Sunday, January 7, 2018

Perception vs. Reality

Seeing you seeing me.
The President’s daughter Ivanka Trump says, “Perception is more important than reality”. Obviously a distinction is made with that statement. The distinction is that perception is not reality. More than likely every person agrees there is a difference between the two. We know what is perception, but do we know what is reality? It is a nonsensical statement to say the two are different unless we can define both perception and reality. In an ordinary way everyone believes they know what is reality, but when pressed to define it, hesitation arises, for good reason. One of the most intelligent scientists to ever live (Albert Einstein) said this: “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” Could he be right?

Let’s test his hypothesis and to do so we must begin by defining some terms, such as what can be perceived and measured. Scientists deal with measurement. If something can be measured, the presumption is that it is real, and the opposite: No measurement=Not real. So far, so good with our test. So what can be measured? Anything objective can be measured. Non-objects can’t.

Given that, let’s return to grammar school and consider the following sentence: “I see me”. That sentence is instructive to our test. The word “I” is the subject, “see” is the verb and “me” is the object. Now let’s consider the logic and the previous agreement: That anything objective can be measured and is thus real. If the grammar is correct (and it is) then “I” am not real, because “I” is a subject and a subject is different from an object. But wait! “I” am clearly real and so are you. I am writing and you are reading, so where is the fly in this ointment?

Now, look at the image to the right. There you see an image of two people looking at each other, and the clear conclusion is that every person (or sentient being: dog, cat, iguana, cow…any entity capable of perception) is both an object that is seen and a subject doing the seeing. It is thus an indisputable fact that any, and every sentient being is both real and unreal at the same time. If so, then can reality and illusion be a package deal: One part objective (and measurable, thus real) and the other part subjective (and immeasurable, thus unreal)?

If we (subjects) are unreal then nobody can know anything, at all, about anyone else AND what we think is real, is mere illusion. Einstein is correct. His hypothesis holds up, and this begs the question: How is perception different from reality? And one final point: When we refer to a self-image (ego/image of I) we are referring to an unreal object that is seen. So who, or what, is the subjective us that is doing the seeingthe part of us that is allegedly unreal, but in fact is the only part of us that is real, in spite of Einstein or rational logic. The flip side of this coin is the real subjective aspect of us is seeing nothing but unreal illusions. Now answer the original question: What’s the difference between perception and reality?
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