Monday, February 12, 2007

Diogenes and Eratosthenes

"Reality is subjective, I have discovered."

"Is it now?"

"Indeed. Therefore nothing I do matters. I define my reality based upon my response to external stimuli."

"But if there are external stimuli, then surely reality is existent and consistent regardless of the perceiver."

"Nonsense. We all experience events that are external to ourselves and that are identical regardless of the eyes they are seen through. However, this is not reality. Reality is what occurs once our brains process its input. You and I are creating our own realities as we speak."

"Oh. Truly?"

"Indeed. You are simply implicitly trained to allow reality to form naturally and according to laws that we have been told are 'logical.' However, there is in fact nothing keeping us from deciding that the sky is actually green and not blue. In fact, it has been documented that for some people, the sky is green."

"No, I disagree. Those people see the same sky that we do, they only perceive it to be green."

"My point exactly!"

"No, you are claiming that for me the sky is blue, while other people see a different sky which is green."

"That's what you just claimed as well!"

"No, I said that we see the same sky, but simply perceive it differently."

"That's what I've been saying all along!"

"But that doesn't mean that we experience different realities, or that we create our own differing realities!"

"And there I disagree. What is reality but our combined views and perceptions tempered by our reason and knowledge?"

"Well, it's not that at all! Reality exists independently of our perceiving it."

"Really? How do you know? If we were not here to perceive it then how would we know that there was a reality at all? Without us, reality is not real."

"That's ridiculous! Reality is the fabric of existence, with or without mankind there to observe it. Would you then claim that nothing would exist without mankind's perception?"

"Certainly not. Without us to give it form, it would nothing but a static collection of matter. It would still be something rather than nothing, but it would not be what we term reality. That is what we make of existence."

"If that's not the most egotistical form of anthrocentrism, then I don't know what is. What of other life? What if there exists other intelligent beings in the universe beyond our reckoning? Would reality stop existing for them if humanity suddenly vanished?"

"Of course not. They would make their own reality, no doubt far superior to ours."

"No doubt!"

Friday, February 09, 2007

The Last Question

Okay, I just read an awesome short story by Isaac Asimov. I had had a similar idea to his ending of this story before, but this is so much better than anything I would have written. I won't say any more about that in order to keep the ending a surprise. I will say that it's a brilliant look at the potential development of mankind and also something else that I dare not hint.

The Last Question