When you finally realize that your whole view of life -- all your beliefs, all your convictions, all your understandings-- is based on personal interpretations of perception, you understand how fallible you really are. After all, everything you know is processed through your restricted point of view and by your limited physical abilities. At best, you use your small brain to process extremely simple to extraordinarily complicated ideas formed through your constrained human senses. At the same time, you defend your self-formed realities with utmost zeal.
In essence, your reality is not the reality known to any one other human being. You live within the boundaries of self translation, first breath to last, with the false ideal that you can judge reality as it truly exists. You, like all human beings, perceive the world from within yourself. Yet, there is no exclusive reality--it differs from person to person, from one center of the universe to another. Rarely do you think about someone's reality in direct opposition to your own.
Reality, to have meaning, must include everything that "is," whether or not it is observable or comprehensible. Reality in this sense includes "being" (anything that can be said to be, which is opposed to nonexistence) and sometimes is considered to include "nothingness," as well. Did not God create the Universe from "nothingness"? Then, is it not possible that any (all?) things as you perceive them are not accurately "real" at all? And, is it not possible that all concepts not experienced by you are equally "real"?
Many theories discuss the existence of the concept of reality. Newton's theory stated that there is an objective reality, that the world is as we see it and exists regardless of our own existence. But in what state and form is this existence?
Einstein later theorized that the perception of reality depends on the relation between the velocity of the observer and the velocity of the observed. In other words, by changing your speed relative to an object, you observe it completely differently: space becomes warped, compressed or expanded, and time changes. ("What Is Reality," www.alumbo.com, May 16 2007)
Other theories, such as Werner Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, proposed reciprocity between the individual and the world. In other words, the perception of reality is a result of your influence on the world and its influence on you.
Heisenberg believed that reality is what can be observed. If there are different observations, there must be different realities, which depend on the observer. An advocate of philosophical idealism, which states that the objects of perception are identical with the ideas we have about them, his idealist view denies that any particular thing has an independent real essence outside of consciousness. (Thomas Knierim, www.thebigview.com)
An Example of Real Perception
Consider the process involved in allegedly "seeing" something in reality:
1. Light hits the retina of the eye.
2. And this changes the chemical composition of the eye. Right?
3. And this makes electricity travel along a nerve, the Optic Nerve.
4. And this goes to a part of the brain.
5. And then something happens and you see the thing.
So, according to science, you do not respond to a thing, but to electrical and chemical events in the brain. This is true because without eyes, the optic nerve, or certain parts of the brain, you do not see. So, science is telling you that you never see directly that real object which in front of you. Chemical and electrical reactions made your "reality" of the sight. Doesn't it make you wonder what is "really" there? Of course, you cannot know the real object apart from your perception of it. A question like, "What does something look like when no one is looking at it?" is clearly nonsense, and unanswerable. But, it certainly stimulates thought.
Therefore, as Ken Ward (Freeing The Mind, 1998) stated, "Isn't it true that if we accept this scientific account then we cannot be certain that anything exists out there because we can never directly perceive it. Strangely, if this scientific theory is true we cannot prove it, because we can never perceive anything directly, so we do not know how and from where the experience came into our minds. Even our knowledge of eyes, nerves, bits of brain, is not direct but via electrical and chemical events in our brain!"
How Could Anyone Understand Reality?
What, then, allows you to understand anything? If your reality is rooted in your own perceptions; then, the study and enhancement of perceptive tools surely will smooth your pathway through individual understanding. You must be willing to question and investigate all views. To limit such discovery is to limit your real experience of the world and your relation to it.
Philosophy is "investigation of the nature, causes, or principles of reality, knowledge, or values, based on logical reasoning rather than empirical methods." Specifically, philosophy includes five fields of study and discourse: logic, aesthetics, ethics, politics, and metaphysics. You must use these studies to bear witness to your own reality. Here is a brief explanation of these specific fields (www.angelfire.com):
1. Logic is the study of the ideal method in thought and research: observation and introspection, deduction and induction, hypothesis and experiment, analysis and synthesis. It contains rules for formulating arguments and ordering thought so as to come to sound conclusions.
2. Aesthetics is the study of, or expressions of theories of reasoned thought regarding the ideal form, or beauty; it is the philosophy of art.
3. Ethics is the study of ideal conduct, right and wrong; it attempts to deal with questions of "what ought to be" in regards to our behavior.
4. Politics is the study of the ideal organization of society and government; justice, monarchy, aristocracy, democracy, socialism, anarchism, feminism: these are some of the possible elements of political philosophy.5. Metaphysics is the study of, or expressions of theories of those things that are above or beyond nature or physics; beyond the five senses, the "ultimate reality" of all things.
Consider This Reality
Lucid dreaming is the only known reality where you can alter your perception at will, travel between worlds and universes, and truly test the nature of reality. Some people even describe their lucid dreams as more real than waking life. If no one truly knows whether lucid dreams are a subjective reality or a non-reality, nothing says your lucid dream experiences aren't just as valid as perceptions of the real world. So, the next time you are inside a lucid dream, ask yourself "what is reality?" You will soon discover that the possibilities for exploration are truly endless.