Jan Engel

Director Event, Blumberry GmbH

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Perception determines reality

A big part of meditation history and literature is about that. But how should the perception be in order to reach a constant level of happiness? Does there need to be a positive slope? Isnt it the right individual mixture of positive change and the appreciation of positive routine? Or is it for some perhaps also the constant juxtaposition with the "negative" world? And what else?

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    Feb 15 2012: It's funny, I looked up the phrase "Perception is Reality", and then I tried several different iterations of the same general notion - including the one you used for your headline - and there's no one (well, other than Lee Atwater, GHW Bush's 1988 campaign adviser - for what that's worth) who's been attributed with coining that phrase. Yes, Einstein did suggest that "Reality is an illusion, albeit a very persistent one", but that statement comes off as more of a quip by the guy than a true axiomatic observation.

    George Berkeley, an 18th century Irish philosopher came close with "To be is to be perceived.", but not close enough apparently, and I'm sure that there are things that "are" that have yet to be perceived at all - with most of them somehow making due without the perception of perceiving perceivers granting them the very real existence that they've obviously achieved for themselves.

    If perception really was reality, then how did perception ever become real itself? How did the primordial perceiving mind ever emerge without being brought into reality by the perception of anything whatsoever - or is this another one of those "energy can't be created nor destroyed" - "infinite always physical existence of God/the All/universal consciousness/Flying Spaghetti Monster" memes that can't be explained to the unenlightened person?

    Please. This lazy reliance on misunderstood catch phrases as foundations for larger questions is the stuff you find on other Internet forums. Philosophers don't really insist that Perception is Reality. Only bloggers write stuff like that. Business articles use it, but not as a foundational axiom for whatever it is that's being examined.

    The same with that misinterpretation of "Energy cannot be created nor destroyed..." as if it suggests infinite physical existence. That statement only refers to energy expended within closed mechanical systems. 1st Law of Thermodynamics. Not the Universal Law of Physical Existence.
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    Feb 15 2012: I will put it this way 'your perceptions determines your own reality. What we determine to be the realities of our life is actually how we choose to perceive it'. What is perception? "The ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses". Look around you, everything around you went through a thought process before it came into reality. Your laptop, your cloths, your job - just name it- everything, even your name.

    Happiness is when you think, deliberately, only of the things that bring joy (Abraham Hicks). Reality cannot determine perception, well, it does. Reality only define perception if you start the circle from the middle . . . . If you can change your perception, you will in turn, change your reality. What you see is what you get. This explains why the rich are getting richer the poor poorer . . .
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      Feb 15 2012: Good reference.

      One more:

      THE UNIVERSE IS LIKE A DOME; IT VIBRATES TO THAT WHICH YOU SAY IN IT,
      AND ANSWERS THE SAME BACK TO YOU; SO ALSO IS THE LAW OF ACTION, WE
      REAP WHAT WE SOW.--Hazrat Inayat Khan
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      Feb 16 2012: yes, with the individual dimension it is much better.
      and i think it is right, as reality is always subjective. determined by your perception and your characteristics.
      but you are perfectly right: the circle starts in the middle.
  • Feb 17 2012: Wow. What a wonderful discussion on a great topic.

    My two cents: each of us "create" our own reality because everything is filtered through our own brain. We interpret all the stimulie and "energy" around us through that mechanism. Having a."new lens" as was discussed in the video changes our reality.

    I choose to be positive and therefore see the good all around me. I am not unaware of the pain and suffering, but choose my focus. This serves me well and I appreciate that more people seem to be understanding this concept.
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    Feb 17 2012: Perception has to believe that what is desired is achievable. Then the journey is happy. Here is an excerpt I wrote elsewhere that seems pertinent:

    You cannot talk anyone into 'happiness' because happiness is an inside job.

    You can show them skills and techniques that they can then incorporate to increase their level of happiness.

    Even the homeless person can be happier.

    Consider a homeless person whose outlook is that the situation is permanent and hopeless.

    Then consider the homeless person whose outlook is that the situation is temporary and has hope.

    Yes, a home and income would be great for both but the one who understands that the thoughts you have about your circumstances, not the circumstances, determine your level of happiness and how to have better-feeling thoughts, will be happier even once basic needs and desires are satisfied.

    Even once each had a home and income it would not be long before the very essence of being human would lead them to want a better job (or changes to the job) and a better home. It is human nature to expand and grow our desires from wherever we happen to be. Even those in the upper echelons of success are not satisfied, they always find more that they want to move toward. It is the journey that is where the joy is .... the destination just gives the reason for the journey. Fortunately, we are hard-wired to continuously find new journeys we want to take that can bring us joy with the right focus.
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    Feb 16 2012: Wow in reading this thread I thought how many people picked up on perception. Look you got five maybe 6 senses if you are lucky. That's pretty much it for perception. What your brain does with that information is a complex function of genetics and prior experiences. I don't necessarily think that the net result of all that can be construed as reality.

    My bigger surprise is that anyone would ever be interested in "reaching a constant level of happiness." That would make me crazy! How incredibly boring and banal the world would be. Although there may be therapeutic levels of certain medications that would be able to achieve that for you.
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      Feb 16 2012: for me reaching a constant level of happiness in reality embraces also the ability to intensively experience every moment - no matter if it is negative or positive. but for having the constant level of meta-happiness, i think, you should accept also the negative moments as it is the best you have in this moment as in this moment you only have that moment. your perception is the key to that.

      you know what i mean? for me happiness also includes the ability to accept and experience moments of being not happy.

      how can we call this meta-level of self being? for me it is perception. and therefore it determines my individually reality. in my opinion it need the subjective dimension as there is no objective reality. or what do you think?
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        Feb 16 2012: Hmm so your definition of reaching a "constant level of happiness" would include unhappiness.

        I think what your saying is: What is, is. Be happy about it.

        But if we are always happy, there is no need for progress or change. It perpetuates the status quo.
  • Feb 23 2012: I have been thinking about this for a while, and I have not attained a particularly satisfying answer yet. Let's see if it helps:

    1) One big problem about that question is: "What is reality after all?". Is "reality" everything that you do not control, and interact with through your perceptions, or is it something you build from everything you gather through them?

    - Let's suppose person A and B are chatting through the internet through an unsafe connection. They did not know each other, so all they know about each other is that the other one exists. They have to determine if the other person is "good" or "bad". Let's also assume they are both "good" people.

    - Since the connection is not safe (not encrypted nor signed), a person C could intercept messages from both A and B, and also send messages to them, by impersonating them. This way, C will talk to B as if it was a "bad" A, and will also talk to A as if it was a "good" B.

    So what is the reality? In A's standpoint, B is "good"; while in B, A is "bad". Since C had knowledge of the whole situation, he "knows" they are both "good". What I have noticed from the discussion in the other thread, people will normally put themselves in the standpoint of a person D, watching this whole situation happening. So their conclusion will always be: "C's point of view reflects the true reality".

    My point is: "What if you, as person D, was actually interacting with a person E, acting like C with A and B?" Wouldn't your conclusion be wrong, just like B's? This exercise, in the end, got me to conclude that, there indeed is something we may call "reality", but we cannot really be sure if *this* one is the actual reality. In other words:

    "Reality does exist, but we cannot be sure which view best reflects it."

    And that is how I see it now. I'm expecting some feedback.

    Not enough space for my next point. I'll post that later, if I still feel like doing that.
    • Feb 24 2012: "Reality does exist, but we cannot be sure which view best reflects it." It is that simple and we cannot even be sure of ourselves.

      However, it does no good to doubt everything at once to the point of paralysis. A reflection is a real effect and must at least have a semblance of the reality it reflects.
      • Feb 24 2012: Indeed, but it is equally bad to believe everything to the point of paralysis. We need to find the balance between doubt and belief. If you doubt too much you end up with no perception, but if you rely too much on them you end up not looking for better perceptions.

        My conclusion therefore is that *perception does _not_ determine reality*, whatever is that reality. Perception does determine the mental model (or approximation, or simplification) of reality, but not the actual reality. Since there is no way to be sure which view is the actual reality, we have to choose (believe) one as a best fit.

        My concern is that many people, both academic and religious types, do not give the appropriate level of doubt to their views of the world. I see people talking about "scientific" discoveries like they were undoubtedly true, not so differently from religious people talking about their holy books. Even if there is a probability of 10% of some hypothetical discovery being a false positive, they treat it like it was 100% accurate (probably for marketing purposes, or just oversimplification of statements).

        As yet another side note, I think people should be more careful with "selective memory". That is a very common distortion caused by perception. Many common sense knowledge are actually based on knowledge acquired from selected memories, so I usually keep some level of doubt when faced with "common sense".

        My balance between doubt and belief is: "believe as much as you can, doubt as much as needed". Only doubt it if it is clear there might be something better along the way, and *never miss the chance to find something better*.
        • Feb 24 2012: That is it. Perception does not determine reality. Perception is used to determine the mental model.

          That the model is the basis of peoples' response to events is in turn the basis of the term "perception is everything". I share your concern. My main emphasis is the public relations (PR) merchants (salesmen) who deliberately use this to create illusions in the minds of others.
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    Feb 23 2012: How much of our perception is governed by our individual DNA?We are hit every second of everyday with so much data input from outside of our bodies, it's unbelieveable how our brains can process it,sort it,gather it into a real time snapshot of the space we inhabit at that pecuilar instant of existence.How many of our physical senses can we lose before we lose our perception of time and reality?it boggles me.
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    Feb 23 2012: Good topic. First your questions, then my analysis and interpretation of Reality.

    *But how should the perception be in order to reach a constant level of happiness?

    What makes you believe the goal of creating/knowing reality is to be happy? I always considered the importance of creating a reality is to survive in Reality.

    *Does there need to be a positive slope?

    When a rat is being swallowed by the snake... Why would you kill the snake to save the rat?

    *Isn't it the right individual mixture of positive change and the appreciation of positive routine? Or is it for some perhaps also the constant juxtaposition with the "negative" world? And what else?

    Yin yang - is a representation of counter parts coming together in a balance; that is nature. Both good and bad exist, but purely as perception. You will not stop the snake from killing the rat because that is the circle of life; to form a bias to either the rat or snake is to have created a perception of one being better than the other. We do this constantly because we must make sense of reality, but we do this with people everyday, yet people are just super smart animals.

    Nature is Reality. Without you as an individual existing, this universe would still be here, I assure you of this fact. However for you to investigate this Reality, you must go through a perception - your brain, mind and body.

    Perception determines an individualistic reality and through consensuses (grouped conscious) we can piece together what Reality is... Through multiply perceptions we can know Reality, but at the moment we believe that Reality is set in stone (static) we have missed the mark socially. Therefore nature is a cycle, it changes, it has no biases. If your perception does not cycle, change or reconfigure biases... Then you are outside the mindset of what Reality is.

    SO, no perception does not determine Reality, but it can be used to do so.
  • Feb 22 2012: My name is Stephen, and I am a college student from FL. I recently have had some thoughts on the matter and was looking for some feedback.

    Perception determines reality, the mind determines the what/how of perception, so the mind determines what reality is, it creates reality. I think it is important to consider how little of the mind we use (approx. 10%). In addition to that our knowledge of how the mind operates is not much better. That is so little it seems very possible that our lack of understanding of "reality" could be directly linked to our lack of understading of the functioning of the human brain.

    An important aspect of reality is that it is collective. If we are all in the same room we are all seeing the same things. That leads me to believe that not only is my mind creating my reality but my mind is connected to or at least sharing information with, the minds of everyone else in the room in order to produce the similarity in our description of reality.

    One last thought from there is about computing power. One computer is powerful, hundreds of computers working together are much more powerful. In fact they are capable of creating complex and detailed environments. I have heard that the most advanced supercomputers are very near or equal to the believed computing capabilities of the human brain. I dont know how many of those exist but I doubt there are very many. Just imagine if now 7 billion minds are working together, the complexity of the environment they could create.

    I look forward to your thoughts, but keep in mind I am young and naive, so please don't be too critical.
    • Feb 23 2012: "I look forward to your thoughts, but keep in mind I am young and naive, so please don't be too critical."

      I should have added such a note myself, because I was sort of overwhelmed with the first answers to my own point of view.

      I think we will never use 100% of brain capacity, because the 90% "idle" areas might actually be doing something while apparently not doing anything. Lack of activity does not necessarily mean lazy, as they might be resting or that could be part of their signaling. So we are most likely already using our best capacity.

      And about the computing power, as far as I know, there is not enough computing power in this world to simulate a single human mind. A cluster with hundreds of thousands of PCs could only simulate half a rat's brain. The reason for that is something you have said before: "collective". Current computers do not work like brains: computers are basically centralized and serialized computing units (single or few complex units, single or few simple instructions at a time), while brains (neural networks) are distributed and parallel systems (many simple processing units, strongly connected with each other, many complex "tasks" running at the same time).

      Neural networks and swarm intelligence are being researched for artificial intelligence, but no one knows for sure how these work (or how to control these), because these do not work with the usual and trivial logic. Intelligent behaviors emerge naturally from these systems, either by training or compound behavior, unlike in classic computing in which intelligent behaviors are designed and precisely "taught" to machines.

      By the way, do be careful with crowds, as they might behave very differently from any individual, often with very unexpected results.
      • Feb 23 2012: Honestly the brain capacity part of my post was just something I threw in there because it made sense to me. And I heard that thing about supercomputers coming close to performing on level with the human brain from the show Through The Wormhole with Morgan Freeman, so who can say how accurate that might be.

        But the main idea I wanted to express and get some thoughts on was the idea that our brain is working together with everyone else's to achieve the similarity in our surroundings. Why do we all describe the room in the same way if we are not working together to produce the same image.

        In fact I even saw a video on here by a woman named Sarah Burke, I believe, in which she was showing an area of our brain that is dedicated to trying to understand the thoughts, motives, and behaviors of other people. I would wonder if this area of the brain succeeded in understanding the mind of another person, could they then work together in some fashion even if it is only indirectly?

        As a totally different note. I am very new to the website so if you had any suggestions of favorite videos I would be interested in checking them out.
        • Feb 23 2012: I am also new here, pleased to meet you. I threw that answer for pretty much the same reason as you, I think. I hope you got some of the hints I left in it:

          1) Individuals and groups have very different dynamics, so they are likely to behave very differently. A single ant is incredibly stupid, but an ant colony is surprisingly smart. The same happens between neurons and brain. It does not (yet) happen with computers, because they were not designed for that purpose. So the collective thinking might be the next so needed step to advance our knowledge of everything. (As parallel computing is the next so needed step to advance computing power.)

          2) The main source of computing power or intelligent behavior does not lie in any particular processing unit in these cases, but mainly in the communication framework on which they are built upon. So if we are to attain the power of the collective, we will need some appropriate language to describe both our problems and solutions. Maybe it already exists, but is not yet visible enough, maybe no one really gave it so much importance after all, or maybe we are actually using it without notice.

          In fact, we do not need to understand anyone's thoughts, at least not so deeply or so precisely. I think we mostly work by thinking on "black boxes" most of the time, only prying in when we get curious enough. So it does not matter (most of the time) what the next person is thinking, but instead we are most worried about what are they going to *do*.

          By the way, as another side note, neural networks are not very good with exact or precise results, and are usually very hard to control (because there is no explicit "logic"); but on the other hand they excel with approximations. Most of the time, the exact result is too expensive and very limited, so cheap and reasonable results are actually much better.
    • Feb 24 2012: The mind does not create reality. The mind senses and analyses reality and that is perception. The mind is itself part of that reality. The perception is imperfect, including self perception. Perception is more like a reflection of reality than reality itself.
  • Feb 18 2012: Reality is what it is.

    Perception is an interpretation of reality that is erroneous to some degree and cannot be perfectly correct.

    Attitude can effect perception of the real world and the real world can effect attitude. We interact with the rest of the world.

    Perception does not determine reality. To think that perception does determine reality is to self delude.

    What perception does is play a large part in determining how a person responds to the world. That is the basis of the term 'perception is everything'. It is also a sad basis for manipulating people by presenting them with false perceptions.

    Caveat lector.
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    Feb 17 2012: Yeah, i've pretty much known that all my life: what we think is real is just as real as what is real and therefore our perception becomes reality. The sticky part about it all is that your reality and her reality and their reality all tends to tet muddled up with my realty, and at any point during the day we can each have about ten or more realities all vying for our attentin and just butting into our personal space.

    Af least, that's just my perception.
  • Feb 17 2012: There is no reality ("spoon"?). There is no way to prove reality, we just believe it to cope with our perception. That is, if you want to go deep into that line of thinking...

    I only believe in happiness because I don't believe in extrinsic purpose. Since we are born without purpose, we have to make one for ourselves. And what better purpose than achieving something we know is (nearly) impossible to reach, like "happiness"? We had better not be positive all the time, or we might start losing that purpose of seeking "happiness". But we should allow ourselves some sample of that, so we may have some hope and keep going forward.
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      • Feb 17 2012: Good, I was actually expecting to be disagreed, because I think most people cannot grasp the fragility of the concept of "reality". But I do hope you understood what I meant by "spoon".

        The only undeniable fact about reality is that something does exist, and that is our own consciousness. Everything else could well be just a dream, or could be the real thing, or could be both. I am very well aware of that, and therefore I avoid claiming to "know" reality to be real. I'd rather claim to "believe" in reality, and that alone should take a lot of faith for people like me.

        Since anything we perceive (especially reality) can be no more than suggestions from some unknown entity (maybe even from our own selves), why not doubting the very purpose suggested to you by what we call "reality"? It is up to us to take the hint, or to find something else to keep us moving.

        Happiness is indeed a state of mind, a state we are told to pursue since we were born (at least, if you were born in a "good" environment). Whether you are going to pursue it or not is none of my concern, all I know is that after a long time thinking about it, I decided to take it as a purpose. Before that, what kept me going was the lack of a reasonable purpose (in other words, the pursuit for a purpose was the purpose itself).

        And I thought I was clear enough with the term "extrinsic" near "purpose". I didn't mean we had no purpose at all, I meant we don't have a transcendental entity giving us that purpose. We could have a purpose of our own upon birth, or we could develop one as we grow self-conscious, but I don't believe that purpose would come from anywhere beyond the "reality" that surrounds us.
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      Feb 17 2012: [Ricardo Kagawa
      18 hours ago: There is no reality ("spoon"?). There is no way to prove reality, we just believe it to cope with our perception. That is, if you want to go deep into that line of thinking...]

      Reality is the term we use to refer to the contextual relationship being shared by in-kind holon uniques. It exists because holon uniques exist. If nothing existed, then reality would still exist, but only if "nothing" was a qualified "something" that conceptually described the literal absence of anything whatsoever. If that literal absence lacks any qualification at all - not really possible due to the primordial nature of Truth (the existential "yes") - then Reality could be questionable as a concept, but as I just pointed out, that qualification is primordial, so that shuts that notion down.

      You exist, and so do I. You are not me and I am not you, so you and I share existence within a contextual environment that exists because we are separate items at some level (that's to cover the "we are all one within an illusion of duality" claim with a caveat concerning levels of association and isolation) That contextual environment is our reality, and while it is Relative, it does exist. Foundational Reality sets the primordial existential parameters for all Relative reality confines. We know this because those confines could not exist without a sub-structure to exist within. That foundational Reality is the result of a rigid, immutable Boolean Logic version of awarding the existential "yes" compared to Relative Reality as the result of a malleable Set Logic approach, which is affected by contributive factors in an ongoing and dynamic manner.

      The bottom line is that regardless of whether humans perceive it or not, Reality does exist. It exists as a default ramification of existence itself.
      • Feb 17 2012: I wonder if anyone noticed the "spoon"?

        Anyway, if I got you correctly (in fact, your answer was a bit too technical/cryptical for me), you are analyzing "reality" under an observer's point of view. You place yourself as a transcendental being observing some phenomena in an alleged "reality" (in other words, you are not thinking about the relationship between *your* own perceptions and your own reality, but rather about the relationship of something you perceived with something else you also perceived, and that should make a lot of difference). I agree it is impossible that nothing existed, because otherwise I would not be questioning existence itself.

        But anything beyond our own consciousness is pure belief. If I had full access to and control over your perception, wouldn't I be able to simulate any kind of reality, as long as it is convincing enough? I have been acting as though as this was the real deal, and it has been working fine. But I cannot assure you this is *the* ultimate reality.

        Unless... you are not using the usual semantics for "reality". If reality is not beyond our perception, then there is nothing to complain, because whether if this is a virtual reality or real life, anything beyond our perception would become irrelevant. That is, if "reality" is equivalent to "mental model".

        On the other hand, I still think you are using the "physical world" semantics, from where this problem arises. If everything contained within reality must be perceived in order to be accepted as real, and if perception could be hacked somehow (which is plausible), then "reality" cannot be proved by our "perception" alone. Any tentative proof of reality would have to go through our perception, which, if already hacked to begin with, would make the proof groundless.

        By the way, are you trying to refer to Fuzzy Logic? That looks interesting, I could try thinking that way and see what happens... (I have never tried that before in this context.)
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          Feb 18 2012: [your comment] If everything contained within reality must be perceived in order to be accepted as real, and if perception could be hacked somehow (which is plausible), then "reality" cannot be proved by our "perception" alone. Any tentative proof of reality would have to go through our perception, which, if already hacked to begin with, would make the proof groundless. [/your comment]

          Reality has no acceptance requirement, and if my last post suggested it, I'm at a loss to see where that suggestion was made.

          Again - Reality is the result of all that exists as physical that shares sub-structural commonality. It's really simple, and does not require human existence to accept it as being valid. Human perception is one (and only one) interpretation of reality, but its capacity for accuracy is severely limited and inherently biased. Sometimes the human being goes so far as to see itself as a primordial existential driver, so obviously perception can fail magnificently as a reality interpretation tool.

          Still, within the corporeal realm of cause/effect event trajectories there are some "reality anchors" that can be utilized as inference markers (in a sense) which can help the human mind sketch out a broad overview of what is real and especially what isn't real (either complete fabrication or misinterpretation, as the case may be). That only works if the mind itself is open to simple observation without grabbing minor indicators and irresponsibly transforming them into axioms. Easier said than done, though. Especially if science and philosophy have been any indication to date.

          Just think primitive and ignore any urge to install drama into your indications and let the imperative "survival" be the rope that pulls progressive development forward. You can't push a rope, and that's important to always remember when examining existential emergence.
      • Feb 19 2012: "Reality has no acceptance requirement, and if my last post suggested it, I'm at a loss to see where that suggestion was made. "

        You have not suggested that anywhere, I am the one bringing that one into discussion. But the absence of an acceptance requirement is your assumption. I don't think that the "irrelevance" of an acceptance requirement equals the absence or "impossibility" of an acceptance requirement. The existence of anything can (and should) be tested.

        Again - you are placing yourself as an extrinsic observer, assuming everything perceived as real. What is physical after all? How did you learn the concept of "reality"? Were you born with that? Reality is a fact or a concept? "Fact" is really fact or maybe just another concept itself? If you place yourself INSIDE the problem, instead of OUTSIDE the problem, the problem completely changes, because many things that were "facts" from an extrinsic point of view become "assumptions" from an intrinsic point of view. I can easily accept the extrinsic point of view, because that is so easy and practical (especially because we are trained to think like that in science classes), but are you able to even grasp my point?

        Of course this is not a practical discussion, and it will likely lead us to nothing - at least for most people, who can't handle the frailty of the concept of "physical" reality (as something extrinsic). Reality, as I see it, is inherently intrinsic and strongly tied with our perceptions. Not in a sense that perception determines (controls) reality, but rather in a sense that, whatever is the reality you see, it is always possible that it is not the actual truth. And you should learn to live with that kind of doubt, instead of assuming all scientific knowledge to be the absolute reality and truth.

        Science should always seek the truth, instead of believing it has reached any. We must always defy the status quo, if we expect to change anything - or progress to anywhere.
        • Feb 19 2012: We learn reality and self identification by the limits of our ability to change reality.

          When you place yourself inside the problem you use the same techniques for self examination as for what you call the extrinsic. The observer and the observed are readily confused because they are different parts of the same self. I suggest that on introspection you are simply conflating the perception of the rest of the world with the perception of the observed self, in juxtaposition with the observing self.

          For all practical purposes a spoon really is a spoon. I know because I use one regularly and it works. If you never believed you could acquire any truth then there would be no sense in seeking it. It is all very well to doubt but not to the extent that no knowledge has any truth (which is really what I think you are suggesting because "And you should learn to live with that kind of doubt, instead of assuming all scientific knowledge to be the absolute reality and truth" was an unfounded and inappropriate supposition).

          In terms of the discussion perception does not determine reality because we often fail to correctly analyse a circumstance for the intended purpose (not because reality is an illusion).
      • Feb 19 2012: @Richard Nota
        Firstly, thanks for this answer. It is written with a more accessible wording. As I do these kinds of thinking as a hobby, I cannot understand well the more technical terms.

        Well, actually I seek truth the same way I seek perfection: I know I can never reach perfection, but will try to get closer to that in every reasonable opportunity. I know I cannot ever become perfect, but I also know I will always become better than what I was. In the case of the truth, I only believe it to be unreachable to not allow myself to ever stop seeking it for not so good reasons.

        I think some people stop looking for the truth because they think they have found something seemingly undeniable. But maybe the necessary tools to find an even deeper truth is not yet available at the time. What happens then? Should people simply keep accepting that concept as true even if it becomes clear it is not, as often happens with religion? Shouldn't we be open to the possibility that anything we know right now is not really "true"?

        Indeed, for practical reasons, a spoon is a spoon. For now, I do not have to deny that. But if someday something better is invented, I will not simply say: "hey, that is not the way we drink soup, the only true way to do that is with the spoon". I will always look for different ways to see things, because maybe what we believed to be true, was not so true after all. My reality is not solid, it is always open to new (preferably better) views. At least to a reasonable degree, because doubting literally everything is indeed impractical.

        As with the observer's problem, I am trying to say that the very tools you might be using to analyze reality might be flawed. As a transcendental observer (the usual way we analyze reality), it is assumed that observations (perceptions) are perfectly reliable. But in the problem of assessing the reliability of perceptions, is it still reasonable to assume these observations as equally reliable?
        • Feb 20 2012: I do not know much about where you are but I think you are generally mistaken that it is assumed that observations (perceptions) are perfectly reliable. Some people might but it is not a scientific way of thinking.
        • Feb 20 2012: @Richardo Kagawa

          On reflection, if you mean that those who believe that Perception determines Reality assume that observations (perceptions) are perfectly reliable then I agree with you.
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    Feb 16 2012: I think reality determines reality. Perception is only a tool to help us deal with the objective. I think everyone needs a good balance of pessimism and optimism in life.(The best case scenario would be a worldview that finds inherent meaning in both) Happiness and comfort however are two gifts that are highly overrated.
  • Feb 16 2012: Consider a moment the issue of money. What reality is there to money, absent of its perception of worth to us?

    Then consider a moment that if there is no reality (or rather that reality arises from perception)... what is the basis for common ground in perception among all of us?
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    Feb 15 2012: Reality determines perception. Happy is... As happy does.
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      Feb 15 2012: Thank you. Don't mind if I do.
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      Zack K

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      Feb 16 2012: Reality can occur without perception
      Perception cannot occur without reality
      Therefor Perception determines reality
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        Feb 16 2012: I disagree that perception cannot occur without reality. The easiest illustration is hallucination. I can list some names of people whose perceptions are outside of reality. Mostly in government:)
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          Zack K

          • +1
          Feb 16 2012: I don't know,
          hallucinations are threw a persons perception, and to them and only to them that is reality.
          I guess what I'm trying to say is that perception is a way that you view reality, and reality is something that cannot be changed threw a persons perception. So perception can change the way you see reality and in the end determines what reality is to a person.
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          Feb 17 2012: Each of us perceives differently. No two perceive identically.

          Reality is based on perception.

          Our bodies are interpreting machines, we interpret light waves, sound waves, etc. with our bodies.

          You could have 100 people packed in a small boat with 100 different cameras and not one could take an identical picture because no two could be in the same place at the same moment not to mention the various settings and adjustments they may have made to the camera.

          Our perceptions are colored by our beliefs, expectations and experiences. No two are identical. We should celebrate our differences.
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        Feb 17 2012: [Zack K
        Reality can occur without perception
        Perception cannot occur without reality
        Therefor Perception determines reality]

        almost :~D

        Let me help you out a little here...

        Reality can occur without perception
        Perception cannot occur without reality
        Therefor Reality determines Perception.

        There. That's more like it.

        A good example of this is the perceptions of a schizophrenic. The reality of his/her mental illness - the physical scrambling of external sensory input data with rumination-centric data as it's being loaded into the short term memory regions (in many cases this is a primary symptom of the disease) is a brutally real fact set that profoundly affects the sufferer's perceptions. Obviously, this person's reality-impacted perception has no perception-impact on reality as it exists just beyond his/her own mind. What's also true is that the schizophrenic does, in fact, share relative reality with other intellectual entities who do not perceive that reality in the same manner, and yet they are similar enough to be grouped together within the same contextual confine (another way of describing relative reality).

        Since the wildly differing perceptions of the schizophrenic and the others capable of perception don't contextually isolate them from one another, human perceptions can't be said to be primordial in nature (since contextual hierarchy bows to primordial identifiers and qualifiers in all cases). That also means that Reality trumps Perception regardless of the PR campaign being waged on behalf of human perception in recent years to the contrary. Some things just can't be changed with an effective argument.
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          Zack K

          • +1
          Feb 18 2012: Consider this..
          if you look at the fact that all of us are seeing threw a perceived point of view (because we perceive threw things we have experienced or how our brain's function), and that that perception determines in some way what we see as reality (some peoples reality may be farther from the actual reality then others). That doesn't mean that someones perceived reality is the actual reality, but it is still real to the individual.
          Doesn't that mean the perception determines reality and not the reverse

          The mind is a powerful thing.
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    Feb 15 2012: Perception does not, entirely, determine reality -- it seems to me. I work with a triad: (1) energy, (2) perception, and (3) will. The three interact in a series of relationships shared between and among the constituents of the triad.


    To answer your specific questions:

    How can you will happiness or change your perception of the energies around you to believe that you are happy?

    Why would you need to have a positive slope? What are the pros and cons of this, in theory? Would you be willing to try it in practice and keep a diary of your results?

    You would need to describe the right mixtures of "positive change" vs. "positive routine". If you create a routine vs. change dichotomy, then you would want to impose positive changes in place of negative routines -- right? So, it would seem that you would want to identify those changes and routines and make the necessary exchanges in a manner that you are most comfortable with, would it not?

    How can one escape the constant juxtaposition with the "negative" world? Can you have a valley without peaks? Can you have waves that have crests and no troughs?
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      Feb 17 2012: By seeing the silver lining the negatives are eliminated.

      It requires a certain kind of focus.

      For example, the energy issues. I know that we always solve the problems we are faced with so knowing that our energy use/supply and associated things are problematic I know a solution is on its way. I think of how wonderful that solution might be and then I can feel good about the current perceived problems.

      It is just a matter of time until any perceived problem is solved. The quicker we look for the solution the quicker we will find it. Looking at the problem is not looking for the solution. Energetically the two are very separate.
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        Feb 17 2012: Little is truly eliminated when you change focus, save a certain awareness, etc.; else, I agree.

        Funny you should mention energy. I have some ideas about that; I may post these later.
      • Feb 19 2012: A dark cloud with a silver lining may still rain and destroy my otherwise ready to harvest crops. Without the income from the crops the bank will repossess my farm. The silver lining does not eliminate the negatives.

        A solution is not found without looking at the problem.

        A solution is not always found and we adapt, if possible. Adaptation of that kind is not a solution to the original problem but an acceptance that the negatives were overwhelming.

        I appreciate that you may be writing about attitude but you are writing it as if it is literal. In the process you are writing some gobbledegook.
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          Feb 25 2012: Compromise can be a solution, but one can have differing approaches to compromises.
      • Mar 5 2012: Very well said, Jeanine.