Navigation: LaesieWorks Better Alternatives This page

Reality and the human minds

I would like to share my ideas about 'reality and the human minds' with you, because these ideas are among the most important things I have learned in my life, and because spreading this knowledge may reduce the amount of human conflicts a bit, if increasing clarity on what is really going on in our confusing world, can help.

Reality and human virtual reality
There seem to be 2 kinds of reality..
The first kind is the one and only real one. It is the whole universe. But reality is very inaccessible for the human mind.
The second kind is not really reality, and present in every human brain. It is our perception of the world around and our fantasies. I call this "human virtual reality" or "think window" or "think space". Each person has his/her own unique version in the brain, a very useful and limited tool.

What is reality?
Reality is all that is out there. What all that is, where it comes from, where it ends... I have no clue!. But I do know that what I see, is just my tiny personal human perspective on it. It is possible though, to together discover the inner workings of reality. And I know that the things we can discover will be very different from our daily life.

Reality has many levels of size and complexity. Our human lives are somewhere halfway. There are thing smaller and less complex than us, and there are larger more complex things. When searching for the theory of everything, the core of reality, it makes sense to search for the most essential elements. Not necessarily the smallest part -because that may be as smart as searching for the smallest number. Complex parts are a combination of less complex parts, thus it is a search for the most simple parts.

The theory of everything, explaining all of reality, will be quite simple. But discovering the theory of everything will probably not matter much to our daily lives, because we are many levels higher in complexity. Compare that to our computers, the way we experience them is far from its inner working. We see and hear: movies, pictures, sound, text. But the inner working is about: bits, switches, pixels, and such.

What is Human virtual reality?
In order to survive in the hugeness of reality, evolution has developed a brain capable of creating a virtual reality. This virtual reality is an imaginary space filled with memories of simple patterns found in waves that have entered our system through our senses. Yes, quite a biotechnical story.
Everybody has their own and unique virtual reality experience. And although the experience is based on input from reality, this virtual reality is not equal to reality. Problem is that this think-space is very convincing, making people think that they their personal view is the reality. People can be so into their think-window, that they lose contact with reality.

There are about 86 billion nerve cells in one human brain. A staggering number all ready, which must even be multplied some 7000 times to estimate the number of direct synaptic connections these nerves make!
The mind in the brains seems to be equal to: the structure of the connections, the activity of these nerves. Each brain is unique, and changes over time. Next to fully functional, a brain can be: unhealthy, sick, messed up, damaged. And an ill brain can't support a healthy mind.
It is hard to image that a mind is just a n awful lot of dynamic connections in the brains. Is that what we are? What about the soul and being conscious? I don't know, but I do know how similar the computer that I am writing this text on is, as all the stuff I am doing on it is basically just flipping an awful amount of bits. Don't expect saving a photo on your computer places a that picture somewhere. It's bits bits bits.

The human think-space is an amazing and essential tool of the brains, but there is a lot of confusion surrounding it. Let me try to sum up some common confusions:

Confusion 01 "I can see and understand reality"
This is impossible. What you see is what your mind makes of sensing some of the reflections of your surroundings in combination with some patterns stored within your brain's memory. Although some of your think-space has a connection with parts of reality, we have to stay very humble here. Similar: a photo of Paris is not equal to Paris. There is a connection between the two, but Paris is so much more than one photo of it.

Confusion 02: "Reality is created by our conscious minds"
The confusion here is to think that your think-space is the reality. It is not. That the things that you not know of do not exist? These things are not present in your think-space, but the really are there, outside your head, in the reality.

Confusion 03 "Reality is an illusion"
Well, that has a negative tone to it. As if reality is not true. Instead, see it like this: a photo of Paris is not equal to Paris. The photo is kind of an illusion, but it is a real photo. Your think-space is like a photo of Paris. Paris is out there. Try not to confuse the two.

It may come as a shock to you, discovering that your knowledge of the world is like a photo of Paris. This is an ordinary step in your development, so don't worry. Next question is: then, what is Paris really? Reality is totally different from how we learn at first, as a child, at school, the human point of view. I guess many people don't get to search deep into the whole spectrum of reality. Living a human life is quite something all ready. But most must have wondered about "what is all this?!", maybe looked at boeddhisme, science, or the movie the matrix.

Reality is the boss
I have been doing vortex experiments for 6 years (building little tornadoes and smoke rings). Before each experiment I had expectations about what was going to happen, but most often some different was happening. Reality is the boss! When ever I do a real experiment, reality shows me what is real. It is not my mind that determines what is real, I can only learn from what is really happening, make reality show me its truth be asking it through experiments.

Reality does not fit in the brain
You can think of state of reality at one moment, as information. People have a brain that can deal with information, but reality is extremely complex relative to what the brain can grasp. For example; the amount of information inside one drop of water, is already way too much for our brains to deal with. The amount of parts, the motions, the interaction with its surrounding... it is simply too much information. Also is there no way to get all that information from the droplet in your brains. And even if all that information could somehow be transferred into your brain, then knowing everything about that droplet would still not be equal to that droplet.

We are blind to most of reality
With our bodies we can only sense tiny parts of reality. This overwhelming fact does scare me at times, knowing that I can see so little. Having so little control, that is part of being human. I know that I am experiencing my virtual reality, and that is ok. It supports me, helps me navigate through this thing we call life.

A summary of some of the things we can not sense with our body:
- that what is too far away.
- that what is obstructed by something else.
- motions that go too fast, or too slow.
- things that are too small or too big.
- things that contain too much information.
- all that we don't recognize.
- all that is invisible to our senses.
- all where our attention is not.

We can use technological tools to make visible what we can't sense which our body. But then still,====

Discovering reality, and working with it.
Luckily, there are many things we can do to reduce our blindness!
By doing research, we can discover how parts of reality seem to function. We need to write down the things we learned: what did work, what didn't work, and why. Others need to do the same research, to double check the conclusions.

The second thing to do, is to share our findings.

The third thing to do is to continue the research, based upon the previous research results. This is extremely powerful! "standing on the shoulders of giants". For this to function we need to trust the results of the people before us. Therefore we need to use the same standards.

Final thing to do, is to keep an open mind. We don't own the truth, we try to describe it as well as possible. We makes mistakes, we have a lot to learn. Especially when a mistake in previous fundamental research is discovered, all that was based on that, is now to be looked at again! That is ok though, positively exciting even! That is the road of learning, improving.

Reality Check
Can we check if reality is really out there?
Yes; just look at it, touch it, smell it, hear it.
But, sensing the reflections from reality doesn't imply that you can see the reality and its truth. It only implies that you can sense the presence of reality and thereby confirm that it is really there, whatever it is.

It's a tricky question though. Can we trust the information that our senses and memory bring into our mind? No, not always, but that doesn't mean our senses and brains are useless. Just know that you can be wrong. Optical illusions are cool, seeing something you know isn't there, but still seeing it.

Reality can be way different from what you might expect it to be.

While asleep and dreaming, this dream feels totally real. During sleep, our virtual reality gets its information input almost completely from its memory, as we lay still in a quiet place with our eyes shut. How can we be sure that we are not in a dream while awake? Well; in a way we are always dreaming. Our virtual reality is always active during dreams and when we are awake. The difference is that while awake, we have our inputs and outputs active, to interact with the world outside our bodies. Inputs: our senses. Outputs: our motions.

Although it is difficult to tell a dream from being awake, but there is a difference. I know that I am awake now because my dreams have a different atmosphere. For example; in my dreams I can walk and even fly, I can not do that now, so I am probably awake. I am writing this text now, and I can continue working on this text tomorrow, but I can't continue adding to this text while asleep... though I could be dreaming that!

There are arguments about reality that can not be proven wrong, though that doesn't mean they are right. Two examples. The universe has been created 5 seconds ago, including all memories, books and fossils. Or; if it is possible for an advanced civilization to create a virtual reality that one can not distinguish from reality, and if many of these civilizations have created numerous virtual realities, then the chance of us being in one of these simulations, is larger than us being in the reality. Can't proof them wrong, but that doesn't make them true.

What does your brain know about brains?
Young children, up to the age of about 3, can not yet image that others have a different mind. Basically "I know something, therefore you know it also". There is this experiment, the "Sally–Anne test" the "theory of mind test" that seems to proof this.
So, at about the age of 4, we learn that everyone has a unique mind, and we reduce projecting our own mindset on others. The realization that each of us has a unique mind, is just one of many things we can learn about the innerworkings of the mind. I wonder how many lessons can be learned. What have you learned so far?

If we could and would test everyone on their knowledge about the brain and its perception of reality, we would probably see huge differences. I think these differences play an important role in the root of many conflicts. And thus, if we can educate everyone on how our brains work, the amount of conflicts may be reduced! That is worth a try. We should at least examin the leaders of our counties before giving them such influential position.

I get the impression that many people think that the only difference between our minds is the amount of knowledge. To know or not know a fact. But the story of the mind is way more complex than that.

What all is there to learn about the brain and its perception of reality?
Let me give it a try:

The need to communicate clearly
Others don't really know what goes on in your person, not what you think nor what you feel. If you want the other to kind of understand the state you are in, you can try to communicate about that. And the other way around, if you have an interest in someone else, you can ask that person to communicate about their state. We have the tendency to project on others what we think they think and feel, which is easy to do, sometimes pretty spot on, but more often painfully wrong.

Taging words to simple patterns
Our brains are specialized in simple pattern recognition. Note: we can not recognize complex patterns. We give patterns a name, like "I recognize that as a tree. This may seem as not that important, but I think giving names is essential, because words are tags that the brain can netwerk, like "tree - forest - squirrel", and we can communicate by exchanging arrangements of words.

Words words words
We use a lot of words. So many that these words can blind us from reality. When you recognize a pattern you call a "tree", you could say "that is a tree". That is the common thing to say, but it is actually wrong. The right thing to say would be "that I call a tree", because "tree" is just a word, and that what you recognized isn't a word. Then, what is a tree? If I would ask you to draw and describe, in as much detail as possible, the tree next to the house you live in, how much could you communicate to me? Would the drawing be a brown stick with some green on it, and the description something like "it is quite large, I think it is an oak tree". One could spend their whole life studying what that one specific tree is all about, and still only scratch the surface of all there is to know about it.
So, in conclusion; we don't really now what the truth is, but it is essential to our lives to tag names to the patterns we recognize.

Opinion - Fact - Truth
If I think that a squirrel is a beautiful kind of insect, and all the people around me agree on that, is it then true that a squirrel is a beautiful kind of insect? What is happening here... There is a pattern that I tagged with the word "squirrel" and linked that with the patterns I call "beautiful" and "insects". My friends did the same, but that doesn't make it the truth now does it? To reality, it makes no difference what we think of it.

If you just think 'this about that', then that thought is just an opinion, not a fact. If all your friends share your opinion, that doesn't make it a fact, but merely a shared opinion. To get to a fact, serious research has to be done, including double checks by other researchers. If all evidence leads to the same conclusion, then that conclusion can be called a fact. But-but, a fact is not equal to the truth! A fact is merely that what is proven to be best description. If new research can proof an other conclusion to be even more correct, then that is the new fact. Just an opinion can not change the facts, not even the opinion of a president or the majority.

Now, if there is a piece of art, which you find beautiful, and someone else finds ugly, can we research that piece of art to get clear if it is in fact beautiful or ugly? No, because both are correct. If your mind has made a link between the pattern of the art and beautiful, then that is a true link, in your virtual reality only.

And how do we get from facts to the truth? Well, the truth is kind of out of our league. We are in the midst of reality, we are part of reality, and reality is the truth, but reality is simply too complex for our minds. To illustrate; compare the information in one drop of water to a complete encyclopedia, and imagine the capacity of one human brain only able to remember 3 letters. It's not going to work. So the best we can do, is to gather the best facts we can, keep an open mind and search for improved facts, and try not to panic over our limits. Instead, have some faith, don't think too much.

Getting closer to the truth
Two ways. One is to gather the best facts possible, and keep researching to improved the facts. This is how to understand parts of the truth.

Big complex things are made of smaller simpler parts. The search for the most complex combination is kind of useless, but the search for the most basis ingredients is very useful. Maybe we'll find the theory of everything one day following this search. Note that the most basic ingredients aren't necessarily the smallest. What ingredients are the most fundamental, that is the question here. I don't known what these ingredients are, but the answer will be quite simple.

The other way, is to let go of all the: words, opinions, knowledge, and just touch the truth. You are real, everything around you is real, and real is the truth. People find it hard to let go of their projections. Even when in silence, the mind keeps talking! Just ignore that for a while. What you'll find left are more-real things like: force, temperature, sound, light, motion, shapes. Similar to how a baby is experiencing everything.

The Human realm
We live on the boundary surface between air and Earth's land. We usually don't live under water or under ground, nor in the air, let alone in space or anywhere else in this gigantic universe. We live on "land", but not equally spread. By now, most of the people on Earth live in cities, surrounded by products of our technological activities. Our focus is mainly on our selves. Most space rockets bring satellites in earth's orbit, and guess where these satellites are pointing at..: down.

We are part of the
The sun gives us energy. There is 1G of gravity here, an atmosphere, water, and lots living species. One centimeter is considered to be small, one meter big, 3 meters larg. One second a short time, one hour long. 14°C cold, 22ºC comfy, 30ºC hot.

The spectrum of reality is sooo large, way out of our comfort zone.

Whenever you feel small relative to the city, the earth, the whole universe, ===A human body is extremely large and complex relative to the smallest and most fundamental ingredients of reality.

I think that the deepest truth can be found in the most fundamental ingredients. That world though, is so alien from our human realm, it should freak you out!

Giesbert Nijhuis

Back to top

Back to index