Is Reality Real?

Is reality real, or just an illusion? Does it exist, or is it just a dream that I will awake from in the “real” reality?

It is popular in many spiritual writings today to emphasize that the world we appear to live in is not real, that it is merely illusion, and to “wake up” is to recognize this fact. On the laptop on which I perceive myself writing this little post the Dictionary defines “illusion” like this:

• a thing that is or is likely to be wrongly perceived or interpreted by the senses: the illusion makes parallel lines seem to diverge by placing them on a zigzag-striped background.

• a deceptive appearance or impression: the illusion of family togetherness | the tension between illusion and reality.

• a false idea or belief: he had no illusions about the trouble she was in.

Science actually supports the idea that “what you see is not what you get!” For example we look at a solid wood table but the whole “solid” concept is our perception, not the underlying reality. Science tells us that much of what we see as a “table” is in fact empty space with myriads of particles we call protons, neutrons, electrons, neutrinos, etc. – the menagerie of particles grows and grows as scientists continually come up with new ones to explain some nagging problem that prevents a “unified theory of everything.”

But even those “particles” may not be really real. They may be waves, or vibrations, or energy – anything but something truly solid. There are famous experiments in science where in some cases light looks like a particle, and in another experiment like a wave. Einstein’s famous equation E=mc2 seems to says that mass is just a condensed form of energy. Maybe nothing is really solid, or real?

Nevertheless our perceptions are useful for living in this world, real or illusion. If we could actually see the myriad of “real” detail down to the sub-atomic particles that would be just too much, a mass of confusion, especially if your overriding motive right now is to find something tasty to eat. It is a lot more useful to see a banana as a whole, and not the sub-atomic particles science tells us that it really is.

It seems that our senses, such that they are, are useful for dealing with the level of perception or illusion we currently appear to reside on. Also despite our limited perception (is there anything that exists that is not limited?) scientists have – depending on your point of view – come up with powerful explanations or intricately contrived pictures of the illusion we call existence.

It doesn’t matter …

I have come to one conclusion about the reality of existence that I find useful. It doesn’t matter. It just doesn’t matter ultimately what the absolute reality is. If we exist, then we have to deal with the illusion that we currently live and have our being in. If we don’t exist, then it doesn’t matter anyway. Either way you flip the coin, real or illusion, it just doesn’t matter.

Those who claim to have a knowledge of higher reality rarely have useful advice on how to deal with this reality (or illusion). I don’t claim to have a lot of knowledge about those higher realities, but here is my advice about this reality, whatever it is.  Don’t be too attached to it. Take it for what it is (or is not), get what you can out of it, and be prepared to modify your views as your vision widens.

You are the question, and reality is the answer.

Question reality.


New Age, Old Age

We are all fortunate to be living on the cusp of a New Age where the paradigms of the old world and the Old Age are being replaced with new ideas, new ways of doing things, and new ways of seeing things.

Everything old is not bad though, and everything new is not good.

Someone once characterized the difference between those with conservative and liberal views thusly (and please take those terms “conservative” and “liberal” as being very loose terms, not precisely defined here):

A conservative sees good in the old and wants to preserve it. A conservative has difficulty seeing good in the new.

A liberal sees good in the new and wants it immediately. A liberal has great difficultly seeing much good in the old.

The truth is that we need both energies. We need energies to bring in the new, but at the same time we need an energy to act as a brake on change so we don’t rush foolishly into ill-considered change.

If the conservative is totally in charge then stagnation is likely. If the liberal is completely in control a train wreck is probable.

The middle way between these two energies leads to peaceful, and productive change. Both sides have valuable energies to contribute.

The Truth Will Set You Free

I really love this quote from the New Testament:

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.  John 8:32

Here Jesus tells us that we will achieve freedom, whatever exactly that is, only when we know the truth. A couple thousand years later in A Course in Miracles we read:

The Truth is true, and nothing else is true. ACIM

New Agers may be familiar with Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, the founder of Theosophy. Although she was something of a charlatan, she was on to something when she said:

There is no religion higher than truth. Theosophy Online

This blog is about searching for truth.