When you opened your eyes this morning, did you see the world as it really is? Ask yourself: “Do I see the world accurately?”
If you say that you don’t - and most liberally minded people will - then how is it that you’re able to survive?
Regardless of your answer, we live our lives as if we are objective. Otherwise, why step out of the way of an oncoming car? Or why not step off a cliff and will yourself to fly?
Maybe consider something more personal, like the last real argument you had with someone. Did you not think you were objectively right and they were objectively wrong? Maybe you were right, but how do you know?
Nature is not Postmodern Relativistic. At any point in time, there are things that are better than others - evolution could not exist if this were not the case. However, it’s difficult to know which one is which! This feeling of objectivity is something we’ve evolved. Evolution isn’t interested in accuracy, after all. It’s interested in utility. We didn’t evolve to survive - we evolved simply not to die. They are not the same. This illusion of personal objectivity is also one of our greatest sources of destructive conflict, within ourselves and with others.
The simple fact is that we are not objective. We can feel certain or act with certainty, but our perceptions are informed by subjective thoughts. It’s not that deep either. This isn’t a question of philosophy. It’s simple biology. The bright blue object you see isn’t really blue. It’s surface reflects the color and gives us that appearance.
Again, this is a physical world with laws. In it, glasses can fall off tables just as we can knock them off.
So the blue” object does exist. But, though it is there, it is not blue. Its blueness - like all the perceptions you experience - couldn’t be closer to you. Blue is inside your head projected outwards. You colour the object’s surface, as you do for all the objects you see and have ever seen. And this includes the colour, the shape, and indeed the meaning of other people.
Why is this necessarily true?
Written by: Beau Lotto.Find out more