For most people, they’ll believe that they have a clear perception of reality – sights, smells, objects, are all objectively real. However, what if none of it was real, what if it was all just an illusion created by our own consciousness or even a simulation for a super-intelligent being to study.
Most people understand that they don’t see every aspect of the world, for example, unlike bees, humans can’t see UV light. Unlike worms or dogs, humans can’t hear high or low pitched frequencies. As a species, humans also have a relatively weak sense of smell. Rather than proposing humans struggle to see all of reality, Mazviita Chirimuuta, from the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, proposes that humans see none of it.
Blind To The World
In addition to being unable to sense so many different things, Chirimuuta claims that the brain only presents a small snapshot of the world. If human senses took in every single detail, the brain would be overwhelmed and probably couldn’t cope. Without thinking, humans blink multiple times every minute, the nose is always in the peripheral vision when walking, arms naturally swing back and forth.
For most people, these things would be edited out by the brain – they wouldn’t have any recollection of them or even notice them when they were happening without concentrating on them. That’s because the brain edits them out, similar to data compression, it simplifies everything in order to function.
So, how does this fit into reality being an illusion? Well, it means that the human eye and brain doesn’t see everything, in fact, it sees very little. The human eyes only capture fleeting glimpses of reality between rapid movements.
During these glimpses, humans are effectively blind to everything else and nothing is processed when it actually happens. This means that humans are only seeing a small percentage of reality, far less than what is actually happening and so everything might not be what it seems, creating an illusion of reality. Humans may not ever be able to see the true reality, despite what they think.
It’s quite worrying to be told that everything you think is real, might just be an illusion. The fact that humans don’t know half of what is going on around them is actually pretty scary! You could be walking down the street and there could be hundreds of things going on around you, that you might never be aware of…