According to my brain, this tree in my front yard Sunday had bright pink blossoms
Have any of you had to read a chapter more than once? I struggled with Chapter 14 that last time I tried to write about it. I thought I did better when I sat down Sunday to read it again. And then I spent much of the day on the chapter's first exercise, "If all you can know is your own brain programs operating, the whole universe you experience is inside your head. Try to hold onto that model for at least an hour. Note how often you relapse into feeling the universe as outside you."
I found this passage helpful: " 'Mind' is a tool invented by the universe to see itself; but it can never see all of itself, for much the same reason that you can't see your own back (without mirrors."
And I liked this bit: "R. Buckminster Fuller illustrates the metaprogamming circuit, in his lectures, by pointing out that we feel puny in comparison to the size of the uinverse, but only our bodies (hardware) are puny. Our minds, he says -- by which he means our software -- contain the universe, by the act of comprehending it." (Reading that passage again was a nice synchronicity, as I am reading an advance copy of the new Alec Nevala-Lee Fuller biography).
Although I concentrated on the first exercise, in my mind it kind of bled over to the second one, to consider the belief system on an educated reader of 1,200 years ago. Doing the second exercise connected to the first, because I realized how much of what I "saw" or "heard" was directly related to my understanding of what I was perceiving.
As my wife and I drove Sunday to a garden center to buy flowering plants for the garden, I turned on the radio and listened to a Cleveland Guardians baseball game. My person of 822 AD (let's assume somebody in the western part of Europe, where my ancestors apparently came from) would have heard the voices and realized they were people talking, but would not have understood the concept of "radio" or "baseball." And as I listened, I could "see" the baseball stadium in my mind from having been there.
As we walked through the garden center, my Ninth Century companion likely would have understood the concept of purchasing plants for the garden. But there were things in the shop I instantly recognized through education and acculturation. For example, where were sculpture busts of Buddha to display in the garden; sculpture would obviously be a recognizable concept, but a European from the Ninth Century would not have known who was being depicted. I didn't have to think about the busts being the Buddha; I just immediately registered it. As we drove home, I could see a contrail in the sky from a jet flying far overhead; that's what I "saw," but what would the AD 822 person have seen?
RAW concludes Chapter 14 by saying, "The only sensible goal, then, is to try to build a reality-tunnel for next week that is bigger, funnier, sexier, more optimistic and generally less boring than any previous reality tunnel." Perhaps he is about to explain, in later chapters, how to do that?