37: my flat earth

There are some who say we’re all connected.

That the universe, infinitely vast as it is, is all rooted in one, singular consciousness. The singularity.

There’s actually evidence for this. Cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman gave the example of the two hemispheres of our brain, left and right.

You might think of your conscious self as one entity, of your reality as universal and concrete.

But, Hoffman says, were you to split your brain into two separate halves, all of a sudden you’d have two separate selves. Each half would have its own consciousness, and each half would perceive reality in a unique way.

So the thought is, if two separate consciousnesses can be joined into one, could there not, therefore, be one collective consciousness that pervades the entire universe?

That’s pretty staggering, and I can’t claim to be able to think much further than that without doing my research. But I think the idea raises another important notion.

That is: we all perceive reality in our own unique ways. And our individual realities are not necessarily true. It stands to reason that reality isn’t all that real at all.

There are a myriad of unique creatures in this world, and each perceives a different brand of reality.

Bats see nothing at all, but evolution has crafted them to use sonar to move through physical space. So what does their world “look” like?

The echoes from their calls allow tell them where objects are, how large they are, and what type of objects they are. As humans, the majority of us rely on sight, so we could do our best to imagine some visual “map” that bats construct with their sonar.

But that’s the best we can do. We think in terms of visuals, and we can’t help it. 30% of our brain function is dedicated to perceiving visual information.

A bat’s reality is unknown to us, just as our reality is unknown to a bat.

And can we really trust what we see? After all, we only see what’s useful for us to see so that we can function – colors, shapes and position.

We once thought the earth was flat and stationary. Now we know that it’s round, and spinning at incredible speeds.

So why am I so fixated on reality and consciousness today?

I heard a quote by Isaac Lidsky today that really resonated with me:

“Under the warped logic of fear, anything is better than the uncertain.”

The reality that I perceive is heavily influenced by my fears.

I’m not good enough for that job.

I’ll annoy that person if I talk to them.

I can’t achieve that dream, it will be too risky and hard.

Things look a lot scarier than they are through the lens of my fears.

Through that lens, all I see is a flat earth. As I continue to move through life, I want to learn to circumnavigate that lens, to see the world for what it is. Round, spinning, and full of possibility.


(I’ll leave you with a cool video by Jason Silva. His channel, Shots of Awe, is full of excellent think pieces.)

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