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A fish presumably doesn’t know it’s in water. Other than the rare event when it might leap from the water to evade a predator, or even to become one, it lives primarily below the surface. This analogy is something that’s had me thinking for a good few months now, but in regard to human existence. It’s only a short essay but I hope you find it interesting.
Are we simply swimming in a a universal sea, unable to see past the edges of our perceptions?
Personally I think questioning reality and existence is fucking fascinating, so if you don’t, I make no apologies to you.
We (us & the fish) both perceive our world through a series of electrical impulses collected by our nervous system in response to external (although internal is also entirely possible of course) stimuli that our brain interprets via a complex array of synaptic fibre and neurons; which consequently combine into the world around us. At least, so goes our current understanding.
When we think of our understanding of the universe, for example, we see evidence of the universe as far as our telescopes can reach, there is only a theoretical ‘edge’ of the universe. From the understanding we have of The Big Bang, in which the universe essentially exploded from a singularity, the object with a beginning must also have an end, or in terms of the universal plane – an edge. Although as of yet, we have not viewed the edge of reality; it is purely a requisite of the Big Bang Theory (no disrespect, but it’s a fact).
In light of this, perhaps our perception of the universe is similar to a fish in the ocean; that we cannot see it’s edges due to the lack of perception we possess, that is to say we can only see so far as we have horizons both scientific and physical.
The main consideration for me personally, is that the fish has only ever existed within the water, save for the occasional glimpse as mentioned above, and in a situation where you have only known one environment it is also fair to assume that your methods of assessment are only fit to interpret that environment.
In the case of the universe, is it not also plausible that our understanding of it’s true nature; is hindered by the fact we are simply too low in the evolutionary chain to perceive the greater reality? Our brains have only developed to be able to interpret data from 5 senses, as we understand it at least.
All our scientific understanding may be hindered by the possibility that we are in an unknowable reality. Much as the fish is able to leap out of the water and briefly glance the air, it may be that with religious/spiritual experiences, the effects of certain psychotropic substances and other such “out of body & mind” phenomena, we may be able to view to the world from its true vantage, albeit briefly. I personally love the idea that we can glimpse into an alternative ‘meta’ reality through training of the mind or other ways, I have no proof that we do, but I’m not presenting it as a fact so I needn’t have to!
Imagine if the reality of our world is similar still to the leaping fish. Much in the way that it leaps into the air, we as a higher being (perception-wise) see that it is merely entering another constituent part of the world. That although to a limited perception Air & Water appear as a disparate duality, we of greater view can appreciate the synergistic juxtaposition of above so below (had to get a cliché in there somewhere). The fish may think this merely a fleeting glance of a separate world, but having perception on the situation allows us to not only view it, but to interpret and thus quantify it for interpretive study.
I get stuck here though, because I think, “That’s all well and good, but if I’m right, that means one of two things”:
A) It is ultimately impossible for us to know the universe as we are bound by a limited perception of the true universal nature.
B) If it is possible for us to know, how do we escape the ‘reality’ long enough to not only prove, but quantify the nature of reality
Not even just that though:
C) Do we even know that it is possible to escape reality?
D) If it was even possible to escape the reality, how would we interpret that which we don’t understand? Much as presenting a microscope to a fish will not yield discovery, we lack the necessary senses and cognition to even comprehend the truth, let alone analyse it.
E) I could go on!
I genuinely have no idea of absolute or objective answers to any of the points I’ve made, but I think that’s the fun part. They say that the pleasure of the kill is in the chase, so what could be more fun than the potentially never ending chase! Especially seeing as were a figurative kill to be made; that would mean that literally the oldest question that has plagued and intrigued humanity since its evolution/conception had been answered. Imagine where that would take us as a civilization?!
I hope this has got you thinking, but even if not, thank you very much for reading!