Objects don’t exist in reality?

I know there was a video floating on here about Alan Watts saying that in the real world here are no objects. Not sure if that’s meant literally (if so then it’s the largest nonsense ever), or figuratively (as in the Buddhist sense that there is nothing that exists independently of other things).

Matter doesnt exist?

Not that. I think it was a video in an earlier thread

I am asking you

Yeah matter does, why?

So how does the premise of this OP follow?

I’m thinking it’s the old saw about the atom. Imagine an atom with the electrons as tiny tiny planets spinning around the nucleus, imagine all that empty space - ergo objects don’t exist.

But then again, the way I understand atoms, electrons are not little planets - they are bundles of energy that spin way too fast and they smear out into probably distribution patterns and such, pure energy. The take away for me is that atom has a few election shells, one intense force-field inside another.

Those force-field shells can not be considered empty space - at least from my perspective. Ergo, solid objects are every bit as solid as they feel, for us. ;- )

Alan Watts is sort of fun, but bring the salt shaker, a little lime and tequila helps too.

Found the video:



That’s actually a pretty neat little meditation. Too bad it’s lost on the guy who posted it. The thing about “In the real world, there aren’t any things nor are there any events” is just the first minute. He goes on to explain exactly what he means by it. He arrives at a much more scientific version of Teilhard de Chardin’s “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.” That’s pretty meaningless, unless you believe in God.

Watts instead takes this “co-creation” idea and points out that there are vibrations that are happening and we pick them up with our eyes or ears and turn them into the concepts of light or temperature. “Light and temperature” are the “things” he mentioned at the beginning. Those don’t exist except as concepts in our brains. But they are based on real things, the real world, we couldn’t form that concept if that world didn’t exist. Now that I think about it, I don’t like that he calls the world outside of the concepts in our minds the “real world”. It’s all real. I have an imperfect image of all the other stuff and that image exists only in my brain, but it’s still real.

Vibrations? It doesn’t sound very scientific to me. I mean this stuff does exist outside our minds, it’s just that we have words to refer to such things.

Vibrations make sound. Also light is a wave, a type of vibration. Learn some basic physics before you start delving in to metaphysics.
it’s just that we have words
Yep. Important concept there. You just answered a bunch of your own questions.

How did I answer my own question. He makes it seem like just because we have words to refer to things, but that since we only know what those words refer to, that what they refer to doesn’t exist. Except they do. A tree is tree and will behave/function as it does regardless of what you do (or don’t) call it. Same thing with other organisms and etc. He seems to think that just because we use our senses to navigate that the concepts we use don’t represent things “out there”. That the concepts make sense only to us. Yet I’ll say again, those properties behave according to what we see regardless of what we do or don’t call them.

THERE IS NO “REAL WORLD” (according to Watts), all we have are our senses to navigate our surroundings and even that isn’t perfect. Whatever lies beyond the phaneron is literally beyond us. There’s nothing mystical about it. Even if I had no concept of paper it doesn’t change it’s properties, it doesn’t change that it burns. It sounds to me like he’s just splitting hairs or blowing smoke to try and be profound and people eat it up (though I don’t think he is lying, but more like spinning yarns that are pointless). His book on the “taboo” is rooted in bad science anyway.

Reality is what our senses give us and we just have to live with that. I now severely question how people can experience a “higher” reality/dimension when their bodies and senses are firmly rooted in the current one. Now that I think of it, any mention of a “true” reality seems largely arbitrary (when said in a spiritual sense). All claims of this world being an “illusion” are just personal testimony, which is bunk to me (I know from asking people who “claim” they have seen or experienced it. All that proves is just what they felt, doesn’t mean such a thing exists).

Sorry for the rant, but I just realized how stupid I was being for throwing everything I believed in just because someone had a “personal experiences” they couldn’t explain.

Objects don’t exist? They are a figment of our imagination?


Pretty sure that concept has been around for a long time; it’s called solipsism, although it does carry things to their logical conclusion. OR have I missed the point?


“Solipsism (/ˈsɒlɪpsɪzəm/ ( listen); from Latin solus, meaning ‘alone’, and ipse, meaning ‘self’)[1] is the philosophical idea that only one’s own mind is sure to exist. As an epistemological position, solipsism holds that knowledge of anything outside one’s own mind is unsure; the external world and other minds cannot be known and might not exist outside the mind. As a metaphysical position, solipsism goes further to the conclusion that the world and other minds do not exist. This extreme position is claimed to be irrefutable, as the solipsist believes himself to be the only true authority, all others being creations of their own mind.”




I don’t think it’s solipsism but more like how concepts only exist in our head and not in reality. So there are no trees just our conception of a tree.

But to me this seems like a silly distinction to make. It doesn’t matter what you regard or don’t, it doesn’t change what we observe and know of trees. If you ask me it’s just an attempt to rationalize the experiences people have in meditation. They reality is that there are objects and pieces.