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.
Reality in 1480:
Reality 22 years later, in 1502:
‘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.