A Perception


Think back to when you last saw a rainbow. What did you see?

Ah – resorting to trick questions already are we? What I saw was the sunlight being refracted by the raindrops in the air.

No – that is what you understood to cause the effect that you saw. What did you actually see?

A rainbow of course – that wasn’t really there!

Yes, but you perceived a rainbow to be in the sky because your mind interpreted the scene in that way.

Perhaps – so what is your point?

That what you see, or hear, or smell, is always a perception based upon the sense information that your mind receives via the optic nerve, auditory nerve, or the olfactory nerve as the case may be. I just picked the example of a rainbow because it’s more obviously a perception than some other things.

I’m not sure that I agree. Yes a rainbow is a perceived thing, but the concrete floor I’m standing on is really hard and solid. I’m not just “perceiving” it – the floor is really there holding me up.

Indeed it is, but it wouldn’t be hard to find a scientist who would tell you that at a microscopic scale that concrete is mainly empty space between the particles it is made of – it’s not as solid as you perceive.

Again perhaps you are right – but I still don’t see what point you’re making.

Not a very major point yet – I just want to establish for later that we are always experiencing our perceptions of the world around us.

That was a lot of effort for not much gain then.

I’m not surprised that your perception of this chat is rather underwhelming!