Are we truly "real", I wonder?

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M

millefeui

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Mar 31, 2018
1,037
5,298
Bear with me and my delusions for a moment: If we disappear entirely from existence once we die, can we even call ourselves "real"? A fictional person, also known as character, is also a brief existence (of sorts), living only as far as the person telling the story is willing to. Once the story ends, that existence ends as well.

In a sense, our existences aren't all that different. Brief, meaningless existences, that don't last much. Even the humans that lived the most, over one hundred years of existence... That is really not that much, if you think about it. Once we die, we cease to be "real". We might as well have never existed. Think about all the humans who lived on this Earth until now. Over 99% already died. Who are they? They are no one. They don't exist. They are nothing.

If there isn't some sort of afterlife or reincarnation, which is likely, we aren't really that real. We are just shades, dust in the wind, waiting to fade away into eternal nothingness. In a sense, we are even less real than the so called "non reality", considering our existence is considerably shorter and most of the time, less meaningful.

Another random thought... If there is a God, we are no more than characters in his goddamn stupid tragedy. Except there are no main characters, only a bunch of fuckers suffering for no good reason whatsoever.

Well, I told you people, I am totally nuts.

Thanks for reading and entertaining my delusions.
 
FullFat

FullFat

^best order at Micky-D's ever
Apr 27, 2018
378
1,033
Bear with me and my delusions for a moment: If we disappear entirely from existence once we die, can we even call ourselves "real"? A fictional person, also known as character, is also a brief existence (of sorts), living only as far as the person telling the story is willing to. Once the story ends, that existence ends as well.

In a sense, our existences aren't all that different. Brief, meaningless existences, that don't last much. Even the humans that lived the most, over one hundred years of existence... That is really not that much, if you think about it. Once we die, we cease to be "real". We might as well have never existed. Think about all the humans who lived on this Earth until now. Over 99% already died. Who are they? They are no one. They don't exist. They are nothing.

If there isn't some sort of afterlife or reincarnation, which is likely, we aren't really that real. We are just shades, dust in the wind, waiting to fade away into eternal nothingness. In a sense, we are even less real than the so called "non reality", considering our existence is considerably shorter and most of the time, less meaningful.

Another random thought... If there is a God, we are no more than characters in his goddamn stupid tragedy. Except there are no main characters, only a bunch of fuckers suffering for no good reason whatsoever.

Well, I told you people, I am totally nuts.

Thanks for reading and entertaining my delusions.
You've probably heard it before, but Descartes would play the devil's advocate here - for a lot of reasons, but let's set aside the religious component for now. How do you respond to his "I think. Therefore, I am" idea? Basically, he argues that a person's sentience proves their existence (at least to themselves), and that it's really the only thing we can know with absolute certainty. The only sentience fictional characters have is one we imagine for them. We're experiencing it, not them. I would have to think it would work the same way if we were truly simulations or in some being's thoughts.

In a more poetic sense though, I agree. When you think about the timescales of life on earth and the universe, we seem so insignificant and fleeting. Recently, it hit me how short humanity's time on Earth actually is.

If you take 100 years as a rough estimate of a maximum human lifespan, then:
  1. the 1800s were only 2 people's lives ago,
  2. Europe was in the middle of the Dark Ages (1000 AD) 10 people's lives ago,
  3. Jesus was said to have lived and the Roman Empire was in full swing about 20 people's lives ago,
  4. ancient Egypt was around 40 people's lives ago,
  5. civilization started in the fertile crescent about 80 people's lives ago (~ 6000 BC),
  6. and modern humans evolved as early as 250 people's lives ago.
Let's take a look at #4 - that's a typical K-12 classroom. It only took 40 lifetimes to get from tech in ancient Egypt to here. After that, the numbers get more abstract, but you easily pass 80 people in a busy shopping mall, maybe even 250 - which is only 0.65% of a 40,000-person town.

That all makes humanity's achievements look pretty impressive. It also makes you feel like a cog in the machine of society more than ever. We normally think about all the millions of people who have lived and died in that timespan, which makes it feel like a long time. Broken down like this, it is easy to see that it's not - all those lives snuffed out in the blink of an eye.

This makes me want to listen to "Dust in the Wind". I'll admit it's made me cry before.
 
M

millefeui

-
Mar 31, 2018
1,037
5,298
The only sentience fictional characters have is one we imagine for them. We're experiencing it, not them. I would have to think it would work the same way if we were truly simulations or in some being's thoughts.
Fantastic post. I don't mean to necessarily imply characters are real, though who I am to say that possibility is, well, impossible, so I will only address this particular sentence: If our sentience was imagined by another being, we wouldn't really be aware of it, just like — play along with me for a moment here — characters aren't aware their sentience comes from the imagination of humans.

Just some food for useless thought. I mean, there is no basis for anything I am saying here, but this is the best place to talk about it since 1. I don't have anyone to talk about it in "real life" and 2. I don't want to post this kind of stuff under my actual internet username.

I just can't shake the feeling there is more to what we call fiction than, well, being just fiction. It is very very, as in 99,9999999% likely just craziness of my part, though. The awfulness and boringness of what we call "real life" must have gotten to my head.

Though, I will say as much. Believing in this crap or even considering it is in no way worse than believing in God, reincarnation, afterlife, hell and such.
 
L

Life sucks

Illuminated
Apr 18, 2018
1,368
5,024
1) I think senses and pain is something that can make us consider ourselves "real" , although pain is negative.

2) Despite whether we are real or not, the way humans deal with or think about "reality" is mostly illusions or some constructs that doesn't describe the true "reality".

I'll say that pain and suffering make us "feel real" and even if its just a chemical or physical phenomena, we can't ignore it.

We are similar to movies and the way humans perceive others is similar to movie-objects. You see someone's face but he can't see himself. Then you create some ideas, constructs or emotions about the person (partially or fully based on looks). You'll say this person is cool or comedic and get a really entertaining person for example and get attached to this person. The difference between movies and reality is that you can get hurt/pained (physically and emotionally) and there is no fourth wall.
 
higashikata_panos

higashikata_panos

yare yare daze
Apr 13, 2018
15
53
I really like your thoughts millefeui .... Im always thinking of things like that . Really , nothing at all is crazy . Nothing you are going to say to me is gonna make me weird out . Everything is possible . We dont know shit about our existence so we are free to speculate at least .
Im of the logic that something did created us , we just dont know anything about it , not the why it made us , nothing . All religions are a bunch of bullshit for me .
I always try to make out a logic from all of this . Why am i here ? There's not even an answer to that .... We always try to make a reason out of everything but i dont know how to answer the question of why am i here . Simply because there is not an answer to that , we are just here.
Our parents fucked and made us , nothing less and nothing more. So why should i be happy about it ? Should i be more positive ? Should i just look down and not care about whats out there ? Should i not get scared and confused about an infinite universe out of this planet ?
Life is just so fuckin weird and meaningless , it is all just so overwhelming and tiring .
 
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anna

anna

downfall
Mar 18, 2018
441
1,196
If there is a God, he must have a perverse sense of humor (as the lyrics of a song said).
Or maybe, as Poe said: "Everything we see or imagine
It's just a dream inside a dream. "
 
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revenant

revenant

Member
May 3, 2018
9
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The simulationist argument :
https://www.simulation-argument.com/simulation.html

Or the big reveal at the end of this book series :
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ilium/Olympos

The fact that a mind can never fully understand, model, and perceive the reality it exists within... without said reality and its perception being the same system. I can bar that 'without' because reality is able to surprise me beyond my ability to predict it.
So I can reason that reality is more complex than my perception of it, and that my perception of it is a simplified model. A summary or a best guess as my biological brain attempts to create a predictive model within its limits. So even perception is a dumbed down simulation of reality.

To raise the utility value of my perception, I strive to aggressively check the model for errors.

On the wider thoughts of this thread, where does/do the simulation(s) lie? I can confirm my perception is most certainly a simulation... but what about anything that exists beyond my perception?
 
Mad

Mad

Actually just sad
Mar 21, 2018
155
473
Bear with me and my delusions for a moment: If we disappear entirely from existence once we die, can we even call ourselves "real"? A fictional person, also known as character, is also a brief existence (of sorts), living only as far as the person telling the story is willing to. Once the story ends, that existence ends as well.

In a sense, our existences aren't all that different. Brief, meaningless existences, that don't last much. Even the humans that lived the most, over one hundred years of existence... That is really not that much, if you think about it. Once we die, we cease to be "real". We might as well have never existed. Think about all the humans who lived on this Earth until now. Over 99% already died. Who are they? They are no one. They don't exist. They are nothing.

If there isn't some sort of afterlife or reincarnation, which is likely, we aren't really that real. We are just shades, dust in the wind, waiting to fade away into eternal nothingness. In a sense, we are even less real than the so called "non reality", considering our existence is considerably shorter and most of the time, less meaningful.
I think you will enjoy absurdism.
 
L

Life sucks

Illuminated
Apr 18, 2018
1,368
5,024
The simulationist argument :
https://www.simulation-argument.com/simulation.html

Or the big reveal at the end of this book series :
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ilium/Olympos

The fact that a mind can never fully understand, model, and perceive the reality it exists within... without said reality and its perception being the same system. I can bar that 'without' because reality is able to surprise me beyond my ability to predict it.
So I can reason that reality is more complex than my perception of it, and that my perception of it is a simplified model. A summary or a best guess as my biological brain attempts to create a predictive model within its limits. So even perception is a dumbed down simulation of reality.

To raise the utility value of my perception, I strive to aggressively check the model for errors.

On the wider thoughts of this thread, where does/do the simulation(s) lie? I can confirm my perception is most certainly a simulation... but what about anything that exists beyond my perception?
We can't fully simulate or understand but can get a simplified or incomplete version.
You can focus on things within your perception specially abstract or logic that are not limited by senses, there are many neglected ideas and logical statements that regular humans try to distract themselves from it.
For example, everyone will die and everyone will fade away but they think about religious stuff or life matters to not think about the inevitable and losing everything.
Humans neglect logic and try to run away from it, we don't need a full perception to know some information and at least we tried to think unlike those who never think and follow life rules blindly.

Even if what we perceive is a simulation, the way of thinking can be considered a revolution against not being free and being simulated. We discover the reality then want to end the dumb life. By ending the simulation of life, we are no longer simulated (unless there is something like afterlife)
 
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Fylobatica

Fylobatica

Inactive
Apr 1, 2018
368
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can we even call ourselves "real"?
No. Our perceptions are deeply flawed, just skewed approximations of what's going on the 'outside' (even though we're 100% part of it)

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/10/141001133416.htm

(that's just a minor but significant example).

As for the 'afterlife' and such, considering the evolutive history of our brain, and most importantly how our personality can be severely damaged by a simple aneurysm, I wouldn't put much trust into it. The chances that nothingness awaits are exceedingly high.
What would living as disincarnate entities for billions of years solve, after all? Nothing.
 
deflagrat

deflagrat

¡Si hablas español mándame un mensaje privado!
Apr 9, 2018
360
1,141
Last year I began to think the world was a simulation and everyone was a robot, including me. That's how bad my hallucinations were. You stay "sane" for a long period of time but constant contact with voices (for months) end up making you gullible and you start to believe that your hallucinations are real, then you start to behave in a strange way and end up running away from something made up until they find you and send you to the hospital. That's my 2017 in a nutshell. So no, I don't want to hear theories about being in a virtual simulation or being something similar to an AI but with biology instead of software / hardware.

I am done with that :angry:.
 
C

Caerula

Veteran
Mar 20, 2018
145
463
This reminds me of something I read but forgot from where. Someone said we truly disappear when the last person who remembers us dies.
 
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Edward1

Edward1

Meh!
Sep 18, 2019
267
273
We are real in the moment, but it's abstract.
 
C

c824767

Specialist
Sep 2, 2019
359
457
The most important people on this planet, as far as I am concerned, are all evil. Evil has made this idiotic mankind into what it is today. Lots of exploited people who feel like dust in the wind, and a few "manipulators" who do not give a shit about the rest. We are too real because we have ageing bodies, DNA, atoms, gravity, neurons, thoughts, pain. We are too real to be able to easily commit suicide when we have no help. We are so real that many of us cannot live in comfort and dignity unless they brainwash themselves into believing that "everything is just as it is supposed to be, everything is OK, I am safe, I am enjoying my mindful state". As far as I am concerned this mindfulness and fake optimism is the best way to shut up contrarian critical thinkers. Shut up and go to a mindfulness seminar. You are too negative. You are depressed. I wish I would never have to hear these words again.