Is there an external reality? By Manuel Pelegrina

This post is also available in: Spanish

This question comes with an implicit categorization: internal-external, and a “direction” vector. They are two categories, not only in language, but also in the physical and formal reality. Any element in nature can be categorized as “inside of something” and as an element which “has something inside”. This happens to every object, from the infinitely big to the infinitely small, including categories which are observable by human beings, such as “human being”, “lung” or “cell”. This reminds me of that psychoanalytic theory which says that every object can penetrate or be penetrated.

But all of the above has a problem, which is that the “internal-external” categorization is not useful for anything of for anyone. In this case, we can say that an external reality exists because it is useful for us: what’s mine and what’s not mine, what belongs to my physical part and what’s outside. But this doesn’t hold because our physical integrity depends on categories (and variables) which are external to us.

Summarizing, external and internal categories are arbitrary and dependent on many variables. Thus, at a certain moment we can feel attached to the universe, whereas at some other time we can feel detached from it. But beware! Sometimes it is the external environment which considers us (in a capricious, “intentional” -with a goal- or random) as an object of its externality or internality, and that is why the biological or mental illnesses with an external origin exist. The beings which know most about these subjects are genes. Thus, before the body they inhabit gets old, they try to move to another one (vector) and they live forever. Have you ever thought about “complete” people who could do the same? It’s an interesting exercise: to think about specific names (for example, some pope or some former president). Well, maybe our educational system does something like that: taking from and taking to.

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