March 11

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Judging and Comparing Realities

Judging realities: I wrote earlier that the best realities are those that come closest to mimicking actuality. They strive towards omniscience. I would judge two different realities based on the degree to which each approaches omniscience, if reality A is a better approximation of actuality than reality B, reality A is superior.

The error of judgment: But what is actuality? I’ve spent the last 10,000 or so words critiquing the gap between what is and what we believe is, between actuality and reality. Due to limitations in our perceptions, thinking etc. we simply cannot grasp the actual, what is. We are all innocent to actuality. Therefore, how can we judge a reality? A reality is only as good as it approaches actuality, yet with no understanding of what is actual we have no basis to compare reality to actuality.

Reality comparing: What is left? We can compare realities. Yet this sort of comparison makes no sense since all derive from the same unknown. An analogy can be used to understand reality comparing. A blind man and a deaf man notice – each in their own way – a woman walking down the street. The blind man comments on her beautiful voice, the deaf man on her beautiful body. Which man is closer to actuality? The two may argue bitterly for days about which is the superior viewpoint, but the battle is pointless – they each saw and experienced actuality in a different way – the deaf man due to his inability to hear and the blind man to his inability to see. On a larger scale, we are all a little blind and deaf. We all experience the world in a different way and have thus formed diverging realities. Comparing realities is a moot point since actuality is an impossible target, something that cannot be understood. Granted, one reality will always be better than another. A will be better than B or B better than A. But no one is in a position to make this judgment since no one knows actuality.

Contrasting realities: Sometimes multiple realities will say the same thing. It is typical to make the judgement that because so many views coincide, then truth has been arrived at. This is how science works - the observations of many experimenters coincide, therefore some sort of truth, some sort of connection to actuality, has been arrived at. This assumes that human sense in the first place puts us in touch with actuality - we don't know this. Actuality might be much more than what we can sense. What would we perceive if we had a sixth sense, a seventh sense, an eighth?

Privileging realities: Realities often repel – they may prefer not to exist together. When two realities describing the same thing coexist, disorder may result. War may break out amongst adherents, one side pitting itself against the other to determine who is right. We do not like paradox or inconsistency. Paradox, the existence of two variations of the same thing, opposites, incongruities, are signs of human weakness. These phenomena demonstrate our inability to see truth, they demonstrate our tenuous linkage to reality, the fact that chaos is knocking on the door. This sort of thing makes us uncomfortable. A decision must be made to determine which reality is correct.
Even though there is no basis on which to make a judgment (actuality is unknown), a choice is made. Remember that collective realities are the means through which society acts. We must have a reality. We must function. We are not innocent. We have needs. We must hunt and kill the deer. We must survive. We must have a reality. It is easier to act on the basis of one reality rather than two, easier for the masses to be united rather than falling over one another’s toes. Society seeks an answer, the one reality through which the majority will unite. The proponents of each reality marshal their forces, do battle, and to the victor go the spoils.

There is never one reality: Yes, there may be a large dominant reality with a well entrenched means of action, solid institutions, and many adherents. But at any given point in time there are other orbiting realities coexisting, fighting, and ignoring each other. This is healthy since it gives people choice. It allows for borrowing and exchange between realities.

Are the correct realities winners? Not necessarily. Those who perceive the clearest and create the best realities are often not the strongest. Nor do they always have the same powers of rhetoric. When realities compete, it is not always the most correct that wins. It is often the reality that corrals the most popular support, the one that has the sex appeal, the glib and eloquent speakers, the guns, the power – this is the reality that triumphs. It is not always the correct who wins, but often the popular. When the correct reality garners the popular vote, then the correct wins. But only then.

The collective world: The collective world is made up of many realities competing and coexisting. They layer upon each other, layer after layer, small, large, individual, or collective. The collective realities that exist are there because they have been judged by humanity to be the correct realities.

The collective world.

Discovering reality through action: This is also called pragmatic truth – it means we may judge realities based on how well they do. The best realities breed the best action. Therefore, those who succeed have the best grasp on actuality. Might makes right. This is only half true. When I wrote about omnipotence, I noted that even the most ignorant of men could affect actuality if he has the power of action. So of one observes the entire population of the successful – those who have dominated the world of action – it is impossible to differentiate between those who have dominated due to power/willful action and those who have good models of actuality. Furthermore, the emphasis on action has to do with the degree to which reality changes actuality, not how reality conforms to actuality. The problem continues to exist, realities cannot be properly ranked on the basis of truth, their conformity to actuality.

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