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  • Writer's pictureNick Cook

Beyond The Edges of Our Perception

(Article Originally Published 7/3/2012)

"Why does the eye see a thing more clearly in dreams than the imagination when awake?"

– Leonardo da Vinci

I’ve talked before about how reality is a subjective matter at the best of times. Well here’s another thought for you to consider.

We see the world around us in the visible spectrum of light. All those shapes and colours around us, when combined with our other senses, sum up the real world. But what about a creature like a bat with its poor eyesight and that's almost totally reliant on its ability to map out the world with ultrasound echoes? To a bat, a soundscape is their reality. Just consider the implication of that for a moment, to mentally see the world as a construct of echo feedback.

At first, the bat's view may seem like a very narrow view of what's really there to us, but the irony is that in many ways humans are as limited as bats are with their senses. The visible wavelength we see is just a tiny fraction of the total electromagnetic spectrum.

To get this into perspective it’s important to realise just how a narrow a window we’re peaking out at reality through. Visible wavelengths are just 0.00018% of the total spectrum available. Talk about a blinkered view of reality. Maybe out there in the universe, there are lifeforms equipped to see the world across wider frequencies such as radio waves, gamma rays, or X-rays. Imagine how limited our vision would seem to them.

Without the insight, that science has given us into these other wavelengths, in our own ways humans are just as blind as bats.

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