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Saturday, February 04, 2006

It's all in the mind

I was talking with my friend Garry last night, and conversation turned to the perception of reality. The question was asked, is there one true reality?

I suggested that there isn't, and even if there was, there would be absolutely no way to determine what that 'one true reality' was.

What is reality?

Reality is what you perceive it to be, isn't it? Reality is defined by your perceptions. What you see, feel, hear, touch, taste and think all make up what your reality is to you.

Since every single person on this planet perceives things differently to everyone else, we can't really say for sure that there is one true reality. There are as many realities as there are people to perceive it, with each person perceiving that reality differently.

There have been some throughout history who have said that if reality is determined only by our perception of it, then if there is no one around to perceive it, there is no reality.

If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound? If no one heard it or saw it, it may as well not have happened at all. How can we know if a tree fell unless we observe it?

There is no reality until that reality is observed.

Schrodinger's cat is another example of thhe paradox of reality and observation. It thoerises about a device placed into a box with a cat, and then the box is sealed. The device may or may not cause the death of the cat due to whether or not an atom decays, and yet the result is not known until the box is open and an observation is made on the condition of the cat.

It suggests, using the term 'superposition', that all possible states of being exist simultaneously - as long as we don't look to check. It's the observation, or the measurement thereof, that brings about only a single possibility.

What's the point?

What is the point of all this in the real world? What does it matter to your life and how you live it?

If you can understand that your reality is based on your perception of it, then you can understand that the effect it has on you is always by your choice. No one makes you perceive something in a particular way. No one forces you to believe something is the way it is. It's entirely up to you how you see something, and how you feel about it, and how it affects you.

Reality, by being valid only because of how you perceive it, can be changed by changing your perceptions.

Your perceptions are based on your beliefs about how things should be. Something causes you happiness or sadness, anger or frustration, because of how you believe you should perceive it, interpret it, or react to it.

If your reality is filled with bad things happening to you, it's because of how you're interpreting the events around you. You can choose to react negatively, and your reactions, based on negative beliefs, are themselves negative.

You act on what you believe.

Change what you believe, and you begin to change how you act. When you change how you act, you change how others react to you. You have it in your power to change your life around from one that's negative, for example, to one that's positive.

How you perceive things determines your reality. Changing your perceptions is entirely within your capacity, by understanding that it's your choice.

You might think that your perceptions, your beliefs, are simply how things are. But they've been created by how you've interpreted past experiences. The things that have happened to you or around you have resulted in you thinking about them in a certain way. What other people have told you or taught you, or even what you've told yourself, has had an effect on how you interpret and perceive things from that point on.

As an example, what if your teacher, when you were a child, told you that you deserved to fail at a particular subject because you never applied yourself? What if they told you that you would never be any good at it? What if you chose to believe them?

That single event of choice is what changed things for you. From that point on, you were never any good at that subject, and you had all kind of frustrations around it for the rest of your life. Your reality from that point on was determined by a perception of how things should be.

This is exactly the same for everything in your life. You act and react according to what you believe is right, and yet your beliefs are results of choices you made.

What if, in the above example, you decided to disbelieve them? Your reality would have been completely different, as you go to great lengths to prove them wrong. You would have studied that subject, passed all the exams, and possibly gone on to be incredibly successful in a career based on that subject. All because you chose not to believe them when they said you would always fail. Because you chose to believe something different when they said you weren't good enough.

Near the beginning of this article I described reality as 'what you see, feel, hear, touch, taste and think'. While reality is based on your 5 senses, so is it based on how you think about things. And when you can change how you think, you change your reality.

Since your reality is really all in your mind, you can actually change your reality by changing how you think about it. No one can do this for you, it's up to you. Those beliefs that you have had for most of your life which limit you in one way or another, can be changed. You can create new beliefs for yourself that allow you to achieve your potential.

You can create them simply by telling yourself - and believing it because you now understand it's your choice - that you are worth a better life than what you have now. Tell yourself that you can get what you want, and that you're the one who decides what your reality is.

Take back the power of creating your reality. Don't give that power to other people to tell you how your reality is or should be. Make the decisions yourself.

Your reality is in your mind. You can make it what you want.

Posted on 2/04/2006 05:29:00 PM Backlinks


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1 Comments:

Blogger Chancelucky said...

Not sure I agree with full on subjectivism and I don't think Schrodinger did either. My understanding of Schrodinger's cat was that at some level the "observable" defies explanation. One could observe a dead cat or a live cat, but for whatever reason one could not see the moment that got them there, sort of an eye blink. The eye blink was for some reason impenetrable and most anything could be happening in that space, but one could most certainly "observe" the cat in either of the two states.
To me, that's not quite the universe is whatever you make of it.

I suspect there are multiple realities. I don't, personally, however think that all those realities are "equal". The very unique fantasies of a paranoid schizophrenic don't have the same weight as the "shared" reality that I seem to have with your blog/net existence, though we could both be paranoid/schizophrenics.
The full on subjective, all realities are arguably equal and possible approach, is really fascinating though. Have you ever read Ursula Leguin's Lathe of Heaven? It's a fun spin on the notion.

2/05/2006 06:53:00 AM  

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