I Secretly Read Children’s Books #5 #cong23 #reality


Children seem to know the difference between reality and real life even though they spend a lot of their lives playing and living in their imagined life.

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Key Takeaways:

  1. Not to forget to learn from the past and how can society benefit from it.
  2. Getting in touch with our inner child can still support us in many ways.
  3. How apt the lyrics for” Video Killed the Video Star” 44 years later.
  4. Not to diminish children early in their life, to help them retain skills they have already learned?

About Geraldine O'Brien:

Interior Architect and grandmother still seeking new ways to use my experience.

Contacting Geraldine O'Brien:

You can contact Geraldine by email

By Geraldine O’Brien

Children seem to know the difference between reality and real life even though they spend a lot of their lives playing and living in their imagined life.

This thought surprised me !

My inner child encouraging me to followed this tread, to see where it lead.

It reminded me of a younger self and how. I had finally learnt to read. She could transport her self away from the reality of life and into a magical world which some days was better than the realty of my situation at that time.

Many years ago I came across Mac Barnett, a children’s writer based in San Francisco.

His wonderful TedTalk “Why A Good Book Is Like A Secret Door”. It still has the ability to make me laugh out loud many years later.

I love his mischievous style and have bought many of his books as gifts for children, and secretly I read them myself.

I got to meet him in Dublin when he was here on a book tour I was delighted to find he was just as disarming in real life as he was in his TedTalk.
While visiting San Francisco some years ago. I visited some of the magical places places he recommended in his TedTalk, dragging my family along with me. They were exactly as he said zany and very imaginative.

As we can be influenced by many things around us, I don’t want to take accidental credit from Mac Barnett should I inadvertently have used his words and or ideas for framing this blog.

I knew exactly what he was talking about when he mentions “Wonder and crossing over into Narnia” and how we can relearn as adults how to visit this magical spaces in childish our minds.

If you like to watch this talk.

I have two beautiful granddaughters. Their mother and father are doing a great job parenting them, especially as the oldest was born during Covid lockdown and they all lived with us until very recently. I feel very privileged to have shared their lives from birth.

I am now able to converse with the oldest, she can now tell you what she needs or wants as she is very proudly “three”. She loves books as well as her grandmother She has twigged that books are a great source of stories and knowledge and I am her willing co conspirator.

Recently on visit she presented me with a book to read for her.

Four books later, I was getting weary and was looking for a gentle way to distract her without breaking the wonder of this time together so I asked her to tell me a story. Her eyes filled with  excitement and she asked “What story“ ?

“You decide” was all she needed to begin to tell “Her story”.

I decided I wanted to record her so I has a digital memory of her at this charming age of her life.

As she is a child of the 21 C she is already desensitised to her parents LifeCacheing or LifeStreaming her young life, in videos and photos mainly.

She happily obliged me. Starting again but this time she began illustrate her story using her voice, face and body to explain and illustrate her emotions. Which in turn greatly enhanced my experience of her story.

I should explain, her favourite music and film is ABBA and Mamma Mia. She has learned from ABBA and Mamma Mia how she can hold peers and adults attention in a very engaged way. Using these methods.

Driving home later I remembered the song by the Bumbles, Video Killed the Radio Star, thinking to myself  that she is already a video star.
Looking up the lyrics later, I realised how relevant the song still is.

I was surprised to see it still is very current despite being released in 1979. It was the first video played on the MTV music station.

The story behind  ‘Video Killed the Radio Star’ Is about nostalgia referring to technological change in the 1960’s and the desire to remember the past and the disappointment that children will never be able to experience that time.

We are currently experiencing unprecedented growth in AI which may allow children of the 21C, experience the past in ways that have been unimagined before. Sometimes the reality of our lives is too much to handle and why it’s good to remember to see things through the eyes of a child.

My reality is to try to live as much as I can in the present.

As a designer whose job is to problem solve for my clients on daily basis.

I find that the ability I use everyday is my imagination.

Creatively escaping  from the reality of daily life so I can indulge in and play in my minds eye, to find a creative solutions for my problems.

It’s important not to diminish children early in life, from using these already honed and valuable skills of curity, imagination and play. These are skills that they have already learned during early childhood before they negotiate the education system of the 21C.

I can see how ChatGPT and other AI companies has helped us to explore how these skills can be used and applied for good and bad. I think it’s early days yet. I am concerned about what will be lost in the the rush to monetise this technology.

To borrow a phrase from Mac Barnett’s TED Talk “Its all about the” Art” in the Venn Diagram” Or to say it another way, to be careful not to throw the baby out with the bath water.

Does Reality exist free from the filter of Consciousness Thought , feelings or physical sensations ? #4 #cong23 #reality


Does Reality exist free from the filter of Consciousness Thought , feelings or physical sensations ?

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Key Takeaways:

  1. Quantum Reality
  2. Human Reality
  3. Chaos
  4. Order

About Trish Findlater:

Visual artist & writer resident in Cong for 12 years.I exhibit both here in Ireland & Abroad. I worked in Dublin & abroad as Interior Architect for many years and was very glad to return full time to visual art when an opportunity came about and I was able to move West with my late husband whereby restoring an old house and establishing a beautiful perennial garden.

Contacting Trish Findlater:

You can contact Trish by email or see her work

By Trish Findlater

I have to admit I don’t often stop to introspect about what reality really is, it’s such an ethereal thing for me.
Usually, we use the word “reality” to mean what seems to be, or facts filtered through a biased lens. But, it seems reality should exist independently of anything or anyone?

Should it be independent of people’s perception of what reality is, should it be free from thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations? These three elements could be disruptive to perceiving reality? So, what is reality then? Can we perceive reality in its true form, without the filter of our thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations. ?

Is Reality existing outside of us, nothing more,nothing less ? until we take a closer look through quantum physics.

It is said by science that reality is what is most fundamental, and that can be expressed through mathematics. In Quantum Physics reality can be perceived as both ‘a wave’ and a dot particle all at once ‘ a dual reality in one! ‘Is it like a tiny ball — or a wave.. or what’ (The New Scientist).

Quantum mechanics introduces the idea that subatomic entities, like electrons and photons, possess both wave and particle characteristics.
But what is ‘Reality’ for us humans on day to day bases can our experience and perception also have duality?

Could it be that the state of consciousness without thought, feeling, or sensation this nothingness, or blank sheet of existence, be our true reality, or a conscious,feeling, physical sensation also be our reality? Or just as in a Quantum reality both can exist in duality?

As long as we are injecting thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations into what we perceive, are we experiencing reality through a filter. ?

For an example, you see a chair. If you see the chair without any thought, feeling, and physical sensation interrupting or changing how you perceive it, the chair will simply be. Without thinking that a chair is a chair (or other thoughts), or feeling something for the chair, or having a physical response to the chair, it is experienced as intended. In fact, all existence is one—the separation is made in our minds.

Because we have given names to everything we interact with, because we have classified each living and non-living being we have encountered in its minutest detail, because we have delineated specifics and aspects of each thing we study, we have created a mass concept about the separation of things.
Reality is simply one existence, and that as mentioned previously can be proven by physics, which states; ‘ no empty space is possible (The Daily Galaxy).

Everything is connected, whether we like it or not.

The chair that I am sitting on right now to type this essay is connected to rocks on Mars.

Existence is a crowded place, but only if we conceptualise it as containing an innumerable array of entities.

Reality is whole, but it is also a place of contradictions. Though the universe is set to balance itself, it is also heading towards a state of chaos and disorder, expressed in the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

Though locally we can balance ecosystems and such, on the whole, our existence is gradually becoming more and more chaotic (Philosophy Stack Exchange). However, there are theories that the universe is cyclical, and a new universe would spring up after entropy would have increased to its maximum (Princeton University).

This may be only speculation, though. Even if the universe remained in disorder in the far future, we would all be a part of it. Looking back at the beginning, everything in its existence now was formed from the Big Bang—and as the famous phrase says, we are all stardust (physics.org). Each being that comprises reality carries on from the material from the Big Bang, all the way to the future maximum entropy. In essence, we are the Big Bang, and so is future existence.

From a chair to the whole universe, reality is the same. Without the injection of thoughts, feeling, and physical sensations, all reality is one. We can perceive reality in its true form by not using these injections. Can you imagine a world where people gave up their identifications? In my opinion, all the follies of human beings would be extinguished, and Earth would restore its balance, despite that in all probability, we are headed for universal disorder.

If Reality is Perception – What Else Can We Not See #3 #cong23 #reality


We largely experience and interpret reality through our senses but what energy fields exists beyond these, how can we access them and what do they mean.

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Key Takeaways:

  1. Our senses and the brain interpretation help from our reality
  2. We are surrounded by energy fields
  3. These energy field could change our sense of reality
  4. We are still evolving

About Eoin Kennedy:

Ex teacher, marketing lecturer, startup founder, PR professional, events organiser, digital marketing head and currently working as a content strategist.  The slave behind CongRegation.

Contacting Eoin Kennedy:

You can follow Eoin on Twitter,  connect with him on LinkedIn or, email him.

By Eoin Kennedy

Sometime around 1674 Antony van Leeuwenhoek, the first man to make and use a real microscope, became the first person to observe bacteria and protozoa .  This might not seem like a ground breaking event but similar to the first viewings through a telescope it revealed entirely new worlds we did not know existed and changed our perception about reality.

Much of what we believe is real is directly connected to what we perceive and much of what we perceive is through our senses.  The Berkely Greater Good project defined it even further “What we perceive in any given moment is not only determined by sensory input, but by our personal physical abilities, energy levels, feelings, social identities, and more.”

Simplistically our perception of reality is formed by a muscle inside a bone casing that depends on inputs from our sensory organs – taste, smell, vision, hearing, and touch amongst other contested senses.

These sensory organs are unreliable, can be easily fooled plus they are quite limited.   Some animals for example can detect forms of energy invisible to us, like magnetic and electrical fields .

It would also appear that our senses and perception system might be blinkered in order to protect us or keep us focused on our more core function or put more succinctly by Jay van Bavel at New York University “The main goal of the perceptual system is to keep the brain alive, so you can pass on your genes,”

Let is also consider the claim that we only use 10% of our brains (this figure is hotly contested and criticised)  but with training our brains can perceive things that are otherwise relatively invisible so logically it stands that there energy fields or other phenomenon around us that could change our sense of reality.  At its simplest what would change if we could experience what animals can like sharks being able to detect electric fields, snakes seeing thermal images,  reindeers seeing ultra violet light, birds seeing extra colours, elephants with infrasonic sounds and Honey bees ability to detect the Earth’s magnetic field.

But what if there was more.   And if so how would we access it and also how might we evolve further in the future to do so.

Various religions has long relied on storytelling about spirits and energy fields that exist around even though we have little proof.  Could hallucinogenic drugs or entering trance like states where people report experiencing spirit guardians who guide them be real or simply altered dreams.  Ceremonies with the drug ayahuasca are rough experiences and its unclear are they opening up access to energy fields or simply deeply resetting the brain and allowing people to view deeper in to the mirror?

If everything is energy it holds that we are surrounded by energy.  Frequently this is translated as the presence of spirits.

Unfortunately despite lots of theories there is little tangible evidence and proof.  However we have all had that six sense of something positive or negative when we enter a certain room or a premonition of something to come.

There are also plenty of Out of Body stories especially near death experience ones.  Frequently these feature being to see/experience events in other rooms normally during operations or even being clinically dead. Science explains some of these as an output of the brain.

Personally I believe that our brains and sensory inputs are still at a pretty primitive stage of evolution.  Taking this a bit further there are energy fields flowing around us that in future we may be able to detect (either through enhancements or biological evolution) and equally in the future we will be able to interpret these energy fields.  I don’t see this as being able to see our dead parents but rather the core energy that once formed them but disintegrated once they died.

Currently we are very poor at both perceiving and understanding energy fields but acknowledging that we do not know everything and being open to new thinking and curious in our pursuit of knowledge could be to our benefit.  It has served us well in the past.  In Yuval Noah Harari book Sapiens he explains that what distinguished the European powers from other similar empires and lead to their almost global dominance was their embrace of ignorance and the desire to overcome it.  In this case it was seeking out distant lands and conquering them but the principle is probably reasonably similar.

We appear to be at a meeting point where quantum physics/multiverse theories seem to be intersecting with and almost validating Shamanism and more simplistic religious beliefs, that have long been ridiculed.  The evidence might already be there but we cannot process it using our currently understanding of what we believe is real.

For certain there is much more to know and understand about our reality and we should not just trust what our senses tell us.  Afterall we could just be stuck in a computer generated matrix.


I Can Only Live in the Past #2 #cong23 #reality


There are a number of different perspectives on reality from Scientific realism, Idealism, Constructivism to the Multiverse theory.

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Key Takeaways:

  1. We only experience the past
  2. We interpret and filter the cues and interactions with our surroundings.
  3. Reality is an individual mental construct of an interaction or event that has already happened by the time we experience it.

About Colum Joyce:

Brussels based researcher and author focusing on the Quantum world, Artificial Intelligence and their impact on human activity.

Contacting Colum Joyce:

You can contact Colum by email.

By Colum Joyce 

There are a number of different perspectives on reality:

1) Scientific realism: This view holds that reality is objective and independent of our minds. It is what it is, regardless of whether or not we perceive it.

2) Idealism: This view holds that reality is subjective and created by our minds. What we perceive as real is actually a mental construction.

3) Constructivism: This view holds that reality is created by our interactions with each other and the world around us. It is not something that exists independently of us.

4) Multiverse theory: This theory suggests that there may be an infinite number of universes, each with its own laws of physics and its own version of reality.

Personally I don’t believe that any human has ever actually experienced reality.

We have only ever experienced the past.

The reason for such a belief is quite simple.

Humans are interpretative. Our senses pick up cues from our surroundings and then we filter and interpret them but do so quite slowly, generally in a matter of tens or hundreds or milliseconds.

This time lag between cue and interpretation means that the “reality” is in the past whilst our mental realisation of it is what we consider the present.

Such belief places me firmly in a hybrid constructivist idealism camp which holds that our individual reality is created by my interactions and interpretation and filtering of the cues I experience from others and the world around me. It is not something that exists independently of me nor is it or can it be current.


Reality – Nothing but a Collective Hunch #1 #cong23 #reality


Even if there is a shared reality that is “out there” each of us is “in here” and we have no choice but to experience it through our own filters that are unique to us as individuals.
From a western scientific perspective, this makes true objectivity tricky to say the least, but it is also one of the most useful aspects of reality in that we can change our own realities by changing our own filters. Our reality filters are not all fixed. This makes each of us active participants in the creation of our own realities.

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Key Takeaways:

  1. Reality really is a collective hunch
  2. A large part of what we call reality is actually perception
  3. Perception is something we have some control over
  4. By changing our perceptions, we can change aspects of our own realities

About Sean McGrath:

Sean McGrath is a software engineer, musician, songwriter and armchair philosopher based in Galway. He is married with 3 children.

Contacting Sean McGrath:

You can contact Sean by email.

By Sean McGrath 

The comedian and actress Lily Tomlin is credited with the aphorism that “Reality is a collective hunch”. The western scientific world view resists this and sets out to show that there is an “out there” out there. A reality that is independent of us and is shared between us. I.e. it is “the same” underlying reality that we are all experiencing.
The western scientific world view has made incredible strides in a few thousand years and given its success, it can be hard bet against it and yet…even western science has reached the point where its own amazing method known as “the scientific method” has uncovered aspects of reality that are a bit uncomfortable to most western scientists. Kurt Godel proved that mathematics will always have holes in it. Quantum Mechanics strongly suggests that “observers” are involved in the creation of physical “reality” moment my moment.
Meanwhile, outside the western scientific world view, the eastern world view has accumulated thousands of years of thought about the nature of this observer and the role that the observer plays in constructing reality. Bookshelves are creaking these days with New Age books talking about the growing overlap between western and eastern thought on this subject and the term “spirituality” gets thrown around a lot. I am not going to go into those deep waters but instead just focus on one small but powerful aspect of this whole thing which is this: I believe we all possess the ability to influence our own reality.
Simply put reality is not exclusively something that is “out there” that happens to us. For sure, some of it most likely is. A tornado is a tornado. A broken ankle is a broken ankle. Rain is rain. Bereavement is bereavement. Leaving aside the possibility that we are all living in a simulation, these are all real.
But – and this is the key thing – reality gets to us “in here” through our filters. The first layer of filters are our five senses of sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch plus the two lesser known vestibular and proprioception senses. These are “inputs” into our mind. Our mind is our second filter. In our minds, we all “observe” the sensory inputs and decide how to react to them. It is in this reaction part that we can exert influence over how reality is perceived. Simply put, the full reality of a broken ankle starts with the broken ankle but also includes the plethora of reactions to it that we form in our minds. Maybe we get angry at ourselves or at others? Maybe we feel sorry for ourselves? Maybe we worry about the future? Maybe we feel guilty for being a burden on others? Etc. Each of these reactions are items that we can exert control over.
In order to that, we must first become conscious of the fact that we are an “observer” of the broken ankle. We can do this by consciously focusing our attention on our reactions as they arise in our minds. For example, instead of feeling angry that we may not be able to drive our cars for a while, we can instead observe that anger is arising. The more observing we can do of these reactions the easier it becomes to see that the reactions are not “you”. The real you is the observer and simply put, the observer can choose what to observe, what to focus on and what to not focus on.
You control the observer, which controls perception, which puts you – at least in part – in control of your own reality.