Alternate Realities

How do We Define Reality?

The goal seems simple enough using our six senses – “common sense” being the piece that synthesizes input from the other five to shape our understanding of the world we live in. But are there pieces of reality beyond what we are physically able to perceive? Is faith in a divine creator valid and does consciousness survive beyond death?

Anyone who’s ever caught a cold, had the flu or suffered from allergies to pollen understands there are tiny things floating through our air that we cannot see, smell or feel. They emit no sound and offer no culinary contribution to our tastebuds. People who own pets understand there are sounds and smells that are beyond the frequencies of human perception. Even light has properties that elude our vision. So while our experiences offer insight to the nature of things, clearly these alone are not sufficient to fully quantify reality.

So we turn to the experts. Physicists, biologists, mathematicians and chemists study the nature of things on a level beyond lay people. And from them we learn the rudiments of planetary motion, viruses and chemicals that are both beneficial and hazardous. But the nature of such studies by definition relies on mathematical proofs and experimentation that can be duplicated by anyone having the tools and means. What is rarely presented to the average man or woman is an understanding of the limits or boundaries of current scientific methods. Could there be more to reality beyond physical constants and mathematical formulas?

Science fiction writers have on occasion postulated the notion of two-dimensional life. It’s not too much of a stretch for the average person to consider such a condition since single-celled organisms are common knowledge. If such a life form were truly two-dimensional, and were somehow to evolve into an intelligence or sentience, it would have no means of perceiving the three-dimensional world around it. As three-dimensional creatures, could we be living in a six or seven-dimensional universe, unable to fully understand reality?

Gravity wells are examples of physics explaining how light can be bent. They are the model that works mathematically and cosmically, just as the periodic chart of elements explains the composition of atoms. Yet not everything behaves as it should. Black matter and black energy are convenient fillers in the knowledge bank, but nobody can find either. Quantum physics intrudes on our neatly defined explanation of tiny particles when photons appear to be both particles—having mass—and waves—without mass. At the risk of confusing myself, I will avoid any conversation of probability here.

We might ask where psychology fits into all of this. For example, is the Mandella Effect a consequence of the power of suggestion working on sub-conscious memories, or is the volume of people having the same, inaccurate memories evidence of parallel universes overlapping? Are quantum pairings transmitting memories from another reality? Are people jumping between universes?

Finally, 85% or more of the world’s population believe in a supreme being who designed and created the universe and all life within. It would be beyond disrespectful to dismiss such numbers as wishful thinkers. People of all religions point to a variety of personal experiences that support and validate their faith. Psychologists and researches at respected universities have investigated reports of near-death experiences.

In short, there are enough gaps in human knowledge to say with confidence, we do not have a complete understanding of reality. Ultimately there is a spectrum of belief. Science provides models that explain things beyond our sensory perception. Religion combines faith, personal experience and history that offers substantive evidence of a realm beyond the created universe. Finally, a number of fringe topics have drawn their own adherents. Investigation of UAPs (formerly UFOs) seems to be moving closer to mainstream credibility, due largely to concerns over security. Ghost hunters and cryptozoologists insist mysterious entities populate our world. People of faith often acknowledge these as real and attribute them to demonic activity. All in all, this brings us back to the question:

What do you know and what do you believe?