Perception and reality

Reality is not as obvious and simple as we like to think. Some of the things that we accept as true at face value are notoriously wrong. Scientists and philosophers have made every effort to change our common perceptions of it. The 10 examples below will show you what I mean. 

1. Great glaciation.

Great glaciation is the theory of the final state that our universe is heading toward. The universe has a limited supply of energy. According to this theory, when that energy finally runs out, the universe will devolve into a frozen state. Heat energy produced by the motion of the particles, heat loss, a natural law of the universe, means that eventually this particle motion will slow down and, presumably, one day everything will stop.

Great glaciation - Big Freeze - 10 Mind-Blowing Theories That Will Change Your Perception of the World

2. Solipsism.

Solipsism - 10 Mind-Blowing Theories That Will Change Your Perception of the WorldSolipsism is a philosophical theory, which asserts that nothing exists but the individual’s consciousness. At first it seems silly – and who generally got it into his head completely deny the existence of the world around us? Except when you put your mind to it, it really is impossible to verify anything but your own consciousness.

Don’t you believe me? Think a moment and think of all the possible dreams that you have experienced in your life. Is it not possible that everything around you is nothing but an incredibly intricate dream? But we have people and things around us that we cannot doubt, because we can hear, see, smell, taste and feel them, right? Yes, and no. People who take LSD, for example, say that they can touch the most convincing hallucinations, but we do not claim that their visions are “reality”. Your dreams simulate sensations as well, after all, what you perceive is what different sections of your brain tell you to.

As a result, which parts of existence can we not doubt? None. Not the chicken we ate for dinner or the keyboard beneath our fingers. Each of us can only be sure in his own thoughts.

3. Idealist Philosophy

Idealist Philosophy - Idealism - 10 Mind-Blowing Theories That Will Change Your Perception of the World

George Berkeley, the father of Idealism, argued that everything exists as an idea in someone’s mind. Berkley discovered that some of his comrades considered his theory stupid. The story goes that one of his detractors kicked a stone with his eyes closed and said, “There I’ve disproved it!”

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The idea being that if the stone really only exists in his imagination, he could not have kicked it with his eyes closed. Refutation of Berkeley is hard to understand, especially in these days. He argued that there is an omnipotent and omnipresent God, who sees all and all at once. Realistic, or not?

4. Plato and Logos.

Plato and Logos - 10 Mind-Blowing Theories That Will Change Your Perception of the World

Everybody has heard of Plato. He is the world’s most famous philosopher. Like all philosophers he had a few things to say about reality. He argued that beyond our perceived reality there lies a world of “perfect” forms. Everything that we see is just a shade, an imitation of how things truly are. He argued that by studying philosophy we have a chance of catching a glimpse of how things truly are, of discovering the perfect forms of everything we perceive.

In addition to this stunning statement, Plato, being a monist, said that everything is made of a single substance. Which means (according to him) that diamonds, gold and dog feces all consist of the same basic material, but in a different form, which, with science’s discovery of atoms and molecules, has been proven true to an extent.

5. Presentism.

Presentism - 10 Mind-Blowing Theories That Will Change Your Perception of the World

Time is something that we perceive as a matter of course, if we view it at the moment, we usually divide it into past, present and future. Presentism argues that the past and the future are imagined concepts, while only the present is real.

In other words, today’s breakfast and every word of this article will cease to exist after you have read it, until you open it again. The future is just as imaginary, because time cannot exist before and after it happened, as claimed by St. Augustine.

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6. Eternalism.

Eternalism - 10 Mind-Blowing Theories That Will Change Your Perception of the WorldEnternalism is the exact opposite of presentism. This is a philosophical theory that says that time is multi-layered. It can be compared to a pound cake (however, unlike the time, a biscuit is not up for philosophical debate). All time exists simultaneously, but the measurement is determined by the observer. What he sees depends on which point he is looking at.

Thus dinosaurs, World War II and Justin Bieber all exist simultaneously but can only be observed from a specific location. If one takes this view of reality then the future is hopeless and the deterministic free will is illusory.

7. The Brain in a Jar

Brain in a Jar - Brain in the Vat - 10 Mind-Blowing Theories That Will Change Your Perception of the World

The “brain in a jar” thought experiment is a question discussed by thinkers and scientists, who, like most people, believe that human’s understanding of reality depends solely on his subjective feelings.

So, what is the debate? Imagine that you are just a brain in a jar that is run by aliens or mad scientists. How would you know? And can you truly deny the possibility that this is your reality?

This is a modern interpretation of the Cartesian evil demon problem. This thought experiment leads to the same conclusion: we cannot confirm the actual existence of anything except our consciousness. If this seems to sound reminiscent of the movie “The Matrix“, it is only because this idea was part of the very basis of the story. Unfortunately, in reality we have no red pills…

8. The Multiverse Theory

The Multiverse Theory - 10 Mind-Blowing Theories That Will Change Your Perception of the World

Anyone who has not spent the last ten years on a desert island, has at least once heard of “the multiverse”, or parallel universes. As many of us have seen, parallel words, in theory, are worlds very similar to ours, with little (or in some cases, large) changes or differences. The multiverse theory speculates that there could exist an infinite number of these alternate realities. 

What’s the point? In a parallel reality you have already killed the dinosaurs, and you are lying under the ground at a depth of eight feet (because that’s what happened there.) In the other you might be a powerful dictator. In another you might never have even been born since your parents never met. Now that’s a memorable image.

9. Fictional Realism.

Fictional Realism - 10 Mind-Blowing Theories That Will Change Your Perception of the World

This is the most fascinating branch of multiverse theorySuperman is real. Yes, some of you would probably choose a different story, for argument’s sake, Harry Potter might be real too. This branch of the theory argues that given an infinite number of universes, everything must exist somewhere. So, all of our favorite fiction and fantasy may be descriptive of an alternate universe, one where all the right pieces came in to place to make it happen.

10. Phenomenalism.

Phenomenalism - 10 Mind-Blowing Theories That Will Change Your Perception of the World

Everyone is interested in what happens to things when we aren’t looking at them. Scientists have carefully studied this problem and some of them came to a simple conclusion – they disappear. Well, not quite like this. Phenomenalist philosophers believe that objects only exist as a phenomenon of consciousness. So, your laptop is only here while you are aware of, and believe in its existence, but when you turn away from it, it ceases to exist until you or someone else interacts with it. There is no existence without perception. This is the root of phenomenalism. 


Lost Civilizations

Or mangled memories?

There is a thing called forbidden archeology which struck my attention once and I even bought a voluminous book by that title crammed with findings that found themselves dusty shelves in warehouse.   Conspiracy theories abound, but it is uncanny how many of them are often corroborated by unusual findings much later in the game.  The strange thing is that the establishment, for want of a better word, always comes out fighting with every gun firing with plausible explanations for things that simply do not add up.  The Neanderthal man conundrum is one where even the thought that we might have inherited some of his genes, through direct descent, was enough to get those hackles up dismissively. You could almost smell the venom which now appears to be a result of inter academic disregard for anything that might create a wave of speculation.  In any case, sooner or later, someone brings up a serious argument for one discarded theory or another and it all starts coming to light…..

This is now particularly interesting with respect to extremely ancient but highly developed civilizations which may have covered fairly large portions or our world some twenty to thirty thousand years ago.  Of course, they are still denying this in favour of the tribal savages, however modern they might have been in the intelligence scale.  Genetic studies which are becoming increasingly complicated and perceptive appear to show that the stock of genetic spread of humankind is an extended growth of a small portion of what must have been a very large number of people who must have perished.  What it means is that we are all descendants of a few survivors of a massive natural or cosmic development that led to almost total extinction. The survivors may well have had a genetic or physical advantage in terms of illness or simply safe hideaways.  I prefer to think that if all of this is true, that it was probably due to both factors.  Many would have not survived progressively dangerous diseases due to changes in habitat and food supplies.  Our modern virus epidemics are an idea of what must have happened to many and which produced immunities for very small portions of the groupings which have lived through till today.  The other factor is the cosmic one with meteors producing the devastation that is so graphically shown on those incredible TV documentaries.

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That wretched VAT

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The ultimate insult to a tax enslaved society

When it first came into being to enable Europe to start off with a big bang, most people did not have a clue as to what this thing was really all about. It seemed like a game of musical chairs where nobody actually paid anything and everybody passed it on to someone else.
Today it is the biggest threat to democracy the Western world has ever seen as politicians and bureaucrats dig their talons deep into the fabric in the national economy to cover up for decades of financial abuse and subject the average family to the indignity of paying through the nose for everything.
What makes it even more painful and difficult to swallow is that this wretched tax that should have been abolished the very day it was created, has literally turned a liberal society a reluctant partner of the State. Never in the history of taxation, which in itself is a borderline case of democratic principle, has the bureaucrat had such an important hold over the national pockets as the only winners in the game of consumer sales. The tax in fact is a dragnet of the crudest kind and today, it is the thin edge of the wedge which is driving whole sections of society out into the streets pleading for clemency.
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Here’s what you should know about Syriza and the Greek election.

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Explainer: why the Greek election is so important ?

This Greek election is the most important in recent memory. It appears Syriza has won win by a large margin, ending four decades of two-party rule in Greece.

Since 2010 – and as a result of austerity measures – the country has seen its GDP shrink by nearly a quarter, its unemployment reach a third of the labour force and nearly half of its population fall below the poverty line.

With the slogan “hope is coming” Syriza, a party that prior to 2012 polled around 4.5% of the vote, seems to have achieved the impossible: creating a broad coalition that, at least rhetorically, rejects the TINA argument (There Is No Alternative) that previous Greek administrations have accepted. In its place, Syriza advocates a post-austerity vision, both for Greece and Europe, with re-structuring of sovereign debt at its centre.

How significant is this victory for Europe and the rest of the world? Comments range from grave concerns about the impact on the euro and the global economy to jubilant support for the renewal of the European left. For sure, Syriza is at the centre of political attention in Europe.

But, what is Syriza?

The origins of the party are to be found in a series of splits and consolidations involving various left-wing political groupings that, in one form or another, were originally related to the Communist Party of Greece. Syriza in its current form is a strategic coalition comprising a variety of political platforms that include social democrats, radical socialists and communists, environmentalists, anti-globalisation campaigners and human rights advocates.
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Pangs of a great nation

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Turkey by name but hardly by nature, the great struggle for a threatened free state begins with impressive public outcry.

The Ottoman Empire which emulated the great conquests of Alexander saw a different revival with the elegant Ataturk who inspired the west towards a more benevolent approach. Those early days of fresh aspirations and relative democracy has now found a champion in the majority of its people who will not tolerate oppressive religious regimes.
The present mass demonstration against the acceptance of a religious radical in power demonstrates the acute sensitivity that moderate Muslims in Turkey and other parts of the Islamic world experience as a result of the carnage being caused in the name of the Prophet.
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Terrorism and the other Religions

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Contrary to what is alleged by bigots like Bill Maher, Muslims are not more violent than people of other religions. Murder rates in most of the Muslim world are very low compared to the United States.
As for political violence, people of Christian heritage in the twentieth century polished off tens of millions of people in the two world wars and colonial repression. This massive carnage did not occur because European Christians are worse than or different from other human beings, but because they were the first to industrialize war and pursue a national model. Sometimes it is argued that they did not act in the name of religion but of nationalism. But, really, how naive. Religion and nationalism are closely intertwined. The British monarch is the head of the Church of England, and that still meant something in the first half of the twentieth century, at least. The Swedish church is a national church. Spain? Was it really unconnected to Catholicism? Did the Church and Francisco Franco’s feelings toward it play no role in the Civil War? And what’s sauce for the goose: much Muslim violence is driven by forms of modern nationalism, too.

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SPANISH BANKS DISREGARD EMPLOYMENT.

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A case of mistaken identity ?

Despite the obvious maladies which have afflicted Spain, Portugal and Greece, there are emerging doubts about the role of banks in all these societies. Apart from Politicians, Spanish citizens view banks with increasing distrust and obviously expressed disgust. But is this just a question of misplaced frustration ? Is there anything banks can do after their induced property bubble ? Did a great deal of money from those golden years of outright overdrive exploitation of a single market, go sideways for future main shareholder platforms abroad ? These are disturbing issues which are now beginning to be understood in a country much better acquainted with dictatorships than controlled democracy.
A close study of events and the banking structure in Spain reveals that the failure lies in the calculated strangling of the traditional service which banks were set up to provide – the citizen´s financial support and guidance and corporate development with an eye to creation of employment. The mystery sheds few clues as to where the banking administration went to in view of the strict controls which central banks are supposed to exert (without taking into account the international institutional sensitivity which eventually brings anomalies to the fore – albeit always too late).
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