Interpretation

by Benjamin Hammond


This post is about a simple thing. It is nothing controversial or rather sensitive, but just a little food for thought. I have had such thoughts regularly, and I am sure many others have also. It is simply about the way that human beings see and percieve the world around us, or the way we observe the natural world. In case you didn’t know, there is a word for ‘observing the natural world (through experimentation and practical activity)’. It is, ‘science’. This is essentially what I am questioning. I am questioning science.

Now that that has been established, I can begin my questioning. I just had a thought: I can see that the apple is green, because the apple is there, with all it’s cells. The cells carry a certain pigmentation that causes me to see the colour green when the light from the sun, or torch, bounces off the apple, and falls on the back of my retina. But – what if that’s only what I see? You see, I say the word ‘green’, and for both you and me, a colour comes to mind. But it might not be the same colour in both of our eyes. You’ve been raised with your parents telling you that the clouds are white (I hope). But what if you’ve always seen the clouds in the same way I see blue? You’d always think that the clouds are white, and they would be, to you. I’d look at the clouds, and also say they’re white, but we’d be seeing completely different things. The thing is, we’d never know. I won’t be able to see what you see, nor will you be able to see what I see. I may see the clouds the way you see yellow, and you see them the way I see red. But we’d both call them white! And it would always be that way!

Now, we will take the basic idea that I have presented in the above paragraph, and apply it on a mass scale. What if the worlds we see are completely different? You may see something completely different to me, but, we have both been raised to understand them in the same way. You might ‘see’ words coming from peoples mouths, instead of ‘hearing’ them. Wheras I hear the words, not see them (please note that this example is not very good, and many loopholes can be found, but it is purely for example). We would never know! What if we have different sensory organs! You might not even have eyes (in your world). ‘We’ ‘can’ ‘both’ ‘sit’ on a ‘bench’ and ‘look’ at a ‘car’ and ‘both’ ‘say’ that ‘it’ ‘is’ ‘blue’… but you might not even see a car. What if in your world, elephants and cars are switched around? My goodness! There are so many possibilities. In your world, you could be a droplet of water, moving around in a pipe. Another man might be a martian living on a cheese mountain. But when you communicate with me, I see you, a human being, walking and talking. But you might see another martian, or another droplet of water. And it can be crazier! In such ways that it would be too much to try and describe them on here. But hopefully you get the idea. A final example would be to say, that what you are reading now might not be a blog in your world. In your world, my blog might be a type of wind that comes from the east. How wonderful.

To conclude, I shall point out that, for now, it is impossible to know how someone else may interpret the world in a raw sense. So next time you are commuinicating with someone, imagine what they could be interpreting the world as. To them, the television in your world might be a voluntary contaction of muscles, or a penguin might be equivalent to the way a person moves their body. It’s endless, and you can never know for sure, but it is fun.