“You’re not winding me up?”
“When did that happen?”
“Well…my last birthday…” It was sort of an obvious answer…
“Well, that’s thrown me… I thought you were much younger…” Which might explain why he doesn’t seem to believe me when I tell him I’m getting too old to be doing some of the heavy jobs around his place. I suppose I should take it as a compliment… both my sons found my age a bit of a shock. Granted, this one did know how old I was last birthday at the time, but one of those memory glitches seems to have erased the knowledge and, instead, he has simply allocated me the age he expects me to be. Oddly enough, it was the same principle as missing typos in the script I was proofreading because I know what should be there and assume that I see it, instead of seeing the reality.
It made me wonder about how much of what we see in the world around us is no more than an assumption. We know there are gaps between every atom and it is only their organisation and relationship to each other that creates the appearance of solidity, defining the form of everything we see…or think we see.
Do we really know that what we experience through the senses bears any resemblance to reality? We can only define anything through experience…and a consensus being reached about what those collections of atoms are doing, we know that we can sit on a sofa without falling through it, or breathe in the air of a fresh, spring day.
If something is completely outside of our experience, how would we see it? Would we see it? Especially if it is something we have been told cannot exist… even though it then does exist, even if it is as just an idea?
We are told that ghosts don’t exist… so if we passed one in the street, we might not immediately think it was a ghost. For sanity’s sake, we would probably not even register that it looked any different from the rest of the passers-by. The creatures of myth and fairytale could walk amongst us and our minds would find rational explanations. As in the SEP Field brought to popular consciousness by Douglas Adams, “The brain just edits it out, it’s like a blind spot.”
I can’t help wondering how many layers of reality intermingle with our own and yet pass unobserved simply because they do not conform to our understanding of physics and are therefore ‘impossible’. Nor can I help wondering if our ancient ancestors saw more of those layers than we do simply because their knowledge of physics was experiential rather than didactic.
The oddest thing is that we live with invisible layers of reality every day and accept them without question. We cannot see air…only observe its effects. The same can be said for thought, memory and emotion.
We already live in a fabulous universe of which we know both so much and so little. It excites me to wonder what still waits to be discovered… and what might lie beyond our means of discovery. Perhaps the reality we know is only the tip of the iceberg…