0876: "Trapped"

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LucasBrown
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0876: "Trapped"

Postby LucasBrown » Wed Mar 23, 2011 4:01 am UTC

Image
Alt text: "Socrates could've saved himself a lot of trouble if he'd just brought a flashlight, tranquilizer gun, and a bunch of rescue harnesses."

I never thought I'd hear even a remotely funny joke about the Cave... This just blew my mind (so to speak).

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glasnt
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Re: 0876: "Trapped"

Postby glasnt » Wed Mar 23, 2011 4:04 am UTC

easy escape plan: SCUBA gear, synaptic fluid. Done.

Good morning Lucas

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KShrike
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Re: 0876: "Trapped"

Postby KShrike » Wed Mar 23, 2011 4:04 am UTC

I wish one day we could decode that information.

Neural Implants... I don't want you to be fiction anymore. Just hope the world does not make them tools of Big Brother.

edit: I really badly wanted to be the second post. Darn it, Glasnt
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Re: 0876: "Trapped"

Postby RhythmForLife » Wed Mar 23, 2011 4:12 am UTC

I think Solipsism is more Descartes, and earlier Gorgias, a sophist, right? I don't really identify Plato's cave with it, which is more about hierarchies of morality. Moreover, Plato was sure there was the reality that we observe and an alternate "TRUTH," and there was never so existentially challenging a concept to him, from my impressions, as one such as solipsism; he always seems quite sure of truth, goodness, etc.

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Re: 0876: "Trapped"

Postby Lykren » Wed Mar 23, 2011 4:28 am UTC

oh wow I'm trans and this made my day

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KShrike
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Re: 0876: "Trapped"

Postby KShrike » Wed Mar 23, 2011 4:29 am UTC

OK, now that I realize this is more about the philosophical awakening, and not brain signals, I can see what we are actually talking about.

You know, ever since I left that cave, I never could go back. I'd just be criticized for using critical thinking.
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Re: 0876: "Trapped"

Postby CalculatingGod » Wed Mar 23, 2011 4:40 am UTC

But how can he know that she's saying what he thinks she's saying to him?

...If that's too convoluted for you, try reading Plato.

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Re: 0876: "Trapped"

Postby AbsalomAbsalom » Wed Mar 23, 2011 5:27 am UTC

I just watched Dark City this afternoon. This is not a coincidence.

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Re: 0876: "Trapped"

Postby gormster » Wed Mar 23, 2011 5:31 am UTC

... how did he dial 911?
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Re: 0876: "Trapped"

Postby Gye » Wed Mar 23, 2011 5:37 am UTC

Seriously awkward setup on this one, but I do have a weakness for philosophy jokes.

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Re: 0876: "Trapped"

Postby Atmosck » Wed Mar 23, 2011 6:14 am UTC

If it were Berkeley or Hume he would have just come to terms with it and stayed in the cave.

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Re: 0876: "Trapped"

Postby rolandnl » Wed Mar 23, 2011 7:20 am UTC

After the first frame i thought it was going to be a "there are 4 lights" joke. I guess I watch too much television and read too little philosophy.

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Me321
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Re: 0876: "Trapped"

Postby Me321 » Wed Mar 23, 2011 7:44 am UTC

I would not have gotten this before monday, and my responce to this type of argument is:

If i can feel or see it enough for me to interact with it then does it matter if it is not realy there? If this is all a trick does it really matter? And then i walk off because i have better things to do then to try and convence someone that they exist.

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MitraSmit
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Re: 0876: "Trapped"

Postby MitraSmit » Wed Mar 23, 2011 7:49 am UTC

Anyone else find it remarkable how quick the 911-lady was to realize he was talking about his eyeballs? How often does she get these kinds of phonecalls?
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Re: 0876: "Trapped"

Postby Softfoot » Wed Mar 23, 2011 7:57 am UTC

'I think, therefore, I am' just got weird.

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Re: 0876: "Trapped"

Postby udqbpn » Wed Mar 23, 2011 7:59 am UTC

Why not

tias42
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Re: 0876: "Trapped"

Postby tias42 » Wed Mar 23, 2011 8:07 am UTC

MitraSmit wrote:Anyone else find it remarkable how quick the 911-lady was to realize he was talking about his eyeballs? How often does she get these kinds of phonecalls?


Yeah, my first response to "distorted patches of light" would be something like "what do they look like? Are they far away? It could be a window or something" etc - not "it must be your eyeballs!" That makes no sense to me.

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Re: 0876: "Trapped"

Postby horza » Wed Mar 23, 2011 8:07 am UTC

"[...]We all are" ... I resent that :P

It's awkward that, while +95% of our being is actually the "body" and only a tiny minority is the brain - only that minority gets a saying. We're still organized internally in some kind of feudal/early republic kind of way.

I kinda like this comparrison ... You see, I find it strange that, if you pay attention - you can see that the inner and the outer world are not that different.

Dictators that opress their people, throw bad or no nutrients at them, imbibe alcohol for their own pleasure, even tho it displeases the masses profusely are overhtrown in a short timespan when the people realize they can't be pushed any further. Moreover, just like on the outside, it's sufficient that few critical industries stop working and take to the streets, that the entire nation inflames and overthrows the tyrant.

Whereas primitive democracies, where the leader pays attention to the various pains and aches of the masses, where the signals that come from below are correctly interpreted and they receive the proper response, are bound to live longer and more prosperous.

The sloth, excessively democratic beings, that pay too close attention to every tiny bit of information that comes from the people, and trusts their judgement, while completely overseeing the fact that the organs don't understand your master plan, will quickly succumb to ipochondry, lazyness and will eventually meet a quicker demise.

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snowyowl
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Re: 0876: "Trapped"

Postby snowyowl » Wed Mar 23, 2011 8:08 am UTC

I'm a reverse solipsist. I know the rest of the universe is real, I just don't have any conclusive proof that I exist.
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BAReFOOt
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Re: 0876: "Trapped"

Postby BAReFOOt » Wed Mar 23, 2011 8:28 am UTC

PROTIP: There is no “external world”. What your brain observes (the signals coming from your highly distorting, filtering and biasing senses), is reality to it.
In fact there is no point in searching for such a external reality, as you can never prove its existence anyway. (How would you do that without directly observing it?)
Relativity theory and quantum physics acknowledge this observer-relative reality. Even time and space itself bend differently, relative to you.

But we can observe patters in the input. And from those patterns make generalizations and create theories. Which we can then use, to predict reality. That’s working well… until we observe things that don’t fit into our theories. Which may never happen, but still we can never know for sure.
Luckily we have our brains, which are nothing but elegant giant pattern-detectors and generalization-makers. So this comes natural to us.

With them, we were able to create extremely elaborate theories from our observations, that have endured so much possibly-anomaly-containing observation, that we basically can blindly trust them for our daily life. (I even got to explaining the ultimate cause of everything. If you are able to prove that the uncertainty principle allows for uncertainty not only over space but also over time itself, and time is the same as causality [no matter which one is the artefact of which one], I can, based on that, prove that there not only was no cause for the beginning of the universe, but that there could not have been one at all. So if you do, please contact me. ;))

The only problem is, that we started to import the output of other humans, as if it was the same as observation. It’s more efficient. But it ignores the fact that reality is relative. And a lot of people noticed that they could abuse it, and make other people nothing more than blindly following externalizations of themselves. Media, politics, churches/cults, advertising, etc, etc, etc. The whole social engineering “industry”. And this includes Wikipedia too! (Also this comment itself maybe too… to some degree. ;))
And most people actually think that “their” opinions are really theirs. When in fact the percentage of things they observed themselves is negligible.

Psychology even sees this as the second level of life. You can see ideas/mindsets as life-forms, and brains & co. as their universe. Then the basic rules and behaviors of life are clearly visible, as those ideas grow, reproduce, evolve, and use resources. While making structure out of the unstructured. (But beware! The laws of idea space are very different from those of meat space. Hence the impossibility of property in idea space.)

Conclusion:
As long as you don’t ignore observations, but base your inner model on them, you’re good. (I recommend taking the stuff you really checked the least, and re-check that. You’ll be surprised at how many false socially conditioned assumptions we all have in us. :))
Otherwise you’ll drift into delusion road. Which goes straight to schizophrenia city, often hitting the religion suburbs on the way.
(Sadly, many people today seem to feel that they live in such a bleak world, that their brain can’t stand it anymore and prefers made-up delusions over observations, to be able to still accept the world and not just have a complete mental breakdown. That includes all “religious”/superstitious, or just plain ignorant people to some degree.)

EDIT: I had to add this:
P.S.: Pierce’s cycle:
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pensive bosom
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Re: 0876: "Trapped"

Postby pensive bosom » Wed Mar 23, 2011 8:40 am UTC

The idea of our being brains is sort of interesting. It's different from Descartes' idea that we're essentially minds. I doubt most of us think of ourselves as brains inside meat vehicles, but in the age of the fMRI and rapid advances in neuroscience I wonder whether that attitude could change.

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Re: 0876: "Trapped"

Postby froggyrules » Wed Mar 23, 2011 9:01 am UTC

I had once thought my way of thinking was unique. That everyone thought differently. After reading this comic for a few years I'm beginning to doubt it. At first the fact that so many of these comics corresponded to the strange thoughts I have was cool. (it's nice to know you're not alone in the world) After about the 50th comic that directly aligns with the strangest of my thoughts, it's getting a little creepy... I once ligitimately had a panic attack over this exact brain dilemma. I completely freaked myself out... and now there's a comic about it... this is, again, about the 50th time this comic has done this...

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Re: 0876: "Trapped"

Postby Greyarcher » Wed Mar 23, 2011 9:31 am UTC

Heh, that last panel is a nice capper. Oh, Plato, you and your cave.... Though really, I find this entire comic to be lovely. "...So you're a brain."

BAReFOOt wrote:PROTIP: There is no “external world”. What your brain observes (the signals coming from your highly distorting, filtering and biasing senses), is reality to it.
What your brain observes is the external world, filtered through your senses--at least, under one simple and practical model. It's not really a problem unless people start obsessing over abstract doubting games about their senses' accuracy and what the world is "really like".
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tehol
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Re: 0876: "Trapped"

Postby tehol » Wed Mar 23, 2011 9:46 am UTC

Greyarcher wrote:Heh, that last panel is a nice capper. Oh, Plato, you and your cave.... Though really, I find this entire comic to be lovely. "...So you're a brain."

BAReFOOt wrote:PROTIP: There is no “external world”. What your brain observes (the signals coming from your highly distorting, filtering and biasing senses), is reality to it.
What your brain observes is the external world, filtered through your senses--at least, under one simple and practical model. It's not really a problem unless people start obsessing over abstract doubting games about their senses' accuracy and what the world is "really like".


How can you say that there absolutely is an external world? Have you never had a dream so convincing that you fell for it entirely? That, during that dream, that's all there was, all there ever was, and all there will be? In fact, that that was just how things were, and any questions otherwise were irrelevant to the task at hand, and just plain silly?

Otherwise: I lawled (snorted lightly out my nose, in this case). This topic has actually come up fairly often recently, in my life.
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Re: 0876: "Trapped"

Postby BlitzGirl » Wed Mar 23, 2011 10:05 am UTC

No shiznit he's trapped...he's using a corded phone. With a knot in it!
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rhhardin
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Re: 0876: "Trapped"

Postby rhhardin » Wed Mar 23, 2011 11:05 am UTC

What is an idol?

An idol is a useless sacrifice, said Isaiah.

But how do you know which ones are useless? asked the nation in its genius.

Isaiah pondered the various ways he could answer this.

Immense chunks of natural reality fell out of a blue sky
and showers of light upon his mind.

Isaiah chose the way of metaphor.

Our life is a camera obscura, said Isaiah, do you know what that is?

Never heard of it, said the nation.

Imagine yourself in a darkened room, Isaiah instructed.

Okay, said the nation.

The doors are closed, there is a pinhole in the back wall.

A pinhole, the nation repeated.

Light shoots through the pinhole and strikes the opposite wall.

The nation was watching Isaiah, bored and fascinated at once.

You can hold up anything you like in front of that pinhole, said Isaiah,

and worship it on the opposite wall.

Why worship an image? asked the nation.

Exactly, said Isaiah.

- "The Book of Isaiah" Ann Carson http://www.poetryfoundation.org/archive/poem.html?id=178363

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Re: 0876: "Trapped"

Postby DennyMo » Wed Mar 23, 2011 11:13 am UTC

MitraSmit wrote:Anyone else find it remarkable how quick the 911-lady was to realize he was talking about his eyeballs? How often does she get these kinds of phonecalls?

My thoughts exactly. What are the odds of getting a 911 dispatcher who would figure that out?

BTW, isn't the UK version of 911 "999"? What about other countries?

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Re: 0876: "Trapped"

Postby squig » Wed Mar 23, 2011 11:31 am UTC

I liked the twisted knot on the phone cord, I felt it was a nice touch.

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Re: 0876: "Trapped"

Postby screamingaddabs » Wed Mar 23, 2011 11:32 am UTC

It's 999 here (UK) and 112 on the continent (i.e. Europe). 112 actually works in the UK too apparently though I've never tried it (not really ever a time when there is an emergency that I think "I know, I'll try a number that might not work...").

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Re: 0876: "Trapped"

Postby oddtail » Wed Mar 23, 2011 12:18 pm UTC

tias42 wrote:
MitraSmit wrote:Anyone else find it remarkable how quick the 911-lady was to realize he was talking about his eyeballs? How often does she get these kinds of phonecalls?


Yeah, my first response to "distorted patches of light" would be something like "what do they look like? Are they far away? It could be a window or something" etc - not "it must be your eyeballs!" That makes no sense to me.


Same, except... what? Eyeballs as splotches of light? Is the brain able to see its own eyeballs? With what? The brain has its own eyes, like Krang from the 80s TMNT cartoon? That makes little sense...

...in short, I don't get it.

EDIT: or maybe the brain has extra-sensory perception of some kind, and is able to "see" the eyeballs with said ESP? But then, it would not be confined by the body's senses.

Yes, I'm overanalysing. Deliberately, because the comic doesn't "work" the way it is, to me.

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Re: 0876: "Trapped"

Postby Apeiron » Wed Mar 23, 2011 12:22 pm UTC

BAReFOOt wrote:PROTIP: There is no “external world”. What your brain observes (the signals coming from your highly distorting, filtering and biasing senses), is reality to it.


Yeah, this is why i mostly gave up on Solipsism (it's not useful or testable). Reality is what does not go away when you stop believing it it. If the brain in the jar can't sense outside the jar, or escape the jar, then whatever input the brain receives is real in every way that matters.

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Re: 0876: "Trapped"

Postby SpringLoaded12 » Wed Mar 23, 2011 12:38 pm UTC

Is that the same girl that gave a guy tech support that was actually useful, but it was a dream?

What the guy said about not knowing what was real or whatever reminded me of the Matrix, which reminded me of my pet peeve about the Matrix: If the virtual world was just like the way the real one used to be, why not just stay there and go about normal lives? Why fight to live in the real world, which was a nightmarish dystopian RUBBLE PILE because of the machines?
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Re: 0876: "Trapped"

Postby SirMustapha » Wed Mar 23, 2011 12:44 pm UTC

Wow, this is positively one of the messiest, most contrived and most senseless xkcd strips ever. Did Randall suddenly forget how to write? Did he seriously start reading Plato and got it all wrong, or is just making up crap based on the stuff he THINKS he knows? What the hell does the Allegory of the cave has to do with this???

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Re: 0876: "Trapped"

Postby sorceror » Wed Mar 23, 2011 12:49 pm UTC

Apeiron wrote:Yeah, this is why i mostly gave up on Solipsism (it's not useful or testable). Reality is what does not go away when you stop believing it it. If the brain in the jar can't sense outside the jar, or escape the jar, then whatever input the brain receives is real in every way that matters.


Exactly. Let's assume that our sensory experiences have no correspondence to any outside world.

Then what?

Assuming there is a correspondence, at least it can be disproved later.

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Re: 0876: "Trapped"

Postby Yoo-jin » Wed Mar 23, 2011 1:03 pm UTC

For some reason, this prompted me to make an account. Anywho...

Having just finished reading Maurice Merleau-Ponty's "Phenomenology of Perception" for a class, I'm sure that the cure for such a problem is to realize that we're embodied beings (if we are to believe in Phenomenology). Our mind is not separate from our body and we, in fact, live in the world as a being-in-the-world. There is no "out there" in the world. No "external" and "internal" worlds and realities but, rather, simply what is "there". Only in doing so are we able to start explaining some of the more queer cases of body-image distortion in relation to our body-consciousness which occur in certain, albeit in a small number of, persons.

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Re: 0876: "Trapped"

Postby jerry » Wed Mar 23, 2011 1:17 pm UTC

Plato describes us as being trapped in a world of appearances, but a world where our brains interact with things external to them (Plato is neither a sceptic about knowledge nor a silly solipsist). Furthermore, "brains in a vat" scepticism is refuted by semantic externalism 8)

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Re: 0876: "Trapped"

Postby MrConor » Wed Mar 23, 2011 1:26 pm UTC

Eww, mind-body dualism.

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Re: 0876: "Trapped"

Postby FertRaccoon » Wed Mar 23, 2011 1:27 pm UTC

DennyMo wrote:
MitraSmit wrote:Anyone else find it remarkable how quick the 911-lady was to realize he was talking about his eyeballs? How often does she get these kinds of phonecalls?

My thoughts exactly. What are the odds of getting a 911 dispatcher who would figure that out?

BTW, isn't the UK version of 911 "999"? What about other countries?



I think the UK version of 911 is 0118 999 881 999 119 725 3.

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Re: 0876: "Trapped"

Postby mearly87 » Wed Mar 23, 2011 2:23 pm UTC

Me321 wrote:If i can feel or see it enough for me to interact with it then does it matter if it is not realy there? If this is all a trick does it really matter? And then i walk off because i have better things to do then to try and convence someone that they exist.


What about temporary states of hallucination where you may be able too feel and see the hallucination, but really it is just a trick of your mind. By your logic, we should all be eating lsd all the time...

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Re: 0876: "Trapped"

Postby drkslvr » Wed Mar 23, 2011 3:02 pm UTC

Lykren wrote:oh wow I'm trans and this made my day

This may or may not make the last line of the second panel 100% funnier, depending on if you're MTF or FTM. Re-read it. You will lawl.

BlitzGirl wrote:No shiznit he's trapped...he's using a corded phone. With a knot in it!

I feel this pain every time I go to work. It's like they design those cords for maximum knotage....
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