The human mind possesses three distinct aspects of operation. Not only can it sense the present, that is the existential circumstances physically surrounding it, but it also possesses the ability to ‘remember’ the past, and ‘speculate’ or ‘plan’ for the future. This can be expressed as:
- Memory of past events (through the use of imagination).
- Awareness of present events (through direct sensory perception and cognitive interpretation).
- Speculate about future events (through the use of imagination).
Using this model of assessment of mind activity, the function of ‘imagination’ appears to be used at least two-thirds more than direct perception. This is because awareness of the present does not occur in a cognitive vacuum, but is dependent upon past experience (and conditioning), and on certain cultural and social ideas about what is expected as a desired trajectory of future events. The perception of the present for most people, therefore, is entirely dependent upon past experience, with the caveat that present experience also serves as a possible basis for perpetuating past experience, or indeed changing it in the future (through ‘new’ experiences). The activity that the average person experiences in their mind. i.e. light and dark, images of various kinds, feelings, sensations and emotions, as well as will-power and direction of thought, etc, are all termed ‘qualia’ and relate to the totality of the personal experience of consciousness. An interesting point to consider, is that of just ‘why’ the human mind developed the abilities to think in three-dimensions, and what its possible use. For instance, what possible evolutionary challenges in the past, served as the foundation for not only ‘matter’ becoming imbued with ‘life’, but also for that living matter to a) become ‘aware’ of its own presence, and b) extrapolate from that awareness, what the past must have been like, and what the future might be like.
Of course, the activities and experiences associated with debate, law and politics, etc, demonstrate that the agency of human ‘memory’ is not always ‘correct’, and even if past details can be recalled collectively, not everyone doing the recalling, necessarily ‘agrees’ upon the ‘meaning’, ‘intention’, or ‘direction’ of those events being remembered (as interpretation is a matter of opinion). This is where human cultures have devised various methods of arriving to somekind of an agreeable ‘consensus’, so that everyday culture and society can proceed in an expected direction, but what of other realities? Do other realities exist? Mathematics and advanced science suggests that there might well be other realities ‘out there’, but the capacity for the human mind to ‘imagine’ and ‘think’ guarantees that all kinds of different realities can exist within the human experience of consciousness. An interesting question is to the validity of these inwardly generated states of being. Are these inner states as real, for instance, as the table and chair in-front of you now?
Such a question is valid because its answer helps define ‘truth’ within a certain context. A person who believes in a religion, or some other type of explanatory mythology, will also assume a priori that what they think they know, is the ultimate (and most precious) understanding of the universe, that is made more so by a lack of corroborating evidence on the physical plane, and the ‘disbelief’ exhibited by those who exist outside of that particular thought community. The fact that there is no evidence, and that others do not experience reality in the same manner, suggests that whatever these altered states of consciousness might be, they cannot be considered the ‘only’ manner in which reality can be perceived or interpreted. Does this understanding ‘invalidate’ these altered states? Not necessarily, as the evolutionary reality of these states must suggest some beneficial purpose for humanity – beyond the usual bounds of conventional belief systems. Yes, it may be true that a particularly ‘fundamental’ religious view was relevant perhaps 500 or 1000 years ago, or that theistic religions in general operate through an ‘inverted’ mind-set (mistaking thoughts in the head for physical objects in the external world), but in reality, the modern human mind is able to operate on a number of different planes at once, sometimes exhibiting ‘inverted’ and ‘non-inverted’ tendencies in quick succession (a number of modern scientists, for example, profess a religious faith, etc). The point is that the human brain’s capacity to think in three-dimensions should not be limited to, or defined by, the logical absurdities associated with conventional religious worship, or peculiar states generated inwardly. It may be the case that subjective human consciousness could well develop the ability to directly perceive objective material reality – without the intermediary of mathematics – but such a state would be rarefied and lie outside of conventional science and religion.