For most people, they will believe they have a clear perception of reality – views, smells, objects, are all objectively real. However, what if none of this were real, and if everything were just an illusion created by our own consciousness or even a simulation to be studied by a superintelligent being?
Most people understand that they do not see all aspects of the world, for example, unlike bees, humans cannot see UV light. Unlike worms or dogs, humans cannot hear high or low frequencies. As a species, humans also have a relatively weak sense of smell. Instead of proposing that humans struggle to see all of reality, Mazviita Chirimuuta, of the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, proposes that humans see nothing of it.
Blind to the world as the Matrix
In addition to being unable to perceive so many different things, Chirimuuta states that the brain only presents a small snapshot of the world. If the human senses took every detail, the brain would be overwhelmed and probably could not cope. Without thinking, humans blink multiple times every minute, the nose is always in the peripheral vision when walking, the arms naturally swing back and forth. For most people, these things would be edited by the brain – they would have no memory of them or even realize when they were happening without concentrating on them. That’s because the brain edits them, similar to data compression, it simplifies everything to work.
An Illusion just like the movie Matrix
So how does this fit into reality being an illusion? Well, it means that the human eye and brain doesn’t see everything, in fact, it sees very little. Human eyes only capture fleeting visions of reality between rapid movements. During these glimpses, humans are effectively blind to everything else and nothing is processed when it really happens. This means that humans only see a small percentage of reality, much less than what is really happening and therefore everything might not be what it seems, creating an illusion of reality. Humans may never be able to see the true reality, despite what they think.
It is quite worrying that they tell you that everything you think is real, can only be an illusion. The fact that humans don’t know even half of what goes on around them is actually quite scary. You could be walking down the street and there could be hundreds of things around you, which you would never be aware of …