Unusual ways of thinking/Oddities of the mind

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Unusual ways of thinking/Oddities of the mind

Postby Screature » Tue Apr 07, 2009 3:01 pm UTC

tl;dr Does your mind make you think of everyday things in abstract ways? Let me hear some! :)

Ok this will sound like a load of nonsense, but my mind works in strange ways!!

When I hear a sound, obviously the way my ears and ear canals are shaped will subtely alter that sound, with the variations being picked up by the brain, which tells you which direction that sound is coming from.
When I close my eyes, and something in front of me and to the left makes a sound, I can tell which direction the sound is coming from (somewhere in front and to the left). Then, when I open my eyes, its like I can also see which direction it's coming from. Ok ok I know, odd, but try it. Put some music on, then look around. I get the strange sense that when the speaker is in my field of vision, I'm picking up the sound via my vision. Obviously I can see where the sound is coming from, but it's as if my eyes/vision is interpreting the sound. Obviously that's not true, but my mind is very abstract......

Now for another load of nonsense....
Say all your senses are cut off, and you're floating in a vacuum. You can't hear, see, touch, taste or smell anything. Also, you're paralyzed. You can't feel anything from the neck down. You can't sense temperature or touch, you can't even tell where or how your limbs are positioned! Ok, now say some nerves become active which mean you can feel just one finger. Now that finger is subjected to pain (of some sort). You can then tell where your finger is, by the direction of the pain. I know if my finger, that's just hurt like hell, is on my left or my right, just from the direction of the pain relative to my head. Do you see what I mean?
Say in an everyday situation my hand is on my left, and I move it in such a way that I touch a hot stove. I can tell which direction that pain is coming from, and rapidly make my hand move to the right, away from the location of the pain. I wouldn't jerk my hand further towards the pain, would I?

Now, this thread isn't necessarily to discuss my thoughts above, but does anyone else's mind work in such a way that makes nonsense of everyday things, or interpret things in a different way? I think far too much :D

EDIT: Another one. What is the point to ANYTHING existing? Particles, atoms, protons, neutrons, electrons and so on. Why do the interact? Why does the universe exist? How come a bunch of a few of the elements which make up the universe is sat tapping keys to type this? This bunch of elements knows what the hell it's doing, and why. But WHY?

EDIT2: And another, if our brain's were located in our ribcage instead of our heads, but everything else was the same (say for arguments sake your cranium contained one of your lungs instead). Would your consciousness emenate from your ribcage, or from the eyes that still look out from your head? My consciousness is is my head right now. My thoughts come from my head. If my brain is in my ribcage, would thought still come from behind the eyes? Or would you dream, think and acknowledge existance from your ribcage? Would you hear your thoughts coming from your ribcage? It's as if my eyes and ears are my consciousness at the moment......
Last edited by Screature on Tue Apr 07, 2009 3:17 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Unusual ways of thinking/Oddities of the mind

Postby headprogrammingczar » Tue Apr 07, 2009 3:06 pm UTC

There is a lot of interconnectedness between your senses. This phenomenon is similar to Synesthesia, which is where you hear color, see sounds, etc (except without the LSD). There was a good article a while back about how you could attach a camera to a grid of electrodes, put it on your tongue, and "see" in "black and white" with your eyes closed. Right now this is being developed and streamlined for pilots. Imagine your plane is spinning out of control in a storm. Electrodes in your sleeves "dip your hands in some sort of fluid" (that's how the author described the sensation), letting you feel which way was down.
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Re: Unusual ways of thinking/Oddities of the mind

Postby Screature » Tue Apr 07, 2009 3:25 pm UTC

If I'm walking down the road, and I pass someone walking in the opposite direction, I often think.....are they thinking the exact same thing as me? Are they thinking about me thinking about them thinking of me? It's like a form of acknowledgement between two people without any true external acknowledgement. It's like I've connected with that person, and that one person alone, purely for the fact we're having the same simultaneous thoughts.

I bet you're all thinking I'm a wierdo now. When someone else says something that you yourself were just thinking at that moment, and worded almost exactly the same, do you feel like you've almost put that thought into their mind for them to say? Say you're watching a film, and getting hungry, and at the end of the film you think "I think we should have fish and chips", and someone in the room says aloud a split second after "I think we should have fish and chips", have I just telepathically picked up their thoughts? Or have I telepathically transmitted my own thoughts, which they picked up and decided to say out loud? Happens to me quite often.....

When I'm driving, it's like my consciousness leaves my flesh and bone body, and I become the car. If I want to turn left, it's like my consciousness sends a signal directly to the wheels, which comply and turn left, completely missing out the steps of brain > alter position of arms to turn left > steering wheel rotates > mechanisms make front wheels rotate their axis left. I am no longer the driver, I am the car.


COME ON GUYS! I feel like an idiot for posting these hehe. I'd just like to see what absurdities people think up when bored. When I'm laying in bed late at night, I think of absolutely allorts. If I find an idea I like, I'll explore it, no matter how absurd. I'd like everyone to post exactly these thoughts, the kind of thoughts that if you told people about them, they'd go :shock: WTFHUH? I'm just about abnormal enough to do just that. Anyone care to do the same?
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Re: Unusual ways of thinking/Oddities of the mind

Postby eternauta3k » Tue Apr 07, 2009 8:45 pm UTC

Screature wrote:When someone else says something that you yourself were just thinking at that moment, and worded almost exactly the same, do you feel like you've almost put that thought into their mind for them to say? Say you're watching a film, and getting hungry, and at the end of the film you think "I think we should have fish and chips", and someone in the room says aloud a split second after "I think we should have fish and chips", have I just telepathically picked up their thoughts? Or have I telepathically transmitted my own thoughts, which they picked up and decided to say out loud? Happens to me quite often.....
Happens to lots of people. I'm open to the possibility of telepathy, but when it happens to me I believe it's a coincidence. My instinct is to attribute it to some sort of thought transmission, but when I work it in my head I conclude there's not enough evidence.
Nevertheless, I've been having fun with this lately. It's been happening a lot that I take a note in class and then the teacher says exactly that, or I think something and someone says it. It's entertaining :)
Another interesting oddity is taking a nap in the afternoon. It's like I am half-asleep and I'm constantly entering and exiting dreams, it's a weird state to be in.
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Re: Unusual ways of thinking/Oddities of the mind

Postby frezik » Wed Apr 08, 2009 3:11 am UTC

Screature wrote:Say all your senses are cut off, and you're floating in a vacuum. You can't hear, see, touch, taste or smell anything. Also, you're paralyzed. You can't feel anything from the neck down. You can't sense temperature or touch, you can't even tell where or how your limbs are positioned! Ok, now say some nerves become active which mean you can feel just one finger. Now that finger is subjected to pain (of some sort). You can then tell where your finger is, by the direction of the pain. I know if my finger, that's just hurt like hell, is on my left or my right, just from the direction of the pain relative to my head. Do you see what I mean?
Say in an everyday situation my hand is on my left, and I move it in such a way that I touch a hot stove. I can tell which direction that pain is coming from, and rapidly make my hand move to the right, away from the location of the pain. I wouldn't jerk my hand further towards the pain, would I?


That'd be Proprioception.

EDIT: Another one. What is the point to ANYTHING existing? Particles, atoms, protons, neutrons, electrons and so on. Why do the interact? Why does the universe exist? How come a bunch of a few of the elements which make up the universe is sat tapping keys to type this? This bunch of elements knows what the hell it's doing, and why. But WHY?


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Re: Unusual ways of thinking/Oddities of the mind

Postby Sir_Elderberry » Wed Apr 08, 2009 3:20 am UTC

GEB doesn't quite answer why there's something rather than nothing. But then, I have yet to hear any explanation of that, ever, that doesn't just invoke something else being there first and pushes the problem back.

But it's an amazing book, explains consciousness very well (Pick up I Am A Strange Loop if you want more) and should be read by possibly everyone.
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Re: Unusual ways of thinking/Oddities of the mind

Postby diotimajsh » Wed Apr 08, 2009 6:45 am UTC

Hmm. For the record, these are really much more philosophical questions and concerns than they are scientific--although of course we should be open to scientific knowledge informing philosophical conclusions where relevant. I think if you start looking into philosophy as a discipline (in particular some of the more esoteric thought experiments), you'll find reams of people whose minds come up with seemingly crazy scenarios built from everyday observations and thoughts.

For your concerns specifically...
Screature wrote:What is the point to ANYTHING existing?
If you ever find a satisfactory answer to that, do please let the rest of humanity know ;D.

If we're talking about "the point of something" as in "why an object is worthwhile/good", "what is its purpose", or "why it should exist at all" and apply it to the universe in general, then we will probably need to posit some God or intelligent designer. At a bare minimum, we could say that the universe has some sort of mindless, metaphysical ordering/governing principles which works toward a purpose or goal--but I have trouble seeing how this sort of thing could be truly mindless, or why we would call its selection criteria a set of "goals" in that case.

Screature wrote:WHY?
All why questions will inevitably lead to the answer, "Well, we don't know" at some point. This may be oversimplifying, but science supplies descriptions of how things behave, not "why". When we talk about the "why" I think you mean--a sort of grand, existential "why"--we're back to speculating outside the realm of science and into the realm of philosophy or theology. It may very well be that answers to that kind of "why" question only make sense given a purposeful intelligence behind the unvierse--that's my personal opinion. Philosophers do try to make some sense of the question though: I recommend reading the first few sections from this SEP article. If you're up for a somewhat more technical discussion, you might try Googling Derek Parfit's article, "Why Anything? Why this?".


That said, I do think reading GEB will help shed some light on how a system of patterns in matter entertains thoughts and self-awareness.


Regarding telepathy: sure, it's a possibility, and I do keep that in mind. But I think that our scientific/naturalistic explanations can fully account for any such "paranormal" occurrences, and since scientific explanations are much more useful and reliable in general, I prefer to trust them until given reason otherwise.
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Re: Unusual ways of thinking/Oddities of the mind

Postby Screature » Wed Apr 08, 2009 7:47 am UTC

See, this is why I registered here and dumped all my thoughts into the one thread in the Science forum. The guys here will give truly intelligent replies to absolutely anything, and give me more to think about :D

I'm especially intrigued by that thing above starting with P.... (I forgot to memorize the name before hitting the reply button). Its good to see not all my thoughts are random, but that there are scientific explanations for a lot of things. I've always wondered why pain on my right hand, to my right, feels different to pain on my right hand, to my left. Now I know :-D

I don't think Science will ever truly explain the "why" of the universe. It's like the notion that the Universe has a beginning. If it has a beginning, what the heck was there before it? You can't even just say it was an huge empty vacuum, because, technically even an empty space still exists.......

As for the telepathy thing, I'm completely open to it too. The "coincidence" explained in my previous post, happens far too often to me to be believed to be coincidence. I can read people, almost perfectly. It's made me an amazing friend, because I can gather emotion from people without them showing it in any way. I can tell when something is wrong. I can understand the nuances in voice and body, and make predictions on why they're feeling like they do, and what caused it. I suppose you could just say I'm a great listener, but even without listening, I already know and understand. I feel like the Councillor in Star Trek The Next Generation :)
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Re: Unusual ways of thinking/Oddities of the mind

Postby Tass » Wed Apr 08, 2009 8:18 am UTC

Screature wrote:I don't think Science will ever truly explain the "why" of the universe. It's like the notion that the Universe has a beginning. If it has a beginning, what the heck was there before it? You can't even just say it was an huge empty vacuum, because, technically even an empty space still exists.......


Yeah, thats a common misconception about general relativity and cosmology. There was nothing before it, not even vacuum because there was no space and no time. The question does not make sense.

A very incorrect but often intuitively helpfull way to think about it is this: Define a timescale so that t=0 was the instant of the big bang. Now redefine the second so that you make a new timescale where t*=-log(t), this way the universe has always existed, see? The further back in time* you go the smaller was the universe, but it has always been. Now the big bang "instant" is the unreachable limit of an infinitely small universe at the beginning of time (t*=-infinity) and the question of what was before does not make sense.

When we finally get the theory of everything we are likely to find the universe completely contained in it self, fully described - including space and time - by a internally consistent mathematical construction. But as for the "why?": Does the universe really exist just because it mathematically can? Is being possible the same as being? We can probably never answer that but I think maybe it is.

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Re: Unusual ways of thinking/Oddities of the mind

Postby Screature » Wed Apr 08, 2009 9:13 am UTC

Another interesting thought, is that if something can exist, with consciousness, as a state of mass........can it also exist as a state of energy?

My wording is off there so I'll rephrase if I can. Without looking it up right now, I believe everything in the Universe is either mass, or energy....(simple way of looking at it, I know)

Do we know yet whether mass and energy is interchangeable? Can you create mass from energy and vice versa? If the answer is yes (the LHC should give us some pointers).....then surely the correct mixture of energies could create a consciousness? I mean, we walk and talk, and know what we're doing. We have mass. What's to stop a load of energy having a consciousness?
Then we're going into the realms of ghosts and sci-fi and sentient clouds etc. Could that really be possible? (not the ghost stuff, but is it possible for energy with no mass to be conscious?)
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Re: Unusual ways of thinking/Oddities of the mind

Postby frezik » Wed Apr 08, 2009 2:06 pm UTC

Screature wrote:Do we know yet whether mass and energy is interchangeable? Can you create mass from energy and vice versa?


Sure. That's been proven experimentally by the detenation of the first nuclear device (and even before that, really, like with early experiments in antimatter), and the empirical evidence has only grown since then.
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Re: Unusual ways of thinking/Oddities of the mind

Postby ian » Wed Apr 08, 2009 3:38 pm UTC

Screature wrote:Another interesting thought, is that if something can exist, with consciousness, as a state of mass........can it also exist as a state of energy?

My wording is off there so I'll rephrase if I can. Without looking it up right now, I believe everything in the Universe is either mass, or energy....(simple way of looking at it, I know)

Do we know yet whether mass and energy is interchangeable? Can you create mass from energy and vice versa? If the answer is yes (the LHC should give us some pointers).....then surely the correct mixture of energies could create a consciousness? I mean, we walk and talk, and know what we're doing. We have mass. What's to stop a load of energy having a consciousness?
Then we're going into the realms of ghosts and sci-fi and sentient clouds etc. Could that really be possible? (not the ghost stuff, but is it possible for energy with no mass to be conscious?)


We are as much 'mass' as 'energy'. You couldn't have a consiousness made entirely of energy, but then you couldn't have one made entirely of mass either (if there is really any difference). Energy is really only an attribute of particles/objects. Basically your question assumes things to be true that aren't, though the answer is still no.

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Re: Unusual ways of thinking/Oddities of the mind

Postby Matsi » Wed Apr 08, 2009 10:02 pm UTC

Screature wrote:[snip] but is it possible for energy with no mass to be conscious?


Energy with no mass? You mean photons? Well, given the way a single photon behaves during the double-slit experiment, you'd think it was consciously trying to deceive us!

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Re: Unusual ways of thinking/Oddities of the mind

Postby diotimajsh » Thu Apr 09, 2009 2:46 am UTC

To contribute to this thread more originally, here are somewhat crazy topics that I myself have pondered more than once.


Contradiction. Somehow, logical contradiction is kind of fascinating to me, and I wonder things like, "Would it be possible to experience a simultaneous contradiction? Could the universe contain inherent contradictions but our minds are unable to process them? Shouldn't we at least be able to observe inexplicable anomalies if that were so?"

When we talk about contradictions--as I'm doing now--are we able to really imagine them, or are we just referring to something hypothetical like, "the juxtaposition that would be created were it only possible for these two conflicting properties to inhere at once"? But how does that make any more sense? Can we talk about the properties of a square circle if the idea is incoherent? It does seem to me that there should be a difference between a "square circle" and, say, "a number which has all the properties of 2 but is not 2"--they're both self-contradictory, but one of them feels different to me than the other. How can we explain that difference when neither is a coherent concept to begin with? Maybe the apparent difference is illusory.

Next one's pretty normal, but I've been frequently intrigued by higher dimensions (> 4 space/time)--trying to get a 'feel' for what higher dimensional objects and spaces would be like, trying to make sense of them, etc. Reading Edwin Abbott's Flatland (and some other related books) has helped with that.

Consciousness and my experience of reality in general. Do I know that I'm not crazy? Does the world really operate the way it seems to (in accordance with objective natural laws) or could it actually change based only on thinking and emotions? How is it that our communication and thoughts make any sense to us whatsoever, given the inescapable vagueness and ignorance present in all human endeavors? How is it that I seem to be in control of my mind, yet many many external factors limit and override that control (e.g., drugs, sleep deprivation, physical distractions, etc)?

Why is it that I cannot will myself to have hallucinations? E.g., I think in Dune, one of the Bene Gesserit's mental exercises involved looking at one's hands and trying to see them age from infancy to old age and back again. When I look at my own hands and try to replicate that, I can imagine this happening, but I cannot at all affect my actual visual percepts. I an forced to see the real state of my hands in parallel with my imagined state, and it does not appear possible to superimpose the imagined state over the "real" state, and the "real" state always strongly takes precedence over the imagined one. What are the key differences between something dreamt, something hallucinated, something imagined, and something veridically experienced?

Objectivity/idealism. How can we think about and talk about things that exist "from no subjective perspective"? Every time we attempt to talk or think about them at all we must adopt a subjective perspective to do so. Is our concept of an objective world any more reasonable than our concept of a square circle?

The insanity of everyday human interaction. How much leeway and benefit of the doubt we give each other with ridiculous statements. The ridiculousness of all our posturing and senseless endeavors. (Not to say that I think I transcend any of this myself, I'm just as guilty as anyone else. I just notice it, is all.)
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Re: Unusual ways of thinking/Oddities of the mind

Postby Screature » Thu Apr 09, 2009 10:12 am UTC

Yay thankyou diotimajsh for sharing your own thoughts! That's what I was hoping for :D

Your "pretty normal" thought, the one about extra dimensions, is one I've also been pondering. I can visually accept three dimensions. Now, if I disregard "time" being a dimension for now, and say for arguments sake that the fourth dimension is another spacial dimension. If I try and imagine seeing a four dimensional cube, I'll see six sides, and multiple cubes superimposed over that original cube. Say a cube has side length 4 units along three dimensions, and a side length 4 units in the fourth spacial dimension, I'd see four cubes occupying the same space (I force myself to see this by imagining four different coloured, slightly see-through cubes occupying the same space, which is considerably easier than imagining four solid, non-see-through cubes).

Now I get confused when I imagine a cube of side length 4 units along three dimensions, and side length 3 along the fourth spacial dimension. That's when I picture different sized cubes within cubes (but all still retaining side length 4 along three dimensions), and my brain pops from the pressure :D

Your thoughts on perception of reality are also thoughts that intrigue me. Dreams can often be percieved to be THAT real that you cannot tell the difference. If our brains can do that to us while we're asleep, what's to stop it doing that to us while awake? In our dream, we can look at our hands and see them age from infancy to old age and back again (to quote you). We can also dream that our hands are picking up sand, and feel that sand running through our fingers, vivid as reality. Why can't our brains force an alternate sense of reality on us during consciousness, and therefore induce hallucination, as if it was in a dream state? This may not be exactly what you were thinking, but it's along the same lines.

I do believe strong meditation can induce hallucinations and alternate perceptions of reality, but without knowing for sure, I don't think much control could be exercised over those hallucinations (much like you can't control what you hallucinate on drugs/in dreams)
Matsi wrote:Energy with no mass? You mean photons? Well, given the way a single photon behaves during the double-slit experiment, you'd think it was consciously trying to deceive us!
edit: Wave or particle! Pick a side!

:D
Now get a load of photons to bump around in some area of space, let all the probabilities of infinity do their work, and you'll have a bunch of photons that start to replicate. A little longer.....feed to grow and survive longer. A little longer......sexual dimorphism. Then you have evolution, and before you know it, you have sentient beings made of energy :P (Sci-fi gives us a lot of lee-way to be creative!)

To provide some more original content, but something that ties in with my earlier thoughts on telepathy. This I've just had these thoughts while having a cig outside my place of work just now! :D . A certain line of physics theorises (is that a word?!) that every single particle in the universe is tied in some way. Now, if that's the case (unlikely in my eyes), then every particle in your brain, is in someway tied (quantum physics blah blah) to my own. That would make telepathy pretty much possible........

Remember guys, the vast majority of the content of people's random-crazy-thoughts have no basis in truth or fact. This thread isn't here to pick apart the fallacies of other people's thoughts, unless you're gentle in how you do it. Half the fun is thinking about things that ARE completely absurd :D
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Re: Unusual ways of thinking/Oddities of the mind

Postby itaibn » Thu Apr 09, 2009 6:39 pm UTC

When I began reading this thread, I couldn't really think of what to write, but after reading things other wrote I am reminded of similar things I thought of.

4 dimensions: I think I have relatively good 4D visualization. While I have trouble with a lot of shapes and difficulty rotating, I'm pretty confident I'm actually seeing 4 dimensions, and not just some projection. I had an interesting problem, which made me realise that something similar to it also exists in 3D visualization. Try imagining a very large area, like a football stadium. At the same time, try to imag the air in that area to a very large height. It's hard to do this without missing some part or scaling it down. A similar thing happens to me at 4D, but in a smaller scale.

Hallucinations: If you imagine that you're hallucinating realisticly enough, are you actually hallucinating?

Other lifeforms: Life doen't really need to be matter or energy at all. All that's necessary is information. For instance, there might be a irregularity in a crystal which when the crystal grow becomes two copies of the same irregularity. But now when I think about it, wouldn't a regular crystal have exactly that property? Which leads to the question: Would the perfect lifeform really be alive?
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