Sunday, July 15, 2012

The nature of reality and perception

Hello all

A few days ago I made the following post on my facebook wall:

"What is reality? If anything, it is a collection of paradigms and discourses of interpretations of the collective consciousness and matter, a collection of ideas that hold the most weight - this alone does not qualify them as the 'best' or 'right' one. Reality should allow itself to exist alongside 'unreality', as the systems are mutually dependent."

The response I received was surprisingly positive,  and although I've made posts about things related to these concepts before, I've never gone down this particular alley of thought in any great detail.

Today, this will change.

Before I begin, here is a supplementary media list (or films I think you should watch if you want to explore this point in your own time)

A Scanner Darkly
Dark City
The Matrix
Waking Life

And also, before reading, please make sure you understand ALL of the following words.


I find the idea that there is an external world that our perceptions are subject to, as human, sentient, conscious beings, as unprovable at best and dubious at worst. Therefore, when I make statements such as "Reality does not exist" I don't mean that in an absolute sense, but rather that I want you to consider that you MAY be living in a sort of consciousness in which reality does NOT exist and that currently we have no way of knowing. The reason it is important to consider the non-existence of reality is because it would likely change the way we act and behave toward each other in fundamental ways. 

When your senses perceive a stimulus, that is you interacting with the outside world - or is it? So says common wisdom. But think about it - what proof have you ever received, apart from your own perception, which is very obviously trickable, malleable and most importantly SUBJECTIVE, that an objective world, outside of your own, exists at all? 

One alternative would be that you, with your consciousness, instead, are the root of 'reality', and that everything in the system of life is a result of you thinking it into existence rather than it having been there before? This is called solipsism. Or perhaps YOU are not the agent, but rather someone else is? My considerations allow for any source of consciousness to be its root, I do not presuppose that my own consciousness is the root. I can theoretically conceive of my own consciousness being the root of all consciousness, but I cannot prove it.

Rather, I want you to consider that such a thing may be POSSIBLE. 

Everyone experiences life through subjective perceptions of their own. If their own perception were all that existed, we might think to treat them better, when formerly we might have accused them of not conforming to reality - now once we consider that reality doesn't exist, perhaps these people are not doing anything wrong to begin with? 

The paradigm I'd like to explore is to consider reality in a 'relative' sense. In the same way that gravitational acceleration works more strongly for heavier and closer objects than lighter and further ones, an idea that is believed by more people will have more weight in the collective consciousness, and therefore be harder to overturn than an idea with fewer supporters.

This is why it is crucial to have an earth of happy and healthy people, because then the weight of the ideas of happy and healthy people will overwhelm the negative ideas. The keys to happiness and health are education, meaningful pursuits and meaningful personal relationships. Essentially, being a hedonist - a person who chases joy and pleasure as high values, would mean that you are spreading the good will.

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