An article wherein I discuss the subjectivity of experience, and its interrelationship with philosophy with references to neurobiology and neuropsychology.
I am reflective. Through reading a simple yet informative book on neuropsychology (“Into the Silent Land: Travels in Neuropsychology” by Paul Broks) I have realised just how little I know. I had glimpsed this in reading Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride’s seminal work, “Gut and Psychology Syndrome”, where the link between the gut and the brain was explored in great depth. Already at that point I had begun to realise the delicate balance between who we are, and what we are made of.
I have always been a spiritually inclined person. I love poetry, and the language of the heart (feelings). And yet, after reading ‘Broks book, having known about Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) a long time, my perspective has truly shifted.
This was driven home to me one night while watching “Mama”, a film by Andrés Muschietti and presented by one of my favourite directors, Guillermo del Toro.
The film itself was a beautiful, refreshing, and poetic ghost story. The ending was not what I’d hoped for, but I have my own tastes, and the director / producers have theirs.
My point in saying this however is I couldn’t enjoy it—not fully. As an analogy, when you have worked on a film, only to finally see it on screen before you, some of the magic is lost.
You know how they structure scenes, that the stunt props are flexible illusions, and that they switch out the actors for stunt men in their clothing when it comes to a potentially dangerous action scene. You know that one room or environment may not lead to another at all, but only give the illusion of being so.
And so it was in the realms of the mind. The story was really beautiful, and I very much enjoyed it. However, some part in the back of my mind—we’ll call her the Scientist—was doubtful.
The brain controls our medium of experiencing the world, she thought. Thereby, it may just be a tumour or malfunction of that primary organ. For all I know, “ghosts,” “angels,” “gods,” and “demons” are merely projections of the subconscious trying to send its ego-consciousness (i.e us; the perceiver) a message.
This could explain visions in the past.
(you see now why my simple movie-going experience had a dampener put on it 🙂 )
I have never in my life seen the world this way, nor expected to. And yet this great change in my being has lead me to realise that any philosophies I might conclude are flawed by the subjectivity of my own experience.
I will never know everything. Even if I had 100 years solely dedicated to research or worship I could not learn all there is to know—that is to say, humanity’s existing body of knowledge, let alone leading research into new and “unanswered” fields.
Humanity doesn’t know everything, and it will be a near inconceivable marvel if it ever should.
What would happen at that point? Would the meaning of existence—of life—fade; as even the dragons in my own stories?
My point is, even if I had all the time, money, and support to study exclusively in my lifetime—and everything were known—I couldn’t know all. Aside from the fact that the biology of my brain seems to function by forgetting, reviewing, and rewriting, what memories (i.e information) are stored within for superb efficiency (thereby encountering human error), I am only one; my very perceptions are based on who I am what I’ve experienced in the past.
What I see one way, another might interpret completely differently. Are the opinions and lessons I’ve learned, as well as any complexes (depth psychology) and “issues” in my own personal development, any more valid than another’s?
What about the physical development of my biology, which may or may not predispose me to think a certain way?
Philosophers and everyday people all over the world are figuring out what works for them; their mode of thinking and experience of life projected onto the world, and others, around them.
There are a lot of good opinions out there, but truth—at least our experience of it—seems subjective, rather than absolute, simply by the nature of our biology (and the world around us?).
What, then, is the solution? Should I put my pen down, and cease to cherish and pursue my natural calling? Would that not defy my reason to exist—futile, personal, or no (not knowing the meaning of life I can only reach towards my own personal development and natural inclinations in search of it)?
Perhaps the only truth (in an idealistic world) would be to give each individual the freedom to follow their own unique callings in life, to their own beautiful ends.
I feel in my heart this is right. Yet I have not experienced life from the position of a ruler, nor the many waves of anarchistic societies which rose and fell upon the shore of time.
…My truth is subjective, yet I shall fumble my way through life in search of it nonetheless.
The Dreaming Sentinel