Reality, a Fantasy

The image, by the way comes from a pretty good article that has not much to do with what my point is here. It is a great article that makes a different point concerning reality: one that is not at all inconsistent with what I am saying here. https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/virtual-reality-could-it-revolutionise-higher-education. 

"Reality" is for all practical purposes, something that our brains build entirely within our heads. In this sense it is a fantasy. It may be based on real experience, but it is a fantasy nonetheless.

The construction of a 3-D model is one of the primary functions of our brains; it does this so that we might move through space and time too. All animals do this too. It is an abstraction concerning the information that our bodies encounter with the five senses. That's it, just five things. From color patterns and smells and sounds and tastes and physical contact, all independent of one another and all coming into our brains on different channels at different times. Sometimes sensory data relates to one another, sometimes they do not. Sometimes they do and we miss the relationship entirely and sometimes they do not relate at all but we think that they do. It is a big job, a huge job; and the model that the brain puts together I call a Reality Model or just Reality for short.

Every individual has a different Reality which, is constructed from the memories of what we have stored about our experiences, not the experiences themselves. Not only that, but we only remember a very small number of the things that we observe and experience. Our brains choose what to remember based on its Reality Model and the strength of the emotion associated with the input.

We each have different memories: therefore the reality space in which one person manages is not at all the same reality space that another person lives within. All of this is completely unconscious. We have no conscious control over the process. Some people are more fearful than others; it is not a choice. Some people frame people as lazy and stupid, some frame them as productive and smart. The words lazy and productive, of course, mean nothing outside of comparison and who easier to compare with but ourselves.

The stories that others tell us and the things that other people point out to us are also important in the construction of our personal Reality. I did not discover by myself that light can be broken apart into a rainbow; it was pointed out to me and has since become part of my reality. People pass their observations to other people so that other person might experience the same 'reality' as they do and in such they construct what I call Communal Reality.

My favorite story illustrating the point comes out of the Internet, of course. It is true in the sense that this is what happens as people interact with each other but it is probably not true in the sense that this probably never happened; it is a story to illustrate a concept. Every person experiences these types of interaction every single day, provided that they are not in solitary confinement.

A friend, who worked away from home all week, always made a special effort with his family on the weekends. Every Sunday morning he would take his 7-year old granddaughter out for a drive in the car for some bonding time. Just he and his granddaughter.

One particular Sunday however, he had a bad cold and really didn't feel like being up at all. Luckily, his wife came to the rescue and said that she would take their granddaughter out. When they returned, the little girl anxiously ran upstairs to see her grandfather.

"Well, did you enjoy your ride with grandma?"
"Oh yes, PaPa" the girl replied, "and do you know what? We didn't see a single dumb bastard or lousy shit head anywhere we went today!"

So what is the difference driving to school with Grandpa vs grandma? Well, with grandma they don't pass through a world of idiots and lazy people and drunks; they pass through a world of hardworking handsome boys and flowers. The realities really are different even though they take the same streets in the same town.

What people see and how they behave and what they show others is determined by their Reality Model. All Reality Models are incomplete and all reality models are fraught with errors. Maybe we should compare notes to forge something that works well? Maybe not. Maybe we should take the traditional approach and kill all those that have Reality Models that conflict with our own. Your choice Conservatives and Liberals, your choice readers.

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