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dvergara's picture

"The Doors of Perception"

Our conversations on perception are starting to remind me of when I read Aldous Huxley’s book, The Doors of Perception. Although I hated this book when I read it (I was 14 at the time) I now realize it’s relevance to my own life, and my own brain. In it, Huxley is basically writing while under the influence of drugs, and contemplating on how differently he sees the world. He was not in control of what he saw, or how he saw his surroundings because of the drugs (although I do remember his noting that if he started to think about sad things that would change his perception of things). But after our discussions, I realize that we may actually never be in control of our perception, we only assume we are.

When we heard the video in class, we assumed we knew exactly what the man was saying; however, when we saw the video, we realized our minds or perhaps our vision deceived us. (Either way, we never really figured out which was the reality) As the video showed, we don’t need to drugs to confuse our perception; our perception seems to be dependent on the mind. There is some unconscious part of the mind that meshing together all that we see or hear to give us a “reality,” leaving the I-function without access to the control panel of perception. However, why can’t we have access to this? Huxley actually gave an answer to this question, he theorized that the reason we can’t “see” everything (ie, the different things we see when under the influence of drugs) is that the unconscious purposefully discards ‘unessential’ information so as to allow us to live more efficiently; basically, if we were conscious of everything our brain did to mold a certain ‘reality’, we wouldn’t be able to function as well (or have enough time to) within that reality.

 

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