Donald D Hoffman, cognitive psychologist from the University of California, Irvine, likes to perform this same trick with tomatoes. As he suggests in his latest book, The Case Against Reality: How Evolution Hid the Truth from Our Eyes, that juicy red fruit on your plate ceases to be when you don’t look at it. And he doesn’t stop at tomatoes. For Hoffman every single thing, from a neuron to the Sun, is a mere “icon” upon our mental desktop: a user interface geared to aid survival in a world utterly and inscrutably different from anything we could conceive it to be.

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