Describe, say, how it feels to dance under a cool summer day with your eyes closed. Describe the color blue to a person who has never seen before. Recount the sensation of the laughter of one’s own children to people with no children of their own. Describe the taste of chocolate to someone who has never tried it. Plural of quale – philosophical term used for “subjective experience” – qualia in essence refer to ‘What it is like to have an experience’. We all know that human beings have different perceptions of the same things… how to describe them with words… that’s where qualia come into place.
From the Latin, meaning “what kind”, qualia are philosophical terms that refer to the subjective qualities of sensory perception & the feelings they generate. Quale is not only the “redness” of red, but the way that redness makes us feel. It is not just the smell of a spring morning, it is the memory it recalls. Qualia are, in essence, our own unique & personal perceptions of our environment.
Take mountains for example, I LOVE them, I’ve always lived near them & everytime I see them I feel at home, I feel like a kid again. When I stare at them for quite sometime, tears come rolling down my cheek …corny I know.
There was a time when I lived abroad, far away from home & whenever I looked at my window I couldn’t see any mountains & for some reason that worsened my pain of being away. I couldn’t wait for the day when I would go back home & see them again, I could just picture it on my mind. I felt like Heidi going back to her grandpa in the Swiss Alps.
Every time I see mountains I feel safe, but not everyone might feel that way. Take prisoners in a jungle for example, when released, they might not like the idea of being near a mountain. That’s what “subjective qualities of sensory perception & the feelings they generate”, mean.
The reason I started a blog and named it qualiaforlife is because I wanted a space to share my ‘subjective experiences’ about and for life to whoever cared to read them & could agree to disagree or agree to agree – that’s the beauty of subjectiveness -. It makes no difference. What most of us can agree on is the need of having a canvas, microphone, pen/pencil, clay, stage, microscope, camera, ball, podium etc. were we can freely express ourselves – disregarding other’s opinions – in an attempt of finding ourselves.
“Practice any art: music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not [necessarily] to get money or fame, but to experience ‘becoming’, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow”- Kurt Vonnegut on ‘Letters of life-advice to his children’
Reading & writing is my way. What’s yours?