Whether looking at a human maturing or the progress of civilization, the idea about what Reality is, keeps on changing. And mostly it changes toward the more complex, more elusive, more difficult to understand. The phenomenon is well known and has been expressed by children and philosophers alike, eg. "There are more questions than answers". George Musser expresses it thus:

The deeper that physicists dive, the more the concept of reality keeps swimming away from them. - https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/is-reality-digital-or-analog-read-the-essays-and-cast-your-vote/

Question: Does the phenomenon itself tell us something about Reality? Is there any literature that explores this?

Please don't tell me "people are getting smarter", I'm looking for something a bit deeper.

  • You can see Challenges to Metaphysical Realism. – Mauro ALLEGRANZA Mar 5 at 15:05
  • 2
    Where you are going with this is called pessimistic meta-induction:"the history of science furnishes vast evidence of empirically successful theories that were later rejected; from subsequent perspectives, their unobservable terms were judged not to refer and thus, they cannot not be regarded as true or even approximately true." This is one of the chief arguments against scientific (or any) realism, and yes, there is vast literature on it. – Conifold Mar 5 at 19:08
  • 3
    LOL - "Please don't tell me 'people are getting smarter.'" I'd argue just the opposite. ;) – David Blomstrom Mar 6 at 1:01
  • 1
    Until very recently, bacteria didn't exist... true story. They just popped into existance when Leeuwenhoek peered into his microscope. They'll.disappear again I suppose. – Richard Mar 6 at 1:22
  • 1
    It might tell us something that while the development you mention has been going on in some quarters the perennial view of Reality has not altered by a jot in three millenna, and it never was complicated. I feel the history you refer to tells us a lot about Reality or at least indicates where the truth lies. – PeterJ Mar 6 at 11:12

Yes, currently it has been stated that reality can’t be described using the scientific method, at least good food for thought.

Read the following paper: “Experimental rejection of observer-independence in the quantum world” https://arxiv.org/pdf/1902.05080.pdf


And mostly it changes toward the more complex, more elusive, more difficult to understand.

From this statement I believe your question is about the Ultimate Reality. If it is so, it will always be like this (as mentioned above). The main fault regarding your search is that you are trying to catch it with the organs that becomes formless or unreal (as per your above statement) after a certain period. If so how could you understand it? You should seek it within yourself.

Question: Does the phenomenon itself tell us something about Reality?

Of course, it (the present experience you mentioned i.e., the complexity, elusiveness, difficulty to understand etc.,) shows that our sense organs can never catch it. Since it cannot be controlled by mind or sense organs, understanding of the Ultimate Reality must be something more than understanding or experiencing. That is why it 'seems' to be complex, elusive and difficult to understand.

Is there any literature that explores this?

Advaita vedanta has already named that ultimate reality 'Brahman'. And this word is usually used synonymous to God. [He who realizes the Ultimate Reality won't see a second thing; even an external God] If we say 'Reality is Nothingness (or Nothingness is reality)', it certainly implies that it is no use seeking it. Advaita vedanta doesn't take you to that route. If Nothingness were the Ultimate Reality, Kathopanishad wouldn't have exhorted to awake to reach the goal.



  • Have not those who seek in themselves met with the same phenomenon? Perhaps the realization that answers are always receding, is a milestone in itself? Is there any particular mention in the Vedas of the "phenomenon"? – christo183 Mar 6 at 5:19
  • @christo183 - For the advaitan answers are not always receding but are regularly being reached. I would question the idea that 'Brahman' is properly used as a synonym for 'God' - otherwise the word 'Brahman' would be redundant - but either way this would be Ultimate and Real. This Ultimate is discussed at length in the Vedas and elsewhere. . – PeterJ Mar 6 at 11:25
  • @PeterJ To clarify what I mean by "answers receding": When an answer is obtained, it creates many more new questions. That means that the ultimate/complete answer seems to recede, since our fraction of knowledge seems to diminish with each fractional answer... Just between us, I'm wondering if, should we be able to affect Reality, then this phenomenon may indicate that we are actually complicating Reality by looking at it in the wrong way. - 'Brahma' would be redundant? – christo183 Mar 6 at 12:51
  • 1
    @christo183 - I'd say the idea we're complicating Reality by looking at in the wrong way is spot on, We're only looking at one aspect of Plotinus' 'Simplex'. – PeterJ Mar 6 at 13:06
  • 1
    I didn't like the usage 'many dimensional' because ( I feel ) the word 'many' indicates something countable. When he realizes it he realizes that this verse (holy-bhagavad-gita.org/chapter/2/verse/20) is about the ultimate Reality (though the verse is about soul). He realizes that there is nothing to lose or gain. rkmdelhi.org/articles/brahmans-nature-remains-unaltered – SonOfThought Mar 7 at 8:06

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.