Know Thyself: Easier Said Than Done – Farnam Street

Despite what we believe about our powers of introspection, the reality is that we know awfully little about what our conscious experience amounts to.

When people today are asked whether they regularly dream in color, most say they do. But it was not always so. Back in the 1950s most said they dreamed in black and white. Suppose that, not knowing quite what dreams are like, we tend to assume they must be like photographs or movies — pictures in the head. Then, when asked whether we dream in color we reach for the most readily available pictorial analogy.

We are asked to say “what it’s like” — to dream, to imagine, to feel — as if there ought to be a simple answer: colored or not, single or double, in the head or in the heart. But, when it comes to it, the rich totality of our experience will not fit the Procrustean bed that philosophy, and everyday discourse also, tries to impose on it.

Again, each human is an ecosystem, which explains why it could be so difficult to describe ourselves: the totality of experiences. 

via Know Thyself: Easier Said Than Done – Farnam Street.

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