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Are there things that are beyond the human brain

  1. Jun 23, 2007 #1
    The other day I was talking to my friend and we were just thinking about infinity. I used this analogy to prove how it is that we cannot 'see' some things.
    Lets take parrots, they can see ultraviolet i've read somewhere. But we cannot so we cant even imagine such a colour. It's beyond us. Such are some concepts, like multidimensional space.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 23, 2007 #2
    Stating that there are things beyond our understanding is an absolute statement without evidence. Stating that there are not things beyond our understanding is an absolute statement without evidence.
  4. Jun 23, 2007 #3
    Many obvious things are beyond the human brain since it is finite in size, speed and duration. No brain can grasp an infinite set like the decimal value of pi, for example. Performance is also limited: human brains cannot recalculate a complex spreadsheet faster than Excel. You can come up with other similar examples of things beyond our mental abilities.

    However, in order to be sure that something cannot be grasped at least "in principle" by a human brain, we must show what it is that makes it impossible to grasp. Is it infinite, too fast, too complex? We know something about pi so we can grasp it even without grasping every detail of it. We also know that we cannot grasp it fully because we can grasp the idea of infinity, the finite limits of our brain, and the conflict between these two situations.

    So I see this problem: knowing that something cannot be grasped requires grasping at least something about it. Because of this, it would seem that the human brain cannot know if something is beyond the human brain or not.
  5. Aug 26, 2007 #4
    I'd say that whilst it might be difficult to know for sure whether or not there are things outside of our minds' grasps, all evidence points to there being something outside of it, merely because some things are too complex, for instance combining concepts that we can only vaguely understand. Infinity and multi-dimensional space have been mentioned, imagine these two combined, there becomes a point when the human mind cannot cope with even a large finite number of added dimensions to space.

    Besides, some things are never going to be observed or thought of by humans, does that count them out of our minds' reach?
  6. Aug 26, 2007 #5
    All logical splitting of hairs aside, there are things that are demonstrably beyond the human brain and mind. We are human, not parrots or whales, which in itself is an expression of a limitation.
  7. Sep 6, 2007 #6
    most would argue it's a first principle easily seen by demonstration. Try to understand a non consistent or empty universe…

    *note the OP should specify what they mean by know, propositional or acquaintal knowledge.
  8. Sep 6, 2007 #7


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    Ask a tetrachromat.
  9. Sep 11, 2007 #8
    Which species developed the concept of the decimal value of pi, or the concept of infinity , or cube root of three, or the notion of the graviton? Let's give ourselves a little credit--We are not done evolving yet.
  10. Oct 14, 2007 #9
    Infinity... What is infinite? The concept of infinity is mathematical. Infinite in number. To say that the Universe is infinite is to say that it is composed of an infinite number of parts. The concept of counting is not beyond the intellect, therefore the concept is not a limit to either of our intellects.

    However, to say that the void is infinite is wrong, because void has no boundary. Looking out into space and pondering that it has no limit, no end, that if anything approaches the limit of my intellect. For the very idea that my reality is divided into two, seemingly contrary parts, the limited and the unlimited is beyond my intellect. When I accept that these two are merely components of one existence, therein lies the limit to my intellect. For I have no way of explaining how the two can share in the same foundation, and at the same time be so different...

    This is only my opinion of course.
  11. Nov 7, 2007 #10


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    The concept of infinity gets stared down every time it is tested. It is not a measurable quantity so this is not an unexpected result. We get results that are very large, but never infinite when closely examined. The concept of singularity is merely the inverse concept. It too does not survive close scrutiny.
  12. Nov 11, 2007 #11
    Absolutley, but we can evolve our perception through the evolution of "technology" that allows us to expand our perception, or for example, see ultraviolet rays...right?
  13. Nov 11, 2007 #12
    Also, infinity is inconcievable to us because the only reality that we can currently percieve is one in which time exists and therefore, change is the beginning to everything... or in other words, everything has a beginning within the realm of our perception, so we cannot actually deny or prove the existance of infinity...
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