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Harald Jezek

Owner, Nuada beauty+wellness

TEDCRED 50+

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What is reality ?

Did you ever think about what it is that makes reality real ?
How is our reality created ? Isn't it the perceptions our brain creates based on our sensory inputs ?
But what if we lack a sense ? How does reality change for somebody who cannot hear or see ?
Or take it even a step further, assume you are deprived of all your senses, What would reality mean in such a case ?
And last but not least, let's assume you are born without any senses. What would that mean to your reality ?
So what is reality and what are we as part of this reality ?

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Closing Statement from Harald Jezek

Thanks everybody for participating in this conversation.
After 900+ comments did we solve the question of what reality actually is ? Probably not, however it was a good exercise in contemplating what it actually means when we say this or this is "real".
What most of us agreed upon is that there are different aspects to reality.

One is the reality we deal with on a daily basis and which we share to a large degree. For example we agree upon common things, such as when we see a car we all agree it's a car, a tree is a tree and a house if a house.
Although we know that this reality is created by our mind based on sensory inputs which is not only incomplete but often also faulty, it still is "real" because we share the same benchmarking (same sensory inputs, generally same mechanism how our brain interprets those sensory inputs.

Beside this shared reality we all have our own reality. This can be something simple like the perception of a taste, odor or a color.
Although we might agree that a given color is read or an odor is that of a pine, we never can know how another person actually perceives this sensory input.
Individual reality also becomes visible in our beliefs. For a religious person the existence of a God is a fact and hence part of reality while for an atheist reality is free of such a God.
Differences in this aspect of reality can also be observed in how different people get different perceptions of the same situation.

Last but not least there must be an underlying objective reality which includes the laws of nature (whether those are the ones we believe are valid today or perhaps something even deeper which we don't have discovered yet) and which exists regardless of us being here to contemplate it and regardless of our beliefs.

Next time we insist something is real, let's think whether it's real for me, for all(most) of us or real in an absolute sense.

To finish with Albert Einstein:
"“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”

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  • Nov 14 2013: The reality as it exists within our field of perception is vastly different than what reality actually is. Our brains have evolved so our preception and sense receptivity is oriented in a way that is productive for our survival and so is limited and governed within the confines of certain bio/psycho/social parameters. There is an obvios subject/object relationship that cannot be ignored when u speak of reality and how whatever it is is processed and then interpreted. Basically we interact with the real reality but our minds do not penetrate let alone comprehend the vastness and complexity of what reality actually is. Our brains could not possibly account for reality even if it was in some way understood because there is no experiential basis on which such an understanding could be built on. Quantum physics is so nuts because we were never programmed by nature to be capable of conceiving matter on the atomic/subatomic level let alone being able to use our crude folk logic to make sense of how those atoms and electrons behave. I like the Buddhist notion of dependent origination and the attitude Buddha is said to have had regarding the relationship between reality as it is and how it is misinterpreted.

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