Feeling separate from the world


More of the Firth podcast (here) that was the subject of the last post. Here he deals with the separation we feel from the world even though we are clearly embedded in it.

…Not only are we separate from the physical world, but we’re separate from the mental world of other people and feel ourselves as very much independent agents…The interesting question is why is this a good thing. I mean this is presumably advantageous in some evolutionary sense to have our experience like this.

And one way of looking at it is if you think about vision again, you have a picture of the world on the back of your eye – on the retina – and every time you move your eye this picture completely changes, so that completely different bits of the retina have the various objects that you’re looking at one them. And this is happening several times a second. If we were aware of that – it would drive us completely crazy. So, the brain has developed this system that stabilizes everything. It says there’s a world out there which is completely stable and doesn’t move. So by separating us out in this way it makes experience of the world that is much easier to take. .. And makes us think that perception just happens.

One thought on “Feeling separate from the world

  1. It’s like the anti budhist ideal

    JanetK: Mariana, yes, it seems a little ironic, doesn’t it? We do seem to be separate from the world more than is realistic.

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