I came across a new book by the sceptic scientist Richard Dawkins dealing with ‘reality’. I haven’t read it so I cannot comment on the content.
It put me in mind of that annoying phrase used by everyone from trades union leaders to politicians to broadcasters to almost anyone you can think of: ‘The Reality Is’.
It drives me to distraction. It’s the sheer banality of the phrase – it’s as if the people who use it actually know what it means. Maybe I should say trite because that is what that repetitive phrase really is.
Reality is not what it appears to be as far as I can see. People use the word reality to mean their personal experience of life and existence on an almost daily basis which implies that ‘reality’ for a Tibetan llama herder last Monday morning is totally different from the ‘reality’ of a board member of a multinational in Tokyo.
This implies that there as many realities as there are individual human beings alive at any one time collected into categories or groups of more general realities depending upon race, wealth, creed, personal circumstance and geographical location.
This makes a nonsense of the idea of reality which must, by its very nature, be the same for every human being and be beyond trite explanations that do not take account of anything more real than here and now sensory experiences.
I explore this theme in my thriller ‘An Angel On My Shoulder’ inspired by a sage who once pronounced: ‘Reality is that which cannot change’. To try to visualise this at a very base level of understanding imagine that reality is a cinema screen. There it is blank, unmoving, impersonal, unchanging. Try to imagine this screen on a cosmic level. Upon the screen is played out a myriad of movies, dramas, comedies, thrillers, love stories all telling minute narratives about little lives all experiening their realities.
But behind the stories the real reality does not change, exists in a timeless state, is consciousness itself and, because every human being has an ego, allows all those egos to play out their experiences secure in the belief that every human being has a distinct and individual consciousness that forms at birth and vanishes at death.
The reality is, I’m not so sure.