In previous entries I said truth is that which corresponds to reality. There is more that can be said of that, but for now I want to look at what is reality. What is reality? Reality is that which is. In Exodus 3 God speaks to Moses. Moses asks God what is his name. God replies, “I Am”. He is. Reality is that which is. This is really not hard to understand or even confusing. It is just when asking the question, “what is reality?”, it seems like the answer should be more complicated. The concept of reality is not complicated, but how we figure out “that which is” sometime is. The complicated part is sometimes we have trouble figuring out what is real.
Perception is the organization, identification, and interpretation of sensory information in order to represent and understand the environment.All perception involves signals in the nervous system, which in turn result from physical stimulation of the sense organs. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perception)
The environment around us is filtered through our senses. I look out the window and I see a maple tree. The tree is real. It is a part of the vast landscape of reality we call the universe. The tree is real, however, the existence of the tree is separate from my perception of the tree. If there were no window for me to look out of the tree would still be there. The degree to which my senses are able to perceive determine how that I can experience reality. For example, I am setting in a McDonalds as I write this. Just a little earlier I noticed two people a few tables over from me who were deaf. At least it is my perception that they were deaf. I am led to believe that because they appeared to be speaking to each other by way of sign language. There was a lot going on in McDonalds which they were not able to experience or be aware of. Now as I set here there are very few people in the dining room, but there is a lot of drive up business. There is a constant beeping behind the counter and there is the chatter of the employees behind the counter and there is the traffic noise outside. At this particular time they are not missing much at all, but the point is the real things in our world which cause the air to vibrate which thus causes our ear drums to vibrate which then sends a signal to our brain which we interpret as sound is a particular slice of reality that a deaf person does not experience. Of course the deaf person compensates for lack of hearing in other ways, but the point is there is something out there which they are missing.
Reality is what it is, but a proper interpretation of reality is necessary in order to make sense what we experience. I say this because we often misunderstand. Here is a simple example. I have lots of books at home. They live on shelves. I was visiting a rather interesting man a few years ago who I used to live down the street from. I noticed he had a lot of books on shelves as well. However, after looking just a little closer I noticed that he actually had no books at all. He had painted books on his wall to appear to be books. That was not all.. he had also painted what appeared to be windows over looking a beautiful beach. At first glance it looked real. He was rather elderly and had painted his walls years ago. It was just a little faded, but I expect that when it was new it looked even more real.
What’s the point? His painting fooled me. I thought he had a wall full of books, but it was actually only paint on the wall. There was reality- painted books and there is what I perceived- real books. Reality and perception did not match up. My mis-understanding of the books did not last long. The illusion was only good enough to last a few seconds- a close look revealed the deception. Sometimes, however, we may misunderstand what is real for a long time- maybe our entire life.
That’s all I have time for now. More on this a little later...