Surely we are asking the wrong questions.
The right question is Jonjhua.
Allow me to elaborate.
To figure out the true nature of reality, we are limited by the tools and apparatus available to us. This includes our sensory experience and our ability to reason or imagine. Any proof must ultimately use either our sensory experience or our mental faculties. Also, we will have to use language to answer the question.
So, let’s see how well we do on figuring out “reality” on a day-to-day basis.
What we normally refer to as our experience of the world (sensory) is actually a set of events that have already been significantly transformed (corrupted) with respect to the world and bears only a shadowy resemblance to the real world.
What we see is just a narrow band of the electromagnetic spectrum. Photons of wavelength between 400 to 700 nanometers strike receptors in the retina of the eye. All wavelengths below and above this are undetected and unexperienced by us directly. The photons between 400 to 700 nm are detected by our receptors and create an impulse which travels through the optic nerve passing through larger complex structures (eg. distinct nerves, lateral geniculate bodies, hypothalmus etc.) and leading to the occipital lobes. At each of these stages mapping through neurological processes changes or adds on to the data stream that serves as the initial input to the receptor.
(Simple translation: What we see is not what is really out there, but a version of it corrupted by our own receiving antennae)
John Grinder, in ‘Whispering in the wind’ says –
The image we see of what we take to be in front of us is actually behind us on our occipital lobes. We “know” that that occipital lobe image corresponds to some event in front of us through learning and especially the multiple descriptions of the our experience of the world that we create through a comparison of the products of the neurological transforms that define the individual sensory modalities – in particular touch and audition. The sound we hear emanating from behind us is an event that is actually occurring on our temporal lobe – but we have learned as in the case of vision through coordination with the other modalities and in particular by arrival time differentials as refined as 1/250,000 of a second between the two ears where in the space around us the source of the sound is located. Again similar descriptions are available for the other sensory channels.
Case in point – Stainless Steel. Stainless Steel is made ‘stainless’ by a thin film created when chromium, oxygen (from air and water) react with iron, chromium, manganese, silicon, carbon etc. This thin film is invisible and prevents additional corrosion by acting as a barrier that limits the access of oxygen and water to the underlying metal surface.
What this means is – that stainless steel does not corrode – because it is already corroded. Since, we can’t see the new film – it looks “stainless” to us.
Similar sequences of corruption of each sensory channel can be described. What we hear is within a limited bandwidth. What we feel is too. What we smell is again inhibited. And so is what we can taste.
We can’t hear dog whistles.
We see stars which are probably long dead.
A dog can smell what we can’t.
What we experience is not reality. What we experience is a shadow of reality – mutilated, corrupted, modified, added on,
Changed beyond recognition (?) by our own neurological receptors.
In his book, Grinder gives a beautiful description of this distinction –
You are likely sitting in a comfortable chair holding this book in your hands as you read these words. You are sensing a vast number of things; most of them occur without your being aware of them; some force their way into your consciousness. We invite you to back out of your present perceptual position for a moment and look at this reader seated comfortably in a chair, holding a book. What is the larger context in which you observe him or her holding the book?
This reader whom you are observing is awash in a sea of electromagnetic energy – the entire electromagnetic spectrum is in active play in, around and through her, her chair and her book. The reader has very limited access to this vast spectrum of events. Her eyes are capable of detecting wavelengths between 400 nanometers and 700 nanometers. Her ears register the arrival the sound waves, alternating compressions and attenuation of sound waves generated between 20 cycles per second and 20,000 cps. The tactile sensitivity of her skin responds to differences in position, temperature, moisture… within extremely limited ranges. The rest of what is happening — indeed, the vast majority of those events that occur in the electromagnetic spectrum that defines the actual world — occur without any awareness, in fact, without the possibility of unaided awareness (that is, without instrumentation) by her. In the time that it took her to read the last paragraph, a large number of sub atomic particles have literally passed through her body.
The channels of access – her sensory apparatus – to this booming buzzing riot of movement, energy and flux are as small knotholes in a fence through which she attempts to peer as if to catch a fleeting glimpse of the great game being played out there.
Having observed the insufficiency of the senses in assessing the reality of the ‘real world’ – let us now zoom in to what seems to be going on inside our mind.
These are the tools or apparatus available to us through which we are trying to figure out the nature of reality.
What makes us believe that these tools are enough? How do we know that there are not other tools that exist and are available – just not to us?
We are not equipped to “see” the real world.
We are not equipped to “hear” the real world.
We are not equipeed to “feel”, “smell” or “taste” the real world.
What makes us believe we are equipped to “think” about the real world usefully and come to ‘real’ answers?
And isn’t the construct of an ‘Answer’ merely that – a construct?
What if our intellect operates within a limited range and once one goes beyond this range (which is of course, not possible) – the whole construct or idea of things having an answer or solution dissolves and something unknown takes its place? What if our range of mental faculties is a narrow band on a large spectrum of mental abilities.
Then, there is the problem of ‘framing’ the question. Our experience of the world – is not real. It is merely First Access. It’s messy. It’s corrupted. It’s downright inaccurate.
But at least its a representation ( a re-presentation, we present the world again to ourselves ) through the apparatus available.
To this cocktail of confusion – we now add Language. It is like doing tequila shots when you are already pissed drunk so that you can get a grip on reality.
Language is not even a re-presentation. It is a re-presentation of a re-presentation.
Remember First Access? Language deletes, distorts and generalizes from the First Access and tries to make sense of the world.
This means – language undergoes two levels of corruption (the more appropriate word is “transformation”).
Now imagine – you are trying to ask questions about reality (or life) by using tools of language – which are a representation of a representation of reality – when the first representation itself is assuredly inaccurate.
Good luck with that!
Jonjhua is the word I have invented to describe a language construct – which uses a range of mental faculties not available to us so as to get rid of all the limitations posed above. If we use Jonjhua – we are not dealing with the challenges of corruption in language. We are not even dealing with the challenges of corruption from First Access.
When you use Jonjhua in language – it directly (and what must seem like magic) connects one to “reality”.
Jonjhua is a cool word like that.
And using Jonjhua helps you access the unknown “stuff” that helps ‘real’ reality make sense.
Jonjhua nature of reality?
Jonjhua we alive?
Jonjhua we exist?
Jonjhua purpose of life?
Jonjhua going on?
If only, it were possible.