Perceivable Reality and the Human Mind
In many ways the human mind is not suited for understanding Perceivable Reality. Scientific evidence indicates that people's
perceptions exist in the form of neurological networks in their brains. As a person thinks about a particular perception, the
neurological network for that perception is activated and becomes stronger. Possibly this results in preferred views being used
more and becoming stronger while less appealing views become weaker due to infrequent use. It is certainly much easier to have
a single-view perception of an aspect of Ultimate Reality than to have many different alternative views that
disagree with one another and require frequent activation to keep them surviving in memory.
People's inborn and learned biases also combine to make the human mind incompatible with Perceivable Reality. The biases result in
"selective perception" where evidence that is in keeping with the biases is assimilated into a biased perception, and where evidence
that conflicts with the biased perception is rejected. For example, a person's perception that they are 100% correct about a certain
complicated aspect of Ultimate Reality (e.g. the existence of a god, or the origins of matter) is at odds with obvious evidence to
the contrary, but the person ignores the perception-threatening evidence. Systems of belief often include means for dealing with
conflicting evidence. The notion of one's "faith" being able to reveal Ultimate Reality is one example.
Like the animals of many species, people display a herd mentality. People in a group are influenced to think and behave like the
others in the group. This leads to groups of people reinforcing one another's beliefs and an overconfidence in the beliefs that is
not justified by the evidence. Fear is also an obvious influence on people's thinking, and people tend to evolve perceptions that
help overcome perceived threats to their well-being. Another troubling characteristic of the human mind has been
identified by psychologist, Michael Gazzaniga, who showed that our minds tend to create perceptions that make sense of our behavior.
For example, if a person is cruel or dishonest, the person is prone to perceptions that justify the behavior. It is easy to find
many examples of people justifying counterproductive behavior. Cigarette smokers have perceptions that help justify their habit and
ignore the evidence of damage to their bodies' subsystems, and the large economic costs to themselves and society. This ability of
the human mind to ignore evidence and create misperceptions that justify and reinforce existing thinking and behavior tends to
maintain the status quo. It is a serious obstacle to self-improvement and improving our civilization.
Time will tell whether or not humanity can become more enlightened and break the grip that inborn information has on people. It
will require better education in key areas so people will have more realistic perceptions of reality and can then think logically
about what is important in life. So far, humanity has, by its nature, made great progress in increasing the quantity of our
civilization and its technologies. Hopefully, we can tap the better parts of human nature to increase the quality.