The Science of Me – Perception – Part Two / Teaching a Monkey to Swim Chapter 2

I’m realising that there is a cross-over of material happening, that is, between independent blog posts and book material that I’ve been working on lately in the creation of my exploration of metaphysics, ‘Teaching a Monkey to Swim’.

I intuited the title of the book and its chapter around ten years now, and as is with anything I intuit or channel, it’s not always clear in what way things are going to develop, or in this case what the book was necessarily going to be about. I’ve worked on this book off and on in that time, however with my recent participation here on WP I’ve been re-inspired to begin writing again. My perceptions and understanding of myself, my life and my reality have changed considerably in that time, in that they have expanded enormously and I am able to write this book from a broader perspective in many ways. I also know and understand what this book is about now.

A post I published recently titled Teaching a Monkey to Swim Chapter 9 – Ish on Time’ is taken from this book, and it helped inspire the following, which is also a continuation of the series of posts I began on Sunday 19th May on ‘Perception’.

Chapter 2

Shame-faced, Bare-faced lies and the TRUTH

The Problems with Perception: The lies we accept as truth, and the truths we ignore.


The Space I Occupy

From my current vantage point, sitting in a room where only I am present it is easy to see that only I am occupying the space in physical terms. Therefore my perception of reality is limited by the immediacy of my physical environment. Anything outside of that will necessarily fall within the remit of assumption.

I assume that a world outside of this room exists, possibly because I can hear noises or smell certain aromas filtering through the window behind the drawn curtains, that I know do not have a source in my immediate space.

I assume that the rest of the house exists and that my children lay sound asleep in their beds as I sit and type, even though I am not directly perceiving or experiencing them through the aid of my physical senses.

I am not suggesting however, that my children or the house or the world outside of my house do not exist in their own right, but that due to the very nature of subjective human experience my field of perception and thus of plausibility is limited to my immediately perceivable environment. My assumptions are what give the actors and the furniture in my life and environment validity in terms that I can relate to.

When you begin to question the nature and the structure of your beliefs it quickly becomes clear that many of the cultural assumptions that we may make are based on seemingly ‘objective’ experience, or hearsay for wont of a better term. It is our current cultural bent to trust in the words of scientists, and learned ‘experts’ based on the premise that as the biological machines that we are, we are subject to cause and effect and therefore not able to comprehend or predict our own natures in the greater scheme of what is considered an accidental but quite physically permanent reality.

Many of us accept that the universe indeed exists on the good word of a scientist. Yet without direct subjective experience of this scientific universe, how can we possibly say that it definitely exists in the way that we are told it does without first putting faith into an assumption that many of us couldn’t possibly substantiate?

We therefore place blind trust in the words of others that we believe know better, based on their own personal assumptions, and based on our own distorted assumption of what that means to us personally. Just because we apply a label to something doesn’t mean that it is what we say it is, it is merely a point of reference to which we attach meaning. In that way it either will or will not have substance for you.

The World Outside and the People in Our Lives

Returning to the analogy of our room, we assume that because we can easily move from this room to another, or open the front door to the street outside that the before unperceivable environment was always there. Yet it is difficult to say with any certainty that that is indeed the case, at least in the way that we ordinarily assume it is.

The ‘seamless’ way that our transition from one space to another is perceived and remembered adds to the illusion of our assumption that there is in fact a fixed and permanent space around us and outside of our immediate field of perception, thus also giving us a sense of continuity, despite lack of substantial evidence that would require us to go and check.

This also applies to our assumptions about the existence of other people. From my own perspective, the fact that I do not physically perceive other people all of the time, friends or family for example that I seldom have contact with, I adopt a basic assumption that they are still very much alive and present within my sphere of reality, and that if I wanted to I could probably make contact with them. Yet, again there is no knowing for certain that this will be the case, and it isn’t always the case. So it is that the concept and my perception of parallel realities, selves, past-life characters, future selves, entities that have departed the assumed ‘land of the living’ fall within this same remit. There is just as much probability of their existence and my ability to contact them as there is with my assumed ‘living’ people from my present vantage point. The quality of my assumption is the same. One is as real and as theoretical as the other.

The physical and technological developments within our human culture as propounded by the strict code of science that we currently adhere to necessitates evidence of a physical nature that can be measured and quantified in some way. Furthermore, why wouldn’t it be that way when it seems ‘obvious’ that whatever we physically perceive before us must therefore be ‘real’ and valid? Science sees quality as an arbitrary factor, simply because it cannot be measured with the naked eye or with a tool that aids the naked eye in its physically perceivable investigations, although it is our ability to mentally qualify the physical that gives it the validity that we seek.

The fact that two people in two different parts of the world can be in communication, in that you may hear a voice or see a moving image in so called ‘real time’ seems to be enough of a reinforcement in our assumption that the two people co-exist within the same sphere of perception, indeed reality. So when someone says that they can hear a voice or voices, or see moving images through other channels of perception, then who is to say that it is not as valid as the telephone or satellite connection, that what you are perceiving is not as real as the people you assume to live in your ‘physical’ world?

In fact how can we possibly say that they are not indeed physical from their own field of perception, and that you or I are not the illusive assumption?

Again we place much weight in the words of those in-the-know who tell us without shadow of doubt that these methods of communication are valid and therefore will work if used, and as if by magic they do indeed.

Imagine if You Will

So, what if we assumed instead that parallel universes existed, that we could still communicate and make contact with those that have seemingly passed, given enough credence and weight why should it not be possible to do so, when all it would take is a shift in the quality of the assumption?

Who is to say that in our world of probabilities that anything we could imagine is not in some way possible?

Indeed quantum theory has come a long way in the exploration and to some extent the validation of this theory in certain aspects.

To me, with my peculiar perception of reality, and by that I mean specific to me though not necessarily odd, it has become increasingly obvious that the human condition is highly subjective and highly suggestive, and that any notion of an absolute indeed falls on very shaky and possibly non-existent ground.

One thing that I keep returning to and being reminded of, is the validity of experience; the emotional intent behind the thought or action or ‘commonly accepted’ assumption. The experience of life is about the meaning or the quality that you give it, regardless of what you can or cannot physically see, or sense in your immediate environment.

Objects and people only become physically perceivable the moment that I interact with them, as if they magically appear when I place focus upon them. I cannot know for certain that these things or people exist otherwise, without making gross assumptions.

Therefore, more generally speaking these assumptions can only gain validity if you accept them on a personal emotional level, i.e. you give them meaning.

The next instalment will follow soon!


30 thoughts on “The Science of Me – Perception – Part Two / Teaching a Monkey to Swim Chapter 2

  1. I like this on many fronts especially how you deal with the validity of our perceptions and what assumptions it is we make every moment of our lives and sometimes the trust we give some people who we think know better.
    Brilliant post Ishaiya!

    1. I like the way quantum physics is catching up finally with metaphysical thinking. Stretching the imagination is a healthy pursuit in my opinion. Hypotheses abound, but nothing beats direct experience.


      1. Wait a minute what, are you kidding me? Thank you for the complement, but I welcome all comments. The way I see it I have a lot to learn from the people that visit my blogs as much as they may learn something from me. It amazes me that anyone reads what I do and that they appreciate it, it’s a real privilege on my part. So speak your mind, I wish more people would 🙂

      2. For me it isn’t about speaking my mind and if I have something of worth or value to add I will, but many bloggers actually write on things “new” to me… which is why I love blogs. I enjoy learning and reading outside my bubble as well, I just don’t comment when I don’t know the full “basis” if that makes sense, because of how aggressive my writing appears to people… although that is just my style really. I enjoy your blog… does it surprise you I visit the people that visit me?

      3. I think it’s just because I haven’t seen your little grav-icon on my site for a while, so I have no idea if you have visited me or not. I like to do the rounds and comment when I can, I’ve realised that it’s both good PR but also you make friends on the way and that’s the part I enjoy the most. Anyway as I see it you’re always qualified to comment on my blog because most of my posts are about being human and what that means, and unless you are not human (which I’m pretty sure you are) then that makes you as much of an expert as me. Terms and titles are just that, nothing fancy in what I talk about really. Although I do like challenging the mind with new ideas.

  2. The movie (the modernish remake, that is) “A Star is Born” (Kristofferson, Streisand); that line from his song …

    “Am I a figment of your imagination? Or are you one of mine?”

    Great film, if you haven’t seen it …

    1. I have seen it of course, it’s one of those classics I was talking about. Well, you are a figment of my imagination in that if I am to rely on my physical senses to validate your presence, then you are no more than a Sethian spirit entity to all intents and purposes. I have no way of proving your physical reality, unless I decide to shift my perception and visit you personally. Although you may not necessarily want that.

      1. I once argued all through a rum-filled night into a very rosy dawn over whether or not we all perceive the same colour as the same colour.
        What we both know as (say) ‘red’ may be your green to me, and my blue to you—a moot query that could only ever be settled with an eye/brain transplant.

        Brrrr … but it filled in a night.

      2. It makes it very difficult to justify any claim with hard evidence, when in essence any evidence is based on assumption and agreement. Nothing truly exists beyond what you can perceive because you need to perceive it in order to validate it. It’s enough to drive you to drink just trying to get your head around it. Luckily I’ve gone past the point of no return and it couldn’t make more sense if it tried! I think the biggest problem with most ‘conventional’ lines of enquiry is that they assume that there is a palpable reality outside of human perception, but it is very hard to prove without first perceiving something.
        This is why I do not believe anything anyone tells me without creating some validation for myself first. My reality, my rules.

    2. Descartes famously used exactly that as his starting point: “Cogito, ergo sum” (I think, therefore I am). But I threw him away just a few pages further on when he justified God with (words to the effect of) “God exists: good things exist, God is ultimate good, therefore God exists.” At that point I lost interest …

      But I still love that cogito ergo bit~!

      1. I never read Descartes, I came to the concepts in this post by my lonesome. Like I said previously, I dislike citing others. Descartes incidentally does not interest me one bit, I dislike the way he treated mind and matter as separate entities. Because of him in many ways, and the current of thinking in his time we are in the mess that we are in today, where we are emotionally divorced from the world.

Don't forget to breathe...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s