Knowing the difference between reality and perception is an elusive, yet a vital part of understanding our existence. In an world defined mostly on the evaluation and use of words and symbols for everything can perceive, how then do we discriminate between fact and fiction? Between perception and reality? Are they one in the same? Obviously in our society we can say that one thing is real and another isn’t, but on the geography of the human mind the ability to determine the difference between the two becomes a much more complicated landscape. A more accessible point to address might be the question of fact vs. opinion. In addressing this notion the larger question can come more clearly into view.
An obvious example of fact vs. opinion could be the debate of religion. There are no facts dictating or enforcing the belief or the opinion of a vast majority of the population dominated by theistic views, yet it remains their opinion. Most religions even require the suspension of the desire for a factual basis for the acceptance of their existence. But people still adhere to these beliefs. Why?
Another example that might suit readers of this piece would be the dreaded “conspiracy theory”. In its definition the word ‘conspiracy’ means a person or group planning; to plot or conspire. This happens in everyone’s lives, every day. This happens in reality television, in all major athletic organizations, in all facets of our stock market and financial system. Even on that fateful day, of you or your loved ones birthday cake extravaganza, when someone walks in the room and everyone shouts “surprise!” Although, arguably the word implies sinister intent, even in the sinister regard it happens all the time, every day, everywhere. In high school social paradigms, in college fraternal orders, in organized crime. Yet a vast majority also believe there is no such thing as conspiracy, or that people choosing to embrace that idea are loonies. Why?
Yet another example of fact opposed to opinion would be the credit given to mainstream news and the belief held by the public that what they are being told is true. People trust these organizations to tell them what is real and what is not, and how to respond to it, without ever questioning the validity of its content, or the factual basis of which the programs are predicated upon. Why? The answers to these questions can shed a lot of light on the question of reality vs. perception. The first thing one might ask themselves to be able to answer these questions is in all cases, whether or not the people are consciously choosing to believe something they know is false, thinking something is true that isn’t true and believing it, or unconsciously believing something whether it is false or not.
Many of us can say, “OK,” because there are no facts to prove the existence of god, in my mind, he (it) does not exist.” At least in a religious context. Many of us can also say, “ok, I know the definition of the word conspiracy, therefore I know it exists.” And then some of us may be comfortable enough with that understanding to apply it to all facets of human interaction without bias, such as to groups like the church, or government. Many of us can say, “ok, there are no facts being presented in this analysis I am watching on t.v., therefore I do not accept it as truth.” And then possibly question the validity of organizations that would seek to present opinion as truth.
But, why can’t a vast majority of Americans and people around the world make that distinction? And why can we? To answer that, you look at perception. If your perception of reality does not require truth, you may not require your own perception to define reality. You may accept reality only as it is presented to you in a format that fits your strengths and weaknesses, your fears and loves. This is the most common distortion of reality, self deception. In an even more well known term, this may be categorized as insanity. Insanity is defined as being in a state of serious mental illness, or having extreme foolishness or irrationality. Am I implying that insanity is not just a mental state reserved for the psychos on death row? That insanity is not an illness reserved for those unable to function in society? That the majority of civilization is predicated upon a foundation of insanity? What would it mean if this were true? Psychologically speaking, a fracture in self is defined as dis-associative disorder or multiple personality disorder, and usually occurs in response to a massive traumatic event. What kind of event would be needed in order for this condition to manifest itself in the psyche of a population?
Insanity is often categorized as the inability to detach from a conceived perception of reality that is false. What amount of this characteristic would need to be present on a massive scale for the diagnosis to be accepted as a common trait in humanity? And how would such a detrimental intellectual state of being become so common? The average person has been conditioned to reject facets of their own perception. That fear is bad, that anger is bad, that sadness is bad. But these emotions exist for a reason. In the pursuit of neglecting the self in order to achieve a more socially desirable state of artificial euphoria or emotional stability, you neglect the functions and existence of the human condition. You neglect the self. It is not a wonder that people would choose to exist intellectually on false pretenses and fantasy if the self is being neglected, because to what can you know if you don’t know yourself? If you are unaware of the parameters that define YOU, how can you be aware of the parameters that define your existence, or your reality? If the self is based on a fragmented and perverted foundation, than the existence perceived by that self must also be. And if this can manifest itself in the psyche of one, or a population, or a country, it can manifest itself in the psyche of a species as well.
So what is reality? “Reality” is a word that by its own definition can only be meaningless. If reality is the definition of our understanding of what is real, and we create our perception and likewise the term for it, reality cannot be real. It cannot be definite. “Reality”, a term that means a definite implication that ones environment is absolute; cannot exist. It is only a term for our perception of what is real, and a term created by our perceptions to define our perception as real, cannot be real. The only reality is perception, an indefinite, evolving, deteriorating, and constantly changing variable. The definition of the term ‘perception’ is tangible only because it is only defined as how we assess the foundations of what we can determine exists. And deception is the only ‘irreality’, the only enemy to true perception. Self deception is the only fallacy, because one cannot be deceived without first deceiving the self.
One cannot be misled without first being led, and the need or desire to be led can only be the result of an error of perception.
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