Don’t think we are in the same world just because we all see that chair over there. It isn’t the same chair. My chair is real for me. Yours is for you. Inner conviction makes the outer world come true. And this truth dissolves upon the death of the body that believed it into being. Reality is not independent (there, whether you are or not). Your presence is its umbilical cord.
Knowing the world is a two-part process. First the senses capture data which is sent directly to brain. At first glance it looks like we are equal as we enter the room, the room with the chair. We all have the same sense perceptors. But they are tuned differently. I focus on its size, shape and color wondering whether it would look good in my living room. Jack gets a whiff of the wood. June wants to touch it. Jim gets an odd nostalgic feeling which he instantly ignores. We all have senses but we use them differently, at different times and with different intensity. Each brain receives a personal message from its body. This is where our common world begins to crumble. We are not equal when it comes to collecting data.
The second part of the knowing process happens in headquarters. Brain acknowledges the in-coming data and immediately mixes it with ingredients already laid out on the kitchen counter, memories, stories, hopes and fears. Maybe it consciously sprinkles the new information with sparkles. Maybe it unconsciously laces it with a pinch of poison. Everyone has his own recipe for real. This is where the idea of a one world fits all is blown to bits. We are not equal when it comes to concocting reality in our kitchens.
I cannot know what other brains will make of my chair. I didn’t know that the smell of polished wood evokes coffins for Jack. I have no childhood memory of sitting on June’s mom’s lap in a chair just like that. Nobody told me that Jim was in a bad mood and a big hurry. And yet, being in such a horrible mood and terrible hurry keeps him from actually noticing the chair. (That is probably why he bumped into it and apologized absentmindedly, ‘Oh, sorry.’)
Four people walk into a room. There is a chair… and you are sitting on it.