“This week’s provocative question asks about how we perceive the world in which we live. There is a philosophical and psychological concept called qualia, which states that our surroundings can only be observed through the filter of our senses and the ruminations of our minds.
“Examples of qualia are the pain of a headache, the taste of wine, or the perceived redness of an evening sky. In other words, everything you know, everything you’ve touched, seen, and smelled, has been filtered through any number of physiological and cognitive processes. And that brings me to this week’s question:
“Do you believe that anyone can really experience anything objectively? Why or why not?”
I believe there are very few things we can experience objectively, due to the reasons stated above. In fact, I can think of only one thing: pain. Not emotional pain, but pure physical pain. This doesn’t mean that we all experience pain the same or have equal tolerances to various levels, but the sudden onslaught of pain is almost impossible to filter unless you’re James Bond. And I’m not talking about how we remember the pain weeks later as we’re discussing it, but the actual moment of the event. That.
I read a pretty cool (and horrible) murder mystery once about how an artist felt he was failing to capture the emotion he needed in his art, that everything was fake, until he stumbled upon the idea that pain was the only pure, real feeling. So, he began kidnapping and torturing women to make more honest art. The hero, his son, kept hearing these weird moans from his father’s studio, so he kept all the windows tightly shut even in summer, a habit that persisted into adulthood.
Well, that’s what I remember reading anyway. It was a long time ago. 😀