Survey of Reality

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by Ben Huot

You are now in the 5th Generation Subsection of the Writing Section

October 11, 2022

How do we determine what is real?
How do we know beyond
What we experience in our minds?

Even our perception of reality
Is based on our experiences, personality and physical body, at least

If you have one less eye than other people
Then you literally see differently

If you have Schizophrenia
And so your brain can’t distinguish
Between what is happening
Inside your mind and outside it
Your reality is not controlled by you

Both scientists and religious people
Operate on the concept of faith
Because you cannot prove everything
And you must assume something somewhere

There are many interesting things in life
We can learn that have no lasting meaning
So exactly how we explain the mechanics
Of some things may be less important
Than how they make you feel
Or what they inspire you to do

So we assume much today about reality
We have been taught to assume
That we have to rely on experts
To determine what is real to us

We are conditioned to think
That we must conform
To the expectations of others
And work within the limits of their creativity
And within the bounds
Of what they say are valid areas of study

Philosophy breaks all this down

Do not assume anything
Nothing is proven
Unless you accept the proof as valid
Arguments will always be based on assumptions
Which must all be thoroughly investigated

You control your reality and your beliefs
There is nothing else you can really control
Why give up this control?

To make yourself easier to categorize?
To be more easily constrained?
And forced to give up
What makes you an individual?

You are who you are
And you choose what happens in your mind
No one else needs to

Along with this independent determination of your reality
You also have a grave responsibility
Because you cannot just adopt an idea
That applies to just a certain situation or just to you

Philosophical ideas are universal
And hold true everywhere
This is not science we are talking about

When you are choosing what is real to you
You are choosing for everyone
How they should see reality as well

If not you are being intellectually dishonest
Or don’t have any philosophical integrity at all

Reality is your perception and your choice
But one person cannot determine another’s reality
Especially if they believe in this degree of freedom

You can choose how you want to live
But you cannot choose to manipulate the lives of others
What justification do you have
To make these choices for others?

You do not have the right
And it would make you inconsistent
And form a poor theory with big holes in it
Making it almost impossible to defend

So you end top with a tension
Between your freedom to choose your reality
And that you are at the same time
Determining the reality of others
While you have no right to do so

An ethical dilemma happens
When you cannot follow 2 of your values
At the same time
Or there is a conflict between
Your values and another person’s values

This puts you into an intellectual and moral struggle
And this forces you to be responsible for your choices
Because the decisions you make affect others

You desire complete freedom
But it is not possible for you to have complete freedom
As well as everyone else to have complete freedom

This is a kind of paradox as well

This is what most philosophers would call existentialism
Existentialism deals with human being or sentience
What makes a person different than a rock?
This is the main topic in the study of existentialism

We often see the defining characteristic of existence
Also called human being
As having free will or free choice

Rationalism answers this question 
Of where you start in philosophy
With an arbitrary assumption

Descartes famously based his philosophy on
“I think, therefore I am”

In most Chinese philosophies the justification
For why you should act a certain way
Is based on the assumption that previous
More ancient Chinese dynasties
Were wiser than the world
In the lifetime of Confucius and Lao Tzu

Who both wanted to make Chinese culture
Revert to the way it was
In one of two different previous dynasties

Neither had original ideas
If they did they would have to find
A different supporting argument

There are actually very few original ideas
And even many inventions were reinvented
Multiple times throughout history

The few original ideas that exist today
Have been discovered or invented
At the beginning of human history
Which was at least a few thousand years in the past

It is almost impossible to come up with something
That no one has thought of before

But as they say the devil is in the details
This is why engineering is as important as science
Or the code behind a webpage
As important as its appearance

The solution to problems caused by these original ideas
Could be as important as the ideas themselves
And these likely will never be solved

Christianity is based on free will as is existentialism
But there is much more to it

In both Christianity as in Chinese philosophy
We have to agree to work
Within the limits of the system
If we still want to use that name for it

They both require you to accept that your free choice
Does not absolve you of ethical responsibility

Much of both Christianity and Chinese philosophy
Is about the study of ethics
Or what is right and wrong and what we should do