We covered some of what reality is in What is Reality, Truth, and Existence? but with the following examples we will learn more properties of reality. If you have not yet read the post linked above, as well as the post Who Am I?, it may be difficult to understand this one. This post begins by defining internal reality, external reality, and shared reality with an example. Then an example is used to explain how reality propagates with What is Judgment and Logic.
Defining internal reality, external reality, and shared reality with an example:
John and Matt share only their great-great-great-grandfather Toby, so they are barely related. Toby’s children traveled in different directions, and ended up hundreds of miles away. Let’s say John is now in country JohnKing and Matt is now in country MattKing. The subjects of JohnKing believe in royalty, and that John is a descendant of the Gods, while the subjects of MattKing believe in royalty, and that Matt is a descendant of the Gods.
Reality for a Citizen of MattKing
- Existence statement: Matt is God; Truth: true
- Existence statement: John is God; Truth: false
- Existence statement: I want others to believe I think Matt is God; Truth: true
- Existence statement: I want others to believe I think John is God; Truth: false
Reality for a Citizen of JohnKing
- Existence statement: Matt is God; Truth: false
- Existence statement: John is God; Truth: true
- Existence statement: I want others to believe I think Matt is God; Truth: false
- Existence statement: I want others to believe I think John is God; Truth: true
Shared reality is formed when two or more independent identities agree. In this case, the Citizens of JohnKing have shared reality, and Citizens of MattKing have shared reality. If I am in the country JohnKing and I don’t believe John is God, then the shared reality of JohnKing Citizens who believe John is God doesn’t include me. However, if I am in JohnKing and I will be jailed and tortured if I do not treat John as God, then I will share the reality of JohnKing Citizens that all want others to think they think John is God.
This is an example of internal and external reality: within my internal mind, I do not believe John is God, but because I don’t want to be jailed and tortured, I tell everyone who meets me while I am in the country JohnKing, that John is God. If I then move to MattKing, In my mind I may still not believe Matt is God, but because I don’t want to be executed, I will make sure everyone who meets me believes that I think Matt is God. You always have control over your internal reality with nothing to stop you except yourself; you don’t always have a choice as to what you want your external reality will be, because that choice is affected by power (King), peer pressure (citizens), etc. Internal and external realities do not have to be the same, although sometimes problems arise when they are not the same (denial and delusion, insanity, etc. At the end of the day, who has the delusional external reality is the person who is weaker: If I am King and I can sentence you to death, then you are deluded and I am right; if you are King and you can sentence me to death, then I am deluded and you are right. If you don’t believe me on this…have fun if you go to North Korea).
Propagation is how shared reality is formed and spread. In understanding propagation with observers, we define and learn about the difference between truth and human observers.
Phenomenon: If a tree falls in a forest, did it happen? From God’s standpoint, it happened. From an observer’s standpoint, it only happened if it was observed. Observers close by will have observed it, observers very far away will not have. We can say the tree falling in a forest is an event that has happened in a localized reality: the reality pertaining to the immediate area where the tree actually fell. No-where else in the universe does this reality exist, unless that event’s information propagates outwards. Observers get information about the event’s existence from signals such as light, sound, etc. If you don’t get any signal of the tree falling, then from your standpoint the tree falling event didn’t happen, because there is no proof that it came into existence. However, if I hear a tree fall, I can tell you that I heard a tree fall, propagating information about the events existence to you and whoever you tell about it.
From What is Reality, Truth, and Existence? we know that existence is a statement about the universe (like “the tree fell”) that can be true or false depending on different Truth functions (to a bird three feet away, to a seismograph a thousand miles away).
Let’s apply this model to our phenomenon. “The tree fell” is an existence statement. An observer at location L1 two feet from the tree falling will receive two signals, the sound of the tree hitting the ground and the visual sight of the tree falling. If observer O1 is deaf and blind, the observer’s judgment function will be unable to process or take as inputs the two signals, and so Observer O1 will have no clue the tree fell: its truth function returns false for the existence statement. Another observer O2 at the same location L1 receiving both signals who is also blind but isn’t deaf will hear the tree fall and receive that signal. That signal then goes into the observer’s judgment function, and if Observer O2 has a good tree fall judgment function, Observer O2 will know that a tree fell.
(Review What is Judgment and Logic?)
If all observers are given the prior knowledge that there are 4 trees standing (which is an existence statement), then the ones who don’t judge that a tree has fallen will continue to believe that there are 4 trees standing. However, the observers who do judge that a tree has fallen will use Logic to update their knowledge: 4 trees standing is now false, and 3 trees standing is true. There are now TWO levels of propagation: through external reality and through internal reality. All Observers therefore have an external reality and an internal reality made up of existence statements. The sound and sight of the tree falling travels through external reality to an Observer. The knowledge of a tree falling propagates to the knowledge of how many trees are standing through an Observer’s internal reality.
To understand and model the propagation of reality through internal reality, let’s define ‘Thing’ to be a reference to a unique member of the total set of existence statements that can be made about our universe that can be understood by the observer (we limit to what can be understood by the observer for the same reason someone who doesn’t speak English wouldn’t have non-english existence statements in their internal reality). Let ‘Universe’ be the set of all things that can be affected by human knowledge (affect means subject to propagation).
We can now imagine that at every ‘Thing’ within an Observer O’s internal reality, there exists a Theoretical Observer TO which in turn has a reality that holds a set of existence statements that are evaluated true or false by a Truth function and Logic. We can now describe the propagation of knowledge from the above example, “4 trees standing” is a thing, and “a tree fell” is also a thing. Logic is what causes the Theoretical Observer at “a tree fell” to send a signal to the Theoretical Observer at “4 trees standing” and tell that observer to change its reality to false.
A question you might ask is why do we need to model the propagation of knowledge within an Observer’s internal reality? The answer is because humans lie, and humans are imperfect, and the human mind often fails to propagate knowledge–all three facts make it important to define two kinds of Observers: Truth Observers and Human Observers. A Truth Observer behaves ideally: when it hears that a tree has fallen, it instantly updates its internal reality to reflect the signal it received from its external reality. A Human Observer behaves non-ideally: when a human hears a tree has fallen, the information might be ignored and the number of trees standing never changed from 4 to 3. Meaning that when the Human Observer returns home, and another Human Observer B asks how many trees are standing, that Human will create a false shared reality with Human Observer B where there are 4 trees standing. If humans were mere machines, we would not have this problem: for better or for worse, we are not machines.
This post is part of AttemptedLiving’s Life Education Curriculum, a collection of core knowledge everyone should have.
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