Is all known reality a lie?

In science fiction stories, you often hear mention of the possibility of alternate realities, or the concept that even our reality doesn’t work the way we think it does. H.P. Lovecraft had a big hard on for alternate dimensions where our rules of space and time did not apply.

I’ve never really understood these ideas because it just seems like even if we’re in some way biased because of our sensory organs (maybe the color you see as red is my green, for example) reality still has to follow some basic rules. Space has to have three dimensions (length, width and depth) right?

I’ve been reading an interesting physics book which does start to explain how this might not be so. In essence, we have to really examine the limitations of our senses. Let’s think about vision. How does it work? Well, if I see some red object in the upper left-hand corner of my field of vision, a certain retinal cell programmed to fire at red light fires. Repeat the process for all locations and for the colors red, green and blue, and you basically have the experience we know as sight*. But let’s say we rewired someone’s brain so that instead of seeing red at that point in their field of vision when a red light wave hit their retinal cell, they instead heard a D-flat note at some particular point in the stereo spectrum. This person could conceivably experience visual reality as an aural reality. Is their sound based reality any more or less “real” than our visual reality?

* Sight is, of course, a bit more complicated. Here’s more details.

The point being that our sensory experience of reality — particularly vision — is at best a metaphor for “real” reality. Maybe our sense of three dimensions, for example, or time, is simply such a metaphor. And perhaps other metaphors to understand reality are conceivable (probably requiring completely different sensory organs.)

Does that totally blow your mind?

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