Our Perception of Reality Might Be Like A Desktop Interface

In a recent Ted Talk, Donald Hoffman speculates that our reality might be analogous to the desktop interface of our computers. Watch Hoffman’s talk below.

It’s possible that the reality we perceive is a construct that our minds create in order to do just enough for us to survive in the world in which we evolved. In much the same way, our visual range excludes ultraviolet rays because there was no survival benefit. Bees, on the other hand, can see ultraviolet light. Here is how we see a flower vs how a bee sees a flower.

Human's View vs Bee's View

Human’s View vs Bee’s View

In the bee’s world there is a bright sign on the flower pointing toward the nectar and pollen area of the flower. When it comes to vision, we only see a narrow portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. Our perceptions are also limited when it comes to the true nature of the universe. We may need a new paradigm or frame-work for understanding our universe and our reality. Once we have the new frame-work that shows us how the universe “really” works, heretofore unexplained or mysterious phenomena could be explained more clearly. There are a number of phenomena I would choose to investigate under that new paradigm.

Here are my top 10:

1. The unimaginable and immense gap between our size and the size of our perceived universe. I once had an imagining that as we gazed out further into the universe, we were in fact looking deeper into our own physical mind. And that the reason we observe infinity in both “directions”, toward the small and toward the large (universe/multiverse etc), was because it expands with our understanding. Maybe the observation that those are different “directions” is an illusion as well.

2. Coincidences.
3. Dark Matter (DM)  and Dark Energy (DE). I think they are intimately related to the larger issue discussed here. Research has indicated that DE and DM exert an influence on things like galaxy formation and movement. So far, DM and DE can only be detected indirectly by their influence on things we can observe directly. Going back to the desktop analogy and file example that Hoffman mentions; we can see the image of the file and it’s contents with our eyes. The cause of that image is unseen. but some of the properties of that cause can be inferred by the characteristics of the image.

4. Cancer.
5. DNA, evolution and it’s relationship to epigenetics. Epigenetics is the study, in the field of genetics, of cellular and physiological phenotypic trait variations that are caused by external or environmental factors that switch genes on and off and affect how cells read genes instead of being caused by changes in the DNA sequence. – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epigenetics

6. Karma.
7. Consciousness. What if our brains are like the sails of a ship capturing and utilizing the “winds” of a consciousness that permeates or is reality? At the quantum level there are interactions in our brain that seem to be “spooky”.  Read about the concept of quantum entanglement https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_entanglement
There was a Star Trek The Next Generation episode that briefly touched upon something similar to Hoffman’s idea. The crew encounters an alien that has the ability to travel great distances in space and time. The radical suggestion was that “space and time and thought aren’t the separate things they appear to be”.

8. Gravity. How is it “powered”? Almost all the energy we use biologically and technologically can be traced back to our sun or another star. Stars are powered by gravity compressing matter and the subsequent reaction of that matter to being compressed. So where does that “power to compress”, or gravity, come from? It seems to fly in the face of science’s version of “there’s no such thing as a free lunch”…the conservation of energy.

9. Music. Maybe the reason music resonates with humanity so much is because it somehow reflects the patterns and organization of something else.

10. The beginning of the universe.

Our understanding of the universe has come a long way in the past few centuries. I think we are in for a quantum leap in that understanding. The growing number of people adding to our collective knowledge combined with technological advances will get us to a critical mass. The result being an explosive leap forward.

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77 thoughts on “Our Perception of Reality Might Be Like A Desktop Interface

  1. xnon

    I think this talk was a bit more of an exercise in thought more than any real kind of analogy. The idea that we are unable to perceive the world around us to the fullest degree has been with us for a long time. It would be a world of unbelievable noise (as in signal to noise ratio) if we were unable to filter or tune out a significant amount of stimuli.

    For example, humans are incredibly good at becoming acclimatized to a particular stimulus, be that visual, auditory, or even touch. For most of us, we won’t actively notice the clothing on our skin – does this mean we’re unaware of it? Does it mean that there’s anything profound occurring? I don’t think so, it’s a simple adaptation to allow for information processing to occur without having its bandwidth flooded.

    That being said, there are breakthroughs to be made based on things we can’t detect. For example, chemicals that can simulate pheromones which we may not be able to detect but have effects on humans, certain frequencies of sound/vibration, frequencies of light that may alter mood. These are all interesting pursuits that could potentially lead to discoveries despite the active stimulus being indiscernible from the average background stimulus.

    1. andrewmeintzer

      This is a fascinating concept. There are innumerable ways in which we truly don’t know whether our perception of reality is correct. It’s impossible to know that it is, without a shadow of a doubt. Our worldviews have been shattered countless times throughout human history, and it’s inevitable that this trend will continue. There is even information that we may never possess.

      However, there have been discoveries that have stood the test of time. Unless all of reality actually is an illusion, or something similar, there are things that we do know for sure. Even though scientists haven’t figured out why gravity exists, or how it is produced, we know that it is a real force, provided we’re not being fooled in some other way.

      This is why it is safe to assume that we do have some confirmed knowledge, but we should not be attached to it. We can say that there are fundamental truths, because they can be repeatedly proven. Yet, we should be open to any facts being proven wrong, simply because it is possible. For the time being, we can make claims such as, there is only one universe, evolution and gravity exist, and chocolate contains sugar. But these facts may be proven to be incorrect in the future. We could be living in a multiverse, evolution and gravity might be explained by deeper or more complex methods, and sugar may turn out to be something completely different from what we think it is. Only time will tell us the true nature of these concepts, as long as time actually exists.

    2. Juortega

      Surely these views on reality are accepted and supported in the scientific community. With the very basis of perception being questioned constantly throughout mankind’s evolution. This contemplation as a result of consciousness, can be also seen in history with more accomplished civilizations.

    3. paultraining

      Yea there are many things that can evade our consciousness even though they are right in front of us. Simple illusions are an example. https://www.google.com/search?q=simple+illusions&rlz=1CAACAP_enUS667US667&espv=2&biw=1366&bih=657&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiEwM200rHLAhXCRyYKHSj4CKoQsAQIGw&dpr=1

      If it isn’t neccesaryl we won’t really percieve it. An audio recording of a person talking can be nearly impossible to understand at first. But if we really want to decipher what is being said we can make sense out of the noise if we sit down, take our time and listen closely.

  2. Liv6

    I have contemplated our perception of the world before and whether we are creating our own realities in order to “cope” with an actual reality. It would definitely explain questions that humanity have struggled with for millenia (e.g. the beginning of the world, answered through religion). I appreciated the inclusion of karma on your list; it would be intriguing to think that we cover up the existence of karma with our own reality. I have never been a skeptic concerning that, and I believe that it could very well exist in the universe. Thank you for the article!

  3. oraclemay

    Interesting. I will have to give this some thought. I am surprised at the difference in view of the bee and humans. This is an eye opener.

    1. prabab

      There even might be differences in world perception between human individuals. The basic wiring is the same, but if there’s something we know for sure about our brains, it’s that the way neural structures form is pretty much emergent and possibly unique for every single human being.

      So maybe my color blue is something you perceive as a salty taste. Food for thought.

      1. SFOMH88

        Scientists have actually delved into this. They injected a virus into monkeys’ eyes which enabled them to see red, green and yellow. While doing this they think they reached a solution to color blindness as well as deteriorating eye vision.

    2. ellyjude

      Not only to you but also to most of us in this site. I now see where we are heading to in terms of technology. We are trying to make everything complex with the aim of benefiting us. What if everything back fires? I am only trying to imagine the outcome.

  4. rhauze

    Well, if you ascribe to the multiverse theory of quantum physics, then reality is indeed a lot more complicated than we imagine. Literally everything that could possibly happen is happening, simultaneously. Every situation in which you had more than one possible outcome is playing itself out, somewhere else in the universe, but differently than what happened in your own memory. Ergo, there are different versions of you throughout these different dimensions, some very different depending on which choices and experiences the other “you” had.

  5. sbatz72

    I think this was an interesting concept on perception. Of course, we humans would perceive the world and objects of the world a little different than animals, such as bees. I enjoyed reading your takes on the subject matter of perception and how it relates to what a bee might see.

    1. protoboard

      It’s really cool how two different beigns perceive the same reality on their own specific way. Just like humans and bees computers have another way of seeing the world. A few years ago I worked on a computer-vision project and the computer running the program only saw infrared light so it was seeing stuff that where invisible to the human eye.

  6. Sara

    Well, we see the world through our brain, not our eyes, so when on drugs, our perception of the world changes but our capability to see things is limited. the article was a good read, a reminder that we’re just another kind of animals living in this planet that have limited capabilities like other animals may have.

  7. KimberlyD

    I have to agree with XNON. If we were able to perceive everything, we would go insane. There would be no way to shut it all off and so we would be bombarded by the constant ‘noise’ of reality. However, we possess the perceptions that we require to learn and grow for survival, which is all we need.

    1. Sara

      I like what you said about our perception being enough for us to learn and survive, but what you missed is that mother nature ain’t perfect, what if we’re losing something here. for example we know our immune system is strong and will protect us till the end but even that is not perfect as MS and Allergies have proven.

      1. GenevB

        Good point, nothing is perfect, also our immune system can attack itself in some cases our can simply stopped functioning if one’s get infected with HIV and develops SIDA.

    2. paultraining

      Yea if we were able to percieve all it would be too much to handle. The fact that we can sit and think about something and gradually drive us insane over paradoxes and complexity of everything proves that there is more than readily seen. However it is all there. There are all kinds of dimensions to something that we don’t see. Other animals are tuned to see different aspects.

  8. HFuturist Post author

    Thank you everyone for your comments on this and other topics. They are interesting to read and give me new insights. When you give feedback it’s a good thing. You help to stimulate internal and external conversation.

    1. Aldebaran

      You wrote:
      “I once had an imagining that as we gazed out further into the universe, we were in fact looking deeper into our own physical mind.”

      I was thinking about that. Using that concept of looking out to see inward, think about number 4 on your list, cancer. Consider a single cancerous cell as an individual member of a community. It takes resources, but does not perform the function it would perform if it were not cancerous. Healthy cells take every bit as much in resources, but they participate in the internal ecology of the whole multi-cellular organism. The healthy cells take, but they contribute as well. They perform their function, their role in the whole.

      What I am getting at is that if you change the scale of what an individual is from the cellular level to a macro cellular level, your concept of looking out to see in, seems to give an insight into a correlation between the health of a human society and the behavior of the individual humans.

      1. HFuturist Post author

        Very true. Some would say the mass killings, the terrorism, crime etc is a symptom of an unhealthy organism, our society. Politicians often refer to terrorist organizations as “cancers”. In this case it would appear that the unhealthy cells (no pun intended) don’t get enough of the needed resources in order to perform their function. Resources like economic opportunity, education, mental health care or love.

        1. Laila

          Wow, I have often thought the same thing! I was totally unaware, however, that politicians referred to terrorist organizations as “cancers”. I have wondered sometimes if humans might be a cancer to the earth. We are stealing all its resources and we keep growing exponentially. In just a short span we jumped from a population of 6 million to a population of 7 million people.

          All other animals live within the natural balance of nature. But due to our intelligence as humans we used a “cheat code” on nature and aren’t bound by its limitations anymore. Well, for now. Because if we were a bit more intelligent we would realize that if we don’t take care of the earth and are resourceful, our future generations won’t have a place to live anymore.

          1. paultraining

            Laila that is true in a sense we are like a cancer to the earth. A characteristic of cancer cells is that they grow and divide at an irregularly fast rate. That is what we are doing.

  9. Jasmine2015

    I also agree with everyone else that without the limits that we have, the stimuli in our environment would make us go overboard. Perhaps with the help of inventions we will be able to see and interact with things in a new way. Like how would something look in gamma rays versus something else on the electromagnetic spectrum?

    1. Juortega

      Then again it seems social constructs such as institutionalized education are actually limiting human potential. Consider how relatively new humans are as a species so many things are yet to be discovered. Everywhere there are cases that exemplify the ability to adapt to a reality. Some humans have been proven and known to be capable of paranormal feats who is really to say what our type of being is truly capable of.

  10. MNyte

    Honestly, this is a correct perspective that we may perceive. The sun is already illuminating gamma rays, so someone who is constantly outside is socializing, just like social media. Each action directly correlates to something online, or something online directly corresponds to something in real life.

  11. Jamer_BIsnits

    I agree new technology is a gateway to better things and none less the fact is technology advances will the field the technology was made for,

  12. Arif

    New technology has always been a great addition to life and our reality as they will aid in always making our life better. The way our brains perceive everything has changed from the olden days, we’ve discovered new things that we can actually explain, we’ve finally seen how pluto looks! Reality itself is becoming more and more known about and it is a wonderful thing for our generation now and generations to come. I agree with the perspective in the video and think it’s a good representation of a lot of people’s thoughts.

  13. legionof7

    It definitely makes sense. This is a very interesting topic. We obviously have a different perspective then other beings and we do perceive things differently. Hopefully soon we can discover something that ties all this together and make new discoveries that drastically change the way we do things!

  14. Issac Asimov

    I like the idea that both large and small infinite directions could be an illusion. I often liked the bubble multi-verse theories and your idea seems to fit well into that description.

    1. GenevB

      Even if they would be an illusion, there would still need to be something that projects this Illusion, it can’t all start from nothing, so if all this is an illusion this is the clearest proof that there exists something bigger.

      1. michaelrydell

        Great point! I agree it is indicative of something bigger than ourselves, and bigger than the components of the universe. A driving element that conducts activities, stable and the seemingly chaotic.

      2. paultraining

        That is an interesting thought GenevB. Even if everything is an illusion, the illusion must be projected from somewhere and something must be real. If everything was an illusion that would without a doubt imply something bigger that is experimenting with or using us. It implies a higher/different purpose.

        But then what is reality at all. Reality must be in the eye of the beholder.

        If we can’t percieve everything at once, and because of that what we see is an illusion how would we see everything. Maybe what is real can only be seen when we are dead for then we start limiting our perceptions to what is neccesary.

        1. paultraining

          “Maybe what is real can only be seen when we are dead for then we start limiting our perceptions to what is neccesary.”

          sorry I meant “…stop limiting our perceptions to what is neccesary.” Typo.

  15. GenevB

    It has already been proven by some dutch scientist I think, that all this universe might be a simulation inside a computer somewhere so I guess that you could say that our perception of reality is like a desktop. I’ve spent unlimited nights to think about that, but I’ve come to no answer and even if I did, how would that be any useful at all?

  16. Bonbinski

    The ideas posed here are very interesting! I’ve always thought we, as humans, must be missing out a bigger view of the universe, and your inclusion of bee vision vs. human vision is a perfect example. What if we could find all the answers we need if only we could see/hear/feel/etc. the world in a different way? Or to go with your analogy, what if we were able to get an upgrade with more advanced software to “run” faster?

    Karma is an interesting inclusion here. We all believe in karma in one way or another, but there are no ways to prove it actually exists. So that’s interesting that there could be some underlying force or scientific process that enacts karma as we currently experience it.

    1. Juortega

      Very interesting how you have contemplated missing a bit of reality per say. It would be cool indeed to update or somehow evolve a human being, if by activating different dormant genes or transmitting data to the mind. One may never know about the underlying forces but yet studying our past reveals this knowledge.

  17. Bozusaki

    Thinking about the universe is amazing, not only due to the scale of it, but because of the fact that…It’s all pure theory, you know? Realistically, it would be virtually impossible for anyone to prove or disprove something like the multiverse theory. So you have the ability to entirely believe in something, if only because you know it can never be disproven. And you can think, well, if the universe is infinite, how is it even possible that the multiverse does not exist? Could there be an alternate universe where the multiverse does not exist, thus disproving its own existence?

    The amount of nuances and paradoxes that exist in the universe are amazing, and I love reading things like this.

  18. protoboard

    Music reflects the patterns of just about anything in the universe! And the best part of it is that (almost) all the sounds we can hear and perceive can be held in just 88 piano keys. You want to hear a bird twitting? You can make that sound with your piano! Now you would like to make the sound of a black hole sucking a supernova? Well, I have no idea what that sound may be but I’m pretty confident that if you have a piano at hand you can emulate it 🙂

  19. michaelrydell

    This is an interesting list, makes one think of more than just politics 🙂 it’s remarkable to think also how much man has changed to be able to withstand modern day pollutants, and lower oxygen levels in the air. We seem to have the ability to adapt quite a bit concerning our circumstances. It makes me wonder what all else we cannot see or detect at this point in time. At one point mankind did not know of radio frequencies, wireless phone and Internet, etc. What may we find in the future that is hidden to us today? What might we have adapted to many centuries from now?

  20. Sparkster

    It’s not just a possibility that everything we perceive is a mental construct, it’s absolute fact. Psychology acknowledges and science acknowledges it. We do not see with our eyes, hear with our ears, etc. They just absorb information (light waves, audio frequencies, etc) which our brain then decodes and tells us what to see, hear, etc. Everything we perceive happens in the mind. Think about Jung’s theory that UFOs were a projection of our collective unconscious. Not only was he right but the entire universe is a projection of our collective unconscious.

    1. Laila

      That’s really such an interesting thought. It could be that we are just stuck in one spot somewhere but our brain makes it seem as if we’re moving around, seeing, hearing, and feeling things. Making it seem, as if we’re living a full life.

      One day, if we do find proof of reality not being real somehow, I wonder how everyone would react to it. Would we not take life so serious anymore? Would we be less scared of dying? Would the world become more peaceful?

    2. paultraining

      Sparkster it is possible that things like UFO sightings, hope to find aliens, and spiritual experiences are a manifestation of an unconscious need for something new. It might just be a response we are having due to boredom or a feeling of having lost something and not knowing how to fill in the gap. Similar to if a person loses a friend who dies they think they kleep seeing the friend over and over again. We could all be experiencing it because it an unconscious need that we collectively share.

      1. paultraining

        Sparkster it is possible that things like UFO sightings, hope to find aliens, and spiritual experiences are a manifestation of an unconscious need for something new. It might just be a response we are having due to boredom or a feeling of having lost something and not knowing how to fill in the gap. Similar to if a person loses a friend who dies they think they keep seeing the friend over and over again. We could all be experiencing it because it of unconscious need that we collectively share.

        Sorry made a few typos that is the way it should have read.

  21. Juortega

    This is certainly an acclaimed concept. Revisiting Plato’s Cave questioning the very reality we consider to be actual. This approach is similar in the way the human experience is somewhat a limited perception. Through enlightenment some say one may leave the cave and see things for what they really are.

  22. troutman

    I could believe that our minds are like a desktop interface or some kind of specialized operating system. Unfortunately, we take thousands and sometimes millions of years to improve on the interface, while Windows and OS X or Android and iOS can be improved over the course of a few months. Sometimes I feel like I’m running Windows 98 instead of Windows 10, though.

    As for things to look deeper into, I would love to know if Karma really exists, or if it’s something that people have convinced themselves is real. I don’t believe in it myself, but it does explain when good or bad things happen to certain people.

    1. paultraining

      “I could believe that our minds are like a desktop interface or some kind of specialized operating system. Unfortunately, we take thousands and sometimes millions of years to improve on the interface, while Windows and OS X or Android and iOS can be improved over the course of a few months. Sometimes I feel like I’m running Windows 98 instead of Windows 10, though.

      As for things to look deeper into, I would love to know if Karma really exists, or if it’s something that people have convinced themselves is real. I don’t believe in it myself, but it does explain when good or bad things happen to certain people.”

      Maybe, regarding what you said about our minds and desktops improving, desktops improve much faster because they are under our control and serve our purpose. An evolutionary improvement that would benefit their own purpose would take just as long as our minds would-thousands of years. However that’s way out there and bringing up the subject of AI I guess.

      If they were to have intelligence( the computers) perhaps the improvements aren’t even really improvements to them, but random changes, since they probably don’t benefit their purpose or survival. Analogously maybe the small changes we experience but don’t benefit us and probably don’t notice are improvements for some higher purpose.

      1. paultraining

        Sorry I forgot to put a quotation.The first two paragraphs should have looked like this.

        “I could believe that our minds are like a desktop interface or some kind of specialized operating system. Unfortunately, we take thousands and sometimes millions of years to improve on the interface, while Windows and OS X or Android and iOS can be improved over the course of a few months. Sometimes I feel like I’m running Windows 98 instead of Windows 10, though.

        As for things to look deeper into, I would love to know if Karma really exists, or if it’s something that people have convinced themselves is real. I don’t believe in it myself, but it does explain when good or bad things happen to certain people.”

  23. nwalker85

    I’ve always been extremely interested in the concept you touched on in your first topic here. The unimaginably big universe, coupled with the inimaginable tiny microverse of atoms and quarks. Couple this with the idea of fractals, and you have the potential to one day look so deep microscopically that you realize that you are looking at galaxies and not leptons.

  24. derskull

    These are the types of things that keep you up at night. Burning existential questions that are impossible to comprehend, but curiosity drives you back towards those same thoughts. I personally am interested in both the expansion on the understanding of our size relative to the universe, as well as the understanding of our consciousness. It is unimaginable to think that we are such puny creatures compared to the universe, even the sun is almost large beyond belief, let alone far away galaxies and red-giant stars. As for consciousness, it seems rather odd that electrical impulses in the brain could power sentience, rather it’s incomprehensible to a conscious being.

  25. Jeff Bowles

    Wow, this is a really great post, man. I’m glad I found this blog. 🙂 Personally, I have always felt perception is a very elastic, dynamic thing that, as you point out, can in fact be expanded. We are tied to the limitations of our senses, but that does not preclude the idea of perhaps connecting with other individuals, sensing them on some higher plain than merely sight, sound, touch, etc. I’ve always felt if it were possible to see and experience others as they see and experience themselves, we’d have such a different interconnection to each other, a better understanding, and perhaps, a lesser need for conflict derived from miscommunication and poor judgment. You mention Star Trek: the Next Generation, and that was an interesting show because it often did espouse a certain emotional plain of awareness not often seen in Science Fiction. I mean, who were the three officers who had command seats on the bridge of the Enterprise? The captain, his first officer, and hold on a moment, the ship’s therapist? Lol. Clearly, Gene Roddenberry had definitive opinions about higher awareness and understanding each other in a conscious, sometimes emotional context.

  26. joshc428

    One of my favorite theories regarding our perceived reality is the idea that we actually live in a computer simulation.
    Here are the possibilities:
    1. Any advanced society that can build a universal computer simulator extremely close to reality simply chooses not to.
    2. Any advanced society will destroy itself before it becomes technilogically advanced enough to build a simulator that mimics reality
    3. We are living in a computer simulation.
    Assuming the first two options are untrue, it’s interesting to think about the probability. There are trillions of planets out there, trillions of opportunities for some form of civilization out there. If one of them became advanced enough, they could build a computer simulation so close to reality that those living in it wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. Imagine all of the simulations out there.
    Think about all the simulations WE have created. The Sims video game series has sold 175 million copies. Who’s to say that these programmed characters aren’t sentient and blissfully unaware that they’re living in a computer simulation? Considering this figure, the chance of living in the “real” reality for a Sim is 1/175,000,000 or 0.00000057%. This is an extremely small figure. Considering all the possible simulations in the universe, there is virtually no chance we exist in the “real” reality.

  27. FrankieD

    Another major reason we really don’t know what is going on because, in part, we don’t know just how small of a slice our view really is. It might be far worse than a desktop interface. It might be the equivalent of seeing 40 characters of text at a time. That being said, on a relative basis we sure are learning a lot more than ever. As the article points out, our collective knowledge base, and ways to apply it, are exploding. I believe the internet deserves its own round of applause in this matter!

  28. Coolbutlame

    If my perception of reality is a hud, I want statistics on how I am doing in the “game.” For example, what is my health doing right now? I know I don’t eat as healthy as I should and need more exercise, so is it slowly depleting? Can it even read that far ahead into the future?

    I do like your thoughts on music. It has to be something exclusive to humanity because my dog and cat don’t seem to appreciate the rhythms as much as I do.

  29. SpacePerson

    The thing about reality (or anything else for that matter) is that you can think up any theory and if you try hard enough, you’ll find that it fits the world around you perfectly. It’s a little like when you watch clouds in the blue sky and they magically change their shapes into anything you want.
    Every being has it’s own unique perception of reality and there isn’t one perception that is in any way better than the next, all are equal.
    However the human world is ruled by power. The strong impose their perception as absolute. Over time 2 main schools of thought have survived , science and religion.
    The power these two hold over their faithfuls is a mere illusion.

  30. nytegeek

    I have often wondered about this. I even used to ponder if any of us really perceive the anything in the same manner as another. It could be a matter of completely different desktop interfaces with the same functions, just similar enough to communicate but not seen the same way by anyone.

    1. oportosanto

      Funny that you mention this nytegeek because when I was in high school I recall watching dozens of my colleagues and wondering, each one of them as a unique individual world inside their heads. And this is a fact as no one perceived the same thing in the exact same way.

  31. ellyjude

    Not only to you but also to most of us in this site. I now see where we are heading to in terms of technology. We are trying to make everything complex with the aim of benefiting us. What if everything back fires? I am only trying to imagine the outcome.

  32. Celerian

    This is quite an eyeopener, I will have to read up more about this. It seems we are starting to hit a bump in technology where we question our own humanity.

  33. Gells

    I enjoyed the talk, however, I am inclined to think of our experience of reality, in a different sort of analogy. I imagine ourselves as atomic entity sponges that soak up experience or “space” where-ever we go or travel. Therefore in due time as in the next 50-100 years, I believe it is plausible for us to erase difference or distance and replace it with immersion or “the sponge effect,” where everything is literally less than a hand touch away. Perhaps it all sounds crazy but if science keeps heading in the direction it has been, the likelihood of that being reality, seems even more likely. Your thoughts?

  34. hemmo

    Hmm..I think this is definitely true. Have you ever heard the saying, “there is no reality, there is only perception?” I think it’s really interesting that there are things that we can’t see/perceive because we lack the tools. It opens up possibility for our world in endless ways.

    1. Xrnx

      It’s a good perspective. Perception is the only way we access reality, after all. Without it, there might as well not be reality. But this is all theory. Could we possibly apply it to improve our lives? Actually, I believe we can, right now. Changing your perception of reality works, and you can do it by surrounding yourself with people you love spending time with. The result is that reality seems much more pleasant to immerse yourself in.

  35. Katekatecupecake

    Our view of the world is only how we subconsciously allow ourselves to see it. Our minds expanding infinitely inwards is only to compensate for the fact that we cannot see the universe infinitely or that we will never know all of the universe. Every bit of energy and every atom and particle that vibrate to create that energy are connected by those vibrations. We are, therefore, made of the universe and what made everything before us. When someone or something is gone, that matter is reused, as is the law of conservation.

  36. SirJoe

    I think that we confuse a more evolved way of thinking with gadgets. We think that we are much more evolved then people from a thousand or two thousand years ago, yet we normally have the same outlook on life and the same thoughts. The way we see things is very dependent on how we where brought up and way we evolve in our later life. It isn’t so far fetched to think that our perception of reality is distorted from what it really is.

  37. sheebah7

    Our perception of reality can sometimes appear warped and watered down. Most people have a microwaved approach to life….they want the quick and the fast way. Often times when we have this picture in our head of the world and our surroundings we sometimes use rose colored glasses. Often times it is a coping mechanism to deal with the hurts, and disappointments we may encounter in our everyday lives.

  38. SirJoe

    There is a idea that come out that we can’t see the 4rth dimension. Too understand why we can’t see it there is a good example. If we lived in 2 dimensional world and a ball had to fall through the plain that we were on, all we would see is a circle increase and decrease in size. We would never see the full sphere. In the same way if we had to see something from the 4rth dimension, we wouldn’t be able to see it in full.

  39. Sharpie1987

    It’s overwhelming when you start to remember that your mind changes quite a bit of what you see before your mind processes it. Especially with a concept like this, which I don’t know how much stock I would put into it at this moment, it’s still a very interesting and unique concept that I’ve not heard of yet.

  40. darkrebelchild

    This has been a revealing analysis about humans and I must confess the modern world is beginning to perceive reality in a new way. There is the ‘new’ of everything and everyone seems alright with it. If laws and rules are beginning to be bent and amended, what really is this reality we are talking about? Who exactly is seeing reality in the right way?

  41. dihewe

    I’ve also always thought about how the mind filters out and changes certain elements of life. I believe I read once that our minds interpret certain things differently including faces. I could be way off on that one though. This is all so insane to think about. So incomprehensible. I can’t wrap my head around what would be the fourth dimension.

    1. oportosanto

      I think that is a good analogy. After all, we are always changing our mind and the things we want to do and the reality is that’s almost exactly the same way a desktop works, different windows for different functions, different software for different purposes.

  42. Xrnx

    We’ve come a long way but there’s so much more to learn. How much of the universe can we really say we understand? I’d say not a whole lot. Maybe many years ahead we’d look back and realise that most of our understandings were wrong, and come up with something far better. I can’t imagine what that explosive leap will be, but I’m hopeful for the future.

  43. Personablue

    Many many of the concepts that we have regarding our universe may be factually wrong. New and better concepts will come from time to time. Just like how the concept of periodic table in chemistry came from basically just Triads to a full blown Mendeleev’s table. Then the modern periodic law stated that that is actually wrong and we have to use atomic no instead of atomic weight as the basis and came the modern periodic law. It will be same for our universe too.

  44. oportosanto

    I don’t have any question that what Hoffman says is accurate. Anyone that studied the basics of psychology knows that we never see the reality as it is, we just see a construct based on what we have in our minds.

    History for example is not exactly what happened, but just the way someone told it.

  45. anorexorcist

    It would be really cool to read your explanation about karma and perception!
    You have really interesting good points, one of the ones that really catch me was the music one… The other day I was listening to a DJ being interviewed and he said that maybe why we liked music (he was talking about electro music mostly) it was because we actually are able to hear our moms heart beating while she was pregnant of us, and that this sound reminded us to something that we kept in our collective consciousness, and the beats of music bring us back all of that… It sounded kind of weird when I first heard it but it kinda makes sense now…

  46. rz3300

    Well that is certainly fascinating to think about. Yet again we have another example of why TED Talks is awesome and one of my main go to site to learn about new things. It is again made even better when you start to discuss all of the implications that it can have on our society, and I have to say I got very intrigued when I saw the cancer section, and I thought you were going to relate the disease to something a computer would get, but you did not quite go there. Thank you for sharing this.

  47. cafwen

    Your point on gravity really resonates with me – it does seem to contradict the laws of energy to me. Perhaps I don’t understand the physics behind it, but something having potential energy based purely on the fact that it has mass seems to imply that it has a power source surely? You can’t pull in other objects into your orbit without exerting a force on them, which surely requires energy to be expended. Energy from where? You certainly aren’t losing mass in the process. *scratches head*

  48. sorrowscall

    It’s too bad we don’t see the way the bees do because of our lack of need for the ultraviolet spectrum. The view of the flower is lovely and much more detailed in my opinion. I don’t know what I would use this ability for myself though; other than to just enjoy my surroundings.

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