Nature of Reality / Natur der Wirklichkeit / Natureza da Realidade / Naturaleza de la Realidad

The deterministic Newtonian worldview has dominated psychology and economics and anthropology and political science for the last four hundred years. But this has been coming to a halt in the last fifty years.

The old World is made out of objects. When you look at the World you see these objects. There they are right in front of you. As a consequence of seeing these objects you think about what to do.

And after you think about what to do in the presence of these objects, you act. That seems self-evident because when you look at the World, there these objects are.

But you use only half your brain to see. The Human visual cortex is a very large part of your brain. And the reason that the Human visual cortex is so large is that seeing is actually impossible.

Now the fact that seeing, perception, is impossible, was not discovered by psychologists and was not discovered by philosophers.

It was discovered by people who were working on artificial intelligence and it turned out that making machines that could see objects was impossible.

And the reason for that is boundaries between objects are not obvious. They are not obvious at all.

If you think about yourself. When you look in the mirror you see yourself as an object. You see your eyes, you see your nose, you see your face, you see your body. That is pretty much what you see as well when you look at other people. But that is not all there is. In fact, that is hardly any of what there is.

You exist at the level of the quantum particle. Above that level you exist at an atomic level, and then at a molecular level, and then at the level of complex organs and the interactions between those organs.

And then your family, and then the groups that your family belongs to, and then the ecosystems that the groups belong to and so on until what it is that you are will expand to virtually anything.

When you look at yourself you do not see that. You see yourself at a certain level of resolution. When you look at the World you see yourself at a certain level of resolution, but all those other levels are equally real and equally relevant.

Almost nothing has obvious boundaries and this has real World consequences, it is not something that is merely abstract. The technical term for this problem, the problem of how to bind your perceptions to limit them, is called the frame problem.

The frame problem emerges to cause all sorts of trouble for people. When Henry Ford invented the automobile, he presumed that all he was doing was building an efficient means of transporting people from one place to the other. There were other unintended consequences of Ford’s  discovery.

A hundred years after the invention of the automobile, we discovered that the combustion engine is among the most effective technologies to transform the nature of the atmosphere to heat up the World.

These were unintended consequences of the fact that the car was far more than what people thought it was.

No one knew what TV would do to the news. No one knew what the internet would do to the music industry. Everything that you interact with is far more complicated than you see.

No Comments Yet.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *