byte of data

The Interface Theory: Why Humans Are Not Wired for Truth

I’ve wanted to write this article for a long time. In fact, since I was a kid I’ve always been interested in the concept of truth. I’ve always felt that reality is something too complicated to say you’re right while others are wrong. Yet nowadays on the web I often see people claiming to have the absolute truth while others don’t. Whether or not you’re the kind of person that tells others not to know the truth about things, there’s something you can’t deny. There is a little man in your head that tells you that all you see is real and you know how to get to the truth of things. However, I’ll show you in this article that humans might not be wired at all to understand reality and so to find the truth. I’d like to tell you about an alternative theory that can widen your perspective about the world.

Enter The Interface Theory

You’re looking at your desktop right now. You’re reading the words on top of this screen, and you’re thinking, of course, this is real stuff! However, although this desktop seems real to you, there is nothing about it that resembles what you see inside your skull. In short, the letters on the screen are not letters but only pixels. The more you zoom in the more you realize that those pixels don’t look anything like the letters you see right now. Let’s zoom in as much as we can with a magnifying glass and see what we get:

pixels

credit: howtogeek.com

Ok, what’s the point? You already knew that what you see on your screen is just the combination of millions of red-blue-green sub-pixels that show you color and images on a two-dimensional interface that looks as you were looking at printed words for real! However, this is only the beginning of the story. In fact, even though we’ve zoomed to see pixels from a closer distance we’re still on our computer’s screen. Therefore, we didn’t go beyond it.

If we dig into your computer’s hard-drive, there’s no place where you’ll find letters or colors (you can try right now if you don’t believe me, just throw your computer on the floor and see if it spills out words). Indeed, your computers work thanks to zeros and ones or on and off electrical signals that are going through your computer to tell it whether or not execute a command or to run a program.

However, you might think, of course, the article I’m reading is not real. There is a backend to it. That is the real thing! Therefore, you get your login credentials, access to your WordPress site and that is what you see:

WP Backend

I’m sorry to give you bad news, but even though you’re in the backend, you still not seeing what’s on your computer. You may argue, “ok, I’m gonna look at the code,” and that is what you get:

code, program

That is awesome, isn’t it? We just scratched the surface though! In fact, if you wanted to see what’s going on within your computer you should be looking at a screen flowing with trillions of zeros and ones, like this:

byte of data

Now we got closer! Yet if you look at this stuff how are you supposed to understand the words of this article? There’s no way you can do that!

The Interface Theory argues that even though you see a nice, straightforward interface, that is not real. That is a useful representation to navigate reality. Tha representation although very useful it might be very far from how things really look in reality.

But if we don’t see reality as it is why are we still alive?

Nature Selects for Fitness, not for Truth

Think about how fascinating is the mechanism of natural selection. Through a simple process of variation, selection, and retention it makes possible to beings to evolve so that they will be able to be fit for the environment in which they live.

Our DNA, made of 20,000 up to 25,000 genes encode all the information about us! That information is not fixed, but it changes; it evolves. Many of the changes are random. Those variations then get selected. Indeed, the modifications that are not fit for the environment get wiped out, leaving only those that can survive. The changes that survive also thrive through replication, which make those organisms retain the previous advantages accumulated throughout the centuries, millennials or millions of years. That is how human beings got to be here.

Natural selection tells us one thing. We’re not selected to be intelligent, handsomes or funny unless of course, those bring us a selective advantage over other species. Instead, we get chosen for fitness. If that is the case then, why do we need to see reality as it is? If that were true, we would be doomed to extinction! Reality might be so complex that if we didn’t have a straightforward interface to deal with the world, there’s no way we could have responded quickly and efficiently to daily challenges.    

That also means if we’re here today as a species we may well be among the most deceived species on planet earth. There is even more to that. There may be no earth, no planets, no universe. Reality might be as close to what we see as the gap between your desktop interface and the zeros and ones behind it! Therefore, also when we blindly believe at what modern science is telling us, we often forget that we might be looking at that pixel on the screen rather than at the zeros and ones that govern the processes of our world!

Keep in mind; this is an interesting point of view about reality and truth. However, I love this theory because it makes me take a less strict view of the world. An alternative way that makes you wonder what’s behind what you call reality? It also makes you leave space open for wonder. Today I fear, science rather than becoming a process to wonder it’s becoming a  strict set of new beliefs. However as Sir. Karl Popper showed us, science can’t tell us truths but hypotheses that can be falsified.  

This article got written on the premises of the Interface Theory. For more read:

visual intelligence

or watch this:

 

Published by

Gennaro Cuofano

Creator of FourWeekMBA.com | Head of Business Development at WordLift.io | International MBA

Leave a Reply