Seeking joy and meaning in a joyless mind and meaningless existence

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Mint Theory

All right, I assure you that I wasn't high when I came up with this, but several years ago I made the following observation:

Have you ever noticed how we ascribe the taste of mint to a mental schema that, over the course of our experience, becomes distanced from the singular collection of natural aromatic molecules that actually creates the flavor?  The expectations, and thus the reality, embodied in this archetype and the chemical stimulation of the taste buds with its resulting perception in the brain are, in truth, two completely different things.

Again, I swear I was stone cold sober when this idea just sort of popped into my head...

As nifty as it sounds to me, I think I've made a fallacy in reasoning because I am supposing that mint has an "objective" taste, which over time becomes distant from our perception of that taste.  However, as with all sensory input, the taste of mint is comprised entirely of and indivisible from our perceptions; no objective experience of taste exists.  (That's why when a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, it doesn't make a sound.)

I would never want to advocate drug use, but one thing that psychedelics demonstrate (by dramatically altering your perceptions) is that your perceptions so influence your understanding of reality that perception IS reality.  I should point out that I'm not subscribing to the theory that a change in your perceptions, or your beliefs, can alter "objective reality."  (The nature or even existence of "objective reality" is beyond the scope of this humble little blog.)  For example, I don't think that believing hard enough that you're not ill will cure you or that being certain you're going to win the lottery will actually bring that about.  But I would put forth the proposition that life and reality are, for all practical purposes, entirely subjective experiences without an objective standard.