• Bhang, Youngmoon

The Root of Philosophy - why philosophers, priests, masters have denied this empirical world

a photo exhibition Exploring Polyhedron

- on reality, object, knowledge and human perception

"My dear, as by one clod of clay all that is made of clay is known, the difference being only a name, arising from speech, but the truth being that all is clay." -KHANDOGYA UPANISHAD (6th prapathaka, 1st khanda)

The metaphor of clay or a doll made by salt might be a deep and thoughtful idea, but this kind of idea is thoroughly based on the uni-directional causality. The viewpoint of this uni-directional causality concretizes pantheistic ideas. Paradoxically, it also offers the foundation of theistic idea such as the European Christianity.

These ideas separate the intrinsic and extrinsic, moreover try to explain about the origin of everything in the theoretical frame of separation. Why many philosophers, masters, teachers(gurus) denied this empirical world and treated it as an illusion? Actually, we can find a root of that kind of idea from the structure of human language that can be divided into the subject and predicate.

So, I picked up 7 photos to express my thought that about the human perception and reality. The photography series is composed of 7 images. And this work shows photos of 6 sculptures designed and printed using a 3D printer and a real chicken egg.

Exploring Polyhedron (c) 2019, BHANG Youngmoon:



In the another article(https://www.bhangyoungmoon.com/post/art-defines-us-what-is-art-how-can-art-define-us-as-human-race), I explained about the definition of artifacts, which means, everything that comes out from human civilization is artifact. The manifestation of artifacts can be described as the embodiment of concepts. Including Science, every studies of human civilization are related to language and conceptualization.

This specialty of human race makes us most powerful species on the Earth.

But every advantages accompany disadvantages.

First, we cannot understand the world without language or linguistic tools, second, we always worry about our own future. And many kinds of mental diseases. And above all, we cannot recognize the world without linguistic approach, for this reason, I just want to borrow from famous philosopher Alfred North Whitehead, we commit "the fallacy of misplaced concreteness" because of this advanced communication ability. And one of the most serious problem in The Human Intellectual History came out, it doesn't mean that it can be a topic for discussion but literally 'the problem'. Which means, we treat the world as an illusion because of our linguistic ability.

For this reason, I want to pick somethings up for share with you. It is the intrinsic aspect of our linguistic skills. In our thought, in our mind, we always separate recognizable something that can be described by human linguistic approach from thing itself. In the process of our recognization, the linguistic structure is always in the process. We cannot get rid of it forever and ever.


Before we recognized the limitation of human perception and the problem of human language, many philosophers, priests and masters those who lived in the ancient days, they always imagined a transcendental world as the famous sentence, "The truth is out there." This imagination, actually, is the result of our linguistic structure that can be resolved into subject and predicate. About the origin of human language, there are various hypothesis, but for the discussion I should take a specific position for it.

As I said, every human languages can be resolved into subject and predicate. So, at this point, everyone can understand that this structure is the foundation of human language. Because, it was started with kinds of descriptions. The intelligence of human has been developed with 'community'. The evolutionary roots of human cognition is 'sociality'(Michael Tomasello). It is not the result of a kind of individual struggle. The great human intellectual accomplishment come from 'community.'

For this reason, human languages have been developed for communication, literally. This is the result of joint and collective intentionality. "Linguistic communications an extension of natural gestures. Both are invitations to jointly attend to an external situation for one of several cooperative motives."(Michael Tomasello) And for the communications, speaker must separates 'icons' from thing and situation, and speaker and receiver must understand to that 'themselves are not the things and the situations themselves.' Which means, for communication with language, early human race tried to separated 'meanings' from 'situations' and speaker and receiver and subject and predicate. So, at this point, we can prudently draw something as a conclusion, the tautological structure is the fundamental structure of human language.

Mathematics and science have been given by this tautological structure of human language but this is the cause of the derivation of inappropriate conclusion such as the Plato's idea, Brahman&Atman in ancient Indian philosophy and so on.

I found some ideas from these historical contexts. And I wanted to melt these ideas into my photo works, and the result came out in 2018. But, I want to tell you the important thing, I just could see a tip of iceberg, under the water of the history of human perception, there is a huge amount of ice in the ocean.

Yes, we have huge amounts of works to do.

Exploring Polyhedron

This photography series is about human perception and reality.

In this digital age, digital files can be turned into real-life objects.

Let's think about 3D PRINTER.

For example, STL file, one of the famous file format for 3D printing, can be something tangible and touchable object through 3D PRINTER. The reality, this empirical world and the virtual reality such as digital simulation both fundamentally boils down to activities of electrons, we can deduce. Think about Solid State Drive or Flash Drive. Digital information is preserved by the activities of electrons, and tangible, touchable things are made up of molecules, molecules consist of atoms and atoms consist of a nucleus and electron.

The difference arises only in whether we perceive it using our own sensory receptor such as eyes, ears, mouth and nose or through some kind of device to access the system.

So, in my opinion, the real issue is not whether this is reality or not.

Even if there is true and authentic reality is out there, if we cannot perceive it or that true reality is untouchable, it is useless just as Jean Baudrillard said, "The simulacrum is never that which conceals the truth—it is the truth which conceals that there is none. The simulacrum is true.


So, I presented a photo work to express about this and 4 conditions of proof of reality are what I put on the table.

Any experience that meets the following conditions prove that it is indeed a reality.

First, sufficient amount of information.

Second, Impossibility of total understanding the present conditions.

Third, the unpredictability of the future, because of the second condition,

And Last, Noise. It is the sign of uncertainty.

Among the photos, this work is the only subject not created using a 3D PRINTER. Standing in contrast to the proceeding 3D printed objects.

This is the conclusion of my photo work, <Exploring Polyhedron>

The empirical world does exist. Problem is that we conceptually construct a world.

It’s a figment, exists nowhere but in our fancy.

But, why we eagerly want to deny this empirical world and have the enthusiasm for ideal world?

Platonic Solids

We have always relied on conceptual media to make sense of our reality, to perceive this empirical world. The reality that we experience and the virtual reality both are fundamentally boiled down to activities of electrons as I said(Actually, it might be the reductionistic idea. Currently my viewpoint has been changed. I'll talk about this later because my next photo works are about this 'change'). But the difference arises only in whether we perceive it using our own sensory receptors or through some other 'terminal devices' to experience. It cannot be denied.

And the ‘Terminal’, the fundamental medium of human perception is our own language. According to the Buddhism, our suffer came from our habit of conceptualization. And Vilém Flusser also explained about it and the limitation that we cannot directly contact this world. Which means, we conceptually construct a world, but it is not this world, exists nowhere but in our fancy.

I wanted to say about this through my photo works. "There is no true and perfect world out there." Plato and many ancient Greek Philosophers imagined about the one and perfect world that cannot be experienced by physical human body. So, they obsessed on mathematics, especially GEOMETRY. Verisimilitude comes from our perception not from this world. This empirical world cannot be denied, problem is our own perception that relies on our linguistic structure. Permanence, eternity and immutability is in our fancy. But, however, many people do not accept this. They have the audacity to argue that “the empirical world doesn’t exist, the truth is out there, life is just a dream.”

But, if we can focus on the interactions of phenomenon that is the bed rock of every phenomena in this universe, we don’t need to separate the intrinsic and the extrinsic. Because, this kind of separation, this dichotomy is not fundamental but just came from the epistemological misconception.

So, I wanted to present my idea through these 5 photos.

The real issue may be not whether this is reality or not.

This world, the universe is not a huge illusion but dichotomy is.

And on the other hand, this is the limitation of our knowledge, I think.

Because, such inferences whether it is induction or deduction,

it is always standing between us and uncharted territory.


Okay, first question. What is the KARMA?

I presented my own definition of reality and I explained that why we want to deny reality but pursue ideal, transcendental world with my photo works. And last work of the series is about the cause and effect.

KARMA is not unfamiliar to people anymore. But I suppose that most of people do not know about the true meaning of KARMA. As you know ‘KARMA’ is very important idea of Indo-Aryan immigrants. But during the period of the ancient VEDIC era, before the immigrants settled down at the Indian sub-continent, KARMA only referred to the acts of priest. Karma(कर्म) was a professional jargon of the ancient Vedic ritual Yajna(यज्ञ, yajñá)

Let’s think about it. If you eat a piece of bread at a bakery, it just foretaste but when you eat a piece of bread at the Church during the service, it is a Holy Communion. Likewise, if you draw a circle on the ground, it’s just a circle but if Brahman Priest draw a circle on the field of ritual ceremony something gonna happen. Moreover, Indo-Aryan immigrants believed that their ritual is the cause of every phenomena in the universe. For this reason, KARMA could be the cardinal cause of every effects in the world. According to this tradition, basically, ordinary person’s action cannot be KARMA.

But nowadays, as you know, KARMA is a sort of universal term of ethical value and it offers moral pressure to many people such as Hinduists, Buddhists and those who are living in the Asian continent.

This Indo-Aryan immigrants those who made VEDIC ritual believed in that the order of Cosmos cannot be sustained without Yajna(यज्ञ, yajñá). And at this point, we can find something very interesting. As you can see, Plato's division and the Vedic ritual are very similar to each other. Think about it. Both ideas took the idea of '2 stages' which means, this empirical world is the projection of the true world. Like a Plato's metaphor of the cave, Yajna(यज्ञ, yajñá) divided the world into divine and mortal.

The idea of cause and effect actually came from a sort of primitive intelligence.

Every creatures on the Earth, especially animals can find food for their own lives. They know that ‘if I eat this I can get energy for my life.’ Even though there is no linguistic structure in their minds, they simulate a situation and evaluate risk and profit. This 'simulation' is foundation of the analogy. If a creature wants to make a decision, basically the creature have to take two points: start&end. These two points consist the foundation of various kinds of intellectual behavior. My conclusion is this. This 'simulation' is the root of instinct that the desire of finding the origin, and this intellectual urge to find the origin came from the primitive function of creature.


I want to reveal the fundamental layer of human consciousness though my photo works.

Many philosophers, priests, masters and teachers those who lived in the ancient days, they always imagined about some kind of transcendental world as the famous sentence, "The truth is out there.” Because they thought that this imperfect reality must not be the one of true real world.

But I want to stand on the ground of opposition.

Imperfection, limitation, inconstancy and unstable.

These are the natures of this real world,

What we are,

And the truth what we must accept.