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My existence is all I can be sure of; Stanford Intellectual Idea


Tolkien1892 1 / 3  
Dec 31, 2012   #1
Stanford students possess intellectual vitality. Reflect on an idea or experience that has been important to your intellectual development.

Morpheus: If real is what you can feel, smell, taste and see, then 'real' is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain.
-The Matrix

Imagine that a highly advanced civilization creates a virtual world similar to that in the movie "The Matrix", the difference being; there is no way to escape it. And also assume that this world obeyed the same physical laws our world does. But people in this virtual world would not think they were in a virtual world, they would "know" that their world was real. Now coming back to our world, how do we know our own world is real? For all I know, I could be living in an artificially simulated world right this moment. My existence is all I can be sure of. The absolute faith of our mind on our senses/perception is baseless. It is simultaneously a liberating and a terrifying thought because it means that I define my world.

This also proves that physics cannot explain everything, cannot answer all the questions. For without being able to determine whether the world they live in is real how can Physicists find the answers to questions like how the Universe was created or what came before? They can find empirical laws that the Universe follows but why the Universe works the way it does just cannot be answered.

There is no way to know whether you are subject to sensory mis-information, no way to know if what you see is what's really out there. Recognizing this fundamental limitation was to me a profound experience. It changed my viewpoint on life and physics completely. There are limitations to what we can know that can't be defeated or overcome.

Despite all this, I'm very interested in theoretical physics. It doesn't matter that you'll never know whether the laws you are discovering are "real" or not - the only thing that matters is that their study is interesting and you enjoy doing it. Carpe Diem - live in the moment; live life to the fullest.

I'm not sure whether is essay is clear or not. I would really appreciate any editing. Please do let me know whether the idea is clearly understandable?

I'll be glad to help anyone who replies with their essays.
Thanks in advance.
snibberbit 4 / 11 2  
Dec 31, 2012   #2
This is very interesting! I think you definitely captivated me and will definitely captivate your reader. Your essay was extremely interesting. I think that the idea is interesting and different from what most people may say. You definitely connected it to your love of learning and why it interests you. Great job, good luck!
OP Tolkien1892 1 / 3  
Dec 31, 2012   #3
Thank you. :) I'll go through your essays.

Please be as harsh as possible.


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