Exercise Your Mind

11 05 2011

So today I’m going to take your mind on a fun little adventure. Nothing really serious, just want to get something posted because I’m feeling like I’m letting you readers down so here we go.

A good definition of Reality is “the state of things as they actually exist, rather than as they may appear or may be thought to be. In a wider definition, reality includes everything that is and has been, whether or not it is observable or comprehensible. A still more broad definition includes everything that has existed, exists, or will exist, not just in the mind, or even more broadly also including what is only in the mind.

Another aspect which I plan to talk about is as follows “On a much broader and more subjective level, private experiences, curiosity, inquiry, and the selectivity involved in personal interpretation of events shapes reality as seen by one and only one individual and hence is called phenomenological. While this form of reality might be common to others as well, it could at times also be so unique to oneself as to never be experienced or agreed upon by anyone else. Much of the kind of experience deemed spiritual occurs on this level of reality.

So we will call these “Real” and “Phenom”.

Basically the idea is that reality is a hard fastened thing or idea. Call it what you want, it doesn’t change for anybody or anything. It just simply is what it is. Phenom is based on the Real but allows an individual to project an idea of what the Real is and to them it seems as though it is True.

So now we get into the next set of words I’ll be discussing.

A truth is basically when you have a small group or large group of people who agree on a piece of information that they call true. In some cases it may not be true at all, but to them it may be true for a personal reason, or because they are not properly educated on the matter. Fact is something that doesn’t change regardless of a persons opinion. For example, the sun rises in the east and sets in the west is a fact to anybody regardless of their religious, ethnical, or language they speak. So a fact is basically a specific piece of reality.

So again we have two related terms. Truth is something that can allow for a personal version, whereas Fact is simply as it is regardless of who you are. This can get tricky because some things are subjective but generally these simple rules will apply. One example is the idea of Hot or Cold. To a person who has nerve damage, neither hot nor cold would register to them personally, but hot is hot and cold is cold right? Wrong, because you then have the question of what temperature classifies at hot? To some, 30C is hot, but to others, maybe 40C is their line. So to say something is simply hot doesn’t allow for enough information to actually define it as Fact and it gets lost in the realm of Truth. Most would agree it may be hot, but some could argue it’s only warm. To make it Fact, you would have to state the actual temperature, leaving almost no room to argue. This is a silly idea, but it shows how easily many people will jump to the Fact conclusion too early.

So why am I writing this? Well it actually directly applies to most of the topics I discuss on this blog. I guess I wanted to explain how I come to the decisions I make about topics. I even admit that I have most likely broken these rules myself in some of the things I have written. In some cases because I just used the wrong words, but in some cases I may actually have a slight bias creeping into my words. This is why I invite discussion so freely because without discussion how will I ever learn where my bias or flaws in arguments are.

When I write about things like evolution and religion. I am making the assumption that most people realise I am NOT making a generalisation that “all religious believers deny evolution.” I know that there are many who have very different views of religion and some are willing to stray from the larger pack and accept it into their own personal Phenom.

Why do I call religion a Phenom. Well personally I would say that almost every possible religious option would be a Phenom simply because of the fact that there are so many versions of each. Almost every person who follows a given religion allows for their own personal opinion to bias at least one piece of it to fit their own comfort zone. If you think I’m claiming science as the opposite, you’re in for a surprise. I wouldn’t claim such a wide generalisation as a perfect answer to everything. There is still so much we as humans have to learn about the universe that I know for a fact science would also fall into the category of Phenom. If there was a scale of some sort to show where these two large categories would lie, I would place science closer to the reality side simple because science makes an attempt at testing, learning, adapting, questioning in every possible way to ensure that what it declares as fact is as close to fact as we can get until further data is available to test.

Before I get a thousand replies on the word Theory, I’m going to venture there next. In science there is a big confusion among the general public between theories and hypotheses, with theories being considered as satisfactorily tested or proven and hypotheses used to denote conjectures or proposed descriptions or models which have not yet been tested or proven to the same standard.

Many people will argue with statements like “Evolution is a theory, it hasn’t been proven yet.” This is the statement I am trying to avoid by putting this little bit of Fact. I choose the word fact because the definition is set. Even though some could say they have a different definition of the word, that is where their Truth comes in. A person with nerve damage could say the item didn’t feel 30C but the thermometer measuring it is showing the Factual temperature.

My thoughts on whether Evolution is Fact or Reality vs Truth or Phenom I will leave for you to guess. I will just say, the way I look at it is that there is enough evidence to suggest a certain answer, and if it is disputed and proven to be wrong and that proof is then accepted through the same Scientific process that Evolution had to endure, then I may change that decision.

Why do I find this so interesting? Well honestly, I just think that if you really sit down alone and think to yourself about the world, you will see that there are things that you actually accept everyday as being hard Facts but really end up being Truths.

An extreme example. If you take the idea of flat earth creationists. They do still exist, although they are quite rare today, they believe that the earth is flat. They take their beliefs to be facts although they are based on personal opinion. The consensus of opinions on the matter as a population of the globe would suggest that we have accepted the sphere shape for quite some time now. Yet they continue to base their reality and facts upon this idea.

One last example is the idea of the Mayan calendar. Many would believe the “end” of the calendar is the end of the world, but this is a misunderstanding taken out of context, and twisted to make profit through books, films, etc. Once the idea is there, and becomes accepted by people who are susceptible to such claims, there is potential to keep them hooked by releasing more misinformation as needed. The mayan calendar doesn’t actually end, they used a system similar to our, but with different amounts of time. Take our centuries for example, we are in the 21st century. The Mayan calendar would be entering the 14th occurrence of their equivalent. They measured it with approximately 400 of our years in what they called a B’ak’tun.

I could go on forever with this topic, so I’ll leave it to you readers to let me know what you think, or to let me know what I should talk about next. Whatever you want to say, I’m willing to listen and give my 2 cents.

Thanks for reading.

Update: I totally forgot to get into the whole Quantum Physics area of reality and how bizarre reality really can be, but it wasn’t really important in the scheme of things I covered in this post. Anybody interested in learning more about the very fascinating world of reality, comment below and I’ll be glad to send you a link or two on some interesting topics. Also, do a google search for the BBC show “Horizon: What is Reality” and “Horizon: Is Seeing Believing” Both cover the topic in amazing fashion. Again, thanks for reading.

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