How Perceived Reality May Be Different Than We Think It Is

In the September issue of Ideas and Discoveries ( the article, "Is Reality An Illusion" caught my eye. In the article, the author indicate that our 3-pound brain is a collection of 100 billion neurons, which are connected to at least 100 trillion synapses. Yes, I did say 100 TRILLION! And, the author says that if you were to lay all of the neural pathways or nerve tracks out end-to-end, their total combined length would extend to 3.6 million miles of track. That's incredible to think of for a small compact structure like our brain.

But what facinates me is that every second the brain can take in and process up to 11 million sensory impressions of sounds, lights, smells, touch that the brain will filter out as not primary information until approximately 40 impressions of in-the-moment stimuli are brought into an awareness of what we think reality to be. About 80% of all impressions reach the brain through the sense of sight. But what is sight anyways? This article says that sight is light (or visual information) which is "converted into neural impulses by around 125 million receptors in each eye. Then these impulses are relayed via the optic nerve to the brain, where they are interpreted."

Therefore, what we see outside can be defined by how it is interpreted by mechanism of our brain. Are we then the reflection we see in the mirror or would we look completely differently if we were interpreted by a being whose brain functioned differently than ours? A simple example of this is the fact that certain people who are color blind experience a day in a completely different manner than a person whose brain can interpret color hues.

This then is a fundamantal question. What is reality? What would the world look like if a different brain structure were to look at it (like an alien perhaps... hmmmmm)? Are we so sure we know what solid matter is and how we are suppose to be perceived in the world? This is good food for thought. Visit Ideas and Discoveries, "Is Reality An Illusion" to learn more.