Reality Blind - Vol. 1

“useful” perceptions will drive organisms with “true” perceptions extinct every time 43 . The phrase “evolved to be wrong” turns out to be a provable thing. This is because evolution works on the “good enough” principle, which means being better than others at getting by, not at being better as in “closer to perfect.” Evolution hones in on salience while ignoring enormous perceptual blind spots because they’re not necessary for survival. In fact, delusions can actually increase fitness - they are not a flaw: they’re a feature. As long as a creature’s environmental context doesn’t change, delusions are usefully delusional. Only when conditions change do the delusions become problematic. A large part of the human brain’s mass and processing power lies in the vi sual cortex. But it’s not necessary for us to “see the world as it is.” Doesn’t a frog see the same world as we do, even with a tiny brain? Well no, he doesn’t. There’s no way for us to even imagine what the world might be like to a frog, but we do know fr ogs can’t see anything which doesn’t move. This is an example of a “useful delusion”; the frog is blind to much of what exists around him because that enables his brain’s processing power to focus only on the things which aid his survival. In this way the frog has “blind spots” that we don’t. But unlike us, they can see single photons, so where we might behold a still starry night sky, frogs can see the stars which are too dim for us to see… stuttering and flashing at various rates as single photons arrive from stars invisible to us. What else might they see which we cannot? It now appears the entire edifice of what we see and sense is created “on the fly” by the human visual cortex and memory, assembled by thousands of pattern-recognition subsystems into the illusion of a seamless worldview. Nor is this act of creation limited to vision: the personal universes we each inhabit are, in their entirety, assembled by the human brain based on salience algorithms honed to produce reproductive fitness for a hunter-gatherer. There’s a big difference between “true” perceptions and “useful” perceptions. A computer is a good metaphor: its operating system is an interface, projecting boxes and pictures and words which you manipulate, because the underlying reality of which you are interacting with - microscopic transistors and quantum effects, electric and magnetic fields, lasers and spinning media - would be just too weird for you to deal with


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