| science homeauthor | highlights


| view all | frame | islamicity home

•  The Mystery of Matter
•  The World of Electrical Signals
•  How do We See?
•  "The External World" is Inside the Brain
•  Is the Existence of the "External World" Indispensable?
•  The World in Our Dreams
•  Who is the Perceiver?
•  The Real Absolute Being
•  Everything that you Possess Is Intrinsically Illusory
•  Logical Defects of the Materialists
•  The Example of Dreams
•  The Example of Connecting the Nerves in Parallel
•  There is no Scientific Evidence that Perceptions have Physical Correlates
•  The Formation of Perceptions in the Brain is not Philosophy but Scientific Fact
•  Conclusion


Is the Existence of the "External World" Indispensable?

So far we have been speaking repeatedly of an "external world" and a world of perceptions formed in our brain, the latter of which is the one we see. However since we can never actually reach the "external world", how can we be sure that such a world really exists?

Actually we cannot. Since each object is only a collection of perceptions and those perceptions exist only in the mind, it is more accurate to say that the only world that really exists is the world of perceptions. The only world we know of is the world that exists in our mind: the one that is designed, recorded, and made vivid there; the one, in short, that is created within our mind. This is the only world we can be sure of.

We can never prove that the perceptions we observe in our brain have material correlates. Those perceptions may well be coming from an "artificial" source.

It is possible to observe this. False stimulations can produce in our brain an entirely imaginary "material world". For example, let us think of a very developed recording instrument where all kinds of electrical signals can be recorded. First, let us transmit all the data related to a setting (including body image) to this instrument by transforming them into electrical signals. Second, let us imagine that you can have your brain survive apart from your body. Lastly, let us connect the recording instrument to the brain with electrodes that will function as nerves and send the pre-recorded data to the brain. In this state, you will feel yourself as if you are living in this artificially created setting. For instance, you can easily believe that you are driving fast on a highway. It never becomes possible to understand that you consist of nothing but your brain. This is because what is needed to form a world within your brain is not the existence of a real world but rather the availability of stimulations. It is perfectly possible that these stimulations could be coming from an artificial source, such as a recorder.

In that connection, distinguished science philosopher Bertrand Russell wrote;

As to the sense of touch when we press the table with our fingers, that is an electric disturbance on the electrons and protons of our fingertips, produced, according to modern physics, by the proximity of the electrons and protons in the table. If the same disturbance in our finger-tips arose in any other way, we should have the sensations, in spite of there being no table.(148)

It is indeed very easy for us to be deceived into deeming perceptions without any material correlates as real. This is exactly what happens when we dream.

Stimulations coming from an object are converted into electrical signals and cause an effect in the brain. When we "see", we in fact view the effects of these electrical signals in our mind.


Next : The World in Our Dreams        


Send Comments and Suggestions to [email protected]