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Brain was filling up so I had to realease it on paper


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#1
srobison

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If an man was born in a dark room where all he knew was the darkness inside that room, and he was given meals three times a day at the same time every day through a box in which there was no way of knowing where the food came from. In essence since this man was a child all he has grown to know is his room, the darkness, and the box which gives him food. Would this man question his surroundings and wish to get out? Without knowing there is anything else in the world would you think there was any way to escape? We used to think the world was flat, but there were still particles of evidence to suggest that it wasn’t. If this person in the dark room, let’s call him Adam, were to move his sleeping spot from one side of the room to the other this would have the same significance of sailing from Europe to the America’s. Adam has no idea that anything else exists so would he be content with his surroundings? Not knowing that women exist would he have a instinct to wish for a mate? I believe Adam would go throughout his days not only sane but happy. You may ask how is that possible he is sitting in a room, but in that same aspect we are in a room ourselves, yes we have more to do than Adam, but without knowing anything else exists how can you miss it? I think Adam illustrates a point that the world we live in, at least in our observation, is all there is, but the question is, what happens when we find the person delivering the food to our box, or we discover the world is round, or that we aren’t the only solar sytem in the galaxy? Man is waiting for that next big realization, but we will never find it if we can’t think outside the box, or the room.
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#2
dsenette

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well the thought experiment is a bit flawed.

comparing the guy in the room with finding out the world is round is different.

people thought the earth was flat because they didn't bother (or didn't have the technology) to know otherwise, but it was always observable to them that the earth was round (all they had to do was look through a telescope or sail around the thing). the dude in the room's observable reality is artificially restricted. there's no reason for him to ever think that there's anything outside his room because he has no perceivable way to observe that he's inside a room, if you can't perceive the concept of "inside" then there is no possible way for "outside" to exist.

his contentment could only be judged on the same basis as our own contentment with our own existence. dissatisfaction typically comes from our innate nature towards comparing ourselves to our peers. our own success is based on the success or failures of others (the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence). unfortunately we've got a much broader sample for comparison, we've got "grass that can always be greener" where as he has no other "grass" to compare his "grass" to

as to him seeing the person bringing his food...if he's been in total darkness his whole life then the cells in his retinas that process light have atrophied and don't work, so he's effectively blind. in fact if he were to be exposed to a bright light he may die of shock.
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#3
srobison

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The comparison to the room and the solar system implies that man discovering the world is round is comparable to the man in the room finding a nail in a wall. and as far as the light goes, I meant something a little more subtle. a hair in the food or something of that sort. something that could be related to say a big foot sighting, or a crop circle.
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#4
dsenette

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well even then.....since his only existence is the room...and he has no possible way of observing anything outside the room. he has no reasonable expectation of anything being out of the room, he'd have to assume the hair was his, or it was part of the food and not a hair.

if he found a nail in the wall, it would be comparable to you finding a rock outside, as it's the discovery of something that is the composition of "the box" and not an exposition of an existence greater than the box


should be noted that i'm not trying to poke holes in anything, just participating in the thought exercise
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#5
srobison

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Which means that because everything in the room is all he knows. This is I guess the point I am trying to make is that what is inside our box may not be all there is. And like the light from outside causing our man to die of shock, we may be so totally un prepared to face what is unknown that us ourselves are "shocked" to see the light.
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#6
dsenette

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.....hehe not to go back to it...but if you're not allowed to be/see/exist outside of the box then everything in the room IS all that exists (from his perspective)...so he'll never have aspirations to fly like a bird because he doesn't know what a bird is. he doesn't have aspirations to be a great singer, because he doesn't know what music is (and definitely can't speak)..

the phrase "think outside of the box" is more an indictment of the fact that WE DO have the opportunity to perceive the fact that there's a huge world out there, and that there are limitless possibilities. but as lazy humans we choose not to. it's not that the opportunity isn't available (as with the man in the box)
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#7
srobison

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But what if we aren't allowed to see outside of our box?
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#8
dsenette

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well that's not the case....we (i.e. modern humans) are allowed to see outside of the box (even in restrictive environments like communist regimes and dictatorships, there's not much stopping people from imagining things)
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#9
srobison

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you are applying that knowledge only to the sense we believe we have, and the realities we believe we are inside. Just like the man in the box does not believe he can see.
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#10
dsenette

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from the purely scientific standpoint (and not the philosophical side of this). it's not that the man believes he cannot see....he doesn't even know that he can't see, since he's been in a dark box since birth, his eyes physically don't work. he doesn't have the concept of sight because he's never had sight. he doesn't even know that other people can see...mainly because he doesn't know about other people and the fact that since his only known existence is darkness, then he has no reasonable expectation that IF other people existed that they would be able to see.

you are applying that knowledge only to the sense we believe we have, and the realities we believe we are inside.

well we're talking about scale here. if we ourselves (and our known universe, laws of physics, etc...) are inside of a larger box that we're not allowed to see outside of (by some other power), then we are in the same situation as the man in the smaller box. but our box is bigger, so we're allowed to operate inside the confines of our box. fortunately based on our perception of the contents of our box, we've got limitless opportunity and availability of thought, growth, adventure, innovation, etc... where as the man's box has been made limited and closed.

the only reason that people outside of the small box can imagine anything greater than the things that they experience is because of the vastness of our experience inside our unlimited box. i've never personally seen an echidna in the flesh, but i know they exist, so i'm able to imagine a place where echidnas exist. i've never seen a quantum phase shift, but someone has, and they've documented it, so i'm allowed to imagine all the limitless possibilities of what could be done with quantum mechanics. the man in the small box doesn't have this luxury, his imagination is limited by his experience. he's only experienced a dark box where 3 times a day food magically appears in a trunk in the middle of the room. he's go no basis for imagining anything outside of this reality.


there are a few schools of thought that postulate that perception is the root of existence (most schools of thought teach the opposite, existence is the root of perception). I.E. Perception causes existence, not the other way around. The act of perceiving something causes that something to exist. so until something is perceived (by someone) then it physically doesn't exist (which is really helpful when someone asks you to look for something in the cupboard.). the fact that we can't perceive anything outside of the realm of our current reality means that nothing outside of that exists.
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#11
srobison

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I like the perception=reality argument except that it denies your initial statement that you believe something exists because you are told it exists. Because that leaves you with the problem of information break down. Kind of like the perception of America that someone from another country has of us. Or even on a smaller scale, I live in Louisiana, and I spent some time in Washington D.C. and people genuinely believe, and can therefore imagine, us all living in little shacks on the bayou with pet alligators. Of course this is not how life is at all in La. but under the basis that seeing is truth and believing is seeing, then my reality would be altered by the imagination of another person.

Also what I found to be the most interesting part of your previous statement is that you imagine the "food trunk" in the center of the room. I kind of pictured it as a corner unit.

Lets alter the experiment and say the man in the room gets 12 hours of light and 12 hours of dark alternating, what do you think the outcome of this small change would result in?
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#12
dsenette

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Kind of like the perception of America that someone from another country has of us. Or even on a smaller scale, I live in Louisiana, and I spent some time in Washington D.C. and people genuinely believe, and can therefore imagine, us all living in little shacks on the bayou with pet alligators.

you didn't get your pet alligator on your 12th birthday?...your parents must've forgotten to fill out the forms (i'm from Franklin)

well there's a difference between perception in the sense of the perception of existence, and the perception of intangibles like state of mind (i.e. the common perception that asians are good at math....that's the perception of a concept and not the perception of existence.)

Lets alter the experiment and say the man in the room gets 12 hours of light and 12 hours of dark alternating, what do you think the outcome of this small change would result in?

his eyes would work. he'd have a rough concept of what we call day and night, though probably wouldn't call it that, he'd know what colors look like (though if you asked him what does orange look like, he'd have no idea since he doesn't know what orange is supposed to represent)
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#13
srobison

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Do you think he would develop a connection with the light, i.e. the way people used to worship the sun, or do you think that was more for the growth of crops?
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#14
dsenette

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well without getting too far into the realm of religion (very sticky subject)...the process of sun worship, and the like was basically derived from the fact that it was observable that if you had a long period of time during a year with little/no sunlight that your plants would die or not grow well. so, hey that big yellow thing must be what's doing it...why does it get dark? i know that when ork is mad at me he withholds things from me, so maybe the yellow thing is mad? hmmm, what makes ork like me again...i know GOATS! let's give the yellow thing goats!

also most theistic beliefs are communal, not self initiated. the general consensus is that if we were 100% isolated, and had no knowledge of anyone's existence other than our own then we'd have to basis for a belief that anything other than ourselves existed. so there would be no theistic concept in that situation
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#15
srobison

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I dont know, I find it hard to believe if you spent a life time, which would probaly be short in this situation, that you would have to spend time thinking about something. I was reading some of Harlow's depression chamber experiments, and it appears that people basically sulk until they die or are let out, but I think that is because the experiment allowed the patients to see the scientists. Without knowledge of another person I believe the man would start to question whether anyone like him existed anywhere else.
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