehow solipsism makes believe in the existence of a god as justified as belief in the existence of the air we breathe. I’ve heard people say this before: We can’t know anything we experience is real, so isn’t god just as believable as that telephone? No. No it’s not, because the telephone manifests in a vastly different way than the god—regardless of what this reality is or is not. Until a god manifests, I don’t agree, or even see how a feeling justifies saying it’s there in the same way we agree the phone is there. Adding things to reality as feelings, in the absence of manifestation, is not how I’ve come to the conclusion I must accept there’s a phone on my desk.

I agree it could be they are both are delusions—but we have to be honest and admit they are delusions of a very different sort.

Another, “I just can’t believe what my brain can do”

Kind of the same stuff. If consciousness, then afterlife. But this person wants to know what atheists think, and asserts nobody has offered a satisfactory answer. I will fully admit I may be pleasantly surprised, but up to now what this usually translates to is “I don’t understand/accept the findings of neuro scientists, and potentially have some misconceptions regarding things I’ve read about popular physics.” Genuinely hoping I’m wrong, I leave you with this…

 

Dear atheists,

I have a question for you on some of your world views that I cannot find good answer from any atheist. First I would introduce myself if its any matter of interest to you. Im 28 years old guy from Scandinavia, I used to be a believer to age 18 or something but never went to church or anything and constantly doubted my faith along the way because the lack of evidence. To some point I stopped believing when I realized there just isnt enough evidence to continue belief but still maintained some kind of agnostic view on world but I wont bore you to death on the matter why I became agnostic and not full atheist. I have academic, financial and technical background. I have always been somehow interested to find “truth” about this reality and spent alot of time in my freetime to find at least some answers. Last two years I have been really active in this matter and when I actually took true, dedicated dive in this world Ill have to say that everything is even more confusing to rational mind that I could have ever thought. Now I finally know truly that I know nothing.

In this journey I have found a philosofical and mathematical problem on life ending after death. As some hardcore atheists claim to “know” or at least to some degree as certainty that life ends when our physical body dies I beg to differ solely based on probability. Ok, heres the problem that you have been waiting for if ever read it this far.

1. Lets say we have one life in this universe and our consciousness dies permanently, what is the probablity you living right at this moment in an universe that has sustained life at least last few billion years your appr. 75 year long lasting life?

1.1 Ill add more to this. When something is, the potential of it has to be and at least the potential of it cant be destroyd, so lets say matter comes quantum fluctuation, it has been always this way and will be so there have been infinite number of universes before this and still exists. In an infinite amount of time you living your only life at this very moment is practicly 0 when you divide 75/infinite. Ok, there is a probability this isnt true, but its the most likely theory that you cannot destroy a potential of what can be proven to exist.

2. You say you have no spirit or I would call this consciousness if you will since its something that is not our physical body. Spirit as a term can be misleading here because I understand you point of view but try to go beoynd it. You can prove to yourself that you exist at this very moment since you can experience, vision, smell, touch, thought etc.. You probably have no clue how you can even exist “to yourself” and still you are. So at least you have to exist as a potential in this infinite universe even if your consciousness stops experiencing or shuts down as your physical body dies. I dont think consciousness cannot be in a state of not experiencing but that would go extremely deep to philosofical matters so I wont bore you with that at this moment.

2.2. You might think you are “illusion” to yourself but that is the most ridiculous explanation I have heard by atheists (or theists doesnt matter what you believe if you can do this) and requires very cunning trick of mind to do that since you can only prove that you exist at some form this moment. You might not be anything more than just an observer but go figure it out. Just wanted to point this out that you dont give me lazy ass asnwer to this question but think it through.

2.3 Defining consciousness as your body is extremely hard since your body changes every single cell many times in its lifetime and still you dont cease to exist as an “observer”. If you go deep enough you would need to define yourself as electricity since you cannot find consciousness in matter. Electricity is movement of electrons so you are experiencing movement of electrons and nothing more. There are many, many problems theorising that you are the atoms and/or electricity in your body but wont go to details here. Basicly this theory would suggest that any electric movement would experience something, no matter if it can recognize itself or have any “intellect”, this doesnt matter. Intelligence is just subproduct of our physical manifestation, perhaps.

3. Nothing can exist outside consciousness. There cannot be anything without consciousness since it doesnt exist to anyone. This is a philosofical matter at least at this point but there is truth to it. You have universe that exists to no-one can we say it exists? If it even exists in our mind in any way we can already say it exists. This goes really deep in to philosofical thinking but is a sort of a conclusion I have come to. Everything is consciousness, nothing “real” can exist beoynd it and everything that exists to consciousness is in a way real. Theres no laws that govern what is real or not but the law of consciouss observer that defines it.

I recognize I could be wrong in every single statement I have made above and this can be extremely hard to rationalize with our monkey brains but also there is deep logic to every single statement there is.

Since Iv been watching your show for entertaining purposes mostly Iv seen that you are rather intelligent but step to the same traps as religious people do like in this matter, what happens after we die, making assumptions without going beoynd them. Im hoping to get feedback from you guys as these are matters that not many want to go in to or give only lazy thoughtless answers. Also I would like to hear more insightful arguments why you believe we cease to exist after physical death. Im always glad to hear opposing arguments.

As last words I want to say these thought are anything but calming to me and are not wishfull thinking but more of a rationalizing with open mind and accepting the “truth” as it reveals itself. Consciousness seems to me seems to be indestructible and we have come infinite way to this point and continue to exist. There are lots of topics to be discussed in this matter but I dont expect them to discussed with you. I only want the answers to these few claims that you make and present in your show.

Best regards,

Another pseudorationalizing Stardust Space Monkey