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Asking such a question almost seems a bit insane. While I agree that there certainly seems to exist an objective external reality of which I seem to be a part of, I can never experience existence in a truly objective way (by not being a part of it and just looking in). The way things really appear to me is that everything is ultimately subjective to me.

There are things that I can immediately control in my subjective experience and things that are out of my control, but that are nevertheless part of me because ultimately all perception and understanding takes place within my mind. Since I am unable to take a truly objective view to assess my own reality, because I can’t step out of everything in order to look back in, a few strange and strongly solipsistic interpretations of reality seem just as plausible to me as more accepted objective ones.

For example: what if all existence appears to take place exclusively from my point of view because I am the only (or first) conscious entity in the world? What if every other human is just a human behavior machine (a philisophical zombie) and I am the sole conscious observer of the world? I would be in a sense a prototype or at least the current (unique) means for the universe to be self aware.

Or considering simulation theory but with a solipsistic twist: what if I reside in a simulation of my own making? The whole universe with everything in it is my own creation in order to simulate this being called me. In order to simulate the current me to the highest fidelity possible, I have to naturally follow through to the fullest extent which includes adhering to the rule that even though everything is ultimately subjective to and created by me, I can only control (and even understand) just a subset of my experince; the rest appears out of my control in order to simulate this thing I call objective (or external) reality. If the current state of affairs weren't as they are, then I would be simply running a different simulation than the current one I am in. It actually would not be neccesarily distinguishable to me if I am conscious prototype of the universe not of my own making or if I am playing out my own simulation of the universe.

The fact, however, remains that all of existence appears to take place exclusively through my point of view to me. Is there a way that I can prove these extreme positions false to myself?

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    Depends on what you mean by "prove to myself". There is no way to logically dispel every idle doubt one can conjure up, but as Bain said belief is "that upon which a man is prepared to act". As long as you are not acting on zombies, simulations and solipsistic twists you've disproven them to yourself well enough, "let us not pretend to doubt in philosophy what we do not doubt in our hearts" (Peirce). See How far can/should one press philosophical doubt? – Conifold Feb 5 '18 at 21:50
  • I can be inside a construct such that I can truly believe in the zombies, simulations and solipsistic twists without actually acting on them. The construct could be indeed such that I doubt everything in my heart except perhaps the fact that I do appear to exist right now. – virtore Feb 5 '18 at 22:41
  • If you are not acting on it you do not believe it "truly", you are just pretending, perhaps even to yourself. As Moyal-Sharrock put it, "As she deploys her thought experiments, the sceptic engages not in belief, but only in a form of belief behaviour or thought experimentation. And the consequences of her thought experiment must also be regarded as pretence, not possibility." This applies to the "could be" of your construct. Genuine actionable belief of such sort "is a manifestation, not of uncertainty, but of madness... of pathological, delusional belief". – Conifold Feb 6 '18 at 0:35
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    you have assumed who the 'I' is. You have identified yourself with your mind which processes the sensual stimuli of the world. The mind is subject to decay and death like the rest of your body. Ramana Maharishi said the one question to ask is "Who am 'I'?" – Swami Vishwananda Feb 6 '18 at 5:41
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    I'd say you're on the right track. You ask how to verify whether these 'extreme positions false to yourself'. Solipsism is unfalsifiable so you can't, but you may be able to verify the reason why it is unfalsfiable and thus answer your questions. Remember that for the view of Schrodinger (and probably the Swami here) solipsism is not quite true or false, while to say it is one or the other would be to adopt an extreme (thus false) view. You seem to be bumping up against the boundary between Western dualistic thinking and the traditional view that multiplicity is reducible. . – PeterJ Feb 6 '18 at 12:49
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Just using logic I would find one big problem.

Let us assume for a second, you might just be living in a self-constructed reality with your own rules and you are the only real entity in there. Your question would now turn to "Can I disprove my own construction".

To me, this would take some kind of super-self that is disconnected from your thinking. To explain, if you created your reality it must still be linked to you as it would otherwise crash at some point because, assuming age, evolution of behavior and mind and things like time stay constant, you would outsmart your construct at some point and might even find mistakes.
Otherwise the situation would be like the student rebelling against his teacher/master, only difference being that you yourself are student and master in one mind.
So in order to maintain your construct, you would need to adjust it so that difficulty of the simulation remains at a static level.

This is obviously a very limited view on your question as it forces very certain circumstances in order to work. And furthermore it concludes that you might only under even more weird circumstances be able to disprove every doubt you could come up with. So I would say that no, there is no way to 100% surely reject your theory, but following my thinking there will also never be one because the inaccessible part of you that initially created the simulation will always be one step ahead of you.

  • Thank you for the answer. I could indeed be a super-self and be disconnected from my thinking just the same way as my current thoughts are only a subset of all the possible thoughts that my own mind is capable of. And suppose I find some wrinkles in my reality and indeed disprove my own construction causing the illusion or simulation to tear down. At which point I could be ready to start again and conceivably construct a new self and world scenario for me simulate through. Since I am in the being me now stage I don't have a way to disprove this scenario. – virtore Feb 5 '18 at 22:30
  • @virtore That is obviously true, but it now becomes problematic discussing my hypothesis because, to get to a humanly satisfying answer, you'd need to apply so many restrictions that it would become nearly impossible to keep track of the rules of one possible type of simulation, which in itself only plays one part of many possible illusions. – huhnmonster Feb 5 '18 at 22:34
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I see this as a significant question, based on a significant observation. For me it is a way of thinking about what real means, and what 'thingness' or identity is.

So to start with, you missed a zombie. What if you are deyerministic, a slave to the sum of your biology and experiences, predisposed to act in a specific way in response to every unique circumstance?

It doesn't feel like that's the case, and it doesn't help you make decisions, even if there is a crib sheet somewhere with all your answers already written out. Similarly, with predicting others. They may possibly be deterministic, but given sensitivity to initial conditions means we can't fully predict the role of a dice, what chance of a billion-celled human? A model that ascribes motivations and emotions is simply a better predictor.

More broadly, we forget how science sees 'real'. There is no universal objective framework, because every observation was by a subjective thing. Think of the scope for systematic error! Time may be one such, we may exist in 4D, but only be able to experience it as 3D intersecting with the moment. Scientific method is also tentative, empiric Not ontic. It does not reveal The Real or Truth. It only provides our best model so far, which is almost certainly wrong or at least incomplete. A real, from here, with these tools, consistent with these observations.

I really like this idea, of 'peer-to-peer reality' http://philosophycommons.typepad.com/flickers_of_freedom/2014/08/the-case-for-libertarian-compatibilism-a-brief-overview.html

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    It is very possible that indeed I am a zombie and being a slave to the sum of my biology and experiences, predisposed to act in a specific way like you say. It may even be a likely scenario if indeed I have pre-programmed this reality in order to trick myself into being me. I believe that my experience of being me and travelling through this existence would feel pretty much the same if that were the case as things generally feel to me right now. After all there are all kinds of things going on within my own body and my mind that I am not remotely conscious of and only vaguely understand – virtore Feb 5 '18 at 23:12
  • Hindu theology -arguably- holds that we are all the differences faces of one being, dancing or at play en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nataraja – CriglCragl Feb 5 '18 at 23:18
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    Also very interesting that you recommend the peer to peer reality concept. I just stumbled on that concept a few hours ago prior to posting this question and meant to read more on it later today - now I definitely will. Some strange synchronicity going on here...or maybe it was just programmed this way – virtore Feb 5 '18 at 23:18
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It is impossible to prove or disprove such views since they are non-testable metaphysical views.

Nor are they extreme metaphysical views. In fact they appear to be paraphrases of common views in Advaita Vedanta Hinduism, Muslim Sufism, and other spiritual traditions.

In particular the idea that "you" are G-d is common to many traditions. For example, in Hinduism, Atman, the soul, and Brahaman, the ultimate nature of reality, are one.

There are stories of Sufi practitioners who were killed for shouting publicly that they are G-d. Hafiz, the Sufi poet recount such an incident in one of his poems:

A few days Before the delivery of God’s baby, The saint had to visit a city close by Where few knew of him. He was walking unnoticed past a mosque, And the shouts of God’s lovers Happened to fill the air, calling, “Allah, Allah! Where are you? Where are You, Beautiful One?” And the child in the womb of the Master Could not remain silent and shouted back, In an astounding voice, I am Here! I am Here—dear world! The crowd in the mosque became frantic, And they picked up shoes, clubs and stones. You know what then happened— The story becomes grim. But the moon cannot hold a grudge. It still stops by some nights And leans over this gentle earth, as over a crib, And gives a full, wet kiss.

Your idea of a simulation was also beautifully put by Alan Watts as a game of hide and seek:

Thus the basic myth of Hinduism is that the world is God playing hide-and-seek with himself. As Prajapati, Vishnu, or Brahma, the Lord under many names creates the world by an act of self-dismemberment or self-forgetting, whereby the One becomes Many, and the single Actor plays innumerable parts. In the end, he comes again to himself only to begin the play once more-the One dying into the Many, and the Many dying into the One.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v90O2aeW4KA

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I haven't read any of the answers but what if the objective we are subject to is an projection from the subjective and it's distinction has no quantitative or qualitative value and cannot be determined to be the truth the result therefore negates my statement and leaves an indetermiation in it and the logic I know firmly that I experience my own thoughts but the truth is even that is subject to it and recursive in manner for all I know my thoughts may be subject to control by laplaces demon and are not singularly my own and my consiouness and experience is a product of that demon. I've just grown to ignore the possibility and carry on with my life lol

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The only truth you can take is that in the language your using is formed as a function of the subject experiencing the object and the logic contained within the subject. Every thought you think is a consequence in the language you use and sequentially forms grammitical sentences based up your perception when you experienced learning it. Every thought you will ever have will be based up your level of knowledge of the dictionary of it and the rules learnt from your logic in the perception of the grammar and the construction of thoughts using the grammer and the dictionary. So yes for all intents and purpose yes we may be all experiencing a self induced simulation the means of which to perpetuate the need of the subject and the object the definition of which we have because of the difference observed. And the subject cannot directly observe itself only retropectively, but in the picture of it's self is dependent upon the language gained through objective experience and similarly limited in the reflection of it. The subject and object has to be experienced concurrently and a pyramid of simulation would have to occur simultaneously as a memory of sequence would occur that could question the nature of the object we are subject to and since I don't recall that memory to dispel the object I carry on lol. Since The persitance of memory shapes the subject from information in experiencing the object and gives us our only fact. It becomes a lonely world out there and therefore maybe faith is a greater truth than fact, as each is similarly indeterminate but the later I think more purpose.

Well that was a load of flannel just keep your sense of humour mate. Sorry invidullators I should keep this discussion professional I know.

And take a load of the grammar I use, l know my limitations :).

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The only way your main question makes sense is if you add "Why does (my awareness that) all of existence take place through my subjective point of view?" In which case, the question is pointless (there is no other way it could take place).

If you insist that the question is correct as it is, then you must be confusing your awareness of... with existence itself.

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