Thursday, November 09, 2006

Trusting The Senses

All we perceive is subjective. Everything is a matter of perception, perspective, opinion. All we receive from our senses is censored and processed and changed by our brains: previous experience, bias, peer pressure. With all this interference, how can we be sure that what we’re seeing is really there? After all, where I see a monstrosity somebody else sees art. What about sounds? Cows, in my experience, don’t say “moo”, but obviously at some point that’s what somebody has heard and written down. Smells and tastes vary too – I think peanut butter is pretty awful, but someone out there loves it and believes that it tastes wonderful. I think Vegemite is fantastic, but most of the rest of the world would disagree. Touch is an odd one... close your eyes and touch something, you will no doubt identify the object by it’s name or appearance. But what if you touched something you’d never seen? Different people would naturally identify it differently. The most misleading sense is common sense, don’t even get me started on that one.

I conclude that the world only exists by common consensus, and we’re all imagining it as something different. I accept no proof that anything is as it appears or smells or tastes (not that I go around licking windows or anything... much). Nobody is really reading this, because I can’t believe my perception that I’ve just typed it or that any other people exist who could read it if I did.

I might just stop this right here... the logical extension of this concept is that there can be no consequences for actions I’ve only taken in my own perception, and no act I don’t perceive can affect me... that leads to disaster!

11 comments:

Within Without said...

But my reality is I am reading this and did read it, Stace, and I believe you will be able to know that once you read this comment.

I agree entirely that all senses, including common sense, are entirely subjective.

But I think it says something about the human race that for most of us, we come to the same conclusions.

What looks and feels and smells like a kiwi fruit is, most people would agree, a kiwi fruit.

So my perception is that my eyes have seen this post, my tiny brain has processed its contents and I can only respond to what I believe, and that you did post this to your blog...

Maybe Aidan can confirm this, I dunno...

Stace said...

Are you kidding? I don't even know if you exist! How can I possibly be certain that someone I don't know exists has read something I don't know I've typed? Just because I seem to be reading words that you appear to have typed, that could just mean that I'm delusional!

hehe this is fun!

Aidan said...

hrmm dont get me started....

You have to except a level of existance, the nature of existance is not specified how ever. Cartesean idea that " i think therefore i am" ... you may be a figment of my imagination, or i, a figment of yours.. but to some degree we exist. if it is conceptual in nature or existential is what you cannot be certain of.

All existance is subjective the fact that you perceive something at all changes the nature of it's existance. I look at at you, my ideas of you is the wife by my side battling aliens on distant worlds, you may see something totaly different. My perception is modified by life experiences in general and of the object.Tequilla, is a good example, my previous exp. with tequilla makes me cringe at the sight of a bottle.

Common sense as we know my love is not common at all.

"and no act I don’t perceive can affect me..." i think best put is ignorance is bliss:)

The world exists but its nature is uncertain, and true form is unknown, as all is subjective.

Within Without said...

Stace:

I don't. I'm just a pigment of your infatuation.

Aidan:

Huh?

Aidan said...

WW: general gist.. yes we exist.. possibly characters in a novel or brains in jars, instead of a physical existance.

All things you see are subjective and life experience chanegs the way you percieve things.

Names are merely a convention, i always wondered if my name is really aidan or if my parents just made it up.

i dont often battle space aliens

Stace said...

WW - that could explain a lot. I wonder which colour you are...

Aidan - if nobody can agree on what existance actually is, or what exists and what's purely conceptual, how can we possibly know anything at all? I doubt that I am doubting!!! :)

Aidan said...

stace: dead on, All i know is that i know nothing. You are doubting however which you cannot escape from. You cannot doubt that perceive that you are doubting therefore youa re being :)

We cannot "know" anything at all, not with certainty... We can however become utilitarian in our approach and "know" with any information we use, say fire cooks food. We may not be sure that is the fire cooking the food, but the outcome is that food gets cooked. OR that our perseption leads us to believe that the food is cooked to be more precise;)

Stace said...

So what you're saying is that we draw conclusions based on perceptions we cannot trust and believe that our conclusions are the truth?

Aidan said...

yes.. i just used more words:)

Within Without said...

Hey, were you (are you) two together in the same house while you're having this online convo?

Aidan:

My huh? was just a tease...

And Stace:

I'm getting a notification from Blogger every time I post a comment saying the message could not be sent because you have a bad email address.

I'm assuming you have Blogger's email notification system turned on to alert your email when someone comments, but it sounds like Blogger has the wrong email address for you...

Stace said...

I'm at work, Aidan's at home. Thanks for the notification, WW, I'll check that out.