The Subjective Reality Conundrum

Generally speaking, we humans think that what we are experiencing each moment is “reality.” As in, “That’s just reality. That’s the way it IS.” But in actuality, our experience each moment is changing, being colored by our mood, by our recent experiences, by our expectations, by our thoughts, and by the stories we tell ourselves about the things we are experiencing, and by the chemicals being released in our bodies. And that mood is being affected by the stories we tell ourselves

Think about this question: Is there really one fixed reality? Last time I checked, everyone seems to see things slightly differently. Sure, many of us agree about many things (like “Soap is helpful” and “Cars are land vehicles that get us around quite well”) but no one thinks the same way about everything. Also, even within one person, reality changes, as perceptions change.

If reality didn’t change even for the individual, every single thing you experience would have the same meaning to you every time you experience it. If you have ever seen a movie many times, you know that this is not how it works. Doesn’t the meaning of the movie change with time? If you saw a movie as a kid, and now you are adult, you no doubt see the movie somewhat differently than you did then.

So what is reality then? Could it be no more (and no less) than the subjective experience of the individual, which is likely an ever-changing thing?

I agree, this creates a conundrum, because most of the world since time immemorial has been attached to the idea that there is one TRUE reality. Certainly there are laws of physics and things that apply to everyone. Science is the current field of study that lays claim to objectivity.

Yet even science has changed over the centuries. Surely it’s possible that some of the current notions of science will be debunked or altered in the future, just as previous notions were. Or do we think we have truly reached the pinnacle of knowledge, the “true” truth?

If you were to magically whisk yourself to the 15th century, and you canvassed the opinion of people about their lives, they would probably speak with the same level of conviction that modern humans do about what is so today. Without the benefit of electricity, soap, or, in many cases, basic democracy, they would claim that their reality was the “objective” truth of how things are, even though that truth had been changing for centuries before them.

Were those people all just a bunch of medieval idiots? Or did they simply believe what their thoughts and beliefs showed them of reality at the time?

There was once a concept called “divine right of kings,” which claimed that kings were granted the right to rule by God. With this right came certain privileges over their people and their people’s possessions. We would not stand for that in most of the world today. But was this idea objectively backwards and ludicrous? Or was it simply a product of the thinking and conventions of its day?

Was it not as justifiable a “reality” for people of those centuries as our current notion of “reality”?

Maybe this sounds kind of head-in-the-clouds or overly philosophical. Maybe so. Yet I have my personal reasons for thinking about this topic. Personally, I am no longer so much interested in “reality” as in what feels good for me* 🙂 Since I believe that I am the Creator of my reality, I generally think it’s only good to face what I want to create.

So rather than looking for some fixed notion of what is “real,” I’m more interested in creating what I desire!

See a related post: “Reality is a Construct of the Imagination”

*This is an approach I have learned directly from Abraham-Hicks, which I drew to me out of a desire to have a view of life that I find truly joyful and empowering.

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