Brain in a vat, solipsism...

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Re: Brain in a vat, solipsism...

Postby Pondera » Thu Dec 05, 2013 12:14 am

Christian89 wrote:Also it seems that Buddha was deluded. If you can't answer you're not BIV or a solipsist mind there is no way to answer whether your life wouldn't continue after your death(if you're englightened). I think this simple fact easily disproves the teachings of the Buddha and shows that he was deluded, he just replaced one delusion with another. In his time no one has ever heard of BIV, solipsism, supercomputers and things like that, so that's why he thought he achieved something extraordinary.


Unfortunately, you're not the first person to think his existence was the only existence in all existence. Many have existed before you with that same idea. Do some research. The history of solipsism dates back at least to the ancient Greeks. I didn't have to wiki this to know that solipsism is as old as man-kind; but that's where you'll find the basic facts.

As far as supercomputers go; you're going to need to decide on that your self. Obviously, there were no supercomputers; no CGI; and no "The Matrix 1, 2, and 3". In the Buddha's time. And that's exactly why he wasn't able to consider them, right? Therein lies a catch 22. But if you think belief systems like BIV and Matrix World are bad - it can actually get worse.

There are much older ideas through out time that have made men far less happy than the realism of existential philosophy, Rene Descartes "Meditations" - and an idea about computational graphic imagery that grew out of a man made construct: exclusively limited in all historical senses to the 20th and 21st centuries. You should've seen the madness when the very first Nintendo arrived on the scene - circa 1985!

In all sympathy to your depression, I hope you make it to the other side. Try talking to family and peers. Try one of your teachers - some one you trust. It's like editing a work of literature. Two brains in a vat are better than one - yeah? :)

- P.
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Re: Brain in a vat, solipsism...

Postby Christian89 » Thu Dec 05, 2013 11:55 am

Mkoll wrote:Know that you've trained your mind to think in this way. You've made it an unconscious habit. You haven't always thought this way. Does thinking in this way cause you stress or not? If it causes you stress and you want to change this thinking, know that there is a way to live, to train yourself as to become less and less stressed, day after day.
-MN 19

Again, that pretty much seems like an escape to me, i think i've already said that. If anyone start thinking about these things he/she will become depressed as i am. The reason most buddhist are not depressed is because they haven't thought about these things in detail, only superficially. If they did, they'll become extremely depressed, just like me. I mean how can you continue living as you've lived before, when you realize that everything can be just one big lie! I'm not saying it is, but it's a possibility.
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Re: Brain in a vat, solipsism...

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Dec 05, 2013 9:46 pm

Greetings Christian,

Or alternatively, perhaps they have thought about these things in detail and have decided it actually doesn't matter either way whether things are "real" or otherwise, because they are experienced... and when it comes down to it, what is there of relevance to one's existence that is not experienced?

SN 35.23 - Sabba Sutta wrote:"Monks, I will teach you the All. Listen & pay close attention. I will speak."

"As you say, lord," the monks responded.

The Blessed One said, "What is the All? Simply the eye & forms, ear & sounds, nose & aromas, tongue & flavors, body & tactile sensations, intellect & ideas. This, monks, is called the All. Anyone who would say, 'Repudiating this All, I will describe another,' if questioned on what exactly might be the grounds for his statement, would be unable to explain, and furthermore, would be put to grief. Why? Because it lies beyond range."

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Brain in a vat, solipsism...

Postby Babadhari » Thu Dec 05, 2013 10:23 pm

AN 4.77
Acintita Sutta: Unconjecturablehttp://www.accesstoinsig ... .than.html

"Conjecture about [the origin, etc., of] the world is an unconjecturable that is not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness & vexation to anyone who conjectured about it'
Aflame with the fire of passion, the fire of aversion, the fire of delusion.
Aflame, with birth, aging & death, with sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs ......

Seeing thus, the disciple of the Noble One grows disenchanted. SN 35.28
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Re: Brain in a vat, solipsism...

Postby Dan74 » Fri Dec 06, 2013 3:42 am

On a more practical level, I think that it is impossible to create a "matrix" like emulator of reality simply due to the level of complexity involved. The most that could be done is induce some kind of a guided sleep but I have very good reasons to believe this is not what's happening.

So to me, this hypothesis is more unlikely than the Flying Spagetti Monster. We could also worry that a meteorite could crash and obliterate the civilisation and all sorts of unlikely scenarios, but most of us don't and for a very good reason.
_/|\_
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Re: Brain in a vat, solipsism...

Postby kirk5a » Fri Dec 06, 2013 4:08 am

ah yes, a.k.a. "why I stopped at a Bachelor's in so-called Philosophy"

Simply being able to imagine something, does not in itself, ipso facto, increase the probability of that scenario above what would rightfully be estimated (when there is not only no evidence in favor, but no conceivable methodology for the acquisitions of that evidence) as zero.
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: Brain in a vat, solipsism...

Postby Mkoll » Fri Dec 06, 2013 4:59 am

Christian89 wrote:Again, that pretty much seems like an escape to me, i think i've already said that. If anyone start thinking about these things he/she will become depressed as i am. The reason most buddhist are not depressed is because they haven't thought about these things in detail, only superficially. If they did, they'll become extremely depressed, just like me. I mean how can you continue living as you've lived before, when you realize that everything can be just one big lie! I'm not saying it is, but it's a possibility.


Dear Christian,

You’re right, Buddhism is an escape. It’s an escape from suffering.

When I was mired in depression, I would try to escape from it by trying to think my way through it. I thought that if I could just come to the right conclusion, everything would be fixed. I questioned and doubted everything, going on wild forays into my thoughts until I thought I had finally figured it all out. But I would just end up doubting that. This went on and on and I only felt worse.

So then I would try to escape with drink and drugs as well as continued thinking. I damaged my relationship with people even further than I already had, most likely changed the biochemistry of my nervous system, definitely damaged my body, and ended up in the hospital after jumping off a building while high on LSD. Considering the height of the fall and my mental state, I could very easily have been paralyzed or killed. Even then, I didn’t stop using intoxicants and I refused to seek help. It took 5 more years after that until I woke up to what I had been doing to myself. I was finally able to admit to myself that I needed help. So I looked for it and here I am.

I still struggle with destructive thoughts and bouts of depression. They are the effects of my past actions. But I am slowly taking myself out of the hole I was digging rather than digging myself deeper in. Oftentimes, it’s two steps forwards, one step back. But overall, there’s a deep certainty that I never had before. I don’t yet see the light, but someone has said it is there.

I relate this part of my life to hopefully show you that I think I may have some idea of where your thoughts are and to give you an idea of where they could lead. In the end, the way things are is such that each person must find and walk their own path, for good or for ill. I sincerely hope you find yours and that it is good.

Metta.

:anjali:
Peace,
James
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Re: Brain in a vat, solipsism...

Postby manas » Fri Dec 06, 2013 5:14 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

Christian89 wrote:Also it seems that Buddha was deluded. If you can't answer you're not BIV or a solipsist mind there is no way to answer whether your life wouldn't continue after your death(if you're englightened). I think this simple fact easily disproves the teachings of the Buddha and shows that he was deluded, he just replaced one delusion with another.

This sutta might offer you an alternative perspective...

MN 63: Cula-Malunkyovada Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Metta,
Retro. :)


"Malunkyaputta, did I ever say to you, 'Come, Malunkyaputta, live the holy life under me, and I will declare to you that 'The cosmos is eternal,' or 'The cosmos is not eternal,' or 'The cosmos is finite,' or 'The cosmos is infinite,' or 'The soul & the body are the same,' or 'The soul is one thing and the body another,' or 'After death a Tathagata exists,' or 'After death a Tathagata does not exist,' or 'After death a Tathagata both exists & does not exist,' or 'After death a Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist'?"

"No, lord."

"And did you ever say to me, 'Lord, I will live the holy life under the Blessed One and [in return] he will declare to me that 'The cosmos is eternal,' or 'The cosmos is not eternal,' or 'The cosmos is finite,' or 'The cosmos is infinite,' or 'The soul & the body are the same,' or 'The soul is one thing and the body another,' or 'After death a Tathagata exists,' or 'After death a Tathagata does not exist,' or 'After death a Tathagata both exists & does not exist,' or 'After death a Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist'?"

"No, lord."

"Then that being the case, foolish man, who are you to be claiming grievances/making demands of anyone?


The Buddha really had a way with words, he could detect and expose the flaws in any false, or irrelevant, argument.

:anjali:
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Re: Brain in a vat, solipsism...

Postby binocular » Sat Dec 14, 2013 7:18 pm

Christian89 wrote:Lately i've been reading a lot about BIV and Solipsism and i'm horrified by those scenarios. I'm in severe depression and i can't live normally anymore. I just don't want to exists! I cannot live like that anymore!

It might be that it's not that you don't want to exist. It might be more that you just don't want to go on living as you have been living so far.
IOW, you might benefit more from changing the way you go about your daily life, rather than abstractly figuriing out a fancy philosophical problem.


The possibility that my family and my friends are not real is extremely scary. I'm interested in what buddhists think about this. I mean this is such a fundamental question, if you don't know what's real then what's the point to do anything, what's the point to meditate, to be mindful, to do anything...

Indeed. While our molars are rotting ...


If you can't disprove that you're BIV manipulated by an intelligent machine or some living being or that you're not the only mind in universe, or to prove that other people are not just robots(created and controlled by a computer program) who look and behave like a human would do...

Prove these things _to whom_?


I mean it's obviously extremelly unlikely but it's a possibility. Unbelievably scary possibility. Some of those scenarios are physically possible, hard to achieve but possible. Ofcourse a human being(enligthened or not) cannot prove or disprove those scenarios with 100% certainity, but i'm interested in what Buddhism has to say about those things. I didn't find anything useful on the internet so far.

If you google "disproving solipsism," "refuting solipsism" you'll find many resources. For a Buddhist perspective, the already mentioned AN 4.77 seems like a good start.
But first of all, you need to be in the clear of how solipsism emerges in the first place. Doing so will require some serious study of philosophy.


Christian89 wrote:i mean it doesn't seems like those things lead to answers, basically Buddhism seems like an escape from reality to me, it's not a way to solve your problems. Maybe i'm mistaken, i don't know, but so far that's my impression. Not being able to answer the questions i have is definetely a problem for me. English is not my native language, so i'm sorry if there are mistakes.

One could look into one's reasons for desiring answers to those questions; look into one's reasons for why one thinks those questions are relevant or how exactly they make sense.


Christian89 wrote:Also it seems that Buddha was deluded. If you can't answer you're not BIV or a solipsist mind there is no way to answer whether your life wouldn't continue after your death(if you're englightened). I think this simple fact easily disproves the teachings of the Buddha and shows that he was deluded, he just replaced one delusion with another. In his time no one has ever heard of BIV, solipsism, supercomputers and things like that, so that's why he thought he achieved something extraordinary.

Note how within a few sentences you get from "seems" to total certainty.


Christian89 wrote:Again, that pretty much seems like an escape to me, i think i've already said that. If anyone start thinking about these things he/she will become depressed as i am. The reason most buddhist are not depressed is because they haven't thought about these things in detail, only superficially. If they did, they'll become extremely depressed, just like me. I mean how can you continue living as you've lived before, when you realize that everything can be just one big lie! I'm not saying it is, but it's a possibility.

For someone frightened of solipsism you sure are sure of what other people do and know and what they don't do and don't know!
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Re: Brain in a vat, solipsism...

Postby manas » Sat Dec 14, 2013 10:39 pm

Mkoll wrote:Dear Christian,

You’re right, Buddhism is an escape. It’s an escape from suffering.

When I was mired in depression, I would try to escape from it by trying to think my way through it. I thought that if I could just come to the right conclusion, everything would be fixed. I questioned and doubted everything, going on wild forays into my thoughts until I thought I had finally figured it all out. But I would just end up doubting that. This went on and on and I only felt worse.

So then I would try to escape with drink and drugs as well as continued thinking. I damaged my relationship with people even further than I already had, most likely changed the biochemistry of my nervous system, definitely damaged my body, and ended up in the hospital after jumping off a building while high on LSD. Considering the height of the fall and my mental state, I could very easily have been paralyzed or killed. Even then, I didn’t stop using intoxicants and I refused to seek help. It took 5 more years after that until I woke up to what I had been doing to myself. I was finally able to admit to myself that I needed help. So I looked for it and here I am.

I still struggle with destructive thoughts and bouts of depression. They are the effects of my past actions. But I am slowly taking myself out of the hole I was digging rather than digging myself deeper in. Oftentimes, it’s two steps forwards, one step back. But overall, there’s a deep certainty that I never had before. I don’t yet see the light, but someone has said it is there.

I relate this part of my life to hopefully show you that I think I may have some idea of where your thoughts are and to give you an idea of where they could lead. In the end, the way things are is such that each person must find and walk their own path, for good or for ill. I sincerely hope you find yours and that it is good.

Metta.

:anjali:


Thank you for sharing your story, Mkoll. I actually find it inspiring. I can find some parallels with my own life also. Because suffering - deep and dark existential distress - was the crucible in which my first sincere inquiry into the Dhamma, and the first stirrings of sincere conviction, was forged. Oh I had been an admirer of the Dhamma for years before, but it took a level of distress I seemed to no longer be able to keep patching up and stitching over, for me to really begin to take it to heart. It can take quite a lot of heat to extract the gold from the crude ore.

with metta,
manas.
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Re: Brain in a vat, solipsism...

Postby villkorkarma » Sun Dec 15, 2013 4:16 pm

your friends are real. like yourself. we are controlled all the time, by a universe laws. your movements are just a reacting mind. all things are predetermined. says s n goenkaji. he´s teacher was u-bakhin and his teacher was webu sayadaw. read more at www.vri.dhamma.org.
dont hurt anyone in any sort of way
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