Anyone who has been drunk knows that he or she cannot trust the sensations they receive at the time. No, the room is not “really” spinning, and no, there are not two of everything. But when you are sober, how is it that you think what you sense is NOW real? Because other folks can confirm it? That doesn’t always happen either. Think back to a time where you and a friend are reminiscing. Do your memories match up? Not likely.
Even in law enforcement, the authorities are frustrated by multiple renditions of the event. Some will match up, some won’t. This plays into the psychological category of “repressed memory”. Thankfully, a lot of that has been disparaged as it has come to light that subjects will remember things planted or suggested by the therapist. Some years ago, though, repressed memories sent innocent people to jail for things they did not do.
Now that we have MRI’s, researchers can get real-time images of what your brain is doing while you are thinking. Those learned folks have found that a remembered or imagined image is in the same part of your brain as is a currently viewed image. This suggests that your brain does not distinguish (perhaps in a finite way) the difference between imagination and reality.
Folks who meditate or in other ways alter their consciousness understand a bit of this distinction.
To interpret one’s environment, 100 % of the data must come through our physical senses. Or does it? Have you taken a taste test? held your nose, closed your eyes, and tasted an apple and a raw potato? I remember doing this as a child. A raw potato and an apple “taste” the same with your nose plugged. Your brain will have to choose which one 50/50. As soon as you release your nose, you know it is an apple (or the potato).
We rely on our senses to tell us what is happening around us. Folks who have faulty connections will not perceive a reality that conforms to the majority. People with schizophrenia, synesthesia or other disorders perceive very different realities. It has been suggested that artists and musicians don’t see the world the same way the average person does.
Is there more to the world than what our five senses tell us?
Yes. And it is a whole new world.