Perception Vs Reality

by Amit Sodha

in Meditations

Perception

What is reality but a concept unique to each of us? Can anything be classed as real when our perceptions differ greatly on so many things? Just because we see something a particular way does not make it so. We can be so insistent sometimes that our way of seeing something is more right than someone else’s way.

Keep an open mind at all times and remember that a point of view is always valuable to each individual. I always used to class myself as someone who was ‘realistic’ but after contemplating this further I realised that the term ‘realistic’ means something very different entirely.

Putting Things Into Context

Lets take the example of war. There are some people who believe that war is necessary sometimes to get peace and then in order to keep the peace. There are other people who will believe that war is evil and should never be entered into no matter what. Who is right? Is war right or wrong? That’s just an example and I’m not here to answer that question.

I’m here to demonstrate that reality is a very fluid concept. What you see as real is only defined by your belief structure. Your version of what is real is only your perception of it; not what is so. I remember some time ago doing a radio show with one of my young co-hosts. Her version of reality was all about gang crime. That was because of her perception of life which then also became her reality. It didn’t make it reality for me and my reality was very different to hers.

“We see the world, not as it is, but as we are” – Talmud

Choosing Your Perception

Here’s another example: Lets say an event occurs in your life. You have the choice about how your respond to it. Lets say you have a death in the family. (I use this example because of it’s something I’ve been through.) You can choose to see that event as something terrible and tragic to which you will respond accordingly. Or, you can choose to see that event and something that inspires you to make something more of your life; living every day as if it was the last, so to speak.

From that example you can see that you may or may not have control over the events in your life but you can certainly take control of how to respond to them. That part of life will always be within your power. This is where life gets interesting because you shape your own reality through your beliefs.

Your belief structure determines your perception which then ultimately determines how you respond to events. Going by that sequence you can then see that there is another place to start. You can choose to examine your beliefs and then choose to change them. That’s why I say that everything begins with a choice.

Skewed Perceptions

Human life is seen as very precious on Earth because people believe that humans are the top of the food chain. Other forms of life take second fiddle. It’s only a belief but the truth is many of these other life forms sustain us and were it not for them we wouldn’t be around any more. That is more a realistic than thinking that humans are superior.

There is no such thing as reality. There is only ‘your’ version of it which is essentially your perception. Remember that what you believe to be true is only as true as your worldly experience and it doesn’t go any further than that. Even many scientific theories are just that; they are theories! It doesn’t make them so.

Everyday scientists are making discoveries that are forcing them to throw out the old text books and write new ones. As much as we think we may know how life and the universe works I promise the limited knowledge will continue to re-written over the coming centuries.

It’s important to note that how you choose to perceive things is how they come across to you. Am I being a hypocrite in stating this? Is this just my reality? I guess in some ways yes I am being a bit of hypocrite but this in my theory on and universal principles. I believe that your power to choose how to perceive things makes them appear that way to you.

Your thoughts? Feel free to debate in the comments section.

Check out this video about perception by Steven at his blog Change Your Thoughts

For a further in depth look at this topic why not check out this series by Jonathan at Advanced Life Skills

How Your Beliefs Create Your Reality – Part 1
How Your Beliefs Create Your Reality – Part 2
How Your Beliefs Create Your Reality – Part 3
How Your Beliefs Create Your Reality – Part 4
How Your Beliefs Create Your Reality – Part 5

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{ 138 comments… read them below or add one }

1 the little endian

Is this reality? Two people thinking about the same thing at the same time. Cool! I heard this quote somewhere and felt the urge to share it on my blog, and here you are talking about the same thing.

I think Reality and Fact must be distinguished. Often facts can be proven, by the merely pointing out that they exist and/or by investigation.

But Reality is a judgement upon those facts, or in other words, the acceptance that these facts together mean something. But since each one of us can have a different judgement we come up with our own ‘version’ of such Reality.

The amazing thing is most us are indeed open to others’ interpretation of facts and hence allow each other to refine the collective understanding of Reality.

Isn’t that unreal?

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2 Amit

You know what they say, “great minds…” *wink*

:)

I couldn’t agree more!

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3 seawave

Interesting post. Sort of an age-old question, that of reality versus perception. In the end, what really matters is exactly the conclusion you draw. We all approach the world with our own set of perceptions shaped by who we are and who we have been. Being tolerant and open minded to how perceptions of others differ from our own can widen our own experiences and perceptions and provide limitless possibilities for growth and discovery. Thank you for the thought-provoking post.

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4 Amit

Hi Seawave, thank you for dropping by! You’re right, it is an age old question! But I’m young and I still have so much to learn and so it’s all new to me! :)

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5 viset

hi.
i found myself thinking about this question of reality. and i just keep thinking..why doesn’t anyone get it? i truly think that if everyone can point to the clouds and call that color “white.” the reality is that clouds are “white.” so basically im trying to say: if everyones perception are the same..that is reality.

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6 Morvana

I love this subject. I liked the comment about collective reality (by the little endian). But to add to this we cannot collect the perception of animals, spirits (if you belive in the spirit living after death), babies too young to speak… maybe they see Reality without the barrier of perception?

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7 Amit Sodha

Hi Morvana,

It’s interesting that you call perception a barrier, I like to think of it more as a gateway. I think that perception can be finely tuned to see more than we ever thought we could. Perception is what gives us our uniqueness too. :)

Amit

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8 Morvana

Hi, agreed a gateway is a much better word as perception can be helpful OR destructive depending on the person. I have alot of childhood memories of perceiving the world and people as undisputedly trustworthy, genuine and loving. Does everyone start life with this view or does it depend on their personality or is this just innocence?

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9 Amit Sodha

Yeah I think it’s more then innocence factor. Everyone in their childhood is pure and unadulterated by the mishmash of perceptions that is poured onto us, from all directions and all angles, when we turn into adults.

Have you ever caught yourself in the act of “playing” just like you used when you were a child? I remember I caught myself recently with to random objects and I managed to join them together to make then look like a air plane and I started to play with it using my imagination just as if I was a child. It’s that kind of perception and imagination that we have potential for, but we tend to loose as we get older, but it doesn’t have to be the case! :)

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10 Kasey

I am actually doing an essay on a topic just like this – Reality Vs Perception.
My argument is that we rely on our senses to “show” us what is “going on.”
But what is the world like to a blind/deaf person.. Do they live in an alternate reality as they do not see the world as I or someone else does?
I am also currently writing a paper on the “blue wall”
Eg that wall is BLUE to me but to someone in a different country it is a different word – does that make it a different colour.. What of a colour blind person etc..
Anywhos, enough of my prattle. It was nice to see someone questioning the same stuff as me :)
Amit, it would be good to get in touch and discuss.. Leave me a line on my (generic) myspace if you would like :)

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11 Amit Sodha

Hey Kasey!!

What made you choose that title for your essay? Or was it a general one that you and your peers have to all work to?

Perception is definitely a tricky subect. It’s like memories too, most people cannot accurately reconstruct a memory they have, the event becomes skewed with their own idiosynchratic thoughts and tendencies so in effect the memory is neither fact nor truth, only ones most accurate ability to reconstruct a memory.

As with the example that you gave of the colour blue, you and I may differ on our perpection of the meaning of the word: “peace”….who’s definition is correct? Reality is only defined by ones own perception!

I’ll definitely pop over to your myspace and add you as a friend! :-)

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12 Hillary

I hate Science. I am doing this topic. And my teacher is crap.

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13 annier

hi! i’m actually writing an oration on this topic for speech and debate, and i loved the quote by the little endian near the top… do you who said it? it would be very useful in my speech… thanks!

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14 Amit Sodha

Hi Annier,

I don’t unfortunately know who the quote was by and I’ve lost touch with the little endian. I’m sure if you google it or have a hunt around then you will find something…I can also offer a quote for you that might come in handy and is one of my favorites on this topic by Proust – The real voyage of discovery consists of not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.

I have have some personal quotes of my own that I can share with you for your debate!

Good luck and best wishes!

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15 robert

hi, i kind of have always thought of it as perception is what we sense as being existant (or at least what our minds accept as existing), wereas reality is the truth, which we as humans cannot possibly comprehend.

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16 Passer by...

I find the challenge not to be perception vs reality – but perception and reality. I think the challenge is to always be aware that “our reality” is a combination of our environment and our perception. This awareness allows us to be much more open to how we interact with others and the environment around us.

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17 Amit Sodha

Hello Passer by. Thank you for your comments…I completely agree and that’s exactly what I was trying to say. this is one of my first articles in my early writing career so it may not have been as well presented as I would have liked.

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18 jasmine

hi,
m doin ds topic as an assignment,n its moe of fun readin sch thots n comments along wid broadening our minds,i believe..
n in ma opinion,reality is somethin based upon facts,n until a persn knows facts d reality wud also b wrong as ds reality wud hv been derived out of particular person’s perceptions.

isn’t dat confusin??

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19 Amit Sodha

Hi Jasmine,

Yes it can be confusing. Also the facts can be distored. What may be fact to you to another may also be fiction.

What about things that don’t have facts e.g. the meaning of life? You can’t say that for a fact that the meaning of life is “blah” because that would be your own unique perception of it.

Does that make sense?

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20 jasmine

heya amit,
ah,yeah ofcourse.
c some things r like soo mch obvious.
considering ds example wud make it moe difficult a situation to understand things,it seems to confuse further. n yes if v realy wana get clear over ds topic,v shud take up some examples which r nt total fiction based.

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21 Amit Sodha

Hi Jasmine

Exactly…that’s why perception is a very powerful thing…our seeing something makes it so to us but not neccesarily so overall.

:-)

A

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22 jasmine

heyy,
yea u cn say dat..
hw abt ur perception abt philosphy of life???

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23 Amit Sodha

Hey Jasmine,

Well I found a quote for you from ‘Meditations’ by Marcus Aurelius, it’s a great small handbook that you can get and keep.

Here’s the quote:

“Your ability to control your thoughts – treat it with respect. It’s all that protects your mind from false perceptions – false to your nature, and that of all rational beings. It’s what makes thoughtfulness possible, and affection for other people, and submission to the divine.”

In many ways that does some up the two core things in life that make up who you are. Your choice and your perceptions. Both are within your control the only things that truly matter.

:-)

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24 jasmine

hey amit,
ds ws actuly gr8..n tnx..
bt teme one thing..truly.k?
do u really practice ds in daily life??
its just so difficult,isn’t it??

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25 Amit Sodha

I absolutely do practise it every single day! I’d be totally lying if I said that I get it right all of the time…but that’s all part of the learning process too.

For me it is the best and greatest way to live my life. Can you think of a better way?

Making choices and understanding perceptions is why I’m still here today. Read my latest blog post and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

:-)

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26 jasmine

yeah..i noe..n i believe its all about being true to ur ownself..n my idea of asking ws if u are able to get success over “what u want” to “wt actuly hapens”..everybody tries it..bt only a few get them rirte..i do it too ofcourse bt half of d times i fail,being true..

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27 Ricardo Ayala

Perception is not equal to Reality! However, MY Perception = My Reality!!!

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28 Amit Sodha

Hi Ricardo…

Thank you for the comments…always appreciated and I couldn’t agree more! ;-)

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29 sopanha

I’m currently doing the essay with the prompt like this ” A different perception of reality can challenge our own “. I don’t have much idea and it’s so hard for me. I think this is somehow relates to the article you guy are discussing. Can anyone help me with it. This is a really fascinating article to discuss.

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30 Amit Sodha

Hey Sopanha,

Great to hear from you. That sounds like a great essay. I would love to help you with your discussion.

Lets start with the question about what you believe to be your own reality and perhaps how there maybe a different perception of your reality. What do you see as your reality now?

Amit

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31 Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills

Hey Amit, looks like we think in tandem about perception and beliefs. Just wanted to say that I enjoy your articles, and really appreciate the link love. Keep up the good work!
.-= Jonathan – Advanced Life Skills´s last blog ..50 Timeless Life Lessons =-.

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32 Amit Sodha

Hey Jonathan,

It was my pleasure and I’m really looking forward to reading the rest of the series!

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33 larry

extremely intrigue . how would i know if my reality is in fact my own and not yours .given what Ive read from above

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34 Amit Sodha

Hi Larry,

Great point and question. You’ve picked up something that indeed was also in my chain of thinking while writing this and the answer for me is quite straight foward. You have to choose. Personally, I like to meditate and I ask those very questions, what is real for me and what does it mean to me?

I appreciate the comments and the questions. :-)

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35 larry

the confusion remains .choose what? the learning of others from my past that became my reality,or formulating yet again another reality simply because the logic behind it rings true now. thus the perplexity continues, because everything learned was learned from others (in one form or another) is it not?. im not trying to being arguementative for the sake of being so. im truly trying to understand and i am very intrigued . because it could possibly answer alot of my questions that i have and it has the possibly of lifting a tremendous amount of weight off my shoulders.excuse my sence if i doesnt make any. and thank you sir for your time .ps i do realize your position here but any and all imput will be considered to its fullest degree for the sake of keeping my reality from going insane LMV

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36 Amit Sodha

Hi Larry,

Sorry I took so long to respond, I wanted to think carefully about the response before I gave it.

I do understand your point….to quote you “choose what? the learning of others from my past that became my reality,or formulating yet again another reality simply because the logic behind it rings true now.” In my opinion it’s the latter but again it does all come down to context and what the specific perceptions are.

You reality rings true now – what does that say to you?

I don’t always get things right, but I do learn to follow what feels good and right to me; my gut, or my intuition so to speak. Sometimes it is from past learnings and sometimes it’s from my OWN PERSONAL understanding of my reality as it means to me right now.

Whatever choice you make know that ou may not make the right choice. But I’d personally rather make a choice and get it wrong than spending too long in limbo feeling lost and confused and waste precious time of my life in a not so nice place.

I hope I’ve been of some help and if you want to discuss more of this privately let me know.

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37 larry

i do very much please!

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38 larry

what feels good and right? hmmm! once again something that has been learned to be practiced .(society’s belief) others.

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39 Amit Sodha

However Larry, you can choose to shift those beliefs anytime you want.

You might, for instance, believe that money is the root of all evil. You can easily change that by looking at the good things money does also and look towards creating a world with more evenly distributed wealth.

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40 Alex

Perception exists because of the minds thought process and changes with mind but truth or reality never changes and always is. Truth must be sought after.

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41 Amit Sodha

Interesting thought Alex. So you’re saying there’s an ultimate truth that will always be, but our minds are what alter perception.

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42 Pablo

Im glad to see that i am not alone, i completely agree with you, and think that if more people were to think this way, we would be an entirly diffrent society.

Pablo.

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43 Amit Sodha

Thanks Pablo for leaving thoughts here.

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44 Rafael

What if I choose to believe that neither I or the universe actually exist;? will that make me count as dead and gone?

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45 Amit Sodha

Hey Rafael,

If that’s what you choose to believe, the so be it. Does that belief serve you?

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46 Jeremy Johnson

Interesting – not sure I can add much to what has already been said, but I can ask the question, “Is there a reality that trumps all perception?” or “Are there absolute truths about the universe that are and untouchable by human perception?”

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this – my answer is that I do believe there are absolute truths – but those truths are related to the composition of matter, structure of how chemicals react, etc… As for human behavior, I don’t think there is any absolute truth because there are so many unique perceptions, situations, circumstances, and just plain sheer number of variables involved. If there is a reality of human behavior fully and completely understood by anyone or anything in the universe, I’d reckon it’d be a 1 x 10^1000000000000000 volume of books, each thousands of pages long :)
.-= New at Jeremy Johnson’s blog ..Introducing The First Wizard, Lisa Irby =-.

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47 Amit Sodha

Hey Jeremy,

Actually I’m inclined to agree with you. I believer there is a very simple absolute truth and that it is the bedrock upon which perception is built and changes according to our own version of it. I hope that makes sense! :-)

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48 Milan Bakrania

Normal is just a cycle on the washing machine! and also in the eye of the beholder. What is right to me might be wrong to someone else, in which case how do you know if it is correct?! The point is…there are no rules! Rules and limits have been made up by millennia of civilisations/cultures only to be followed religiously by subsequent generations. ‘Live how you will but do not harm one another’…sounds good to me!

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49 Elliot

I’ve enjoyed reading this discussion, now in its fourth year.

I’d like to add a couple of my thoughts. First, I agree that our perceptions stem from our beliefs. As we challenge and change our beliefs, our perceptions also change. However, it is important to keep in mind what a belief is. A belief is something that we choose to accept as being true. But believing in something does not make it true even if everyone were to agree. On that basis, can one really say there reality? Is like the story of the six blind men and the elephant. For the sake of applying a label, I would agree with the comment that reality can be a form of a collective perception.

My second comment is that just as we need to distinguish between perceptions and reality we also should make a distintion between what is factual and what is true. Facts are the basis of what we know: what can be proven to be so. Truth however stands alone. It simply is. It cannot be proven nor disproven.

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50 Amit Sodha

Hey Elliot, yep can you believe it’s been four years this has been up?

With regards to your first point. I agree. Even if mass and collective opinion have the same idea about something it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is truth. It makes it probable and likely but never reality.

When I talk about reality I’m talking relatively loosely. I’m talking more about opinions and the way we see things. Things like religion, war, political opinion, goals, vision and all of these more fluid concepts.

As for scientific fact and knowledge about atoms or the stars or planets. For example we can safely say that the sun is 90 million miles from the earth. That is fact and is accepted and is based on sound evidence and can easily be proved and replicated. A scientist saying there is no God, is only based on his or her beliefs.

Thanks for sharing.

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51 Elliot

Amit,
Thanks for your reply.

My understanding of my thought process and my perception of others’ thought processes is that somehow we respond the same to beliefs and to facts. As humans we go as far as waging wars for “right” causes because we can confuse what we believe with what we know. I am training myself to separate the two and as a result I find that I am relating in much better ways to everyone in my life.

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52 Amit Sodha

In which case Elliot it sounds like we’re pretty much on the same page. :-)

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53 Shademan

There is reality and Reality. Reality is the constant of life. The things we cannot deny or change. reality (purposely lower case) is how our finite and feeble minds determine and explain the constant of life. This goes as far as fundemental beliefs.
Out of the blue, I could say the sky is green. Who are you to tell me differently? A human? So what? I’m a human, too. Your mind has no more power than mine does. I was raised thinking the sky was green. Just because you grew up mainstream and learned the sky was blue means that it is? Who even decided on that? It was just a way for humans to have a standard by which to communicate. But now it is your reality clashing against mine, neither one has the authority to completely destroy and then replace the other. It would take a deity greater than a human, such as God, to come down and officially sort out our realities. For all we know; the sky is pink or yellow or even 54. What we think basically doesn’t matter in the end, it just keeps us sane. But we can change it anytime we wish.
~Shademan

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54 Amit Sodha

Hey Shademan, interesting thoughts, you’re talking about language construct…there is a great Australian comedian who does a great comedy set which illustrates that point. However an atom is an atom, of that there is no doubt, regardless of what word or name it is given. The make up of atoms is still in question (or more acurately, sub-atomic particles) and so that is still just perception.

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55 Shademan

An atom is an atom in concrete. You cannot change its structure, correct, but what is accepted by humans as what to name it is always in question. But i agree with you. Thank you for the reply. btw just for fun:

(Higgs? ->) Boson -> quark (kinda) -> proton -> atom -> molecule -> macromule -> DNA -> Chromosome/organelle -> cell -> tissue -> organ -> organ system -> organism -> species/population -> community -> ecosystem ->country -> continent -> hemisphere -> planet -> inner/outer belt -> solar system -> spiral arm -> galaxy -> universe….. -> Darkmatter?

Am I missing anything?

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56 kanika

liked your article the precision with which you traced the path…

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57 Amit Sodha

Thank you Kanika

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58 nathaniel boyd

I am writing to Amit sodha i just came across this debate i am 16 i have suffered alot in this life and it has meerly just begun, i hit drugs hard from the age 13 to just a few months ago, ive lost family before that nd through that a few best friends of mine have past away ive ben bullyed it just keeps going its lyk the world is taking a shit on me, BUT ive changed big style in perception in the world around me i feel so intelligent i love all of this vast subject, its almost like im a different person with different philopsophy to life, though i feel isolated because i cant explain to friends my mindset its almost like there mechcanical with predermined lifes thats y when i seen your comment i have sent one back its not everyday you meet people with a broader understanding of ther surrondings

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59 Amit Sodha

Nathaniel, it’s wonderful you’ve made that change, trust me there are plenty of people who will support that path and assist your growth, just look at this blog and the people who comment, you will meet some amazing people who will keep you on that line of growth.

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60 Ian

I am so glad that there are others around that believe these things the same as I do!

I however am not even convinced yet of “absolute truths”.

I think of a predicament involving two people. One person looks at an object an determines that the object is rectangle. Another looks at an object and determines that it is circular, when in “absolute truth” the object in front of both people is a three dimensional cylinder. Both perspectives are just opinions of an “absolute truth” but in reality what is a cylinder but a form imagined by the mind? Matter doesn’t accurately form into simple shapes as we imagine them, and in fact matter is always changing around us anyway.

On that matter is the only thing that doesn’t change, change itself? How can anything exist in such an unstable world?

As humans, we always try to build beliefs upon things that we can perceive as solid information, but I am not sure there is any truly solid information out there to build upon. Is this idea just a perception of mine? Am I alone in questioning this also?

The only conclusion I can come to is that there must be some constant and unsensable form out there holding everything that is inconstant together, but i know for sure that that is purely a perception made by my mind to make sense of nonsense, and therefore could be completely untrue also.

Ian

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61 Amit Sodha

Ian, that’s a great analogy of the three dimensional cylinder. I see your point and it’s a point well taken. however I’m in favour of certain absolute truths. I think there is a very simple formula by the which the universe works…maybe it’s something I could never comprehend however I do believe that even the great one is a simple mind and it is only us that makes things that much more complex. We might not be there yet in understanding those absolute truths but I think that they are there.

In the world of spirituality…i believe that the meaning of life is to bestow up it the meaning which we choose. In my case, I think it’s about recreating myself to the greatest ideals I can create about myself. It may not be an absolute truth but it’s an absolute truth for me.

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62 Thomas Mangum

WOW!! I really appreciate this post Amit.

I looked up “Perception and Reality” and bam your site came up. It reminded me of some core concepts around the topic that helped with a radio show I was doing.

Bottomline is I’m glad you came onto radar.

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63 Amit Sodha

Thomas, apologies for my slow reply! I hope I didn’t miss your radio show, do you have a podcast I could listen to? Would be great to hear about how the discussion unfolded. Thanks for commenting though and great to connect with you!

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64 Codrut Turcanu

Amit, you much sound like Tony Robbins.. I guess he was a true inspiration to you :)

Example… “Your belief structure determines your perception which then ultimately determines how you respond to events.”
New at Codrut Turcanu\’s blog post ..Hapiness VS Financial Gains I Lessons from 20-year Study for Authors and not only

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65 Amit Sodha

Wow, Condrut, that sure is a compliment and yeah he definitely is a big inspiration to me! I’ll respond to your other message soon!

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66 Lonnie

I’m afraid your philosophy is self-defeating. If there is no reality, then you may not exist (it’s only your perception that you are a real person writing down your ideas). Furthermore your idea that there is no such thing as reality but only perceptions is itself only a perception and so quite likely not valid–at least not for me, because I have my own perceptions. There has to be a reality that we can all agree on, even though individual perceptions of it may vary slightly. That there is no reality is a way of thinking common to criminals who can then justify their actions or anything they do. Furthermore to be unable to perceive reality is a characteristic of insane people.

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67 Brian

I believe that reality exists in all people, objects, space…etc. But of course what is the true definition of reality? To me reality stems from existence…from the moment one is born. I truly believe that perception is a learned behavior starting as soon as a baby is born and can open his or her eyes. What many people don’t understand is all human beings naturally create our own universe. We are in control of every action that we decide to do. For example,.. You wake up on a sunny beautiful morning…but all you can think about is how bright the sun beams are shining into your room. You would think that on a beautiful sunny day your perception would be more swayed in a positive light…but it usually doesn’t happen that way. When u wake up and the first thought in your mind is that the sun I always too bright…then you just created a negative percption and energy for at least the rest of the day.
Reality will and can be defined by you and your learned perceptions and however one chooses to define our existence

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68 aya

this isimpressive , the article teaches alot , i can add nothing more , it intresting

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69 Amit Sodha

Thanks Aya! :-)

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70 Michelle

thank you for your article. This was very helpful. M

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71 Amit Sodha

Hey Michele, I’m so glad it helped, let me know in what way! x

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72 bob

We experience life based on our perception, not on a complete concept of reality. In the physical world this concept is mostly irrelevant, (weather the way we see blue differs from Someone who’s color blind, (this is a interchangeable stimulus,) sees blue has no effect on the scientific properties of whatever we’re observing, if its blue paint, the materials its comprised of haven’t changed.) However in the psychological realm it can be much harder to perform such experiments so one can easily confuse their perception for reality; therefore most people treat their perception of their environment and their experiences as though it were reality. The truth is no one is capable of fully perceiving reality, in small pieces we can, the fields of science and math deal with complete pieces of reality, although we get it wrong sometimes we can all agree the world is three dimensional, two plus two is four, ect. Meanwhile the scientists aware of many complete pieces of reality have many other aspects of his or her life in which perception takes over, this is a symptom of chaos. The reason I’ve chosen to write this essay is because I believe the idea of perception being reality is closely tied to almost any problem in life, particularly in the area of human interaction. Humans are by nature pack animals, being attached to a group of people is a fundamental part of mental health and the functionality of the proposed group.

The thought that perception is reality creates a gap between people and that gap is constantly growing, those who embrace this concept are drawn to each other, and in the short term this is a satisfying foundation for a relationship, these relationships are stable as long as you never enter someone else’s reality without a invitation, (someone asks for your help and you point out where their perception is not really reality.) This is an enjoyable and easy way to live your life but I propose it is the fundamental symptom of “peter pan” syndrome and a destructive way to fulfill the need to be to connected to a group because you are connected in thought your individuality and independence are destroyed. This happens because incomplete realities are fragile and “perception is reality” tells you to guard them with responses like “that’s not my perception” when, rationally, you should be exploring what was said. Somewhere along the line the definition of growing up, for many cultures, shifted from having an insight into universal problem solving, to taking on adult responsibilities. I do not refute that adult responsibilities are a part of maturity; I only submit that the idea of perception being reality allows you to use your external circumstances to mask having never matured internally. We live in a world of action and this is by no means a doomsayer’s warning saying if we don’t change now their will be eternal doom, in fact its apparent we need to keep moving forward until we gain a full, or more complete, understanding of the nature of reality in order to live in it. Is reality so dangerous? And if it is shouldn’t we want to know about it and be in tune with it in order to stay wholly healthy. If we can’t fully understand reality shouldn’t the next best thing is staying as in tune with it as possible by constantly challenging your perceptions? I will, however, hypothesize that we have many dark days ahead as a species, that the bliss of perception being reality is a growing cancer with the potential to become terminal, and on the physical side we are in a race that is coming down to the wire: gain technology that enables us to settle in space keeping us safe, and untangling our fate, or we may all be significant effected by the many forces of chaos that exist (chemical warfare, global warming, nuclear war, disease, ect.) As my knowledge on these topics is very limited I won’t speculate on an exact time line, I will say that it’s clear we don’t have another 4000 years on this planet.

Hypocrisy is amongst many things people hate to be called, it is seen as a deplorable trait, yet we all seem to be hypocrites on a regular basis. I think this is a fundamental arena to explore when deciding weather to embrace the “perception is reality” philosophy. If you believe perception is reality nobody can really be a hypocrite. Because an action in my reality has different implications and consequences than an action in your reality. This is very true and is a result of the very fast paced complex society we live in, however in simpler times this would not have been true. The above scenario is merely a situation, it is true that the result of an action depends on its environment; however nature does have in place definite laws that remain constant. (Regardless of weather we have been able cataloged them).

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73 bob

Ultimately I see the “perception vs. reality” concept as a tool to propel us toward a better future, as it’s a tool to solving complex problems in science. In science, as in psychology taking a view from a different perception, (outside a full version of reality) in order to skip the linear problem solving process to try to establish a relative answer. But in science the first thing you do is try to figure out how you got there in order to fully understand your answer so you can apply it to reality. When you embrace this concept psychologically there is no time for the second step leaving you in a incomplete reality not really sure how you got there, It’s like being blindfolded and dropped out in the middle of the woods. in the realm of psychology, which is on the verge of becoming a religion, we will find that we have to drop our perceptions and trace our steps to gain spiritual oneness and all live in one reality. Essentially perception is reality is a glue holding us together making our realities a web, however their is only one complete reality.

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74 Amit Sodha

Thank you so much for the thorough response Bob and apologies for my delayed reply. I’m going to come back to you soon with proper reply very soon!

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75 twooffour

Hi,
the message of this article is trivially true (even though it can’t be stated often enough, I guess), but most of the examples kinda suck:

“There are some people who believe that war is necessary sometimes to get peace and then in order to keep the peace. There are other people who will believe that war is evil and should never be entered into no matter what. Who is right? Is war right or wrong? That’s just an example and I’m not here to answer that question.”
That’s a moral question of “ought”, not “is”, and all has to do with dilemmas between two evils.
The fact is, peace (in combination with a good constitution, of course) sustains lives, while war worsens and threatens it – and it’s not disputed between different “perceptions”. No one with a reasonable mind supports war because the act itself will increase everyone’s chances of living a good life.

“Her version of reality was all about gang crime. That was because of her perception of life which was also became her reality. It didn’t make it reality for me and my reality was very different to hers.”
Either she experienced a different life from yours (which doesn’t make “her reality” different, it makes her life different and her perceptions of it accurate), or she felt victim to confirmation bias and fallacies – no reasonable mind would conclude that gang violence is all there is in terms of “life” or social problems.

Having that said, it’s difficult to understand what exactly her views were, from your description.

“You can choose to see that event as something terrible and tragic to which you will respond accordingly. Or, you can choose to see that event and something that inspires you to make something more of your life; living every day as if it was the last, so to speak.”

But the reality is that the person died – your emotional response and what you do with it isn’t what anyone calls “objective reality” in the first place.

“Other forms of life take second fiddle. It’s only a belief but the truth is many of these other life forms sustain us and were it not for them we wouldn’t be around any more. That is more a realistic than thinking that humans are superior.”

Actually, not because we’re at the top of the food chain (we wouldn’t be if we got exposed to wild animals in the jungle; even without that, there are plenty of dangers to humans from various animals) – but because the human mind is the most advanced one, and has self-consciousness, goals and desires, intense positive and negative experience, and a conscious will to live and unwillingness to die.

Obviously, many advanced animals share these traits with us, which is also why we consider killing a dolphin worse than killing a jellyfish.
Determining how advanced those animals are in this sense, is what “realism” is about.

That we depend on them to survive, or for life quality, has NOTHING to do with the moral issues concerning the “value of life”.

What you rather should’ve brought up is that another reason we value human life more, is because empathy is strongly dependent on identification, which is why we generally have more problems with bad things happening to people that are similar to us (or live in some social group connected to our own) – and obviously, it’s much harder to really identify with an animal.

That’s a psychological reason, and obviously based more on delusions than evidence based “reality”.
Our lack of empathy with an animal may indeed not correspond to their capability of positive or negative experience, their desire to live and their self-awareness – just as it obviously doesn’t correspond to the minds of people from other, distant cultures who we don’t care about as much.

“Even many scientific theories are just that; they are theories! It doesn’t make them so.”
A scientific theory is a tested explanation of former observations, and it doesn’t pretend to be anything more than that.

Anyone who thinks what they read in a science book is somehow the revealed 100% certain truth from the Source of Ultimate Knowledge, has the wrong perception of what the scientific method really is ;)

“Am I being a hypocrite in stating this? Is this just my reality? I guess in some ways yes I am being a bit of hypocrite but this in my theory on and universal principles.”

“I have free will, because I have no choice.” ;)
Peace out.

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76 Amit Sodha

Thank you so much for the truly comprehensive argument. I’m going to respond soon after I absorb what you’ve said. Thanks again for the comment

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77 bob

Worry free life of the cave man and the farmer

When I think about the world and most of the problems we have today it seems like they all come from our advanced society, the technology and the government, the whole sociopolitical structure. So instead of analyzing every detail I remove it all and try to imagine what it would have been like as early man, still nomadic. The fact is that most of the problems we have today would not exist at all. And many of the things we perceive as problems may not have been perceived as problems to them. My most recent thought using this line of thinking has been about how liberating the end of a long hunt would have been for early man. Today we get home from work, if we are lucky enough to have a job, and know were going back the next day, are aware of hundreds of detailed complications in the near future, (this is not all bad many people love to play this game,) a caveman would be completely clear headed. On the days a caveman was lucky enough to have a successful hunt and get to a safe and favorable location, with a fire he would have had nothing. Perhaps some threat to his physical safety. He would have been completely in the moment of complete success (not in one area or small task) his life and everything in it was a complete success. He wanted for nothing he had completed everything he needed to do and could rest knowing he had no surprises coming his way. This should not be regarded as a isolated incident, the ability to achieve a consciousness so far out of our reach indicates that their entire reality would have differed from ours. To us it would seem like he has many obstacles coming his way from disease to famine to injury, and drought. To think a cave man would have bothered worrying weather he was going to get injured or die tomorrow is where our perception disintegrates reality. From the day he was born till the day he died a cave man was part of the earth, he wouldn’t have feared returning to it. These people cause, saw, and faced death every day, and were probably very violent, but when all their needs were met they would have experienced a peace you and I will probably never know. The reason I point this out is not to rally everyone to say goodbye to all material positions strip naked and hit the frontier, only to point out that cavemen experienced a degree of satisfaction so high out of our reach we cannot imagine it. And that the goal of society and science, after technology eliminates the need for fighting we can circle back to somewhere where complete satisfaction with life is achievable. When we get there we will know what to do, I for one don’t see a peace love dance party 24 hours a day, infact I think social behavior would have to become much more abrasive. Our perception is what tells us weather something is interesting or entertaining, we are all limited by our perception, and there are likely many sources of joy we are capable of that we are limited by our perception. This would not likely be a action, rather it would be a way of thinking about life that could unlock our minds as we seem to all be a slave to so many social rules.

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78 Amit Sodha

Thanks again Bob

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79 Ann Lee

I have a proposition.
Could are perception of the world but not only based on our perspective but what we take in through our senses? I’m talking of individuals who are generally classified as “normal”(aka are not color-blind, deaf, etc), and the difference between them.
For instance, could I see a completely different than you? (a different spectrum that isn’t negative or anything, but colors that you’ve never seen)
It sounds weird but I have spent a lot of time thinking about it.

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80 Amit Sodha

Hi Ann, absolutely, and that’s certainly part of it too. someone asked us both to define the scent of a fruit, both you and I might give different explanations because to us both it may seen very different according to our experiences. :-)

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81 Cash

Hello there Amit Sodha

This article has really helped me exposed my mind on how I vision the world now. It has also helped me understand what is reality and how I percept my version of reality in my everyday life. But my question to you is, is there a type of religion or a way of life to where I will be able to practice this and instill this way of thinking into my daily routine? If so what will be the name or its classification? I.e. Buddhism, Christianity, scientology ect. And if not, is there anything similar to this ordeal? Since I was a child I was forced to believe that god was real and he would determine my whole life and where I would go in the future, but as I’ve gotten older I realized that I control my own life and destiny, and that the only reason I believed in god was because that’s what I thought I was supposed to do. Now as a young man I learned that if you never question something or if you don’t determine and separate what is reality and what is just your perception of reality then you will never experience the joys that life has to offer. I’m not trying to start a whole religion debate on here, I just want to know a way of life or a practice that allows me to open my eyes and expose my mind to new thoughts on reality and perception.

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82 Amit Sodha

Hey Cash,

I’m so glad this article helped you in some way. To answer your question, the truth is, I do not know. There are many belief systems that incorporate some of this belief but the best thing I can say to you is to go and explore and find out for yourself. Read some books about different faiths and find that which resonates with you the most.

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83 Sidharta Chatterjee

Hello Mr. Amit,
Your posting is interesting, indeed we accept our reality that we perceive the way things are around us which present to us being real, not something illusory. Perception in that sense is something which is taking shaping beyond our embodied mind, something out “there” which we can observe, by perception, and internalize to sense what is being perceived to reach at some reasonable inference. The processes of conceptional- of something being perceived is the idea which is created in our mind, and hence, must be based on the processes of sensation, since, we cannot sense without perceiving something, unless the other way by which we see by our mind’s eye.

Your inference drawn on the same is somewhat flawed- as you have mentioned “Everyday scientists are making discoveries that are forcing them to throw out the old text books and write new ones”.

There is one point to be noted here;
Science is the process of understanding the reality, the processes of reality, and the natural laws which governs such processes. Scientists actually do not “throw out” old conceptions which were indeed built on conception of such realities. They literally build new knowledge based on the old ones, we cannot just throw away 2nd Law of thermodynamics, or Newton’s laws of motion or not even the theory of relativity, ever. These laws can be at best improved upon, and based on such truth, do our civilization proceed forward. So, throwing out is a great misconception.

Scientific inquiry is based on inquisitive questioning of every process, each rules and individual routines; that is, why it is such that makes it behave like this? Science is the window through which philosophy looks, rather, perceives the world. Scientific inquiries unravel the mysteries of the universe, but do not mystify such. The inherent laws breaks myth and replaces them with truth. Philosophy here is a tool to expand the possibilities of assumptions that one can assume.

So, your quote below is a misconception.
“Everyday scientists are making discoveries that are forcing them to throw out the old text books and write new ones. As much as we think we may know how life and the universe works I promise the limited knowledge will continue to re-written over the coming centuries.”

Much Thanks,
Best, Sidharta

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84 Sidharta Chatterjee

We often abandon or throw away products, or modify the processes, but cannot just throw away fundamental principles of science which are Universal. Consider new and old medicines, health products or consumer goods, say, a tablet pc. Here, indeed we throw away medicines which become obsolete, or some iatrogenic factors are detected, or resistance to suppose, antibiotics or anti-retrovirals. We simply change onto a new brand, or even to a new generic. But the fundamental principles of physiology and pharmacodynamics remain same. Indeed new concepts are generated from new research, thereby perception of procedural efficacy, but cannot abandon the sublime principles of science based on which such products come into the market. So, scientific principles do stand the test of time, particularly the fundamental laws governing particles and waves.

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85 Amit Sodha

Thank you so much Sidharta for you replies to my article. I will reply more fully shortly.

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86 David Graham

I want to start with apoligizing for my spelling, I don’t know if this is the best place for my explaination of reality but I figured it was a good place to start.

I have always toyed with the idea of us creating our own reality, and have always tried to make sense of it. Today I heard a man explain how our perception actualy physicaly creates reality, he used quantium physics to explain it “a partical can exisist on multiple plains, but when measured, It can only exist on one.” In other words perception solidifies the partical. He used the question “If a tree falls in a forest but no one is around to hear it does it make a sound?” His response was “the particals that would make up the sound waves wouldn’t exist without perception.”

The thought that we actual bring our world into existance made alot of sense to me, but also rasied a few questions. If you create the world around you why doesn’t it differ dramaticly for each individual, how is it people who think they can fly fall to their deaths, etc… I may have come up with a theory to explain all of this, I must first start with explaining how this theory evolved throughtout my life cycle.

It started with the Idea of karma, I explained this to myself as a series of positive and negitive forces you put out into the world and those forces would act like magnents and pull corisponding forces back and in return impacting your life. Later in life, I dated a girl who was very into wicca, which inspired the idea of creating your reality, I took my belief of forces you put out and added the thought that you could subconsiously controll the forces you put out and in turn bring about a desired goal. Now with the added insite that I heard today, I came to the conclusion that you don’t effect these “outside forces” Ive always thought of, You create them. This of course creates a string of questions that lead me to my conclusion.

The arguement of Perception Vs Reality is on going. My theory will only explain things for some people. I had to break it down into two parts Thought processes, and Reality. As we are now, we can not conciously create/alter reality, It must be a subconsious act. The problem with each person creating their own world is these worlds couldn’t possibly coexsist, and if they could wouldn’t we be able to pick up on this? My idea is simple and solves many of these hangups. Imagine if you would, our perception being put out in waves, like ripples in water, interacting with each other. This would be a “collective reality” where many realities would mesh, and the shared perceptions would merge to form larger ripples which would over power smaller ripples, explaining why the guy who thinks he can fly doesn’t, opposing perceptions keep this from happening, and why its said “magic is more powerful in groups”.

One of the side effects of this collective reality would an effect I call foot steps, which is the imprint from earlier realities. We can uncover traces of earlier times even without any prior knowledge of them. This may also explain things like hauntings, where realities have been imprinted in certain areas or objects within reality.

Then all is left is a person’s thought processes, which take in this collective reality and choose how to react. I don’t understand how this works fully, and based on how much this varies from person to person, it may be beyond understanding. I have to put more thought on this part of the equation, but It will probably take time and being that This lightbulb moment just hit me today, This isn’t my formal Theory. But if I’m right this means we may one day be able to conciously change reality and in turn change the world. Or even more unheard of, discovering a way to exist in both personal and collective realities.

I plan on diving deeper into this topic and breaking it down further, But as of now, this is all I’ve got.

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87 Amit Sodha

Hi David, thank you for your indepth response to the article. I’m going to respond more deeply soon.

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88 William Veasley

Amit: You are right in the sense that reality is only whats real to that individual in particular. If I grow up in poverty, you grow up rich and the next person grows up in a middle class enviroment, then we all will have different perceptions of reality.
I am trying to take the spiritual route to finding some explanation. So my plan is to read the bible and quran through from cover to cover and then go from there, but those are the first two spirtual books I want to read.

Best Wishes,
William Veasley
New at William Veasley\’s blog post ..Talk Is Cheap

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89 Amit Sodha

Hi William. I wish you all the best with your journey and your exploration of the Bible and the Quran. If there’s one book I recommend that you add to your list it would be Conversations With God.

All the best,

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90 William Veasley

Amit: Thank you for the recommendation! I look forward to reading Conversations with God an I added it to my reading list!

Best Wishes,
William Veasley

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91 Luke

What is ” real ” to us will always be from a frame of reference that is influenced by the moment and or the past.

It is always limited.

No group/religion/book/meditation/person dead or living can expose a full reality.

Even if so for a moment if it was possible it would be instantly obsolete because of the ever evolving nature of the environment which includes everything.

There is way too much data to comprehend a full reality.. our brains cannot handle it. People say oh ah the spirit.. yet if the spirit was so accurate or the heart then there would be just one religion

Even still we can not even prove if we are dreaming or not
You cannot prove it

Pain is not a accurate indicator of reality
Neither is LOVE

However all that being said..
I think it is empowering and very amazing
If what I speak of is a somewhat good perception of what the truth might be

Because it levels the field and brings and equality
I am not more right or wrong any post on here

This is and anything I say or think or have to offer in response is my perception and even if a million people agree it does not make it “true” or “real ”

I am okay with not having it all figured out.. I can sleep with that

Only think I really base as a full truth or reality is with in a short amount of time I have needs such as nutrition / water / air and somewhat shelter/protection from harmful elements or I will die

After those things we are all actors in a play..
Painting the story as we go or replaying others over and over again
We are ALL creative beings and I think there is more evidence of that than anything else

Whats great is it gives you even more empowering choice
You can shape a reality to be real for you be deciding to believe

You will play by the rules or break the ones that govern your way of life
The rules that you believe in or follow that help shape your belief system
That help shape your reality

I am not a perceiver who is against thought / creative thought
I am all for it.. I welcome the story as it unfolds

Change is my friend
Truth claimers I do not become in alignment with.. that they have there stage I do not see interest in attending

I do not hate.. I flow into ever evolving unknown
creating my own stories and joining in on some others reality as i go

From what you know about peace and love
Those are the closest to the things I know to wish for you
as you search or accept for the reality that lays before you

Luke Cantrell

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92 Amit Sodha

Hi Luke,

Thank you so much for your thoughtful and insightful comment. I’m going to respond to you in more detail very soon! :-) Thank you again.

God bless.

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93 Luke

Yes tons of typos.. I admit it is “reality” that I am not good at typing out my thought hehe

Hopefully those who read my comment will understand somewhat were I am going with it

great topic

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94 Nelson

Hogwash! Your perception dictates your reality. Really? Perceive you can fly and jump off a building. Video record it as you will not be alive to tell me how it went for you.

Also, your understanding of scientific method is simply and plainly…WRONG.

I suggest you contact your local universities and speaking with a professor in the science department and give them the same spiel that Scientific knowledge is always being re written. If they don’t laugh at you, they will indeed educate you.

You are a very dangerous person with the things that you put out there. There is only one reality that we know of. It exists regardless of how you chose to view it. Now. If you want to discuss how peoples attitudes can skew their perception of reality, that is a different story. But this is not a scientific question. This is a philosophical or psychological question at best.

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95 Amit Sodha

Oh dear oh dear, yet another response from someone who didn’t read the article fully. At what point did I mention anything about flying?

I think you have decided from the offset what this article was going to say and then made your own assumptions.

You inserted ‘belief’ in the article where I was talking about ‘perception’.

I don’t believe I can fly but I believe that I have the power to choose how perceive the events that occur in my life and respond accordingly. There is a huge difference.

I can use my power of perception to assign meaning to that which occurs.

Next time Nelson, before responding, read carefully.

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96 Nelson

Touche` Amit

i think what really throws of the context is even bringing up the concept of reality. We live in only one reality. I would agree with you except for one little detail, and I quote, “There is no such thing as reality. There is only ‘your’ version of it which is essentially your perception. Remember that what you believe to be true is only as true as your worldly experience and it doesn’t go any further than that. Even many scientific theories are just that; they are theories! It doesn’t make them so. ”

You are working on two different premise here. Perception and reality. When you choose to throw science into it, you are no longer in the realm of perception but of actual, physical reality. Also, you threw “belief” in there, not I. A little intellectually dishonest to switch who said what don’t you think? That was the whole point, that for you to even make a comment about the theories that is totally incorrect shows that you have no clue what you are talking about. Which for me, as well as many, will negate your whole point. It can’t be trusted. Perhaps if you read your own article and then the comments, you would not reply with foolishness.

Next time Amit, think before you reply.

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97 Amit Sodha

Also, two people can perceive the same event very differently and will assign very different meanings to those events. That is what I am talking about.

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98 Nelson

“Everyday scientists are making discoveries that are forcing them to throw out the old text books and write new ones. As much as we think we may know how life and the universe works I promise the limited knowledge will continue to re-written over the coming centuries.”

Another point that is totally false. This does not happen. And your lack of understanding again makes your whole article suspect. Why would I really agree with someone who doesn’t even understand how the scientific method works or what a scientific theory is? Once again, educate yourself a bit and then perhaps you will have more credibility. That is my reality.

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99 Amit Sodha

I can see that quite easily this debate could continue until we’re both blue in the face. I offer a perspective. You have your own. I’m not going to continue it simply because I can see it becoming a debate with no winners. I hardly think that either of us are going to create new paradigm in thinking through this small blog! ;-)

I wish you all the best.

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100 Courtney King

Great reply Amit! I don’t think I would have replied as elegantly as you. Its really sad to see such closed minded people! Especially when they get so MEAN!

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101 Amit Sodha

Thank you so much Courtney, that’s very kind of you! :-)

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102 Jess Primus

I really like reading through a post that will make people think. Also, many thanks for allowing me to comment!

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103 Amit Sodha

You’re very welcome Jess!

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104 Valentin

It’s an eternal question about reality and perception. But your perception is what makes you who you are. The older I become, the more flexible perception I guess I have, the more different realities of different people I can understand (to some extent of course) and accept. Children, otherwise, perceive the world in a very unique way, playing games is their reality which is totally different from the real world. But what is a real world then? Maybe living in your own world is a truest reality for you and a true way to go :) as long as the others don’t put you into an asylum.
New at Valentin\’s blog post ..Amazing Self program to improve personality and achieve success

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105 John L

Great discussion. Physical and mental are tied together. Perception is our input and output. It is all information we receive and internalize through our brains from this physical world and it is the mental reality involved (memory, thoughts) and physical form or action we as humans output, also known as “life”. Everything we see, say, think, move, hurt, eat, save, put on hold, dream, do, etc. is both our reality and our perception.

We are all in this “system” together, which makes it interesting. We move like cells or a universe (or multiverse, etc.). Everything, all material, physical and mental, is connected to a certain degree depending on input and output. All of our physical material world has an output received that predates us that continues to grow, or move, at the very least.

To change your perception, try to think about how someone else might feel about it, ask them, ask yourself, read about subjects and topics that correlate (you’ll find that everything does), be skeptical, listen instead of hear, practice going against the grain of your own thoughts, fail at something, face fears, be creative and just get more knowledge about your reality. I truly believe people have “wake up” moments in their life. Sometimes they come from shifts in perception. Time, is a perception healer/changer and so is knowledge. We can all change our own perception, but you have to want it bad enough. Since we all feed on the same physical world. YOU have to do something about YOU if YOU want to be the YOU YOU want YOU to be.

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106 Amit Sodha

Hi John well said and a lovely sentiment with regards to this subject. Thank you for leaving your mark on this Long article and discussion that has now been live for 7 years! :-) My perception, seems like I just wrote it yesterday ;-)

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107 Marlyn

I can say big yes. There’s a saying that you are is what you think. When you think of something and keep on rehearsing it sooner or later it will come to reality. For example a person has an enemy, and he hate him; He wants to kill him; his perception is so strong that one day it come to reality.

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108 Amit Sodha

Hi Marlyn, thank you so much for your input about how perception shapes reality and I do agree. So often, even in unconscious ways we create everything that is going on around us. Thank you so much for your input. Have a lovely day.

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109 Jenny

I love thinking about this stuff and having my mind blown, but I get confused. When philosophers ask, “How do we know what is real?” The answer most give is that we know things are real because we can see and feel them through our senses. Isn’t that true? Can’t we know that things are real because our senses tell us???

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110 Amit Sodha

Hi Jenny, so glad you enjoy these types of questions that challenge our thinking just as much as I do. There are so many others points that can spawn from what you said. I believe that what is here is real, but it’s real in a different way for each of us. For example, you may perceive the world in one way, as a result of your senses, and I in a different way. You and I could both go to the same seminar, I could leave thinking it was the best thing in the world, and you leaving thinking it was the most boring. It was real for both of us, in very different ways. You may say to me it was bad, I may say it was good, neither opinion is more right, they are both valid and real according to our own filters.

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111 Jacob Young

I enjoyed what you wrote very much and you are absolutely right. I have a question, if you say the sun exists that is true, right? That is real. Everyone knows the sun exists. Is that reality? You say that there is no such thing as reality, so everything is perception, but how do you explain my question about the sun? Is everything in life perception? So basically reality does not exist. If someone says “That is a nice car” that does not mean it is a nice car it means that persons “thinks” it is a nice car. Perception is everything, right? If reality does not exist why is reality even a word? Thanks!

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112 Amit Sodha

Hi Jacob,

All very interesting questions.

When I talk of perception of the world I mean more regarding the meaning we assign to events. The example you gave of the car, you may think the car is beautiful, my perception may be that the car is ugly.

We both may have a very different definition of what constitutes ‘beauty’ by our perception.

Is the sun real and part of our reality? Of course, is it absolute? No. Our experience of the sun and what it means to us is very different to that of animals or plants.

I conclude that reality is largely relative. Our perception is the meaning that we attach to events and to what is happening around us.

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113 Raw Hasan

Great thought! Reality!! What is reality is my sense could be greatly unreal to other person. It depends upon individuals, their circumstances, society, education, and many many other things.
New at Raw Hasan\’s blog post ..Dhaka Tourism – Best trips inside and around Dhaka City in Bangladesh

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114 Amit Sodha

Hi Hasan,

Thank you so much for your comments and take on the subject, always appreciated.

~Amit

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115 Steven

Hi! I have one idea that just have come through my mind when i read it. Yes i have been many times thinking about this question and i agree with your opinion but as i mention i would like to give a small example at my new idea about reality. Ok, i think we all are sure that something like “colors of clouds” and others thing which are able to be define by the physics behind.. like the colors are part from light spectrum which are totaly defined by their wavelenght and frequence and other shapes, sizes and anything that you are able to stop and define clear way common for every people and their way of perception (obviously people which has normal, functional senses).. imagine something like photo where you can totaly racionaly, browsing under your magnifying glass, tell everything about the reality at this moment.. anywhere, anywhere in the universe and at any time you are such a way able to describe (of course without your personal feeling and attitudes) the reality. But i think that there is something much more interesting to talk about. There is a difference between moment and the procces. Very good example is (i hope you know it guys) Zenons apory about flying amor. (If you have not read this “short story” in princip it is about the amor which is flying and if you would stop it and tell everything about it and then like”turn the time on” the amor would just fell down. ) And i think this is very nice example that we are not able to fully describe the moment. And reality too. Sorry it was not right the idea i wanted to say.. i am just thinking while i am writing.. My example for the different perception is that, imagine you has a very hard skin. And imagine every person would have different skin. And none would be able to totaly define how he/she feel it. Would be just able to say if it is more or less smoother and compare the things. And it is same with our perception of situations and the process. We all have this such a skin inside our heads (and souls lets say if you belive :) ) and it is something which is there to fight for our imagination, our “old me” and our vulnerabillity. But as much this is this skin thick as more we dont see the real world. So thats why we should be open. Maybe its easier to live in “world of our perception” but working on making this skin thinner is the best way how to finnally see real true, and i believe that true will make us free. Free from our fears, limits, and stereotypes. So in conclusion :D :D do not ry to stop moment and see the reality.. becouse all the feeling will just dissapear and the “amor of the moment” will fall down but try to make your mind skin thinner and take old convictions which you think you know, in same level of cartainty as the new one which are trying to be discover and you still can not believe. And same it is with fears and assumptions. Dont be afraid to see in new way. Ok sory for so much commenting but it was very informative and motivating for myself. I just have a period in my life when i am fighting with such a thing. And its not easy to change your point of view and let old one go.. Sooo .. i have to fill my application for university now :). Have a nice day. Open minds and enjoy “moments” (life process) with belive. :D
New at Steven\’s blog post ..Was It Because Of Karma?

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116 Amit Sodha

HI Steven, wonderful thoughts, I’m going to mull over your words more carefully and respond according when I do :-)

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117 Aliza

Hello everyone, it’s my first go to see at this web site, and
article is genuinely fruitful for me, keep up
posting such articles.
New at Aliza\’s blog post ..Aliza

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118 Amit Sodha

Thank you so much Aliza! :-)

~Amit

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119 Grant

Hi there! This article could not be written much better!
Reading through this article reminds me of my previous roommate!
He always kept preaching about this. I’ll forward this article to him.
Fairly certain he will have a great read. Thanks for sharing!
New at Grant\’s blog post ..Grant

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120 Amit Sodha

Hey Grant,

I’m curious to find out now what your room-mate friend thought of the article?

Have a lovely day,

~Amit

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121 DB

I have a thought I want to share but hope this is an open space because it is the first time I have shared this to others. Example: an event happens that feels tragic and causes a lot of emotional distress. That distress will continue to cause pain with every reflection of the event. But, add in the “reality” of a Heavenly God that says that there is good in all things. With that added belief I go back to the tragic event and look for the answer to the question “what good came out of this event?” eventually I will find a new reality or event and finally I can experience a different experience. When that happens my life changes and I truly forgive the person who caused the pain because this day there is no pain.

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122 Amit Sodha

Hey DB,

A lovely and pragmatic approach to this whole topic, I love it. We share a similar philosophy! :-)

~Amit

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123 N Maddern

“What is reality but a concept unique to each of us?” Only the less well informed have that opinion.

Reality is not a concept, reality is simply that which is real! If the human race had never came into existence, reality would still be here, why ??? Because simply, it is that which is real, nothing more and nothing less.

“What is reality but a concept unique to each of us?”
“Can anything be classed as real when our perceptions differ greatly on so many things?”.

Perceptions are not reality, and reality is not perceptions, if there were no humans, there would be no perceptions, if there were no humans, there would still be reality, simple as that.

The human race are extremely lazy and in fact, not that bright (apart from a few talented individuals), why find out the truth for something when you can just dream something up, religion comes to mind.

Science knows what effect gravity has, but science does not know what causes gravity, is the human race going to drift of into space if we don’t dream something up to explain gravity??? No.

But gravity is real, whether there were humans around or not, that is what reality is that which is real, the less informed seem to have somehow made themselves believe, that reality has nothing to do with that which is real, but is just one more human concept or perception, among many.

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124 Amit Sodha

Hey N Maddern,

I will respond fully to your comment soon, thanks for your words and I will reply fully shortly.

~Amit

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125 Amit Sodha

Hey N,

I’m not talking about the laws of physics in this article. I’m talking about our interpretation of events.

I’m talking about understanding that the reality is that no event has a meaning except the meaning we give it. Our perceptions of events are usually based on experience and therefore some kind of bias.

However any given event have no real definitive meaning, except the meaning with give it. – Hope that clarifies that for you.

~Amit

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126 N Maddern

Hey Amit,

I don’t recall saying you were talking about the laws of physics in your article, I do recall you talking about reality being something that is not truly real, but only a concept or notion or perception within a humans mind, and because humans are all different then reality will differ from person to person.

I do see you make the same mistake as many in believing reality is a human thing, and that and if there were no humans, there would be no reality. Concepts, notions and perceptions are human things. Which is what you are talking about, not reality! but concepts, notions and perceptions.

So why not call them that, instead of calling them “reality” and confusing the more easily confused amongst us. There is nothing wrong with calling a knife a knife, but start calling a knife a fork and you will start to confuse the issue, for yourself and others.

If you would care to look up the word “Reality” and the word “Perception” in your dictionary, you will see the two words have nothing to do with each other, and they are definitely not interchangeable, one would not exist without humans, Perceptions. And one simply has to do with that which is real (not a certain humans notion of what is real and not real), nothing more and nothing less, like I said, If there were no humans, there would be no perceptions. If there were no humans, there would still be reality.

There is nothing wrong with someone saying, my perception of a certain event is different to your perception of the same event, but there is something wrong with calling perceptions reality, whoever’s perceptions they maybe, because like I said reality is not perceptions and perceptions are not reality (believe your dictionary, it does not lie).

When you talk about perceptions you are not talking about reality, and when you talk about reality you are not talking about perceptions. We could send myself back in time 500 years, with my childhood notion that the moon is made of green cheese, before Neil Armstrong proved me wrong, would the moon turn from basalt to cheese??? NO! because it is only my perception, not reality.

You could have asked 100 people 500 years ago what they thought it was made of and got 100 different answers, but the reality is, no matter what people thought (perceived), or even if the human race had never came into existence, the moon would consist of exactly what it does consist of, which in this case is basalt, and we know that because we bothered enough to actually go and find out, instead of taking the lazy way out and coming up with some theory or perception, as the human race is often prone to do.

Talk about perceptions all you want, and scientists can talk about theories all they want, but neither are reality are they, so don’t call them reality (that which is real) until you have 100% proof that they are, and if you can’t find 100% proof, accept it, like I said, we aren’t going to drift of into space because we don’t know what causes gravity, so why worry. Call a knife a knife, and a fork a fork, don’t call reality perceptions, and don’t call perceptions reality.

N Maddern.

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127 Amit Sodha

Hey NM,

I think you and I differ on our opinions on the this subject because of the vernacular and finite dictionary definitions of those words.

I’m talking about those words in the context of them being used by a lay-person in reference to their experiences.

I’m not here to argue definitions of words, but our various filters, modalites, definitions, define our reality, or our perception of what is real, what what they mean to us each as individuals.

Hear me out for a second – A scenario – a loved one has just passed away, someone whom you loved an admired – would you therefore define that event for you, as a good or a bad thing?

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128 Rico

No disrespect to anyone embracing this way of thinking, however I think I’m failing to understand how this makes sense with any part of logic.

I heard a question recently that stuck with me. “How many legs does a dog have if we call the tail a leg?” The correct answer is four. It is not five. A tail is not a leg, even if you call it a leg.

Wishing or believing or hoping or perceiving something does not make that something real. I think I would be safe in saying that there may be people on this planet that at some point believed they could fly, in a dream, perhaps, due to illicit substances, or any number of other reasons. Now if we asked all these people en masse to line up on one side of the Grand Canyon and fly to the other side, I feel I’m pretty safe again in saying that gravity would not allow this to happen. So, although a potentially large number of people percieve they are immune to the laws of physics, this perception of “reality” or “their reality” does not make unassisted flight for humans a reality.

If anyone can help me understand the error in this, I would appreciate it.

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129 Amit Sodha

Hi Rico,

Thanks so much for your comment, I’m going to reply properly to you very soon to respond to your point.

All the best,

~Amit

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130 Amit Sodha

Hey Rico,

In this article I’m not referring to the laws of physics (But event though, scientists are changing their minds daily about what certain things mean, the age of the universe, the composition of dark matter etc. What many felt to be true 10 years ago, no longer see it that way)

However my point as made above is in regard to the our interpretation of events. When an event occurs – one person will see it one way, another will see it totally differently. Who’s reality is correct? Neither, as both are interpreting the event through their own experience and bias.

My latter point in the article was more about the general theories of science, that often change daily.

I hope that answers your questions

~Amit

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131 Sebastian Aiden Daniels

Everything in life comes down to a perception. Depending on your life experiences, current mood, and more is how you will perceive something. You may seem something one way while someone else sees it another way. Reality isn’t necessary real, it is just what we believe we think is real. We are more influenced by the outside surroundings than many of us would like to give credit to.

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132 Amit Sodha

Hi Seb,

Very well said you definitely see where I’m coming from in this whole, amazing and wonderful debate.

This was one of the first articles I ever wrote, and still draws so many comments :-)

~Amit

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133 Steven Robertson

Great article! thanks, all though, I read it too late in the evening, it had me up awake thinking about whats real and whats not. Maybe our dreams are real, and reality is a dream?

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134 Amit Sodha

Hehe – my apologies Steven for keeping you up! :-D

Or maybe we are in a dream within a dream? ;-)

~Amit

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135 Julie

I have been lost in thought about this for ages! So great to see the vast history of this thread.

I came up with a new example (for me at least)

I think there are two oranges on the table. You think there are three. Therefore our perception and reality are different. Which could be a catalyst to this ending: we now perceive each other wrong and the reality is we do not agree. (This last sentence I hesitate to use reality) lastly there is now the reality that we don’t not know for sure how many oranges on the table. Whose does this reality belong to and if it belongs to is and we have the ability to have unlimited realities, what does that say about reality? Or does it revert to an alternate perception?
New at Julie\’s blog post ..The 8 Cutest Videos On The Internet EVER

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136 Amit Sodha

Hi Julie,

That reminds me of those kind of eye puzzles where some people see the young woman, and some see the old lady.

There would always be debates about who was right or wrong in those cases, and yet both were right and wrong!

Thanks so much for your comment.

#Amit

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137 N Maddern

A person driving past my farm, which is not far from an airforce base, witnesses a meteorite fall from the sky and crash into one of my fields leaving a large crater and notifies the local police. At the time I am inside my farmhouse having lunch, I hear a loud bang and go out to investigate. My farming neighbour from across the road also having lunch, hears the bang and comes across to my farm. In the past I have had a jet fighter from the airforce base drop a bomb in one of my fields causing a large crater, because he had engine trouble and could not land safely with it still attached to his plane.

My farming friend once had a jet fighter from the base have engine trouble while flying over his farm (with no bomb attached), and the pilot had to eject and the plane crashed into one of his fields, leaving a large crater. We discover a large fresh crater in one of my fields, my reality is, it was caused by a bomb, his reality is, it was caused by a jet fighter crashing, its a real crater! after all so there must be some real (reality) cause for it, mustn’t there (meanwhile the local police are coming up my driveway to tell me to be careful I don’t fall down a meteorite crater). What was the crater really caused by, a plane? or a bomb? or maybe it was a plane with a bomb still attached? or did it just magically appear of its own accord?.

The moral of that story is, there is always a truth (true cause/reality) even if we as humans don’t know what that truth is, it does still exist no matter what our thought processes, thats the laws of nature! and without the laws of nature we wouldn’t be here to live our lives, and to change the meanings of words, like we have so far for “Lesbian” (the people from Lesbos island, Greece), and “Gay” (lighthearted and carefree) among others, and it now looks some wish to do the same with the word “Reality” we “realist’s” in the world will soon have make a new word I suppose, or maybe we could be lazy and just pinch one.

We as humans may never see the truth of an event, either because we couldn’t find the true answer or couldn’t be bothered looking for the answer in the first place, and so have made something up for it instead, or someone else has made something up for us, and it is now our one and only perception. The crater story is for a couple of of your readers, who’s comments I have noticed, not yourself! as I believe you are more intelligent than that.

I am boarding a plane that seats 300, but on this flight will only have 250 passengers (plenty of spare seats), a lady in front of me in the aisle is carrying a crying baby and is about to sit down in the seat beside my designated seat. By your definition of the words perception and reality being interchangeable, I am safe to use any words I want, to describe any event or any situation, like “reality” for instance when I actually mean “perception”.

So I ask a flight attendant talking to another passenger further up the aisle, if it would be okay for me to sit elsewhere, because I would rather not sit beside the lady carrying the ticking bomb, the flight attendant is a rational human being, so they will understand that by my saying “ticking bomb” I actually mean “crying baby”, and besides they are only words! and words can mean anything we want them to, can’t they?. It may seem picky of me, all this talk of words and there true meanings, but since humans have been walking upright upon this planet there have been a lot of terrible events in the world, with no doubt a lot more to come.

How many of those events have been caused by Elephants, buffalos, Lizards or Kangaroo’s? not many I am guessing. As human beings, we can all try a little harder, with both our actions and our words (and believe me, I know I am far from perfect). Say what you mean, and mean what you say. And the world will be a little better because of it. I realise that you, so far at least, have either not understood the point I am trying to make, or do not want to understand the point I am trying to make, so with this I will leave it (no more comments).

As to your question “a loved one has just passed away, someone whom you loved an admired – would you therefore define that event for you, as a good or a bad thing?” If someone I loved and admired passed away (no matter what the circumstances of their death), I would be upset! and I do not get any enjoyment from being upset, so therefore that event, for myself personally, would be a bad thing, but hey maybe thats just me.

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138 Teena

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needs much more attention. I’ll probably be back again to read more,
thanks for the info!

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