Blurred Reality

Blurred Reality

By Rev. Dr. D.A. “Reverend Al” Kjono

August, 2010

What is reality? Is it only the factual, actual events and occurrences in our lives or does it go beyond that?

Thanks to Albert Einstein who said; “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a persistent one.” it got me thinking about things I’ve pondered at length in the past. I do believe in Albert’s wise words as reality is most assuredly completely subjective to us humans.

Two people riding in a car together can be in nearly identical places at the same time, yet have two totally different perspectives of what is going by outside the vehicle. They will each interpret what they see into two vastly different realities.

One may have seen the hubcap laying on the side of the road that the other didn’t and the other may have seen a bag of trash the other didn’t. Later when recalling their journey one might mention the hubcap the other the trash and yet to third parties listening to their individual “truths/realities”, they would be told varied accounts of the very same trip in the car. Was one correct the other wrong? No. It was in fact the same trip, however, different perspectives and truths.

Life is very much the same as these two hypothetical travelers. People who hold Truth as one of their important virtues in Life will be adamant about relating an accurate accounting of their trip.

This brought me to think of something I pondered many years ago about how our brain works. No matter what the event or circumstance in our life and regardless of how or when it happened, once that particular event has taken place it is stored in our brains as a memory. There is never any “going back” on our perceived or actual reality or truth. We can not change the event, only how we recall the memory of that event.

Now a side thought to that side thought. You are watching TV and someone gets kicked in the groin or hits their elbow on a counter top. Often we’ll have a knee jerk reaction and experience a similar feeling as this is something that has happened to literally everyone. We witness the event second hand yet have a sympathetic, physical reaction as if that event was first hand event. We actually feel the pain of the occurrence even though it happened to someone else.

So now I have the preface for my thought process here; actual events, the memory of those events and then an impulsive reaction to reliving an event. All processes of our mind’s memory.

Let’s look at someone like Richard Bachman, or better known to most of us as “Stephen King”, the intense horror-fiction writer. I bring him into focus as he’s someone nearly everyone can identify. Now, let me preface the following that I am not saying Mr. King is anything like what I’m about to write, but as an example only. I respect the man’s ability and do not in any way wish to disparage his person.

Typing away on his next great novel, he intensely identifies with the characters in his story. He “lives” those characters during his time writing the story and is enveloped in their drama that unfolds on the typed pages. Several years later, he is recalling the writing of that particular story to a third party and gets a few “facts”, things written in the story, a little scrambled or mixed up to what was put in print. The printed version would now be the “facts” about the characters and storyline.

Is he lying? No. His memory simply regenerated the events slightly different than the facts put forth in the original text. The actual event of writing the story is one memory, the characters and story is another in the writer’s mind.

The same goes for us recalling nearly any event of our past. The husband says “we went to the beach and had a great dinner at Ché Glutton afterward” while recalling an anniversary trip several years in the past. The wife counters with “no dear, remember we went shopping after the beach and then went to Ché Adolfonso’s. Ché Glutton was lunch that day”. Yes, I know, a cheese souffle of an example, but the one that came to mind.

Now it may be as simple as ringing a bell in the memory bank and the husband saying “Oh yes, of course, that’s right!” or it could turn into a three hour argument over one or the others failed memory. The facts remain that they both were on an anniversary trip, they did go to two different restaurants at two different times however they each recall it a slightly obscured manner.

My point to this whole “he said, she said” and he “wrote and then told” is reality as it relates to our memory of events both real and imagined in our lives. Once we have either physically experienced an event, or fancifully created an event through our imagination, once the time has passed of either scenario occurring, it is now nothing more than a memory within our minds.

A person, I think, could indeed create a totally fictional accounting of his/her life and by the constant retelling and “sticking to” certain memories of that storyline, create an entirely new Truth within their conscious mind and memory. I believe that with certain personality traits and the varied aspects of psychology a person could in fact pass a lie detector test concerning those events. Events that are completely fabricated yet once committed to memory become just another blurred reality in that person’s real life experience.

Some of the masters of actual terror and debauchery such as Dahmer, Gein and Kazinski have had such warped views of reality that the doctors and clinicians working with them started to empathize and feel compassion for them. The blurred realities between their actions of terrorizing individuals and their fantasies were so firmly entrenched in their memory, whether an event was hypothetic, real or imagined all seemed to be a truth within the individual.

These may be some rather drastic examples, but I think it’s fair to say, that at a much lesser degree, this happens to nearly everyone. There are times when our own truth of actual events and those of failed memory or imaginative creation can induce entirely different perspectives of that truth. After all, it all comes from the same place, memory.

This may have been a bit of a long winded explanation of validating a point, but I hope it made sense. I believe that without any need or desire for deception, our memory often blurs that line between truth and fiction. Even people who have vowed “To Only do that which is Right”, our memory is what moves us forward and creates our Reality.

And as Albert said, with persistence our reality is our truth which in turn is the foundation on which we build our temples of inward compassion, hope, expression…and most of Reality.

Blessings of Peace,

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