SUBJECTIVE/OBJECTIVE = YIN/YANG

Posted: October 30, 2011 in Integral Studies, Philosophical Debris

Orange, rationalist, objectivists are suspicious of the subjective.  The subjective, by its nature, cannot be verified by reasonable tests or logic or empirical evidence.  Its domain is the upper left quadrant, meaning the inside of your head in the world of mind and thought.  As such, its validity is unreliable, subject to delusion, self deception and , worst of all, emotion.

I am a rational being.  I look at the reality around me with the most modern of scientific, logical and empirically objective tools at my disposal.

Human biology tells me that my senses only report a small slice of the whole picture of reality.  I cannot perceive all wavelengths of electro-magnetic radiation, nor can i hear the full spectrum of sounds around me.  Dogs and insects perceive the world in ways radically different from what I am able to perceive.  A dog’s world, ruled by smell, has a radically different sense of time because of the olfactory information that always ties it to the stories of the past.  But scientific instruments can make up for all of that, detecting and recording the information which is unavailable to my body.

And yet, physics tells me that the reality around me is made up of molecules and atoms that are largely empty space.  The wall to my right seems hard, but is over 99% empty space.  It seems yellow, but that is just the only frequency of optically perceivable light that it does not obsorb.  What colour is it really?  What colour is it one micron below its surface?   The wall seems to be about a metre away from me, but new constructs of reality from quantum physics tells me that the shortest distance between two points may not be a straight line.  Space and distance may be an illusion.

And brain studies tell me that time and space are strongly effected by the inferences made by my sub conscious, anyway.  The brain is constantly interpreting and inferring based on the perceptual input it receives, projecting a reality as best as it can.  The fact that we all seem to be able to co-exist in the same general reality is a function of a reality-consensus that we’ve built as a society.  Outside of that society there are significant cracks in that consensus.  In some societies colours are perceived entirely differently.  In some cultures, people are incapable of seeing through transparent glass.  In some cultures, the laws of cause an effect differ radically from what we accept as normal.

All in all, my rational, objective self must come to the conclusion that what I experience as reality is largely subjective.  Reality is a construction of our minds.  Even the scientific instruments that we use to try to standardize and expand our perception are, in fact, pre-loaded with our assumptions about reality.  (This is demonstrated well by the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, which shows that the behaviour is based on the perceptual perspective of the scientist.)

Without my interpretations of colour, sound and kinaesthetics, in a meditation that strips those away, what exactly is this sound that reaches my ears from my stereo?  To the objective universe, it is little more than a slight wave action through the air created by a vibrating speaker membrane.  The sound, the music, is created by my mind.  What is that painting on the opposite wall?  It is an arrangement of chemicals that absorb different frequencies of light.  It is my mind that recognizes it as a landscape. What is this smooth glass that I touch with my fingers?  It is little more than a sub-atomic force field that projects an exterior to my fingers that is flat and without irregularities.

In my meditation, if I subtract from my reality all of the things that are a product of my subjectivity, what is left?  Primarily, a world of mathematics, -but even so, not really comprehensible in any meaningful way.  In my meditation, if I subtract all of the things that are empirical (the fortress of the objective) I am left with only one thing that I am sure of;  I am left with my own consciousness, -that flawed subjectivity which is rejected by the champions of science and objectivity.  Only by examining my own mind, my subjective experience, can I hope to refine my perception and understanding of the objective.

Objectivity, science and rational thought demand this.  Travelling deeply into the objective, I am destined to end up in the subjective.  Travelling deeply into the subjective, I find myself in the objective.  Like the Yin and the Yang, they are inseparable, and interdependent.

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