Is There Such Thing as Reality?
I will start my morning with this thought on my mind…. Everything is an illusion, and our brains use illusions to recreate our world. My brain is thankfully interpreting correctly the delicious venti mocha in front of me; that I got for free on my Starbucks card. Thank you brain.
Reality is what my brain conjures up. I have no direct connection to reality other than what my brain defines. When I see this picture, my perception and interpretation is dictated by the neural activity in my brain. Thus, I see Jesus in this picture.
Why is it that when I see this picture, I cannot help but see a triangles? There are zero triangles in this picture! My brain fills in the gaps, and creates the images for me. The reality is that we have no direct connection to reality. Everything you experience is processed into patters of neural activity that form your mental life. This is sort of like the image on your television. When I am watching the sitcom Modern Family, I see the picture as an integrated whole, with distinct features, faces, things, and movement that creates a clear flow. However, the clear flowing images is nothing but more than millions of pixels in a matrix of combobulated distortions. Moreover, when I look up at clouds in the sky, it will only take seconds for my brain to make out a face or animal within the fluffy and puffy distortions.
How do I know when to stop at a red light? How do I know to walk around the coffee table in my living room in order to get to the kitchen? There is not a little guy inside of me giving me the answers. A sense of what I think is reality is mediated by my brain. Even the ability for me to detect the color difference between a yellow yield sign and red stop sign takes root in the brain. Not just colors and contrasting shades, but even the edges and corners of objects are made real thanks to ganglion cells that send their output to the brain through the optic nerve.
So I will close with this: there really is no reality, only our perception, which is mediated and dictated by our brains.