Kinesthetic reality

I attended a fascinating on-line discussion today about the relationship between human perception and objective reality. The gist of it was that because we humans all share the same powers and limitations of perception, we collectively construct a reality that makes sense to us.

The significance of this is that our collectively created reality corresponds to some objective reality outside of us, but it is not a one-to-one mapping. What we see, hear, feel, taste and smell allows us to detect a particular slice of the world around us.

We call this shared perceptual space “reality”, but it is in fact a sort of reflection of our collective human nature. For example, we don’t generally think about the many things a dog can smell but we cannot, or the colors of the spectrum that are visible to a bee but not to any human.

We think of water as a freely flowing liquid, whereas to an amoeba it is a nearly rigid sludge. And the way we think of the nearest path from here to there is very different from how a bird would think about it.

Our very language reflects our shared kinesthetic reality, with words like “higher” and “lower”, “hot” and “cold”, “strong” and “weak”, taking on metaphorical meanings that we apply to phenomena which are completely non-physical.

I don’t think any of this is a problem. It’s perfectly ok that we live in a collectively constructed reality that does not quite correspond to the physical world around us.

I just think it’s just something we should try not to forget.

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