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Is the universe, and us in it, a subjective experience or is there objectivity?

Is the universe, and us in it, a subjective experience or is there objectivity?


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reefedjib

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I am adding a poll.

If you answer Subjective, what type of philosophy do you hold, if you know? (solipsism, nondualism, ...) Also, what are these commonly observed objects like the Moon, if the universe is subjective? We seem to share subjective observations. And what is the role of consciousness in your view?

If you answer Objective, do we perceive this objectivity, objectively? Where does consciousness fit in?
 

Korimyr the Rat

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It's... pliable. I believe in an objective Universe, but that objective Universe reacts to our subjective perceptions of it in ways that I cannot define.
 

tacomancer

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I am adding a poll.

If you answer Subjective, what type of philosophy do you hold, if you know? (solipsism, nondualism, ...) Also, what are these commonly observed objects like the Moon, if the universe is subjective? We seem to share subjective observations. And what is the role of consciousness in your view?

If you answer Objective, do we perceive this objectivity, objectively? Where does consciousness fit in?

Facts and reality are objective. Our perceptions are subjective. Being human we are pretty much doomed to always be using an incomplete set of knowledge on whatever subject. Its depressing really.
 

Goshin

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Facts and reality are objective. Our perceptions are subjective. Being human we are pretty much doomed to always be using an incomplete set of knowledge on whatever subject. Its depressing really.


I couldn't sum up any better than that.


I would add only one word:

"Rootebega!" :)
 

reefedjib

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Facts and reality are objective. Our perceptions are subjective. Being human we are pretty much doomed to always be using an incomplete set of knowledge on whatever subject. Its depressing really.

How can facts and reality be objective if the only way we interact with the world is subjective?
 

spud_meister

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How can facts and reality be objective if the only way we interact with the world is subjective?

The earth orbits the sun, that's a fact; the sun orbits the earth, that was our perception.

Reality is reality regardless of how we perceive it.
 

reefedjib

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The earth orbits the sun, that's a fact; the sun orbits the earth, that was our perception.

Reality is reality regardless of how we perceive it.

There is a difference between objectivity and a shared subjective experience. I would say the earth orbiting the sun is a shared subjective experience. Everyone agrees it is what is happening, but since there is no objectivity...

If this reality we experience is subjective, then where is the objective reality? Not this.
 

tacomancer

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How can facts and reality be objective if the only way we interact with the world is subjective?

Well, facts and reality exist independant of us (unless our actions create those things, but even then, they are still there if we all up and die one day). However, if I make a chair in my workshop, the chair exists and will continue to exist in spite of me, until such a time that erosion, microbes, fire, or whatever causes that chair to no longer exist. That chair existing is fact, however, my experience of it is subjective. I may experience sitting in it a different way from another person. I may see a pattern in the wood grain that nobody else sees. It may feel heavier to me than someone who works out if I try to lift it. Some botanist may look at the chair and see some qualities in the wood that I don't understand. All of us take away different things from that chair, but the chair itself contains all of those qualities at the same time and each of us will only ever see some of them.
 

reefedjib

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Well, facts and reality exist independant of us (unless our actions create those things, but even then, they are still there if we all up and die one day). However, if I make a chair in my workshop, the chair exists and will continue to exist in spite of me, until such a time that erosion, microbes, fire, or whatever causes that chair to no longer exist. That chair existing is fact, however, my experience of it is subjective. I may experience sitting in it a different way from another person. I may see a pattern in the wood grain that nobody else sees. It may feel heavier to me than someone who works out if I try to lift it. Some botanist may look at the chair and see some qualities in the wood that I don't understand. All of us take away different things from that chair, but the chair itself contains all of those qualities at the same time and each of us will only ever see some of them.

That's the point, reality does not exist independent of us. The quirks of quantum mechanics demonstrate that you MUST have an observing consciousness in order for particles to take form. Without an observing consciousness, there would be no matter. That is inherently subjective.
 
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Goshin

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That's the point, reality does not exist independent of us. The quirks of quantum mechanics demonstrate that you MUST have an observing consciousness in order for particles to take form. Without an observing consciousness, there would be no matter. That is inherently subjective.

I never bought into that. If a tree falls in the woods you're darn straight it makes a sound, whether there's anyone to hear it or not. Just because I don't see a falling steel I-beam doesn't mean it won't squish me flat.

My only exception would be if the "observer" required for the existence of matter was God. :mrgreen:

Relativity still applied 1000 years before Einstein was born.... we just didn't know it.

When someone expands beyond Einstein and puts Relativity into a limited box (like Newton's theories were boxed, "applies only to non-relativistic frames"), we will be discovering something that already existed.... we just didn't know it yet.
 

reefedjib

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I never bought into that. If a tree falls in the woods you're darn straight it makes a sound, whether there's anyone to hear it or not. Just because I don't see a falling steel I-beam doesn't mean it won't squish me flat.

My only exception would be if the "observer" required for the existence of matter was God. :mrgreen:

Relativity still applied 1000 years before Einstein was born.... we just didn't know it.

When someone expands beyond Einstein and puts Relativity into a limited box (like Newton's theories were boxed, "applies only to non-relativistic frames"), we will be discovering something that already existed.... we just didn't know it yet.

This is different. The tree makes a sound. The existence of things in our world are realized and follow the laws of science. But it is not objective.

Some would say there is a super consciousness that emanated this universe and that super consciousness is called by some, God.
 

Tucker Case

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Going to the tree falling in a forest analogy, the tree that falls without someone there to hear it still makes a sound, because sounds are, at their most basic level, just vibrations traveling through some sort of matter (air, earth, water, etc).

It would not, however, make a noise. A noise is more than just a sound. It is a specific type of sound and it's status as "noise" is determined entirely by the recipient.

For example, if you are having a conversation in a crowded room, the other conversations being carried on within that room might qualify as "noise" to you because it acts as a distraction from the signal you are attempting to receive. You might say "It is very noisy in here" to the person you are talking to. You would not consider that statement you just made to be noise, though.

However, the person at the next table who is not a part of said conversation probably will consider that statement to be noise.

There is a natural disagreement on whether it is noise because the perspective of the receiver is of the utmost importance to the interpretation of whether it is noise.

This is not true of whether it is a sound or not. Even sounds that are totally inaudible to the human ear are sounds (think of ultrasonic and infrasonic vibrations, for example).

But such inaudible sounds can never be noise to a human because they can never be interpreted as such.

Going back to Earth revolving around the sun, there is no need for perception for the fact to exist. Either the Earth goes around the sun or it does not. The fact of a matter is not dependent on observation of a matter.

Our understanding of a matter, however, is always subjective and based on how we interpret our perceptions.

Our understanding is entirely dependent on what we have perceived and how we've interpreted those perceptions. For example, someone might come to the false conclusion that infrasonic calls by elephants are not sounds because they cannot perceive these calls due to their inaudible nature. Their subjective interpretation of their perceptions and subsequent understanding of the matter does not affect the reality, though. Even with their interpretation, the infrasonic sounds from the elephant still exist.
 

reefedjib

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Tucker, while I agree to an extend with what you are saying, I would go further. In the case of an elephant, we have a creature that is consciously percieved. It has capabilities which are not consciously percievved, but since the whole is percieved, the undetectable parts occur. This same is true of a forest. the forest behaves in a certain way which is perceivable. In the absence of an immediate observer it still behaves in its foresty way and so a tree which falls makes a sound. So to me it is all about conscious observation which realizes systems of objects with internal behaviors, which can exist independent of observation once realized.
 

Tucker Case

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Tucker, while I agree to an extend with what you are saying, I would go further. In the case of an elephant, we have a creature that is consciously percieved. It has capabilities which are not consciously percievved, but since the whole is percieved, the undetectable parts occur. This same is true of a forest. the forest behaves in a certain way which is perceivable. In the absence of an immediate observer it still behaves in its foresty way and so a tree which falls makes a sound. So to me it is all about conscious observation which realizes systems of objects with internal behaviors, which can exist independent of observation once realized.

Let me use another analogy to show the flaws of our perceptions with regard to the facts of reality.

There is a star, WR-104, which is believed to be "close" to going supernova by our calculations and it is 8000ly away.

Now, for wall we know, it might have already gone supernova and we are simply waiting for it's Gamma ray burst to tear the ozone layer off of the earth some time in the future.

But since we are only capable of observing what that star was doing 8000 years ago, we have no way of knowing it's current state.

But we do know that at this time, it has either gone supernova or it has not. The fact that we are totally and completely unable to perceive this doesn't change the fact that at this moment in galactic time, WR-104 either still exists or it does not.

And there is no way for us to perceive the current state of any star. All we can perceive is historical data about a star.

Now think of Andromeda, which is a galaxy that is visible to the naked eye.

It is 2.5 million light years away. This means that it's current state is vastly different from what we are able to observe of Andromeda. It's stars will have moved considerably in their orbit around it's galactic core over those subsequent 2.5 million years since the light was transmitted. There will have been subsequent supernovae that will alter it's stellar landscape as well.

We assume that these things have occured because we believe in the laws of physics we have described through observation.

But regardless of whether our understanding of these things is factually correct, we do know that some dichonotmies exist.

Either WR-104 still exists or it has gone supernova. We do not need to perceive or have the ability to perceive which of these options are correct to know that one of them must be correct.

Alse, we know that either Andromeda is considerably different right now than it was 2.5 million years ago when the light we currently observe was shed or it is not considerably different today than it was 2.5 million years ago.

We know that one of those options must be objectively factual, regardless of our inability to make current observations about the validity of either statement.

Hell, some unimaginable galaxy-eating monster could have just had Andromeda for lunch right before I started writing this post for all we know. That either happened or it didn't happen. One of the two choice is an objective fact right now.

And an interesting fact about the light we are observing from Andromeda is that this light was shed before humans even existed to perceive that light.

Hell, we have observed light from Quasars that was shed from well before the Earth even existed.

That which we observe had to exist prior to all things that we know of that could have make observations.

We know that they cannot come into existence with observation because we know that we are observing things that had to exist millions, even billions, of years before any known observations could be made.

So the only thing that can be affected by observation is our knowledge of what exists in reality.
 

reefedjib

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All we can perceive is historical data about a star.

We assume that these things have occured because we believe in the laws of physics we have described through observation.

We know that one of those options must be objectively factual, regardless of our inability to make current observations about the validity of either statement.

One of the two choice is an objective fact right now.

And an interesting fact about the light we are observing from Andromeda is that this light was shed before humans even existed to perceive that light.

Hell, we have observed light from Quasars that was shed from well before the Earth even existed.

That which we observe had to exist prior to all things that we know of that could have make observations.

We know that they cannot come into existence with observation because we know that we are observing things that had to exist millions, even billions, of years before any known observations could be made.

So the only thing that can be affected by observation is our knowledge of what exists in reality.

This is a very compelling case and analogy. I am not sure that predictable, according to the laws of physics, and observable, make it objective. It involves the concept of time which is pliable at quantum scale.

Again, Quantum Mechanics REQUIRES a conscious observation to collapse a wave function. Whether WR-104 has supernovaed or not is part of it's wave function. Observation of a Quasar is necessary to collapse its wave function and bring it into existence. The fact that the light from the Quasar emitted billions of years ago is inconsequential to this.

Generally, the laws of physics are discovered adn specified based on observation, so it is based on a subjective view of the universe. that these experiments verifying the laws of physics are verifiable adn repeatable, and so that the laws are "universal" does not reduce the fact that they are subjective.

There is no objectivity. Nothing exists outside of our ability to observe it. This is independent of time.
 

Tucker Case

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This is a very compelling case and analogy. I am not sure that predictable, according to the laws of physics, and observable, make it objective. It involves the concept of time which is pliable at quantum scale.

Again, Quantum Mechanics REQUIRES a conscious observation to collapse a wave function. Whether WR-104 has supernovaed or not is part of it's wave function. Observation of a Quasar is necessary to collapse its wave function and bring it into existence. The fact that the light from the Quasar emitted billions of years ago is inconsequential to this.

Generally, the laws of physics are discovered adn specified based on observation, so it is based on a subjective view of the universe. that these experiments verifying the laws of physics are verifiable adn repeatable, and so that the laws are "universal" does not reduce the fact that they are subjective.

There is no objectivity. Nothing exists outside of our ability to observe it. This is independent of time.

It seems as though you're viewing a wavefunction as a representation of something real instead of being a mathematical tool of quantum mechanics.

The wave function is merely a description of things used to determine probabilities and such.

Schrodinger's cat was an argument about how to describe how Quantum mechanics views things, but it really wasn't meant to be a description of the reality.

The assumption about the superposition of states is necessary for Quantum mechanics to work out as a predictive tool, but should nto be mistaken for reality, IMO.
 

reefedjib

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It seems as though you're viewing a wavefunction as a representation of something real instead of being a mathematical tool of quantum mechanics.

The wave function is merely a description of things used to determine probabilities and such.

Schrodinger's cat was an argument about how to describe how Quantum mechanics views things, but it really wasn't meant to be a description of the reality.

The assumption about the superposition of states is necessary for Quantum mechanics to work out as a predictive tool, but should nto be mistaken for reality, IMO.

While quantum mechanics uses mathematical tools to express probability, which is not an accurate depiction of "reality" - I agree with you - this description does specify that you cannot know position/velocity or energy/time until the wave function has collapsed under observation. These attributes are undefined prior to observation.

Where I think the conundrum is is in assuming the macro world within which we percieve is "reality". People desperately want it to be independent of observer and thus objective. It is not. Therefore, it is not "reality".
 

Tucker Case

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While quantum mechanics uses mathematical tools to express probability, which is not an accurate depiction of "reality" - I agree with you - this description does specify that you cannot know position/velocity or energy/time until the wave function has collapsed under observation. These attributes are undefined prior to observation.

Where I think the conundrum is is in assuming the macro world within which we percieve is "reality". People desperately want it to be independent of observer and thus objective. It is not. Therefore, it is not "reality".

We cannot know anything prior to observation. Knowledge has always been dependent on observation and perception.

That's where the problem with using quantum mechanics to support you argument lies. Quantum mechanics is all about increasing knowledge, and therefore always requires the subjective.

The superposition of states is not occurring with the matter. It's actually occurring with our understanding of the matter.

The wave function has to collapse in order for us to gain understanding.

Take Schrodinger's cat. The cat is either alive or dead inside the box. It doesn't really exist in both states. Only our understanding of the cat exists in both states. this is because we cannot perceive which potential reality is factually correct.

My supernova example is merely Schrodinger's cat without going to reductio ad absurdum (as Schrodinger himself was doing when he created the argument).

Our understanding of reality is the only thing that is subjective.

And I would say that people would much prefer a reality dependent on the observer because it appeals to the homo-centric way of viewing reality that seems most common. From what I can see, people tend to think in very limited ways that make humanity the center of the universe despite all of the evidence proving otherwise.

From a Universal perspective, humanity in it's entirety (all four dimensions) is less than a grain of sand is to the solar system. I see a truly objective reality as far less appealing on an emotional level than a subjective reality would be because it forces us to look at our own insignificance.
 
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reefedjib

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We cannot know anything prior to observation. Knowledge has always been dependent on observation and perception.

That's where the problem with using quantum mechanics to support you argument lies. Quantum mechanics is all about increasing knowledge, and therefore always requires the subjective.

The superposition of states is not occurring with the matter. It's actually occurring with our understanding of the matter.

The wave function has to collapse in order for us to gain understanding.

Take Schrodinger's cat. The cat is either alive or dead inside the box. It doesn't really exist in both states. Only our understanding of the cat exists in both states. this is because we cannot perceive which potential reality is factually correct.

My supernova example is merely Schrodinger's cat without going to reductio ad absurdum (as Schrodinger himself was doing when he created the argument).

Schrodinger's cat is different than observation of the universe in this respect: The cat has already been observed prior to being placed in the box, so the cat is already realized in the macro sense. Then it is an issue of knowledge. In the case of the universe, initial observation has not yet occurred so realization has not happened.

In the case of quantum mechanics with quantum particles, it is not merely the absence of knowledge which leads to the wave function, but the lack of observation and detection. Particles really are in many states of existence, at least this is my understanding of QM.

The puzzling thing is the transition from many quantum particles with uncollapsed wave function to macro level things. At which point do macro level things become realized (wave function collapses)?

And I would say that people would much prefer a reality dependent on the observer because it appeals to the homo-centric way of viewing reality that seems most common. From what I can see, people tend to think in very limited ways that make humanity the center of the universe despite all of the evidence proving otherwise.

From a Universal perspective, humanity in it's entirety (all four dimensions) is less than a grain of sand is to the solar system. I see a truly objective reality as far less appealing on an emotional level than a subjective reality would be because it forces us to look at our own insignificance.

I don't see the evidence proving otherwise. I think it is an open question. This leads to holding a belief about the issue. If the universe is subjective, you are correct, the existence of the universe is dependent on observation, thus our consciousness is the center of the universe and we are not insignificant.


Our understanding of reality is the only thing that is subjective.

I would say that the existence of "reality" is subjective, once again calling into question: what is the nature of "reality"? In a subjective world view, it is consciousness which is reality, not the universe.
 

Tucker Case

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Schrodinger's cat is different than observation of the universe in this respect: The cat has already been observed prior to being placed in the box, so the cat is already realized in the macro sense. Then it is an issue of knowledge. In the case of the universe, initial observation has not yet occurred so realization has not happened.

Even if the cat is not observed prior to going in the box it is realized if it exists within the box. Only our knowledge of it's existence is altered by the act of observation.

This goes back to the Quasars. We are observing them billions of years after they existed. Observation has to be secondary to existence.

Also, look at something like Tycho's supernova. This is a good example because the star that went supernova was never observed prior to going supernova. It was first observed by Tycho Brahe when the light from it's destruction finally reached earth. But this observation happened 7500 years after it had already been destroyed.

In a subjective universe, this star could not have gone through it's entire life-cycle due to never having been observed. But it had to already have been destroyed prior to being observed due to the properties of light. The day before it's light reached Earth in order to be observed, it did not exist in both states. It could not have existed in both states.

If it had, it would have been producing light from both states.


In the case of quantum mechanics with quantum particles, it is not merely the absence of knowledge which leads to the wave function, but the lack of observation and detection.

Observation and detection are inherently intertwined with knowledge and are inseparable. Knowledge is the product of observation and detection. The wave function describes mathematically all of the potential observations that are possible. The collapse of the wave function occurs through observation because at that point knowledge is accrued. The knowledge in this case is which potential realities are invalidated and which one is validated.

Particles really are in many states of existence, at least this is my understanding of QM.

This isn't certain. The issue could be that the fourth dimension is vastly different at the micro-level than it is at the macro level. If the rate of time at the micro level is massively different than it is at the macro level, the issue isn't that these things exist in many states at the same time, but instead that they appear to do so because of the difference in the rates of time relative to the observer and observee.

Imagine that you and I existed in areas with vastly different rates of time, and that we were immortal. Let's say that the comparative rates of time were for every nano-second in your region, a millennium passed in my region. Now lets say that you are able to observe what is happening in my region.

Since the things going on in my region are happening over a relatively long period of time, there is a whole lot going on. But all of that is occurring, form your perspective, in a nano-second.

Of course, to the observer in such a situation it will appear that the occurrences in my region are happening simultaneously and that everything exists in multiple states until the observation occurs, which would be a "Snapshot" of a nano-second in my relative time frame.

That's how I imagine it.



The puzzling thing is the transition from many quantum particles with uncollapsed wave function to macro level things. At which point do macro level things become realized (wave function collapses)?

I think the issue is one of time distortion as described above.

I don't see the evidence proving otherwise. I think it is an open question. This leads to holding a belief about the issue. If the universe is subjective, you are correct, the existence of the universe is dependent on observation, thus our consciousness is the center of the universe and we are not insignificant.

I believe the universe is objective, but our understanding of it is limited by multiple factors, not the least of which being that we are bounded by our own relative time frame. We aren't capable of adjusting our own rate of time to suit the rate of time of that which we observe and this leads to false perceptions.

I think our perspective is highly limited by the rate of time at which we perceive the Universe. When I first went to college I was a physics major and my favorite subject of discussion was relativity. I wrote a paper in my Astronomy class about how the age of the Earth is probably greater than estimated when compared to the age of the universe because of the relativistic effects of gravity and velocity on the Earth that are not present in a "Universal mean rate of time". The estimates of the Earth's age come from Earth based observations such as K/Ar dating, which are bounded by the rate of time present on the Earth (which is slowed by it's presence in a gravitational field and the velocity of the galaxy, which is approaching the speed of light if one uses observations of red shift to make that determination). An empty portion of the Universe, however, would have a "faster" rate of time because it is not traveling at velocity or contained within a specific gravitational field (although it would be affected by the general gravity present throughout the universe, but not to the same degree that the Earth would be affected by it's gravitational neighborhood).

This would mean that the age of the Earth, relative to the Universe, would be potentially much greater than the estimated age of the Earth relative to the Earth itself.

It is a confusing subject because, even with knowledge of relativity, our natural tendency is to consider the rate of time as essentially static because relative to our perceptions, it is static.

Obviously, this hobby of mine is affects my views with discussions like this. I see our ability to make observations at this scale as infinitely limited because we are bound by our own rate of time. We are not evolved or designed or what have you with the ability to truly think of things from a pliable rate of time perspective. We are limited by our own natural resources, which are not designed/evolved/whatever for this kind of thing. Our natural ability to perceive things is limited to that which will help us survive and procreate.

What is being discussed delves drastically outside the realm of what we need for these purposes. We are able to scratch the surface of it because the ability to think abstractly did assist us in these goals, but this adaptation can only reach that surface level wen far more would be required to reach a full understanding of that which exists.

This actually falls in line with my views about the "relative insignificance" of humanity and is actually a part of my belief in an objective reality. Our natural limitations act as a barrier to a full understanding of the objective reality, and force us into a subjective interpretation of reality to "make sense" of the incomprehensible.





I would say that the existence of "reality" is subjective, once again calling into question: what is the nature of "reality"? In a subjective world view, it is consciousness which is reality, not the universe.

I think you're getting down to the more metaphysical question of "What is the meaning of reality/life".

Ironically, my belief in an objective reality and human insignificance has lead to a personal philosophy of existentialism when applied to the individual.

Since I believe in individual, even species-wide insignificance, and that is a terribly depressing belief, I have adopted an existential worldview regarding personal significance.

I believe that since there is no objective meaning to life, at least at the individual level, we have to subjectively create our own meaning.

For whatever reason, humans have the need to find meaning even where no meaning might exists.

So at the individual level, I would say that reality can be viewed as existing subjectively even if it is truly objective, because this subjective interpretation of reality is more beneficial to the human psyche than a truly objective universe is.

I should add that if a Deity were to exist, it would lead to a subjective reality because the subjective interpretation that creates existence would be that of said deity, which would add meaning of some sort to existence.

In a truly objective universe, though, there can be no meaning to existence. Since this is what I believe in, despite my own psyche's distaste for such an idea, I then feel that one must essentially invent a false, subjective meaning to existence/reality.

So if I view your question from a Universal sense, I would say that the Universe exists in an objective sense.

But when viewed from a personal sense, I would say My universe exists in a purely subjective sense.
 

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This is a huge and excellent post, Tucker. Thanks for taking the time to write it. I apologize for not being able to get to it yesterday, as I was very busy at work and exhausted by the time I got home. I had to read it several times to figure out how I wanted to respond. I'll pull out what I think are the things I can respond to.

Observation has to be secondary to existence.

I don't think so. I am assuming you mean existence in the macro sense of having had the wave function collapse. I think you can have quantum existence prior to observation, but that observation is required to realize the macro state. This state includes the history of states, so the observation can occur after the object is seemingly in existence.

In a subjective universe, this star could not have gone through it's entire life-cycle due to never having been observed. But it had to already have been destroyed prior to being observed due to the properties of light. The day before it's light reached Earth in order to be observed, it did not exist in both states. It could not have existed in both states.

If it had, it would have been producing light from both states.

I disagree as I mentioned above.


Observation and detection are inherently intertwined with knowledge and are inseparable. Knowledge is the product of observation and detection. The wave function describes mathematically all of the potential observations that are possible. The collapse of the wave function occurs through observation because at that point knowledge is accrued. The knowledge in this case is which potential realities are invalidated and which one is validated.

And this collapse specifies historical state as well.


This isn't certain. The issue could be that the fourth dimension is vastly different at the micro-level than it is at the macro level. If the rate of time at the micro level is massively different than it is at the macro level, the issue isn't that these things exist in many states at the same time, but instead that they appear to do so because of the difference in the rates of time relative to the observer and observee.

Imagine that you and I existed in areas with vastly different rates of time, and that we were immortal. Let's say that the comparative rates of time were for every nano-second in your region, a millennium passed in my region. Now lets say that you are able to observe what is happening in my region.

Since the things going on in my region are happening over a relatively long period of time, there is a whole lot going on. But all of that is occurring, form your perspective, in a nano-second.

Of course, to the observer in such a situation it will appear that the occurrences in my region are happening simultaneously and that everything exists in multiple states until the observation occurs, which would be a "Snapshot" of a nano-second in my relative time frame.

That's how I imagine it.

We have hit on whether this "reality" is true reality or if consciousness represents true "reality". A corollary to that is the concept of time, I think. It is possible that time does not exist in the realm of consciousness and is only an illusion like space, mass, etc.

I think you're getting down to the more metaphysical question of "What is the meaning of reality/life".

Yes, but I feel that the implications of an objective universe vs a subjective universe leads to different answers to this question.

Ironically, my belief in an objective reality and human insignificance has lead to a personal philosophy of existentialism when applied to the individual.

Since I believe in individual, even species-wide insignificance, and that is a terribly depressing belief, I have adopted an existential worldview regarding personal significance.

I believe that since there is no objective meaning to life, at least at the individual level, we have to subjectively create our own meaning.

For whatever reason, humans have the need to find meaning even where no meaning might exists.

So at the individual level, I would say that reality can be viewed as existing subjectively even if it is truly objective, because this subjective interpretation of reality is more beneficial to the human psyche than a truly objective universe is.

This is a very interesting view. I think you are right in the aspect that humans need to create meaning. The subjective universe provides that meaning and it does not have to be added post facto.

I should add that if a Deity were to exist, it would lead to a subjective reality because the subjective interpretation that creates existence would be that of said deity, which would add meaning of some sort to existence.

Indeed. I was determined to not be the one who brought up the possibility of deity in this discussion. I am glad that you did. A subjective universe, specified by consciousness does lead one to consideration of the existence of deity.

In a truly objective universe, though, there can be no meaning to existence. Since this is what I believe in, despite my own psyche's distaste for such an idea, I then feel that one must essentially invent a false, subjective meaning to existence/reality.

And thus no compelling reason for deity.

So if I view your question from a Universal sense, I would say that the Universe exists in an objective sense.

But when viewed from a personal sense, I would say My universe exists in a purely subjective sense.

Again, this is very interesting.

I suppose I see things in an opposite sense. From a Universal sense, I would say that the Universe exist in a subjective sense. This opens the possibility of Deity.

Viewed from a personal sense, both subjective and objective senses are represented. Subjective senses tend to be supported by the religious and spiritual. Objective senses are represented by the scientific who discover laws of behavior of commonly experience phenomena, like the revolution of the planets and moon around the sun. A subjective universe does not preclude the laws of nature.

Thanks again for your response and great discussion so far!
 

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This is a huge and excellent post, Tucker. Thanks for taking the time to write it. I apologize for not being able to get to it yesterday, as I was very busy at work and exhausted by the time I got home. I had to read it several times to figure out how I wanted to respond. I'll pull out what I think are the things I can respond to.

No worries about the delay. This has been one of the most interesting topics I've discussed in quite some time, so I thank you for initiating it.



I don't think so. I am assuming you mean existence in the macro sense of having had the wave function collapse. I think you can have quantum existence prior to observation, but that observation is required to realize the macro state. This state includes the history of states, so the observation can occur after the object is seemingly in existence.

I'm not sure I understand this. Could you explain what you mean by "observation is required to realize the macro state."


We have hit on whether this "reality" is true reality or if consciousness represents true "reality". A corollary to that is the concept of time, I think. It is possible that time does not exist in the realm of consciousness and is only an illusion like space, mass, etc.

Have you read McTaggart's "The Unreality of Time"? The Unreality of Time You might find it interesting.

I've read a lot of on the subject of time.

You should also check out some stuff by Henri Poincare. It's a facinating subject and sort of a hobby of mine.



Yes, but I feel that the implications of an objective universe vs a subjective universe leads to different answers to this question.

Very true.

This is a very interesting view. I think you are right in the aspect that humans need to create meaning. The subjective universe provides that meaning and it does not have to be added post facto.

I would argue that the belief in a subjective universe may be a product of that need to create meaning and that instead of providing meaning from without, it merely applies that meaning to the outside world instead of applying it within, as my worldview does.

But that's obviously a product of my own worldview, where I believe there is no meaning and, thus, it could be argued that I'm using my conclusion as a premise to prove my conclusion in some ways when I make that argument.

So instead I simply describe it as a possibility. :lol:

Indeed. I was determined to not be the one who brought up the possibility of deity in this discussion. I am glad that you did. A subjective universe, specified by consciousness does lead one to consideration of the existence of deity.

And thus no compelling reason for deity.

True, an objective universe does not provide a compelling reason to believe in a deity, but it also doesn't necessarily negate the potential existance of one. A deity similar to that proposed by Deists could exist within such a worldview because it remains apart from it's creation.

Also, if a more traditional "involved" deity exists, one could argue that the Universe exists objectively relative to humans, but subjectively relative to said deity.


Again, this is very interesting.

I suppose I see things in an opposite sense. From a Universal sense, I would say that the Universe exist in a subjective sense. This opens the possibility of Deity.

Viewed from a personal sense, both subjective and objective senses are represented. Subjective senses tend to be supported by the religious and spiritual. Objective senses are represented by the scientific who discover laws of behavior of commonly experience phenomena, like the revolution of the planets and moon around the sun. A subjective universe does not preclude the laws of nature.

I agree that we seem to have opposite beleifs. It's very interesting. I'd like to learn more about your views regarding th erealization of the macro strate and how observations of the past can come prior to that realization.

I'm assuming that you are using realization to mean the final potential reality coming to be, instead of in a sense related to our own realization of which potential relaity is in existence.

Thanks again for your response and great discussion so far!

I thank you for creating the intersting topic to begin with so that I could be involved in the great discussion.
 

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I don't think so. I am assuming you mean existence in the macro sense of having had the wave function collapse. I think you can have quantum existence prior to observation, but that observation is required to realize the macro state. This state includes the history of states, so the observation can occur after the object is seemingly in existence.
I'm not sure I understand this. Could you explain what you mean by "observation is required to realize the macro state."

I will try to straighten my own thoughts about it. One of the things that has always confused me is the transition from micro/quantum reality to macro/classical reality. In micro reality we have uncollapsed wavefunctions, if not observed. When many quantum particles are combined into a macro state, it seems as if the wave functions may already be collapsed and the object realized. Yet, they require observation. So what do you get when you have a macro assemblage of quantum particles which have not been observed? Is it a macro object with a composite wavefunction which have not collapsed? If so, then all possible states are still available to the macro object and this includes it's history per the 2nd law of thermodynamics.


Have you read McTaggart's "The Unreality of Time"? The Unreality of Time You might find it interesting.

I've read a lot of on the subject of time.

You should also check out some stuff by Henri Poincare. It's a facinating subject and sort of a hobby of mine.

I will order McTaggart's book. Thanks!


True, an objective universe does not provide a compelling reason to believe in a deity, but it also doesn't necessarily negate the potential existance of one. A deity similar to that proposed by Deists could exist within such a worldview because it remains apart from it's creation.

I am firmly of the school of thought that the Deity is pervasive throughout creation and not separate.

Also, if a more traditional "involved" deity exists, one could argue that the Universe exists objectively relative to humans, but subjectively relative to said deity.

Could you explain this a bit more?




I agree that we seem to have opposite beleifs. It's very interesting. I'd like to learn more about your views regarding th erealization of the macro strate and how observations of the past can come prior to that realization.

I'm assuming that you are using realization to mean the final potential reality coming to be, instead of in a sense related to our own realization of which potential relaity is in existence.

Re: realization. That's right. I mean the collapse of the wavefunction of the macro object when observed.
 

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I will try to straighten my own thoughts about it. One of the things that has always confused me is the transition from micro/quantum reality to macro/classical reality. In micro reality we have uncollapsed wavefunctions, if not observed. When many quantum particles are combined into a macro state, it seems as if the wave functions may already be collapsed and the object realized. Yet, they require observation. So what do you get when you have a macro assemblage of quantum particles which have not been observed? Is it a macro object with a composite wavefunction which have not collapsed? If so, then all possible states are still available to the macro object and this includes it's history per the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

I guess it's confusing to me because I look at the wave function as little more than a mathematical attempt at understanding, while this seems to give it more merit than that.




Could you explain this a bit more?

Well, by this I mean that the deity would be the ultimate observer making all of the interpretations. Any non-deity would have no affect on reality because they would be the secondary observer. If a thing is realized upon observation, and the deity is omniscient, it is constantly observing all. That would create an "objective" reality from the human frame of reference, but a subjective reality form the deitys frame of reference.
 

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I guess it's confusing to me because I look at the wave function as little more than a mathematical attempt at understanding, while this seems to give it more merit than that.

I see what you mean. To me the wave function is a mathhematical tool which does reflect an aspect of reality. Perhaps the best way to view my outlook on this is the 2 slit diffraction experiment. Shooting a single photon (particle) at the 2 slit setup results in a diffraction pattern that could only be caused if the particle was actually a wave with position spread out across the distance between the 2 slits. The particle is in more than one state.


Well, by this I mean that the deity would be the ultimate observer making all of the interpretations. Any non-deity would have no affect on reality because they would be the secondary observer. If a thing is realized upon observation, and the deity is omniscient, it is constantly observing all. That would create an "objective" reality from the human frame of reference, but a subjective reality form the deitys frame of reference.

This is an area of extreme interest to me. Deity (God) is pervasive throughout reality. Omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent. God is the ultimate consciousness. However, the only way God's consciousness is expressed in creation is through the souls/consciousness of man. Man's souls are a part of God - a shrouded veiled refraction of God's consciousness. Enlightenment is the process of unveiling your consciousness and realizing that you are God. Each of us is God. A great mystery is how the one God projects into the souls of many people.

So to tie this back to what you said, the only way for God's consciousness to collapse wave functions by observing creation is through man's observations.
 
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