All events and objects that we encounter in real life—buildings, people, cities, cars, places—in fact, everything we see, hold, touch, smell, taste and hear—come into existence as visions and feelings in our brains.
We are taught to think that these images and feelings are caused by a solid world outside of our brains, where material things exist. However, in reality we never see real existing materials and we never touch real materials. In other words, every material entity which we believe exists in our lives, is, in fact, only a vision which is created in our brains.
This is not a philosophical speculation. It is an empirical fact that has been proven by modern science. Today, any scientist who is a specialist in medicine, biology, neurology or any other field related to brain research would say, when asked how and where we see the world, that we see the whole world in the vision center located in our brains.
We acknowledge that all the individual features of the world are experienced through our sense organs. The information that reaches us through those organs is converted into electrical signals, and the individual parts of our brain analyze and process these signals. After this interpreting process takes place inside our brain, we will, for example, see a book, taste a strawberry, smell a flower, feel the texture of a silk fabric or hear leaves shaking in the wind.
We have been taught that we are touching the cloth outside of our body, reading a book that is 30 cm (1 ft) away from us, smelling the trees that are far away from us, or hearing the shaking of the leaves that are far above us. However, this is all in our imagination. All of these things are happening within our brains.
At this point we encounter another surprising fact; that there are, in fact, no colors, voices or visions within our brain. All that can be found in our brains are electrical signals. This is not a philosophical speculation. This is simply a scientific description of the functions of our perceptions. In her book Mapping The Mind, Rita Carter explains the way we perceive the world as follows:
Each one [of the sense organs] is intricately adapted to deal with its own type of stimulus: molecules, waves or vibrations. But the answer does not lie here, because despite their wonderful variety, each organ does essentially the same job: it translates its particular type of stimulus into electrical pulses. A pulse is a pulse is a pulse. It is not the colour red, or the first notes of Beethoven’s Fifth—it is a bit of electrical energy. Indeed, rather than discriminating one type of sensory input from another, the sense organs actually make them more alike.
All sensory stimuli, then enter the brain in more or less undifferentiated form as a stream of electrical pulses created by neurons firing,domino-fashion, along a certain route. This is all that happens. There is no reverse transformer that at some stage turns this electrical activity back into light waves or molecules. What makes one stream into vision and another into smell depends, rather, on which neurons are stimulated.1
In other words, all of our feelings and perceptions about the world (smells, visions, tastes etc.) are comprised of the same material, that is, electrical signals. Moreover, our brain is what makes these signals meaningful for us, and interprets these signals as senses of smell, taste, vision, sound or touch. It is a stunning fact that the brain, which is made of wet meat, can know which electrical signal should be interpreted as smell and which one as vision, and can convert the same material into different senses and feelings.
It’s Not Our Eyes That See, It Is Our Brain
Because of the indoctrination that we receive throughout our lives, we imagine that we see the whole world with our eyes. Eventually, we usually conclude that our eyes are the windows that open up to the world. However, science shows us that we do not see through our eyes. The millions of nerve cells inside the eyes are responsible for sending a message to the brain, as if down a cable, in order to make “seeing” happen. If we analyze the information we learned in high school, it becomes easier for us to understand the reality of vision.
The light reflecting off an object passes through the lens of the eye and causes an upside-down image on the retina at the back of the eyeball. After some chemical operations carried out by retinal rods and cones, this vision becomes an electrical impulse. This impulse is then sent through connections in the nervous system to the back of the brain. The brain converts this flow into a meaningful, three-dimensional vision.
For example, when you watch children playing in a park, you are not seeing the children and the park with your eyes, because the image of this view forms not before your eyes, but at the back of your brain.
Even though we have given a simple explanation, in reality the physiology of vision is an extraordinary operation. Without fail, light is converted into electrical signals, and, subsequently, these electrical signals reveal a colorful, shining, three-dimensional world. R. L. Gregory, in his book Eye and Brain: The Psychology of Seeing, acknowledges this significant fact, and explains this incredible structure:
We are given tiny distorted upside-down images in the eyes, and we see separate solid objects in surrounding space. From the patterns of simulation on the retinas we perceive the world of objects, and this is nothing short of a miracle.2
All of these facts lead to the same conclusion. Throughout our lives, we always assume that the world exists outside of us. However, the world is within us. Although we believe that the world lies outside us, it is in the smallest part of our brain. For example, the CEO of a company might consider the company building, his car in the parking lot, his house by the beach, his yacht, and all the people who work for him, his lawyers, his family, and his friends to be outside of his body. However, all of these things are merely visions formed in his skull, in a tiny part of his brain.
He is unaware of this fact and, even if he knew, would not bother to think about it. If he stood proudly next to his latest-model luxury car, and the wind blew a piece of dust or a small object into his eye, he might gently scratch his itching, open eye and notice that the “material things” he saw moved upside down or to the sides. He might then realize that material things seen in the environment are not stable.
What this demonstrates is that every person throughout his or her life witnesses everything inside their brain and cannot reach the specific material objects that supposedly cause their experiences. The images we see are copies in our brains of the objects that we assume to exist outside of us. We can never know to what extent these copies resemble the originals, or whether or not the originals even exist.
Although German psychiatry professor Hoimar Von Ditfurth is a materialist, he acknowledges this fact about scientific reality:
No matter how we put the argument, the result doesn’t change. What stands before us in full shape and what our eyes view is not the “world”. It is only its image, a resemblance, a projection whose association with the original is open to discussion.3
For example, when you take a look at the room in which you are sitting, what you see is not the room outside of you, but a copy of the room that exists in your brain. You will never be able to see the original room with your sense organs.
How Can A Bright And Colorful Image Appear In Your Dark Brain?
There is another point that should not be neglected; light cannot pass through the skull. The physical area in which the brain is located is completely dark, and light cannot possibly penetrate it. However, incredible as it may seem, it is possible to observe a bright and colorful world in this total darkness. Colorful natural beauty, bright sights, all the tones of the color green, the colors of fruits, the designs of flowers, the brightness of the sun, people walking on a busy road, fast cars in traffic, clothes in a shopping mall—are all created in the dark brain.
Imagine a barbecue burning in front of you. You can sit and watch the fire for a long time, but throughout this entire time, your brain never deals with the original of light, brightness or heat from the fire. Even when you feel its heat and see its light, the inside of your brain remains dark and maintains a constant temperature. It is a profound mystery that, in the darkness, the electrical signals turn into colorful, bright visions. Anyone who thinks deeply will be amazed by this wondrous occurrence.
Light Is Also Composed In Our Brain
While discussing what science has discovered about vision, we mentioned that the light we receive from the outside gives rise to some movements of the eye cells, and these movements form a pattern from which our visual experience emerges. However, there is another point that we need to make: Light, as we perceive it, does not reside outside of our brain. The light we know and understand is also formed within our brain. What we call light in the outside world, which is supposedly outside our brains, consists of electromagnetic waves and particles of energy called photons. When these electromagnetic waves or photons reach the retina, light, as we experience it, begins to come into existence. This is the way light is described in physical terms:
The term “light” is used for electromagnetic waves and photons. The same term is used in physiology, as the feeling experienced by a person when electromagnetic waves and photons strike the retina of the eye. In both objective and subjective terms, “light” is a form of energy coming into existence in the eye of a person, which a person becomes aware of through the retina by the effects of vision.4
Consequently, light comes into existence as a result of the effects that some electromagnetic waves and particles cause in us. In other words, there is no light outside our bodies which creates the light we see in our brains. There is only energy. And when this energy reaches us we see a colorful, bright, and light-filled world. We can therefore conclude that everything we see merely exists in our brains. This is a scientific truth, proven with scientific evidence.
1 Rita Carter, Mapping The Mind, University of California Press, London, 1999, p. 107
2 R. L. Gregory, Eye and Brain: The Psychology of Seeing, Oxford University Press Inc., New York, 1990, p. 9
3 Hoimar von Ditfurth, Der Geist Fiel Nicht Vom Himmel (The Spirit Did Not Fall From The Sky), p. 256
4 M. Ali Yaz, Sait Aksoy, Fizik 3 (Physics 3), Surat Publishers, Istanbul, 1997, p. 3