1. Post #1
    Follow me on GitHub!
    Ziks's Avatar
    June 2011
    2,101 Posts
    This may seem like an easy question to answer - of course it exists. I can see it and feel it so it must be real. But how do you know that you are not just a brain in a jar, dreaming about the world around you? How do you know that your consciousness isn't just an alien computer simulation being fed fake input about your environment?

    These two scenarios are pretty unlikely, since for you to be a literal brain in a jar (or maybe just lying in hospital in a coma) there has to be other people who put you in a jar. It is more probable that you are real as long as there are more people out of jars than in them. For the computer simulation, some civilisation would have had to build and program the computer, and it is unlikely that there are more simulations than people.

    However, I think these scenarios can become much more likely if you simply reduce the time the created consciousness exists.

    There is no way to tell if the universe has existed for 13.7 billion years or if it was created an hour ago, in the state it was in an hour ago, and with fake memories of the universe prior to its creation in your head. The same is true for the universe being created a minute ago. Or ten seconds ago. Or a single second. The less time that you have existed, the less you experience of your environment and the less memories you access.

    In a second you are a aware of very little of the world around you, and so hardly any information is needed to give you the illusion of a continual existence. What about such a small amount of time as a hundredth of a second? In that small instant your senses are practically receiving a static input; your eyes see a still image like a single frame in a movie, your skin feels constant pressure from any objects it is in contact with. Barely any information is needed to represent your sensory input and the memories you access in that short space of time.

    If such a small span is enough to give you the illusion of a longer existence, then I think it is logical to conclude that it is more likely than not that this is in fact what we are actually experiencing. Wouldn't it be more probable that the information needed to simulate a few milliseconds of consciousness would occur naturally in some chaotic system than an entire universe being created capable of supporting complex life? The paradox is that if this universe actually existed in the form that it appears to, such instantaneous consciousnesses would be constantly popping up in the tumultuous hearts of stars or the boiling chemical soups of alien seas.

    So that's why I think the universe doesn't exist, and as a consequence none of you exist. Of course, from your perspective, I don't exist and you are the single consciousness. I'll read through this post and fix any grammatical or logical errors tomorrow, it's 1 in the morning and I'm pretty tired. This is basically the sort of thing that literally keeps me up at night.

    TL;DR How do you know that your mind wasn't created a fraction of a second ago, and will cease to exist soon after?

    Anyway, do I exist?
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  2. Post #2
    Rad McCool's Avatar
    August 2009
    3,883 Posts
    Yep.
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  3. Post #3
    flyguy88's Avatar
    July 2007
    336 Posts
    A idea like this can maybe make for a good novel, but it seems silly to ponder on something like this.
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  4. Post #4
    Lilyo's Avatar
    October 2011
    2,366 Posts
    Sounds legit.
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  5. Post #5
    i-am-teh-sex's Avatar
    November 2009
    3,660 Posts
    I think I know I exist
    Maybe
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  6. Post #6
    Gold Member
    [Seed Eater]'s Avatar
    July 2011
    5,819 Posts
    You are all artificial constructions created by the simulation built by the reptilian shape-shifting overlords to keep me sedated.

    It's very difficult to prove this either way. I'm sure there's some sort of weird philosophical conundrum to ponder with it. A paradox or something.
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  7. Post #7
    Blue Member
    Dennab
    June 2009
    1,031 Posts
    So that's why I think the universe doesn't exist, and as a consequence none of you exist. Of course, from your perspective, I don't exist and you are the single consciousness.
    This is generally an idea schizophrenics get. Could you explain where you got this idea from?
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  8. Post #8

    January 2012
    36 Posts
    I know my consciousness exist, as you all probably believe yours. Who's to say that you're not all figments of my imagination?
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  9. Post #9
    woolio1's Avatar
    November 2009
    9,532 Posts
    Well, you exist. Even if you don't exist, you exist in my consciousness. So you exist in some form or another in my world, even if you exist in nobody else's.
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  10. Post #10
    100% Homemade
    ZestyLemons's Avatar
    September 2007
    8,387 Posts
    But how do you know that you are not just a brain in a jar, dreaming about the world around you? How do you know that your consciousness isn't just an alien computer simulation being fed fake input about your environment?
    Are you telling me I can dream in my dreams, and then have a lucid dream where I'm dreaming? I find that pretty absurd IMO.

    I could make a really detailed opinion on this, but I think I'd be looking into it too much. This feels like the same argument that comes up - the "Are you all real or figments of my imagination?". I suppose the definition of 'real' in this case is what we believe to be factual, in your own environment.

    So in a sense - yes. The universe does exist as far as you know. You won't ever be able to know any more than that on your own though.
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  11. Post #11
    Blue Member
    Dennab
    June 2009
    1,031 Posts
    Are you telling me I can dream in my dreams, and then have a lucid dream where I'm dreaming? I find that pretty absurd IMO.

    I could make a really detailed opinion on this, but I think I'd be looking into it too much. This feels like the same argument that comes up - the "Are you all real or figments of my imagination?". I suppose the definition of 'real' in this case is what we believe to be factual, in your own environment.

    So in a sense - yes. The universe does exist as far as you know. You won't ever be able to know any more than that on your own though.
    I genuinely don't understand how this mindset can come about.

    Proof that ... I exist..? Is that you couldn't predict my post appearing. Ask me if I'm real? Can you alter the world?
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  12. Post #12
    I am a moderator.
    Swebonny's Avatar
    August 2006
    13,246 Posts
    I think I know I exist
    Maybe
    Sounds legit.
    More replies like this those above and I will ban you.
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  13. Post #13
    Gold Member

    May 2005
    2,268 Posts
    The idea of the universe being created an hour ago with false memories, or the idea that we are a computer simulation are both claims that are presented without evidence and can be rejected without evidence. As you said also, the idea of us being a computer simulation immediately raises the question of where the simulators came from (going against the old occam's razor ).

    Wouldn't it be more probable that the information needed to simulate a few milliseconds of consciousness would occur naturally in some chaotic system than an entire universe being created capable of supporting complex life?
    Wasn't the universe a chaotic system at the time of the big bang?
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  14. Post #14
    Trans genders are gays with mental dis orders
    Dennab
    January 2012
    3,881 Posts
    Yes, we haven't met.
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  15. Post #15
    This title has been removed due to a copyright claim from Viacom Inc.
    neos300's Avatar
    July 2008
    3,489 Posts
    The idea of the universe being created an hour ago with false memories, or the idea that we are a computer simulation are both claims that are presented without evidence and can be rejected without evidence. As you said also, the idea of us being a computer simulation immediately raises the question of where the simulators came from (going against the old occam's razor ).



    Wasn't the universe a chaotic system at the time of the big bang?
    What if in the 'real' world, the laws of physics/occam's razor don't exist/apply?
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  16. Post #16
    Gold Member
    monkey11's Avatar
    February 2008
    2,483 Posts
    http://truthism.com/

    Everything you need to know.
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  17. Post #17
    Gold Member

    May 2005
    2,268 Posts
    What if in the 'real' world, the laws of physics/occam's razor don't exist/apply?
    Well Occam razor is just a general principle used to get the most simple explanation of something, it's not really a "law". And if there is a "real world" outside of ours, then you would have to explain where that world came from, and so on.
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  18. Post #18
    Gold Member
    ntzu's Avatar
    August 2005
    1,145 Posts
    no and neither does this thread.
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  19. Post #19
    Gold Member
    gamefreek76's Avatar
    October 2005
    7,237 Posts
    There's a philosophical idea called Solipsism which states that the only thing you truly know to exist is your own mind.
    You should probably look more into it if you're interested in this subject.
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  20. Post #20
    Blue Member
    Dennab
    June 2009
    1,031 Posts
    http://truthism.com/

    Everything you need to know.
    Can you not get that extremely simple concept through your thick skull?
    Aliens have actually already taken over this planet, you know, considering the fact that they freaking CREATED US
    My god. I'll just save everybody time and tell you this site is basically every single conspiracy theory ever mixed up on one web page making claims and backing them up with "you don't have proof that it doesn't, so it does! HA!" or by taking old art and misinterpreting them on purpose.

    But in all it's madness, it still doesn't claim that you don't exist. So there's that. It does share the same way of trying to make it seem believable though, by making claims things you can't possibly get evidence against.
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  21. Post #21
    Killed postal with a fart once.
    gk99's Avatar
    December 2007
    8,159 Posts
    Yes.
    I'm pretty sure every single conspiracy theorist says no to this though.
    "This may seem like an easy question to answer - of course it exists"
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  22. Post #22
    matsta's Avatar
    September 2009
    347 Posts
    Even if you are a computer simulation you exist as such. The most obvious fact that you can come up with is that you exist. Not your body tho, it could still be a "delusion". The world, in those terms, can also be a delusion, but it is hard even caring about those thoughts. I mean, if it is a delusion you would have no way of knowing it isn't, and if it isn't you can always ask yourself if you are being tricked by aliens.

    Philosophers have dealt with this kind of questions for a really long time and I'd be happy to inform you that you are not the first one who asked this kind of question.

    Edited:

    PD: what does "exist" even means to you?
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  23. Post #23
    Slight's Avatar
    March 2011
    641 Posts
    A better question: Why do threads like this exist?

    Honestly, the OP is a wall of text and yet no real thought lies behind it.
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  24. Post #24
    Gold Member
    PvtCupcakes's Avatar
    May 2008
    10,900 Posts
    Descartes said "I think therefore I am"

    What this means is that it's pointless to question your own existence. Let's just assume we exist and move on to the more meaty questions.
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  25. Post #25
    Gold Member

    May 2005
    2,268 Posts
    Descartes said "I think therefore I am"

    What this means is that it's pointless to question your own existence. Let's just assume we exist and move on to the more meaty questions.
    That statement by Descartes is controversial because it presupposes that the "I" exists though.

    A couple of philosophers have argued against it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cogito_ergo_sum#Criticisms
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  26. Post #26
    Clops with bisousbisous daily <3
    Mr. Smartass's Avatar
    December 2010
    9,188 Posts
    Not to be rude
    But why does it matter?
    If you don't exist, then you could do nothing but feel infinite self pity after you learned it.
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  27. Post #27
    RagerTrader's Avatar
    September 2011
    1,708 Posts
    "Cogito ergo sum" -René Descartes

    "I think, therefor I am."

    It is the basic principle on which modern philosophy is founded.
    The only absolute truth in life is that you exist, because you are are capable of independent thought and action. Sure, everything else might be fake, but you are real.

    Edited:

    PvtCupcakes beat me to it.
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  28. Post #28
    matsta's Avatar
    September 2009
    347 Posts
    It is stupid thinking that you don't exist. If you make the proposition "I exist" then there are two possibilities:

    1. You proposition is true (you are right), and you exist
    2. You don't exist, but you are still wrong (which would be a contradiction)
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  29. Post #29

    January 2012
    87 Posts
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  30. Post #30
    Follow me on GitHub!
    Ziks's Avatar
    June 2011
    2,101 Posts
    Could everyone who posted things like "Brain in a jar / Computer simulation breaks Occam's razor" actually read the meat of my post? I'm not claiming that the conventional version of either is true. The only post to comment on my actual point is Noble's. Although he seems to have missed that the very next sentence after the one he quoted answers his question.

    I don't want to sound rude, and I know my OP is a bit of a wall of text, but could you all at least read it before posting?
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  31. Post #31
    LIVE LIKE A WINDRAMMER AS YOU FUCK
    Murkat's Avatar
    June 2010
    5,794 Posts
    This is generally an idea schizophrenics get. Could you explain where you got this idea from?
    I got the same thought when I was 11. It's really not that uncommon. There have been lots of threads like this before.
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  32. Post #32
    HulaDancer's Avatar
    February 2012
    56 Posts
    Life is life, no need to make things needlessly complex.
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  33. Post #33
    Gold Member
    Simski's Avatar
    February 2007
    13,292 Posts
    Could everyone who posted things like "Brain in a jar / Computer simulation breaks Occam's razor" actually read the meat of my post? I'm not claiming that the conventional version of either is true. The only post to comment on my actual point is Noble's. Although he seems to have missed that the very next sentence after the one he quoted answers his question.

    I don't want to sound rude, and I know my OP is a bit of a wall of text, but could you all at least read it before posting?
    We live in an unfathomable big universe, with a vast amount of highly advanced organisms all individual and with unique anatomy, and extremely complicated logical natural laws.

    Why would it in any way be likely that this isn't real? Why would such a complicated thing be created as a few seconds of consciousness by a chaotic system, when our universe is so much more complex and in logical harmony. Why would this all be a simulation, when there is nothing that implies that there exists a real universe even more complex than our own.
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  34. Post #34
    Gold Member
    Dennab
    November 2010
    1,401 Posts
    http://truthism.com/

    Everything you need to know.
    If you don't want to read this stupid site it's basically saying that their is a group of reptile people who rule the modern day world and they had civilizations thousands of years before Egypt. It also says they invented all major religions and dinosaurs and make contact with the US Government in Area 51. Oh and Satan invented 12 dimensions and our universe is a side of a dodecahedron. Ancient Aliens + Secret Societies = This site
    They also claim you can't disprove it at all so it must be real.
    Reptile people work in mysterious ways.
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  35. Post #35
    NotAName's Avatar
    April 2010
    1,980 Posts
    There is no way to know for sure whether it exists or not, so you might as well assume it does because assuming it doesn't won't be very beneficial for your sanity.
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  36. Post #36
    Gold Member

    May 2005
    2,268 Posts
    Ziks can you give us a very precise definition of "existence" that we are to be debating?
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  37. Post #37
    Gold Member
    Droogie's Avatar
    July 2007
    2,083 Posts
    Descartes said "I think therefore I am"

    What this means is that it's pointless to question your own existence. Let's just assume we exist and move on to the more meaty questions.
    "Cogito ergo sum" -René Descartes

    "I think, therefor I am."

    It is the basic principle on which modern philosophy is founded.
    The only absolute truth in life is that you exist, because you are are capable of independent thought and action. Sure, everything else might be fake, but you are real.

    Edited:

    PvtCupcakes beat me to it.
    Descartes' argument concluded that he could not doubt the existence of himself, but that he could doubt the (separate) existence of his body, and by extension the existence of the world. His argument actually supports what the OP is suggesting.
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  38. Post #38
    Gold Member
    Robber's Avatar
    January 2006
    6,206 Posts
    I know the universe exists because the simplest answer (yes) is in most cases the right one and even if it didn't exist, there's no way to prove it.
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  39. Post #39
    Gold Member
    Robbobin's Avatar
    June 2007
    8,047 Posts
    To be honest Occam's razor is meaningless in relation to the simulated reality argument. The argument doesn't posit the existence of any entities we don't already have cause to believe in (unless you have a theory of the mind that's incompatible with simulated minds but that's only a few people).

    Occam's razor isn't a particularly good epistemic tool anyway. It's just supposed to be a rule of thumb.
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  40. Post #40
    Gold Member
    MegaJohnny's Avatar
    April 2006
    5,359 Posts
    We live in an unfathomable big universe, with a vast amount of highly advanced organisms all individual and with unique anatomy, and extremely complicated logical natural laws.

    Why would it in any way be likely that this isn't real? Why would such a complicated thing be created as a few seconds of consciousness by a chaotic system, when our universe is so much more complex and in logical harmony. Why would this all be a simulation, when there is nothing that implies that there exists a real universe even more complex than our own.
    It's a purely hypothetical thing, I think. Sure, it makes absolutely no sense, but "how do you know the universe didn't pop up in its current state 10 minutes ago"
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