Originally posted by Astyanax
Quite so. And it [perception] is limited by the instrument, because
- it cannot observe what the instrument cannot detect;
- it cannot observe phenomena directly, but only the images produced by the instrument – an abstraction from reality, not reality
The human brain has no power to imagine, to conceive or to understand except in terms of sensory responses to external stimuli. This is true of even
the most abstract ideas. By his own account, Einstein developed his ideas in a metaphorical vocabulary of muscular movements.
That is how limited our apprehension of reality is. We cannot ever say with confidence, 'this is how things really are.' All we can do is describe
(in ways limited by the way our brains are designed to operate), the shadow-play that reality projects upon our senses, and deduce what we can from
For almost everyone, the mind's greatest barrier to understanding new and better ideas has nothing to do with sensory limitations -- the
toughest barrier is the rat's-nest of programmed beliefs and mistaken ideas clogging our brain.
No, this is not the problem. The human race has never been short of new and better ideas. However, all such ideas are based on the limits of human
apprehension and understanding – that is, on what evolution has given us to work with. That is the point at issue – although I would not
describe it as a problem.
Evolution has seen to it that we experience and interpret reality in ways that make it possible for us, as organisms, to interact usefully with it.
Thus we see a stone as a solid object that can be picked up and thrown, a fruit as something tasty to be eaten. In reality such objects are mostly
empty space, through which force-carrying distortions of spacetime move in stochastic patterns.
Do you see what I mean now?
edit on 25/8/13 by Astyanax because: of a few bits and bobs.
Your post itself makes my point, in that you (from my perspective) adjust your facts to match your beliefs.
I'll guess that your model of human intelligence is typical of the modern, well educated, effective programmed atheist, that you attribute human
intelligence to the brain. As a result, you have either not studied paranormal material, or dismiss the little that you have studied.
My perspective differs from yours. I know, personally, that both of your points, 1 and 2, are untrue, the result of a few paranormal experiences.
For example, years ago I was writing at home in my little cubbyhole reserved for that work, when I "saw" a brief flash of light directly to my left.
Problem was, the image appeared at least 20 degrees past the limit of my peripheral vision. Upon looking in the "direction" of my perception, I
saw only the framed and paneled room wall. Nonetheless, I was certain that I had seen something real, and set about to investigate.
I went to the kitchen where my wife was cooking, about 30 feet south of me. She had seen no flash, heard no sound. I did not bother looking outside
because I "knew," go figure how, that the flash happened indoors. Continuing to investigate, I figured out where my line of "sight" would have
ended and found that the heating element in our hot water heater had shorted out, explosively enough to render the heater unrepairable.
To have visually seen this explosion I'd have needed to be superman with x-ray vision. Had I been looking in the direction of the heater at the
moment of explosion, I would have had to see into the basement, through the wall of my room, the living room floor and basement ceiling, a section of
steel heating duct, and through the outer steel wall of the heater, an inch of insulation, and a galvanized 14 gauge steel water tank.
The natural tendency of skeptics is to label such information as lies or delusions. Feel free to do that, in which case our conversations must
terminate. An open-minded skeptic (the opposite of which you have declared yourself to be) would peruse some of the excellent paranormal literature
that is available. I've not seen an example similar to that just described in that literature, but there is plenty of excellent evidence, obtained
by rigorous scientific methods, that some human minds are capable of extra-sensory perceptions.
Many of the writers on this subject claim that all of us are capable of psychic activity, but there is no evidence for it. Einstein could handle
tensor mathematics just fine, but that does not mean that everyone else can do so. Psychic abilities, like other properties of mind, do not extend to
all people. Nor does the absence of such abilities among the many mean that a few cannot have them.
My understanding of mind comes from a somewhat Cartesian perspective, from which, with the addition of physics, extrasensory phenomena make perfect