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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 30 2013: THE REAL (Lacan): The state of nature from which we have been forever severed by our entrance into language. Only as neo-natal children were we close to this state of nature, a state in which there is nothing but need. A baby needs and seeks to satisfy those needs with no sense for any separation between itself and the external world or the world of others. For this reason, Lacan sometimes represents this state of nature as a time of fullness or completeness that is subsequently lost through the entrance into language. The primordial animal need for copulation (for example, when animals are in heat) similarly corresponds to this state of nature. There is a need followed by a search for satisfaction. As far as humans are concerned, however, "the real is impossible," as Lacan was fond of saying. It is impossible in so far as we cannot express it in language because the very entrance into language marks our irrevocable separation from the real. Still, the real continues to exert its influence throughout our adult lives since it is the rock against which all our fantasies and linguistic structures ultimately fail. The real for example continues to erupt whenever we are made to acknowledge the materiality of our existence, an acknowledgement that is usually perceived as traumatic (since it threatens our very "reality"), although it also drives Lacan's sense of jouissance. The Real works in tension with the imaginary order and the symbolic order. See the Lacan module on the structure of the psyche.
    • Nov 30 2013: Johnny

      Some consider and equate the material natural ways to be a lower form of existence very much as we humans would consider and equate our virtual existence within computers to be a lower form of existence. But just imagine the spaces for exploration that open up with the different bodies.

      Humans form an interesting creature because of its body-mind-spirit natures coexisting and uniting the different domains. Personally I consider that our entrance into language enables new forms of collaboration and integration. The illusory separation between self and the external world seems to ignore that we are part of that external world. and to some extend form part of the world of others.

      Seems to me Lacan missed a crucial point: With the acquisition of language its possible to inherit and share ideas.
      Lacan seems to consider "a time of fullness or completeness that is subsequently lost through the entrance into language" instead of considering a time of fullness or completeness that is subsequently expanded and multiplied through the entrance into language. Curiously that it seems practically impossible to express it with words/actions nevertheless it's quite possible to express it with words/actions... heck its possible to express an idea without a word said nor an action taken! As one progresses the real and the imaginary continue to exert an influence into our lives and each others... visions are turned into realities and realities into visions... To some acknowledge the materiality of our existence may seem threatening, while to some the same may seem just a recognition of our physical nature, then there is the mental, and spiritual aspects

      The Real works in synergy with 'the imaginary order' and the symbolic order. To conform al sort of things and adventures and creatures! Some which can coexist in body.mind.spirit domains simultaneously and individually...
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      Nov 30 2013: Thank for inducing Lacan’s theory, Johnny.
      I am very interested in knowing what is biological reality?
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      Nov 30 2013: I'm not such a big fan of Lacan... he is a psycho-analyst that uses too much terms from other fields and gives it new meanings to make his constructions.
      His theories (like the mirror-stage) can only be seen as metaphorical or allegorical as many hard claims have already been falsified (in psychology, but also from biology and sociology).
      Lacking any predictive power or any therapeutic benefits above the general therapeutic effect made me discard most of his ideas (Like I did with Freud, Jung and others). And it lacks logical coherence (for example: he would seem to imply that a state of ignorance would make you feel closer to reality, which would imply that either reality cannot be understood or that by understanding it you cannot reach it. If he then so starts to formulate a theory he does try to grasp it and should, from his own assumptions fail to do so, making it an invalid theory in the first place)

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