A professor of cognitive science argues that the world is nothing like the one we experience through our senses.
AMANDA GEFTER APR 25, 2016
As we go about our daily lives, we tend to assume that our perceptions—sights, sounds, textures, tastes—are an accurate portrayal of the real world. Sure, when we stop and think about it—or when we find ourselves fooled by a perceptual illusion—we realize with a jolt that what we perceive is never the world directly, but rather our brain’s best guess at what that world is like, a kind of internal simulation of an external reality. Still, we bank on the fact that our simulation is a reasonably decent one. If it wasn’t, wouldn’t evolution have weeded us out by now? The true reality might be forever beyond our reach, but surely our senses give us at least an inkling of what it’s really like.
Not so, says Donald D. Hoffman, a professor of cognitive science at the University of California, Irvine. Hoffman has spent the past three decades studying perception, artificial intelligence, evolutionary game theory and the brain, and his conclusion is a dramatic one: The world presented to us by our perceptions is nothing like reality. more...
by Dennis Hunter
Karma is a difficult pill to swallow for many Western students of Buddhism. So, too, is rebirth. And, practically speaking, these two pills are inseparable. It’s hard to see how you can take one without taking the other—at least not without getting undesirable side effects. Both of these metaphysical pills are so difficult to reconcile with our modern, materialistic and scientific way of thinking that a growing number of European and American Buddhists are calling for them to be cast aside altogether. more...