The title of the post might make you puzzled. But I would like to take you through a small journey of thoughts and discover the secret embodied in the title! It’ll be good if you can be distraction-free for two minutes as you read this, as this is a very important reality that can blow your mind! I value your time. Let’s think together : )
Today, we are adding a slice into our Ponder Series. I read something along these lines about a decade ago through several books that profoundly changed my perspectives on how we perceive the world. If you haven’t read about this theme before, this could possibly be a key that could unlock many secrets of thoughts and perceptions about people and things around you and everything happening to you. Right now, you’d be reading these words on your phone/tablet or PC. If it’s the phone, for example, you’d be now scrolling with your fingers on the phone screen or touching your mouse/touchpad if you’re reading on a computer. Reality for most people is what they can see with their eyes & touch with their hands. You touch your phone now while reading this and believe that it’s real. This is the normal conception of reality that has conquered generations and their views. But there’s a deeper side to it if we ponder deeply. Everything we confront and experience – everything – the chair that you sit on, the bed you sleep on, the window of your room, the buildings near you, roads, cars, people you see, spaces, cafes, your loved ones, the experiences we go through in life, in short everything is perceived through our five senses. We know this well, but have you wondered how this magic really happens! Let’s ponder on how the information of the exterior world reaches you through your senses.
You and me have five sensory faculties – sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. If we think about it from a scientific point of view, all these senses work in the same way. For each sensory faculties, stimuli from objects in the external world and taken through these senses and nerves carry them to the sensory centers in the brain. These stimuli that induce these signals include lights (for vision), sounds (for hearing), smells, tastes, textures (for touch). These stimuli reach the brain only as electric signals.
Let’s take our vision as an example. Light rays (photons) emanating from different objects around you reach the retina at the back of your eye system and passing through several stages, they get converted into electrical signals. These signals then reach the brain’s vision centre through the nerves. This colorful and bright three-dimensional imagery that you see is formed at this vision centre, which is only a few cubic centimeters. So, when you hold your phone in your hand, you’re perceiving the “image” of the phone at the back of your brain in a minuscule space. This system of electrical impulses broadly applies to our other senses as well.
When you taste a glass of fresh orange juice, cells on your tongue surface transfer the stimuli into electrical signals that we perceive as taste. The aroma of the fresh orange juice near you is transformed into electrical signals by the cells in the epithelium of the nose. When you touch the glass cup, there are special sensors that are lodged beneath the skin surfaces that transform touch impulses and sensations of hardness/softness to electric signals. Similarly, your ear also have a similar mechanism that converts sounds into electricals signals. That’s how you hear the sound of the glass when you place it on the table. You perceive that you are drinking an orange juice when all these senses cohesively and harmoniously work together with these electrical signals for different senses.
Now is the important concept that needs to be thought about. Whether the orange juice exists or not cannot be known by us. The “orange juice” that you know is a blend or collection of its taste sensed by the tongue, its odour sensed by your nose, the color, and shape captured by your eyes, and only its attributes perceived through these senses is what is accessible to you. You don’t have access to the “original” version outside. It shows the limitation of ours to reach the physical world. Everything around us we are in touch with and our experiences are a compiled effect of different perceptions such as sight, hearing, and touch. All we can do is process the data of electrical impulses in our brain’s sensory centers of our brains. So, instead of the “original” of the matter, we are confronting its “copies” inside our brain. At THIS point, we tend to believe that the copies that we experience are the real matter outside, which is not the case as we just examined 🙂
Orange juice that you drank is only a simulation. Which orange juice is real? The one that is formed by your senses or the real one on the table? It’s no doubt that we are experiencing an aggregate of our perceptions throughout our lives. From every object you touch to anything you experience are perceptions. So whatever you touch, hear, smell and define as “matter”, or what you think as “the world we live in” is nothing else but an interpretation of electrical signals in our brain. The “original” cannot be reached, but only its copy is experienced in your brain! So that means if your olfactory nerve from the nose receptors are disconnected, you cannot feel the sense of smell.
Similar concept shall be extended to the sense of space and distance as well. When you read these words on this page, the distance between you and this page is emptiness perceived in your brain. When you think of stars or moon, you think they appear distant in the sky, but what you’re actually seeing is within you, in your vision center. So, as you sit and read this blog post now, you are technically not inside the room you think you are in, but the room is inside you! The body deceives you in thinking that we’re inside it. Like the orange juice we just discussed, your physical body is also a set of images or perceptions formed in your brain!
You may be able to comprehend this better when you think of how you dream. When you dream, you may experience that you’re riding a horse for example, but in reality, you’d realize that you were on the bed when you wake up from your slumber.
That brings us to the conclusion that our access to the external world is very limited. Now you would understand why saints say that the universe is within you! The way we look at our world changes when we understand and comprehend that our soul is experiencing and watching everything on a screen. Everything is inside you. Think about it. Ponder about this magic happening every single moment. Thank you for reading Ponder Series with me 🙂
Some of the chapters from the Ponder Series that you can read on :
> Perceiving Time
> Ornate Blossoms
> Visual Narrative – Ponder Series
> Reflecting on Shadows
> Stumble over Pebbles
> Ethereal Quality | Petals
> Golden Ratio
> Vision – Pondering on the intricacies
> Ruminating on Bird Nests
> Living Embellishments
> Pondering on Birds
If you are reading this series for the first time, have a look at the intent post.