Materialism and Measurement

Why is Mr Potato Head perturbed?

Following up on recent posts about Unknown Dimensions and Material Idealism, I was pondering the implication of the spaces between. Fundamentally, I consider myself to be a materialist or physicalist depending on which nomenclature you prefer. I don’t believe in metaphysics, but I am perturbed like Mr Potato Head, because if there exists phenomena not accessible to our senses—and the other senses noted in a prior post—we simply have no way to experience them let alone measure them.

There could exist many other physical phenomena that we not only cannot register, but we can’t even imagine what they might be. These don’t need to be metaphysical or spiritual, but they can exist in theory. Perhaps we can reference them as paraphysical.

As humans, we can extend our senses with instruments such as lenses on telescopes, microscopes, and cameras, with which we can register ultraviolet and infrared light, and so on. But I am not talking about this.

I’m not going to lose any sleep over this notion, but as ridiculous as this might seem, it is fully within the realm of possibilities. It’s neither testable nor falsifiable.

So what’s the deal?

We can’t touch this because it has no mass, but neither do sights or sounds or smells or tastes. In fact, we wouldn’t even know what we are missing. But imagine one day, a person through some genetic quirk could suddenly sense this new aspect of reality.

I imagine it would be like Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, trying to convey the unconveyable to the masses. Synesthesia is odd enough for some people to wrap their brains around, but at least we can understand the concept as crossed wires or some such.

Now imagine a second and third person each aware of the others with this heightened ability. Could they exploit this to their advantage?

How might this work? What might it be? Although magnetoception, electroception, hygroreception, or echolocation might be interesting, we can already conceptualise and in some cases measure these phenomena. And we’ve already got infrared and ultraviolet covered.

The closest idea I can equate this to is that of Flatland, where higher-dimension objects interact with a lower-dimension world, but this doesn’t quite capture the essence.

Physics tells us there is no space for gods in current models, but do we need space? How much space do the molecules for ‘scent’ occupy? Could these same molecules carry the cargo for other missing sense perceptions? They may be already hiding among us.

Does anyone have any ideas—especially you storytellers and poets?


6 thoughts on “Materialism and Measurement

  1. It’s the phenomenon of “unknown unknowns” to the max. But an analogous situation already exists in nature: animals with certain kinds of brains can perceive time. Others, without them, can’t.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jim knows my story. He doesn’t believe it, I don’t think, but I think he accepts it as real for me on some level. The kicker is that I was under the influence of LSD both times my events happened, so for him and most others who have heard my story, the drug makes it a hallucination.
    I’m okay with that, to a point. And that point is when they tell me my experiences are not real for me. As I said earlier, experience is everything for me. I am not going to run around screaming about the sky falling, but neither will I ever believe what happened to me was anything but real.
    I have written about my experience many elsewheres, and I don’t want to bore anyone here, but for you let me just say is was a Near Death Experience on a whole new kevel. I did not see Jesus or Buddha or people I knew or had heard of, but what I experienced I can only call Life, a living being that has been around at least since the birth of our universe, maybe longer. It was not a god, it was not a human, but it was alive, and it was/is in a state of learning about and understanding whatit is. And I knew I was a part of this life, and it was me. From that I inferred that all living beings, on earth or elsewhere, derive from it, and belong to it (though not in a possessive kind of way.)
    To put it as simply as us possible in the English language: There is only one Life, and all living beings are connected through it, even though we believe we are not even in a state of disconnection because we see ourselves as individuals.
    So, is this one of your unknown unknowns? I won’t even try to guess. It is on a level so far beyond anything anyone should ever be able to experience and live to tell about it. And yet, I am not the only one who has had such experiences. On the internet I have met two others, but they have interpreted them in their own ways, as have I. But 3 people out of almost 8 billion earthlings is not a good sampling.
    Your turn.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Raw,

      I recommend checking out Bernardo Kastrup. I’ve written a few posts on his Analytic Idealism. He lives in Amsterdam where LSD is legal (witha prescription, if memory serves), and he is an advocate of psychadelics for expanding consciousness. In a nutshell, brains scans show that psychadelics lead to reduced brain activity (as opposed to more, that had been believed previously). The idea is that it disables functions that inhibit what you are suggesting—thereby allowing them. To be fair (as I understand it), about 30 per cent of cerebral function is inhibitory, telling the rest of the brain to STFU, so there’s that. lol.

      I suggest checking him out directly. If I find one of the several vids he’s done on this specifically, I’ll link it to you. (I believe they were interviews.) Meantime, here’s his YouTube channel.


      1. I listened to 13 minutes of this guy before I had to shut him off. Maybe 40 years ago I could have heard him out, but my mind is bored.
        Our “encoded” reality is another way of saying we see what we are taught to see. I already know that. Even with my visits to the bowels of reality, a phrase that just ca e to my mind, I still see this reality, even knowing that it is only temporary. IE, we see this world while we are between birth and death, and wd see it because we are taught by the authorities in our early life to see things they way they were taught to see them — the way they now see them. This does not make “reality. ” it makex a convenient reality, if I may call it that; a reality that can be common to allof us. But just because I see this convenient reality does not mean I have to believe it is reality — which, by the way, I do not!
        But until I go through the process of death again, for the many-millionth time, I have to accept it as my present reality. There are many levels to reality.

        So I am not sure I know what this Analytical Idealism is going to have to say about life. I do know I want no part of it, no matter if it does describe a reality I can ascribe to. I am living my reality right now. I need no one to explain it to me.

        This may seem contradictory to anyone who knew me in my youth. In those days I was all about “just the facts, ma’am, nothing but the facts.” That was what led me to my search for something beyond religion, beyond science. I had no idea exactly what it was I was searching for, but I knew there was more out there than what I was being fed by teachers and preachers alike. And with my very first trip on LSD, I knew I had found the key to open the door between earth-reality and some-other-reality that I could only hope would be real-reality. Acid was a great name for it, because I felt if I pursued it the acid would eat at the walls between the two realities, and maybe, just maybe, I would get to see what was/is on the other side. And eventually I got there, and then I went back a second time just to make sure it was real. And it was.

        Even after that, it took another 35 to 45 years to figure out exactly what I had seen. I knew in my heart what I saw, but seeing was not believing, not by itself. I needed to understand, to analyse, to be able to live in convenient reality while knowing what I could from two brief visits to real reality. I spent years thinking myself insane, because no one, and eventually next-to-no one, could understand what I was talking about. And when I finally came to terms with my new reality, I then had to learn how to live in both worlds at the same time. This is not an easy task.

        Why am I telling you this? I have no idea, except I sense a kindrid spirit, another seeker after something which is almost impossible to discover while maintaining an existence in earth-reality. If you are not such a spirit, no problem. If you are, I hope you are ready for the process of death — when it comes. Because while LSD did work for me, I cannot guarantee it will work for anyone else. And if my life is an extended hallucination, and there is nothing after death, well, no one including me will ever know the difference…


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