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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 26 2013: Exactly the opposite of what we're dreaming to be;
    at that same time, we're afraid of the thought of it going worse.

    It's like the unsatisfactory meal you just got offered.

    Nonetheless, you can't discard it.
    • Nov 26 2013: Elizabeth,

      some choose to focus on making the dream into a reality and are diligently working to make it better...

      You certainly can discard that meal you just got offered ... wether you choose to do it or not is a whole different matter. Hopefully you will choose to embrace and eat what's good for you even if you consider it unsatisfactory at first... question is will you choose to embrace what I offered here or reject it ...
      • Nov 26 2013: Thanks Esteban.
        I do appreciate your advice.
        Although I still think what we think of 'reality' is nothing but a thing we should learn to let it go anyway, I am truly moved by your reply...
        Maybe, so foolishly, that's what I wanted to(needed to) hear from someone--as to my response here.

        It just occurred to me.
        I remember the time when I wrote (in my high school essay) that life is not a race in reality, but dreams I have in the process of living ‘a life’


        Love,
        Liz
        • Nov 26 2013: Elizabeth,

          In spanish race can be translated as 'competencia' which has the dual meaning of a competition (winers-loosers) and a competence (those who have acquired a skill to perform) ... and the race also remind me of the turtle and the rabbit story among many other notions... even how that race shares a trait with a strategy competition that won the competition when it could not win. (if interested in this last one look up Tit-for-tat). The strategy that won had a simple heuristic : first collaborate then mirror the other .... implicitly in that process is the notion of both remembering and letting go of 'reality'. Yes we ought to learn to let go of what we think of 'reality' to think of reality accordingly to reality which incidentally includes the dreams we have of it, us and others.

          Sometimes the races are a way to unite a bunch of individuals to do some exercises, have fund, and raise funds for a particular cause and tell stories before during and after the event.

          I am glad you took the courage to participate and then follow it up... In a way I have this pet-peve sensitivity to certain frames of ideas that 'I just have to challenge'... well its more along the lines of "Hey did you notice that idea (fear) that tagged along with your thoughts (what we're dreaming to be;) and made it's way into the party" ... Shall we allow it (fear) to say, shall we nicely acknowledge its presence (and choose to focus on other guests at the party like happy, and peace and knowledge) shall we move on to focus on better stuff...
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        Nov 26 2013: Yes, and some choose to focus on making the nightmare into a reality and are diligently working to make it worse... Wisdom is knowing the difference.
        • Nov 26 2013: Note that the nightmare is just a kind of dream... so just work with the dream to ensure it focuses on the better ways... the way to make it better is by focusing on making it better ... BTW if you focus on the solution you implicitly create the problem ... if you focus on what to do with the current situation... well that just focuses on what to do with the current situation :-)
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      Nov 26 2013: Hi Liz,
      while we probably can't change the fundamental laws of the universe we still can change our subjective reality.
      Instead of being afraid, it's better to bend your reality towards what you want it to be. Not always easy, yet possible.
      In other words, you can reject the unsatisfactory meal, just be prepared to stay hungry until you get a better offering ;-)
      • Nov 26 2013: Of course one could also work on producing a better satisfactory meal :-) rather than just waiting to get a better offering :-)
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          Nov 26 2013: We agree on this one ;-)
        • Nov 27 2013: “Yes we ought to learn to let go of what we think of 'reality' to think of reality accordingly to reality which incidentally includes the dreams we have of it, us and others.”
          Yup~!
          You hit the nail on the head.


          I sometimes hope that ‘reality’ is just a cold ‘wake-up call’ for the young—in order to make us feel like we still need to grow up.
          We face ‘reality’ every day, but it somehow ends up being a buzzkill to our hopes.

          However, in reality, we ‘find’ a way to dream—even impossible—dreams…
          And it motivates us to choose what to do—for ourselves.
          (According to you replies) I think that is the most important lesson—choose—for us.
          Still…No entiendo….as to ‘life’ and his friend ‘reality’

          Gracias :)
      • Nov 27 2013: Hi Herald~~!

        And... starve to death...? (lol I'm kidding!!)
        "it's better to bend your reality towards what you want it to be. "
        That's an interesting view.
        And if you don't mind, may I ask you to elaborate, please?
        Any examples would do.

        Thanks
        Liz
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          Nov 27 2013: Hi Liz,
          let's assume you are unhappy with your job.
          There are different ways to react.
          Some people complain, whining how bad the boss is or how unfair they are treated or how difficult the coworkers are or how much work there is, etc., etc, etc
          Other people just say, ok this job is not for me for whatever reason it might be and find themselves a new one that suits their expectation better.

          Which option do you think is better ?

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