What Is Reality?

What Is Reality?

2011, Science  -   194 Comments
Ratings: 8.47/10 from 143 users.

What Is Reality?There is a strange and mysterious world that surrounds us, a world largely hidden from our senses.

The quest to explain the true nature of reality is one of the great scientific detective stories.

Clues have been pieced together from deep within the atom, from the event horizon of black holes, and from the far reaches of the cosmos.

It may be that that we are part of a cosmic hologram, projected from the edge of the universe. Or that we exist in an infinity of parallel worlds. Your reality may never look quite the same again.

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ali lawal muazu
5 years ago

can some one please re-share the download link of these documentary.thank you

6 years ago

Much ado about nothing. Reality is what your deluded mind projects into it, if there is such a thing called reality at all, including mathematics. It's all an illusion. Time and money should be spent on feeding the poor and healing the sick, not on chasing something that is not there.

7 years ago

I have a theory that when matter hits an event horizon, it travels through space and time into the centre, or as we would call it, a big bang. Perhaps the reason we havn't observed it is that our perception of time for us inside this place is too slow for us to understand anything outside of it. Nobody knows for sure what happens inside a black hole. In terms of outside the event horizon, or the thing that keeps out universe together, we could be moving as fast to it, as neutrino's do to us. The big bang might be perceived as being faster than a neutrino exploding from the outside. Here is the tricky part. Could our event horizon be a spherical lens that creates paths of probability for all of the known matter to travel along, sometimes intersecting like lasers crossing paths to form new things? Maybe that's what a big bang is? The probability of 2 of these pathways intersecting. Brainfarts. brainfarts everywhere. Even a broken clock is right twice a day. I didn't finish highschool because I kept daydreaming.

7 years ago

more I learn about the physics, more i believe in scepticism

Beavus B'head
8 years ago

They use the word "fact" a lot in here. Almost everything they are talking about is theory that cannot be proven. Hollywood is making science look bad. They continue to misrepresent theory as something more concrete. If they keep this up, people will eventually distrust anything "science" they see.

8 years ago

What could be more fun than dancing through the "universes" ?
I "askew" (: (o') My whole life is spent on the event horizon for Pete Sake ! What's the big deal ? >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>+=
I've got this whole thing all figured out! Don't you worry. I'll have us all walking through walls faster than you can say Rumpelstiltskin. We'll be entangled with so many universes, they have to call the Enterprise to untangle the knots. "Stand back!" and fasten your seat belts. It's going to be a bumpy ride.

9 years ago

What does it say on 14:03?

"I*IOT something something"

If anyone ever knew or could work it out could you tell me? I'm trying to read it but it's so unclear to me thank you

9 years ago

I don't have the scientific or mathematical knowledge to back it up, so take it for what it is, but i don't believe that a fundamental principle of reality can be found through researching elementary particles. First of all, i believe that there is no such thing as an elementary particle. But the main point i'd like to make is that a particle is a perception, not a reality (and yes, wave patterns too)
Or, in other words, a perceived particle is not distinct or intrinsically different from the space it surrounds. If i'm correct that is what entanglement refers to.
So, basically, what i'm saying is that particles can only describe a relative perception based reality.

Terry Beaton
9 years ago

When we were still walking stooped over in the rift valley our ability to understand the universe was limited. Despite what we consider to be our supreme intelligence, our understanding is actually still limited. It's all relative. In time our brains will be even more capable of understanding concepts that are still remain beyond our intelligence. The theories we are putting forth now are limited by our present abilities. Just as we could not understand certain concepts when we were more primitive, we will one day understand these paradoxes and mysteries. Not with theories that purport to be inexplicable, but with theories we one day will understand (when we're smarter

Val Valiant Five
9 years ago

Cerebral Universe Theory
linear C.U.T. reality.

“For we are a bi-sect-ed universe - cut by the scissors of Fate.

A linear slice that bleeds-out spinning galaxies,

from black hole branches.

Each sun a stick,

a burning little branch,

nourished by the trunk of the beginning.

Becoming the roots of burning little branches - to come.

For we are a bi-sect-ed universe - cut by the scissors of Fate.”

~The seven stanzas of recreation - The Annals of Priapus

My hypothesis argues that we live not only in a linear, or flat universe (as proposed by Quantum mechanics), but also in a trans-dimensional universe that can be tracked by the stars and all forms of energy as a tracer through, or bisecting – time.

Our present is the point that reality cuts through time.

Our star is a 3rd dimensional eddy from the trans-dimensional
sprig it passes through.

Our galaxies super black-hole is a 3rd dimensional current,
from the trans-dimensional branch, our sprig shoots from.

The big-bang is the trunk of this metaphorical tree, and it's roots were the branches of big-bangs that came before.

And as for our little flower of a planet, it will form the roots of
metaphorical trunks to come.

I will further extrapolate that we (as individuals) are
quasi-conscious, metaphorical trichomes on the trans-dimensional
flower (that is planet Earth) as it travels through space-time.

That is to say that our souls, our 'third eye' if you will, is the tether
to the trans-dimensional tree that creates us as individuals. We are
individualized glances into our reality, lasting from birth-to-death,
diving into and out of trans-dimensional space/time via this tether.

If we could see all time (as we know it) at once... It would look like a
radiant ball of all things that defuses into spinning streamers of
galaxies, that in-turn spin off planets and ends with us in the
present. We are a fleshy tip of cosmic shrapnel from the Big-Bang. We branch in-and-out-of space-time as individuals, so our lifetimes are just glancing into this reality from ... a different kind of time.

David Stead
9 years ago

particles. lol. infinite variety? or misunderstanding. particles are BEHAVIOR not material.

David Stead
9 years ago

Entropy proves time is running backwards. All this is an illusion.

9 years ago

Another excellent documentary that proves once again that creativity, and imagination are the keys to progressing our understanding of reality. (reality is what we choose to think it is)
Math is the universal language, but beyond the basics, it is incomprehensible to the vast majority, and thus, is as dead as those who put all their eggs in its equational basket. In other words, it is holographic nonsense to spend trillions in a vain attempt for a complete understanding, that could never be understood by the general masses. (for the record, dark energy, dark matter are modern day equivalents of Einstein's cosmological constant to defend their life's work in the wrong direction - the universe is not expanding, it is collapsing under the force of gravity, it is accelerating, and the forementioned minutia is not needed)
All life are neurotransmitters of frequency of the electromagnetic spectrum of the brain of the universe/multiverse, plain and simple, and no amount of money spent is going to give a better analogy of what everything is! Any questions?
P.S: If what I have said offends the science minded, then perhaps it is time to think for yourself, and realize your own potential of thought, instead of fullfilling someone else's. Then, you can get on with the idea of living, and be thankful you are even here to experience it!

10 years ago

This doc does a very good job of presenting the information in a clear and well thought out manner. Plenty of breathing space to think while you watch and the core concepts sit in your head for further probing long after you're finished. We need more of this.

10 years ago

A fascinating, 2011 Horizon watch. Really enjoyed that! :)

nariman J
10 years ago

Reality is infinitely definable. This means there will always be something to discover.

Bhargav Radhakrishna
10 years ago

It is quite amusing to see albinoids ('whites') and brainwashed europhilics struggling to arrive at conclusions and trying their best to understand theories and concepts that superior cultures like Indians and Chinese had arrived at millennia ago.

Pierre Thibault
10 years ago

If the Universe is mathematics and mathematics are by nature undefined as Kurt Gödel said, then the Universe does not exists. It is a work of art illusion.

11 years ago

So...When the black holes eventually evaporate there are going to be lots of event horizons floating around the universe with the information that wasn't lost?

11 years ago

Video loses image after the adverts - why does this happen? Perhaps it is virtual!
Due to the nature of the Universe and the fact that the observer may change it's nature, or, by describing it, it is no longer the same, truth is out of reach so the best way to describe reality is by metaphor and allusion (indirect glance perhaps). Or like viewing an image in disturbed water.

11 years ago

I always knew every experience I ever had, ever do have and ever will have is subjective: I'm experiencing sensations, knowing, acknowledging, hot, cold etc, all the time, so there's no need to do physical activity any more, plus the nature of the Universe isn't the object, but the knowledge,origin, method, and origin of the universe, to understand the universe is by thoughts, sensations and subjects, and it's known truthfully subjectively, I already knew that, I didn't want to be a****tty solipsist so I relearned other things in methodological solipsism too, it's difficult to learn (the fact that it's difficult is a subjective experience) but it's worth it, any philosophy I learn isn't so simple, but it's simple to naturally, even subconsciously experience your world subjectively, which is just the sensations etc therefore objects don't exist, I know reality's subjective because of supposed knowledge of gods, which has convinced me that reality is subjective.

11 years ago

Dude are you sure your a programmer, if so you must be pure software development sinc a^n + b^n = c^n is the bread and butter of graphics programming :)

11 years ago

@Payne Hooper
I think what is happening is something which doesnt fit with two particles being made. Consider this. If two particles are made, rather than one, then five outcomes are possible.
1.No Photons go through
2.One on the right goes through, the other doesn't
3.One on the left goes through, the other doesn't
4.Both go through a different slot
5.Both go through the same slot
I think the pattern that they get only makes sense if everytime a photon goes through a slot, another one goes through the other slot 100% of the time, and when a particle doesn't go through, no particles go through. So your left with only scenario 1 and 4, the other 3 dont happen. If two particles are made, all five scenarios should happen at varying degrees, but only 2 scenarios happen which means 2 photons cannot be created. Or rather thats my take on it, because when they say the particle pattern is the same as a wave pattern, light is constantly shone onto the slits, it means every time light passes through one slit, light passes through the other slit, which is the wave pattern.

11 years ago

The whole cosmos is a supreme conciousness, and our conciousness is only one of the small part of that supreme conciousness, from this aspect we are interrelated in the whole universe. We can alter our conciousness depending on certain variables like sleep, drugs, meditation, deep breathing, foods etc. Whatever we ingest in our system can alter our conciousness in one way or another. However, i believe meditation and pranayama can alter our conciousness to a different state/level, that transpires longer duration. We can cultivate to alter our conciousness longer term through pranayama/meditatiion. When we continue meditate longer duration, we can learn about what's happening in our body by the motion on the outer linings/tip of our ears. We can only manifest this once are body is at harmonious level. Everyday eating, stresss and toxins creats disharmony in our body, therefore normal individual can't experience higher stage of conciousness. Once you've cleansed your body through fasting, or meditation then you start to experience higher level of conciousness. What we see and experience is through our conciousness and our conciousness can reveal what is real/unreal when we can transcend our mental state through meditation or pranayama (special breathing exercises!)

11 years ago

It is only after the progress made in quantum physics/mechanics,we are trying to find the answers for these kind of topics,prior to that all of these were rubbished as Indian religion Philosophies

11 years ago

Every time I think I get a grasp of what reality is, something happens that totally takes me off my game. Before I start I want to say I do not drink at all and do no drugs at all…recreational or prescription, except for the occasional aspirin.

Sunday night I came down stairs to use the telephone and it wasn’t in its cradle, so I walked into the kitchen and looked on the counters and into the dining room and looked on the table…it wasn’t there. As I was walking back into the living room where my wife and the phone are I asked her where the phone was; she said she thought she put it back. She got up and looked at the empty phone cradle (the first time she looked at it and the second time I looked at it) and said that’s weird, so we both went to the kitchen and the dining room and outside on the back porch to see of she left it there…it wasn’t. When we came back into the house and looked at the phone cradle again; the phone was sitting in the cradle.

11 years ago

I have found that ingesting LSD, DMT and other psychedelic substances temporarily changes the brain chemistry enough to be able to experience other realities, or, at the very least indicate that something other than this reality exists.

11 years ago


Poof! Now you're not.

11 years ago

I am Reality.

11 years ago

Perhaps the double slit issue is just something as simple as duality, some things seem to only exist in pairs, maybe there is no such thing as a single photon....maybe they just think they are firing one photon but is a pair that split to go through and then interfere as they go back togather....When they put the measuring devices in place it just keeps the photons from spliting....I would bet that the measuring device produces some energetic field, magnetic or otherwise....It has to do something within the energy spectrum in order to take a measurement.

11 years ago

its a really interesting video non the less so dont think im one of those ***holes

11 years ago

as much as i'd like to hear reality defined in entirety, i feel it's unimportant as we have far more life threatening problems like.... prescription drugs, chemicals in food, pesticides in our fruit, and a world of addictive personalities whether your hooked on....... sugar, caffeine, sex, internet, nicotine, alcohol, weed(psychologically...), food in general, salt, sleep, etc. you are not in control.

11 years ago

Amazing video really .

What we call reality is just an intellectual construction indeed.

I wonder whether there are other ways to approach the ultimate reality , the latter that can never be reached via our senses-impressions, i am afraid , i do not know

11 years ago

So, a quantum computer is capable of amazing things, as long as we don't ask what its doing? Sounds like a teenager .If Asimo ever gets his hands on one of these, we won't need manga anymore ;0

12 years ago

take some drugs and youll learn reality can fit any description you can mould it to your needs

Devon Conner
12 years ago

well, i was smoking my j, and if you don't smoke, i guess it feels like it opens your mind. ANYWAY, i was thinking about reality and trying to find a truth. so i documented my feelins. heres a copy paste.

Neutral point of view. if both sides are intensified perception and not reality. (positive and negative feelings)

Neutral point = Reality?

When no part is intensified. positive or negative side.

artificial happiness is a correct coined term. however, everyone feels this.

does this mean that happiness and depression are illusions? If the middle of positive and negative is reality. no particular fore hand thought of the object when looking at it. (neutral)

if you fail to see something in a different way. does that mean your perception of it doesn't change or the reality of it didn't. this means you would actual;y be able to change reality.

But how do we know when we reached this point? (neutral point)

ANYWAY, thats what i was thinking about. might sound crazy. or maybe not. idk, but i guess i'll have to smoke some more soon!

12 years ago

to find the reality we must find the opposite of reality, and that is true. true is stable and reality not.

12 years ago

two places at the same time? I'm sure it can be, in matter e fact more them two, i know someone who made it round 35, 36 places at the same night into different cites. this man passed away now, he was a great man ever. God bless his soul.

12 years ago

max cannot be in two places at once because he is conscious therefore ALWAYS observing himself, and like the quantum computer, it cant be a 0 and a 1 at the same time while being observed!

12 years ago

Very interesting! Hope Higgs bosons are found soon. Nature never stops surprising us. Wish to get more knowledge by reading the grand design by stephen hawkings. Need more videos which give insight on recent findings.

12 years ago

Nicely stated! As I read your comment I was saying to myself that you too must have read 'The Toa of Physics'.

It almost seems like Eastern man and Western man are two inherently different beings on this planet. Eastern philosophy accepts and reveres the wonders, the marvels and the mysteries of everything that surrounds them as an extension of themselves. Western science questions the validity of every discovery and dissects its authenticity, looking for the legitimacy of its being, as if man and his environment are adversaries.

12 years ago

eastern thought and western thought are two different ways of looking at the same reality and not surprisingly are also the two ways in which our mind thinks. the rational(western) mind and the intuitive(eastern) mind. left brain, right brain. yin yang. i believe many problems in the world are due to an over left brained way of thinking. a rational male perspective that also not surprisingly has dominated the planet in its wanting of control, right now its asserting its control on nature. people in the west unlike people in the east have a much harder time grasping the idea of reality and what we're doing here, and get caught up on things like what we are made of and see things as complicated. anyone not up to date with science should know that the idea of a fundamental building block is an old and expired idea. when we try finding a fundamental particle or "building block" we cant do it because these chunks of "matter" only exist due to they're relationship with everything else. a network of relationships that are intermingled in to one ever changing but never changing process. the more things change, the more they stay the same. after all its not complicated to move your hand or make a fist, it seems things only get complicated when we think about them. and that's the difference. eastern thought is more about experiencing it, and meditation is a tool like science is ours. western thought contemplates things more and makes things complicated. science does not need god(spirituality) and spirituality does not need science but people need both. we should realize the oneness of everything. you shouldn't contrast the conscious from the unconscious, the inanimate from the animate, because it is the unconscious(as we call it) that is doing consciousness. for simplicity, atoms, that make everything else, come together to produce consciousness unless of course the universe is inherently conscious, maybe we should consider that the universe is smarter then we are.
i think our logic is to crude for the job. there is no way someone will ever gain a full and real understanding of the universe by staring at an equation or even a sentence. and its because our symbolism and terminology is limited.
some wisdom
-decay is inherent in all compounded things, strive on with diligence
- force or laws(strong force, weak force, electromagnetic force and gravity) are not forces external to things but represent the harmony of movement immanent in them.
and one of my favorites-when the world knows the power of love and not the love of power, the world will know peace.

movies you should watch-
mind meets matter and energy, by bruce lipton
the taboo of psi, by dean radin

books you should read-
the Tao of physics
confessions of an economic hitman.

peace and love.

12 years ago


'a^n + b^n = c^n to me as a programmer seems illogical.'

Your instincts are good! This is Fermat's Last Theorem (FLT) and it was proved by Andrew Wiles that:

For ALL values of n greater that 2 the expression has no solutions.

Replace n with 2 and you get the famous Pythagorean theorem.

Replace n with 1 and you get a + b = c which has an infinite number of solutions!

Replace n with 0 and you get 1 + 1 = 1. An illogical statement.

@K.Elvin used FLT in a very creative way!

12 years ago

a^n + b^n = c^n to me as a programmer seems illogical. Surely it should be written a+b^n = c? Not being a mathematician I may be missing the point :)

12 years ago


A mathematical/philosophical proof of God's existence was given by St Ansell In his ontological argument. Two documentaries here on TDF describe the argument, they are:

Colin McGinn in Jonathan Miller's 'A brief history of disbelief' and

'The Great Philosophers: An Introduction to Western Philosophy' : section 3 - Anthony Kenny on medieval Philosophy

It is a completely impenetrable argument unless one has an understanding of the mathematical method of 'proof by contradiction'.

If you or anyone else is interested then ask me on the blog for The Great philosophers and I will happily lay it out for you.

Warning: most theologians dispute the validity of the proof although no-one has yet found a convincing counter argument to it.

12 years ago

@ K.Elvin,

Thanks for your response. I have been stewing on it for a while and still can't find too many constructive additions or criticisms to make. However I will say this:

I really liked the way that your argument used Fermat's Last Theorem (FLT) to restrict the values of the exponent n to 0, 1 or 2. In my mind this clarifies the way in which FLT can and should be used and for this reason alone was worthwhile and illuminating. A classic example of lateral thinking and the strength of abstract, non-intuitive theorems in forming an method of attack on unusual and difficult problems. Well done.

I am still having a few difficulties in understanding/believing the way that you combined the a^n, b^n and c^n into the statement of FLT. Justification arguments in physics always leave me a little bit unsatisfied, so you may just be banging away on a brick wall with that one...

Another potential problem I have is with n standing for a reality. Wouldn't it be more appropriate to describe n as the number of experiments? Couldn't the multiple experiments all take place in our observable version of reality?

Digression: Does each individual have there own version of reality? or if there is a collective reality? Collective reality seems intuitively true (if 1000 people run head first at a brick wall there will almost certainly be 1000 sore heads) but in science one often finds that intuition leads us astray. My instincts tell me that this is a linguistic problem based on the definition of the word reality...

Re: Adding apples and bananas. It is actually the 'number' of cats and the 'number' of boxes that are being added (although I am still questioning the validity of the addition) so at some point the reduction formula should apply. The reason being that the formula a=b comes into play. i.e. the number of cats is the same as the number of radioactive boxes.

In any case I cordially thank you for providing an original and interesting problem to chew on.

Best regards

12 years ago

You are assuming a created entity of intelligent beings has a variable within the known universe.

12 years ago

oooh boy =S

12 years ago

"The rest of the universe can be explained -by mathematics" Really? I didn't know a unified theory had been developed, please tell. God? This is a discussion about reality not fairy stories.

12 years ago

It may seem like a strange question but, can the presence of a God be proven mathematically. It seems that the rest of the universe can be explained that way.