10 Mind-boggling Theories That Will Make You Question Reality and The Universe
We always want to believe that reality is plain and simple but most of the times it’s not. Some of the things we take for granted as being true are in reality false. Philosophers and scientists have discredited in so many ways the theories of commonsense as the following examples show in detail:
1 The Big Freeze
The Big Freeze refers to a scientific theory on the end of the universe and it spells disaster for everyone. According to the theory, a fixed amount of energy exists in the world and as it runs out, the universe slows down. Since heat is produced by energy particle movement, there’s slow loss of heat. A slowdown in movement also exists and eventually everything will come to a halt. T.S Eliot once said, “This is the way the world ends: not with a bang but with a whimper.”
The philosophical theory Solipsism, states that we can verify nothing else except the existence of the mind. It’s a silly theory at first since, it’s hard to deny that the world we live in exists but the problem is that it’s hard to verify that anything except your consciousness exists. Could some of the plausible dreams you have had in life show that maybe whatever is around us is just a dream? We do however have family and friends we can verify by touch, right? But people on LSD, report that they are able to see and touch their most convincing hallucinations, yet we never assume their illusions are real. What then can we verify? We can only prove our thoughts.
Idealism is the belief that things exist as an idea in the mind-specifically in someone’s mind. The idea by famous idealist and philosopher, George Berkeley, was dismissed by his peers. One of them especially, closed his eyes and kicked a stone to refute the idea. If the stone had only existed in the friend’s mind then he wouldn’t have kicked it, eyes closed. Berkeley also stated that an all-powerful and omnipresent God existed, who perceived everything and everyone simultaneously. Whether this is plausible or not – I’ll let you be the judge.
4 Plato and the Logos
Plato is among the most famous philosophers. He claimed that there exists another world different from the one we are familiar with, that had perfect ‘forms’. What we see around us are just shadows, or imitations of the real thing. When we study philosophy, we are at a better chance to glimpse the originals. In addition to this, Plato who was a monist, claimed that everything is made out of a single substance. According to his view, diamonds, dog poo and gold are all composed of the same substance but arranged in different ways. This theory may not be too far from the truth according to modern science.
We take time for granted and normally divide it into present, past and future. Presentism philosophers, however argue that the past and future do not exist- only the present does. This means that the last birthday you celebrated does not exist and this article will cease to exist immediately after you look at it- well, until you decide to look at it again. According to Saint Augustine, time can never be behind and ahead at the same time and therefore the future does not exist. Budhism scholar, Fyodor Shcherbatskoy, in other words said that: “Everything past is unreal, everything future is unreal, everything imagined, absent, mental . . . is unreal. . . . Ultimately real is only the present moment of physical efficiency.”
This theory contrasts presentism. It states that time has many layers actually, and can be compared perhaps to a sponge cake which unlike time, does not divide philosophers. The layers exist simultaneously but a particular observer sees a layer depending on where he is standing. In other words, Justin Bieber, World War II and dinosaurs exist at the same time but they can only be viewed from a particular point. This view makes the future appear hopeless and free will becomes an illusion.
7 Brain in the Vat
This thought experiment is by scientists and philosophers who believe that the external world is verifiable independently. So, where is the problem with this? Imagine that we are brains-in-vats merely and our perceptions are being manipulated by evil scientists or aliens. How would we know that it’s happening? Can we disapprove the idea that it’s possible this situation is indeed the case for us right now? The Brain-in-vat theory is a modern version of the Descartes Evil Demon problem. The same point is made here- it’s impossible to prove anything else exists except our consciousness. The theory however employs some slightly different thought experiments. The Matrix was in fact based on this particular scenario.
8 Multiverse theory
We have all by now heard of the multiverse or parallel universe theory, unless you have been living under a rock. The parallel worlds are said to be like ours in so many ways and with only minor differences. An infinite number of universes exist according to the theory.
The implications of the theory I think are much like those of the Fringe series: In one universe you are a dictator, in another you never got to be born, in another you lie eight feet under the ground because you were killed by a dinosaur -get the picture?
9 Fictional realism
Superman is real if we are to believe the Multiverse theory. If there are an infinite number of universes out there, then some of them must have real-life versions of some of our favorite fictional characters like the Wolverine, X-Men, Cyclops etc.
What happens to things that are behind your back? Some philosophers are of the opinion that they vanish. However, some philosophers (phenomenalists) believe that the existence of some things is in so far as they are perceived. Meaning that, that sandwich you are eating only exists so long as you are aware it exists. No perception, no existence and that’s phenomenalism for you.
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