header image
Home arrow Way of Open Consciousness arrow Way of Open Consciousness Articles arrow Part 7 Reality -- Perception (Or The Way It Is)?
PDF Print E-mail

 

(Important note regarding the mind set from which this series
is written and from how it is intended to be read)


Part 7


Reality
Perception Or The Way It Is

In the last part of the series, I offered my insight into the goal of our spiritual journey - that of re-identifying with our Infinite Eternal Self. As one of my favorite authors in the realm of metaphysics, U.S.Andersen, puts it, "in separation, we accept the limitations of the flesh and the inhibitions of the ego, and thus we fall short of God consciousness". What Andersen is referring to here is the loss of identity with our True Self. God consciousness is the awareness of our infinite and eternal roots.

Fundamental to the overall theme of this series is this notion of "identity" - the loss of identity with our Godhood and the assumption of identity with ego. It is in this false identity that consciousness closes and stays closed, and here we are speaking of both the individual, and, extending that to mass consciousness, to the planet as a whole.

Re-identity of course involves simultaneous dis-identity with the ego self. The two go hand in hand. While it is true that during the transition phase, there will be movement back and forth between the two identities, the fact is that it is nearly impossible to be simultaneously focused in both identities at the same moment. It is difficult to be focused in Love while flaming in ego. Likewise, it is difficult to be caught up in ego rage while being centered in the peaceful state of the True Self.

It's probably apparent how all of this is tied to our theme of the openness / closedness of consciousness. But let me state it anyway. Open consciousness is the default position of Godhood identity; closed consciousness is the default position of ego self identity. In each of these identities, we have different perspectives of life and of that referred to as God, and even further, a differing experience of reality.

Earlier in this series, when speaking about a spectrum of consciousness, I alluded to the concept of differing perceptions of reality related to one's state of consciousness. The subject of reality - especially assessment of reality - is extremely important to our discussion of the current state of planetary consciousness and our desire to shift it in an upward direction. It is the predominating closed state of consciousness that keeps it static, i.e., that thwarts a rise. A rise in consciousness cannot occur when the mass of consciousness insists that there is an absolute fixed reality, and then takes every possible means conceivable to support that notion. So reality is the theme of this installment; and since it is a much larger subject than you may realize, it will likely carry over to the next installment as well.

 

The Way It Isn't

If we are to adopt a position of open consciousness as our way of living and being, then we will be inclined to give up any mind set where any variation of the thought "that's just the way it is" has a place. We will no longer think or utter the words "that's the way it is" because we will realize there is no fixed reality, and that there is no particular way "that it is".

You might think that's just crazy. But I'm here to claim that all we can really state is the way a thing "appears to be" at a particular time in a particular instance. Just stick with me while I try to show you why this isn't so far-fetched as you may at first think.

From the whole mix of mass consciousness we derive a sense of reality. We might claim that what is real is what we perceive with all of our senses. To most people, reality, to put it simply, just seems obvious, and tangible, and rather consistent enough that we pretty much expect that everyone else would perceive the same things we would in any given situation. We are in fact told by many, especially religious followers, that reality is absolute.

Christian apologists cite a theory proposed by Aristotle, called Correspondence, as a way of determining truth. Essentially it says that if a statement (of reality) matches the way the world really is, then you have a true statement. The way the theory states it is: "To say of what is that it is not, or of what is not that it is, is false, while to say of what is that it is, and of what is not that it is not, is true".

At first reading, this seems to make sense. But upon closer examination, a problem begins to emerge that renders the theory of correspondence not completely satisfying. It looks like the theory can easily fall into a case of circular reasoning. To wit: I claim it is A because it is A. But how do I know it is A? Because I perceive it to be A. The problem here is that perceptions are subjective - not objective. And, as we will see, all we really know are our perceptions.

The point is that whether or not something is a particular way, in itself, is questionable. Here is what I mean. It is possible that we may indeed perceive a particular thing as it really is, but it is also possible to perceive it to be a particular way when it really is not that way. To take a famous example, prior to the time of Copernicus and Galileo, it was claimed and widely accepted to be true, that the earth was the center of the universe. But as our two objectively minded observers came to realize, earth wasn't even the center of our solar system. There are zillions of such examples. This makes the point that we may think we know how something is, but we cannot always know for absolutely sure that's the way it really is. And this is the problem with correspondence theory. To claim of something that it is A because it is A, becomes a totally meaningless claim.

The notion of correspondence assumes that our perceptions are inerrant, and that therefore we can always know the way a thing is. [By the way, let us use the word "thing" in this discussion as philosophers use it -- to refer to objects, events, sequences, facts, states of affairs, situations, properties.] But there are a number of reasons why things may appear to b a certain way, but unbeknownst to us, are really otherwise. In such a case, the person stating the way it is, is making a true statement so far as it appears to be the way it is; but it is not really the way it is. If it is really a different way than we can know, would it then be legitimate to say that the person making the statement is lying? You might agree with my answer, "Not necessarily".

And further, what about this? What if I were actually intending to lie, and in lying, stated with insistence the way a thing is, even though my statement does not at all comport with the way it appears to everyone else. To all appearances, everyone would disagree with me -- even argue with me, and agree that the way it is, is not the way I have stated it to be. But lo and behold, unbeknownst to all of us, the lie I was stating turns out to be the way it really is, and the perceptions of all the observers who were not persuaded by me, were themselves in error. While they were in error, so was I. My intended lie may have been true, correspondence
-wise, but my actual belief was in error. The ironic thing here is that none of us actually knows that my lie was actually correct and that those others were wrong because none of us is privy to the unknown piece of information that has deceived our perceptions. I cannot even know that my attempted lie was in actuality truth, in terms of correspondence theory. Situations like this would seem to throw a wrench into the works of correspondence. After all, what good is it as a determinate of what is true, to have correspondence that is unknown, or to have apparent correspondence, where the unknown reality would reveal there is none?

All of this raises a very profound question. Which is better: to say that something is true when it corresponds to the way it appears to be; or to say it is true when it corresponds to the way it is, even though unbeknownst to us, we don't know the way it actually is? The point I am making here is that there may be a particular way a particular thing is, but if we do not have a complete picture because there are things about it that cannot be known at the time we are assessing it, of what relevance is it that it's a particular way? After all, there are many mysteries in science and medicine, where things work a particular way, but we have no idea how or why. All we know is that they work. All we can really state is, the way a thing appears to be at a particular time in a particular instance. So the question is, why isn't that satisfactory enough for us until such time any unknowns becomes known?



Next>
Login Form
Username

Password

Remember me
Password Reminder
No account yet? Create one