Hey! Did you ever wake up one morning and decide that you're gonna figure out what 'reality' is? I mean, like we all walk around pretending like we know what 'reality' is; but do we really have any idea at all?
I think a good definition of 'reality' as such is as follows:"Lifeworld is a whole, composed of the entire sum of its parts. Culture, economy, resources, technology, territory: all are intrinsically connected. For human societies, reality exists as perceived. It is, in its entirety, a phenomenon created in the human mind."
The previous definition was found in a book called Indigenous Peoples of the World by Brian Goehring. Well Ya, I actually do read once in a while! Seems to me that there is a bit of an oxymoronism ( geez, I think I made up another word ) going on here. I mean, like, how you gonna say, on the one hand that 'reality' exists as perceived, and on the other, that 'reality' is a phenomenon created in the human mind? I mean, like; you really think an Empiricist and an Idealist are ever gonna agree? Well, that ain't never gonna happen, so the definition above is simply an attempt to satisfy all customers as it were!
Ok! Most of us make a fundamental mistake right off the bat when we consider 'reality,' in that we naturally confuse the notion of what is 'real' with the concept of 'reality!' Ooops! Big mistake doing that! You wanna know why I think such a thing? I'll tell you anyway! You see, existing things are only 'real' to the extent that their connection to the concept of our personal view of 'reality' will allow for! That's why I like that little definition up there; it takes everything and puts it all in one place and lets you do the walking through the intricate synaptic maze of your own mind!
I gotta put in some kinda example here so I can figure out what I'm trying to say! ok! Say you're an Empiricist who owns a sawmill! You look at a 'real' tree and all you see is paper and two-by-fours. I mean, like, you've made the connection between the 'real' tree and your concept of 'reality' in that 'real' trees are used to make paper and two-by-fours! In essence then, 'real' equals 'reality' in that it is agreeable to your concept of 'reality' because you've made a 'connection' between the two! Remember; the fiction I'm referring to here is an Empiricist! Well and good! He or she is quite satisfied with 'reality' as he or she sees it! Flip this whole scenario around and you probably got yourself an Idealist! Well and good too!
Now, here's where the problem arises; Assume that I'm an Indian and I see a 'real' tree too! ok? But I think that 'real' tree also has 'spirit!' I know, crazy Indian, running around talking to trees, oughta be locked up in the nuthouse! Think what you may, don't bother me none anyway! Back to the point here. I'm a bit of an Empiricist cause I ain't totally stupid. Of course the tree is 'real!' Then again, maybe I'm a bit of an Idealist too, cause maybe I only think the tree is 'real!' Hmmmm! But, I'm obviously a bit of a Rationalist too, cause I think that the tree has 'spirit!' By considering the tree to contain 'spirit' I have added another element to be connected along with the 'real' before I can say that this is 'reality.' At least 'reality' to my mind at any rate!
Anyway, the point being is; that if we consider the 'real' to be equal to 'reality' or the 'real' to be a physical impression of 'reality' then we create an illusion which allows us to dictate to our conscience that we have the inalienable right to destroy and completely eradicate any 'real' thing which we deem to be lesser than our applied concept of 'reality!' In other words, by making the 'real' and 'reality' the same thing we can measure the relative importance of 'all' things on a scale of conscienceness and guilt! Hence; to heck with anything except humankind's desires!
Ooops! Almost forgot about that assumed Indian! Hmmm! Well, my 'reality' ain't the same even though I admit that my notion of the 'real' is! I threw a nut into the machinery when I said that the tree had 'spirit!' You see, the minute I did that I gave the tree a lot more worth as an existing 'real' thing and my conscience hesitates to chop it down without asking it first! That little scale of guilt thingy up there steps in and alters my concept of 'reality!' Silly Indians anyway, always screwing something up! Trying to live in harmony with everything! Having respect for trees just cause they say that trees have 'spirit!' You know something else! They even treat animals, plants, and rocks the same way! If their way of thinking ever caught on, civilized lives would be destroyed forever! Or so certain factions would have the people of the world believe at any rate!
Bottom line; some members of western society continue to indiscriminately destroy 'real' things because it considers it to be their inalienable right to do so! Somewhere along the line they forgot the true 'reality' of things in that; the Earth is the sustainer of 'life' and not simply of 'lifestyles!'
I am, by no means, painting everyone with the same brush! Hey! I know that we live the life we're dealt! In this society we have no choice but to follow the path laid out! I mean, like, starving to death ain't an option! But we gotta at least try make a new path somehow, before the entire earth gets paved with asphalt! You think?