Circumstance: It’s All About Floating Brains


Is it better to live in false hope or in agony of truth?

This question reminds me back to an essay I wrote last year, discussing the statement ‘silence is bliss’ with direction towards Plato and his Forms and opinion on reality. The first and foremost idea is that everything we see around us is not real, it is the pale copy of the true Forms. When we are enlightened to the presence of Forms, we begin to see our world more philosophically and wonderfully – but we can never truly know a Form until we return to the Realm of Forms after our death. This, it could be argued, shows that we are living a lie.

I also find that this question leans on the idea of solipsism – the floating brains scenario. Consciousness without a body.

As writers, we live as floating brains for our day job; we extrapolate those thoughts of a world and its inhabitants into speaking, moving (maybe not so much living and breathing) creatures. In one thought, we can have the protagonist’s best friend die. In another, we make true the scenario of them stumbling across love in a supermarket.

Neither of these situations, amongst the many that don’t come to light, are real ex mensa and yet that rely solely on our minds and opinions. For us, they might as well be happening, one world over.

This is where we come back to solipsism. What if we ourselves are only composites of our brain and its thoughts? If so, in effect, we have total control over our lives, even without realising.

In this way, we must ‘keep faith’, so to speak, in our actions, because, in theory, any willing of a desirable event should make it happen – due to the only limit of our mind. This is what I interpret as blind or false hope; to expect to fail is a sure sign that it will happen, as the idea becomes a certain reality in the same way that our characters shall experience exactly what one dreams for them.

‘Truth’, be as it may in the title question, no longer becomes a conditional certainty (if one can excuse the oxymoron) of the future, but a mere ‘may be’ in the sights of the brains. For our characters, we cause the same: any idea of mischief is encouraged for tension. When events can only be certain, trouble grows, for its certainty is lingered on – in my solipsism. 

Thus, it is advantageous for all to hope for the future, rather than to live in a dimmer reality that an event might not come to fruition or disaster is imminent. Negative thinking, like negative address, very well might cause the negative events to occur. So, we must keep a positive mind without doubt.

Besides, from a non floating brains perspective, surely it’s better to be confident of one’s self rather than to always doubt? However, it is from that (and the question of a limit on confident) that the essay first arose.

6 thoughts on “Circumstance: It’s All About Floating Brains

  1. Interesting philosophy. I remember one of my professors explaining Plato’s viewing shadows on the cave wall philosophy. I think there is some truth in it—that these things we see are imperfect, temporary copies of superior things. But I’m a strongly religious sort, and so it makes perfect sense to me the idea of having a shadow of greater things available to us in this realm.

    I do believe in absolute truths, but I also believe we have imperfect knowledge which may assign absolutes to things that are simply not true. (aka I’ll always fail at this, or I never win at anything, etc.) And I do think there’s a lot of power in positive thinking. Like attracts like, so a positive person will attract positivity. Obviously the weakness in positivity is possibly having a false view of things, but I think that’s where wisdom with experience comes in to play. You can still be a positive thinker, even with negativity swirling around you. It’s not that you’re naive to the negativity, it’s just that you refuse to let it drag you down into the mire.

    Nice though provoking post!

    1. Thanks for such an in-depth comment. It got me thinking, too.
      Yeah, I’m preparing a new post to go over the concept of ‘negative address’, as I call it – that example of imperfect knowledge creating a false depiction of one’s self. You’re definitely right about like attracting like, and I feel I should have touched a bit more on that in the post.
      Plato was one of the first philosophers we looked at, but I’d already come across him before, so I remember well his ideas. Yeah, I agree; when one has a sense of Heaven and Heavenly power, it puts into perspective the world as being less important. In the Plato’s Cave analogy you mentioned, the Form of the Good enlightens all the other Forms; as a Christian, I interpret this as being God.

      1. That’s soooo interesting that you mention that. And I completely agree about the Form of the Good being God. Anyway, after reading your post yesterday, I came across a video on Light and Truth on Facebook (weird coincidence). It’s fairly old and a bit hoaky, but the guy in the video was explaining all that light does for the universe and to add to it further, that God has His own light that essentially runs the universe and gives us the ability to comprehend truth. But that in our limited perspective sometimes we don’t comprehend truth. I especially liked a part where the video said, “Truth exists independent of what others think.”

        If you want you can watch the video, but I hesitated sharing it at first because I think it may be a little preachy toward the end. I guess if you do watch it, watch for the principles you illustrated in your post, and disregard the rest if you like. I think he makes some excellent points though.

        1. Oh, that video is pretty cool. Thanks for sharing. You’re right that it addresses some important points. And, no, I didn’t find it to preachy, but a bit corny 😉

          I liked that you mentioned “in our limited perspective sometimes we don’t comprehend truth.” In Philosophy, we have a phrase for that: the ‘epistemic distance’. And I think that’s important because a lot of atheists use the Problem of Evil against God’s existence (since omnipotence would seem to be impatible with evil existing), but they forget that God might have allowed evil to exist for a reason known only to him. I quite like Ireneus’ suggestion that evil exists so that we humans can grow more to be more like God through overcoming it.

          Also, the “truth exists independent of what others think” is an interesting point, too. I think that truth has to be different for everyone, but that Truth, as in God’s Truth, is consistent. In retrospect of what I have just written, I’m probably looking at the situation from a Platonic view again: that there are consistent ‘ultimates’ that are immutable/necessary, but are reflected on a contingent humanity to become the shadows of Forms.

      2. I think what people forget is God didn’t create evil in the sense of sitting down and saying something like, “You know what this world really needs is some evil.” He gave us free will, which means choosing to do things that are good as well as evil. Because he doesn’t force the choice toward good, evil exists. You could say evil is merely going about doing things the wrong way—really wrong.

        But I really like your point from Ireneus, that evil exists to be overcome. I think that’s it exactly. I suppose it’s because I see it in nature. If our muscles aren’t met with resistance, they atrophied. And don’t we always enjoy those things that present a challenge (aka meet us with some resistance)? For some reason we need a contrast, an opposition in everything to be able to comprehend our world. A wrong way and a right way, a light and dark, etc. etc.

        By the way, I really like you posting your philosophy thoughts. I never took philosophy while in college, it just didn’t appeal to me then. I got a little bit of it from literary theory, as they sort of mix in their own philosophies and talk about philosophers, but never in much depth. And I give you big kudos for being a Christian going up against Atheists—probably a lot. It sounds like you’re a very strong person, spiritually and intellectually. 😀

Thoughts, comments, replies...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s