The Little Man at The Top of The Tower
Let’s summarize briefly what we discussed in the previous chapter: We can never have a direct knowledge of the originals of what we see, hear, touch and refer to as "matter." Actually we interact with the perceptions that we experience in our brains. We can never step outside our brains to get in touch with the originals of what we see, hear, touch and so, and never can check how their originals are. There is no technical difference between dreaming and real life; we perceive both inside our brains. The wide world that we imagine to be so very enormous is actually a totality of perceptions transmitted into our brains. Gigantic galaxies, which we imagine to be billions of miles away, are actually simply perceptions in our brains’ visual center. They are not "out in space" at all, but right inside us.
Many, if not almost all, people are unaware of this momentous truth. Yet even if others are unaware of it, that’s no excuse for us to be—because we also see the "others" in question as images in our brains. We experience these images, and are responsible for understanding what we see. Even if everyone we hear around us tells us, "This world is real, not a perception," that still changes nothing. In a dream, you may hear thousands of people shouting with one voice, "This world is real, not a perception". Yet that dream will soon come to an end. All those people will suddenly disappear. Beyond being perceptions, none of them ever existed in the first place.
Real life, too, will also come to an end one day—with death. Everything we see (including those who have told us "this is the original of the world") will vanish, to be replaced by an entirely new reality—that is, the world of the Hereafter. Allah reveals this fact in the Qur'an, as He describes the predicament of those who make the shadowy entities and goals in this world their whole purpose in living—or else look for assistance from these things, thus turning them into idols:
… [W]hen Our messengers come to them to take them in death, saying, "Where are those you called upon besides Allah?" they will say, "They have forsaken us," testifying against themselves that they were unbelievers. (Surat al-A‘raf: 37)
Those who object to the facts set out here are materialists, ones who falsely believe that matter is the absolute reality and that the human mind is only another form of matter. Generally speaking, materialists are unwilling to think about and discuss the obvious truth explained here, that we can never make direct contact with matter. Often they become quite frustrated with the idea. Back in the eighteenth century, materialists were incensed when the British philosopher and clergyman George Berkeley systematically explained that what we know about matter is actually a set of perceptions in our minds. The materialist thinker Samuel Johnson, who lived at the same time, kicked a stone and shouted out that by doing so, he had "refuted" Berkeley. However, Johnson’s primitive reaction and the similar assertions made by other, later materialists—merely show how far they are from grasping the truth of the matter. Neither kicking stones nor punching walls constitutes any proof of that they interact directly with the originals of stones and walls. Everything we do and feel at that moment is a set of perceptions inside our brains. Someone who kicks the stone or punches a wall is in fact kicking or punching the perception of the stone or the wall inside his brain. Indeed, they can kick a stone just as realistically in a dream, but everyone will certainly agree that the stone is no more than a perception in the brain.
Materialists’ resistance on this issue is generally based on their failure to understand it. They’ve forced themselves into a dogmatic belief in matter’s absolute existence and strongly avoid ever questioning it. Here, we are pondering and revealing a truth they are unwilling to consider: that if they accept they have direct contact with the original matter, then they also must regard themselves as "the little man at the top of the tower."
The Tower and the Closed Chamber at Its Summit
The image of the tower, which constitutes the title of this book, is just a metaphor we’ve used to help clarify the subject.
Its meaning is this: If you maintain that you directly interact with the originals of the world and of your body, which exist outside your brain, then you must accept the existence of a giant body that carries all these images inside his skull. In that case, inasmuch as you perceive everything in your brain, you are a tiny person locked into a tiny room, atop a giant tower.
arrive at this conclusion? Let us consider, stage by stage:
You can never see this giant tower (i.e. the body of which you imagine that you directly see the original), because you are locked into a tiny room at its very top. You can never leave that room all through your life. You can watch only the images reflected on the walls of that room. Some objects in those images (stars, for instance) may seem to be millions of miles away. Yet the fact is, you still remain in that tiny room.
In order to better understand this subject, take the example of the animated fantasy cartoons often shown on television. In some of these cartoon films, a giant robot is controlled by someone sitting at the command center in the machine’s head. For example, in the well-known film Voltran, giant robots are directed by a man sitting at the command center in the head section. The robot acts in accordance with that person’s commands. The commander is a tiny man sitting inside a mechanical man the size of a skyscraper.
If you believe that you interact with the original of the body you see and feel at this moment, then you have to accept this system. To put it another way, you must accept that you are a little man sitting in a room at the top of a tower, or atop a giant robot.
Consider that the body that you see and experience at this moment is approximately 5 feet, nine inches—or 1.80 meters—tall. Then, in comparative terms, you have to accept that the original body outside your brain, which you believe you have direct contact with, is giant-sized. If the body is a tower and the "I" perceiving it is a person in a cell at the top of that tower, then that tower must be hundreds of feet tall. If you have a 5' 9" image of the body you refer to as "me," then the body outside, which you accept that you have direct contact with, must be hundreds of feet high.
Yet another example can make this clearer. Someone who claims that he is seeing the original car which is outside his brain, although he actually sees its perception in his mind, needs to think as follows:
The image of the car forms in a person’s brain. The visual center is no more than a few cubic centimeters in size. If the image of a car several feet in length fits into that area, then that visual center must be the size of a car, at least.
And if that center is a few meters in size, then the human brain must be of proportionally huge dimensions.
If the human brain occupies such an immense space, then in proportion to his brain, a person’s body must be several miles in size.
Here we are referring only to someone who glimpses a car. Consider a person seeing a valley several miles long. If he claims that he sees the original valley, then his visual center must, in the same way, occupy an area of at least several square miles. If so, then the person’ brain, internal organs, arms and legs must all be proportionate—and of colossal dimensions.
Since such possibilities are out of the question, isn’t it quite illogical to claim that a car several meters long, or a valley of several square kilometers, actually exist outside and that the percipient is actually dealing with them in their original forms?