Do you believe in reality as an independent phenomenon or as a constructed one?
Does reality exist independent of our interactions and experience or it is brought into existence as a social construction? Is there a truth at all? or just different versions of reality?
Great question for one of those late-night Big Question discussions!
Reality exists independently of anyone's and everyone's constructs. Someone dies, but life, the world, the universe go on, even though that person is no longer around.
However, individual and social constructs of reality do exist and do affect Reality. Belief is a powerful thing; so is the social contract. As an example, there is no such thing as money. Paper dollars have no inherent value. We (society) have decided that dollars have value; we have constructed the reality of money.
To take another example, when a person gets a shot, the syringe causes pain. That's a subjective reality, as the person giving the shot can't feel the pain. but it's not a constructed reality. However, some people have been trained to feel no pain when getting a shot. Whether through hypnosis, biofeedback or personal "power of thought," the reality is that the events that would normally cause pain are still happening, but the brain is able to not register the pain. Is that independent reality or constructed reality? Maybe it's right on the boundary line between the two?
Oliver Sacks wrote a fascinating book, Hallucinations, that covers several phenomena involving perceptions that aren't reality. Even though a hallucination seems completely real to someone having one, it's not. Slimy worms aren't crawling on you even though you can see and feel them. So even though your mind has constructed that hallucination, true reality (no worms on you) exists independently.
I tend to take reality as contingent upon our recognition and knowledge of phenomena. That is, as long as phenomena are falsifiable and their reality can be questioned or rejected, unless we can falsify them they are real.
Unicorns or Santa are not real because we have no proof of their existence.
Once we find one example they become real.
Reality then is only a relative term based on our socially justified belief system.
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