Skip to main content Help Control Panel

Lost? Search this Naples Florida website...|Add our search|Login   A+   A-

Personal spaces «   simplify3 «   Science «  

Is existance all in the mind? (repost)

Register with us in one easy step!
avatarUdut, Kenneth -- on Aug. 8 2008, from Golden Gate Estates, Naples, FL
Founder of this Naples site of NeighborHelp Referrals.

Is reality illusionary? Are we brains-in-vats? Or are we just incapable of understanding the totality of reality?

The idea that existance is all in the mind, while enjoyable to consider, is fundamental silliness. [nothing wrong with silly, mind you]...

Let's take a quick trip through ego-centricity.

Historically, Earth is the center of the Universe, according to the science of many millenia.

Today, Earth is still the center of most people's mental pictures of the universe, because most people do not care about the nature of the universe, our actual geographical location in the grand scheme of things. So is Earth still the center of the universe as it was to old-skool science? For many people, it is, even though scientifically, we believe it is not.

Non-religious/non-community-oriented P.O.V. - I am the most important person in the Universe. I am the center of all things that matter. All else is subordinate to my wishes and needs.

Judeo-Christian Religious or community-oriented P.O.V. - I am but a small ripple in a pond, important to myself and perhaps to a few other people, but in the grand scheme, I'm born, live and die: my service to others / to the greater good / to history / to a greater purpose / to God (i.e. - to the OTHER rather than the SELF) is a progression in a continous chain, but not fundamentally more important than anything else. I do my part. I contribute.

Now, let's go back to the original question: Is existence all in the mind?

Well, I'm sure the topic of brains-in-vats has come up. [are we all just brains sitting in vats in some scientist's lab, hooked up to machines to simulate consciousness ala The Matrix (similar theme), etc].

But what's more interesting to me is: Are all things perceived illusionary?

Woah. Let's go Buddhist! Quote from Wikipedia: The life-is-but-a-dream - sha-boom style Buddhism says: "According to contemporary teacher Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche, all appearances perceived during the whole life of an individual, through all senses, including sounds, smells, tastes and tactile sensations in their totality, are like a big dream. It is claimed that, on careful examination, the dream of life and regular nightly dreams are not very different, and that in their essential nature there is no difference between them."

But the more common (I think) school of Buddhism is like this: "the perceived reality is considered illusory not in the sense that reality is a fantasy or unreal, but that our perceptions and preconditions mislead us to believe that we are separate from the elements that we are made of."

In other words, DON'T THINK YOU'RE SO SPECIAL - you're an event in a very long chain of events. Like a river that is flowing, at one moment in time you are a leaf that drops in the water(born), travels down the river for a bit (live), then you end up on the side of the riverbanks, out of the river into the mud (dead) [and I won't go into reincarnation at this point - that's a different thing altogether]. And it's not that reality is an illusion, just that "don't think you're so smart that you think you can figure out the TRUE nature of reality IN ITS FULLEST SENSE" - therefore, what you think is reality is just a tiny glimpse of real-reality.

So in one school of Buddhist thought, Yes - we are like brains in vats - reality is created in the mind. In another view of Buddhist thought, No - we are not like brains in vats - reality is reality - we're just not capable of fully knowing it as it really is, therefore what we think of as reality is an illusion. I'd use the word "incomplete" but our perceptions of reality are such a tiny percentage of what real-reality must be - that it is like trying to go through the world, seeing everything from the light of one candle that is 12 miles away from you and declaring, "I SEE EVERYTHING".

So, is reality all in the mind?

Personally, I don't think so. I think the best that we can see, no matter how perceptive we may be, is but the tiniest shadow of actual reality (think of Plato's Caves) and that shadow of reality that we perceive as actual reality IS indeed a creation of our minds (including scientific inquiry as well as religious)... but we should not mistake what we PERCEIVE for what really IS.

iN OTHER WORDS: Don't be ego-centric. Keep learning, keep searching, keep scientifik-ing and help build that picture of reality so that it becomes less and less obscure and more and more accurate. Just never think, "Oh, NOW WE KNOW REALITY." Because once you've done that, you've stopped WAY short of the goal.

Darn, and I didn't even get into quantum stuff yet.

Whaddaya think? ______ Kenneth Udut Webmaster of Junkie of "who-am-i" and "what is it, fundamentally" philosphies

[this is a copy of a reply I made in a forum that is here:


Is existance all in the mind? (repost) Is reality illusionary? Are we brains-in-vats? Or are we just incapable of understanding the totality of reality?