Through biology, and to some extent physics, we have gotten the idea that man can be an objective observer of an external world that is not himself; that he can stand back from it and look at it and say what is out there.

Well, this cannot be done.

We can approximately do it, but we cannot really and fully do it, for two reasons.

The more important reason is that biologists show us very clearly that there is no way of definitively separating a human organism from its external environment. The two are a single field of behavior.

Furthermore, to observe something alters it. This happens if you merely look at it, and the more so if you make experiments, “do science” on it. You cannot carry out observations without in some way interfering with what you observe. This is why we try to hide when, for instance, we are observing the habits and behavior of birds. When you watch something, it must not know you are looking.

The separability of humans beings and their world deflates the myth of the objective observer standing aside and observing a world that is merely mechanical, operating like a machine out there.

The second reason that we cannot separate ourselves from the world around us grows out of the science of neurology. We understand clearly now that the kind of world we see is relative to the structure of the sense organ we use to perceive it.

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