Home: Scrying: Schrödinger’s Apple, Part 2: Perception and value
Now that I’ve discussed the idea that the world is constructed on an array of complex values, I must admit something. Every time I’ve told this to another philosopher, they’ve balked. The idea that values exist before an experience is contrary to just about every philosophic view out there, not to mention, contrary to our every day experience. When confronted on this issue, I don’t budge. On the other hand, I’m quite sure that is the way the world is… it is just our perception that is reversed.
Human experience is a seemingly chaotic jumble—a fact I’m sure anyone could agree with, after trying to have a “good” day—and this jumble rearranges as time passes. Those connections of value are always there, but it becomes difficult, if not impossible to distinguish them individually while in the middle of on experience. (That explains the old proverb, “hindsight is 20/20”.)
So, going back to dreaming of Eden, was this always true? Or perhaps, did we once understand basic values, and take their complexities for granted? Perhaps, like Plato suggested so long ago, we have an innate knowledge of certain values, a sense of basic geometry, or, in other words, a sense of the aesthetics of shape that holds the world together.
It, of course, doesn’t hurt that scientists have recently shown that such an innate sense of geometry exists. To do this, they gave basic, non-verbal tests to a group of amazonian villagers, called the Munduruku. They were shown groups pictures of basic shapes or lines, and then asked to choose which of the group was different. The villagers did quite well, showing that without any mathematical education, they were aware of most of the basic concepts.
The report did not contain any speculation as to the root of this innate knowledge, but did include a few doubts:
Nevertheless, the authors of the new study conclude that they have uncovered evidence for a basic understanding of geometry among people without much formal education. Future research may clarify if humans are born with these intuitions or if we acquire them early in life.
I’d like to see more about the differences between “a human understanding of geometry” and “visual perception or intelligence.” Just what is human understanding, if not intelligence (logic and reason) applied to perception? The journal article abstract is only two lines long, so I can’t say if the authors went into more detail or not. I’ll certainly be keeping my eye out for that future research.
So, perhaps we do have an intuitive sense of all the geometric dimensions of reality, or even the passage of time, or of uncertainty. We can instinctively understand that certain arrangements have certain values, and that rearrangement can change the value… or we should be able to. What happened, to change this view, to make humans decide values could be blanketed over the masses?
Somewhere in our earliest civilizations, while doing the firsts of many things, writing, farming, and more, humans began to argue over which code of morality (along with which creation story, etc) was most correct. Even 10,000 years later, no one can seem to agree on a solid solution. Perhaps, after all this time, we are finally starting to rediscover the nature of values and uncertainty.