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Here's a question for the hive mind

So, one of the things I have trouble with, sometimes, is believing that I exist. (Yes, I know. That sounds stupid. But it's how I am.) There's a piece of me that finds it reasonably clear the the external world is real, but not that I am. Certain things/events/behaviours make me wonder if I am, in fact, just a fiction.
The marquis, on the other hand, is pretty sure he exists, but isn't always so sure about the external world.
What about you lot out there? Do you believe you're real? If so, why and how? Conversely, do you believe that the external world is real, and if so, why and how?
(I believe in the external world because that's clearly where all the power and control and entitlement comes from, and where all the important things are.)


( 90 comments — Leave a comment )
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May. 24th, 2011 09:32 pm (UTC)
So if you aren't real who is observing the external world. There has to be a you for there to be an external.
May. 24th, 2011 10:28 pm (UTC)
It might be imagining me.
I'm not looking for a cure.
May. 24th, 2011 09:32 pm (UTC)
I follow the 'cogito, ergo sum' philosophy. If I don't exist, then what is this bundle of thought and perception?

Having got to that stage, I then rejected solipsism on the basis that if the external world doesn't exist, then it must be me imagining it, and to be honest, I think I'd have imagined something a little less outright weird. I refuse to take responsibility for absolutely everything, and therefore there is something apart from me.

Quite how accurate my perceptions of that weird externality are is another question.
May. 25th, 2011 10:05 am (UTC)
That's interesting, and is somewhat how the marquis sees things, too.
(no subject) - bellinghman - May. 25th, 2011 10:54 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - la_marquise_de_ - May. 25th, 2011 11:26 am (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - la_marquise_de_ - May. 25th, 2011 10:06 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 24th, 2011 09:41 pm (UTC)
I recommend this simple home test. Sit down . Wait for cat to jump on your lap. If your cat falls through you when attempting to sit on your lap, you are probably imaginary.
May. 24th, 2011 10:28 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - ms_cataclysm - May. 25th, 2011 04:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - la_marquise_de_ - May. 25th, 2011 07:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - desperance - May. 25th, 2011 12:41 am (UTC) - Expand
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May. 24th, 2011 10:00 pm (UTC)
Sometimes I have trouble believing that the external world I perceive and the me I perceive exist in the same way. As if one is always an aspect of the other, but never both at the same time.
May. 25th, 2011 10:06 am (UTC)
May. 24th, 2011 10:03 pm (UTC)
Yeah, like Kate, I have a very strong sense of self.
And I've never doubted the existence of the world.

And you are real to me too.

May. 25th, 2011 10:07 am (UTC)
You feel very grounded and very real to me, too. But then, as we know, you are a World Guardian. So you have to be real: it must be in your job description.
(no subject) - frostfox - May. 25th, 2011 10:25 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - la_marquise_de_ - May. 25th, 2011 10:34 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 24th, 2011 10:06 pm (UTC)
I exist, people and things I know exist, but I sometimes feel like bits of the world I have never been to and probably never will are less real than convincing fictional worlds.
May. 25th, 2011 10:08 am (UTC)
I'm the other way: if I've experienced it, it may not be real, because I may not be real.
May. 24th, 2011 10:10 pm (UTC)
I believe the outside world exists, but as a philosopher (my first two degrees ...) I have to say that I actually can't prove it. In fact, I can't even prove I exists (debunking Decartes used to be my favourite party trick) so I would have to say that I can prove something exists, because to say otherwise is a nonsense, but have no evidence one way or the other as to what that is.

Although I have always said that if I was imagining the outside world, I rather hope I'd come up with something more interesting!
May. 25th, 2011 10:08 am (UTC)
That's very sensible and very well thought through.
May. 24th, 2011 10:17 pm (UTC)
At a minimum, something exists to be deluded about the nature of the world. While in principle, the outside world and all my experience (including my sense of self) could be illusions/delusions, shrug, what can I do about it? Treating it as real is the best available working hypothesis.
May. 24th, 2011 11:09 pm (UTC)
That's about my view. Treating it all as real, until one has grounds to suspect otherwise, seems the only practical course. Many things out there are not "real" in some sense or other - consider how many things are defined by people's political or religious views. Keeping track of the kind of reality everything has isn't possible, but one can generally rely on things that are real enough to prod.
(no subject) - la_marquise_de_ - May. 25th, 2011 10:09 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - la_marquise_de_ - May. 25th, 2011 10:08 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 24th, 2011 10:32 pm (UTC)
I am real. The world is so malleable, yet seemingly full of authority that I think it is Wikipedia: constantly being renovated and updated and revised and argued about.
May. 25th, 2011 10:09 am (UTC)
Ah, you're with the marquis. I knew you were a Good Thing!
May. 24th, 2011 10:47 pm (UTC)
The older I get and the more I meet other people, the more convinced I become that there are no complete "I"s out there. Or in here. There are visitations, yearnings, joys, accomplishments, perceptions, fleeting glimpses, but no single "I", and by corollary, no single "you".

There IS, however, an illusion created by a cohesive memory of a body and of consistencies out of there, but I know for certain that they aren't any more separate from each other than sandcastles on the beach of the real. And the doubting me knows that the hands that maintain those crumbling walls are my own.

I find overwhelming beauty in that. And terrible meaning.
May. 25th, 2011 10:10 am (UTC)
That's fascinating. Thank you.
May. 24th, 2011 10:54 pm (UTC)
While I don't exist to most of the external world (and to a great many of the small minority who do perceive me in a line or whatever, I'm just another stupid old woman to elbow aside, after which I no longer exist) I know I exist. And that the world does.

Now, I'm not so sure about socks, pins, scissors, and a few other items that vanish within seconds of being put down.
May. 25th, 2011 12:43 am (UTC)
The cats take the socks. This I know empirically.
(no subject) - sartorias - May. 25th, 2011 12:53 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - barry_king - May. 25th, 2011 11:57 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - la_marquise_de_ - May. 25th, 2011 10:11 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - narkil - May. 25th, 2011 10:29 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - la_marquise_de_ - May. 25th, 2011 10:35 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 24th, 2011 11:01 pm (UTC)
Trust me on this, you don't want the long answer.
Pretty sure the external world is real. Reasonably sure that I am a fiction in the sense that, from my layman's reading of neuroscience, neither our selves nor our volition are what they seem to be subjectively, and the difficulty of even figuring out what they might be suggests to me that they are answers to the wrong kind of question, and that whatever exists isn't like that at all.

I find this to be more interesting than bothersome, to be honest.
May. 25th, 2011 10:12 am (UTC)
Re: Trust me on this, you don't want the long answer.
That is very you, somehow. Thank you!
May. 25th, 2011 12:20 am (UTC)
Um... me? sort of?

That is, I sometimes feel so disconnected from everything else that I'm not sure I'm real, although I think I am me. But then, if you asked me *who* I am, I couldn't tell you, because most of the time I feel like I'm constructed by the external world. If that makes sense. Although, like sartorias, I have also had many experiences where the external world seems not to think I exist at all.

On the other hand, the cats seem to think I'm very real. Cats may be the defining factor here

Edited at 2011-05-25 12:21 am (UTC)
May. 25th, 2011 10:13 am (UTC)
Cats do appear to have superior senses in relation to this.
I know what you mean about disconnection and sense of self -- and I've had those experiences, too. I wonder if it's a dimension of femaleness? I suspect it's commoner amongst women (and women over 40) than men, but I may be wrong.
(no subject) - a_d_medievalist - May. 25th, 2011 03:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - la_marquise_de_ - May. 25th, 2011 07:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
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