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Are we incapable of seeing things as they really are?

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posted on Nov, 4 2015 @ 03:30 AM
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a reply to: Bybyots


‘One does not dig 1000 1 foot deep holes in order to dig one 1000 foot deep well’

I'm not familiar with the expression and don't really know what it means, so I'm afraid I don't get it.

Hoffman suggests that the map may be nothing at all like the territory, and that it doesn't matter so long as it still helps us find our way around. I recommend reading his paper, if you haven't already. You, of all people, should enjoy it.


Love you, man.

Why, thank you.


edit on 4/11/15 by Astyanax because: the David Bowie quote might have been misunderstood.




posted on Nov, 4 2015 @ 04:47 AM
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a reply to: Astyanax

I think I was around 15 when I started meditating.

I worked at Starbucks as a barista. Nothing special. Someone told me about meditation I guess. The initial reason is trivial. I was interested. I read books, read articles. I eventually found that I responded best to 'music'. Which was more or less 'new age' tracks claiming to be tailored towards deep meditation. Honestly, I found that worked.

I meditated an entire year. One hour every single day that I had a shift at Starbucks. So five days a week.

This practice was super relaxing. I even noticed I didn't need to sleep as much! Pretty awesome benefit I thought. So I kept it up for that entire year for that reason.

One day something f'ing crazy happened, man. After roughly one year of meditation I experienced something unexplainable. Mostly, anyways. I'm going to try..

I remember taking a deep breath after a long meditation session and then an expansion of my consciousness that I've never experienced prior to that point in my life. I had no awareness of anything except awareness itself. I wasn't aware of anything in particular, but I felt then I was aware of everything.

I know that sounds new-agey but it's the best way I can describe it with words. It was profound, essentially.
edit on 4-11-2015 by Lucid Lunacy because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 4 2015 @ 05:43 AM
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originally posted by: Astyanax
a reply to: Cauliflower

Out of curiosity, I put part of that quote into the search box at the Newton Manuscripts Collection several times, using different protocols, and it came up dry every time.

The original source often cited for the quote is a biography of Newton written in 1831 by Sir David Brewster. Its full text is online. I searched it for the word 'ocean' and found this:


A short time before his death he uttered this memorable sentiment: ‘I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, while the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.’ Source

Since it is something Newton is merely reported as having said, not something he wrote down, it must be treated as apocryphal at best; and the context makes it plain that the reference is to what can be known but was not known in his time, rather than that which can never be known, which is what we are concerned with here.



The Newton quote scales well and *might* be a clue to a deeper understanding.

or


. the shells in Lombardy are at four levels, and thus it is everywhere



posted on Nov, 4 2015 @ 06:03 AM
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there are things in this universe that are "real" and that do "exist" yet we are completely unable to sense them. i love accessing the internet daily. the ant in my garden has no idea that the internet even exists... what do we humans not realize is real?



posted on Nov, 4 2015 @ 06:28 AM
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originally posted by: TarzanBeta
a reply to: Metallicus

Metallicus, you are among my favorite posters on ATS, by far.

But I do wish you would consider that the argument "Perception is reality" is false. Think on it please.

Good night to you friend.


The point is 'what you perceive *IS* your reality.'

As to your comment about religion Astyanax, this jives very well with my compromise between science and religion. All of our science and technology are based on what we as humans perceive. The technology we build and literature we have amassed are entirely skewed by the hard-coded senses and logic we have developed as a species. Only through our arrogance do we think that we are interpreting everything around us. But we aren't perceiving everything because we have convinced ourselves there is nothing else to perceive.

As far as I'm concerned what we call 'the spiritual world' is alive and well, we just aren't set up to experience it directly and science has tried to convince us there is nothing to experience.

It leads one to wonder, are those people who claim to experience the spiritual actually able to experience reality beyond our normal limits, or are they still just kooks?

Probably a mix of both

edit on 4-11-2015 by Teikiatsu because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 4 2015 @ 07:38 AM
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man, i was sort of forced to watch hoffman's ted talk back in early summer, but i ended up glad i did. i'm not the sharpest bulb in the shed, but let me see if i've got this right. our senses impose the first limiting factor on our range of perception, and our survival imperative the second?

with humans, our day to day survival depends on our ability to interface with one another in highly complex, mutually constructed ways. does this mean that our fellow humans comprise the third limiting factor restricting our perception of reality?

thanks, bud.



posted on Nov, 4 2015 @ 07:46 AM
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a reply to: ATODASO


with humans, our day to day survival depends on our ability to interface with one another in highly complex, mutually constructed ways. does this mean that our fellow humans comprise the third limiting factor restricting our perception of reality?

You deserve a star and a fresh cold beer.

From the paper:


Moreover, as noted by Trivers, there are reasons other than greater speed and less complexity for natural selection to spurn the veridical: 'If deceit is fundamental to animal communication, then there must be strong selection to spot deception and this ought, in turn, to select for a degree of self-deception, rendering some facts and motives unconscious so as not to betray, by the subtle signs of self-knowledge,the deception being practiced.'

By the way, if you want to watch a fun video, watch one of Trivers giving a lecture.




edit on 4/11/15 by Astyanax because: I like edits.



posted on Nov, 4 2015 @ 08:25 AM
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a reply to: Astyanax



that dude is hilarious, but then i guess you couldn't study self-deception as long as he has if you didn't have a robust sense of humor.

ok, so self-deception is universal, implicitly embedded in our cognitive processes, and is fueled by self-interest, especially as it pertains to power and positive self-image. the more closely a person or phenomena is linked to personal identity, the likelier it is that we will have a distorted perception of it. to illustrate the latter point, i'll provide an example.

early in the talk, he uses the example of how people tend to evaluate their physical appearance. 4's see themselves as 7s, yes, but people in an intimate relationship also have a skewed perception of their partners as being more physically attractive than they really are. this implies that self-deception is integral to identity formation, and that external phenomena which we tie to our identities is subject to distortion. so our sense of self comprises yet another limiting factor.

his last example shows how information that contradicts our model of ourselves is attacked or ignored.

although this kind of self-deception seems to be innate to how we think and see, and acts as an essential buffer, is it possible that by increasing one's awareness of this process in action, that we can increase our perceptual range? personal honesty and a tolerance for ambiguity are painful and run against our essential grain, but cultivating those faculties allows us to see more clearly?

eta, if i had to choose one member here to down a brewski with, it'd be you, bud.




edit on 4-11-2015 by ATODASO because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 4 2015 @ 10:52 AM
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originally posted by: Astyanax
Cheer up, it's not as bad as all that.

What is bad about the statement I made? Why do you think I need to cheer up?

If 'that' which is seeing is reality then it will never be seen!

Maybe you have not understood what I wrote?

That which is seeing will never be seen because it is seeing.



posted on Nov, 4 2015 @ 12:47 PM
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a reply to: ATODASO


is it possible that by increasing one's awareness of this process in action, that we can increase our perceptual range?

Asking the question implies you already feel the answer is yes. But I fear one pays the price in the form of a handicap in the Great Contest.

In the philosophy followed by Vatsayana, author of the Kama Sutraone first bent one's attention to the acquisition of resources, next to pleasure and at last to wisdom. Everything in its season.

Just back from having a few. Thought of you. (Can't do the emoji on the phone.)


edit on 4/11/15 by Astyanax because: of phone dumbness.



posted on Nov, 4 2015 @ 12:47 PM
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a reply to: Itisnowagain

Do you ever feel you're missing out on something?



posted on Nov, 4 2015 @ 05:32 PM
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I've read through this whole thread, and while it has certainly been interesting, these discussions aren't ultimately productive. This is basically a re-hashing of philosophical skepticism with a modern "scientific" perspective. It was already being discussed thousands of years ago, and we seem not to have gotten any further than our antecedents.

I worry that people will use theories like this to justify all kinds of weird, self-satisfied, negligent beliefs and behavior. Like these New Agers who claim to understand quantum physics, and then insist on repeating their religious mantra of "universal consciousness" and "everything is relative", with absolutely no proof or explanation behind it (those two statements could easily be seen as conflicting, but it matters little since New Agers themselves don't even know what they mean).

I doubt that most people are cunning enough to understand this theory as Astyanax (seemingly) does, and they'll likely just mull it over and re-interpret it to fit their own baseless ideas.
edit on 4-11-2015 by Talorc because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 4 2015 @ 06:38 PM
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This is relevant:


It is impossible that there be demonstration for everything. Otherwise demonstration would go on ad infinitum. Scholars often refer to this point when discussing the skeptical modes of argument. The skeptics might be guilty of what, from Aristotle’s perspective, would be a mistake of exactly this kind.


There is a point when truth, or reality, doesn't need to be demonstrated any further. Hoffman is proposing an interface that, ironically, doesn't seem to correspond to any concrete scientific understanding of the human body. Is the interface our brain, and if so, what part in particular are these neural images or icons appearing in? In what part of the brain are sounds, sights, and sensations synthesized to form a representation that is akin to a computer monitor? I would say that there isn't any such place- sounds are processed via one neural signal and sight via another, and the brain simply relays that information directly. Our perception is the confluence of those signals- when we look at something that makes a noise, we associate it with that noise. The noise and the image are not one mental amalgamation, not one single "icon" in our brain. Of course, the sight and the sound will be associated in memory, but they are two distinct percepts.

It need be said that we hardly understand the human mind as it is, and hardly enough to propose that it is some kind of computer monitor. We know that specific senses are processed in certain locales of the brain, but we don't know how they come together to form our perception in it's totality.

But beyond that- if there's knowledge of the interface, and knowledge of it's limitations, what is stopping a man from compensating and overcoming in the same way an artillery officer compensates for the wind and the rotation of the earth? Human beings already understand their limitations to a large degree, and have for quite some time. We would not have gotten past the stage of a primate's understanding if it were otherwise. Reason doesn't derive from the senses, just like two things are no less two, whatever their ultimate nature.

I see no reason to believe we could never understand reality. Are we witness to "ultimate reality"? No, maybe not, but that isn't to say it's beyond human capacity. To think so is, I think, needlessly pessimistic. The fact that we are even having this discussion is a testament to that capability.
edit on 4-11-2015 by Talorc because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 4 2015 @ 08:14 PM
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a reply to: Astyanax

Me:


We are not beetles.




Well, obviously I am desperately wrong. You know, I have so much experience with being wrong at this point that I think that I have discovered a special property of wrongness: it seems to create a vacuum that creates a tremendous space for learning. At least that's what I tell myself.

Hoffman's paper is brilliant and elegant. I am often impressed by the writing power of those that are forced to write a lot; not everyone adapts by becoming clever and very good as Hoffman has.

Thanks for a great thread. The Hoffman paper opens up a virtual firehose of information. I'm grateful, as usual, Son of Hector.




posted on Nov, 4 2015 @ 10:43 PM
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a reply to: Lucid Lunacy

That was a good story, well told, but what I missed was how you relate your experience to what we're discussing. Would you like to elaborate? Your views on these matters are usually interesting.



posted on Nov, 5 2015 @ 06:21 AM
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a reply to: dreamlotus1111

Back before the public had access to the internet many of the wide area networks were proprietary, I worked with the network front end for various evolution of the GECOS.

Dial up in the early 90's seemed pretty straight forward, I quickly mastered the common telnet,FTP, and port 80 protocols.
At the time there were different "security" packages being offered such as PGP versions 2.3 - 2.62. The instructions that came with these freeware utilities cautioned that the source code should be carefully reviewed by the end user prior to tagging their root directory.

After reading the source code I was somewhat confused about the intended use but immediately set about making the rat boat sea worthy as best I knew how. A vessel worthy of oaring the river Styx, reinforced with laminated #tim wood and sealed with Vegemite. It wasn't long into the journey that I discovered you needed to be on a plane if you wanted to visit area 51.


The undiscovered country from whose bourn No traveler returns, puzzles the will And makes us rather bear those ills we have Than fly to others that we know not of?


It was funny at the time..



posted on Nov, 5 2015 @ 11:19 AM
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a reply to: Talorc


This is basically a re-hashing of philosophical skepticism with a modern "scientific" perspective. It was already being discussed thousands of years ago, and we seem not to have gotten any further than our antecedents.

However, it would be idle to pretend that more information pertinent to the subject hasn't come to light in all those thousands of years, and particularly in the last few hundred.

In this particular instance, the argument is that satisficing (ugly but useful word) solutions to the problem of how to make sense of reality in order to function in it will always prevail over veridical solutions in an evolutionary contest. It's not one Aristotle is likely to have thought of, unless you suspect him of having anticipated Darwin.


I worry that people will use theories like this to justify all kinds of weird, self-satisfied, negligent beliefs and behavior. Like these New Agers...

I'm not. I was keen to discourage some of that earlier in the thread, but only because I think the real interest of the conversation lies elsewhere: see my response to your second post, below.

Everybody uses what they (think they) know to justify their beliefs. Sometimes we'll go to the extent of distorting or altering what we know to correspond to what we believe. This lamentable weakness shouldn't deter us from trying to get at the truth, should it?



posted on Nov, 5 2015 @ 11:23 AM
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Astyanax, do you think this is a question that can ever be correctly answered? I mean, with the current senses we now have?



posted on Nov, 5 2015 @ 12:29 PM
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a reply to: Talorc


There is a point when truth, or reality, doesn't need to be demonstrated any further.

That is, in fact, a key assumption of the interface theory. This is why satisficing perceptions drive out true ones.


Hoffman is proposing an interface that, ironically, doesn't seem to correspond to any concrete scientific understanding of the human body. Is the interface our brain, and if so, what part in particular are these neural images or icons appearing in? In what part of the brain are sounds, sights, and sensations synthesized to form a representation that is akin to a computer monitor?

The member Les Misanthrope raised this point earlier, did he not? My reply to him was that the theory is uninterested in this; percepts do exist in some form or another, and the theory is agnostic as to what form their existence takes and whether or not the perceiving entity is conscious.

Let's go for the obvious, familiar, tricky option and look at the theory with respect to humans.
  1. You'll agree that we have perceptions, and that we are often conscious of those perceptions (whatever it means to be conscious, but let's not get sidetracked). Our perceptions seem to build a picture of the world for us.

    What and where, you ask, is this picture?

    I answer frankly that I do not know. Yet it is clear that each of us has one. We act on it. We call it the world.

    No, you say: you're pointing at reality and calling it an interface. That is the world, however abstracted, simplified, bowdlerized, etiolated. We don't need to question it further. It is what it is.

    To which, Hoffman replies with a question: why should it be?

    Is there the slightest evolutionary requirement that it should be? Shermer, in his article, uses the argument that the closer a perceptual system models reality the more selectively fit it is likely to be. Hoffman anticipates that argument in his paper, and deals with it quite convincingly.

  2. The fact is, the form and the 'location' of the Umwelt don't matter. It doesn't have to be there in the conscious way I just spoke of. Whether or not we are immediately conscious of our perceptions, we tend to act on them. And even beings that lack consciousness, such as spiders and very simply programmed robots, also have 'perceptions' to which they respond: that is, they process information about their environment and act on this information. The 'Umwelt' might be no more than a set of programmed responses to simple stimuli, but that still implies a causal model of reality.

  3. Now note that the actions are reponses to environmental opportunities and threats. Since that is what they are, our actions are grist to the mill of natural selection.

    There is, thus, selective pressure on organisms to evolve perceptions that allow them to act in ways that help them survive and propagate themselves. And in this contest, true perceptions lose out to true-enough perceptions. Quick and dirty wipes out clear and slow. Good enough wipes out the best. The rest of Hoffman's paper is mostly devoted to explaining why, and to setting up and running an experimental computer simulation to test the hypothesis, which, not surprisingly I suppose, checks out.
I think you may have been taking the interface analogy too literally, or looking for the interface in the wrong place. We don't need to look for it inside us: it is what we call the world.


If there's knowledge of the interface, and knowledge of its limitations, what is stopping a man from compensating and overcoming in the same way an artillery officer compensates for the wind and the rotation of the earth?

The depressing truth to which Hoffman gives the name Bayes' Circle.


Bayes' Circle: We can only see the world through our posteriors. When we measure priors and likelihoods in the world, our measurements are necessarily filtered through our posteriors. Using our measurements of priors and likelihoods to justify our posteriors thus leads to a vicious circle.

However, he ends the paper by suggesting that there may be ways round this.


I see no reason to believe we could never understand reality.

I agree, and so does the author of The Interface Theory of Perception. But that shouldn't stop us from trying.



posted on Nov, 5 2015 @ 12:32 PM
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a reply to: angeldoll

Answered in my second reply to Talorc, above.



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