Reality?


This week on Facebook: Having written a short true story with the title The House of the Dead,  I now find myself as an ‘official carer’ and have to confess that I have not been a particularly ‘caring one’! Holding views on the nature of ‘reality’ that I do, I view the world about me in a completely different way from someone who doesn’t have the same perceptions¹. This month my views eventually caused me to question the very nature of normally perceived ‘reality’, leading me in the first instance to the TED video included below and the website on Brain Reality.

Some weeks ago Sabina posted the following quote by Byron Katie at which time I had finished my own post on ‘Reality’, which began before Sabina’s post. My thoughts caused me to question my own perception of reality and why I was (and still am) responding angrily to another persons perception of reality (no matter how personal it is). It made me realise that arguing with another person’s perception of reality really hurts both of us.

I am a lover of what is, not because I’m a spiritual person, but because it hurts when I argue with reality. Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life

The following meme from social-media (new), is a quote from Plutarch (old) that has been repeated in many forms, mostly in achieving a different reality for a lifestyle and often including advice on achieving greater wealth.

I assume that Plutarch’s quote was intended to be philosophical² and that while Plutarch’s understanding of the nature of ‘reality’ had philosophical intent, he would have understood its connection with wealth. My new understanding of reality has helped my perception of it, but Plutarch has indicated that an inward perception is required if changes are to occur to an outer reality. My new understanding has not improved my life, but it has changed my perception of an outer reality that is not something agreed on³.

It may be that a collective agreement on ‘what is perceives to be reality’ is all that it takes to make it real for vast majority — regardless of any notion that it is a mere hallucination! Incidentally, I am not a follower of Byron Katie and do not have the book Loving What Is.

A thought is harmless unless we believe it. It’s not our thoughts, but our attachment to our thoughts, that causes suffering. Attaching to a thought means believing that it’s true, without inquiring. Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life

The following articles are intended to be ‘self explanatory’ with each being an adjunct to the previous. How the brain creates reality (1), suggesting that our notion of reality is tempered by what we perceive it to be (2) and that reality is nothing more than a collective agreement (3). What the brain actually interprets is not the reality (4) and the brain separates a fantasy from a reality (5).


1. How Your Brain Creates Your Reality: At the most basic level, your world is constructed by your brain. Making sense of the world and its happenings is nothing more than our individual brains’ interpretation of the signals it receives as we go about our days interacting with our environments.

2. Reality Lies Beyond What We Can Perceive: Do our lives happen entirely in our heads? We understand physically how the brain creates the subjective world around us. And thanks to neuroscience we have learned to measure sensations, emotions, and even dreams.

3. Our Experience of Reality Is a Bunch of Hallucinations We Collectively Agree On: When we think of hallucinations, we think of phenomena that are not real—created, in a way, by an aberration in our minds. But from one perspective, these visual illusions are just as real as anything else we might see.

4. The Amazing Ways Your Brain Determines What You See: When you say things like, we don’t see reality, people think you’re being a post-modern relativist. That’s not the case. There is a physical world. It’s just that we don’t see it. Red doesn’t exist, the note “C” doesn’t exist. These are all things inside our heads that we project out into the world.

5. Is This the Real Thing? How the Brain Separates Fantasy From Reality: Most of the time, our expectations accurately match up with our senses. When the system works normally, it allows us to distinguish between what we thinkwe’ll see from what we’re actually seeing. It even lets us accept the abnormal as the new normal.


Referenced Articles Books & Definitions:

  • A bold text subscript above and preceding a title below (¹·²·³), refers to a book, pdf, podcast, video, slide show and a download url that is usually free.
  • Brackets containing a number e.g. (1) reference a particular included article (1-5).
  • A link (url), which usually includes the title, are to an included source.
  • The intended context of words, idioms, phrases, have their links in italics.
  • A long read url* (when used below) is followed by a superscript asterisk.
  • Occasionally Open University (OU) free courses are cited.
  • JSTOR lets you set up a free account allowing you to have 6 (interchangeable) books stored that you can read online.

¹On Science & the Perception of Reality: The present mainstream science tackles the problem of Consciousness by embracing the objective or third person perspective; hence, it fails in understanding many fundamental aspects of life. Further, knowledge gained from science is not absolute in the sense that it is based on a human-centric view. This brings us to the question of how to access absolute reality? In this article, we consider the subjective aspect associated with the objective phenomena and explore a possible new science of subjective experience.

²Reality Check — Insights from Cognitive Science: So what is reality? Many people think of reality as an independent entity, but this may not be true. Even if an external reality does exist, we can never truly know the answer. Visual objects in the outside world do trigger certain visual processes, but everything we perceive and know as our reality is the end result of this process. This means that reality is always filtered by the creative powers of our mind, thoughts, and fantasy. We can’t escape the influence of fantasy because this is precisely what we use to determine and translate our perceptions of reality.

³Understanding human perception by human-made illusions: It may be fun to perceive illusions, but the understanding of how they work is even more stimulating and sustainable: They can tell us where the limits and capacity of our perceptual apparatus are found—they can specify how the constraints of perception are set. Furthermore, they let us analyze the cognitive sub-processes underlying our perception. Illusions in a scientific context are not mainly created to reveal the failures of our perception or the dysfunctions of our apparatus, but instead point to the specific power of human perception. The main task of human perception is to amplify and strengthen sensory inputs to be able to perceive, orientate and act very quickly, specifically and efficiently.

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Oracle performance, Oracle statistics and VLDBs

The Land Is Ours

a Landrights campaign for Britain

The Bulletin

This site was created for members and friends of My Telegraph blog site, but anyone is welcome to comment, and thereafter apply to become an author.

TCWG Short Stories

Join our monthly competition and share story ideas...

The Real Economy

Blogs and stuff from Ed Conway

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Professor Mark Elliott

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