Look around you at the physical world, immediately the mind is bombarded by an array of objects, devices and patterns. Some things we associate with particular functions and purposes, for example the purpose of a cup is to hold a drink, the purpose of a bulb is to provide light to otherwise dark rooms. It is clear that we find many things in this world extremely useful in our everyday lives and tend to think of the device and its purpose as one in the same. However, this leads to a problem, for that cup, whose purpose, in my case, is to hold tea, has an infinity of other uses and possibilities some of which exceed its primary function in terms of efficiency and ingenuity whilst others will simply appear pointless and trivial. But what would happen to the cup if we started to use it for something else on a regular basis, that is, we alter its primary function.
Well, the purpose and nature of the cup would change to the human eye, we would most probably call it by a different name, if we used the cup as a device for catching small insects or flies we might, uncreatively, call it a bug catcher. The purpose, name and method of use the former ‘cup’ once possessed have been eradicated.
This, therefore, leads to the object being perceived differently by the mind, handled in a new fashion and referred to in contexts that would have seemed preposterous before. Everything that made the cup, a cup has vanished from existence. Yet it is still the same object, isn’t it? Well, whilst it is true that it possesses the same form and arrangement of molecules and atoms, it is perceived to be very different from the original cup we started out with. This is troubling since the human mind is, primarily, what defines things into existence. Without observation the cup is simply a seething mass of particles with only probable locations. Only when a cup is observed is it truly a cup and hence, once this definition is taken away, is it correct for us to assume that the object has in fact changed, despite undergoing no real physical transformation apart from how it is pictured in the mind.
Perhaps a question we should be asking ourselves is whether or not the mind truly adds some quality to reality when it is observed, and hence if there is some deep link between reality and the mind so fundamental that the two are almost interchangeable. Such a discovery could truly lead to great advancements in both science and philosophy.