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No Such Thing as Objective Reality: How Your Perception Alters Your Experience

A new study from John Hopkins University shows that objective vision is impossible

It is impossible to experience the world without playing an active role in how that world is seen. Many different branches of science are catching up with what quantum physics has been hinting at for decades. We bring our personal version of the world into being through our perception. Nothing that is observed is unaffected by the observer.

“What we observe is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning.” ― Werner Heisenberg (Quantum physicist)

Scientists from John Hopkins University just released the findings of a study that seeks to answer the question of whether it’s possible for us to view the world through an objective lens. After running an experiment to see whether it’s possible to separate how our eyes see an object from the way the object really is, the answer looks to be a clear no.


Subjects were shown a series of pairs of tilted three-dimensional coins, some being circular and some elliptical. The subjects were then asked to identify the elliptical coins out of each pair. When presented with a pair of both a circular and an elliptical coin, the response time of the subjects slowed significantly even when they knew the tilted coins were circular.

It is important to note that when a circular coin is tilted, the light hits our eyes in the shape of an ellipse. Because their brains were so used to seeing the coin as round, the subjects still “saw” a circular object regardless of the way the light hit their eyes, which made it that much harder to identify the elliptical coin.

The scientists concluded that “objects have a remarkably persistent dual character: their objective shape “out there,” and their perspectival shape “from here.”


Here’s what happens in the brain when it perceives “raw” data: the information is combined with our past experiences and knowledge bank to create our current perception. When we associate a coin with being round, we will see it as round even when the raw information dictates otherwise.

The filters in our brain rely on past data to translate the what we see out there into something meaningful. This is how we paint our lives with meaning.

The data banks in our minds serve as the storage banks from which our future experiences are perceived. In a sense, in order to change our experience of the future, we would have to change our memories of the past — in this present moment. Or said another way, if we change the lens through which we look at the world, the world we look at changes.


In quantum physics, the notion of the observer affecting that which is observed is widely known. As illustrated by the famous double-slit experiment, light can be both particles (“matter”) and waves (energy) at the same time. The act of measurement determines whether light manifests as a wave or a particle.

What does this having to do with you still having to get up tomorrow morning? When we focus our attention on something, we collapse the infinite possibilities of what we see into one “version” of reality through the limited lens of our sensory systems. If you choose to look for the blessings in life, they will “appear” much more frequently than the perceived misfortunes.

Measuring a wave potential causes all other possibilities to be excluded from observation. It’s not that the moon isn’t there when we’re not looking, but without us noticing it — who is there to observe its existence?

Our ability to choose how to perceive life through choosing our thoughts literally shapes the “matter” that we see. Every observation we make adds to the data in our brain and thus colors our next observation.

“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.” — Max Planck (Nobel Prize-winning physicist)


We bring our behavioral bias into every fresh new experience of the NOW. Our brains cause us to notice what is already consistent with our thoughts about reality.

The feedback loop continues until we choose to see things differently.

This concept reaches deep into all aspects of our lives. From the personal level of changing the way we view ourselves to the level of communities and changing the way we view others.

As I discussed in a previous article, we can learn a lot from quantum physics if we apply its concepts to our daily lives. Science truly has the power to shift our perception of perceived reality — and thus take humanity from fear to joy and compassion.

If there is indeed no such thing as an “objective” reality, then it would infer that our perceptions indeed create our worlds. There is no right and wrong. There is no superior or inferior. Everything simply is as it is. Our left brain labels the incoming data and those labels influence our thinking, which determines our feelings — and ultimately our experience of the world.


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