Fullness, trust and the self
Humans experience the world as being coherent and complete even as their experience of the world is fragmentary. Without that coherence, we would have no reason to trust the world at all. This chapter explores the sources of trust in the structures of the world. There are no gaps in the world even where there are gaps in our access to that world, such as the blind spot in our retina. Even worse, the stimulation that arrives at our senses is fleeting, limited and noisy. How is it that we live in a coherent, complete and stable world, despite having such poor access to it from our senses? One hypothesis that guided much early research in computational vision and other fields is that our perceptual system is tasked with creating a full-blown representation of the outside world on the basis of incomplete information. That hypothesis has been convincingly refuted Chabri & Simons in The invisible gorilla: And other ways our intuitions deceive us. New Jersey, Harmony, (2010)—our perceptual experience is woefully incomplete. We are unable to detect vast changes in visual stimulation despite ample evidence. If so, why do we persist in believing that our world is "full'? Is that an illusion? In this chapter, I will argue two things: one, the full world is not an output of our perception but the background against which perception makes sense. Where does that background come from? Who is in charge of it? That brings me to the second claim: that the self is the background organiser of our percepts and that between the self and the world there's enough heft to correct all the apparent errors of our limited perceptual capacities.
Kasturirangan, R. (2017)., Fullness, trust and the self, in S. Menon, N. Nagaraj & V. V. Binoy (eds.), Self, culture and consciousness, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 167-177.
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