What is Reality

“Natural selection didn’t design your mind to see the world clearly; it designed your mind to have perceptions and beliefs that would help take care of your genes.” – Robert Wright

For our purposes, let's say that "reality" is all of the information that exists in the universe.

This information presents itself in many types of energy - electromagnetic fields, ultraviolet waves, and other types of energy - of which humans have evolved to perceive through the five senses a small segment that would help us survive and pass our genes to the next generation.

With the use of scientific instruments, like an infrared thermometer, we can detect other subtle energies that we didn’t evolve to sense as part of our natural subjective reality. Imagine, if you can, perceiving the world as a snake, which can detect infrared radiation emitted up to a meter away via holes in its head. This is another slice of “reality” that humans don’t tap into.

The truth is that the real material world is a vast jungle of information of which your brain selectively picks out a small segment according to how your brain’s been shaped by evolution and conditioned by your experience. And furthermore, of the sliver of reality that humans have evolved to perceive, much of it never reaches our conscious experience.

Psychologists posit that 99% of the mind’s activity is subconscious, while the remaining tiny amount comes into our conscious awareness and determines what we think of as “reality.” The illusion is that our thin slice of attention is the whole of reality in the present moment. And so it would be a mistake to assume (as we often do) that this represents “reality” in the slightest.

Recognizing this, we can become more in-tuned with reality by observing our actual experience closely and recognizing where we are layering on our own judgments. And by training our minds through meditation to pay close attention and by applying logic, we can get more in touch with reality, and live less of our lives deluded by fantasies.