"If someone made up something in his/her own imagination, built a "mental construct", and then they believed it was "the truth", that it was "reality", wouldn't you think that person a bit "off"? How could they think something made up was the truth, that it was real? You'd see the nonsense in it.
However, if you made up a "mental construct" that existed only in your mind, I'll bet you will believe it is true.
But maybe you ought to consider making a different choice - as it could mean the difference between life and death, in the sense that you could have aliveness and happiness instead of suffering and struggle in life, a sort of "emotional death."
Real: Existing or happening as or in fact; actual, true, etc; not merely seeming, pretended, imagined, fictitious, nominal or ostensible: existing objectively, in the physical world, objectively verifiable scientifically.
Fact: A thing that has actually happened or that is really true; thing that has been or is.
The confusion about "reality" as a concept
Reality and what we make up
Our job is to discriminate between the two
THE CONFUSION ABOUT "REALITY" AS A CONCEPT
In many philosophical disciplines of great wisdom, they refer to an "alternate reality" as if one is existing in a world of illusions. However, I believe that clarification is needed there, or there will be no effective impact of what is actually true in the world.
When they say we are living in a world of illusion and what we see isn't reality, then we will be likely to question their sanity. Surely, I see a chair and you see a chair, so it must be real. Yes, that is reality, as far as anyone can determine.
More precisely, I would say that the following is true of reality, throwing out all the non-verifiable, nonsensical crappola:
We have a world that we live in where it is indisputable that certain things exist and that there are possibilities for harnessing what is there to create opportunities for a great life. That has already been proven by mankind's indisputable progress.
REALITY AND WHAT WE MAKE UP
What is true is that we have this "objective" reality that we live in AND that we make up alot of things about that reality - and then we get into trouble when we live in the "illusion" of what we made up about reality as actually being reality. Sounds kinda implausible, silly, stupid, etc., doesn't it?
Part of the process is just a human functioning, the hard-wired functions built into us, about which we mostly don't have a choice. Survival and handling dangers has evolved in us - and is hard-wired.
We have to predict the future in order to avoid dangers that may cause us to not survive. However, we don't have to "believe" that the future will happen nor to become anxious and fearful about it. That latter part is in our control. We don't have to believe that the worst will happen. That part is under our control.
We regret the past, make up a game that we play in order to get approval and then we make up that it is vital to our survival, we make up that we have to be "good enough" (sharp enough, able enough, etc.) and if we aren't then we make up that it is terrible. We make up that the past is terrible, instead of just a happening, and then we make up regret, guilt, shame about it as being real, rather than a primitive mind simple emotion and a matching of an old recording in the memory banks.
OUR JOB IS TO DISCRIMINATE BETWEEN THE TWO
Over on the left we have a "reality world", with chairs, tables, sun, etc. of what actually exists in reality. Everything else is made up - and we spend most of our energy in that made up world as if it were reality. But, it is just made up stuff!
And our job is to discriminate (use our higher brain) as to what we should believe is real and what we should see as not real.
It is as simple as asking, and answering, Byron Katie's depression-breaking question: Is it true? Is it absolutely true?" and, then, only considering what is proven to be true as what to believe in.
"Believe" sounds like an inapproprate word here, as it is more in the "knowing" realm, more an "as far as we can know" type of knowing, rather than a "made up" belief with no proof.
A "made up" belief with no proof is only one that an unsane (or insane) person would consciously believe is the truth. (Use the search engine, using "unsane" and "highsanity" to read that illuminating discussion.)
Believing in made up stuff is like believing in fairy tales - only a fool would do it. (I appreciate what Landmark Education is doing in attempting to have people look at their made-up stories and not to believe in stories [or bullbleep].)
THE MADE-UP WORLD IN ACTION, WITH ALL ITS DRAMA
I am amazed when I see myself artificially creating deadlines for my work and then getting stressed about them. They are "created" and they are "artificial" and therefore they are not reality and are not absolutely "necessary" - and, therefore, I have a choice in the matter. They are a made up game, in which I punish myself and get stressed about things that must get done not getting done! How stupid is that! (With all due respect, of course, to being human.)
Also, I note with great interest my struggle with "addiction" to a simple game that is my easy way of going to "peace of mind, with an occasional stimulus", a way of escaping what takes effort or might seem difficult in any way. (Notice that I use the word "seem", reflecting that I even make that up, as it is not actually difficult if I have no resistance - all I have to do is do an action and I don't need to construe it is hard or not exciting enough or ... - I make up all that stuff!) My discussion on this and how to produce the same good results without doing the addiction can be found by going to the Addictions page and then linking into the "My Addiction" page.
Reality is defined as "verifiable fact, observable by any sufficiently knowledgeable 'seeing' person. (See Fact, Truth, Reality.) The rest of it, therefore, is all made up and therefore is under your control. Sure you can't control the whether and some unfortunate happenings, but you can influence then AND you can surely control something that you made up in the first place - that' under your control, period!
But, people protest, "it is not under my control since I am driven to do things that conflict with doing what is right! I know what is right, but I just can't seem to do it!"
Well, that doesn't prove that one can't control what one makes up, it only suggests that there are some things we do that tie into a system that seems to rule us. The primitive brain is more like a hard-wired computer where we can add data and software programs. The hard-wired part will do the same thing every time; we can't change that (with a couple of exceptions discovered in neuroscience, where there is something akin to changing our neurowiring - but that is actually bordering on being softward - see Rewiring The Brain.). However, like any tool or system, we can use it to do our best to get the results we want.
THIS IS REALITY, FROM ALL MY STUDIES
Although this overlaps into the world of one's philosophy, this is reality, I say, from all my studies:
- The world operates very effectively and there are lots of ways we can use it to our advantage.
- Life can be good if we do what makes it so, regardless of our past - it takes only learning (unless we have a permanent brain defect that prevents it).
- The sun will shine tomorrow.
- There is no true existence of what we make up; it is absolutely temporary.
AN EXTRA NOTE ON WHAT COULD BE CONFUSING HERE
The idea that all things are temporary and not permanent is true - things do decay. A porsche is simply a future decaying thing.
But to us, in the time sense that we operate, those things are "relatively" permanent or "not so temporary", lasting long enough for the purposes we use them.
So, let's only talk about what does not lie in that class of things above, and determine what is actually only temporary.
Super temporary is a thought. It can be changed in an instant. It is true (though many doubt it as being far fetched) that you "can" have anything you want if you but choose it. The "anything" is the thing you actually want. It is not the Porsche but the feeling you wanted from having the Porsche that is what you truly want. And you have the ability to use the system [primitive brain human operating system] to create a different thought that will create that feeling.
However, that is a tall order, and it takes time to train oneself to do that. But it is absolutely true that you can train yourself to do that and that it is worth your time in terms of benefits being greater than the costs.
And, of course, you are not likely to reach perfection or absolute knowledge, so you'll probably not get to nirvana. However, I propose happiness as the what that you can achieve, but happiness at a high level (like level 8 and 9 on a possible of 10). And, I contend, if you start at, say, a "4", you'll feel better when you reach 5, so that effort was worth it. From 5 you'll go to 6, and you'll appreciate life even more and think more highly of yourself and operate more effectively with more straight thinking. And so on. In other words, you'll get some benefits as you go, so the effort and the payoff willl produce a net good even before you get to 8 or 9 or even if you don't get to an 8 or 9. And I purport there is no better effort spent than that of learning more how to get to the 8 or 9 and in doing the actions that create the habits that will create your happiness.
I hope you'll see that you can operate within the system to create more of what you want. Not perfection, but an abundance of "good" thinking and feeling, such that life is seen as a true blessing!!!!
AN EXTRA NOTE ON WHAT THE FRINGE THINKING ADDS TO THIS, WHICH DETRACTS FROM IT!
The "fringe", magical thinkers come up with all sorts of scenarios, such as there is an "alternate" dimension that coexists with ours and we live in both, living different lives. Nonsense! Though it is possible, it isn't provable nor is it plausible. And the effect of it is that people are more confused or doubting about what "alternate reality" means.
This is what I call a madeup solution to explain the unexplainable and the unknowable and then believing in that solution as being the truth. Now, I say, with respect, "how dumb is that?" But we do it, over and over. I think we need to concentrate on figuring out what works in life and not trying to figure out ways to "get around" the real stuff in life.
If you want to have "faith", go ahead. But I purport that, if you want more progress and happiness in life, that it is best to see "faith" as faith and a potential reality, but not an actual reality. From that viewpoint, one can create something that is even greater. It is a bit like the saying: "Believe in God, bur row toward the shore." It is a "both/and", where both are included and used, and not an "either/or", where one is excluded. That "context" will make a huge difference in one's life. It includes the comfort of the possibility or probability that something is acting in your favor, yet it includes the powerful concept that it is up to you to make the best of everything and not to be a victim of the circumstances, or the past, or the future, or people.