Category Archives: virtuality

Reality Embedded in Virtuality

This text is part of the text “Rebooting Humanity)”

(The German Version can be found HERE)

Author No. 1 (Gerd Doeben-Henisch)


(Start: May 29, 2024, Last change: June 5, 2024)

It addresses the paradox that, although we constantly feel like we are navigating in a real world, the ‘contents of our brain’ are not the ‘real world’ itself. Instead, these contents are the product of numerous neural transformation processes that convert ‘stimuli from the real world’ into ‘internal states,’ which we then treat as if they were the real world. This ‘as if’ is not a matter of free choice, as this situation results from the way our brain functions within our body. Through our body and brain, we are initially ‘locked-in’ systems.

This can also be illustrated by the fact that our body — as we all assume — finds itself in an everyday world consisting of many other bodies and objects with which our body ‘interacts’: we can move in the everyday world around and thereby change our ‘position’ in this world. We can touch, grasp, move, and alter objects. But these everyday objects can also act upon us: we perceive ‘smell,’ we ‘hear’ sounds, we ‘see’ shapes, colors, brightness, and much more.

This ‘perception’ of our everyday world through various ‘sense organs’ is by no means simple upon closer inspection: when visual stimuli hit our ‘eyes’ or acoustic stimuli hit our ‘ears,’ these physical stimuli from the everyday world are converted/transformed in the ‘sense organ’ into chemical state changes of nerve cells. These, in turn, are transformed into electrical potentials that can then propagate as ‘signals’ through further nerve cells. A ‘signal flow’ is created. The impressive thing about these signal flows is that they all have the same chemical-physical properties, regardless of whether they were triggered by visual or acoustic stimuli (or by other sense organs).

Whatever we perceive through our sense organs in conjunction with nerve cells, what then happens in our brain is not directly ‘the world out there’ as it is physically and chemically constituted, but the world as it has been transformed by our sense organs and the connected nerve cells into ‘neuronal signal flows’ that are further processed in the tissue of billions of nerve cells.

From the perspective of us humans, who have this body with its brain, these signal flows generate a ‘reality’ within us that we take as ‘face value,’ even though, compared to the external reality, it is only ‘virtual’, a ‘virtuality’. In this sense, one can say that the ‘reality of the external world’ appears in us as ‘virtuality,’ which is stimulated/induced in the domain of signal flows by the sense organs from the ‘reality of the external world.’