is X a Y?

Eric Watt Forste (
Mon, 28 Jul 1997 13:38:07 -0700

Perry Metzger writes:
> The closest you can model the question in e-prime is "does the
> Mandelbrot set comply with definition X of 'real'", which I believe
> points out my problem with this and all similar questions.

Philip K. Dick, I believe, defined reality as that which doesn't
go away when you stop believing in it. Does the Mandelrot set go
away when I stop believing in it? How about if everyone stops
believing in it? Is the Mandelbrot set like the gravitational
field, or is the Mandelbrot set like Church and State (which I'm
pretty confident would go away, or at least change rather drastically,
if everyone stopped believing in them).

However, I am pretty sure that the Virgo Cluster does *not* go away
when I stop believing in it. John K. Clark will no doubt grant
that this theory is, at least, interesting.

Robert Anton Wilson, on the other hand, has defined reality as what
you can get away with. Can I get away with a Mandelbrot set? I'm
not even sure how to begin answering *that* question. Would I want
to get away with a Mandelbrot set? Perhaps, but I'd rather get
away with a flotilla of carbonaceous chondrites.

Eric Watt Forste ++ ++ expectation foils perception