A friend recently sent me this article from the Atlantic (hey @caseyghancock!) Word of warning - it gets difficult fast - at least for this pea brain. Nevertheless, it's a fascinating read if you've ever questioned the reality of the world created by your perceptions (or if you want to waste an entire Tuesday obsessing about whether anything you do really matters).
Professor Donald D. Hoffman, of the University of California, Irvine argues that all we perceive is based on a false reality, shaped by evolution to keep us alive. If you've ever heard me speak on the subject I make a similar argument, that the world we live in is really not the world our brain perceives. I profess that we are stuck in the afterimage projected world of our subconscious, shaped by the experiences of our ancestors. But, Dr. Hoffman goes far beyond my theory, incorporating mathematical models of quantum physics to attempt to untangle first person reality from actual reality - getting behind the illusion held by each of us.
"We’ve been shaped to have perceptions that keep us alive, so we have to take them seriously. If I see something that I think of as a snake, I don’t pick it up. If I see a train, I don’t step in front of it. I’ve evolved these symbols to keep me alive, so I have to take them seriously. But it’s a logical flaw to think that if we have to take it seriously, we also have to take it literally. The snake I see is a description created by my sensory system to inform me of the fitness consequences of my actions."
In other words, snakes and trains are essentially illusions, our reactions to which are individually coded to help us survive. But my perception of a snake and your perception of a snake are two separate mental representations of an illusion.
Does this hurt anyone else's head? Can't wait to hear what you all have to say about the illusion you live in!