– quoting Jed McKenna –
We hold a clear and obvious perception that the world around us is real. I am able to see it, touch it, hear it, taste and smell it. It’s always there, always solid and stable. I experience it directly every waking minute of my life. It’s just silly to say it doesn’t exist.
In this case, revisit your assumptions. The assumption that we experience the world directly is false. No one has ever experienced this so-called world directly, and no one ever will. Weird, huh?
In philosophy this is called the Veil of Perception, meaning that all we really perceive is ideas of things, never the things themselves. This universe we experience can never be more than a belief. There’s no proof, or even evidence, that physical reality is real. In real it seems to be constructed entirely of wisps of dreamstuff.
Everything we experience through the senses is already second-hand at the moment of perception because the brain doesn’t perceive anything, it just sits in its lightproof box and translates incoming sense-data into perceptions. Your supposed brain doesn’t see, hear, taste or touch anything. You have no direct contact with a universe out there, only an internal movie, a projection on the screen of the mind. No one can ever perceive anything out there directly.
We are programmed from birth to suspend disbelief and let ourselves pretend reality is real, but if we want to stop pretending and find out what’s really real, we have to reengage our critical disbelief systems and become rabidly, fanatically, pathologically skeptical.
It’s perfectly valid to ask; How do I know my bicycle really exists when I don’t see it? The answer is; I don’t. The better question is; How do I know my bicycle exists when I do see it? The answer is; I don’t. The best question is; Then how the hell do I know anything exists? The answer is; I don’t. Is something true when I am conscious of it? No. Consciousness is true, but the content of consciousness is not.
I can never perceive the external world directly, but I do perceive perception directly. My perception of a cheeseburger does not prove the existence of an actual cheeseburger, but the perception itself is perfectly real and valid – to me. The cheeseburger is as real as it seems. Strength of perception varies, so the sight, smell, taste and feel of any given cheeseburger in hand is more real than any given cheeseburger in imagination, but both cheeseburgers are just perceptions – one more real, but neither more true.
There is no time or space, there is only consciousness. There is no before or after, no here or there, there is only is. The universe comes from consciousness and consciousness is.
Nothing can be objectively proven
Nothing is being withheld from us. There is no agent or agency in charge of keeping us ignorant of our own nature. There is no conspiracy to keep us in the dark. It is our belief in the reality of reality that keeps us from noticing that it’s a mirage. We are emotional beings, and emotion is the power of belief.
Consciousness cannot be objectively proven. You know for sure that you exist, but you can’t prove it to anyone. Nothing can. The opposite, however, can be done; untruth can be proven. We may not be able to show something is true, but we can show it isn’t.