Some friends I can talk to better than others. Sadly, the times we talk aren’t in proportion.
One of the most “under rated” ones among them told me once, that he believed that literally everything is possible. That reality is nothing more than our perception of it, and that structure exists only in our imagination.
After all, how do we perceive the world? We have sensors of five kinds, that transfer forces all around us (of luminescent, kinetic or chemical kind) into electrical pulses, which in term are gathered and interpreted by our brain before it is fed into this… gaseous bubble, our consciousness. For all we know, we could be completely wrong and somehow force-fed a reality that doesn’t actually exist, and there is no way we could possibly tell the difference. With all the different possibilities, who says that our perceived world is the “real” one.
What he claims, is that we can alter reality simply through imagination. With that, he means our subjective reality, inside our mind. If you can only imagine it vividly enough, it is possible. If you actually see yourself stand up and walk through a wall, and the next moment you see yourself on the other side of it, what is there to prove that you are wrong? If your mind accepts this as real, it is real- to you. And just like that, you can do the most unimaginable (no pun intended) things, reversing the way your senses work and redefining reality with the power of the mind.
He continued that the only reason why we accept things as true is because we were told to do so. Did you know, for example, that men and women see colors differently? It could go as far as someone seeing the color red as green, but since childbirth they learned that it was called “red”, so red it is. If you were told something is big, small, dangerous or soft, you would soon grow to believe it, and thus your world is shaped.
I really appreciate a fresh intake on such things, although I disagreed wholeheartedly. I have a much more “classical” view on life, singing along with just about everyone not even giving it any thought. I believe that there is in fact, a reality “out there”, outside our minds and bodies, that defines things before we perceive them, and despite the distorted view that we have on it, can not just be changed in any way though the electrical pulses inside our brains.
Let’s take Newton’s apple; I hold it in front of me, and as we both watch, I let go. The apple immediately falls downwards, and makes a little hop as it lands. I ask you to pick it up, and you do not reach anywhere else, but down to the exact location of the apple, and effortlessly pick it up. At that very moment, you and I agreed flawlessly on an observation, prediction and manipulation of reality. This couldn’t be something we learned. This is Darwin’s formula, of the apple going at 9.8m/s2 and nothing else. It’s so obvious and logic, it has become predictable to the point of simple math.
That doesn’t guarantee that someone or -thing isn’t fucking with our heads. We could both be caught in some “matrix” type situation and the things we think we see, are really just some sort of story made up, and might not even approach reality as it is. There might not actually be such a thing as light, gravity, or even other people- they might just be phantoms fed to our mind.
I’ve considered this in the past and found it terribly confusing, until I ran into some text written by some guy much more clever than I, that explained the core principles of philosophy to me. One of the first was that we need to accept that there is such a thing as reality.
If we are indeed being lied to, by our senses or some outside entity, there would be no way for us to find our through reasoning or observation, so it would be of no use at all to think further on it, other than rhetorical thought experiments or entertainment.
In order to analyze it, we must accept that the reality that we see, is real. If you can’t even agree on “what”, how could you go on asking “how,” “why” and so on. Even things that we cannot mentally grasp, like infinity, still have to be accepted if we ever want to think further on it.
While my friend has a valid point, it is one that makes itself obsolete because it is purely theoretical. There is no aspect of reality that follows his reasoning, unlike Newton’s laws. Our senses are the starting point; Our reasoning the way out.
I’m writing all this while playing chess against a computer that shows its thought process. Dear Keenan, I’m like, so sophisticated. Getting my ass kicked, but still.