Science, Reality and Being Real

What is reality? One of our professors asked this during our grad classes at Nehru Science Centre. All of us in class suddenly started pouring lots of views but finally, there was not even a single satisfying answer. What it left was a few blank faces gazing in silence with dozens of contradicting thoughts. It made us feel how little we know and how rich our science is.

Some of my smart friends argued that what we see is real, but the contradictorily was does it mean reality never exists for blind people? (Think about it twice)

We know and we claim science never gives up searching for truth. But the fact is it does so since it never claims to have achieved it. Science is civilizing because it puts truth ahead of all else, including personal interests. These may be grand claims, but so is the enterprise in which scientists share. But again my doubt is with the term truth. What I feel is the validity of the term truth is in the time domain, because for science during the pre-Galilean era geocentric model of the universe was the only truth. Here we can also consider many such examples. So in this regard below one is an interesting quote given by Professor Evelleen Richards:

Science is not so much concerned with truth as it is with consensus. What counts as truth is what scientists can agree to count as truth at any particular moment in time [Scientists] are not really receptive or not really open-minded to any sorts of criticisms or any sort of claims that actually are attacking some of the established parts of the research (traditional) paradigm in this case neo-Darwinism so it is very difficult for people who are pushing claims that contradict the paradigm to get a hearing. They will find it difficult to [get] research grants; they will find it hard to get their research published; they will, in fact, find it very hard.

Science is knowledge. It is only in the popular mind that it is equated with facts. That is of course flattering since facts are incontrovertible. But it is also demeaning since facts are meaningless. They contain no narrative. So a new school of thought came with a refreshing answer that it’s not the eye but the brain that sees and perceives things. So now it’s much more difficult to define reality. Coz if the eye can perceive reality, then there would not be any illusion and we all know and have experienced few forms of illusion by now. So the answer may be the Mind. I repeat it’s the Mind, not the brain. This may be a probable explanation for the Red Indian not being able to see the ships of Columbus, till it reached the shore. But if the mind is solely responsible for experiencing reality, how can we differentiate between illusion and reality? It has been a well-known fact that the mind can think and perceive the way it has been trained to do so. So is it that reality can be correlated with the training pattern of the mind? If it is so, the socioeconomic/environmental, ethnic, and religious temperament can bias reality. But this can be interpreted in a much-extended way i.e. we can be taught or we can be trained to see the reality. Huh … Seems interestingly confusing, doesn’t it?

We use our primary scientific instrument, the eye. The eye searches for shapes. It searches for a beginning, a middle, and an end. What we see is as a consequence, culturally conditioned. This is open to misunderstanding. It might be construed to mean that our conclusions are simply a matter of taste, which they are not.

So thoughts for today are if you want to see reality, close your eyes. The only channel you left is the mind and the mind it, it’s much more than trillions of neurons. It’s a way to feel the quantum within you and to explore every probability of being a witness of this spectacular Universe.

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