Monday, January 30, 2012

Deep Stuff - but give me a moment and I'll get to the point

Back in my mis-spent youth I spent half a year drifting through university before I dropped out and went to Film School instead. From those few months there's only one thing that stuck with me: the idea that life is all in our imagination.

I took a course in Philosophy which started with the earliest of Western Philosophy thinkers, Rene Descartes. You may not know the name, but I'm sure you've all heard of his famous line cogito ergo sum: "I think, therefore I am." The grand idea behind that sentence is that, since we experience everything through our own senses which are highly subjective, we cannot know for certain whether anything beyond our own minds is real or imaginary.

Can we prove without doubt that the world we know, and the people in it, aren't just constructs of our imagination? The quick answer is No.
For all we know, we might be nothing more than the nucleus of a single atom, believing ourselves to be flesh and blood people living on the third rock from this little sun, surrounded by people just like us.

A whole bunch of movies have explored this idea, like The Matrix (1999) and eXistenZ (also 1999 - wonder if the cusp of the new millennium had people questioning their reality or something?) and more recently Inception (2010) which had me thinking about the ending for ages afterwards. Have any of you seen Inception, and if so, what did you think of that ending? Or the whole movie, for that matter?

But my point (yes, I do have one!) is this: if the entire world is nothing more than a trick of our perception, then we can change that world.

If we feel like losers who aren't succeeding while others around us are, or if we feel like we're not coping with everything that Real Life dumps on us, then we should consider this: It might not even be Real!

Just by changing how we perceive the world, we can change how that world really is. In fact, I vote that 2012 be declared Make Your Own Reality Year.

In my brave new world, I am a successful multi-published author, Super Mom, and a calm, confident and super-happy person. I have enough time to achieve everything I want to do. Anyone who says any different is clearly just a construct of my sub-conscious, and my conscious brain has the power to send that imaginary person into oblivion.

Okay, that's the end of the deep stuff. Now it's your turn to share how you're going to change your reality this year. [Or you're welcome to shoot me down with deeper philosophical arguments. I just won't promise to understand them.]


  1. I love this post! It's exactly what I needed this morning. In my world, I have the patience of a saint, the ability to do laundry, clean house, be a great mum and also have time to play, do homework with the children and plenty of left over for myself :-)

    Oh an enough money in the bank so I don't have to check the next month's direct debits before deciding whether I can afford to order take out ;-)

  2. This is scary clever stuff. Will have to give it some thought.

    Terrific post.


  3. You could be on the right track! After all - all things we see as solid aren't really! Everything is constantly moving, evolving, changing it's only our minds which like to see, hear and interpret it all being constant!

    PS. When you find out ... will you let us know?

  4. Great post. I saw the movie Inception about a week ago and I still can't decide what I think of the ending. Dream or reality?

    I totally agree that we make our own reality as our perception of what is real depends entirely on how each individual experiences his/her circumstances through the senses. How the mind interprets the sensory input will again depend on the frame of reference used, namely the individual's history. What is horrible circumstances to me, might be everyday for someone else.

    Again, great insightful post.

  5. Very insightful post, Romy, and one I totally agree with. I've tried to watch inception twice now, and fallen asleep before the end each time. Which is not so much to do with the movie, but my general state of sleepiness come the end of the day. My family laugh about the fact that I fall asleep before the end of many movies, and I've taken to starting a movie in the middle and just watching it to the end from there, but with inception I can't think this is a good way to go!

  6. Catherine - and so it shall be!

    Suzanne - wine really helps to get your mind around the concept. At least, it works for me.

    Amanda - I'll let you know - but perhaps you'll even beat me to it!

    Yolande - that's a great point! I've decided the answer is Dream. Feel free to email me privately if you want to discuss, so we don't spoil the experience for anyone else.

    Sally - this movie is worth watching, but I agree - watching it in two batches might not be a good way to go.