Perception and Reality
A Blog Post
Have you ever thought whether you may never be able to see or know the world
as it is, and its reality may be very different from your perception of it? Can
it be that the world which you see is but a creation of your mind and not an exact
copy of it? How does the world look when there is no preceptor, knower or subject
What you see through your mind and sense entirely depends upon how they translate
the outside reality, which in turn depend upon many factors, including your knowledge
and awareness. What if they are defective and inadequate in themselves and do not
truthfully render the world and its numerous aspects?
To put it differently, how do we know that our perception of the world is an
exact copy of the real world when we know that our knowledge arises from comparing
and contrasting our perceptions with preexisting knowledge which is stored in our consciousness?
Not many people really care to think about this because for them the answer is
too obvious. They accept without doubt that the world is what they see. How can
anyone deny it when outwardly it is how it looks? You live in the world and you
constantly interact with it. At no time, until your last breath, you are separate
from it. Until you pay attention to how your knowledge is manifesting in your consciousness,
you will not even question it.
You can never be certain about the truthfulness or accuracy of your perceptions
because you can never know how the world will be in the absence of the mind and
senses and the perceiver or the knower. You can be certain only when you have both
informations so that you can compare and contrast.
Much of what we perceive is a memorialized impression of what we already
know or perceived. If our memorial knowledge is defective and subject to modifications
due to wear and tear, our perceptions will be colored by it. We also do not pay
adequate attention to things, or see them each time as if we are seeing them for the first time.
As a result, our perception of anything is but a filtered version of what truly
exists. In between the seer and the seen, there are many factors which obstruct
the seeing. Therefore, at the best, our seeing is but seeing through a fog.
Imagine you have a different set of senses or possess more senses which work
differently than you can imagine. Will the world then appear the same? Similarly,
if you speak a different language, in which certain fundamental concepts about the
world are absent or unknown, will you still be able to perceive the same reality
as you can do now?
The world surely appears differently to an insect or an animal. You cannot even
imagine their concept of the world or reality. If a new race of humans suddenly
appear on earth, with more powerful senses, mind and intelligence they will have
a very different perception of our world?
Surely, if aliens ever
set foot upon earth, they may perceive the world very differently, and we may have
a lot of trouble communicating with them and understanding them.
This leads us to an ancient and familiar conundrum. Is knowledge a product of
the mind or an object of it? Can knowledge exist by itself, without the mind? It
so, how can it ever be truthfully known since our minds and senses are imperfect
and subject to many limitations?
No one can truly these questions, because no one can ascertain knowledge in the
objective realm without the mind and the senses. Knowledge arises from the knower,
and it will be specific to that knower. When the knower is absent, there is no knowing
and no knowledge or awareness?
It does not mean that knowledge cannot not exist by itself. It does exist, although
it may be very different from the knowledge which arises from our knowing or perception.
This is evident from the fact that humans have been on earth for hardly a million
years, whereas the universe is at least 14 billion years old. Besides, all the universal
laws of physics, chemistry and biology have been operational since its very beginning.
Certainly, the universe will outlast all of us and the earth itself and remain so
for billions of years.
Hence, no one can dispute that knowledge exists on its own, and is inherent in
the very formation and functioning of the universe. It will remain unknown until
it is perceived or discovered. All our inventions and discoveries arise from the
knowledge which is inherent or preexisting in the universe. However, there is no
guarantee that the knowledge which exists in our minds is the same as the knowledge
which exists outside. It may contain some aspects of it but not everything.
This leads us to another conclusion. We tend to call those as deluded who see things
that do not exist or do not see things that exist. From this perspective, maybe
we are all deluded since our senses are imperfect, and due to cognitive distortions
we may see things that do not exist or not see those that exist beyond their grasp.
From this perspective, we are all subject to maya, the great delusion.