We don’t need relativistic physics to tell us that space and time are the same concept. The farther away an object looks, generally, the further away it is. We think of these relationships in terms of sight because it is the sense we most frequently use in this context. We can see things from the past like pictures, or paintings, or stars; spatial relationships that remain unchanged throughout vast stretches of time. Audio can have the same effect but the instances are much more limited (e.g. recorded music). By contrast, touch, taste and smell are almost always indicative that there is very little distance, both spatially and temporally, between you and the object or environment being perceived.
We can touch rocks that are millions of years old, but necessarily, by definition, they are here and now when we touch them. On the other hand, when we see stars we directly perceive the state of objects that are unfathomable distances from us and millions to billions of years old (of course, paintings and pictures are here and now as well, but they feel so distant when you can’t physically identify their 3d structures).
For this reason sight and vision verbs are inextricably linked (imagine, visualize, reflect, regard etc). But as I’ve said before, vision is so much more than what we see. In my mind vision is defined as a spatial and temporal representation of the self in relation. This mental space that we all create is an absolute requirement for existence. We all need a place to live — not just a physical, tangible location, but a mental, ‘internal’ representation of our boundaries, or what makes ‘me‘ different from ‘you‘.
The degree to which this space (and therefore, who/what we are) is molded by our environment is almost unbelievable. But what is truly unbelievable is how difficult it is for us to see the malleability of our selves. These spaces we create and reside within are by definition indistinguishable from the “reality” that they represent. In fact, I would argue that there cannot be an objective reality beyond these representations.
However, many scientists believe that scientific progress hinges on this idea that consilience, or convergence/concordance of evidence, allows us to gain insight into an ‘objective reality’ that would hypothetically exist independently of observation. In other words, facts or truth arise when work from independent sources produce the same conclusion.
This is almost accurate, but it doesn’t even consider the idea that independent sources arrive at the same conclusions because observation creates truth. And in a very real way our external world is created by a consensus between ‘internal’ spaces, not anything that actually “exists” externally. For example, value is purely derived from two people agreeing that an object (or idea) has value. Similarly, ‘up’ and ‘down’ are entirely relative and determined solely by individual perspectives (which just like value, differ drastically between viewpoints).
We unnecessarily take this to mean that no two viewpoints can ever be the same. Of course, by definition it is impossible to occupy a perspective other than your own. However, it is irrelevant that viewpoints are different; that no two people will ever share all of the same ideals. In my humble opinion, all that really matters is that the substrate of perception (consciousness, vision, existence) is uniform no matter how you view “reality.”
It becomes easy to relate to anyone if you keep in mind that any opposing viewpoint is just another way to frame a shared space. More to the point, it becomes difficult to disagree when you realize that arguments and perspectives are all composed of the same stuff and occupy the same space. You may think that someone is dumber than you, or stronger than you, but these are just degrees of existence. When it comes down to it we are all the same. No matter how different we may seem it is impossible to avoid occupying this shared space we call “reality.”