The world is made out of perceiving

“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

Well, there is neither sound nor tree, no forest nor fall.

The world is made out of sensing. The colors of the world, the touching of the world, the hearing, smelling and tasting of the world is all there is to the existence of the world. There are no atoms, no cells, no muscle tissue, blood vessels or biological compounds. There are no metals, no materials, no chemicals whatsoever and there is certainly no space nor time in which they could exist. No, the world is made out of colors and sounds, of sensations of touch, and of smelling and tasting – throw in thinking and we’ve got the illusion going. 

Objects are created in the mind

Most objects are encountered visually. We only touch a fraction of the objects of our daily experience, much less smell or taste them. And when perceiving objects, we tend to believe that there is some more to our experience of them other than their colors.  For example, we think that we experience a car and the colors of the car – we think that there is some objecthood to the car that is somehow being conveyed to us. But we never experience the actual car – just the particular patterns of color that we then come to think of as the “car”. We conceptualize and thus create the car in our minds, ascribing objecthood to those particular patterns of color.

And color is really nothing but seeing – which has no independent existence from consciousness, since seeing is what consciousness is.

Objects are made out of consciousness

We usually think objects are made of materials, such as metal or plastic or wood – but that assumptions rests on the false belief that there is an external world beyond perceptions in which such materials (and the subatomic particles that comprises them) could exist. What objects and their materials are really made out of are colors, body sensations (such as the feel of an object), sounds, smell and taste – which are nothing but seeing, feeling, hearing, smelling and tasting.

There is nothing to an apple other than the colors that make up our experience of it – the seeing of the apple is the apple. And seeing, along with hearing, feeling, tasting and smelling are just aspects of perceiving, which is just another word for consciousness. So, the objects of our experience are made out of consciousness. In fact, there are no objects at all until we create them in our minds. Before we conceptualize a particular perception, there isn’t an actual apple there – there is just a field of seeing. This field of seeing is then objectified – by thinking – into solid objects with an imagined reality to them, making us believe that we are experiencing a world of many objects, not realizing that all that we are ever experiencing is experiencing itself – pure objectless consciousness.

Further reading:

9 Responses to The world is made out of perceiving

  1. Joel Rosenblum says:

    It sounds nice, but if the car (which you say does not exist) is about to hit you, will the non-existent you jump out of the way?

    • Göran Backlund says:

      Hi Joel!

      The character may or may not jump out of the way. However, whether or not that happens isn’t determined by what is believed in terms of the reality of the car; if jumping happens, it happens – if it doesn’t it doesn’t. The game isn’t run by a character inside it – it runs by itself.

  2. Javier says:

    Hi Göran,

    I have been on the non dual path for 6 years trying to understand awareness or consciousness and the whole thing about there being no I/ no doer.

    I don’t understand that all there is is Consciousness. Been investigating into this for the last year. I understand that the keyboard ‘outside’ is made out of ‘seeing’. You can never find an actual keyboard out there There is only seeing taking place, taking in the reflections of light that bounces off of ‘something’.

    Now…if you say all there is Perceiving, do you mean that there are no eyes, noses, ears. If you are blind or loose an eye, there is no seeing..all is black. Doesn’t this proof that there are eyes, ears, noses and tongues? Doesn’t this proof that Consiousness is conscious of real ‘senses’? In my experience it seems that I am perceiving ‘what the senses are doing’… senses, no perceiving in this body.

    Thanks. Love your articles.

    • Göran Backlund says:

      Hi Javier.

      Yes, I mean that there are no actual eyes. The eyes are themselves just a perception. Just like in a night dream, seeing happens, and the eyes with which we are supposedly seeing are themselves part of the dream. You don’t see with your eyes when dreaming at night, and neither do you see with your eyes in the waking state.

      It only seems like we do when we assume that our experience is representative of an objective reality. This assumption is dealt with in my article series “Refuting the the external world.”

      Best regards,

  3. Pingback: Zen in the Art of Listening | The High Fidelity Report

  4. Winston Anderson says:

    A propos Javier’s question; it does seem that our night dreams are based on our daytime memories. Thus a person born blind would not dream in color but would have ‘auditory dreams’ (e.g. imagine a musical without the pictures) assuming their sense of hearing works. I don’t think this affects the Goran’s central thesis; it would be anthropocentric in the extreme to imagine humans have a monopoly on consciousness.

  5. Matt says:

    ” We only touch a fraction of the objects of our daily experience, much less smell or taste them. ”

    Strictly speaking, this is false.

    What you see and what you feel are two completely different things. You, therefore, never actually touch *anything* you experience visually.

    Seeing and feeling are independent realities, and the same goes for smelling and tasting as well. The sense-modalities are like independent channels of experience, each of which enjoys a kind of isolation from every other modality.

    You do not see the same things you hear/feel/smell/taste, nor do you hear the things you see/feel/smell/taste, nor do you smell the same things you see/hear/feel/taste, etc, etc.

  6. Martin says:

    Thank you Goran! Anyway, this kind of descriptions always leave a bittersweet taste in my mouth. I kind of smell that something is being objectified “under the table”. Like you say “This field of seeing is then objectified – by thinking – into solid objects with an imagined reality to them” and it seems that this is like an objective machine that does this, like this is an objective process, do you see what I mean? And how are those perceptions “received”? No objective sense organs? Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *