7 Unanswered Questions in Collage

What is the nature of reality? Is reality the same for everyone, or does each of us have a different and unique reality?

In experiments done over a century ago, a physicist established that what we regard as solid matter is largely empty space. The tabletop under our dishes, the bookshelf holding our books, the dishes and books themselves, our bodies, and the earth beneath us:  all of this is void in which tiny concentrations of mass float, widely separated from each other. Yet what we call solid feels hard to us. It does not yield to our touch, and no solid may penetrate another without partly destroying it.

An Unanswered Question (2013). Digital collage created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.

So what is our sense of the solidity of things? Do we create it from a collage of sensations that we are convinced is real? But if the physics experiments are correct, then our senses deceive us about reality. And if this is so, how else are we deceived? How else is our reality unreal?

Yet if we do create from our sense impressions a certain so-called reality, are we not also free to create a different version of it? Perhaps the popular idea that each of us creates his or her own reality is truer than we realize.

(All artwork, descriptions, & other text created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.)


{ 38 comments… add one }

  • Alissa Apel January 29, 2013, 4:55 pm

    The ear butterfly is very unique and pretty!

    • Eric Edelman January 30, 2013, 4:14 am

      Thanks very much for your kind comment, Alissa! Of all the images in this collage, the ear butterfly (given to me in black and white by a dear friend) was perhaps the most fun to colorize. I’m happy that it pleased you. Have a great WW!

  • Amy January 29, 2013, 5:45 pm

    I love this! Super interesting.

  • Judy Haughton-James January 29, 2013, 6:13 pm

    Wonderful collage. Thanks for hosting and Happy WW!

    • Eric Edelman January 30, 2013, 4:15 am

      Thanks very much, Judy! I appreciate your kind words. Have a first-class WW!

  • stevebethere January 29, 2013, 7:11 pm

    Fantabulosa as usual pretty impressive

    Have a brilliant week

    • Eric Edelman January 30, 2013, 4:17 am

      Thanks, Steve–as always, I appreciate your kindness. Hope you have a fine week!

  • Aussiepomm January 29, 2013, 7:41 pm

    Very interesting read, and I loved the collage!!

    Mines up as well at AussiePomm – In the Navy!!!!

    Have a great day!!

    • Eric Edelman January 30, 2013, 4:18 am

      Thanks so much for your visit and kind comment–looking forward to visiting your post…Happy WW!

  • zongrik January 29, 2013, 7:46 pm

    reality is how the neurons in our brain interprets everything around us

    cinderella limerick

    • Eric Edelman January 30, 2013, 4:19 am

      From the brain-centered point of view–which some would say is the only one we know of–that’s very true. Thanks very much for your interesting comment.

  • DrillerAA January 29, 2013, 8:25 pm

    Well done, as always. I really appreciate the creativity that is displayed on this blog. Have a great week.

    • Eric Edelman January 30, 2013, 4:21 am

      Thanks very much! I great appreciate your kind words, and wish you a great week also (as well as a very good WW).

  • Joyce January 29, 2013, 9:00 pm
  • Gattina January 30, 2013, 5:14 am

    As creative as always !

    • Eric Edelman January 30, 2013, 2:26 pm

      Thank you very much, Gattina–hope you have a happy WW!

  • Daryl January 30, 2013, 7:46 am

    fascinating to think about while admiring the collage ..

    • Eric Edelman January 30, 2013, 2:25 pm

      Thanks very much, Daryl! I’m looking forward to visiting your site, and hope you have a terrific WW.

  • Jackie January 30, 2013, 8:09 am

    I agree with some of what you say. However, I am very confident in my senses. After all, how I perceive reality I relate only to me. I do have the ability and intelligence to also be sensitive to the perceptions of others and try to understand their reality also.

    I love the double talk of Psychology and logic combined..don’t you?

    Happy WW! 🙂

    • Eric Edelman January 30, 2013, 2:24 pm

      A very interesting point. And the way you put it doesn’t sound like double talk to me. Thanks very much for your thoughtful comment, Jackie, and have a great WW!

  • You really made my head hurt this week as I tried to ponder the reality of everything around me including your words.

    • Eric Edelman January 30, 2013, 2:12 pm

      I’m very sorry, Janet–that certainly wasn’t my intention. (I hope it won’t take a week for your headache to go away…OUCH.) Thanks very much for your comment!

  • ❤ Julie Maloney ❤ (@Momspective) January 30, 2013, 12:56 pm

    I believe we all have a reality of our own. How else would the world revolve around us? Beautiful artwork as always.

    • Eric Edelman January 30, 2013, 2:10 pm

      Interesting point Julie; thanks very much for your visit and your kind comment!

  • jessica @peekababy January 30, 2013, 3:39 pm

    As a mom of two little ones, i am only more convinced these days that alternate realities exist!

    • Eric Edelman January 30, 2013, 3:53 pm

      No one knows that better than you moms, Jessica…thanks for your witty comment!

  • Leovi January 30, 2013, 5:18 pm

    Yes, interesting, I really like this composition. You’re right, I think the sense impressions are different for each individual.

    • Eric Edelman January 30, 2013, 5:29 pm

      It’s fascinating to think about these things. Thanks for your thoughtful and kind comment, Leovi!

  • Tracy @ Ascending Butterfly January 30, 2013, 9:20 pm

    Those ears look like a butterfly, COOL!

    • Eric Edelman January 31, 2013, 1:23 pm

      Yes indeed, Tracy, that was the intent. Glad you liked them–thanks for your kind comment!

  • Jennifer January 31, 2013, 2:30 pm

    Missed seeing you at Wordless Wednesday Bloggers this week (www.wordlesswednesdaybloggers.blogspot.com). Hope you’ll join us!

    • Eric Edelman January 31, 2013, 2:43 pm

      Thanks, Jennifer…too many things to do caught me unawares this week!

  • Rebecca February 5, 2013, 6:55 pm

    wow! such a nice collage! really love it.. 🙂

  • Matthew R. Jenks March 14, 2013, 10:19 am

    I’ve always wondered, where does subjectivity end and objectivity begin. Is everything subjective? There are certain facts we can all agree on through our senses that make up the construct we call reality (though we certainly don’t agree on all) – so this indicates some sort of subjective “reality” out there, but then where does that come from? It seems there is a “grey” area, but life has always been about degrees of things and not the black-and-white some would try to force on us. Anyway, interesting stuff.

    • Eric Edelman March 14, 2013, 7:45 pm

      Thanks for your comment, Matthew. Personally, I do believe that everything is ultimately subjective–because since we rely on our senses (or extensions of them like scientific instruments) to measure the physical world outside of our consciousnesses, no two of us will ever agree absolutely on all aspects of our “shared reality.” Objectivity, or an objective reality, would seem to require that its “look and feel” would always seem the same to each of us…and yet they don’t. The look and feel of what we deem to be reality even seem different to any given person at different times.

      I think that philosophers like Plato and Kant had a largely correct idea of our relationship to the world outside us: that at some level, it could never be known separate from our sense perceptions and emotions, but could only be imagined. An interesting clue to this is furnished by the example of mathematics; more particularly by Euclidean geometry, in which objects like points, lines, planes, and solids are stripped of every physical attribute except position. Euclidean geometry is an example of “objectivity,” in that two people working to solve the same geometric problem independently of each other will always arrive at the same answer, if they work correctly according to the axioms and postulates of that geometry. But I would argue that this is only possible because of the non-physical nature of geometry.

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