I just lost “REALITY” and I want it back!

Posted on February 28, 2011


Peter: ” You know Professor, you’re a pickle. You just screwed around with my mind. And I want it unscrewed… I want it baaaak. I understand what the egg-heads are doing. The theoretical physicists are trying to make sense or maps of the no-seeums – of the invisible bits that ‘are out  there’. Yeah, according to them that wall is mainly made of holes and so am I – so I should be able to nip right through it without using the door. And  the paradigm geeks are pointing out all the imaginary bridges we keep building into the unknown future – Republican bridges, Democratic bridges, matrimonial bridges, stock market bridges, super-bowl betting bridges, religious bridges, atheistic bridges…. Well you can poop on all their ruddy bridges. I’m taking my dill pickle and going to wheel my imaginary car to a an imagery ball game, buy an imaginary hot dog and a nice cold imaginary beer and imagine that I’m enjoying myself.  So poop on Hawking’s model dependant realism, and poop on Khun’s paradigms and while you’re at it poop on social constructionism too!

Penny: “Peter, you’re missing the point. Yes, the egg-heads agree that we don’t have direct access to big R REALITY. We only have access to tiny samples of it filtered through our fallible senses. But at least some of them agree that we construct trusted ‘realities’ for ourselves out of the fallible sensory bits held together with trusted, emotionally anchored assumptions, theories, biases, beliefs … what have you. And we use those emotionally anchored beliefs to build maps or trusted bridges into the future – that’s why we get up in the morning, write exams, get married, go to work, buy houses, have babies, make retirement plans. So the point is that  imaginary maps  of reality, those imaginary bridges into the future are emotionally anchored – for you they’re REAL. It’s like free will, everyone else’s life is determined but you  blindly believe that you have free will. Everyone else’s behavior is determined by their genes, their early environment, peer pressure, institutional and cultural customs – except yours – you have free will. At least it feels that way to you! Your sense of free will is emotionally anchored… it’s a personal bias. So relax and enjoy your trusted illusions. Dan Dennett says that your completely controlled by teams of miniature neuro-networks of  robots. Your sense of control is an illusion like that of the back seat driver who unwittingly gives his orders of which way to steer only after the robots have already turned the wheel but the back seat driver takes credit for the change of direction. Like a kid with toy steering wheel sitting in the front seat beside his dad – and the kid believes he’s steering the car. ”

Peter: ” So  according to Dennett everyone’s innocent – ‘it wasn’t me judge what killed him… it was this team of mini robots controlling my brain and hand what held the hammer.”


Posted in: Sciencing