Thursday, February 14, 2013

Are Reality and the Physical the Same?

Jason Wade Howard is a writer and thinker interested in philosophical concepts such as the nature of reality and the concept of infinity (among others). You can contact him through Google+ or his blog.

by Jason Wade Howard

It would seem plausible that in the same way we think of an animal consciousness (dog, cat or some such) we indeed may be party to a limited form of consciousness. Indeed I don't doubt a higher level of consciousness awaits the combination of genetic and nanobotic engineering (or other future level of consciousness). It could be possible that humans (if existing in an illusory/simulatory world) are simply simplifications of a level of consciousness far higher, indeed in a universe designed and balanced in such a way that the possibility of higher consciousness exists: it would seem statistically more likely that we are in a simulation (subjects of a god) than in a real universe. It would seem that it is statistically more likely that we are mere shadows of a form of consciousness far grander than ours. This is however far from conclusive, and not an idea I am comfortable with or even willing to peddle as anything close to fact. Numbers are ultimately manipulatable (a perfect medium in which to sculpt an existence).

Some say consciousness itself is hard if not impossible to explain as regards why it exists. Why does it need to exist when the brain has its abilities, abilities to deal with problems and issues. Why is consciousness, awareness of oneself, needed?

Is it not simply a construct/simulation created by the brain to link together the different functions/abilities/areas of the brain and enable a being to connect these functions in the brain and problems in the external world (input areas of brain) to the problem solving areas that are required to deal with them and so guarantee survival.

Would a brain running without consciousness be able to do even the simplest of tasks? Isn't an orchestrator needed, one that needs to be aware?

So now we move to this post's subject. Are reality and the physical world the same? Of course they aren't. Anyone's personal reality is a mere 10th of a second late reflection of the external physical world. Taking any hallucinogen and being able to maintain ones understanding that what one is experiencing is not real despite the realistic/vivid properties of the altered state is testament to the fact that personal reality is capricious and malleable.

I would say that reality is what it needs to be. Whatever it needs to be to be able to prevent its extensions (the body) from being no longer able to support that reality. Reality itself is evolved to self perpetuate itself. We need to be aware so we are. We need to be conscious so we are. Reality is the way it is to allow understanding and interaction with the external physical world. Separate and different but indelibly linked.

re·al·i·ty/riˈælɪti/ Show Spelled[ree-al-i-tee] Show IPA
noun, plural re·al·i·ties for 3, 5–7.
the state or quality of being real.
resemblance to what is real.
a real thing or fact.

In the "hallucinogen" section I was separating the physical world (what some would term reality) from "personal reality" (see second definition of reality above). Of course a hallucinogen does not alter physical reality, but it does alter a "personal (sense of) reality", which is what I was referring to. Of course the whole exercise was in the name of ideas to do with the separation of the physical world from reality (I chose my interpretation of the word "reality" to be what we perceive the world as being, in our minds, not what is empirically testable as being actual physical reality).

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