The limitation of our inner mind to perceive the objective reality of the world
As you read this page, you of course feel that you are stationary. Chances are, it has slipped your mind that the earth is spinning eastward on its axis, making one daily rotation at a speed of 1,040 miles per hour. As the earth orbits the sun, you are being carried along at 70,000 miles per hour. As the sun orbits the Milky Way galaxy, you are moving at 500,000 miles per hour. Consider further that the earth is situated 27,000 light-years from the center of the Milky Way galaxy. Our galaxy is among the estimated 100 to 200 billion galaxies in the (known) universe.
Do you know that one light-year is six trillion miles?
Now you know you are largely incapable of visualizing what’s happening in the world/universe which is beyond your eyes.
The fact is that we imperfect humans have a limited ability to know the objective reality of this world. With limited knowledge and scanty information, we create reality in our minds. There is no reality beyond our minds. Is the reality that we construct in our mind an objective, true picture of the reality that appears to exist around us? Let’s examine it. The brain, through our five senses, receives and then processes huge amounts of data from its surroundings, and forms a mental image.
Since incoming data is so overwhelming, it’s not possible to process all the raw data. This is why those images that we form may be neither complete nor accurate. They are simply interpretations and not the true reality.
The mind however has a unique ability to construct its own reality out of limited information. In fact, our brains have been designed by evolutionary processes to make the best sense of data we receive from the outer world. According to one study, our brain processes around 400 billion bits of information every second, while our awareness takes in only around 2,000 bits of information.
This means that conscious awareness is negligible compared to what the brain actually processes. Now here the problem starts. Each one of us interprets this limited information in our own unique way. Different people will analyse, evaluate, and perceive input data in different ways. No two individuals will interpret information in the same way. Let’s see how this happens.
The limitation of our inner mind to perceive the objective reality of the world…
Everyone’s mind has its own selective filters through which we perceive the world in our own unique way. This so-called filter is built into our minds, allowing us only a partial view, depending upon what we are most drawn to seeing. The selectivity of the mind is determined by what one most wants and/or needs to become aware of. Researchers have established that since the mind can receive and interpret only a fraction of the input data/information from its surroundings, it uses that limited information as coordinates by which it constructs a mental model.
The brain uses this raw data to create a model of the world, and this is the mental world in which we all live. As we all construct the inner mental image or model on the basis of limited raw data, passing through the selective filter, the reality becomes highly subjective and unique. Therefore, thanks to that selective filter, each one of us live in a world that is quite different from that of others.
The information that we are receiving or gathering from outside sources is very often unreliable. Every day we experience it ourselves. The news that we receive from print media or watch on television or smartphones is generally not reliable or authenticated. We hardly make any attempt to verify the news, yet many of us are cocksure of that information. Now in the digital world, this problem is becoming very serious due to fake news. We continue to receive and then forward videos whose authenticity is questionable.
When we watch any movie, we all interpret the story in our own unique way. We go to the theatre to see a film rated four stars, then find it to be totally hopeless and a waste of time. Our mind perceives the story based on our past experiences, beliefs, and, more importantly, our expectations. The subjectivity that reigns in the movie theatre goes on all the time in the outside world. From the vast input from the world around us, only a small fraction of it is consciously processed by our minds.
Then, from our selective filter of past experiences, beliefs, mental conditioning, ideologies, and other fixed/rigid ideas, we construct reality in our own unique ways. None of us will construct the same reality, even when we are experiencing exactly the same situation.
It is like constructing reality from the tip of an iceberg while ignoring all that lies beyond our field of vision. This means that we live in a largely imaginary and illusory world, far from the truthful representation of the world around us. Now from here, another problem emerges: we mostly don’t realize that others will be interpreting the same information in different ways. Others may have an altogether different view of reality than that which we are experiencing.
So, we don’t understand their point of view – sometimes not at all. We think we are right, but the truth is, others are also right because they have their own interpretation of reality based on the same basic information. The result is misunderstanding, conflicts, and disputes, as others’ points of view completely elude us.
Though it’s extremely difficult to perceive objective reality all the time, we can surely minimize the gap between what others perceive and how we interpret reality by greater awareness and the ability to think from other’s perspectives and points of view as well. Self-awareness is the ability to focus on ourselves and how our actions, thoughts, or emotions affect ourselves and others around us. Not only we should thoroughly know about ourselves but also know, how others perceive us. It’s about knowing how we behave under different circumstances. How we think, act and react in various situations of life? What kind of thoughts and feelings we are experiencing every moment? If we are self-aware, then we know all these things about ourselves.
We are always very confident that we know all about ourselves but unfortunately that’s not the case. Our attention doesn’t go to this site. Isn’t it difficult to believe, that we are so ignorant about our own self? If we improve our ability to be aware, consciousness and mindful to the extent possible then certainly we can perceive the outer reality more clearly and objectively of this world
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