reality feedback loop (montage) #23 #cong23 #reality


reality is a construct . a glorious fiction . in continual construction . through the corroboration of other thinking and knowing subjects . with language an important tool . to structure nature and control destiny

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Key Takeaways:

  1. To what extent do our mental models become more real than the world they model?
  2. Are our thoughts have a stronger structuring effect on our experiences than external forces?
  3. Is it therefore possible to alter reality by changing our minds?

About Jeffrey Gormly:

i use my creativity to make space for yours.

Contacting Jeffrey Gormly:

You can connect with Jeffrey by email..

By Jeffrey Gormly

/ Reality is a construct of thought that desires continuity.

/ Since there is no phenomenon or thought process which is permanent, there is nothing which can be identified as a permanent self: realization of this therefore promotes right understanding.

/ Actually the expectation of continuity is a glorious fiction. Reality depends on our choices of what and how we choose to observe.


/ ‘The mind organises the world by organising itself’ The cognitive organism shapes and coordinates its experience and, in doing so, transforms it into a structured world.

/ Form is previously sound before it actually ‘freezes’ into what we call static form.

/ …content is form …you can see only as much as your model permits you to see …the methodological starting point does more than simply reveal, it actually creates, the object of study.


/ Reality depends on our choices of what and how we choose to observe.

Our understanding of such a universe comes not from discovering its present appearance, but in remembering what we originally did to bring it about.

/ What we ordinarily call reality is the domain of the relatively durable perceptual and conceptual structures which we manage to establish, use and maintain in the flow of our actual experience.

This experiential reality, no matter what epistemology we want to adopt, does not come to us in one piece. We build it up bit by bit in a succession of steps that, in retrospect, seem to form a succession of levels.

Repetition is an indispensable factor in that development.

/ “What then remains is a construction as such, and one sees no ground why it should be unreasonable to think that it is the ultimate nature of reality to be in continual construction instead of consisting of an accumulation of ready-made structures.”


/ One of our basic assumptions is that the living organism in the struggle to generate and maintain its equilibrium tries to establish regularities in the flow of experience.


…’intersubjective’ … [is the] highest, most reliable level of experiential reality. As the term implies, this uppermost level arises through the corroboration of other thinking and knowing subjects. …

It is obvious that this second-order viability, of which we can say with some justification that it reaches beyond the field of our individual experience into that of others, must play an important part in the stabilization and solidification of our experiential reality. It helps to create that intersubjective level on which one is led to believe that concepts, schemes of action, goals and ultimately feelings and emotions are shared by others and, therefore, more real than anything experienced by oneself. It is the level on which one feels justified in speaking of ‘confirmed facts’, of ‘society’, ‘social interaction’, and ‘common knowledge’.


/In the face of our terror before the uncontrollable chaos of the universe, we label as much as we can with language in the hope that once we have named something we need no longer fear it.

/ …language is of course an important tool. It serves in many ways and one of the most powerful is that it can provide instructions for experiences that one has not yet had. …This is the way that you have built up, through linguistic communication, a vast number of models that you could then use in your actual experiential reality.

…the process of tuning and accommodating the meaning of words and linguistic expressions continues for each of us throughout our lives.

The ‘object’ on which the aesthetic reader concentrates is not ‘verbal,’ but experiential; the ‘object’ is the cognitive and affective structure which the reader calls forth and lives through. /

/ “The significance of words isn’t their superficial ability to relay information but rather to structure the self-programming quality that’s inherent in language itself”


/ Knowledge functions as a tool. How good a tool is, or how much better it could be, comes out when a group of people work together at the same task. When no one can suggest a further improvement, the tool will be called ‘truth’.

/ ‘Truth is what works.’


/ One’s thoughts mould one’s nature and control one’s destiny. Sometimes a single thought can destroy or save the world.

Bogart / Abidhamma / Gimbel / Bogart / Piaget – Von Glasersfeld / Frederic Jameson / Bogart / Spencer Brown / Von Glasersfeld / Piaget / Von Glasersfeld / Bogart / Von Glasersfeld / Rosenblatt / Ghost in the Shell / Bogdanov

Anne Bogart, A Director Prepares

Abidhamma Papers

Theodore Gimbel, Form, Sound, Colour and Healing

Piaget, J. La Construction Du Réel Chez L’enfant (The Construction Of Reality In The Child), in EVG

Ernst Von Glasersfeld, Radical Constructivism (EVG)

Spencer Brown, G. Laws Of Form, in EVG

Piaget, J. La Structuralisme (Structuralism), in EVG

Rosenblatt, L.M. ‘Viewpoints: Transaction Versus Interaction – A Terminological Rescue Operation’, in EVG

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Episode 2, Manga DVD

Bogdanov, A. ‘Nauka I Filosofia’ (Science And Philosphy), in EVG

Does my Bum Look Big in this Reality? #22 #cong23 #reality


We spend our lives acquiring knowledge and facts. At each stage of our lives we are judged on our ability to retain knowledge and have valuable skills to trade in the world.
2023 seems to have changed our reality and machines can hide our inabilities and lack of skills? is this a good thing?

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Key Takeaways:

  1. .Reality is a very competitive landscape.
  2. We can spend our lives trying to keep up.
  3. We can choose to delude ourselves instead
  4. AI, Botox and Bots are distorting our reality and helping us play the game of delusion.

About Ailish Irvine:

I deliver workshops for Businesses and Community groups by day. By night I’m a mother of 3 on the side of a pitch wishing I had a warmer jacket and more money to move to Italy.

Contacting Ailish Irvine:

You can connect with Ailish on Twitter (x), LinkedIn and Facebook.

By Ailish Irvine

Let’s face it Reality can sometimes be a bit of a let down. For the first four years of your life you spend it in a place where your family thinks you’re entertaining, smart, fun and clever. You manage to dazzle them in play school with your ability to make great items from morla (I can’t say playdough it doesn’t sit right with me.)

Then you go to Big School and you discover that counting to 10 is not quite the superpower that you imagined it was, this place is filled with kids who’ve mastered this skill. You better get more skills quickly, could you learn one to ten in Irish?

You cruise along merrily for a few years until multiplication and long division seem to weed out a few of the competition. After you master long division you’re convinced that world domination is definitely just around the corner, Then you go to secondary school.

No No No, there seem to be clever people here too. You could keep learning stuff, there will be a few facts that sit well with you that you’d like to bring into the real world, things like consumer rights, how your body works and enough French to get you to chat up a tourist a few years later in college. Maybe college will offer something different. Oh crap the really clever ones are here.

You get to face a few harsh realities along the way, you’re not the smartest, prettiest, funniest, richest most energetic soul out there and these things can get you places.

You find a job and realise that the college education didn’t quite prepare you for it, you’re going to have to learn more stuff.

In the world of 2023 everyone is playing a game, filters, fillers and botox and avatars have given people the tools they need to navigate the world a bit more smoothly. Reality can be masked and hidden and camouflaged. Knowledge though, my thirst for you has been satiated this year like no other stage of my life. I have been given the tools to change my reality.

Reality is nearly always based on your perception and perspective, if you’re feeling confident nobody can rain on your parade. If you’re feeling unsure and sorry for yourself you will see evidence everywhere as to why you should be. If you want to believe something because it helps you get through the day then I think reality is hugely overrated. Delusion all the way I say. If you can’t do something, find a tool that will help you do it.

If you can’t draw Ai can help you and tools like Ideogram and Midjourney can help you bring ideas to life. ChatGPT and GithubCopilot can help you write code. All of these baffling until I came across PI, your personal AI assistant who can talk to you and offer life advice.

She’s quite like ChatGPT, just got a friendlier tone and she’s great for giving little pep talks.

If you ask her if you look ok she’ll probably be quite gentle.

When you sign up, this is your welcome message.

She wants to talk about whatever is on my mind, Oh poor poor PI.

So I told her about what was on my mind and asked her for a little reassurance.

Here is how I got on.


Throwing the Book at Reality #13 #cong23 #reality


An invitation to consider the place and power of language, and particularly literature, in our understanding of reality. Before we can act intentionally and create a changed reality, we must think. Before influencing others with our thinking, we must translate it into language. And the more dramatic and lyrical that language is, the more significant the impact.

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Key Takeaways:

  1. Words inspire action that creates a new reality
  2. Words give us a new perspective on reality
  3. Words create a new inclusive worldview out of two opposing realities
  4. Language forms a bridge between our inner and outer realities

About Anne Tannam:

Anne is a creative coach and poet. And, as you may have guessed, always has her head stuck in a book! For more on Anne’s coaching, visit For more on her poetry, visit

Contacting Anne Tannam:

You can connect with Anne via email or read her poetry and find out her coaching work.

By Anne Tannam

In thirteen years, Alexander the Great created one of the world’s largest empires that stretched from Greece to northwestern India. The story goes that throughout his military campaign, the youthful general slept with a box under his pillow. In the box was the dagger of his vanquished enemy, Darius, and a copy of Homer’s Iliad. At the beginning of his campaign, he even takes the same route to battle as Achilles in Homer’s epic poem. Inspired by another’s stirring words, Alexander shaped a new geographical and political reality that formed the basis of our modern Western culture. Because of the words of an 8th-century poet and his influence on a 3rd-century general, the 21st-century culture that shapes our Western reality exists.

Of course, this is provocatively simple, and it’s not meant to be an argument but rather an invitation to consider the place and power of language, and particularly literature, in our understanding of reality. Before we can act intentionally and create a changed reality, we must think. Before influencing others with our thinking, we must translate it into language. And the more dramatic and lyrical that language is, the more significant the impact. It’s why presidents employ poets to recite at their inaugurations, and politicians pepper their speeches with lines from literature. Words have always mattered. Empires and nations have risen and fallen because of words. New realities are born and die because of stories.

‘If he made a good recovery, Boxer might expect to live another three years,
and he looked forward to the peaceful days that he would spend in the corner
of the big pasture. It would be the first time that he had had leisure to study
and improve his mind. He intended, he said, to devote the rest of his life to
learning the remaining twenty-two letters of the alphabet.’

It’s years since I read George Orwell’s Animal Farm, but even now, when I think of Boxer, the hardworking and loyal farm horse, being driven away in a van with the words’ Alfred Simmonds, Horse Slaughterer and Glue Boiler, Willingdon.’ (which, tragically, Boxer and many of the other animals couldn’t read), I feel viscerally the cruelty and mercilessness of the Russian Revolution under Stalin. I can’t imagine what the book’s impact was for those living with the aftermath of that reality. Fiction can give us a new perspective on reality, allow us to see the bigger picture, connect the dots of cause and effect, and, hopefully, give us a blueprint of how to design a new, better reality.

This leads me to the world’s first known author, Enheduanna, born in ancient Mesopotamia, around the 23rd century BC, 1,500 years before Homer. The daughter of King Sargon the Great, the first empire builder who conquered the independent city-states of Mesopotamia under a unified banner. He spoke Akkadian, and the cities in the south, who spoke Sumerian, viewed him as a foreign invader and revolted. To bridge the gap between the two cultures, he set up his only daughter, Enheduanna, as high priestess in the city of Ur’s most important temple. A brilliant strategist and writer, she set about writing in Akkadian and Sumerian forty-two religious hymns that combined both culture’s deities and mythologies into a unified cosmic reality. What had previously been experienced as two distinct and opposing realities, through the power of words, became a prosperous and inclusive new reality.

Words allow humans to express what’s happening internally and thus influence what is happening in the external world. In Jungian thinking, much of how we experience reality comes from projecting earlier realities onto our current situations. As the diarist and essayist Anais Nin says, ‘we don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are.’ This isn’t to say that there is no objective reality. Still, our experience of reality is constructed from both what is objectively real and how we subjectively experience it. One of the properties and powers of literature is to provide a bridge between the outer and inner world of reality and a way of navigating the relationship between both. As readers and writers, books can help us to embrace the complexity of our lived reality and to find innovative ways to shape new realities.

What are the books or stories that have helped shape your reality?

What is Reality? #9 #cong23 #reality


The human brain is an amazing computational instrument. It can reason, project, control, and otherwise fuse together thousands of inputs at once, creating an awareness, a synthesis of understanding. It’s something that philosophers and scientists throughout the ages have struggled to fully understand and, of late, have attempted to model in silicon and hardware to create things like artificial intelligence and neural networks. The complexity of our creation belies the infinitely complex interconnections between chemicals, electrical signaling, and perhaps, a deeper unseen aspect. Whatever is composed out of the chaos of our cortices, it holds true that we are masters of narrative, of creation, of reality.

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Key Takeaways:

  1. Humanity is incredible for their collective ability to create and imagine.
  2. Reality is defined by our collective narrative and stories.
  3. Reality is a collision between the observable and the imagined.
  4. Shaping reality, especially in the day/age of AI and all of its permutations, must be grounded in who we are as creative, sentimental beings.

About Dave Graham:

Dave Graham is a research technologist and the technology advocate lead for Dell Technologies’ Office of Research where he focuses on how technologies are integrated into organizations, society, and their potential for global transformation.  He is currently working on his PhD at University College Dublin – SMARTLab looking at how data is used to increase social agency.

Contacting Dave Graham

You can follow Dave’s daily musings on Post.News, read his Substack thoughts or check out his photography on Instagram

By Dave Graham

What is reality?

Take a look at the picture presented here. What do you observe?

On first pass, I’m sure that you notice the line of separation down the horizon, separating the two halves of the picture. There are coloured leaves, resplendent in their autumnal finery; the water is still, reflecting mirror-like the sky and the traces of flora that find themselves front and center in this idyllic scene. It’s a tranquility that speaks of preparation, of stillness, of potential. It’s a capture of reality.

On second look, there are perhaps other things that catch your eye: the darkened corners, the almost too-reflective water on the lower half of the picture, the slight blurring of leaves on the trees. There seems to be an almost casual distortion in parts of the image as if some digital thumb swooped in and mucked about with the pixels, upsetting their natural order.

Your brain has determined one of two things in this moment:
1. This is nothing more than a picture showing a tree reflected in the water.
2. There is something amiss with this picture which may mean it’s altered or generated.

So, which is it: which explanation is real?

The human brain is an amazing computational instrument. It can reason, project, control, and otherwise fuse together thousands of inputs at once, creating an awareness, a synthesis of understanding. It’s something that philosophers and scientists throughout the ages have struggled to fully understand and, of late, have attempted to model in silicon and hardware to create things like artificial intelligence and neural networks. The complexity of our creation belies the infinitely complex interconnections between chemicals, electrical signaling, and perhaps, a deeper unseen aspect. Whatever is composed out of the chaos of our cortices, it holds true that we are masters of narrative, of creation, of reality.

The picture you see here was captured no less than 24 hours before writing this piece, near a pond a scant few kilometers from my residence. The fall air was still, the water placid, and the leaves on the maples and birches were stunning. As I leaned over the water, watching for the reflections to align just-so, I was rewarded with momentary calm and reality was captured.

With a slight tweak to colour (I prefer my reality a bit darker than lighter), I noticed that the image was a perfect mirror of itself. That up could be down and down, up. That reality wasn’t constrained to the cardinal directions of captured 3 dimensional space: it could exist completely upside down or right side up. Would the story change, I wondered, and would it represent the same truths of the moment in which I observed it?

I created a reality out of a momentary capture of photons hitting an electrical sensor and simultaneously my optic nerves. My brain flipped the image, letting my neurons do the dirty work of interpreting the scene in meaningful ways. On my laptop, I engaged in digital arbitrage, exchanging light for dark, up for down, reality for a narrative of my own devising. I created the foil for today’s story, an image to back a narrative, a device.

Reality is what we define it to be. I’ve provided my version of reality through an image here: I’ve taken a pastoral scene, flipped it upside down, and made you consider what I’ve done. If you were casually browsing through a collection of photos, you’d more than likely miss what I had done. You’d have seen the darkened corners, the slight blurring and perhaps ascribed an artist’s aesthetic to it: “Ah, this photographer didn’t get their focus correct” or “It’s a bit dark…why do they edit it like that?” It’s easy to pass over because this slice of reality doesn’t jar the senses, doesn’t force a fusion of sight, sound, touch, and emotion. It just is.

The struggle with our definition of reality is that there is an inevitable collision between our reality and that of others.The galling violence we’ve seen displayed via various media outlets over the last year point to this very ideal. There’s a collision between the reality of our daily lives and that of the greater world around us. Our inoculation from war, from violence, from the depravity of humanity allows us to very narrowly define reality to what is directly in front of us, what we can taste, touch, smell, see. When confronted by an outside reality, we have no box to put it in; it affronts our hallowed senses, our stories and we are galled by it.

Reality, then, is a construct of our imagination, composed of our senses and assembled together from the rudiments of experience. It’s a constant metering and evaluation of what lies before us: the click of these keys, the movement of letters on a screen to form words, the vibrant beauty of an idyll captured not so long ago. It’s a story composed for an unconference, a stroll through the meadows of a caffeine-and-ADHD addled mind, and the ideas that reality is a creation, beautifully ugly, of our own devising.

I suppose the grand challenge (and what I’ll leave you with today) is to understand more how reality is shaped: by experience, by novelty, by intersection and to make it life-defining. I challenge you to understand how your reality is shaped by the stories of others and the stories you write for yourself. How can the tide of humanity’s experience be channeled to create a more wholesome reality for all while simultaneously be true to the story of its creation?

Thoughts for another day, another unconference, another journey through the solemnity of the woods outside my domicile, in a world that is more upside down than right-side up in my reality.

May it ever be so.

The Nature of Reality #8 #cong23 #reality


Reality is individually perceived.

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Key Takeaways:

  1. Reality does not care what you think.
  2. Your reality and mine are driven by our perceptions.
  3. Our perceptions of reality are based on our biology, neurobiology and experiences.
  4. It is important that we consider that our perceptions may be faulty.

About Ger Mulcahy:

Dad, husband, writer, leadership coach, technology leader, flyfisherman, adapted introvert. I live in Dublin with my wife and three daughters, and read and write as much as I can around family activities.

Contacting Ger Mulcahy

You can contact Ger by email, or connect with him on LinkedIn

By Ger Mulcahy

I spoke with a colleague recently over dinner, and we started talking about physics, which is his passionate interest. I’m not a physicist, nor can I play one even in my mind, never mind on the Internet. He, on the other hand, studied physics in college. He continues to read widely on things I consider borderline arcane, including quantum physics and mechanics. The conversation briefly moved onto the nature of reality before diverging and heading into more mundane conversational waters. But it triggered something because I woke up in the middle of the night thinking that the nature of reality is about individual experience.

Neuroscience-based coaching, which I practice, teaches us that every brain is different. We have the same basic structures, but our experiences shape the physical structures of our brains over time. What we focus on shapes our brains. For example, studies on London taxi drivers showed their hippocampus grew substantially due to learning “the knowledge”. Our brains establish and strengthen connections based on what we consciously or unconsciously place a value on.

We all operate, in addition, with a set of filters and biases which help us make sense of the world quickly. Our brains are expensive to run, so we use these forms of biological shorthand to lessen the cost. If we don’t have to engage “system 2” thinking per Daniel Kahneman, we can save resources. Cognitively demanding thinking is more expensive from a glucose and oxygen perspective.

The result is that we often accept the world as it appears to us. We believe that our perception of reality is reality. This is known as “naive realism”. This is an easy mistake to make – we are primarily visual and have learned to accept the evidence of our eyes and other senses. If we take that visual reality to start, mine will always differ from yours. Depending on my age and optical quality, I may see more or less detail in the world than you. Does that make my visual reality different to yours? Absolutely. Throw in something like red/green colour blindness, and suddenly, my perception of reality is very different to someone without that visual challenge.

Perception is the core of our reality. What I perceive and what you do can be entirely different based on our position in a room, our experiences, our height, gender, and attitudes to life. I may witness precisely the same thing you do, but my experience of that event and my memory of it may be totally different. We do not make good crime scene witnesses as a result. The car was blue, or maybe red. The man was tall, fat or perhaps a powerfully built woman.

Why does this all matter? Because when someone has a different viewpoint from us, it is entirely possible that what they perceive or recall is more accurate (or at least just as valid) than our viewpoint. In addition, the introduction of “realistic” AI-generated imagery or textual output can be sufficient to fool our senses. We must question our perceptions of the world and understand that reality is not a fixed concept – it is fluid, contextual and personal. Some things are objectively real, but even determining those can be challenging. Using the philosophical thought experiment that we may exist in a simulation or one universe of a multiverse of parallel universes should be sufficient to raise questions about our macro-reality.

Being willing to question ourselves and to openly question others to determine why they believe certain things can be helpful for us to ground ourselves. It can also help us develop more diverse ways of thinking about our challenges. And it can help us avoid becoming stuck in believing that our ideas are the best ones and allow us to understand that what we “know” is largely illusory.

A Break from Reality…. #6 #cong23 #reality


Reality can be scary. We sometimes try to artificially control it to ease our minds. Some seperation is useful, ultimately, living is a team sport.

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Key Takeaways:

  1. Seperate yourself to gain perspective
  2. Reality can and will be abused
  3. The Observer has a different reality to the Object
  4. If you stray too far, you might need a rescue team

About Alan Costello:

Many things startup and investment @Resolve Partners & Resolve Ventures
Many things Climate orientated there and also

Contacting Alan Costello

You can contact Alan by email, connect with him on LinkedIn, see his work with Resolve Partners and read his thoughts on Medium

Leaving the unreality of soon

By Alan Costello

I’m writing this in a fairly unreal place.
I’m in a log cabin, by a lake
I have no family, no dog, no laptop, no work.
No phone.
Thats how unreal this is.

I’m on my 1st ever personal retreat, taking some time to refresh, think, write and empty my mind between two very busy periods of time.
I’m initially struck by the clip of David coming from the dentist and wondering “Is this real life”, but its not that type of retreat.

Now we are sitting in Cong-gregation. 100 heads from a variety of walks of life, united by curiosity & community. It is of course an alternative reality – away from our day to day lives, taking space to wonder, engage with new and old.

And we do not all live in a bloody big Castle.

I’m picturing the Mouse that controls us all, that is looking on from the outside at the 100 of us. A bit like the early experiments in reality TV – potentially interesting experiments led by Endemol Media, but very quickly degenerated into force fitting people into the Big Brother house with scripts for the viewers entertainment.

Dont even start me on Married at first sight.

What are people like when they are in a group, on stage, broadcasting.
Brian Friel explored this with Public Gar and Private Gar in Philadelphia. Does Cong bring those inner thoughts into the public, or a version of them. Which is the true part, the reality of what we are all proclaiming this weekend.

Some alternate realities are not alternative any more. I cant watch Black Mirror anymore since my work tells me this is not Sci Fi, not alternate fiction, not fake, but possible, almost current. A mirror is of course reflective of what you put into it, albeit the other way around as you are reminded when Zoom asks you to mirror your video to turn you the ‘right’ way around again.

Black Mirror contributes to me being very very very nervous of the power of deep fakes. We think about reverting to ‘serious, trusted mastheads’ like the BBC, Guardian, NYT and ignore the biases they deploy in search of what is mostly the reality of major events.

I’m interested in the phrase – “break from reality”. Do we want to get away from it? Does it have to be broken to preserve us, or allow us to retreat from danger? I guess its closely related to escapism. Simplistically, I think to escape is a good thing. What is wrong with our reality that this becomes the escape, the retreat. All the language of the defeated army.

Well, a ‘break’ is less military, more easily synonymous with a holiday, or a weekend away……