|Is the physical 世界 真实ly made of abstract, mathematically-defined atoms?|
Mystery has to do with deeper truths hiding behind mere appearances. 什么 we see and hear is just appearance; the physical 世界, as it is in itself, consists of unexpected and mind-boggling truths—or so we imagine. Yet, perhaps the greatest of all mysteries is hiding in plain sight, right under our noses. Indeed, if we ponder our situation carefully, we come to the startling 真实ization that the strangest possibility of all is this: the physical 世界 may be 究竟 what it seems to be. This possibility, if true, would force us to part with our dearest narratives about the nature of 真实ity.
According to the mainstream story, the physical 世界 consists of particles and force fields defined in purely mathematical terms. These particles and force fields have only abstract, 定量的 属性，例如质量，电荷，动量，时空位置，自旋等。但是它们完全缺乏内在的特性 特质： the physical 世界 在那里, in and of itself, has no smell, tone, taste, color or texture. Instead, these qualities are supposedly generated by our brain, inside our skull. The red you see exists solely inside your head; 在那里 there are only electromagnetic fields with a certain—quantifiable—振动频率。您感觉到的纹理仅存在于您的头顶；那里只有分子的几何排列。我们将颜色和纹理归因于外面的事物仅仅是一种投射，这是我们认知设备的一种心理假象。您现在对周围所有的感觉都是—or so the story goes—inside your head. Your 真实 skull is 超越 everything you perceive, encapsulating your whole experiential 世界 like an invisible eggshell 超越 the horizon. This—看起来很荒唐，听起来很荒谬—是应该发生的事情。
什么 motivates such a counterintuitive story? The main reason is that we all seem to inhabit the same 世界. If you were sitting next to me right now, we would both 描述 my living room in a mutually consistent manner. Yet my perception of the room would be different from yours in the details, given our slightly different perspectives within it. There thus appears to be a 非 -mental environment outside our respective perceptual fields, which is occupied by both of us and modulates our experience of the room. This environment is supposedly the physical 世界 在那里.
There are other reasons. For instance, although we can change the 世界 of our imagination by a direct act of volition—如果我愿意的话，我现在可以想象客厅里有一头粉红色的大象… Oops, just did it—the same is not the case when it comes to the physical 世界. Unlike the images in our mind, the physical 世界 has an autonomy that seems to place it outside our mind. Ergo, it must have no qualities, for the latter are essentially mental. Moreover, there are undeniable correlations between our inner experiences and measurable patterns of neural activity in our brain. This suggests to some that these experiences are somehow—没有人知道怎么做—由我们的大脑产生。
But the question is: Is there an alternative narrative that honors our intuition that the physical 世界—正如我们通常所理解的那样，具体的物理本身—是否包含体验质量，例如颜色和纹理？与抽象的数学关系相反，什么是物理上我的手触，鼻子上的气味和舌头上的味道？这种叙述还能使我们所有人似乎都居住在相同环境中的事实有意义吗，我们可以’不能通过直接的意志行为来改变它，而大脑活动的模式确实伴随着经验吗？答案是肯定的，正如我在本书中详尽而详尽地阐述的那样， 世界观念.
In such a short essay, it is impossible to go into the argument in any depth. But in very general terms, the story goes like this: the physical 世界 is 究竟 what it seems to be, in the sense that it consists solely of the concrete qualities we experience as physicality—namely, the colors we see, the smells we feel, 等等 . Therefore, the physical 世界 exists entirely within our mind… But not within our head! Our body is itself part of the physical 世界, so it is our body that is in our mind, not the other way around.
Does this mean that all 真实ity is our private dream? That would follow only if the physical 世界 were all there is. But we know that, in addition to the qualities of perception—即颜色，味道，气味等。—还有其他心理类别，例如思想和感受。因此，即使所有的看法基本上都是私人的，我们仍可能沉浸在由超个人的思想和情感构成的共享环境中。
In other words, the physical 世界 is private, all right, but there is still a 非 -physical 世界 of transpersonal thoughts and feelings—我们无法直接访问—surrounding us and which we all inhabit. 什么 we experience as our perceptions of the 世界 ‘out there’仅仅是这些超个人思想和情感的外表；就像我们的大脑及其神经活动是我们自己的私人经历的外表一样。整个物理宇宙类似于我们所浸入的整个大脑的精神活动的大脑扫描图像。
So there is indeed a great mystery behind the appearances: 什么 are these transpersonal thoughts and feelings that present themselves to us as the physical 世界? Although the latter is nothing more than our perceptual experiences—which we merely 描述 通过抽象的数学关系—它指向某事 非 -physical, ineffable, concurrently immanent and transcendent. While being 究竟 what it seems to be, the physical 世界 still hints at something 超越 本身。神秘之处就在于此。