Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Object, The Illusion - Take Two

A different take on what was posted here by sagar in his blog.

Perception of an Object:
Let us consider placing an apple in the middle of an empty room.
Apposing to what is in the original post, an object is not a set of properties. Properties are what are ascribed to the object. They are a group of facts about the object that will come in handy when explaining about the object, when describing the object to another person, for cataloging, for demarcating between two or more objects etc. For example, the properties of an apple – like its color, its size and smell etc. can be used to differentiate it with say, a zebra.

The properties of an object have nothing to do it being real. We can always get more information about an object if we go deeper, say, into the microscopic levels. We can always increase the set of properties known. But the depth to which we need to go or the number of properties we need to find out, depends on what our purpose is or what are we looking to achieve at this particular moment. Properties serve as reference for carrying out particular tasks that are presently at hand. For our earlier example of differentiating between an apple and a zebra, we can use very basic properties – like size and color of the apple; than while differentiating between, say, a wood-apple and a normal apple.

All objects that are red, small, almost spherical, with some taste and smell are not apples. Also, it doesn’t imply that an apple can be, in totality, brought down to a group of properties. It is not true that to a person with a very keen olfactory function, the apple appears more real than to a person with a heavy cold.

It is like the experiment of the seven blind men and the elephant. In the experiment, each one would be ‘seeing’ the elephant for the first time, and each one reaches out for a particular part of the elephant, and they arrive at different individual conclusions. The person who touched the leg concludes that an elephant is like a pillar, the person closest to the trunk remarks that is like a snake, and the person who touches the stomach feels that it is like a huge tub. None of these are wrong. Each of these conclusions is an individual property. None of these by themselves give a complete description of the elephant. None of these can prove that the elephant is not real. None of these has any say in the matter concerning the reality of the elephant.

What is an Object without its properties?

An Object is real. It exists. It occupies space. It has matter.
Additionally, an Object has several unique properties that give it individuality. That makes it possible to identify it. What these properties are depends on the senses/ sensors. The more the sensors the more information/ properties about the object can be measured. The depth of understanding about the object keeps on increasing as the amount of details about it increases. But the object certainly does not become more real than it was originally.


This brings us to a point where can define reality, using the definition of the Object and Properties.

From the original post - “Our present reality = information from senses + interpretation by mind (thoughts)” is not a really good definition of reality. This is because that senses differ from person to person. An object can not be more real to a person with better senses than to a person with some disability. And the interpretation by the mind should in no way affect the reality of the object.

Reality is absolute.

Let us define an object is REAL if it has matter and occupies space. Then, the ambiguity lessens. Because now, whether we see something or feel something or use other instruments to realize something that is occupying space and has matter, we can universally conclude that the object is real. As mentioned with increase in the number of sensors, we might get a better picture of the object, but the whole fundamental question of it being real is resolved.

Say, even with an apple in the room, suppose all of us had an additional sense of talking to fruits, we probably would have heard a different song from each apple, so that would be a new property. But, it would in no way increase the reality of the apple; or affect the reality of the apple in any way.

Also, let us consider Point 1 in the original post. Suppose, a man perceives a rope as a snake, then it has to be on first glance. Even then, at that point, we can surely say that there is an object, and it is REAL. The question of Reality of an Object is settled. Now, the perception of the rope as a snake is only because of limited data available. If the person looks closely for a second time, it would not be a very difficult task to tag the Object as a Rope. The illusion remains in the brain only till additional information is available. The Reality of the presence of the Object is unchanged

@sagar: It always comes down to definitions, man


Anonymous said...

Since it looks like you are really out to put forth your point of view on the aspects of illusion and the like, I would really recommend you read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenence. I think there is a good chance you have already read it. But in case you havent then do read it. It gives you the single most convincing explanation about the existence of things and what it is that differentiates one object from the other...

Logik said...

@n.r- these two have hogged on so much of zen stuff. All these posts are jus the result of that.... @dha- read my comments on sagar's blog. Our unintentional plagiarism row cancels... And, there is a future post in mind, which involves usage of your identity as dha, in a non-offensive way.the puns seem to fit really well. I'll add that dha has permitted the use of his name,will prob run the article throug you before publishing.. What say?

Logik said...

And check out my gadsby reply.. Muha ha ha

Anonymous said...

Logik Sucks!

Logik said...

N.R swallows....

Anonymous said...

Logik sucked me dry!!!
Ring a bell Logik???

evilsense said...

@Dha: Check my review here: