Reality and Imagination. How do you know what's Real? - NLP Chat

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Reality & Imagination
IRC Chat Log, June 11, 1998

Starting with.. "The Truman Show!"
Jonathan OK welcome to the chat folks! Now. There's been a lot of hubbub on the newsgroup.... and I'd like to keep discussion of that out of this chat. This chat will be focusing on the subject of reality vs imagination.... not on NLP politics. OK? Can we take the high road on that one? ;)
follie absolutely
tranzpupy y
Jonathan Most of you have been here before, so I want to thank you again for participating. I may act as facilitator... but YOUR comments and participation are what really make all this work out so well! This topic started primarily because... well, because I saw the movie "the Truman Show." How many of you have seen it? (y/n)
tranzpupy, follie, tangram, jazz, Occum n
LaoTsu, jaba y
Jonathan OK -- I *loved* that movie. To keep it brief... but hit the highlights... Jim Carrey plays the 1st person to have ever been adopted by a Corporation. ;) And everyone in his life... is an actor in a show... based around HIM. Now, however improbably... the movie opens to his adulthood at the age of early 30's... and some things start to go awry. Like... he's by his car... and out of nowhere... a movie-set light... falls from the sky and crashes in the street in front of his house. He looks up, and there's nothing to be seen anywhere. Next... he's in his car... and something goes ka-flouey with his radio... and he picks up a signal as he's driving to work turning onto Flamingo Rd.... "and he's turning onto Flamingo Rd now..." then the radio goes back to normal, etc. He starts to get a sense that people... meaning, ALL people... are responding to HIM. And he begins to question the information he's getting. He questions the reality in which he lives. As the movie unfolds... you see him grapple with the issues surrounding whether or not he lives in a world which is actually real! (Still with me folks? getting to an interactive part of the chat in a sec!)
tranzpupy, tangram Yes.
Occum We got ya Jon.
follie reminds me of a similar movie I saw once, but i'll bring that up later

Considering "The Experience Machine"
Jonathan As I watched it... I thought back to having read "The Experience Machine..." by Robert Nozick. Its a short essay excerpted from his book "Anarchy State & Utopia." Nozick is a Libertarian Philosopher. Leaving politics out of this, for tonight... The essay argues AGAINST Jeremy-Bentham type arguments that people are only pursuing pleasure as the primary motivator of all of the behavior in their life.
Ollie_ whoops, here I go again...
Jonathan This is VERY NLP related... because we're often eliciting people's values and strategies... so that we can help GIVE people more of what they want!
tranzpupy or force them to go out and get it...
Jonathan The essay says... what if there were a machine.... that you could hook yourself up to (like that described in the movie BRAINSTORM)... which could give you ALL the most intense and wonderful and completely supportive experiences you would ever want or need?
Occum Like in the movie 'Strange Days' as well Jon.
Jonathan Yes, Occum!!! What if you could keep such a machine on, ALL the time? Would you want to? If the content of the machine gave you ALL of the experience you would ever want or need? (leave out biological needs, & such, assuming you'd get all appropriate nutrition while you were hooked up to it, etc).
tangram or Total Recall
Jonathan But even if the experience of tasting foods, could be reproduced completely... WOULD YOU want to be hooked up to such a machine forever?
jaba Hook me to the KEG, man
Occum Any of those tangram.
Jonathan Or even for MOST of the time? Nozick argues that most people... would NOT. That they might enjoy it for a little while... but that they would back out of it...
Occum A provocative question.
jaba I am already
Jonathan For a variety of reasons... including feeling the need to have freedom of choice and a clearer sense of real vs unreal. Its VERY thought-provoking.
tranzpupy how about a need to impact the world around us...
Occum Chocolate cake only tastes good for so long.
Jonathan Now. The pleasure-as-good school-of-thought is very Utilitarian (John Stuart Mill). And I think pleasure DOES drive many of our actions. Either long-term pleasure, or short-term pleasure. But sneaking behind all this... is this issue of HOW do we know our reality is actually our reality... So. Now. With the above out of the way....
tangram or the need for a sense of personal accomplishment
sabren "better than life"

Exploring as a Group...
Jonathan I'd like to see where you all take the conversation! EVERYONE can participate, of course! This goes to the heart of how we understand our own reality.
follie another part of this same issue: if all we have is pure pleasure, whatever that may be, I think we can
jaba I am already hooked into such a machine, the question is: are you hooked into it too. Or are you created by the machine
tangram Would you use it like television, or would you use it to explore and challenge yourself?
follie ... I think we can't really appreciate it after a while, because we have nothing less pleasurable to compare it to
Jonathan jaba -- yes, that's a well-offered argument ;)
Ollie_ Back for good this time, hopefully. Can someone please DCC me the transcript so far?
LaoTsu Am I butterfly dreaming I am a man or a man dreaming he is a butterfly
Jonathan LaoTsu -- good one!
follie sorry my comment got split in two - my keyboard doesn't know when not to hit the enter key sometimes :-)
Jonathan Yes, follie.. how do we balance it ;)
tangram That would make learning different. Imagine driver's ed, but you spend several hours playing through driving tapes, learning how a car handles FIRST. With the obligatory Blood Flows Red on the Highway tape...
Occum Or a fly dreaming that I am butter. ;-)
tranzpupy There's a short story about a man having horrible dreams, and a very pleasant waking life. So he wakes up from the dream... and discovers the pleasant one was the dream and he's stuck in the horrible life...
Ollie_ Last night I dreamed I fell asleep. Or this morning did I dream I awoke?
Jonathan ewww tranzpupy
tranzpupy kinda negative, huh?
Occum My sister in law has incredibly vivid dreams, and sometimes she wakes up and it takes her a few minutes to realize that it was a dream. Shes even been mad at my brother before for stuff she dreamed he did.
Jonathan LOL Occum! OK. Lets back up from these very deep and weird comments ;) I love when that stuff happens! Morning dream-carryovers.
tranzpupy I've been dreaming a lot lately, and when I wake up... the dream is gone... but just before I go to sleep, I get into the same state, and remember where I was in the dream... and it starts up from there... it's weird. There's a strange physical feeling that goes with it..
Occum True story and she told me about this, this morning in fact.
Ollie_ I've occasionally gone through half a day before realizing that a dream was a dream.
jaba Thanks, it can be fun to thrash philosophically for a while, but more importantly how is it useful to distinguish between virtual reality and reality. When it ain't useful to distinguish them no more, lie back and enjoy where ever you are.
Occum The answer I think, depending on the experience, is that we can't always distinguish, at least not immediatly.
Ollie_ & when I do realize it's always something in the dream that really obviously couldn't have really happened, and it's only because I haven't thought about it from that point of view that I didn't realize before.
LaoTsu I was recording my dreams in a journal a while back and started to get really confused about what actually happened and what was just a dream. Very confusing.
jaba Jonathan's story reminds me of insane people who don't want to come back to sanity. They are having more fun being insane.

Reality Verification Strategies
Jonathan OK! Lets tie this together again a bit. Let me ask a couple of BASIC questions of everyone!
Occum Fire away Jon.
Jonathan (1) How do you know that the monitor in front of you (not what I'm writing... but the actual physical object) is real? Go ahead, answer.
Ollie_ Real in what sense?
Jonathan yes, indeed, Ollie, real in what sense.
follie because I can touch it, I can't put my hand thru it, nor can I see thru it
tangram I see more details than I would imagine.
Jonathan ooooh great answer tangram.
Occum Well my past experience tells me so. We are really playing the percentages with real/unreal.
Ollie_ It is real in the sense that my experience of it is real, therefore it is a real part of my experience.
tangram Could also apply that to touch and sound. I might imagine "solid", I don't spontaneously imagine "needs dusting, and I wish that smudge weren't there"
LaoTsu It can be sensed in all the senses VACOG.
Jonathan Now. We could hallucinate a glass panel on top of us, right? How would we know it wasn't real?
Occum Yes but there is a difference between a computer monitor in my dream, and a physical one. Good point Jon.
LaoTsu Machines don't work right in a dream.
Ollie_ Occum: what's the difference?
Jonathan LOL Lao... Ollie -- that's a great question to ask. Let me add to it.
Ollie_ How does your experience of a computer monitor in a dream differ from your experience of a "physical" computer monitor?
Jonathan If you could imagine a monitor so real... and in your imagination.. you could focus on SO many details... that you really could see it there in front of you...
Occum Its like I said before, we are playing the percentages.
Jonathan And take the time to make those details more vivid... would the imaginary monitor get closer to the real monitor in terms of your ability to recognize its "realness?"
Occum We go off of data and logic, and improve our map as we go.
tangram Or how about when there actually is/isn't a window somewhere, but you thought otherwise. There's that delicious jarring moment when you figure it out.
Occum And emotion too.
jaba ummm, the subtleties of the experience. err the sub.., subb...,
Jonathan I want to get down to some more practical differences here.
Occum Also I would challenge you to see words on the computer monitor in your dream.
Jonathan If you imagine a monitor, it is transparent, is it not? As opposed to OPAQUE.
tangram Opaque. It shows an image, not the guts of the monitor, or the bookcase behind it.
Jonathan But if you can imagine a painting, you could imagine painting the transparencies over with opaque paint, and hallucinate what's behind the monitor... going away out of view... being occluded. Can you do that? You may not be able to do it quickly, but can you do it?
jaba The limitations
follie I'm not even sure it
tangram I suppose I'd say, I could spend a whole lot of time imagining a monitor and making it as real as possible, but it would take so much effort I couldn't think about anything else.
Ollie_ Occum: but if you're dreaming about a monitor which doesn't behave like a "real" monitor, then you're not dreaming about a "real" monitor, are you? What distinguishes a "real" monitor from a dream of a "real" monitor?
jaba Imagination is unlimited
Jonathan tangram, that's OK.
follie I'm not even sure it's transparent - if the pictures/text are right on the surface
Jonathan I'm not suggesting "wasting time." I'm only wondering how real we can make it. And then we'll talk about the differences... and the purposes of the differences, etc.
Occum Ollie: that's a distinction without a difference. If a monitor is in your dream it is by definition a dream monitor.
Jonathan Because if these differences aren't USEFUL in a variety of circumstances then it isn't worth talking about for more than a little bit at a time.
tangram Yes. In fact, there was a painting in my building that showed a little square with a still life in a room, and the rest of the canvas was painted over in red and black outside this very neat little window. It drove me crazy. I wanted to see the rest of the room the still life was in.
Occum Right, if distinctions aren't real then this talk is a waste of time.
jaba reality has certain consistent physical limitations
Ollie_ Occum: You're avoiding the question, which is, what *is* a "dream" monitor, as opposed to a "real" one?
Jonathan Nice one tangram! OK. So... your input channels... your sensory systems... are feeding information to your brain at real-time. You have your real-time sensory input systems. And that's a LOT of sensory data.
tangram I know it's real because of the quantity of information I ignore
Occum A dream monitor is one that is in your head when you dream.
Jonathan So we have a great deal of the various cortexes devoted to paring down that sensory data and converting it over to real-time symbolic representations.
Ollie_ And a real monitor is one that is in your head when you're not dreaming?
Occum No not in your head.
Jonathan HOW do we KNOW the difference between the symbolic representations that are "just coming in" vs. the ones we construct? We have to have some mechanisms for that.
Ollie_ So a real monitor isn't in your head? So how do you know it's there, then?
Jonathan The brain knows the difference between real and not real -- EVEN if the strategy for recognizing the difference DIFFERS from person to person...!
Bro_Soul I think Bandler discusses that In Time for a Change.
tangram Will it frustrate you if I repeat, not as much detail? Not as sharply focused, textured, irregular. Prone to moving location slightly if I don't think carefully.
Bro_Soul Where Erickson had a crazy client..who could not tell reality from what is made up.
Jonathan Hmmm tangram... the quantity of information that you ignore. NOW THAT... is a very sophisticated answer. And it may be more "true" than you know.
Bro_Soul It is based on how we organize the information..the differences...
tranzpupy there must be some kind of energy monitor in us that figures out how much energy we are expending to product an image. If we are getting IN a real image
Jonathan I think... I think.. the conscious mind... in conscious states... trusts itself too much. OR... HOW ELSE would people emerging from a dream accuse other people of things these other people did while in their dreams!!!
Occum LOL.
Ollie_ "We create our own reality": discuss please ;)
tranzpupy then we are expending energy on deleting and distorting information to make the image comprehensible...but if we are creating an image, we have to generate that deleted information and I bet that generating information
Occum ;-)
tranzpupy takes more energy than filtering it....
Jonathan When we're in a dream state... a deep trance state... our reality strategies shift greatly... OR... the "quantity of information being deleted" theory or idea either becomes NULL, or becomes less important
tangram Tranz, I don't work that hard at thinking
Occum If I created my own reality things would be very different. Actually that's a great point.
tranzpupy well, I'm blonde
Ollie_ OK, how about this: How do you know that you are incapable of creating a mental representation of an unreal object, which is indistinguishable in every detail from a mental representation of an identical real object?
tangram I keep thinking about the experience of believing there's another step at the bottom of the staircase and being surprised when I've already reached the bottom. There's a moment of pure "HUH?" and I have to bring my mental model up to date
tangram indistinguishable at the time, or both during and after?
Occum Ollie if that's directed at me: I never said it wasn't possible.
Ollie_ (Continued by private message.)
Jonathan Lets see how the GROUP here is doing.... before taking stock of where we are... Who is enjoying the direction of these thoughts.... and who here is losing the topic or interest? Y= want to continue same direction, N = concentrate more (for example) on Submodality differences? vote time ;) (Btw I *LOVE* this chat, but I want us to move forward together!)
jaba, Occum, follie, jaba, sabren, Occum y
LaoTsu, tangram n
Jonathan ok. Kewl... votes look like they're mostly Y.. here... with a few people who want to move on.... SO.... lets combine... Lets chunk back up a bit. We do lots of things in real life... and we do a lot more, often, in our imaginations. We're running ideas over & over again in our minds...Some of us visualize very well.... some of us have lots of internal dialogue.... NLPers call such people "auditory-digitals".... and they have voices that keep going... and going... and going.... Have you EVER... had an imaginary conversation (much like that dream described before)... where someone said something you didn't appreciate to you... and in reality they didn't... and you acted mad to them anyway? (y/n)
tangram, JonathanA, inte| y
tranzpupy, LaoTsu n
Jonathan Well... SOMEHOW... our brains thought that may have been real. Or we wouldn't carry the emotion over from our imagined memory.. to our real behavior. So that's a GREAT example of where the lines are NOT drawn so clearly. Emotional/Kinesthetic feelings.
follie I don't know if this is apropos the subject or not, but here goes: about 4 months ago, I worked with some Silval method tapes. One of the exercises was to imagine very clearly a "mental laboratory" which contained anything/everything I wanted there... so I created such a place at the bottom of a long stairway, and took it one step further... outside is a lovely body of water and to the left is a huge field of wildflowers... and I still go there occasionally when I want some peace and quiet... or to just quiet the voices in my mind that won't let go...
Jonathan Sounds wonderful. So you're using the power of the mind to jump back into a calmer more-in-control state.
follie you've got it :-)
tangram Hmm.. as an example, I might "practice" a scenario that's difficult, like confronting someone. And while I think about how it would sound, and how I would respond, I might get worked up right now. So back in the present moment I feel grumpy or upset, and it takes a while to calm back down.
Jonathan OK tangram, just for bringing that up, you've now got an assignment to practice a scenario in which you cheer ALL of us up. ;)
tangram Sorry.. poor choice of states
Jonathan GRIN. OK. Let me carry the previous thought further.
tangram Well, I can honestly say I am practicing how much I will enjoy the weekend, and thinking about how every minute at work tomorrow I will get more and more excited because 5PM will keep coming closer and closer! Maybe I'll see Godzilla! Maybe I'll go walk along the Charles and enjoy the summer night!!
Jonathan I believe that our KINESTHETIC filters... are NOT as easily "tricked..." than the Visual & Auditory filters... that they know the difference between real & unreal....
tangram (I mean, see the movie, not hallucinate Godzilla)
Jonathan I think we think we know the difference between visual real and visual unreal... and... we think we know the difference between auditory real and visual unreal.... but... with KINESTHETICS... the lines are not so clear. How do you know when your good feelings are real or fake? LOL When you IMAGINE a good feeling... do you get a real one?
jaba COOL!
Jonathan THINK about this. Imagine it. Find out what happens for yourselves!
jaba That reminds me of a riddle, what is the most useful way to distinguish between reality and virtual reality (dreams, daydreams, hallucinations, movies, TV, computers, time distortions, feelings)
Jonathan answer...?
jaba intensity
tangram have you ever played Remote Control of your Mood? My remote control has a "happy" button and a "happier" button where the volume would be. If I think about clicking the happy buttons I start smiling more and more. Once I get to a certain point, though, I do stop and notice whether being this happy matches the moment
Jonathan Tangram -- that's DHE.
tangram It is? I thought it was LSD
Jonathan ;) Its part of DHE.
jaba ha ha ha
Jonathan OK. So who's here, present, active, etc....! (y/n)
tangram y. Smiling like a fiend, too!
follie I do believe you can imagine a good feeling, and get a pseudo-real one if you really want it
_Stile_, tranzpupy, piizaan, Laslo, inte| y
Jonathan If there's anyone here who isn't COMPARING the difference of their virtual-vs-reality-filters
jaba Follie, what is the difference between a real feeling and a pseudo-real one?
Jonathan between visual, auditory, and KINESTHETIC, do it now! And... if you're new... and you don't really understand what I'm asking... TELL ME SO, and I'll try and clarify for you.
follie example ... my significant other was away for 3-4 months over the winter, but when we talked on the phone sometimes we would coax each other into feeling a pseudo-snuggle. The real one (snuggle) was several hundred miles away ;-) ... but the feeling was better than a cold night...
tangram I don't understand your comparison suggestion
piizaan you want us to distinguish between how we know something is REAL and NOT REAL?
Jonathan yes. OK tangram. Can we have quiet here for a moment please? With your visual field..... you can see your monitor in front of you... and you can see the amount of light in the room, and you can probably see your hands. And you KNOW, somehow, you KNOW you're there. and that so are those things I mentioned. So if you were to look off in a certain direction, and imagine a glowing sphere of electrical energy..... Maybe you could... maybe you couldn't. But you know its not real. Or do you? Either way, most people would say they know its clearly not real. NOW. With your auditory system, you can hear sounds around you (or not). If someone called out your name from elsewhere in the apt/house, assuming there IS anyone there... you'd KNOW it was real, or not. Somehow. Make sense so far?
tangram yes.
follie y
Jonathan We TRICK ourselves into believing we know how to tell the difference between real and unreal.
Ollie_ Ha!
Jonathan I say TRICK, because our minds sometimes play tricks on ourselves... by playing around the filters sometimes... doesn't it? Even if we're usually right.... sometimes, we find out our sensory systems were playing tricks on us.
tangram If I perceived something vividly, and it behaved in a way I expected, and it was appropriate for it to be there, it would be difficult to notice it was not real.
Ollie_ Sorry, but how can *anything*, even if it is imaginary, possibly not be real? Can you imagine music that isn't real?
Jonathan I love it Ollie, go right to the heart of the matter... ;) OK. So most of us have this strong reliance on our real vs. imagined filters... even if they're not always right. But... I suggest to you... I posit... that our filters with respect to kinesthetics... are NOT as strong... because they don't need to be. So... if you imagine a rosebud in front of you... you KNOW if its real vs unreal. If you hear music in your head... you KNOW if its real or imagined. And if you think about a wonderful feeling in your chest.... you don't KNOW the difference between a real feeling and a fake one.... as well. Just thinking about one... causes the beginnings of one... (for most people, anyway!)
tangram Actually, when I get too little sleep that line blurs. I will see things out of the corner of my eye, or misinterpret background noise.
follie kinda like the snuggle I was describing
Jonathan OK Ollie, we'll get there... I'm bring people up to speed here!
Ollie_ Doesn't the act of imagining it make it real? Music is a perfect example of that! Since it's an abstract thing.
tangram I can imagine real music that is not external
jaba I got it, got description Jonathan
Jonathan No, I'd say not for everyone Ollie (within their conscious minds, anyway)... keeping in mind that how YOU define real is different from how other people define REAL. Now we get into definitions and the difference in how we define all these vague ideas and nominalizations. Reality vs Imagination are two of THE BIGGEST nominalizations I bumped into today. No damage done, though, just a coupla bruises.
follie real or imagined? ;-)
tangram they'd hurt just the same
Jonathan Nominalization = CONCEPT... a process turned into a concept --
Ollie_ Real & imagined being mutually exclusive is simply *wrong*.
tangram amen
follie I agree ollie
Jonathan I agree with you Ollie... Just prompting some discussion and making sure people understood my direction. And to understand why I agree with you... now we have to find some GOOD working definitions of "real" and "imagined"
Ollie_ Are you going to mention the purple cow?
Jonathan And I think "real" is going to be a LOT more difficult to get consensus on. Which is OK.
piizaan so love is a nominalization?
Jonathan Feel free, Ollie, go to it.
tranzpupy I never saw a purple cow; I never hope to see one; but I can tell you hear and now; I'd rather see than be one
Jonathan hmmm how do we define real, or reality...

Think About a Purple Cow!
Ollie_ OK: close your eyes & imagine, in as much detail as you can, a purple cow. Make sure you can actually see the purple cow in your mind. OK?
Jonathan Thanks Ollie. Others -- listen up & do this exercise!!
Ollie_ Everyone done that? (y/n)
jaba moo
piizaan, inte|, haylie, JonathanA, follie, jaba, msjill, Laslo, tranzpupy y
tangram ? I can only see part of a cow
Ollie_ Now do the same thing again, only this time make it a yellow cow.
Jonathan Keep looking at other parts, if you cant see the whole thing. More & more comes into view as you spend more time on it.
Ollie_ tangram: as long as you see something purple (and then yellow), it doesn't really matter. Everyone got the yellow cow? (y/n)
JonathanA, tangram, haylie, follie, msjill, Laslo, piizaan, tranzpupy, jaba y
Ollie_ Right - now, what is the difference between imagining a purple cow and imagining a yellow cow?
haylie no difference, just color
follie I don't know why, but the purple cow is bigger
tangram the white parts changed from purple to yellow. It looked like a cheap special effect, or bad Easter egg dyes
Jonathan the difference is different for everyone. ;)
haylie LOL! Just imagination
Ollie_ Let's assume for the sake of argument that you managed to imagine two cows that were identical in every detail except for the color. So would you agree that the difference is the color of the cows?
Jonathan Well, I feel differently about each of the two cows. But yes, the primary difference is the color.
follie, jaba, tangram, haylie y
Ollie_ OK, is that a *real* difference?
haylie, follie n
haylie It's imaginary difference
tangram ooo, just got tangled up between "real" and "meaningful"
Ollie_ But the colors were imagined, so how can it be a real difference?
jaba uh oh, bumping up the definition of real again
Jonathan LOL yes. Sure its real.
haylie that's the wonderful thing about the imagination
tangram do I need any old cow to stand in as a cow extra, or do I really need a purple or yellow cow? if it's just a cow-shaped space, any cow will do
piizaan imagined real difference :)
Jonathan Yes, imagined as real.
Ollie_ But then again, there clearly was a difference, because you saw one cow purple and the other one yellow.
Jonathan This really goes to the heart of the definition of real vs unreal/imagined.
tangram the difference was as real as the cow
Ollie_ So the *difference* wasn't imaginary, although it was a difference between two imaginary things.
follie good answer, tangram
Jonathan Many people define real... AS being... verified by SENSORY SPECIFIC real-time data.
haylie very unreal to...i have never seen a purple or yellow cow
tangram I would buy that, Ollie. That helps resolve this muddle.
haylie only in my imagination
tangram I hear the sound of one hand clapping. Am I imagining it, or is it real? Cowwww.. cowwww...

Defining "Real"
Jonathan This was a very useful exercise. Based on that... and based on the other elements we've already explored... HOW DO YOU DEFINE "REAL"? Go ahead. EVERYONE's answer... is correct, in case you didn't already know that...
haylie imagination is real.... so what is it that we are getting at here?
tangram external
Ollie_ I define real as *everything*.
haylie something you can feel
Ollie_ The cows were real. They were real imaginary cows.
Jonathan (ALSO -- there will be NO bashing or making-wrong of anyone else's answers here) give us... your definition of real....
jaba I dunno
piizaan real is anything you want to be real
Ollie_ (Unless you just thought to yourself, "Oh right, yeah, I could imagine a cow" but didn't actually imagine it, in which case it was an imaginary imaginary cow - but a *real* imaginary imaginary cow...)
haylie lol
Laslo real is a nominalization, so to each it would be perceived as different
follie what's "real" to me is totally based on my past experiences, feelings, knowledge, etc
Jonathan Yes, laslo...
haylie good one
Jonathan That's why EVERYONE's answer is correct. Now. Lets drill down with the answer/definition I offered before.
Ollie_ I think most people define "real" as "having a physical existence" (which raises the question "How do you define physical?")
follie lay it on us again
Jonathan Which is... what if what were "real" became... "what was immediately verifiable using sensory specific data?" So that the idea/word REAL became very unimportant? Sensory Specific Information. Does this make sense?
tangram so you're also asking, what's the difference between a real thing I can verify with my own senses versus a real thing I can't, like the space station?
Jonathan What can I touch, and know is there -- what are my skin sensors telling me now? What tone of voice did that person use? What rate of speech? What volume is that music? What is that thing in front of me, and can I verify its existence through touching it? Instead of asking "is it real" -- I would ask "can I verify it using my senses now" Ideally a COMBINATION of senses.
Ollie_ Jonathan: Is the number 57 real? Hmmm... if a tree falls down in a forest, and nobody is there to hear it...
Laslo would you have to use all senses or would 1 be okay?
jaba see, hear, and taste the yellow cow
follie but there are "real" things than I can neither see, feel, or touch
Ollie_ does that mean it doesn't exist, because nobody can verify it using their senses at that moment?
Jonathan the more the better, Laslo
piizaan can I feel it? hear it? touch it? smell it? see it?
Jonathan No, it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. But if I am there, then I can verify it.
Dan26 doesn't that definition discount the realities of memory/thought/etc?
Jonathan Unless it falls on me, in which case, you're back to square one with the tree.
Ollie_ follie: similarly, there are imaginary things which I can see, feel, and touch :)
Jonathan Ollie - RUN with that point if you want to!
follie I agree there too, ollie
Jonathan sure!
tangram memories are (usually) of real things, and I can re experience memories, but I don't mistake them for something happening now. Hm. How do I do that?
Jonathan WHAT examples can you give... of imaginary things you can see, feel, & touch... touch is the one that stumps most people.
_Stile_ auras?
piizaan water
tranzpupy I can get touch... but have trouble with auditory
_Stile_ I can feel auras, but can't see them
follie ... hmmmmm.... back to my imaginary field of wildflowers
tangram I can remember chewing on my crib railing as a child. I know what it tastes like (bitter and dusty dry), I can feel the smooth paint under my fingers, and the way the wood indents under my teeth, and the sound that makes, and the pressure of my jaws when I chew on it
Ollie_ Are auras imaginary? I don't think so.
tangram it was real. It isn't happening now, though.
Dan26 finger across a razor blade, sound of the guy screaming, the sight of his torn flesh
_Stile_ auras aren't imaginary... they are a fine line, though, I guess
follie some people think auras are imaginary
Ollie_ Getting back to dreams :)
tranzpupy some people think the moon is imaginary
Jonathan Auras are not imaginary (for me). I can touch, and see auras.
Ollie_ I can see, feel, and touch things in dreams
haylie Me too!
follie how about Reiki - many people refuse to believe in that
Jonathan How do you verify the touch ones in a waking state?
_Stile_ I'm Reiki I
follie I'm Reiki I too.
Ollie_ My experience of things in dreams is just as real to me as my experience of things in "real" life
Dan26 same here ollie, esp. with lucid dreams
piizaan what about the feeling of free falling off a building in a dream? and it felt like you just fell 200 feet?
follie Reiki is real to me, but a friend whom I respect and love dearly thinks its a bunch of hoopla, nothing more
haylie been there
Jonathan Ollie.... I agree with all of the things you're saying.. but I get the impression you're not acknowledging that other people have different experiences of these things.
Ollie_ People usually label dreams as "unreal" because the experiences differ in various ways from what they experience when they are awake, which they label as "real"
piizaan and you have never fallen 200 feet in real life?
Jonathan (could be mind-reading).
tangram I can simultaneously disbelieve in something a person is talking about but regard their experience as real.
haylie nope ....but could imagine it
Ollie_ But how do they know that the experiences they have labeled as "real" are actually any more reliable an indication of reality than those they have labeled as "unreal"?
tangram I believe they're sincerely reporting an experience. I don't believe I would ever have that experience.
Jonathan They may not. But you still have to acknowledge that their reality is correct for them. Even if you think you can enhance their understanding of the differences ;)
tangram I guess the ultimate gut-standard for me is that I could perceive it on my own. Then I'd promote it to "really real" from "not really real, but real for them"
Ollie_ When people talk about reality, I think what they usually mean is better described as "consensual reality".
Jonathan (I'm taking this point a little far, I know) If you force your definitions on other people, you're basically doing what $cientologists are doing.... Now there I'm in agreement. They talk about -- shared experiences that they can talk about with other people... That other people will validate and verify through communication. Like... "Did you just see that purple cow walk through this room?" They go "yeah...neat huh" and boom, its real.
follie lol -- what about the emperor's new clothes ... or lack thereof?
tangram they have to sound like they believe it, though, not like they're talking to convince themselves or me
follie was occum "really" here?
Jonathan LOL - I saw him come & go.... yeah.... neat huh
Ollie_ This is all getting very philosophical...
tangram If occum were in a black box which no one could perceive him in, would he be there or not? Or would he be a point of uncertainty that would collapse when we opened the chat log?
Jonathan OK. Can we step back from where we've been going... and get some closure on the topic for the night? Funny tangram ;;) Are we ready to chunk back up a bit? (y/n)
_Stile_, tangram, follie, Ollie_, Laslo, piizaan y
jaba Reiki

Getting closure!
Jonathan OK.... Before getting closure, I want to thank ALL of you for your contributions and explorations here. It is NOT easy to get into a discussion comparing & contrasting our various reality strategies... and sharing our different frames of reference without getting into.... heated discussions ;) So... congratulate yourselves on your participation so far. I'm thankful & impressed. Now. We've covered a lot of wild ideas and explored a lot of different frames and definitions. And the bottom line is, maybe some of us have as a result had our personal frames of reference expanded, and maybe some haven't. But this isn't about being more closed-minded... its about being more OPEN-minded.... possibly .... to the possibility that what we think of as real... isn't... and what we think of as imaginary... may be more real than we thought. Its ok to trust that you're not certain of things. It really is! You get to laugh about how your senses sometimes trick you! And you get to be less serious in life when that happens... which leads to being happier with yourself and people around you. And when you're in a better state... others will want to be around you more anyway. So. What I'd like to do.... now that we're 2 hours into this chat... is suggest to you that we all have these internal filters and ideas as to how we interpret the world... and if there's ONE thing that results from this chat... I'd like it to be that... we can all recognize that we are not... repeat NOT... more right than anyone else.... except for ourselves. My definitions can be better for me than someone else's... but My definitions are NEVER automatically an example of better judgement than what they have at present. NEVER! ;) So even if as you move through the world.... even if you think you have a really useful reality strategy... do your best to acknowledge other people's positions and respect them. Each of us has our own reality strategy... and that's the best one... the right one for us at that time. Even if others might think they know better.... they don't. And the only exceptions to that RULE of thumb... in ONLY my opinion... ;) Are parents raising children... ;) since you're trying to SHAPE their reality strategy! And the second exception is when someone appears so out-of-control and self-destructive that it may be important to intervene in a more dramatic way. Though I fortunately don't have any examples of this in my life... examples might include a drug or alcohol addict who may need assistance from the authorities, etc. Or being taken to a doctor against their substance-induced will. Does this make sense?
tranzpupy yes
tranzpupy, jaba, Ollie_ y
follie I think you're right on! @->-- (Editor's note.. that "@->--" is meant to denote a rose (horizontally!) )
piizaan so in short don't be so serious, let your imagination run free? as wild as it my seem?
Jonathan Because it is certainly true... that substances will EASILY shift/change/mess-with people's reality strategies. OK. So... open-mindedness... and respect. And even as you learn more about NLP....
tranzpupy embedded command...
Jonathan and even as you learn more about influencing and persuading with NLP... be open minded about people's OWN needs and perceptions. Be respectful and influence into WIN-WIN solutions.
tranzpupy Overt command
Ollie_ Remember - reality is what you make it.
Jonathan Ollie, thank you for showing and contributing so wonderfully People -- give Ollie a hand for his efforts.... and willingness to share
tranzpupy hand, hand
follie clap clap clap
piizaan clap clap clap
tangram kudos
Ollie_ Oh, btw, if anyone's interested that purple cow thing came from "Consciousness Explained" by Daniel C. Dennett.
_Stile_ *clap* thanks :)
Jonathan I enjoyed this one very much and whether or not it has wide appeal -- I'm glad we went through it! Now -- with the chat behind me... I'll make a couple of quick announcements.... before you all take off... At the beginning of the chat I mentioned this -- my 1st product is now available -- a workbook on using the Meta-Model. I've written up a descriptive text with exercises on the effective & creative & intuitive use of the Meta Model with people you speak with. This is the first in a series of such workbooks I've got planned. The ad will be up on the web site tonight or tomorrow (when I figure out where to put it...). More to come, such as... how to use the Milton Model more effectively. And how to use Analog Marking and how to use Embedded Commands.... There are the upcoming events in 5 major cities this fall. Washington is doing GREAT, New York, Toronto, Los Angeles, and looking at Atlanta.
piizaan TORONTO!
Jonathan For those people who weren't here when we began, and who have heard about my events coming up in the Fall, and who may want to attend but aren't yet sure that they want to attend: I have a testimonial up on the site (more to come) describing day 2 of the 3 days. To see the testimonial: go visit here!


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