We do not see things as they are, we see them as we are

Ron Immink
8 min readOct 6, 2023

Perception is reality. That is the summary of the book. Seeing is active, not passive. What you decide to see determines your life. With the observer effect, you must be careful about what you see. You programme the quantum foam. The world and body we experience are always part construct: a product of our own conscious and nonconscious predictions. How we see and experience the world is routinely shaped and guided by our own predictions and expectations.

The Experience Machine

Hence, “The Experience Machine: How Our Minds Predict and Shape Reality”. It is a difficult book to explain as it goes into some deep (and fascinating) science trying to explain predictive processing. Nothing we do or experience is untouched by our own expectations. Instead, all human experience is part phantom — the product of deep-set predictions. Our brains are basically guessing machines, proactively anticipating signals from the body and the surrounding world. Human experience and thinking are orchestrated from the inside by neuronal activity and the dense network of brain-body interactions and from the outside by the highly structured social and technological worlds in which we live and act.

A lot of the experience is inside

Whereas sensory information was often considered to be the starting point of experience, the emerging science of the predictive brain suggests a rather different role. According to this new picture, experience — of the world, ourselves, and even our own bodies — is never a simple reflection of external or internal facts. Much of the experience is inside, not outside. When the brain strongly predicts a certain sight, sound, or feeling, that prediction plays a role in shaping what we seem to see, hear, or feel. Emotion, mood, and even planning are all based on predictions, too. Alter those predictions (for example, by “reframing” a situation using different words), and our experience itself alters.

Hallucinate the world

Everything that you see, hear, touch, and feel reflects hidden wells of prediction. The perceiving brain is never passively responding to the world. Instead, it is actively trying to hallucinate the world and checking that hallucination against the evidence coming in via the senses. This…

--

--

Ron Immink

Father of two, strategy and innovation specialist, entreprenerd, author, speaker, business book geek, perception pionieer. See www.ronimmink.com