How an airplane flew inside of me

Yesterday, I flew in a Boeing 737-800 from Tenerife South airport to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.

Or did I?

I could also say that the Boeing 737 only exists inside my consciousness. It flew from Tenerife to Amsterdam, yes, but—to me—these places also only exist in my consciousness. Without my consciousness to see, feel, touch, and think about these places, they wouldn’t exist—for me.

So, in a way, the aircraft flew inside me.

There’s nothing woo-woo going on here. It’s simply a change of perspective. Rather than looking at the world objectively (there are physical objects that interact with each other physically), we look at the world subjectively (does the world even exist outside of my consciousness?). You could think of it as playing a video game: the world only exists inside the computer. Or, you could see it as being inside the Matrix: the world you’re in isn’t physical; it only exists inside your head, while your body is safely stored somewhere outside the Matrix.

This shift in perspective has all sorts of interesting implications. For example, it applies to everyone: I only exist in your consciousness; you only exist in mine. All other consciousnesses exist in yours—from your point of view. You could say, in fact, that there is only one consciousness: your own!

But this article is about one implication in particular. Because you can look at the world subjectively, you can also consider problems subjectively.

Was one of the baristas at your favorite coffee shop rude to you this morning? You could analyze the objective reasons why this might be the case: perhaps she slept poorly; perhaps she dislikes her job; perhaps someone else was rude to her before. Or maybe that’s just her personality. Often (but not always!) you can find plausible explanations through the objective lens.

What if you consider some subjective reasons why this might have happened, though?

Maybe a cranky barista appeared in your life because someone (the programmer of the Matrix?) wanted to send you a message. Or maybe you only experienced a cranky barista because you allow cranky baristas to appear in your consciousness. (As opposed to, for example, a human being who simply had a bad moment, like we all do.)

Considering the subjective perspective is powerful. It can transform your daily experience. Have you ever noticed how some days, everything seems easy, while other days, nothing seems to go your way? You could find objective reasons for this. You might have slept poorly or you might feel sick. But what could a subjective reason be? Are you seeing big problems not because they physically exist, but only because your perspective, rather than the external world, is wrong?

Think about the last time you felt pretty bad. The last time you encountered a substantial problem. How could you explain it with the subjective lens—explain it as if the problem (like everything else) only existed in your consciousness and not in objective reality? Come up with a hypothesis.

Then, hold that hypothesis in your thoughts, and see what happens. Perhaps airplanes will suddenly fly inside of you. 🙂


— Peter

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