Back in May of 2006 I wrote a short piece defining the present and how it relates to past and future. Now, I’d like to expand on that subject by delving into one that’s closely related: Reality.
How real is reality? The answer to that question depends entirely on your perception of unfolding events. Bear in mind that your perception of a particular event is colored by the unique perspective from which you experience that event. No one will ever experience an event in exactly the same way you do; no other person has the use of your five senses, nor can anyone access your memory, draw on your imagination, be influenced by your emotions, or witness events from your unique vantage point. In short, reality is only as real as you think it is.
Reality, such as it is, is the synthesis of memory and imagination; it exists in a dimensionless place constrained by the inadequacies of memory on one side and the limitations of imagination on the other, subject only to individual interpretation.
Consensus reality is the reality that everyone agrees on, the reality of common experience. But personal reality goes to a deeper level, and this is where differences of opinion (and many other differences) arise. The reality of the rich is not the same as the reality of the poor. The reality of the dead is quite different than the reality of the living. From states of mind to states of being, both internal and external forces exert influences to shape individual realities, one no more or less relevant than another.
Anti-drug warriors claim that drug users use drugs to escape reality, but that’s a false dichotomy. One can never escape reality; it’s simply not possible. However, it is possible to change reality, and everyone does it. Only the methods vary.