Abstract: The incommensurable strangeness of the origin forces us to create commensurables to dress this ultimate shamelessness.
What separates the true from the imaginary?
The ability to “listen to oneself think” tends to make us project thought out of reality. There is a ‘material’ world and another ‘virtual’ one, which each of us invents for ourselves. In fact both are virtual, we now know. Produced by our neural networks. What separates them is the origin of the data. The material world arises from sensory data, while the virtual comes from existing mental representations, awakened by context or sometimes spontaneously —the brain has excitatory nuclei that discharge randomly. These representations reassemble into predictive or entirely imaginary worlds.
Our consciousness, the integrating space of mental functions, “knows” that its thoughts concern either the material or the virtual according to the participation of the sensory areas in the vast neural synchronization that forms them. This self-observation requires the good physical condition of the brain and permanent confirmation by the following data. The mental organization maintains with the continual re-entries that validate it. Place a brain in an alternate reality and after a few wanderings it will recreate a very different mental universe. In today’s increasingly virtual society, attention should be increasing to the source of data. But the opposite has happened and many of our peers have sunk into personal myths.
The mind excludes itself from its reality
In everyone, however, the tendency of thoughts to emerge spontaneously and escape into imaginary spaces creates a mental dualism: there is a “real” world and its shadows. What do these shadows hide? What is not directly observable: unknown to the real world, other hypothetical worlds, ideals, higher entities. Every brain has the impression of accessing things that are beyond itself, but with which it has a privileged relationship. If it is convinced that the material world is the only “true” on the physical plane, it easily persuades itself that the shadows to which it is connected exist independently, that they are not only a mental production. Even to the most rational minds, ideals seem to exist outside of physical reality, since they direct it.
But this spontaneous dualism of the mind is based on a reduction of reality to this materiality that we perceive, and by extension to its microscopic constitution. Even a physicist who extends her reality to purely mathematical micromechanisms tends to exclude her mind, which manufactures it. To achieve this, she must access mathematical ideals and therefore something external to this physical reality, even when it becomes virtual. She separates two virtual varieties, that of ideals and that of their productions. Two virtual varieties? Isn’t it always this intrinsic tendency of our brain to separate its representations into ‘true’ and ‘imaginary’?
If, on the contrary, I choose not to reduce reality to what I can grasp or imagine, it is reality that surrounds me, with its matter, its ideals, its unknowns. I am within it, entirely its production. When I split it, I just split different images of it. In this perspective I am inside reality, even when I think of another of its possible versions.
Endowed with this humility, it is no longer possible for me to situate my mind as external to reality, capable of observing its origin, its ultimate principles if there are any. ‘Concept’, ‘origin’, ‘principle’, are still inside. What could I use to go outside? I am a prisoner of my brain —or “I” is the prison— but it is impossible to see the bars. Which makes it a pretty nice place. Especially since by telling me all this I have the impression of knocking down some of these bars that I did not see…
Prisoner of frames too
So what can we know about this origin? Our thinking uses frames. These frames were built by the origin. At best they give us indications about it. But a production cannot completely inform what produced it. It is even our concepts and languages that are part of these productions. How could they go back to the origin? The great coherence of mathematics should not deceive us: it reflects a form of reality in itself but is not the origin. It allows you to become a tenant of reality and at the same time demonstrates that we are not the owner. We discover its instructions for use.
There is more strangeness in the quantum world than in gods and demons, very human after all. Today the fantastic, the magical, the religious, reassure us, in the face of the inconceivable abnormality of the origin.