Saturday, June 21, 2008

Reality and Stuff Like That

Believe it or not, I spend far too much time thinking about what is real and what isn't.

It seems a lot of people seem to think that there are lots of realities and lots of equally valid versions of Truth. This seems like fuzzy thinking to me. So fuzzy that it just doesn't make any sense. [where are you going to put all these versions of Truth - if there isn't a universal Truth which contains them all?]

Anyway, here's what I've come up with: (nothing original here - much stolen from Lao Tzu's work)

The first thing to be clear about is 'how do we think'. 'Cause if we understand that, then we can understand what we think is 'real'.

As nearly as I can tell, we start out by classifying stuff as 'this' and 'everything else'. Some people call this 'dualistic thinking', but my opinion is that it's simply a way to simplify the cacophony of sensory input we are inundated with. It also lets us find 'patterns' so we can form 'habits' to simplify plodding though daily life.

Anyway, when you add some properties to these 'classifications', you get a 'model'. It's a model because the 'thing' has behaviors associated with it. Like a window lets in light and a tea pot holds tea.

The BIG CATCH is when we confuse the 'model's we construct with the real world we live in. The 'model' world is really an illusion we've created - but which we treat as real.

What is 'reality'? That's tough because we're so used to classifying, finding patterns, and creating models that we aren't equipped to perceive - let alone process - what's actually out there.

Anyway - that's what I think is going on. It also answers the quest of why we argue so much:
we're all living in different illusions - not different realities - and our illusions are only loosely based on 'reality'.
There are a lot of conclusions you can draw from this - but this is plenty for now.