Hi and Welcome to the A & J PEI Treasures E Jean Simpson Author Blog Post and Podcast. I’m your host, Jean coming to you from the lovely Province of Prince Edward Island, Canada!! The blog post and podcast is an opinion piece and only reflects this author’s opinion and not that of any other entity. Today’s blog post and podcast will focus on the concept of reality. In the immortal words of Robin Williams, “Reality, what a concept!” If you want to find out more, then stay tuned…
I actually remember my brother getting the Robin Williams record. It somehow materialized in the house. We thought it was hugely funny. I can still hear some of it in my head. I remember him doing Shakespeare…and it including something indecipherable that kind of sounded like, ‘arb d r r’. For some reason that mixed in other parts of the monologue stuck some of which I can’t publish in a clean blog and podcast. It may have been the record that came out in 1979. It was a time of a different reality than we see today. Aids was barely on the radar, we listened to rock and roll including KISS and Bay City Rollers and we stood aside to let grownups pass. Swearing was frowned upon. If you did something to get in trouble at school, you were in trouble at home. As you can see, our reality was quite different from the general reality that people see now.
Reality has been argued by philosophers as long ago as Aristotle and Plato and likely long before written record. I have long understood that you can talk to two or more different people about the same event and you will get different ideas of the same thing. For example, 5 different people could attend the same show. You will find some of them will see it as good, some of them will see it as bad and some of them will see it as average. Doesn’t really matter the show, what matters is the personal tastes of the viewers. The same for books. One person can read a book and love it, another can read the book and hate it. Some just don’t want to read it at all. So, which is reality? Perhaps it lies somewhere in the middle. So, then, is reality the amalgamation of all the experiences and if we did an average of all the impressions from all the people of the same thing, would reality be the middle answer? Though, as George Orwell states, is it a case where, “Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else”. So there are some that postulate that reality is really just “all in our heads”.
Of course one might argue that, as Tom Clancy stated, “The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense.” There is some truth to that. In fiction, the bad guy has a clear agenda. The negative events have a reason for happening. Sometimes the ending is poetic justice or something tangible happens and it all makes sense. In real life, we sometimes get actions that don’t seem to make sense and worse seem not to have logical reason for happening at all. We try to make sense of some events. Sometimes it boils down to hate or anger or just accident. So, reality has different results than one might expect in a good fictional account. Even my memories of my childhood experience. I remember talking about something with one of my cousins once and she was totally traumatized by an incident that I barely remembered. So, her reality wasn’t less real than my reality and vice versa. We just saw the reality differently. So, because your reality differs somewhat from someone else’s reality, it doesn’t mean that you are entirely wrong….nor does it mean you’re entirely right. So, perhaps as Bryan Singer postulated, “We don’t live in the world of reality, we live in the world of how we perceive reality.”
But, then how do we survive with no ‘real’ reality. Well, there seems to be some ‘realities’ that people accept. These take the form of rules for society, rules of behavior and cultural norms. So, within the ever changing face of reality, we have the comforting ability to form different norms and things that are acceptable. Those too, change over time. For example, having a bathroom in your house is mostly considered the norm now. Even in the 1900’s, you could find outhouses that were in actual use. I remember having indoor plumbing being added to both Grandmother’s houses during my childhood. Before that they used outhouses and special pots that were kept under the bed at night and dumped in the morning. My parent’s grew up using outhouses. That was the reality then. It is now barely remembered and unknown by a majority of today’s youth…with perhaps the exception of vacationing in a park and even those facilities have come a long way. So, reality can change in various cultures over time. It is not something that is static. It changes with new discoveries, new science. Another example is what I’m sitting doing my blog post and podcasts on. When I was a child, there were no computers for personal use. I did my first degree hand writing essays. Yes, seriously, I hand wrote my essays. Later on, I could use a typewriter. It wasn’t until my 2nd degree or was it my MA that I started to use computers. The computer science people actually used cards…punch cards. So, now with a computer, cell, tablet or laptop in a lot of homes, we have a whole different reality. This reality didn’t exist even 50 years ago.
Then we look at reality as being the real. The computer you are working on or the cell phone you use is real…as real as reality can get. You see it as an important part of your lifestyle. Some see it as a tool and some see it as a hindrance. Does this make it less real? Not exactly, but some would describe it differently but it wouldn’t make it exist less in the way you see it. Whether you consider it a tool, an important part of your life that you could not live without, a lifeline or just something that is there, it is your reality that you impose upon it. If you look at it objectively, it is just an object that you use to interact with a world that you presume is real, though some interact more honestly than others, it is still a form you use for communications of various sorts. You can use it to read, to find out the news, and for a variety of reasons. It shapes your reality and you seek that which confirms your reality. Therein lies a problem. What if your reality isn’t real?
Jean Piaget pointed out that “The essential functions of the mind consist in understanding and in inventing, in other words, in building up structures by structuring reality.” So we build reality, we live in reality, we create reality but is it real? In all this, reality is determined by the individual. Given this idea, “Mastering our thoughts can only be achieved after we truly understand what reality is. Thus, it is time to shatter your pre-conceived concept of reality. First, the majority of what you perceive as reality exists only in your mind, and, chances are, you spend most hours of your life in this illusion.” Alaric Hutchinson. So, if we actually have our own reality and there is shared components, are we all just living some illusion? Are we something that someone is dreaming? These are not new questions, it’s been pondered by many the philosophy student and philosopher over time.
Of course, this doesn’t deny reality or your reality or anyone’s reality, just understand that you may not always have the same reality as others. Also understand that the search for fact and science is part of the attempt to be objective and find a reality that is testable, true, and gives a view of what we need to do. Science has given us a lot more than just a way to test hypothesis. It has given us a route to improve our lives. It too can change as information comes to us and changes the reality around us. If not for scientific method and science in general, we would still be using outhouses or the nearest bush for plumbing facilities. We wouldn’t have computers, treatment for medical conditions or a lot of today’s conveniences. The quest for reality is also a quest for truth, for a better and easier life for everyone. It is a quest that is still being followed in order to change reality for the better. It is how humans attempt to make sense of the world and make the world make sense. It is the accumulation of the knowledge and wisdom available which has changed from one generation to another. As Robin Williams proclaimed, “Reality, what a concept!”
Thanks for listening to my podcast and/or reading my blog post and thanks for your interest in A & J PEI Treasures! Wishing one and all a safe and happy Halloween!
Just one more thing. I have one of my children’s e-books up for a 2021 TCK award Category is General Non-Fiction https://www.tckpublishing.com/2021-readers-choice-voting-page/. The Big Kids Magical Path to Colours in Nature (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B093K2FN4M/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_GBTXKZW5EVAX2C92PCY1). If you have a moment, we could use some votes.
I have finally gotten out my latest e-book which is The Big Kid’s Magical Path to Insects in Nature. It is available via Smashwords and I’m affiliate there (https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1112196?ref=ejstoo) in a variety of formats and through Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09KKWT9ZD)!
Our Blog Posts are available on
WordPress: https://wordpress.com/sites/aandjpeitreasures.wordpress.com and
Podcast are available on Anchor FM in a variety of formats: https://anchor.fm/a–j-pei-treasures iHeart Radio: https://www.iheart.com/podcast/269-e-jean-simpson-bed-ba-ma-a-82327485/
All my e-books can be found on:
Keep watching for more e-books and more formats! Currently working on a new project and toward getting my e-books up on Smashwords and will be an affiliate when I do! We’re always working on something!
Wishing you a safe and happy Halloween!