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Perception is Reality

I first heard this when it was yelled at me during a course I took.

Some of the other students and I laughed about it for a few days, and talked about how dumb of a saying it was. Reality is obviously not just what we see.

4 years later, it turns out the person who yelled that at us was right. They certainly didn't mean it in this sense, but they had a succinct point.

Reality is what I perceive.

Obviously, there are other realms of unseen worlds and phenomena. But again, what I perceive as reality is reality.

If I perceive everyone as friendly, that is my reality.

I can change my reality with a good book, or a in-depth conversation with a friend.

An analogy:

Reality in 1480:

Heinrich Hammer the German ("Henricus Martellus Germanus")Ptolemy (Κλαύδιος Πτολεμαῖος, Claudius Ptolemaeus), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Heinrich Hammer the German ("Henricus Martellus Germanus")Ptolemy (Κλαύδιος Πτολεμαῖος, Claudius Ptolemaeus), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Reality 22 years later, in 1502:

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‘Reality’ sure changed a lot.

This has been helpful to continue to think about while the world continues to change and people continue to believe they know what is best. Taleb puts it best - "Since Cato the Elder, a certain type of maturity has shown up when one starts blaming the new generation for “shallowness” and praising the previous one for its “values.”

Much as I continue to look back at myself every year and say ‘wow, what an idiot I was.’ Our species will continue to look back (even just 50 years) and say, “Wow, they sure were foolish...”

I just hope we stay reflective enough to remember that our children will say the same of us.