What is “Real”?

Shelly Fagan
5 min readSep 11, 2019

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?

Objective Reality

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…



Shelly Fagan

Complicated subjects made accessible. Politics, Basic Income, Philosophy. I follow back.