In Order to Find Out How Things Really Are, One Must Understand the Filters Through Which One Perceives the World

Topics: Perception, Mind, Psychology Pages: 5 (1626 words) Published: December 4, 2011
In order to find out how things really are, one must understand the filters through which one perceives the world”. Discuss and evaluate this claim.

For the only world man can truly know
is the world created for him by his senses.
-Lincoln Barnett-

The term thing can be applied to an entity, an idea, or a quality perceived, known or thought to have its own existence. Things are all the objects that our senses meet in everyday life processes, emotions, everything that can not be referred to as a living system. I see something, I feel something, I do something…we are surrounded by things. When an image of a thing reaches our perceptive senses continues its journey through many “filters” or “membranes”, where it gets its shape and cognition, and finally settles down in our memory. This process is called perceiving. We say that through perceiving we gain knowledge, but what is knowledge, then? It is the awareness of reality, a reality that is identified and understood in our mind. I know (therefore I identify and understand) that the Earth is round. Perceiving is the first step on the way to knowledge. However, before we make any conclusion all the data gained through perceiving is altered in our mind, so a picture about the world or a particular thing will be drawn into ones head. And through objectivity one can check the validity of his conclusion. But not all men are the same, thus not all conclusions about the world are the same either. These filters I mentioned, earlier, are actually the means used for identification and cognition of reality: senses, mind, emotion, experiences, reason…

Obviously these filters have main role in understanding real world. So a question emerges. Whether they allow us to see how things really are, or just restrain us from reality?
Almost everything we know comes from four basic sources. The first one are our senses, then reasoning and intuition, and authority. I myself have placed them in three groups: senses, mind (reasoning, intuition, emotions, beliefs, experiences) and authority. Outside these four sources are also others, but their reliance is questionable.The senses are the first obstacle that emerges when talking about perceiving. The eyes, foe example, are often regarded as windows of the world and so they are. But as filters they block out most of reality. One example is that the human eye sees only a small portion of the frequency spectrum of light. We see nuances of red, blue, green white, but we cannot see ultraviolet or infrared. We operate with drastic sensory limitations. If we divide the range of all electromagnetic waves into sixty octaves, then visually we perceive only a single octave. Animals, for example, have far more developed perceiving senses than us. They see the world in totally different way, a way we cannot even imagine: more intensified colors, sounds that our ears cannot pick up, strong smells. It is very wrong to rely only upon our senses. What is out there, cannot be always seen, or smelled, or touched by human. Most people deny the existence of things that cannot be perceived. A very simple example is the “blind spot” in the eye. If a reflection of a thing lands upon this spot the human mind will not see it. But the thing is out there, it exists. After going through the senses, an image continues further in our mind. The mind is a complex matter. Therefore it will be easier if we extract few filters taking place in the mind. One of them is reasoning. The process of reasoning includes using known facts to come up with new. For example, I know that the distance from my home to school is 1.5 km, and I need 15 min to get to school. From this I can conclude my walking speed, which is 0.1 km/h. The reasoning always yields new facts. Reasoning can objectively show how thins really are.

On the other hand not so reliable filter of knowing is the human’s intuition. Intuition can be described as a “voice” from the subconscious mind. I sometimes...
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