My son, Daniel, is 6 months old. A key developmental milestone for him over the next few months is for him to learn that when an object is out of sight, it still exists. For him, an object only exists if he can see it. This goes for any object; animate or inanimate. Psychologists call this developmental phenomenon ‘object permanence’. We typically grow out of it within a year or so as a baby, but it causes a great deal of anxiety for a baby. This is because when mommy leaves the room, she ceases to exist for Daniel. Part of the learning curve is to learn that mommy is ‘permanent’.
Now, I said above that we typically learn object permanence at an early age. I wonder what happens if we don’t fully resolve our object permanence issues and if this might shed some light when considering how some individuals purport to only ‘believe in what they can see’. Atheists are some of the most vocal proponents of this philosophy.