Sunday, October 2, 2016

Is reality becoming less real?

Plato believed that what we take to be real, such as a mountain or a chair, is really an imperfect shadow of the eternal forms. An image that is being reflected from some distorted mirror giving us an intimation of what the true shape is. He also believed that the world we observe is just an illusion and that reality is hidden and unknowable to our senses and everything is made up of abstract entities known as the forms.

The only reality that exists is the reality we choose, and that explains why so many people live such unreal lives. Reality for them is Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat. They pull in all of the images from the outside to form their preferred reality and never allow the reality inside to assert itself. Enslaved by materialism, fakery and foolishness we cheer on sports teams and celebrities to end up watching a metaphor of ourselves. Yet someplace deep inside we know it’s a lie but we continue with the charade and live with the permanent contradiction because somehow it’s easier than facing reality.

Donald D. Hoffman, a cognitive scientist from U.C. Irvine studies perception, artificial intelligence and evolutionary game theory. He believes the world presented to us by our perceptions is nothing like reality and that evolution maximizes evolutionary fitness by driving truth to extinction. If that’s true then I guess those 60-100 million people that are homeless due to war and political instability have nothing to worry about. Or the 5 kids a day that die from child abuse, or the 49 million Americans that struggle every day to put food on the table or the 47 million currently enslaved in the world that have no way out have nothing to fear because their perception of their horrific life is nothing like what they think it is. Too much reality, don’t worry, we’ll just Photoshop it out.