Re[2]: Perception of Reality? Boundry of self? (Was: Reality)

Guru George (
Tue, 28 Jan 1997 21:59:50 GMT

On Sun, 26 Jan 1997 21:33:42 -0600
Eliezer Yudkowsky <> wrote:

>[Mike Cowar:]
>> Your hand is not feeling that.
>> Your brain is.
>Look around.
>You aren't seeing the physical world.
>You're seeing your visual cortex.
Philosophical nonsense! You are seeing and experiencing the physical
world. Just this ordinary everyday experience of the physical world is
what the words 'seeing' and 'experiencing' refer to; they do *not*
refer to the experience itself, but to what that experience is *of*. (
This is analogous to Eddington's 'two tables' mistake.)

The old distinction between 'mediate' and 'immediate' serves quite well,
I think.

The immediate *substance* of your experience is your visual cortex:
that's what your experience of the physical world is 'made of'. The
mediate ('intentional') *object* of your experience is the physical
world (including, of course, the visual cortex experienced as 'lump of
gray stuff'!)

Actually this business has always intrigued me. It's very close to
mysticism (in the good sense, in the sense of profound experiences).
There is really nothing particularly mysterious about mysticism in this
sense at all: we are very *obviously* 'all one', the universe is a Great
Big Thing, and we are simply parts of it, which share in its Great Big
Thingness in the same way that a leaf shares in Tree-ness. And this
part of It that I am just happens to be a part that mirrors, models (or
is a microcosm) of, the whole.

To put all this another way: my brain (or rather, my brain and nervous
system plus adjuncts) only *looks like* a gray lump, what it *really* is,
is just this very experience I am having right now! (Shades of
Schopenhauer here?) This isn't 'experience' in the normal everyday
sense, but precisely *mystical* experience, in which there is no
distinction between subject and object.

Guru George