PDA

View Full Version : The line between reality and perception.



Luke flees the scene
08-09-2007, 05:05 PM
" Reality is nothing, perception is everything."


I love this quote, because it makes me think. My reason for posting this thread is, I wanted to know everyone's opinion on this. Christians and non-christians alike. What makes good so moral? What makes evil so evil? So many civilizations have waged war against eachother. Why? Because each one thinks the other is wrong. Evil.

I'm sure I'm going to be hated on for posting this. I'm just curious though. As children, we were all brought up to believe a certain way, or to do things a certain way. While a child now may be playing a game of catch with dad in the backyard, or helping mom with dinner, a child in Iraq is having a bomb strapped to their back. Why is this so? Because of the terrorists' beliefs. That killing themselves in an attempt to kill others will get them a higher place in heaven. They have the same opinion of us as we have of them. I still find it strange how they worship the same god as christians do.

So I want to pose this question to you:
How do we know that we're doing the 'right' thing whenever we're trying to?
Is there even such thing as a 'right' thing?

Higgins
08-09-2007, 05:17 PM
" Reality is nothing, perception is everything."




I love this quote, because it really makes me think. My reason for posting this thread is, I wanted to know everyone's opinion on this. Christians and non-christians alike. What makes good so moral? What makes evil so evil? So many civilizations have waged war against eachother. Why? Because each one thinks the other is wrong. Evil.


I'm sure I'm going to be hated on for posting this. I'm just curious though. As children, we were all brought up to believe a certain way, or to do things a certain way. While a child now may be playing a game of catch with dad in the backyard, or helping mom with dinner, a child in Iraq is having a bomb strapped to their back. Why is this so? Because of the terrorists' beliefs. That killing themselves in an attempt to kill others will get them a higher place in heaven. They have the same opinion of us as we have of them. I still find it strange how they worship the same god as christians do.


So I want to pose this question to you:
How do we know that we're doing the 'right' thing whenever we're trying to?
Is there even such thing as a 'right' thing?




This probably makes no sense, due to the fact that I just woke up. =]


You seem to be asking about the problem of thinking about the impact of socialization and cultural norms from the point of view of some other set of experiences and expectations. In the simplest case what happens is we get some processed view of how nasty some people are and then we are horrified to learn that "in their culture that is commendable"...


It's a big and problematic area.

But I paraphrase Blade Runner: (where the MC realizes people have fake memories): "Culture, you're talking about Culture"....

Cath
08-09-2007, 07:29 PM
So I want to pose this question to you:
How do we know that we're doing the 'right' thing whenever we're trying to?
Is there even such thing as a 'right' thing?

The short answer is, we don't. We can only do what we believe is right and trust that our internal compass guides us correctly.

Yes, I think many of our beliefs about right and wrong come from societal norms. Our upbringing has a huge impact on our perception of right and wrong. And society has a huge impact on what we believe to be right and wrong.

If you're interested in learning more, you might want to check out these resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morality
http://bostonreview.net/BR32.2/byrne.html
http://discovermagazine.com/2007/may/the-discover-interview-marc-hauser

Andrew A
08-11-2007, 01:08 AM
" Reality is nothing, perception is everything."



I love this quote, because it makes me think. My reason for posting this thread is, I wanted to know everyone's opinion on this. Christians and non-christians alike. What makes good so moral? What makes evil so evil? So many civilizations have waged war against eachother. Why? Because each one thinks the other is wrong. Evil.

I'm sure I'm going to be hated on for posting this. I'm just curious though. As children, we were all brought up to believe a certain way, or to do things a certain way. While a child now may be playing a game of catch with dad in the backyard, or helping mom with dinner, a child in Iraq is having a bomb strapped to their back. Why is this so? Because of the terrorists' beliefs. That killing themselves in an attempt to kill others will get them a higher place in heaven. They have the same opinion of us as we have of them. I still find it strange how they worship the same god as christians do.

So I want to pose this question to you:
How do we know that we're doing the 'right' thing whenever we're trying to?
Is there even such thing as a 'right' thing?



-------
I like your thinking here Tattered and Torn.:)

I have had the same thoughts just in a different way.

You see if you take this quote for example by Lord Acton, one my anscetors.

"Power tends to corrupt, absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
-Lord Acton

If you think on a polictical side of things, you think of a tyrant or a dictator..right?

Think of this quote as a well-being of one person who does have the power to change whats right and whats wrong. But that person has a responsiblitly for his or her power. You see that today in many ways of corruption, Business, Government, Religion, Family, Education systems, all these have leaders, having such an "heavy load" on themselves contributes to the corruption of their area. So then you get a person that is totally able in the beginning but near the end of their term, life, job, they get desperate to change things that are so-called "right". Thus having no right or wrong answer or question to "lean towards" so they make stuff up, that seems right in their perception of a reality.

If you really want to know something scary and the truth behind it all, start a Business, or get into a Government job, or be a Teacher, even look into the context of the religions. You will see that all are based off of perception of one person, not reality. So my bottom line question is..

What is reality?, and is it something humanity made up for us over time and continuing to do so, whatever reality is, is it a real thing or perception of many or one person?

Luke flees the scene
08-11-2007, 07:32 PM
-------
You will see that all are based off of perception of one person, not reality. So my bottom line question is..

What is reality?, and is it something humanity made up for us over time and continuing to do so, whatever reality is, is it a real thing or perception of many or one person?

This really made me think. Amazing observation. Thank you for sharing.

wayndom
08-12-2007, 09:28 AM
If you're asking about the moral rightness or wrongness of anything, there is no answer, since morals are largely arbitrary, as opposed to ethics, which are based on the concept of "fairness," or the golden rule.

So a woman whose face isn't covered is immoral. A practicing homosexual is immoral. A Catholic who eats meat on Friday is immoral. None of these things is unethical.

America is hopelessly religious, so we tend to make moral decisions rather than ethical ones. Ban gay marriage, etc.

Europeans (and especially my favorite people, the Dutch) approach societal problems from the standpoint of harm reduction. If there's a social problem (an ethical one, not a moral one), it must be causing harm, by definition. So when the Dutch seek a policy on, for example, drug addiction, they look at what policies reduce the harm done to society best (as opposed to the American approach, which still clings pathetically to moral indignation and strict punishment).

Personally, as a lifelong atheist, I see religion as something that muddies the water when people try to think of appropriate way of dealing with problems.

As far as "good" and "evil" go, if you're a mouse, a cat is evil. But does that make cats evil to the universe? I don't think so...

wayndom
08-12-2007, 09:31 AM
Wow. Just saw the quote from Lord Acton, and had to add one of my favorites by the same man.

"It's not that the working class is unfit to govern. All classes are unfit to govern." [with apologies for paraphrasing what I'm sure I've misquoted]

Gary
08-12-2007, 04:47 PM
Reality is the past...perception is ignorance of how history will be written. Sometimes you guess right, but most often you don't.

talkwrite
08-13-2007, 03:08 AM
And aren't the Bible, the Quoran and all texts upon which a religion is based, each a compilation of perceptions- and cloaked in the value system of that time?

veinglory
08-13-2007, 03:12 AM
I'm not really clear what is being asked. Perception vs. reality is one thing. How to judge what is morally right is another. It depends on how one defines reality (i.e. I think reality is a consensus of multiple perceptions) and right. Within that context it is quite clear. In my case it is largely a matter of foreseeable consequences and harm to others. For someone else it would be obediance to scripture or acheiving a certain cultural goal etc. I am very befuddled as to what would be in this issue to 'hate' over.

Rolling Thunder
08-13-2007, 04:02 AM
" Reality is nothing, perception is everything."

I love this quote, because it makes me think. My reason for posting this thread is, I wanted to know everyone's opinion on this. Christians and non-christians alike. What makes good so moral? What makes evil so evil? So many civilizations have waged war against each other. Why? Because each one thinks the other is wrong. Evil.

This is so subjective I don't think you'll find a true and proper answer. War can be waged on the ideals of conquest or fear or greed. It's a matter of opinion. To me " Reality is nothing, perception is everything." seems trite, and I don't say that to be offensive to your opinion. To me, perception is the aspect of what could be; reality is what truly exists. Perception welcomes change; reality resists change.



I'm sure I'm going to be hated on for posting this. I'm just curious though. As children, we were all brought up to believe a certain way, or to do things a certain way. While a child now may be playing a game of catch with dad in the backyard, or helping mom with dinner, a child in Iraq is having a bomb strapped to their back. Why is this so? Because of the terrorists' beliefs. That killing themselves in an attempt to kill others will get them a higher place in heaven. They have the same opinion of us as we have of them.

From the fundamentalist viewpoint, I agree. From the conservative Christian/Muslim viewpoint, I disagree. Both religions have their good and bad points. There will always be those with enough charisma to attract one or the other. Not all children in Iraq are having bombs willingly strapped to them, nor are all children having an easy life with loving parents in the US (or, in any part of the world). Not all people share the same opinion toward another religion/race/culture.


I still find it strange how they worship the same god as Christians do.

I am under the impression that the Christian deity and the Muslim deity are not the same. At least, that's the perception I got from reading the Quran.



So I want to pose this question to you:
How do we know that we're doing the 'right' thing whenever we're trying to?
Is there even such thing as a 'right' thing?


The best opinion I can give is,: if your decision causes you ethical distress it’s the wrong decision for you to make. The ‘right’ thing to do lies at the core of the individual, not the group. That being said, the individual is much more easily swayed than the group; usually due to fear.

robeiae
08-13-2007, 04:48 AM
Michael Vick has requested you to be his jury foreman, RT.

Rolling Thunder
08-13-2007, 08:18 AM
Oh. He's guilty. I'd have him hung.

Higgins
08-13-2007, 07:20 PM
And aren't the Bible, the Quoran and all texts upon which a religion is based, each a compilation of perceptions- and cloaked in the value system of that time?

Value system of the time? Yes. And the question is how does that interact with a text both "in that time" (which, like any "time"...is a social reality with lots of conflicting value systems)...and out of it.

In fact the whole idea that a value system can be calibrated to a time is an implied evaluation of value systems in which the earlier is superceeded or corrupted by the later. You can flip the whole value of the evaluation of systems of value to any number of different relations to time and space and interpretation.

But let's take an easy problem: what is the text referred to as "the Bible"?

And taking an easy example there:
In the time when say Chronicles or Kings was written, for the writers of those texts (which are now in almost everyone's Judeo-Christian canon -- the exception being the Samaritans, for obvious reasons )
the texts were not as sacred as the first five books (Genesis to whatever). So the text there had a non "biblical" intention (text evaluation A) and then was later accepted as totally sacred/biblical in different ways until they were incorporated in different societies' canons of biblical texts in different ways (text evaluation times B to GG, say).

So using the notion of "value system of the time" may tell you something useful or it may not, depending on a number of other factors, the most obvious being that when one value system of the time (say right now) is used to evaluate the "value system of (another) time" (say the late second temple period in Judea) the evaluating value system tends to assign very little importance to the possibilities of different value systems operating simultaneously at both "times"...so that the very notion of "time" turns out to be a serious misrepresentation of what is going on with conflicting value systems.

talkwrite
08-14-2007, 01:58 AM
Yet you need to consider the fact that these texts were translated. And translators at the time were subject to moires and principles-and those were held over the heads of the translators. The role of women and class distinctions are just two examples. Even today untrained translators offer up translations that are evidence that is used to convict people of crimes and that translation has a good chance of being faulty. But in today's world we translators do take ongoing training as a matter of ethics only fearing sometimes the loss of payment and not, as in ancient times, our heads, if our client disagrees with the resulting text.

Higgins
08-14-2007, 06:08 PM
Yet you need to consider the fact that these texts were translated. And translators at the time were subject to moires and principles-and those were held over the heads of the translators. The role of women and class distinctions are just two examples. Even today untrained translators offer up translations that are evidence that is used to convict people of crimes and that translation has a good chance of being faulty. But in today's world we translators do take ongoing training as a matter of ethics only fearing sometimes the loss of payment and not, as in ancient times, our heads, if our client disagrees with the resulting text.

Well...you might say the Judeo-Christian biblical canon was literally created by a single case of translation: the Septuagint which is the first
place where anything resembling what is currently thought of as the Bible was assembled (ie in Greek, in Alexandria in about 250 BC).

Melisande
08-29-2007, 10:18 PM
" Reality is nothing, perception is everything."


snipped...


How do we know that we're doing the 'right' thing whenever we're trying to?
Is there even such thing as a 'right' thing?



In my opinion I think that our very personal and subjective perception of everything creates a reality that is very real ang tangible to ourselves.

I think that the concept of "right" or "wrong" is a choice made within the personal reality, based on society, experiences, up-bringing, education, etc.

I think that because we are quite unable to perceive exactly the same as someone else, no two realities are the same. But that, IMHO, doesn't make any reality less real, or less true.

I think that because we couldn't exist outside our individual reality, the perception of it is that it is real.

yesandno
08-30-2007, 12:54 AM
In some ways I believe that there is a "truth" that exists. An universal actuality. We humans may never know it due to our perceptual limitations, however.

As far as what is "true" morally, I tend toward Pragmatism. Truth is tied to its utility and its context. As we become a global society, it makes sense that we will have conflicts about how to behave, and what is ethically correct. I don't put much stock in moral relativism, mostly because it's not useful in the long-run.

kdnxdr
09-02-2007, 07:37 AM
perception is reality to the the perceiver until replaced by perception

Reality is a measuring rod yet to be agreed upon

Concensus is elusive

dadburnett
09-14-2007, 09:45 PM
" Reality is nothing, perception is everything."
I love this quote, because it makes me think.
How do we know that we're doing the 'right' thing whenever we're trying to?
Is there even such thing as a 'right' thing?


Keep on thinking … and keep on questioning, that’s the key.

Good or evil, right or wrong, true or false – the most perplexing and most complex of questions. All are relative, particular to circumstance, time, place, culture, religion – you name it.

What “works” for me is this … it’s not about right or wrong, but about what works and what does not work. That brings it, for me, down to a more personal level – turns the question into something I can better evaluate and contemplate. This slight shift in perception translates more easily into consideration of probable outcome, consideration of who and what is affected and of probable effects of my words, actions or inactions.

This process takes thought – contemplation, but with practice, the process becomes instinctive. You get a “gut feel” for things.

I know of no other way. I’ve live in the strict worlds of “right and wrong” – the problem with those worlds is that there is no universal right or wrong. As you’ve said, its all rooted in belief, in perceived reality.

C.bronco
09-14-2007, 09:52 PM
Reality is when you are honest with yourself. Perception is how you see things along that journey.

I think evil is supreme selfishness. In every evil act, the practioner is putting his desires over the wellbeing of others.

How'd I do?

Siddow
09-14-2007, 09:56 PM
I saw this post pop up and got to wondering about T&T. He hasn't posted here in a month, but his myspace page shows last login with today's date. Is anyone on his friends list? He doing okay?

Writer14
09-15-2007, 04:09 AM
Last i talked to T&T (last week i think) he said he was doing great & that things were turning around for him =]

anyway: personally, I think we decide what is 'right' and what is 'wrong' by considering which decision will harm us and which decision will be to our benefit or to someone else's benefit.

CB Smith
09-21-2007, 01:07 AM
Philosophies such as the ones you note---and have no doubt they are philosophies---are dangerous in that they posses and intractable point of view. If you want to know the truth, not a truth, not my truth, but THE truth there is only one: There are no absolutes but life and death. The rest is variable and nothing more than subjective reality.
And to your opening quote: so right so true. Even the casual observer can see this borne out. Perception trumps reality...
CB



" Reality is nothing, perception is everything."



I love this quote, because it makes me think. My reason for posting this thread is, I wanted to know everyone's opinion on this. Christians and non-christians alike. What makes good so moral? What makes evil so evil? So many civilizations have waged war against eachother. Why? Because each one thinks the other is wrong. Evil.

I'm sure I'm going to be hated on for posting this. I'm just curious though. As children, we were all brought up to believe a certain way, or to do things a certain way. While a child now may be playing a game of catch with dad in the backyard, or helping mom with dinner, a child in Iraq is having a bomb strapped to their back. Why is this so? Because of the terrorists' beliefs. That killing themselves in an attempt to kill others will get them a higher place in heaven. They have the same opinion of us as we have of them. I still find it strange how they worship the same god as christians do.

So I want to pose this question to you:
How do we know that we're doing the 'right' thing whenever we're trying to?
Is there even such thing as a 'right' thing?

dadburnett
09-21-2007, 08:43 PM
. If you want to know the truth, not a truth, not my truth, but THE truth there is only one: There are no absolutes but life and death. The rest is variable and nothing more than subjective reality ... Perception trumps reality...
CB
Not to be agrumentative - I think there is a more fundamental Truth - Stuff Changes - change is the one constant in the whole of creation.

Tony_LaRocca
12-15-2007, 02:36 AM
I'm not sure there's such a thing as objective right and wrong. There are two things to measure by. One is what the individual thinks is right, (To someone, abortion may be acceptable, while to another it's murder. Even after this, there are shades of distinction. A person might accept a friend having an abortion, but not his or her daughter, etc. etc. etc.) The second is what society decides is right by vote or by coercion. (The law says that to desert the military is a crime, while individuals of that society may feel it's an act of courage.) So I'd have to say that while society may impose its will, the actual judgment of right and wrong is up to the individual.

Eternal Student
12-15-2007, 07:32 AM
There is a definite trend of viewing perception as a lens through which we view reality. There is an interesting shift in the discussion if you think of perception as a filter instead. Your perceptions are colored by your perception filter, but you are not looking from a completely different place (as you would with the lens analogy).

This may sound nit-picky, but I find that the perception as a lens is more exclusive,while if you think of perception as a filter it is easy to see the other persons view point if you understand the nature of their filter and yours.

This is not a syrupy sweet let us all realize we are all the same rant. We are not. However, if you think of yourself and others as partially blinded by ego and preconception, it becomes easier to understand why we still disassemble each other for fun and profit. We judge others based on the categories and archetypes we grow up with. Many times when someone steps out of the roles, we react with anger or ignore/fail to perceive the change.

kdnxdr
12-15-2007, 07:38 AM
we still disassemble each other for fun and profit.


Great line!

wayndom
01-09-2008, 01:25 PM
" Reality is nothing, perception is everything."




First, I disagree with the quote. For the most part, everyone perceives the same things. The departure from reality lies not in our perceptions, but in our interpretations of our perceptions.



How do we know that we're doing the 'right' thing whenever we're trying to?
Is there even such thing as a 'right' thing?



This has become recognized as a problem, thanks to all the disastrous genuine attempts to "help" people (missionaries converting the heathens), and the rationalizations of colonial powers, who chose to see themselves as "helping" the less educated third-world people.

We don't see much of this kind of introspection in America (perhaps because we were never truly a colonial power). Americans still seem to live in a self-made bubble where American values are clearly superior to all others. But the Dutch (who previously "helped" the people of Indonesia by colonizing them, then were surprised and hurt when the Indonesian people wanted them out of their country), look at all social problems with an eye to minimizing harm.

Contrast that with American social attitudes, which frequently opt for punitive policies, with no concern over whether said policies improve or degrade our society. For example, "drug warriors" who want to continue arresting dealers ad infinitum, regardless of the fact that decades of such policies have done absolutely nothing to reduce drug use, while giving us the largest prison inmate population in the world.

It's possible to objectively determine whether policies are helpful or harmful, but leaving one's moral indignation at the door is a prerequisite.

z10
03-27-2008, 05:52 AM
3000 years of moral and metaphysical philosophy hasn't yet been able to answer this question fully

freezer burned
06-27-2008, 05:46 AM
As far as reality goes, I have only this suggestion: do not read postmodern philosophy before going to bed. You will have strange dreams, become paranoid that all of your possessions are only mere replicas of the real thing, and become horribly depressed by the fact that you are only living your life through the proxies of television/internet/books, in addition to becoming utterly confused as to what all these symbols you are constantly confronted by really mean. ;)

C.bronco
06-27-2008, 05:49 AM
Reality vs. perception works in some cases, but not others.

e.g. There is nothing edible in the fridge vs. There's something from two months ago in tin-foil which might be meat, or might be cake and therefore may be edible.

Not.

Ruv Draba
06-30-2008, 01:30 AM
(I have no idea what this topic is doing in this forum - but it seems to have been here for a while...)

I think that a common human morality is possible exactly if human needs are common and compatible, if we have the ability to recognise those needs and possess the will and means to meet them.

It's a confused journey of reflection to get there, but over-all I'm optimistic about it.

I think that it is possible to recognise peoples' needs. This is not a matter of subjective perception, but of systematic and questioned study. That such study is succeeding should be fairly evident from advances in health, education and psychology. That needs are common and potentially compatible I think is fairly obvious - and that we have the means to meet those needs is also evident.

The will is simply a matter of collective and sustained choice. Naturally, different communities will choose more or less in this regard, and so provide more or less moral (i.e. humane) environments. Smaller communities often do a better job of morality than larger ones, I think.

But having an effective morality does not mean that people will be happy or content. Morality is about what good we owe ourselves and each other. It is not about what we might expect, demand or feel entitled to.

t0neg0d
07-10-2008, 02:23 AM
I think its more a question of accountability, be it religion or government.

You can not be right or wrong if there is no one to judge your actions. This is why anarchy is anarchy. People who chose to follow the belief system of a religion, chose to make themselves accountable to a higher power and the laws of place they chose to live in. People who chose to believe in atheism (this is a belief system and just as much a religion as any other) are only accountable to the laws of the land they live in.

The quote: Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Is the extreme of no accountability.

A great way of keeping yourself in check is: Would I want what I am about to do/say to be be done/said to me? If the answer is no, you now know the 'right' thing to do!
--Wasn't this said someplace before? ;)

jkcates
08-05-2008, 07:51 AM
Ok, I have spent more than a few years at University studying these kinds of questions and so, from a philosophy degree holder let me answer like this.....
Some questions just dont have answers.
Yep, its true.
In fact, as Hume and others pointed out, almost all philosophical questions have no answers. So when you ask about
" Reality is nothing, perception is everything."
I suppose the only real answer to give is, it depends on what you believe to be the case. Now, an important thing to note when dealing with questions like this is the difference between there being no answer, and there being no known answer. So to say, perception is everything because we can never be sure about objective reality, while true, doesnt make a claim as to whether reality actually exists. It is just a statement about our limited understanding.
I tend to side with Hume on matters like this when he basically said, philosophy is fun for the university, but in the real world it is practically useless and one must leave it alone.
Specifically, I think perception is everything (in so much as your perceptions are all you have to go on - see Plato's cave analogy-).
BUT
Just because we are limited by our own perceptions does not mean there is no ultimate reality or truth in the universe. For example, most people would prescribe to the "throwing babies into pits of dogs is wrong" camp. But if everything is perception, and more importantly subjective, then truly the only thing we can say about people who actually do this (see original Highlander ala Kurgen) is that their perceptions of right and wrong are different than ours. It is a slippery slope when one talks about moral relativism.
Ok, enough deep thoughts. Watch some TV and change your perceptions for a while

kdnxdr
08-06-2008, 03:40 AM
I'm not learned regarding philosphy or formal belief systems, however, I personally lean toward absolutism in that, how could anything conceptually exist if there was not some ultimate and absolute defining fact of it's existence?

Seems to me everything would fall into illusion and deception.

But, that's my ignorant 2 cents.

kid