You are out of touch with what is reality.
We think everything we experience is “real.” We believe something exists when we can touch or see it like nature, technology, and other people. In this view, reality is shared. It is an environment we move through which is separate and distinct from us.
Experiences which have the potential to change our definition of reality must be validated by others. If we see a flaming meteor streaking across the night sky, invariably we will turn to others and ask, “Did you see that?” Not only are we calling attention to something unusual, but we want outside verification of what we experienced.
Can someone else validate our reality, please?
If others agree with our view, that consensus makes it fact. “Yes, I saw that flaming rock flying overhead,” therefore, it happened, and it is real. If enough people agree, it becomes unassailable truth.
Facts are what is meant by “objective” reality. It means something exists independent of our opinions on the matter. It is unbiased and not subject to interpretation. It just is.
This causes a great deal of problems when not everyone agrees.
Reality and Religion
If everyone in the town believes the meteor is a sign of God’s favor, then we accept that as true. It moves from a subjective belief based on faith and becomes our objective reality. We don’t acknowledge the possibility for error or allow for ambiguity.
We “know” we have the ultimate truth. We remain steadfast in our position that we are right because everyone else agrees.
One lone voice says it is a space rock from the outer edges of the solar system and has nothing to do with God or signs from the heavens. Their scientific view will be labeled dangerous, kooky, and ultimately, they will be silenced. Usually, this comes in extreme forms of censure or even death.
This dynamic occurs not because the scientist is wrong, but because they went against the popular view of the world.
Reality is a Numbers Game
There is power in numbers, even if everyone is wrong.
If you side with the scientist, you risk being labeled mentally ill, incarcerated and forcibly medicated. This diagnosis may result in all sorts of problems for an individual to move through society. Popular opinion has the power to destroy your future. Ironically, it might be said one would have to be crazy to speak up considering the potential consequences.
As one example, many philosophers reject the notion of solipsism, that is the belief that one cannot know anything outside one’s own mind. Basically, the assertion is that reality is wholly subjective and therefore, nothing matters.
Metaphysical solipsism is the idea that everything outside of the self is an illusion, and that reality exists only for the individual. The trouble with this notion is that some believe this excuses people from ethical behavior, ignoring the possibility that we may personally benefit from our good actions toward others. In turn, this opens the door to moral relativism as one’s experience is the only thing that is real.
Because of this, the philosophy is largely rejected in academic circles. It is often ridiculed.
Mental health professionals view this sort of personal philosophy as a pathology, calling it “Solipsism Syndrome” — although it is not yet officially recognized as a disorder.
In the future, your belief that you cannot know anything to be real outside yourself, and that your observation is the only objective reality, could result in you being labeled mentally ill. You risk losing your rights to move freely in society, to hold certain jobs, or to live without being forcibly medicated.
Life Does Not Happen to You
Despite what philosophers and psychologists say, your reality is unique to you and your perception is purely subjective. We don’t acknowledge that another’s perception might be different than our own because it challenges our consensus-building view of the universe.
Reality isn’t a shared external environment you are moving through along with everyone else, but this is how we expect it to work.
According to the MIT Technology Review, an experiment by physicists from Heriot-Watt University demonstrated two people can observe the same event and see two different things happen. Both observers would be correct.
While some will argue phenomenon at the quantum level is largely irrelevant to the operation of day-to-day existence, it demonstrates how we selectively choose what information we incorporate into our version of reality.
What Happens When You Live in a Simulated Reality?
If reality is a computer simulation, how does that work?
We don’t reject it because we feel it is invalid, but because it challenges our reality and requires that we reexamine our worldview. It is easier to accept our erroneous views than to make allowances for an evolving reality.
You Do Not Recognize Your View of Reality is Wrong
According to George Mobus, Professor Emeritus at the University of Washington, the answer is simple. In his paper, A Theory of Sapience: Using Systems Science to Understand the Nature of Wisdom and the Mind, he demonstrates that most people frequently do not even recognize their own mistakes, let alone be able to learn from them.
Whether you acknowledge your flawed perceptions or not, what you experience is unique to you. It evolves over your life and it will die at your death. Others don’t agree with your view of the universe because they perceive a separate reality. Someone else may experience something completely different. Both can be correct and still not reach an agreement regarding what is real. Yet both will argue when challenged because they need assurances that they are right.
While you and others may share many of the elements of your reality, this does not make your view of the universe objective. It simply means you agree in your subjective view of the world.
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