(Prints size 78x114 cm, 50x71 cm)
“We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.” Buddha
Do we perceive reality as it is? A lot of philosophers tried to answer this question. Immanuel Kant in his "Critique of Pure Reason" came to the conclusion that everything cognized by our senses is body phenomena. The "thing-in-itself" is inaccessible to our understanding. The brain transforms electromagnetic waves into light and color, vibrations of air into sound, chemical molecules into smells, oscillations of matter into heat or cold, and molecular structure into density. Until the early 20th century, scientists still harbored the hopes of knowing "true reality" with precision instruments. However, quantum mechanics destroyed this hope, showing that the observed cannot be separated from the observer. The reality we perceive is a model created by our brain. In many ways, it can be compared to a video game running on a computer. The senses do not convey the properties of objects, but rather refine their intensity. This is the map or its description. The paradigm is its generally accepted model, with all its inherent limitations.
Reticular Activating System (RAS)
Questions of reality remained in the realm of philosophy and mysticism until one important discovery. In 1949, a group of scientists investigated the nervous regulation of wakefulness and sleep. They discovered the ability of the brain stem neurons to activate or inhibit the cerebral cortex. This formation was called the Reticular Activating System. Like a filter, it lets through and enhances only the most relevant information at the moment. 400 million bits of data enter the brain every second. Physically, our consciousness cannot cope with such a volume. Only 2000 of them, or 0.00001%, reach the destination. The RAS decides which information is important and which is not based on dominant thoughts, expectations and beliefs. Therefore, there are people who believe in things obviously untrue for the others. Or hear something about fishing among people discussing baking recipes.
Questions are limiting the answers
Guided by its map, the brain constantly asks itself questions: where is this, and where is that? With a list of a mountain, pine tree, lake and lighthouse in front, it tunes its neurons to find the mountain, pine tree, lake and lighthouse. Everything else will mostly remain unnoticed. I have a good example to illustrate. Insurance companies conduct investigations and statistics on all of their payments. Among them there are head-on collisions between cars and planes on emergency landing on the highway. In the vast majority of cases, car drivers do not see the plane until the moment of collision. In reality of most people airplanes do not travel on roads. Now imagine that not only physical objects are mapped. Our conscious and unconscious ideas about ourselves are mapped as well! For the RAS, it does not matter at all whether we like what comes to our consciousness or not. Like Google search, it selects the most relevant information according to our thoughts and expectations.
Only what we believe in and what we expect can happen in our life. This applies equally to reptiloids, aliens, fear of getting sick, ability to heal, get rich, become enlightened, or be happy. Reality is self-hypnosis, no matter what beliefs or values we hold on to. When the description of our reality is hardly limited, we feel trapped in a cramped shell. Such a life is similar to Groundhog Day from the movie with the same name. Gaining new knowledge, we enrich the list of what the brain checks against, discovering new possibilities and new experiences. By developing our awareness and discipline of the mind, we gain the ability to control the information entering our consciousness. By expanding our personal paradigm, we become the creators of our own reality!