Going Beyond Human Senses

I think, therefore, I am

Eesha Ulhaq
3 min readNov 21, 2020

At some point, while diving into philosophy you’ll come across the question:

“How do I know, what I know is true?”

This was the idea that René Descartes explored. Through extreme skepticism, using a method of doubt, he breaks down ideas into chunks and validates those chunks, to be certain something is true.

Like sorting through a trunk of apples one by one, making sure no bad apples remain.

But if our only way of interacting with the world is through our senses, sight, touch, smell etc. How could we be sure that the apples we sorted were not bad apples?

Or how do we know we actually exist? That the world was planned, that the universe is real and not some light illusion or that the world is billions of years old. What if the entire universe was created the day you were born and everything around you was organized to appear as a separate system while it served you.

Sound conceited? Yes.

But how would you know?

Descarte had an epiphany. If some external force was messing with us and our senses… why would we be able to think and question?

He knew that he must be real or at least his thoughts were. He realized:

“I think, therefore I am”-B̵i̵l̵l̵e̵ ̵E̵i̵l̵i̵s̵h̵ René Descartes

What I want to explore is going beyond the human brain. Beyond our senses.

We know other animals have a whole different range of senses than us.

Sharks for example can detect electricity, octopuses are able to catalogue despite being colour blind by using their skin to detect colour.

We break down senses into signals which we can break down into math. What are our thoughts? We know other animals experience firing neurons as a thought. We can break down these fire neurons into math.

Math has always been a constant for us, beyond our core senses, that can lie to us. “Number sense is a person’s ability to understand, relate, and connect numbers” It’s been proved by real-world experiments but more importantly it’s also our ability to think and question.

If numbers are always true, the only thing holding us back is the assumptions we make about the systems the numbers operate in.

If we’re able to crack patterns in nature, which almost all break down into math, then we can escape the human senses and explore other animals' senses.

This would be the next big step for humanity. This would give us more confidence that what we know about the world is true.

A side question to René Descarte is if we spend all our time being skeptical, how present can we be?

What matters most to you? Presence or truth?

There’s no right answer.



Eesha Ulhaq

an archive of blogs from when i was 17 - was very often wrong