From a talk by Richard Dawkins on man’s perception of the universe:
It’s worth recalling Wittgenstein’s remark on the subject. “Tell me,” he asked a friend, “Why do people always say it was natural for man to assume that the Sun went round the Earth, rather than that the Earth was rotating?” His friend replied, “Well obviously because it just looks as though the Sun is going round the Earth”. And Wittgenstein replied, “Well, what would it have looked like if it had looked as though the Earth was rotating?”
We are conditioned by who we are, and indeed by what we are, to see things a certain way. That doesn’t mean that we can’t perceive things in a different way (though, as Dawkins argues, that might sometimes be the case), but it does mean that we need to make an effort to avoid falling into the easy default. Often those defaults are handy (well that bottle of bleach might contain champagne, but I’m going to guess it’s just bleach), but many are not. Even more significant, most of our assumptions are unseen; we don’t even know that we’re assuming them. So why don’t you go home today and find something you’ve been taking for granted and challenge it? Unless it’s your wife, of course; I’m trying to challenge you, not get you killed.
The entire video is well worth watching:
Bonus! In a related video David Deutsch points out how untypical our place in the universe is. If we were in a typical place in the universe it would be pitch black; you wouldn’t see anything. If you were then to look at the nearest star at the exact moment it exploded in a supernova, you still wouldn’t see anything 🙂