I’ve been working on two theories about the human psyche. One is what I call “moral bias.” It is when a person’s “should” prevents them from seeing the “is.” They want so much for some ideal to be a reality that it shuts down objectivity. The other theory I’ve been working on is new and probably difficult to explain but it’s that humans only really see reality accurately if they are grounded, through empathy, by other humans. Loosely, I can explain it like this: Consciousness is mostly just swirling images in your head–whether or not you get them RIGHT is dependent on having positive interactions with reality. And positive interaction, for humans, is very much dependent on relationships with other humans. If another human verifies they see X, it is highly validating. If another human says they do not see X, when you do, this is absolutely crazy making for humans.
One of the best examples I can give to explain this is the hallucinations people have when they find themselves in a terrible circumstance. When people are parched in the desert, it’s well known they start to see bodies of water–mirages. Similarly, when sailors are lost at sea, some have been known to be so convinced that they see land (when there isn’t any) that they “dock,” jump over the ship, and plunge to their deaths.
This first of all explains, partially, just how important other people are to grounding a human. Without another human to also see what you see, you start to not even see the basic facts of reality right. This is an extreme example, but it has applications in a million other places, big and small. Have you ever lost your keys? How maddening is that? Not seeing/knowing where something is can be utterly maddening for humans. Now imagine that an abusive person in your house is hiding the keys on purpose, for the kick they get out of seeing you frustrated. This is, essentially, what gaslighting is. And it’s extremely effective at putting humans over the edge. (Unless you know what it is: then it becomes easier to deal with.)
Seeing the mirage also can be explained by moral bias. Moral bias is when a person’s “should” prevents them from seeing the “is.” It is always kicked off during crisis mode, which I explain at the main page of this site. But in this case, you want so bad to see a body of water in the desert or land out at sea, that the brain conjures up the very image of it. It SHOULD be there, according to the human mind. That it is NOT there is not something the human mind can readily accept.
Consciousness, as I wrote, as per the theory I am working on, is just swirling images in your head. And the human mind is slightly weighted towards WANTING certain things to happen. As a baby, you EXPECT to have a mother. If not, you’ll go seek it out. When lost at sea, you EXPECT to see land. This expectation is so powerful and so strong that the brain conjures up the image itself. This all can be explained by Jungian psychology, in which it is argued we are born with certain “knowledge” from our ancient past.
When you start to look at the inner workings of this, you start to doubt the idea of “tabula rasa.” How consciousness works is an incredibly complicated and evolved things. It is not enough to simply declare we are born with a blank slate, as if it’s obvious, and one must learn everything. Honestly, this may–or may not–be true. If a child is born with the expectation of having a mother, they are born with the idea of “mother.” Consciousness becomes as passed down through lineage as hair color, height, and other physical attributes. When babies are born, it’s well regarded they don’t really see reality that well. Do they spend their time exploring reality? When they start to sit up, crawl, and walk, yes. As newborns? Not entirely. They mostly sleep. What images are they accessing in that sleep?
See my well-quoted refutation to Rand at the main site: Ex Objectivist.
Because I think seeing another human is important to the development of an idea, I include a picture of me here.