What is the world? How are we to conceive it? The problem is posed in our everyday experience. Presently, there is before me a wide river, trees and a great bridge that tapers into the distance. The scene has depth, movement, light and color. The clean smell of the water, the warmth of the sun, are part of my perception; there are sounds and voices around me. I am aware of a multitude of other things in the background, my discomfort on the bench where I am sitting, the pen in my hand, the image I am calling up. I am aware also that the perception is given to me all at once in its entirety. I have no sense that it is constructed out of elements. I seems whole and invulnerable. I shift my attention and the world remains fixed. It will be there again when I look away. It presents itself before me and I ingest it with my organs of sense. My body is an object that exists for the perception of others. And on the rim of this perception is an awareness of self. This self-awareness is bound up with an inner commentary. My concept of self as experienced is replete with this commentary, which seems to be the equivalent of mind in the context of this perception. But unlike mind, the perception is not experienced as in the mind or even through the mind but as something outside mind in a space which could be vacant if deprived of the objects with which it is so abundantly filled.
This seems a fair account of an everyday experience of such force and immediacy as to encumber any theory of mind that runs counter to its appeal. Yet every day we are reminded of the fragility of the world. We are dizzy and the world spins around us. We struggle to maintain our balance even as the world disintegrates. Object constancies and perceptual illusions remind us that we are thinking objects, not just seeing them. In the evening the object gives way to a dream imagery that may be more vivid than waking perception. We question the reality of dream only on waking as we regain the world of objects. Now the perception is stable and outside us. But how fixed and stable is this object? Even as we gaze at it we are aware that it is never perceived in the same way. It is noticed differently, it changes with our feelings and interest; the object itself changes in our perception. We ignore this instability to the degree to which the reconstruction is successful. Yet the fragility of the object helps us to recognize its basis in the mind, it helps us to recognize the continuum which exists from the image of the dream to the object in perception in the enlarging representation of a cognized world.____________________