Here is a common belief, a philosophic cliche: Everything's subjective. It's all in your head.
But what the heck does that even mean? What is it, precisely, that's in my head?
Well, this belief supposes that there is something — but it's not a thing, right? — in each of us that has nothing to do with what's around us. There is a subject — a being of some sort — that lurks within that somehow has nothing to do with the air, with language, with other people or food or Nabokov or "American Idol" or the stench of that guy on the bus.
And not only is there this thing-that-is-not-a-thing that lurks within but there is an insurmountable distance between the world, with its filth and occasional beauty, and this subject that, presumably, is me.
But where and what is this pure me, this me that not only doesn't know the world but can't possibly know the world? Is it a piece of the eternal, pure god? I hope so!
Now, if this subject is absolutely pure, untouched and untouchable, does it experience anything such as ideas or feelings or appetite? If not, what exactly does this subject do? How would I know what it even is? And if it can experience feelings or have ideas, where do those come from if not from the outside world?
I want to say that there is no such thing as subjectivity. Everything I am — from my eyeballs to my colon to my concepts to my dreams and reveries and fetishes — is of this world. And everything I am not is of this world, too, including aliens and ideas and mosquitoes and your dreams and weird internal monologues.
And everything in this world runs up against other things in this world. When I see, breathe, touch, hear, smell, believe, think I am taking in pieces of the world — ideas, oxygen, chairs, cement, stars, love, grass.
Think about it: when you look at a chair, how does that chair enter your head? Is it really all in your head? Or is it that the chair, through its many aspects, actually enters your head (and belly and knee and aorta)? The world literally makes an impression on us. And we, in turn, make an impression on it. This is what we call perception. When we perceive, which we're doing all the time, we literally take in the world.
Our perceptions, then, are not subjective as if they were removed from the objects of the world. On the contrary, our perceptions are objective in that they are of objects (both visible and invisible).
This is not to say that there is an objective truth that is monolithic, singular, and absolute. It is to say that there is an object that impresses us, makes a literal impression on us.
But as we're all different — the flesh of me is different than the flesh of you — the impression these objects make is different from body to body. This doesn't make our experiences subjective; it makes them perspectival. I experience the world from my perspective — from this height, with these eyes, this huge ass nose, these fingers, this stomach, these knees, this skinny frame, these experiences, this cultural training. And you do the same with you and all your stuff.
We each experience the world from our own perspective. Leibniz says that each monad expresses the entirety of the universe — but from its perspective. This perspective is not subjective.
Now, there is a wacky, surreal ongoing internal monologue we all have — all that non stop chatter in our heads expressing our fears, desires, and echoes of experiences. This is a private space, perhaps even impenetrable by others. Perhaps even impenetrable to ourselves. Joyce tried depicting this explicitly in Ulysses and, in a way, again in Finnegan's Wake.
And I love this voice. I don't love its anxieties but I love its oddity, its madness, its relentless particularity.
But this voice is not subjective. It's still the perspective of me and my body and my experience with this world. Each of us is an eddy of the cosmos, a local swirl of universal becoming. Nothing is subjective. Everything is perspective.