File spoon-archives/bourdieu.archive/bourdieu_2001/bourdieu.0110, message 7

Date: Wed, 31 Oct 2001 01:05:57 +0200
Subject: Crucial Questions on Life

I am a student who is attending Yeditepe University in Turkey. I would like to 
have your ideas on a very crucial point of science, which I describe briefly 
below. I am working on this subject as a project and will be privileged to hear 
your interpretations on the following questions:

1. The light coming from an object is transformed into electrical signals by 
the cells in the eye and then transmitted to the center of vision in the brain. 
And the electrical signals there are turned into an image. For example you actually 
see this message in your brain. Then who is the one that sees and perceives the 
image of this message in the brain? How do you define the consciousness that 
can see this image in the brain without the need of an eye?

2. Brain is a piece of flesh composed of lipids, proteins and other various molecules. 
Could the consciousness that sees this image be this piece of flesh? Or could 
the brain cells make up a consciousness that sees these electrical signals as 
a sea view or an e-mail message?

3. No light penetrates the skull, which means the brain is entirely in darkness. 
Then how does such an illuminated, clear image is formed in this pitch-dark place? 
For instance how are the rays of the sun seen over the unlit brain cortex?

4. Also no sound enters the brain. This means there is deep muteness where the 
brain exists. However, people listen to all different sounds inside the brain. 
The sound waves are turned into electrical signals inside of the ear and then 
transmitted to the center of hearing. And the consciousness inside the brain 
listens to these for instance as a melody. Then who is it that listens to the 
loud music aired from powerful loudspeakers and how?

5. The image is formed inside a miniature spot in the brain. Then how is the 
three-dimensional image with depth is formed on this diminutive screen? For instance 
when I look at the horizon or the sky, how is such an image with vast depth is 
formed at this tiny spot of center of vision just as identical to its original 
with the same depth and sense of distance? What is it that gives me the feeling 
of distance and space?

6. When a person sees a glass of water, in fact he does not see its real form 
but only a copy of it in his brain. The coldness that he feels when touching 
the glass surface is not the real coldness of the glass but only a copy of it. 
This means nobody is ever able to feel that he touches the real glass. Since 
it is not his fingers that feel the sense of touch, but merely the sense of touch 
in the brain. Should we not in this case conclude that people are never able 
to reach the reality of objects and can never touch the reality of a glass? But 
not every person knows this fact. Everyone thinks they touch and see real objects. 
Is it not strange that people are not aware of this and they never think about 

7. Nothing changes when a person is hit by a bus or comes across a lion. Since, 
just like the image of the bus, the sense of collision or the fear while running 
away from a lion, all form in the brain. When I see a bus, I see it at the center 
of vision inside my brain. If I go and hold the door of the bus, I feel the coldness 
of the metal inside my brain. Then I cannot discriminate from this fact what 
happens when I feel pain if a bus hits or a lion bites. Then is it not very illogical 
when people say 'it shows I am in contact with the bus or the lion because I 
feel pain when the bus hits or the lion bites'?

8. We live the entire period of our lives inside our brains. In a similar way, 
we also have dreams in our brain. For instance when we touch a piece of ice in 
our dream, we feel it is wet and cold. Or, when we smell a rose, we get the wonderful 
scent of it. We again sense the feelings of fear, pain, anxiety and panic in 
a similar fashion. Then are the dreams and the real life the same in this sense?

9. The person's own body is also included in the images a person see. So, a person 
only sees the copy of his own body. This means every person all through his life 
lives in the cave in his skull where he never knows what is outside, including 
his own body and other objects. Now think over this happening once more: Right 
now are you inside of the room you are present or is the room inside of you? 
Isn't the second alternative the right answer scientifically?

10. Let us imagine 5 different people who look at a garden of roses. Since every 
one of these people see the rose garden in his own brain, then aren't there 5 
different rose gardens in the brains of every one of the 5 people? Is the color 
red that each one sees the same with the other's perception of red? Would there 
be any possibility to compare these?

11. We say that the original objects we see the copies of in our brain exist 
outside, but what if nothing exists outside? Because we never have the ability 
to test this or observe this. Then is it not dubious that the original objects 
are outside? At least there is a 50-50 percent possibility. Then how can we be 
sure that the original objects are outside? If there is no original object outside, 
then what is the entity that makes the images and the senses in our brain?

12. If we are living an illusion that has the possibility of not having any reality 
outside, then we may be existing in a very different place. For instance is it 
not possible for the entire humanity to exist right over a piece of crystal? 
Or is it not possible that the complete history of humanity has been experienced 
in a place not bigger than the head of a pin? Would there be anything to stop 
us thinking in such a broad extent?

13. Some people are incredibly afraid when these topics are discussed? What do 
you think the reason for this may be? 

Yours sincerely,
Berk Turkcan


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