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  #1  
Old 13th June 2017, 03:26 PM
Azurisan21 Azurisan21 is offline
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Default How can you tell the difference between reality and delusions?

This is a very interesting question.

For someone who's delusional, how to tell the difference and find reality?

What sorts of thinking do you do? What kind of research do you do? What kind of experiments and experiences do you try out to verify if something is real or not?

I don't know good ways to it but I guess, one should identify the sources of delusions, get to the root of it and evaluate.

Existentialistically speaking, one may evaluate if delusions are practical, positive or not... and whether to live with it or change it.
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Old 13th June 2017, 04:17 PM
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Darwinsbulldog Darwinsbulldog is offline
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Default Re: How can you tell the difference between reality and delusions?

Quote:
Azurisan21 said View Post
This is a very interesting question.

For someone who's delusional, how to tell the difference and find reality?

What sorts of thinking do you do? What kind of research do you do? What kind of experiments and experiences do you try out to verify if something is real or not?

I don't know good ways to it but I guess, one should identify the sources of delusions, get to the root of it and evaluate.

Existentialistically speaking, one may evaluate if delusions are practical, positive or not... and whether to live with it or change it.
You want the short version or the long one?

As a good rule of thumb, we need go know further than a quote from Philip K. Dick:-

"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away."

But we can be more nuanced than that. First what is reality? We only see reality [or some version of it] from observing natural phenomena.

Secondly, phenomena like the placebo effect/nocebo effect, and other physiological/mental interactions, can alter our perception of reality, or even change reality.

This is because brain chemistry affects physiology and vice versa. In other words, mood can change brain chemistry, and brain chemistry can change mood. In fact, phenomena such as these, could have been the seed of mysticism. Clearly, one cannot, no matter how hard one shouts, move a mountain, but it is possible that mental states can alter one's internal state, and under certain conditions, the internal state of others. This is particularly true in social animals.

In some bee species, pheromones emitted by the queen suppress reproduction in the female workers. The pheromone changes the worker's internal state from fertile into infertile. [In other bee species, the workers may have indeed lost all their reproductive ability, indeed these variations exist in all social hymenoptera ].

Back to the human reality though. Our naked senses are limited by scale. But because we are the scientific apes, we have telescopes and microscopes and gieger counters and all sort of other shit that broaden our perceptual horizons.

Finally, truly independent sources can help confirm whether a thing is "real" or not.

If you are a Catholic, and see a bleeding statue of Christ or the Virgin Mary, don't ask other Catholics if they see it too, but ask a Muslim, a Hindu, an atheist and an agnostic if they see it. if they all see it, then what you have is something interesting. If you can't get inter-subjective confirmation, including some scientific evidence, then it is probably a dream.
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  #3  
Old 13th June 2017, 06:35 PM
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142857 142857 is offline
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Default Re: How can you tell the difference between reality and delusions?

While I agree with everything DBD just typed, the bottom line is that we cannot know for sure what is real and what is not.

I, for example, don't know for sure that I am not simply part of a very sophisticated simulation. Or I could be just a brain in a lab somewhere.

At some level though I must choose one version of reality to believe in, and the reality that I experience (that of being an organic human being living in this universe) makes the most sense to believe in.

As DBD points out, look for independent confirmation that the things you believe are real actually are real. That is a good starting point. Look at the credibility and biases of, and the evidence (or lack of evidence) presented by, people who are trying to convince you to believe in something.
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Old 13th June 2017, 11:33 PM
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stylofone stylofone is offline
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Default Re: How can you tell the difference between reality and delusions?

Nothing is certain, but you can assess probabilities. Some things are so improbable that you can treat them as if they were proved to be non-existent. Ignore them, and establish a regime of what you consider IS likely to be real, based on evidence.

To check that you're on the right track, seek consensus with others, after first ensuring that they too have a good regime of evidence-checking. Don't skip that last step. If you do, you run the risk of strengthening delusions shared with other people who haven't tested them against evidence.
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