The Slow Percolation of Reality

Reality can be slow to percolate. We may have a complacent and idealized view but slowly, drip by drip, reality can seep in. When the UK had the Brexit vote, there were many who cheered and celebrated, there were almost as many who thought “oh fuck”, but now the consequences of that “decision” are filtering through. It is painful, messy and drawn out. It hangs like a cloud over Europe and it will not shift.

Consequence is one aspect of reality.

If we are complacent and arrogant it can be a very long time before we acknowledge the causal relationship between our actions and the consequences. I have a very rough theory, no rather a trend. It says; the more intelligent you are the slower it is that reality percolates. It is not a perfect trend, maybe a guideline. This is partly because intellect can invent a whole bunch of alternate scenarios in regard of what is transpiring, it may even do this deliberately so as to stop the actual reality getting through. There must be any other explanation than the reality.

To give other examples. Two people could be involved in a somewhat co-dependent relationship where arguments and manipulation are common. One day the argument goes to another level and one of the “partners” walks out. The other thinks; “he (or she) will come back begging before long”. There is precedent. However, time goes by and this doesn’t happen. The waiting party tries to inject some manipulations as a hurry-up. There is no response. Soon it begins to dawn that no matter how many more manipulations are attempted, it is done, finito, caput. It can be a very long time before the reality of the situation percolates and the consequences of behaviour are acknowledged. People can take their unreal justifications to the grave.

The wider the significance of consequence, the longer the reality takes to percolate through.

A couple could be relatively happily married with children. One of them is away on a business trip and one night the opportunity of a drunken shag presents. It seems harmless enough. But the person shagged decides to intervene in the lives of the “happily” married couple and starts texting body-part pictures to the ‘phone of the shagger. The wife (or husband) of the shagger gets suspicious and sees these. All hell breaks loose. The reality of the situation shatters the imagined bliss. The shagger might imagine that a repair is possible, but it isn’t, things will never be the same. The children grow up in a broken home in which there is animosity between the parents. One of the children gets mentally ill and is in and out of psychiatric hospitals for their rest of their lives. I could expand this scenario, but won’t, you can if you like.

The time taken for reality to percolate is proportional to the initial levels of complacency.  

The more one believes that something could not possibly happen, it is so off the radar, when it does it remains utterly inconceivable for a very long time. The fortress of denial is so sturdy that not a single iota of the reality can percolate through its mighty walls. That could not possibly happen, ergo it didn’t, even if it did.

Until you can acknowledge reality it is impossible for you to respond to it.

You are over due on the rent on your cottage. The landlord has taken you to the county court and you have a letter from the bailiffs saying that they will be around to evict you next week. You have a week to find some alternate accommodation. “That is not really happening, everything will be OK”. When the bailiffs turn up and chuck you out on the street with all your belongings it is more than a little too late to deal with the reality of the situation. The moment has passed.

The only way to offset this tendency to not be real, is to try to be a bit more real. That way reality may percolate a little quicker. But first you have to be prepared to face reality. The consequences of not facing reality are often more wide-ranging than facing it.

Is the Model Reality?

I suspect that most people misinterpret how they model the world as reality. They forget that what they assimilate is just that, an assimilation. How one person models the events of life will of necessity differ from others, yet we are often adamant that we are absolute and accurate and we alone. In this we are kidding ourselves. What we make of the world is down to our cognitive apparatus, its training and conceptual ability, our cultural influences and the efficacy of our sense organs. Our awareness can vary, and most are severely limited in ability by their internal dialogue. It is a tremendous source of instrumental noise in our corporeal observational apparatus. It is a wonder any signal gets through, sometimes. Most of the dynamic range is swamped and until you cool your detector, so to speak, you are unable to observe the weaker fainter signals. A lot of capability lies undiscovered.

This is more than simply a philosophical point, we all suppose and that downgrades our ability. The model of life, we suppose, isn’t actual reality. It may approach reality, but never attains it totally.

There is a bad habit in science in which people get all excited by the models they use and talk as if that is the sum total; that the model is reality itself. One sees it in papers all the time. It should be prefaced by, “if I use this model then” or something like that. This keeps one honest and reminds that one is testing hypothesis against observation. The hypothesis may be good and useable, but it cannot as yet be all encompassing. I am not splitting hairs here. This is the basis of scientific method, as I understand it. Making reality prematurely is not keeping an open mind. It may be heavily subject to confirmation bias. Language is a tricky old thing and it can lead us astray, quickly.

To say to some that how they assimilate the world is not real, is to mess with their minds. Many of which like a certainty which is not there. Humans like to think that what they are seeing, and interpreting, is real and that the socially conditioned world comprises a real-life experience. How do you know if your detector is only partially functioning? There may well be a whole bunch of artefacts and spurious signals.

Having cued this up:

How confident am I that what I deem real, is real?

How well do my world models, which I live by, fit true nature?

Could I benefit from not being quite so adamant in my interactions with life?

Glamour Illusion and Underbelly

Many perceive that Hollywood is glamorous, or that the life of a rock star is great, even that the world of politics is attractive it being about helping people and not power. This glamour, this hype, does not accurately portray the underbelly of reality. Of late we have heard a lot more about this underbelly, certainly in the entertainment industry. It demonstrates that it is not about compassion to all sentient beings. Being all starry-eyed by the glamour enables one to be dragged into the dark underbelly. Power does weird shit to people and it does not always bring out the best in them, simple as. Common “sense” is often put to one side when something “shiny” is on offer. If you are lusting after fame, then strategically you have a weak point, which can be easily manipulated, but oh that shiny, how it shines. People are very attracted to and mesmerised by glamour. Now we have a royal wedding to distract us from the Brexit tedium. People will pay more money for glamour than for reality.

Please note I am not using glamour in a positive sense here.

The glamour as it is presented to us only shows one side though we occasionally get salacious bits of gossip, to add a little spice. The ideals presented to us of say celebrity, are not accurate but skewed.  Why do so many celebrities have personal “car crashes” so to speak, if that lifestyle is a nirvanic bliss? But that shiny, oh how it shines. Humanity plays a confidence trick upon itself. Like never before we have illusion after illusion and it can be found on all sides. Maybe I am simply a kill-joy? Or perhaps that joy is not really there in the first place. We can turn and pout on the catwalk, pay our plastic surgery bills and enter into devil’s bargains to get power. It is absolutely fabulous darling…

The draw of the “shiny” applies in varying extents to us all. It may be, success is ….. ; fill in the word or phrase of choice. It may be fame, kudos, money, sex, you name it. I’ll make a hypothesis and it goes something like this:

Associated with every glamour there is an underbelly, which is not seen whilst the glamour lures.

To the extent that people make choices, it is up to each individual to want to see how glamour and thereby illusion works in their lives. The glamour and the shiny for one person, does not transfer to another. Sometimes the scales have to fall from the eyes so that one can see the underbelly. Only then does one get a balanced view. When one has a balanced view one makes better choices, blinded by the “shiny” choices are not so good. Objectivity is better than wishful bias.

Here are some questions which point at glamour:

What for me is the shiny?

What am I glamoured by?

Am I missing sight of the underbelly because of the shine of my glamours?