To begin with I think your post is one of the most coherent posts I have ever read. And I do believe you understand where I am coming from but I also think you miss a very important consequence of what I have shown. I am very sorry that you feel I don't acknowledge your understanding; I will try to be more courteous in the future. All I can say is that to really understand my basic position, you have to understand the mathematics I present.
I do not oppose the idea that communication is possible. What I see is a major roadblock to communications which everyone else either completely ignores or at least underestimates. The assumption that we agree on the meanings of most of the words we use is much more significant that anyone comprehends. In fact, the real central issue of my presentation is establishing a set of words, the meanings of which we can all agree upon. Way back, a long time ago, Paul Martin and a few others tried to find a starting vocabulary the exact meaning of which everyone would accept. In many respects the discussion was a farce. It was analogous to all those Greeks searching for the right string to untie the Gordian knot.
None the less, in my head, meaning of words is in fact the exact starting place for true communication. But the approach they were using was not at all effective. Just as Alexander cut the Gordian knot, the only successful attack is to attack the entire problem simultaneously. I suggest we begin with the definition of reality: "reality is ...". Add to this the idea that nothing outside "reality" is of any importance and we have an interesting mathematical problem. That problem leads me to define "time" (as no more than an index which specifies what we have to work with: i.e., what we know), observations, objects, mass, momentum, position, … and much more. My problem is that no one will accept my definitions; no more than they would accept Paul's. With regard to the idea of communication, as you say, if you don't make the assumption it's possible, then why try. Although, one could say that it is to clarify one's ideas to oneself.
You say that you tell me the same thing I say, only in different words, and I disagree with you. I am sorry I give you that impression as it isn't true at all. I am merely trying to get to an issue everyone avoids thinking of (and I think that includes you).
By the way, I was not "frustrated" with the fact that my teacher lied. In fact, I thought the teacher and I were communicating. I am a very strange person and even before I went to school, I believed that everyone lied about everything. I never took any of it as malicious, I just thought it was part of the environment the adults laid out for kids to train them to think. I never even guessed that most people believed anything they said. The first time I ever ran into anything where what you were supposed to believe was reasonably easy to figure out was when I ran into mathematics.
The point is, unless you're crazy or under the influence of psychotic drugs, reality makes perfect sense.
Now, to that statement I will answer, "yes and no". The crux of the problem is that "what makes sense" (in the big picture) is outside our ability to comprehend on a conscious level. On a conscious level, we can only put together a very few issues to consider when we make a particular decision "that makes sense". We must presume that the underpinnings of the issues behind our conscious thoughts also make sense.
The only arguments for that assumption (that the underpinnings of the issues behind our conscious thoughts make sense) is that anytime we take the trouble to check another relationship based on those same underpinnings, it also makes sense (now I will throw up a cavil here - it's not always true and great advances have arisen from the discovery of errors in those underpinnings). Central to the issue here is that no amount of examination constitutes a proof that the underpinnings "make sense". This is the inductive thing that Harv is always harping on. And it is also why I continually refer to the decision (that it makes sense) as a subconscious decision.
Now, the only way get around the limitations of our conscious mind, consists of using mathematics to extend the range of things which can be certified as making sense. Mathematics is in fact a very complex tautology. That is to say one may begin with a very small number of "things that make sense" and extend them far beyond the range of conscious thought with very strong confidence that the conclusions are correct. Anyone who understands mathematics should understand the fact that intuition can yield the wrong results; this is exactly the phenomena I am referring to when I say that most people only think on a subconscious level. Philosophers who do not understand mathematics cannot comprehend such a thing and are therefore very limited in what they can understand.
On the other hand, most people who do understand mathematics fully comprehend the fact that there is no content in mathematics and thus cannot comprehend a universe fully deducible from mathematics. It also is completely counter to their intuition. They "believe" there must be more (if not, what is there life all about)! Well, that is my question too! Only I can't discuss it with people who don't understand the import of the deductions I have performed.
Unless one believes each person lives in a separate universe, the fact that we can't agree on a single, coherent description of reality means we are all fools!
No, that is not the case at all. What you must understand is that your beliefs are illusions created by your subconscious. But even more important than that is the fact that your communications are also illusions. Before one can talk about reality, one must first define reality otherwise, we really don't know what we are talking about. Take my definition, "reality is ..." (whatever definition you wish to choose). Now, to deny that definition is to literally say you don't know what you are talking about. Suppose I then give you a million years to communicate that definition to me. What can I say about your reality before getting the first message? Quite a little actually! That is exactly what my paper is about.
Let me make an analogy which you can perhaps understand from your perspective. Starting with the accepted picture of reality, you were once a single fertilized cell. Then you were two cells; then four and then sixteen .... All of the information you have about the outside world arrived through physical interactions of that collection of cells with reality. From those interactions you created a mental image of reality (your reality, the one you believe is correct which was, by the way, created by your subconscious: i.e., you certainly didn't do in consciously). A very important part of that image is the information you receive from others. Your image of reality must include the fact of that information which, as a matter of fact, includes information about their mental image of reality.
Now, the only thing which "makes sense" is that your mental image of reality must be consistent with the received information about those others mental image of reality: i.e., it would be an inconsistent solution to the original problem if your mental image of reality were different from the mental images of others (as you say, that state is usually called "crazy"). But can that be used as a proof that you and your neighbor have the same mental image of the universe? From a logical perspective, you must certainly understand that no such proof can be demonstrated. Your belief that his image should be identical is based on the fact that your mental image (created by your subconscious) requires that constraint, not that reality requires it!
But the further evidence that his reality and yours must be the same is the fact that no human being can conceive of a mental image of reality other than the one he carries around in his own head. Why not? Very simple, the act of creating such an image is beyond the capability of his conscious mind; only his subconscious is capable of creating such an illusion. If one cannot understand how that feat can be accomplished, then the whole subject is impossible to even think about.
That is exactly why what I have done is important! By presenting a specific method of creating an illusion identical to the one my subconscious has presented to me from absolutely any sample of information conceivable, I have specifically shown how such an image can be created (not necessarily how my subconscious did it, but a way of doing it). If you understood my mathematics, you would understand that I have constructed a mental image (a way of looking at totally random data) which turns out to conform to modern physics. This is exactly the way out of "this foolishness". It makes utterly no difference what your mental image of reality is, I have explicitly laid out a mechanism of transforming your messages in such a way that it will map perfectly into the image laid out in my paper (it will consist of objects which are guaranteed to satisfy most of modern physics; all of modern physics which is correct). That consequence is entirely contained in the definitions I present.
As to causality being an illusion. Any explanation of anything must (by the very definition of explanation) include the concept of causality. The explanation yields answers to questions by making those answers consequences of some accepted foundation. The foundations consist of some set of things one believes to exist and a set of rules one believes to be correct. Causality is nothing more than the statement that the rules require the existence of those things that "exist" to "cause" the described results. So the concept of causality is essential to any explanation. However, if you understood the mathematics of my paper, you would understand the fact that the requirement does not extend to "reality" but is only a requirement of your explanation itself. I call anything created by your subconscious and not required by "reality" an illusion. What would you call it?
If you believe eating styrofoam is good for your survival then you are wrong! (At least so long as what I think you mean by those words is reasonably close to what you think you mean.) You act as if you believe the example you present exists in a vacuum independent of all your other beliefs. In fact, you are working with thousands upon thousands of related concepts created by your subconscious to "explain" all the experiences of your life. As I said above, you are presuming that the underpinnings of the issues behind your conscious thoughts also make sense. In fact, exactly the same observation may be made of every example you present.
Now, with regard to what I have done, I have laid out a method of constructing a "foundation of physical reality" which applies to any absolutely any definition of reality conceivable. I have further shown that the foundation so laid out leads to exactly the physics currently held as the basis of the universe we find ourselves in. My problem is really very simple: no one who is competent to follow my arguments is willing to look carefully at those arguments. Instead, all I get is the argument that such an attack cannot be successful. So long as no one will look into my telescope I can certainly not expect them to see what I see.
You comment that it is easier to think I am being foolish. I won't deny that; but, just because it is easy, doesn't mean it is correct. Please point out the errors in what I have said above.
Have fun -- Dick