October 20, 2022

Reality is relative

Reality is relative – a daring thesis?
How real is reality?
Is reality an illusion?
What realities exist?

Okay: Reality is subjective.

How can there be truth if the definition of truth is subjective?

What is truth? 42?

How can there be justice? Isn’t the perception of justice and injustice also subjective?

What is right and what is wrong? Also a subjective interpretation?

How can there be good or evil if not also by subjective interpretation?

Where do these subjective interpretations that shape our reality come from?

They are the average of the beliefs we have adopted from many people influencing us or through cultural, religious or social conventions. The social consensus, so to speak.

Then why am I talking about subjective?

Even though there is often a social consensus about certain issues in the particular culture we are in at the particular moment, in the end, the evaluation is still a matter that each person makes for themselves. Reality is therefore relative.
Ask three people how they experienced a party and three people will tell three different stories.
Two people can evaluate the same situation completely differently.
Yes, even whole cultures can have a completely different view on the same subject.

Don’t things only become good or bad, right or wrong, etc., the moment we interpret and evaluate them?
Don’t things only become reality – our reality – at the very moment of our interpretation?

A reality that is relative compared to the reality that other people feel?

Can we also see things completely differently?
Could other people see the same situation quite differently?

In a book I read, a group of people from an older culture believed that sinners would die in the firewalking, while people without sin could walk across the fire unharmed. An interesting paragraph was, that people in this culture behead their enemies to protect their tribe when they try to sneak up on them. However, this was not considered evil or sinful in their culture.

And I know even more examples, which were partly logical from the view of the world view of the respective persons, even if they represent a NoGo for outsiders.

So are all things that we perceive as evil really always evil?
Or can it be that not everything we perceive as evil is evil?

What kind of thought prison are we living in?
And what do we do, if anything, or what don’t we do because we evaluate it or because we are afraid that others might evaluate it?

What walls have we built / had built by experience or by instilled “morals” and “ethics” so that we feel pain or fear in our thoughts if we had to step through this “fire barrier”?

As an example, here is a story that a good friend of mine went through years ago:
Stefanie’s reality was that she was not “allowed” to separate from her husband.
He was not doing her any good. She was unhappy.
In her eyes, she deserved that he treated her badly.
In his eyes, she was a bad wife because she wanted to realize herself and not subordinate herself to her husband.
They both based their reality on beliefs that had been shaped by their religious family and village community of 800 souls. Beliefs that suggested to her that she would be a bad wife if she realized herself and was not subordinate to her husband. And that people who separate from their partners belong to be “ostracized” in the village community. …

In their world, their reality, that made perfect sense. They didn’t know any different. And even though it may seem completely simple and logical to the outsider … the view that outsiders had that it could be different was difficult for the two to comprehend because of their worldview.

I recently heard a brilliant statement in my training group.

Language defines our reality.
Language is the mirror to our inner representation of what we perceive as reality.

Communication is constant self-revelation.

With everything we say or do, we reveal parts of ourselves.

What and how others talk about us says more about them than about us

Ernst Ferstl(Wikipedia)

As a consequence, it is of course clear that what and how WE talk about others says more about us than it does about the other person.

I find the thought that a good friend of mine brought to my attention exciting:

We must be careful that, when we judge an event/person/person’s action, we look at it as it is and do not confuse it with the image of the event/person that we have created in ourselves of that event/person.

It opens the space to purely interpret good or negative, right or wrong into every action.

To assume / imply the best or the worst.

Are there situations in your life that cause you distress?
When reality is relative and only becomes our own reality through our interpretation:
How would the situation change for you if you understood the motivations?
How if you understood how this could happen?
What if you could understand the motivation of the other person and his conclusions, which in the logical consequence in his world view could only lead to this particular behavior?

We may learn to be mindful of our perception of reality, to reflect and ask ourselves “Is this really so”. Before we react unthinkingly. See also We reap what we sow

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