A popular catch phrase of metaphysics is the statement Trolls do not exist. Our first reaction is to accept that as a true statement. Yet the analysis of it leads to a question about the meaning of exist. Does the fact that we can think of a troll mean that it must exist?
Using the concept of authority given in this chapter leads to a much better understanding. We can immediately recognize that statement as contradictory. The statement begins by naming somethingTrolls. To name something is to give it identity. (The biblical authority to name things is given to mankind in Genesis) When it has identity in our minds we control it. Thus by naming Trolls we give them existence. Trolls now exist and the rest of the statement is nonsense. It says that something is nothing. However, we cannot give them control over their own existence. This is beyond our authority. Thus they, Trolls, exist entirely at our discretion and in any form we assign to them. They are not a form of life because they are entirely controlled by an external authority. They are an idea that can be made real by a drawing or a sculpture of that idea. Trolls exist and can be made a part of our reality. So our earlier acceptance of the statement, Trolls do not exist, was based upon the implication which we subconsciously attached to it. We assumed that the name, Trolls, implied a form of life. The picture that came to our minds was of a living creature. When that reservation is attached, the statement becomes true. Trolls do not exist as a form of life.
Suppose we carry this idea a little further. Imagine that you and I get together and decide to build a sand sculpture. We think about it and talk about it until we decide what we will sculpt. The identity Sand Sculpture now exists, but only in our minds. We next travel to a wide sandy beach and begin. We gather sand and shape it to our idea. The idea Sand Sculpture now takes on reality.
What made the difference between the idea and the reality? As an idea it required none of the physical laws of the Universe to control and maintain it. As soon as we start applying those laws to the idea it takes on reality. Thus we have a practical definition of reality. It is any identity that requires the physical laws of the Universe to sustain it. So we finish our work. We admire it, take pictures of it and go off to get a hamburger. Then a physics professor from the local university comes along and finds Sand Sculpture. He decides to discover its origin. So he tests it and measures it and determines what laws were used to build it. He figures out how those laws were applied and how much energy was consumed. He completely reverse engineers Sand Sculpture and arrives back at a wide, flat, sandy beach. He has reverted back to the point where the laws of the Universe no longer apply to Sand Sculpture.
Has he discovered its origin? No, he has not. Nor has he destroyed its identity. He has only destroyed its reality. The idea Sand Sculpture still exists. But he has reached the point where the laws no longer apply and he can go no farther. However, being an astute fellow, he realizes that the possibilities are not exhausted. The laws of the Universe allow him to construct a negative image. So he reconstructs Sand Sculpture carefully getting the sand from a hole so that each addition to the sculpture leaves an identical depression in the sand. This results in two identical but opposite Sand Sculptures that have the unique feature of destroying each other when they interact. But this exercise takes him no closer to finding the origin of Sand Sculpture. Next he realizes that more than one Sand Sculpture is possible. He can make many constructions that are identical but completely separated. Once again he fails to get any closer to its origin. He searches his mind for new ways to probe for its origin and suddenly realizes that Sand will and each time its origin will be mental and not physical. To find its origin he will have to search for the origin of ideas and not for the origin of things. He has discovered that Sand Sculpture originated as an idea in the mind of someone unknown and still resides there.
Now lets expand this example to a grand scale. Scientists have discovered the laws which define and control the Universe. They have used those laws to reverse engineer the Universe in an attempt to find its origin. They have postulated parallel Universes and negative Universes. But they have not found its origin. Instead, they have found a point in the past where their laws can no longer apply. They are now busily trying to formulate new laws to continue their search. But there is another possibility. As in our example above, they may have reached back to where the reality of the Universe disappears and its laws no longer apply: the point where reality began from an idea. Perhaps they have reached the boundary between actuality and potentiality. Perhaps they have arrived at the mind of a Creator but have not yet recognized their success. Sculpture now exists as an idea in his mind. He can recreate it at