Friday, September 20, 2013

The Screen

The debate on the nature of human existence is both ancient and complex.
With the advent of the scientific age, an emphasis has been placed on the observable world. Only that which can be observed should be seriously considered.

Thesis: I am going to show that minds are more not part of the natural world that we observe, although they are dependent upon and connected to the physical world.

Screens are the subject material of minds.

Consider what you are looking at right now. Your first impulse may be to think ‘I am looking at a piece of paper or a computer screen.’ If you printed out a physical piece of paper and are holding it in your hand, then the piece of paper is not what I am referring to when I ask what you are looking at right now. I am going to argue that what you are looking at is what I will define as a ‘screen’.
When I say ‘screen’, I do not mean that there is a physical projector shooting light onto a physical screen. The difficulty in explaining this argument is that there is no physical equivalent in nature to what I am attempting to describe. Ironically, what I am trying to describe is what is right in front of you, what you have been observing for your entire life.
The screen is what you are looking at right now. If you are reading braille, then the screen is what you are feeling. If you are being read this sentence, the screen is what you are hearing.
It may be easier to describe the screen in terms of what they are not. What you are looking at right now is not a physical entity.
A common objection would be that what you are looking at right now is generated by neural activity. Sure, without eyesight you could not ‘see’, but there is no physical equivalent of what you are looking at right now in your brain. If we dissect the brain, we will not find anything that even closely resembles what you are looking at right now.
Minds are entities that are more than the universe as we can observe it, although we are constantly observing our own minds, and minds are dependent on the universe as we can observe it.

Do we have observational evidence for screens? Yes. I observe, therefore I am. I observe the screen, therefore the screen exists. The screen is not a part of nature, because it cannot be found in nature. The screen is tied to nature by brains. Screens are dependent on brains for information. Therefore, humans are more than purely natural or physical. We, as humans, are both physical and more than physical.

Because the screen exists, and because of the nature of the screen, there exists something that is more than natural, and that something is the screen. Call it want you want to, some will inevitably say that this an argument for the existence of souls. That is fine as long as a soul is carefully defined and no additional characteristics of souls are added without sufficient reason to do so.
Basically, we should seriously doubt the idea that only nature exists, because we are constantly observing something that is outside of nature when we observe screens. In fact, we have better evidence for screens than we do for the natural universe, because our knowledge of the natural world is dependent on screens.
All of our knowledge of nature is dependent on something that is outside of nature. The interesting fact is that our screens appear to be dependent and tied to something that exists in the physical world.
It seems difficult to suppose that pure chemistry and physics could cause this to happen.
Perhaps, when God says that we are made after his image, he is referring to our state of existence as conscious observers, complete with supernatural screens and the capacity for observing them in a more than purely physical way. We are both physical and super-physical beings.
If we base our conception of reality on observational evidence, then the evidence points most strongly towards the existence of screens. The real question is whether or not what we see on screens are real. This leads us through a scientific process of model generation, which is totally applicable. The thing is that we should be more sure of the existence of screens than we are of the ‘physical’ world.
We have always known about screens. Now that we know about brains, we can understand that screens, while dependent on brains, are more than brains.
There is, however, a suspicious connection between the two. If minds exist on their own, why do they appear to need brains? Brains are purely physical objects bound by the laws of physics. How could such a thing generate a screen? A brain can process information and make determinations, but does it also generate non-physical massless constructions? How could it do that? We don’t currently understand how it could do that.
Science shies away from question such as these, presumably because we lack observation evidence for the subject material. Ironically the situation is reversed. We actually have the strongest observational evidence in support of the existence of screens. If science has to do with observation, it has to do with screens. After establishing the existence and nature of screens, we can move on to what is going on in the screens.
The physical world should be seen as ‘the things that take place on screens’.
The answer, quite literally, has been right in front of us the entire time.


  1. Great article and illustration! This reminds me of the argument that "Since we can't scientifically observe (measure) God or the supernatural then it must not exist. Yet, as you said, each of us observe *something* objectively, but if someone were to cut open our brains they would not be able to measure that which we have so obviously observed with our eyes, ears, etc. P.S. Use "conscious observer" instead of "conscience observer".

    1. Hi James!

      Thanks a lot for your comment! You give an excellent summary of the basic idea. I had not thought of relating that to the "Since we can't scientifically observe the supernatural, then the supernatural does not exist." I may need to write another post pointing that out, and I will cite your contribution. =D

      Also, thank you for catching my misspelling. It would seem that in my excitement over conveying my argument I lost sight of basic grammar.