what is reality, anyway

Alright, now that we are free of having to figure out the absolute meaning of life, we can really explore this existence! The wonderful thing about this discovery is that not only are we free to make choices, we are free to decide the meaning of those choices. Obviously, some meaning is to be found in our local environment–we are constrained to survive, for example, so harming or helping others has an implicit meaning of good and bad. But in an absolute global sense, no meaning is foisted on us–we not only have free will, we have freedom to decide what our actions mean–freedom to decide for ourselves what the meaning of life is.

So, we now return to our architecture–defining and abstracting a picture of reality as accurately as possible. We began by working through a set of rules, a set of assumptions, and defining a goal. We’re not really done with this beginning, but we will now begin to take forays away, branches of thinking, that will comprise an exploration and definition of our existence–our goal. Along the way, we’ll possibly gain new insights about life that will help make it “good” rather than “bad”. From here, we will be able to construct a “meaning of life” (maybe! if our branches of thinking go down useful paths).

I talked a couple of entries ago about reality as sensory input and nothing more. We are going to need to be a little more precise with the definition of reality because when I define it this way, it’s clear that that is a subset of the global picture of reality. That is reality only as I know it. But–with that definition, everybody would have their own reality, and there is a set which is the composite of all of these “personal” realities. While it is possible to take a solispsistic view that only my reality is “real”, the most-likely hypothesis that I take is that everybody’s reality is real from some point of view. It’s really clear that from my point of view there is no reality but what I observe, so that is the only data I can use–so there is an assumption I am making that global reality exists. Not only that, but I am postulating that this global reality is more than just the sum of every person’s personal reality–there is a reality that would exist even if no observers were present. This sounds really obvious–but it isn’t! By making this assumption, there are a whole class of categories of existence that I am excluding, some of which may be very reasonable! For example, if existence were “computer generated” as an abstraction in God’s mind, it would be possible that the existence was modeled not as an actual construction of a universe, but as a construction of observers for whom God creates individual personal realities (that may or may not match up!). Chew on that for a bit, you’ll see what an incredibly sweeping assumption this is!!

Anyway, for now, I will not go there. Maybe later, but not now. The assumption is, there is a reality that each observer in the reality perceives via sensory input, that is, a personal reality. I want to explore that global reality.

You say, wait a minute, what if global reality is just as meaningless as a global purpose of life? Are we wasting time with a meaningless concept? Possibly–but the difference between meaning of life, which is an abstraction, and global reality, is simply the principle of most likely. Most likely thinking will conclude that most of the time, we can trust our senses that what we see is really there. For example, some physicists are claiming there are more dimensions that four (three space, one time). I tend to think that there are not more than three spatial, one time–because I trust my senses to tell me, most of the time, what’s really out there. In addition, if there were more dimensions, I think critters would have evolved to take advantage of it (they certainly have filled every niche of our current three + one!). And–there’s something else to think about–physicists wonder why there are three spatial dimensions. I don’t wonder at all–a dimension is a mathematical abstraction that could be defined in many ways. Mathematicians have chosen to define unique dimensions as those that are orthogonal to each other–and implicit to the definition of orthogonal falls out three dimensions in our space-time. Anyway, I digress. The principle of most-likely is a fundamental method of analysis that I use in this journal. I trust it will take me down useful paths of thinking–and one path is that of a global reality. There is no question in my mind that there are other paths, and I may explore them… But not now. I want to try to formulate an abstraction of this global existence.

To do that, I actually want to take a look at space-time and the stuff that fills it. This appears to be a significant portion of the set that I call global reality. Another extremely important part of that set is vacuum–a much more subtle concept than might appear at first glance–I will definitely go there, but let us begin with physical reality in a new journal entry.

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