Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Perception is Reality

A man is locked in a room of pillows. His life ticks away in sedated spurts as the doctors label him a “lost cause.” The man seems to exist in his own world, a world where he is married to a woman named Maria, and he works at a water amusement park where his three children can ride for free. A psychiatrist visits the man each day, but there is no improvement, no indication that his words are even being heard. The man continues speaking with his “wife” or his “employer” or whatever other imaginary being his mind tells him is there.

My question is simple: is the man crazy?

The answer, the only answer to which I can conclude after many weeks of careful thought, is no. This man, whom believes he works at an amusement park whilst hardly ever leaving his cell, is not crazy. He exists in a reality which is apart from our own, however that does not make it any less real. The world that he sees, the people he speaks to, and the woman he loves are all very real. To him, that is. Are they real to us? Why does that matter?

Reality is nothing more than what your brain tells you it is. The possibility that you are a “crazy” person locked away in a facility has never occurred to you, because the people you encounter all are “real” people. It doesn’t matter to you whether you’re locked up in supposed “reality” because that reality is not your reality. What matters in your reality is that last piece of chicken sitting patiently at the buffet table as you and a large man from Texas silently race towards it.

There is a large possibility that I do not exist. It is likely that your path and mine will never once cross, and so you will know me only as an ill kept blog with an interesting bit of food for thought. Of course it is far more likely that you are the one who does not exist, as I can perceive of myself writing this. It is entirely possible that one of us is merely a construct of the other’s own mind, but that is truly irrelevant, because if you are reading this than this writing is a part of your reality, regardless of whether or not its author is.

Simply because something that another individual perceives as real that we ourselves cannot see, or hear, or understand does not mean that that something does not exist. All it means is that that something does not exist as a part of our individual reality, our perception of reality. However, this should not matter, as it could be very real to any other individual. For instance, there are those who claim to experience attacks by ghosts, however it could later be proven that the “claw marks” etched into their back were self-induced in a state of delusion.

But that delusional explanation is only the rationalization that best suits your own perceived reality, as in his reality he was indeed attacked by a ghost, and no amount of reasoning will ever change that, and nor should it. Our thinly united reality is a construct of one dictatorial mind influencing the realities of all others in its reach, though it may not be aware of such. This can be proven in asylums themselves, where trained professionals are paid to go in and convince other individuals that their realities are simply wrong, and that there is only one true reality. The true reality being, of course, the one inhabited by the trained professional.

This idea is false. The reality of a “delusional” man is no less real than the reality of the “professional.” Perhaps locking these people up in one reality is the best way to ensure that they do not damage that reality, however there is no reason why anybody must beat at the walls of another reality in an attempt to morph it into one that resembles their own. Each individual living being exists in a separate reality, and whether or not that reality conforms to our own is not a matter that we can control, and it is not a matter that we should attempt to control.

Your dorm mate exists in a separate world from you, and your mother exists in a separate world from you, and your dog exists in a separate world from you. While we may be sometimes able to acknowledge other individuals, we really have no ability to understand if that individual exists in another reality. All we have to go on are the words given to us through other individuals that exist in our reality. These words are then, of course, biased to seem more plausible in your individual realm.

As such, I deem there is only one universal law of reality. Perception is reality.

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