Our personal visual reality

Two of my main questions in my search for  the truth about our reality are ; How do we know what we are seeing is the whole story? How are we accessing physical reality? I found a wonderful science TV program by David Eagleman which explained this wonderfully clearly. This enabled me to put another giant piece in my puzzle.

The answer is, of course, that it is our physical brain, via our senses, that allow us to access and interact with our reality. At the same time our senses are an illusion constructed by the brain. Information about our physical reality streams in to our brain continually in greater quantity than we are aware of. So much streams in that our brain cannot cope with it all. Our brain sifts all incoming data to look for patterns, which are then constructed into our own version of reality.

What we see through our eyes is a case in point. The Thalmus is one of the brains’ major junctions. Most sensory information connects through here on its way to the outer surface of the brain, the cortex. Data collected by the eyes stops here on its way to the visual cortex. Brain scans, however reveal that for all the information coming in to the visual cortex, there is 6X as much flowing in the opposite direction. We see reality only using information that we already have in our heads.

In everyday life the brain is continually updating the patterns in our head about what we expect to see with what is actually out there.  People in complete sensory deprivation conditions often report still seeing pictures. Our seeing, our view of the world, relies mainly on what is already in our heads rather than exclusively what is coming in. There is a dance between the outside world and our brains, the individual internal model which they have constructed. This gives us our own individual version of reality.

Not only that but individual parts of the brain process information at slightly different rates. There is said to be a time lag while this happens. The reality we do see is delayed, it is 2/10ths of a second late. This is brain edit that we are not aware of. In the end all you can say is, reality is what your brain tells you it is.

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