Dying Daily #218: Reality Bites

I actually think reality is awesome, but I also think the Generation Police would arrest me if I didn’t use that title.

A tough question today:

“I understand now that we are not what we think, feel etc. And I am beginning to understand that our reality is filtered by such things. And it’s making me better understand forgiveness … but here’s where I’m at: is there a true reality if it’s always filtered? And where does responsibility come in … when we choose to act on feeling or thoughts in a situation?” 

This might get divided into two days.

There are so many different perspectives on the idea of whether or not there is a true reality “out there”.

The increasingly hostile fight for ideological supremacy in our society is very much a result of this question being unanswered. Different schools of philosophy and different religious ideologies will all give you a different answer.

I am not sure if there is an objective reality out there or not. I suppose I lean toward the idea that there is because I am constantly working to clean or remove my filters so I can see things more clearly.

Culture, religion, ideology, illness, mental illness, abuse, lack of abuse, the narratives of our parents, gut bacteria and thousands (probably millions) of other things all have their say in interpreting how the information makes it through to “us”.

This is further complicated by the limitations of our senses, and the fact that things like color and taste and everything coming in through them are processed by the brain and translated into a format we can use. Everything is really just different energy fields (there is probably a more precise term for this) that our brain finds a way to interpret in a way that allows us to navigate and survive in the world. This is limited, and there are all sorts of things we cannot detect, so we hear about people dying from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Then there are the questions of objective right and wrong and good and bad.

I have my personal moral compass, but I find that many of the things I want to define as good or bad or right or wrong are really just inconvenient to me or don’t fit with my model of how things should be. These are, of course, determined by my filters, so we are back to that.

Since I don’t have access to the information that would let me know if there is a real reality out there, or what the correct reality looks like, I do my best to remove filters, or at least be aware of them.

My ultimate aim in this is always to improve how I treat other people, and to lessen my attachment to the self that causes all of my self-centered behavior.

These things make me think I do believe in an objective Truth, and that it says how we treat other people matters. This is no doubt informed by all of the conditioning factors mentioned above, but it is reinforced by the reward I get from following this path, which is increased peace and contentment in my life.

We’ll look at responsibility tomorrow, thanks for the questions!

An Older Post That Seems Relevant

Dying Daily # 14: Smudgy Mirrors