Borderlands - Edges
by, 06-29-2012 at 09:09 PM (66 Views)
[The goal of this blog is to examine the contents of my inner world. To explore the landscapes and happenings inside. I feel that I am constantly looking into the "spaces in between" things, that I am burrowing into negative space to find out what is there. This is why my inner world is called The Borderlands. It is the place between other places...a way station, perhaps.]
Periodically, I explore the concept of reality. I ask myself, "What is real?" Specifically, I refer to the inner world vs. the outer world. Which one is real and are they the same? The outer world is traditionally defined as what exists that can be objectively experienced and measured. Meaning, I can experience it. You can experience it. My fifth grade teacher can experience it. A man from China visiting this area can experience it.
But...what throws me is that reality as it is traditionally defined can only be understood and experienced through my perception of it. And my perception is guaranteed to be different from yours or anyone else's. Which means my reality is different from yours. Is objective reality, then, merely an agreement between two or more people on the common elements that we are both experiencing? If that is the case, reality still isn't objective at all. It's merely an agreed upon set of perceptions that stem from a subjective set of experiences.
If reality is subjective, then who's to say that what is perceived as outside of myself isn't just as real as what is inside of myself.
If I don't hear something, and you do, then for me, that sound doesn't exist. The question, "If I tree falls in a forest, does it make a sound?" takes on a new meaning. The common answer is usually, "Yes, of course you blithering idiot." But...if no other thing is there to perceive the sound of that fall, does the sound exist? If no one is there to report it, or nothing is there to react to it...then if we follow the idea that reality is subjective, the tree didn't make a sound when it fell or maybe it did. No one was there to observe the sound, so doesn't that make it impossible to know? Suddenly, the question "If a tree falls in a forest, does it make a sound?" is another infuriatingly unsolvable paradox like Schrodinger's Cat.
But I know we will automatically want, very desperately, to believe that the tree makes a sound when it falls. Other trees we've observed make sounds when they fall, so why wouldn't this one? Well, does the act of observing something make its existence true for us? I think so. Whatever we perceive is our reality, so, if you perceive something, then it is real. For you.
If you tell me that you heard the tree fall, then I'm probably going to believe you on this simple matter. Why wouldn't I? I have to believe that your reality must, on some level, coincide with mine. So, naturally, I'm going to want to agree with your assertion. Especially if it's a simple observation that I have also observed or understand others have observed. I think because our glorified higher reasoning has given us the ability to question such things, we need this continuity in the world in order to remain sane.
We need this agreed upon set of perceptions to keep us from feeling like we're floating off into nothing or blundering through a maze of dreams and reality. It is, maybe, the mind's anchor to the body.