What is existence?
That new year's wine makes me think.
The topic of existence is one that seems painstakingly obvious at first, but then becomes increasingly difficult as more thought is put into it. The question is simply:
What is existence?
Existence to me is more than what is tangible, it is all encompassing of imagination and our physical reality. If something only exists as a thought it still exists in one way or another. We feel emotions, they cannot be identified by touch but they yet they are felt. Someone could probably form a good argument or theory on different levels of existence. It would help clarify what is existence is in its different forms, and probably drive us towards new questions that would help us understand the nature of existence. A holistic definition of existence that works for me would be: anything that is or is not. Sound strange but our minds create ideas, our imagination can take a nothing and turn it into something. If this is true nothing must already be something and therefore exists, so just to define existence as it as anything that is would be rudimentary.
The argument cannot proceed until the premise is reconciled with the terms used to express it. It was asked, "What is existence?"; the use of the verb "to be" in this question, creates inescapable confusion. We are required to accept an implicit definition of existence (id est, the capacity to possess properties; to be), before we address the issue.
For myself, I think the question of non-existence is far more interesting, and far more perplexing.
ex·ist·ence/ɪgˈzɪs təns/ Show Spelled [ig-zis-tuh ns] Show IPA
1. the state or fact of existing; being.
2. continuance in being or life; life: a struggle for existence.
3. mode of existing: They were working for a better existence.
4. all that exists: Existence shows a universal order.
5. something that exists; entity; being.
"So existence must be nothing more than a collection of molecules, i.e., anything other than nothing ;) "
"Existence to me is more than what is tangible, it is all encompassing of imagination and our physical reality."
This would make sense, but what about time? Space? Gravity and the other forces?
Dark matter and black holes.
Thoughts and history and the future.
What is existence? What is reality made of? The barest fabric of reality.
We interpret radiation as having color and distance, time as moving forward and space as having geometry.
But in reality, what is it? Without our human interpretation, I can only say it is pure information. A concept that is far deeper than any word like information can go, however. It is nearly impossible for the human mind to conceive of this, I would think, for we must visualize both the quantum level, to see that all is made of energy, and the macro level, to see that some of it is actually phases of matter, which is completely impossible to accurately visualize. We cannot see energy. However, we still cannot forget about dark matter, or matter made of exotic particles of some sort that do not radiate, reflect or absorb radiation. It does not interact, yet it still exists and influences gravity, so what can it be? We cannot see it, and I do not think it would be wise to touch it either. Would it be perfectly invisible? If radiation goes through it, yet it still pulls strongly via gravity, then perhaps other matter also goes through it. If E=MC^2, then shouldn't that mean matter can pass through it too? What does that mean for reality? What sort of being would evolve in that sort of situation? Could we see it?
How would it interpret existence?
What would it think of our normal matter? Would it see through the photons and the geometry of our reality and see the truth? What it actually is?
It must be information capable of allowing photons to reflect so we can see it, information to give it coordinates in space-time, information to allow it to fill space and information to give it the ability to interact with the forces of nature.
Reality and existence in the most low level form is information.
I'm amazed at the arguments, a far cry from the quality I've experienced when I was active on cd :)
While I can't compose an all-encompassing arguement this minute I have some thoughts regarding a few of the posts:
1) If we accept that existence for all intents comprises what we perceive of existence, need we consider what we can't understand/perceive? In the same way that we are held legally accountable by primitive technologies (lie detectors, medical assessments etc..) we understand what we can at the time given our current level of understanding based on current technology.
2) Perhaps we needn't be so hard on op regarding technicality (in this case qualifying existence) since existance may comprise non(in)existence as well. His question (choice of words aside) seems to be aimed at defining (both quality and limit) of that which we have assigned the word "existence".
3) We perceive existence through 5 senses. Can we all agree the framework exists for more (potentially far more) than 5 senses? Even the sense-transending technology we make use of is read/qualified/monitored/felt through our 5 senses. Even more troubling is that our imperfect experiences (ego/prejudice/assumptions/etc..) confound information further.
4) Lastly (for now) we need to consider that perception alters experience.