What is reality? The Webster dictionary defines it as “the world or the state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them.” But what does that even mean?
“It’s the truth even if it did not happen.” -Ken Kesey, One Flew Over a Cuckoo’s Nest
The funny thing about reality when it comes to humans, is that we don’t live in it. Consider a simple being, like a leaf. The leaf simply exists. Its reality is the tree that it grows on, the sunlight that shines on it, the bugs that land on it. The leaf can not think, it does not have a brain that can imagine a different situation for the leaf. It just is.
What about humans? We build up stories in our minds, that are just stories and are not based on the physical, material reality in front of us. These stories are accepted by everyone. If one were to dispute them; if one were to adhere to the reality of the situation, they would not get far in life.
An example? Money. What is it really? It’s just a piece of paper with marks on it. That’s all. But we as humans have built stories around these little slips of paper, that they have grown larger than reality. They determine one’s wealth, and in turn, one’s worth. It is fought for and fought over. The United States is anchored down by the invisible chains of debt. But all that money really is a belief, just like every other invisible line that guides us down the “right” path. Laws, religion, manners, social interaction; they are all guided by a perceived consensus taken at the start of civilization and refined over the centuries. These beliefs act as barriers. They inhibit us, but they also help us survive. They take away from our free will, yet create a world where we are capable of making choices.
So Reality isn’t even our reality.
We are born with a blank slate. As we grow older, our direct observation of the world begins the muddle as the subjective reality of human existence, the “knowledge” and “logic” that we advanced creatures possess, gets impounded into our brains. Our minds are now clouded. What gets transmitted from our eyeballs and processed by our brains is different from objective reality. The scary thing is, we really don’t know what is out there is the real word, because we have never seen it clearly.
What do you mean, we haven’t seen it? If you think about what humans really are, we’re just a brain, blood, organs, and a nervous system, which is awfully constricting. Everything we experience is (arguably, the existence of a soul is complicated to say the least) a finite amount of chemical reactions within our bodies, we cannot process it all. So, based on the set beliefs that we come with, we make assumptions and extrapolations on the subconscious level. So it’s not just beliefs that play a role, the entire configuration of our brains put biased restrictions on our reality: information we allow ourselves to expose to, what we mentally attune to, what we see, and the memories that we choose to retrieve. And we don’t even notice.
What would happen to us if these blinders came off?