A Reality Journey through Science, Subjectivity, and the Wisdom of Age #14 #cong23 #reality


In exploring the concept of Reality, my perspective has evolved to encompass both scientific objectivity and personal subjectivity. I’ve found that reality is a multi-layered construct, shaped by measurable facts but deeply influenced by individual experiences and emotions. This nuanced understanding, further enriched by ageing, drives me to continuously examine life’s complexities, from the tangible world to the intangible aspects of human perception and beliefs. The Reality, as I’ve come to define it today (yes, today, as it’ll most certainly change again in the future), is an intricate tapestry of fact and feeling.

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Key Takeaways:

  1. Reality is multi-dimensional
  2. Reality is best understood when scientific truths are interwoven with philosophical insights
  3. Perception shapes reality
  4. Understanding of Reality deepens with age

About Stan McGowan:

Branding and Digital Marketing Don Quixote turning the marketing industry on its head with a revolutionary Pay-On-Performance model. I enjoy spending time with my family & kids, making music, photography/videography, cooking, and swimming.

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By Stan McGowan

In my years of grappling with the concept of Reality, my understanding has deepened, shaped mainly by the passage of time and the accumulation of experiences. The perspective I’ve gained isn’t easily confined to a single line of thought, as it spans the scientific and the subjective, the measurable and the intangible, bringing me to recognise that reality is a tapestry stitched with intricate threads of fact and feeling.

My grounding as an agnostic means that I have a profound respect for science and what we can objectively observe in the universe, yet life has taught me that pure objectivity doesn’t entirely capture the essence of reality. Consider pain. Science can chart the neural pathways that light up during physical pain, giving us readings and measurements, but the realm of emotional pain, such as the agony anyone can feel during loss, failure, or disappointment, is far more elusive. What unit could possibly measure the despair one feels when grieving the loss of a loved one or the intensity of betrayal? The paradox here is that while science can give us objective metrics, the subjective experience of each individual adds layers of nuance to the definition of reality.

This blending of subjective experience with objective truths extends to how we interpret our surroundings. The physical universe exists, measurable and concrete; however, our mental states, such as our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs, act as prisms through which we view this physical reality. Our subjective minds influence how we interpret and react to objective events, creating a complex overlay where science and philosophy intertwine. While science offers the tools and metrics to understand the “How”, philosophy grapples with the “Why”. One tells us how the world is, and the other tells us what it might mean, but in my eyes, you need both for a full-spectrum understanding of reality.

But perception is the real game-changer in the narrative of what we consider to be Real, and I’ve come to realise that what we see, or choose to see, is often just a fraction of what is truly there. Take a simple object as an example. Viewed from different angles, the same object can look entirely different. Now apply that metaphor to life itself. The gif below demonstrates there could be multiple angles and points of view to a single thing or event, and all of them make perfect sense when reviewed under the same perspective.

Think of how social media and marketing present curated snapshots of other people’s lives, often projecting a facade that rarely mirrors the full reality. Or how media can choose to tell a story, shaping public opinion and, in a sense, creating a ‘shared reality’ that may not align with individual experience.

As I’ve aged, this kaleidoscopic view of reality has only become more acute. Where once I might have been content with surface-level understandings, I now find myself contemplating the complexities of life more deeply. In my youth, the realities of mortality, responsibility, and the consequences of my choices were often background noise and easy to ignore. But age has brought them to the forefront, making me acutely aware of their weight. And I don’t think I’m alone in this. It’s a stage in life when the abstract becomes concrete, and the distant becomes immediate. So these are the layers of reality that age unearths, underscoring the importance of recognising life’s complexities and acknowledging that reality is indeed a multi-layered, multi-sided construction.

Reality, as I’ve come to know it, is a multi-dimensional concept, a blend of science and subjectivity, facts and perceptions, the concrete and the abstract. And as the years continue to roll by, I find myself more engrossed in its intricate tapestry, eager to explore and learn every weave and thread. At least, that’s how I see it.

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