Types of Reality
This has led to multiple theories of reality by various philosophers and scientists:
Phenomenological reality is based on subjective experience.
Whatever you observe is instantly real to you. This theory of reality means that unreality is non-existent.
Therefore lucid dreams, hallucinations, spiritual experiences, and astral travel are all forms of one subjective reality.
Consensus reality is based on the opinions and observations made by a group of people.
A few individuals may decide on an interpretation of an event, which spreads across entire societies and becomes a consensual truth.
Religion is a good example of a socially constructed reality.
Non-reality simply means that there is no such thing as objective reality.
Every possible observation or interpretation is tainted by subjectivity and therefore does not constitute truth. Nothing is real.
Is reality mental – mind; or is it physical– matter and energy? If mind, is there a deeper consciousness underlying appearances that unites us all and is the source of our conscious thoughts?
If matter, can we understand how the play of material objects and forces can give rise to conscious life?
If reality is mental, we might best connect with it by skillful introspection; by a pure, deep, and penetrating way of thought that would see past appearances and show reality directly to the mind.
Alternatively, we might passively receive, by a process of revelation, a mental image of reality. In revelation, the cosmic mind could speak directly to us, in apparitions or visions.
In discussing the nature of reality, we must distinguish between physical reality and immaterial (non-physical) reality. Physical reality is that which is constrained by physics or physical laws. Perhaps the best person to relegate this part of the discussion to would be a physicist, since a physicist is probably more qualified in discussing physical reality then an armchair philosopher such as myself.
Immaterial reality then pertains to what is not constrained by physical laws, eg concepts such as ‘character’ and the ‘mind’, Plato’s Forms, the realm of God and spirits. If physical reality is all that is ‘real’, then what is the relationship of immaterial concepts, such as ‘character’, the ‘Good’, and ‘morals’, to this physical reality? Are concepts such as these just the content of our brains and products of our reasoning and emotions? If so, then it is probable these concepts are just subjective and thus non-absolute, since the contents of our beliefs is contingent and always changing. Conversely, if there is a separate and distinct (non-subjective) immaterial reality, and the aforementioned concepts of character, the Good, and morals etc exist as aspects of this reality, then the existence of objective, absolute concepts is possible (maybe even necessary), since the nature of reality is not contingent, dependent on subjective opinion.
On the other hand, some questions now arise: if immaterial reality does exist as separate and distinct from physical reality, how would these two realities interact? Is there a distinct location for an immaterial concept (or a form, or spirit) in somewhere such as heaven, Plato’s perfect realm, or perhaps a more local area in the universe? And is there a distinct nature for logic and mathematics, or for the connections that exists between these realities. These are questions for the philosopher and physicist to ponder, and perhaps answer, together.
Joe Moore, Woodland Hills, CA.
The universe may turn out to have more dimensions than we know about, where fundamental forces behave very differently than how we perceive them.
For example, gravity is the weakest of the four fundamental forces, but in other dimensions, it could be just as strong.
“Things would be very different in this hidden reality,” Freeman says. [6 Weird Facts About Gravity]
The universe could even be a kind of hologram.
The amount of information that can be stored in a region of space is proportional to the region’s surface area, rather than its volume – a property known as the holographic principle.
One possible implication is that reality is actually two-dimensional, and the three-dimensional world is merely an illusion, which would explain some of the wackiness of quantum mechanics.
All of these views of the world — those that we perceive in our minds, and those that physicists discover in the universe — are flavors of reality. What humans perceive as reality may be no more than an illusion. But in the end, maybe that doesn’t matter.
Reality is a simulation. In a very real way we live in a reality like that portrayed by the Matrix. I can prove it to you, right now.
Take the sensors you call your eyes. They transform light energy into an electrical, essentially digital, signal, which is sent to your brain. The same with all your other senses. All the sensory information you have about the world, according to our best scientific understanding, comes to you as electrical pulses. Your brain uses this information to produce a highly elaborate simulation. It produces a 3D coloured representation of something that’s almost certainly not coloured in itself, and may not even be 3D. It bears some relationship to reality, sure.
This may seem a bit worrying. All these science fiction ideas about being a brain in a vat are essentially true. We are just that. The vat your brain is in is your head. Worse, we are a consciousness, in a brain, in a vat. However a simulation is not necessarily less real than an unsimulated world, just a different type of reality. To paraphrase Kant, there is reality and reality, and we need to be sure which we are talking about.
Take a fighter pilot as an example. If she looks out the window at 700mph, all she may see is a mist of darkness-obscured blur whizzing past her window. If she looks down at her instruments however, she is provided with a much more useful reality simulation. A radar screen tells her where she is in the world and what is coming up far beyond her ‘real’ vision. A topographical display and night-vision goggles help her see the ground she is flying over. Our ‘normal’ simulation of reality aids us in the same way. Colour tells us information about the surfaces of objects we would otherwise not have (and how else could this information be displayed?). Three dimensionality helps us make our way in a world of solid objects. Psychologists can tell you how much this all relies on brain processes.
We live in a simulation, yes; but it is not a lesser reality, it is an enhanced reality. Problems only come about if we, as the pilot, start to think the radar screen or the night-vision goggles are the only true way to see the world, and confuse our representation of reality with reality itself.
Justin Holme, Surrey
The best we can do for now is understand that the human race must operate from a place of peace, a place of co-operation and understanding.
We must realize that we are all interconnected, that we can solve our problems here easily, given the fact that we have a number of solutions.
The only way we will be able to implement and utilize these solutions is through a shift in consciousness. The world is indeed waking up.
Ultimately our reality is what our minds perceive it to be.
Many may have difficulty grasping the concept, being that it goes against common sense, but the world resides within us rather than us residing in the world.