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Wednesday, February 19, 2014


Imagine a physicist who is doing a scientific experiment, trying to measure some phenomenon using delicate equipment. 
What would happen if that equipment was not calibrated correctly, if it was just a little bit out of balance? 
The readings he or she would get from the experiment would also be off by a corresponding amount. And if the physicist was unaware of this anomaly, the results would appear to be real and true in his or her experience. 
But they would be wrong, a lie. 
The physicist's "view of reality" at that point would be different than if he or she had correctly calibrated the equipment. 
In other words, our view of what is real is only as good as the "equipment" that is used to measure and perceive it. 
Sure, we also have the advantage of consensual reality, the views of other people that are the same as our own and which serve to validate our perspective, such as the commonly held belief and it is only a belief that the sun will rise in the East tomorrow. 

But a whole group of people can just as easily be wrong about reality as one person since they all use the same instruments to experience that reality: the same basic settings on the body's sense perceptions and the same basic patterns of interpretation and integration in the brain. 
People may disagree on propositional truths because these are rarely the result of direct, personal perception such as "God exists" or "God is Love." 
But few people will disagree that the sky appears to be blue, whether or not they understand the theories of light refraction and light waves hitting the retina of the eye or they just like the colour blue. 

So how can we know the truth? 
How can we verify that our perception of reality is the correct perception? 

We already have shown that consensual verification is no help. That is like a team of physicist making the same measurements using the same incorrectly calibrated equipment. 
Change the calibration and a whole new reality appears to spring into being. 

If we could mess with the perceptual aspects of the human senses and the interpretive functions of our brain, we would exist in a wholly different "reality." 

In fact, this is what happens with certain drugs, altered spiritual experiences, certain types of brain pathology, and the more severe mental illnesses. 
People with any of these conditions perceive and therefore inhabit a "different" reality. 
They see things sometimes radically differently than their fellows because their equipment is calibrated in a completely different manner. 

We say they are abnormal or that their temporary state is abnormal, but is it really? 
It may be abnormal, that is out of alignment with the norm, but is it necessarily wrong or deluded? 
Just because their perception of reality doesn't fit the average, consensual reality, does that make it any less accurate or valid? 
How do we know that the guy wigging out on mushrooms or LSD isn't "seeing" a more accurate picture of reality than any of us? 
We don't know. We can't know. And that's the whole point. 

We cannot know what is real in any objective manner. All evidence is suspect because all evidence is presented to us by our senses and interpreted for us by our brains. 
And this equipment is usually calibrated in a certain way, which presents us with a very limited view of what is real, an interpretive view of reality by definition. 

How do I know that when I marvel at the beauty of a sunset, which is really my brain perceiving and interpreting the phenomenon in a certain way, that the sunset wouldn't be even more amazing if I could perceive all the levels of light energy that are present there? 

The bottom line is, I cannot trust my perceptions of the world. Oh, they serve me well enough when I have to get from my home to A, B, or C but I can never have the confidence that the world I'm perceiving represents the truth about the world or the universe or anything else. 
Just because my perceptions and interpretations help me navigate the world and get along with other people most of the time doesn't mean they are reality. 
They are a version of reality at the very most. 
And even that is debatable. 

So where does that leave us? 
With the only truth that can be known directly, my own existence. Certainly not my existence as Sayang Manzaini Osman-Hoad since that identity is created and maintained by the same perceptual and brain processes that present the world to my awareness. I know that I exist subjectively, as awareness. 

As that which can observe, regardless of the reliability of the input and of the interpretation of the brain. Beyond all specific content, I AM. 
I exist subjectively as perfect awareness. Without qualities or preferences or judgements. Just pure observation. 

That is the one and only thing that can be known with certainty because it is not dependent on the calibration of the equipment. 
More accurately, it stands outside the information that is perceived and interpreted or is PRIOR TO the perceptual and interpretive processes of the body. 
It simply watches. I watch. I AM. 
Nothing more or less is necessary to understand reality. Nothing more or less is necessary to understand truth. 
Nothing more or less can even be known to exist as anything other than a dream, an illusion created by....

and you are the witness..