The World Beyond the Mind -- How To Understand It Further
Updated: Nov 23
"So-called "reality" is just personal perceptions of it. And your perception will be different than others perceptions" - John Duran
Striving for Objectivity
Objectivity entails being free from personal opinions, beliefs, emotions, and narrated thinking, all of which stem from our subjective consciousness. It is a state of neutrality where our judgments and assessments are based solely on facts and evidence that can be verified, and are devoid of any biases or inclinations.
However, the question arises whether true objectivity is attainable for humans. Can we truly set aside our inherent subjectivity and perceive the world with a theoratical "objective consciousness"? American Philosopher Thomas Nagel argues that, "the facts about conscious states are inherently subjective—they can only be fully grasped from limited types of viewpoints". The liability of subjectivity essentially lies in the fact that it is, essentially, limited and hindered by the biases it is subjected to.
And the inherit liability of bias is that it can significantly distort and even hide certain aspects of reality from our perception. Since there are unconscious biases as well as conscious ones, we might as well not understand reality completely without us even realizing this. As such, many of us, and perhaps even myself, are delued about certain areas of our knowledge, without our awareness. Such is the counter-productivity of preferring subjectivity over objectivity, and post-truth over the truth.
While complete objectivity may be an elusive ideal, the pursuit of it remains a worthwhile endeavor. To quote the late religious leader, Norman Vincent Peale: "Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars". His quote means that, even if we are to fail the primary ambition we set forth, at least we will still get good things as a result, and reach a better place from our original position.
Of course, learning to look both ways is also a great way to reduce the default blindness given to us by our flawed subjectivity, which is quite hard to redeem.
Even if absolute objectivity is beyond our grasp, it does not cancel the existence of an objective reality. The external world exists independently of our subjective experiences and perceptions. There is a universe unfolding beyond the confines of our consciousness, governed by its own inherent laws and principles. Some of it may be dependent on our actions, some are not.
And by the way, subjectivity still has grasp on objective reality. Hence the functionality of collective ideologies and of cultures. Our human-external reality is shaped by our own inter-subjective communication and cooperation, held by agreements, syndicates and shared ideas.
The very notion that external agents can influence our lives, regardless of our awareness, emphasizes the existence of an objective reality, independent of our feelings and emotions. It's technically one of the core reasons as to why the law of attraction is considered false. These agents, whether physical or abstract (such as exposure to certain ideas and content), operate within their own objective framework. And by "objective" I refer to their independence from how they make us think or feel. And yet, they are capable of shaping our experiences in ways we might not fully comprehend.
Studying the way reality works is the ambition of both science and philosophy, what I call "The Two Heads of Wisdom". Empricism and rationalism, methods employed in both knowledge-seeking fields, ultimately serve the very end of studying the truth.
The Elusive Nature of Objectivity
A dead body floating in water is not dependent on our individual experiences, and no amount of mental reactivity to it will change the fact that it is a dead body floating in the water. The objective truth does not care what you think or feel, hence the ruthlessness of logic, which the universe is also built upon:
"It's only logic that tells us the true value of life, Regardless of what we feel and what we strive. Among the concepts, it is the most elementary, In the depths of depths, it grounds it all, Connects, cancels, and concludes with no remorse."
From my poem "What It's Like to Be Dead Inside".
The dead body's existence is a consequence of the actions of the murderer or any other cause that led it to float there. Even if we were not to look at the water, the corpse would still be present, unaffected by our perception. Our perception would only influence it through its represented action, or through what we might do, based on our perception. Thus, the power of perception on external reality will always be indirect.
The same evidence can lead to different conclusions, shaped by our biases, perspectives, and assumptions. The problem arises when we combine our incorrect conclusions with objective reality, leading to self-deception and the deception of others. As such, deception can be done without intention, and of course, the foolish do not know that they were deceived, hence the resource that is stupidity. It's also foolish to deceive without knowing it, hence one of the reasons the distribution of misinformation is so common -- many of us may simply be that naive, and/or lack the willingness to doubt and research.
As such, upon seeing the floating corpse, we might assume it to be the result of a murder. While this assumption may be likely, it remains an assumption, not an absolute truth. Emotion, while a valuable tool for being humane and not an uncaring psychopath, can also lead us astray, producing different conclusions building up deception. In this case, we may be biased by emotion, and thus, our emotion might distort us from the truth.
What if they simply drown because they didn't know how to swim, or killed themselves on purpose? See how emotion can make us our own manipulator. It is ironic that we dislike manipulators, and yet are oh-so attached to our emotions and to their manipulative potential.
Ideologies and religions, though often structured through logic, are also products of subjectivity. They are not objectively existent but rather serve as tools for navigating our subjective experiences. Although not existing necessarily as other bodies/agents in reality, they still retain their own fair share of practicality, represented by the deeds of their followers and subscribers.
As such, there are subjective truths, because the existence of opinion, which is subjective, exists nonetheless. While not necessarily existing in the world beyond the mind, it exists in the heart and mind of at least one person.
And of course, democracy is determined not by who is the most qualified elected leader, but on whom popular collective opinions determines a leader to be the most qualified. These are not the same things, and as such a democracy can gradully devolve into a kakistocracy or even a straight-out dictatorship by the ignorance and the manipulation of the masses. It's why democracy, while preferred, is flawed, but I digress.
Humans, including myself, are not capable of pure objectivity. We are shaped not only by our personal experiences but also by the cultural norms and values that surround us, and also by our biases. The wisdom is to try and look beyond all of these settings that have been installed in our mentality by our upbringing, but either way, some of them can always stay hidden from our conscious minds.
How can we determine which personal experience or culture holds the ultimate truth? Logically we cannot because, as Nagel argued, subjectivity is, by default, limited. And "ultimate truths" are independent from it, thus is objective. Wouldn't it be considered illogical to understand objective reality via subjective and unquestioned means? The benefit of doubt is that it allows us to be open minded to the truth.
And I myself, instead of quickly dismissing what I don't know just because I assume it's not true, force myself to respect that of which I do not know sufficently. The exploration and exchange of perceptions and ideas is the ideal method, in philosophy, to try and understand reality as a whole. Deep inside, I know how deceptive the human subjective experience can be, and that includes my very own. Logic is aquired, not inherited.
When we experience positive emotions associated with a particular event, we may be convinced of its positive outcome. However, others might hold the opposite belief about the same event. Before the event unfolds, how can we identify whose emotions are more accurate or true? The answer is simple: the emotion which gives us the most accurate information about the event, is the most reliable one. Thus, the accuracy of emotion as an information provider and distributor lies in its reliability.
The problem is, emotions are not exactly credible sources of information. Whose to say we must believe our emotions, or even our thoughts, just because they "feel" or appear to us as true? That would be incompetent. And yet, many people may do just that, leading to a broken understanding of reality.
The same applies to religions and ideologies. We may firmly believe that our faith or belief system represents the ultimate truth, surpassing all others that have existed or will exist. Yet, this remains an assumption, puppeteered by the limitations of our individual and collective consciousness.
True objectivity can only be attained through concrete evidence that stands independent of subjective interpretation and bias. In the case of the identification card unlocking the door, the door's opening is a direct result of the interaction between the card and the identification machinery, devoid of any subjective elements. The door would open regardless of our beliefs or assumptions. Our emotions are unnecessary in order for us to unlock that door.
Hence why our emotions don't matter like we may think they do. Hence why I became dead inside, and now, rarely experience emotion.
While self-doubt, boredom, or other factors might lead us to question the card's competency, the door's operation remains objective and independent of our subjective experiences. Unless we are to alter the mechanism ourselves, of course, as a representation of what we feel (anger could lead us, for example, to sabotage that mechanism).
This highlights the importance of seeking concrete evidence whenever possible to break free from the confines of subjectivity and approach a more objective understanding of the world around us. It isn't necessarily that there is a mystical/abstract power, such as bad luck, that hinders us from unlocking the door. What if the mechanism happened to be flawed because its design is flawed and wasn't accounted for the problems that may arise as a result? Please, try and look beyond the confirmation bias of your hypothesis. Climb the bias-breaking hill.
The Paradox of Consciousness and Objectivity
To be objective is to transcend the realm of human consciousness, to exist as a purely physical entity, akin to a zombie devoid of sentience. As a philosopher I aspire to regulate and even "murder" my emotions because I understand how my own subjectivity meddles with the clarity of my perception.
And I have no desire for anything or anyone to meddle with my plans. Even if the enemy is from within.
Our consciousness, with its intricate blend of thoughts, emotions, and perceptions, can be a source of contradiction, paradox, deception, and manipulation. Yet, like democracy, consciousness remains the cornerstone of our sentient existence. We could've, for instance, evolved as insentient beings, like simple organisms, and continued to exist. However, the development of sentience enabled us to foster larger-scale cooperation and achieve greater efficiency, to the point of species-based world domination. At its core, consciousness drives our ability to project shared ideas, whether purely objective or not. And through the creation, exchange and distribution of ideas, is how people gain power within what I call the mental dimension, and thus gain more power in general.
When we perceive an idea as evident, even if it is merely an illusion, it has still served its purpose by uniting minds and fostering cooperation and human organization. This ability to transcend individual perspectives and forge a common understanding is the essence of sentience. And a common understanding, whether true or false, is how reality is bend to our will by our actions.
Can we break free from the confines of subjectivity and enter the realm of pure objectivity, a shared dimension where our tribal and mental limitations are burned to the ground? The answer remains elusive, but the aspiration to transcend our subjective barriers, to become, in a sense, "undead," is an endeavor of great significance.
The pursuit of objectivity, even if unattainable in its purest form, may require us to constantly question our assumptions, examine our biases, and strive for a more factual understanding of the world around us. In this pursuit, we enhance our consciousness from a source of potential deception to a source of greater insight.
Let us strive to transcend our subjective limitations and approach the world with a heightened sense of objectivity, seeking truth and understanding amidst the labyrinth of our own minds. Even if it means diminishing our own subjective liabilities.