Reality Bites

Here’s the scoop.

I’m too much of a post-modernist to believe that every question has, or needs, a pat answer. Or that only those with sufficient and acceptable education should have a voice. Or that the arts are nothing more than helpful illustrations in an otherwise serious book.

But I’m too much of a modernist to believe that nothing is really true, or that certainty has no place. Because what I’m about to say is something I will not let go of.

The way I see it (there I go, talking post-modernese) we each have three choices as we attempt to discern the nature of reality:

A) Reality is a shape-shifter that morphs and customizes as it travels from person to person, and from one day to the next. No one has the right to speak with any certainty about it, and by no means does anyone have the right to correct anyone else’s perceptions. (This is the one and lonely dogma of post-modernism.) We each define our reality, allowing it to flow to us fresh with each new whim and situation, and we listen to the observations of others like we would read a good novel, or view an abstract painting.

B) Reality is the easiest, most comfortable solution to my particular quandaries. There is indeed a solid floor to stand on, but I know I have not found it until it truly makes me happy. Nevermind that one man’s truth is another man’s heresy. Nevermind that every last satisfying belief I hold dear makes someone else bristle with irritation. Apparently the universe was shaped and molded to meet my expectations, and help me to sleep soundly every night.

C) Reality is full of hard truths, and hidden truths. There is no need to despair, because hope is present and powerful. But in order to know what is real, we have to be prepared to accept some ideas that seems unfair, or unreasonable, or downright ridiculous. Truth is stranger than fiction, and often harder to swallow, and no one finds it without a substantial dose of humility.

If you know me very well, you may be tired of hearing this stuff, but as I said, I just can’t let it go. If you want to accuse me of skewing the choices, go ahead. Feel free to re-write them, or tear them down entirely, in the comments.

But whether you comment or not, at the very least, THINK ABOUT IT.

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About rwiksell

I am a former church-planting pastor, currently active as a wedding minister, and the leader of a spiritual discussion group at a local bar called Scotch & Soda. By day, I am the graphic designer and production manager for a historic print shop called Traders Printing, located in downtown Springfield, Missouri. My wife Christina and I have been married for 9 years now, and we live in a turn-of-the-century bungalow on the north side of Springfield with our dog Abbi, and our cat Charlie.
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6 Responses to Reality Bites

  1. Matt says:

    “Reality” is difficult to define. It is sort of self-defining. And it does not hold its own weight, per se. If I were to attempt to define it, I would say that reality “is what is.” Potentiality, probability, possibility, and all those other subjunctives… those are the ideas that have (expressed or not) question marks that accompany them. Everything that “would” or “could” or “should”… that is the stuff of the subjunctive realm and not the indicative (reality).There are obviously different levels of reality. Postmodern existentialists are fixated on the most immediate, personal type (aptly described in Choice A… nice work), and their short-sightedness is, I believe, their Achilles heel. But there is at least one other level of reality, and this level may or may not intersect with the first kind, i.e. our personal experience of reality. The human quest for purpose and fulfillment is ultimately the struggle to get these two realities to intersect, or as Crowder would say, collide, and eventually, to align.This is where Choice C comes in. If you’re not willing to accept attacks on your self-glory or intellectual fortress, you’re closing yourself off to that second, ultimate, and ultimately purposeful and satisfying plane of reality.

  2. Matt says:

    “Reality” is difficult to define. It is sort of self-defining. And it does not hold its own weight, per se. If I were to attempt to define it, I would say that reality “is what is.” Potentiality, probability, possibility, and all those other subjunctives… those are the ideas that have (expressed or not) question marks that accompany them. Everything that “would” or “could” or “should”… that is the stuff of the subjunctive realm and not the indicative (reality).There are obviously different levels of reality. Postmodern existentialists are fixated on the most immediate, personal type (aptly described in Choice A… nice work), and their short-sightedness is, I believe, their Achilles heel. But there is at least one other level of reality, and this level may or may not intersect with the first kind, i.e. our personal experience of reality. The human quest for purpose and fulfillment is ultimately the struggle to get these two realities to intersect, or as Crowder would say, collide, and eventually, to align.This is where Choice C comes in. If you’re not willing to accept attacks on your self-glory or intellectual fortress, you’re closing yourself off to that second, ultimate, and ultimately purposeful and satisfying plane of reality.

  3. Matt says:

    P. S. There’s a certain profundity, in light of this discussion, about the name by which God commanded Moses and Pharoah to call Him: “I AM.” In essence, He was saying, “Everything that is–including you–has as its source and sustenance and end, ME. So are you with me or against me? Because I Am Ultimate.”That is, literally, just awesome.

  4. Matt says:

    P. S. There’s a certain profundity, in light of this discussion, about the name by which God commanded Moses and Pharoah to call Him: “I AM.” In essence, He was saying, “Everything that is–including you–has as its source and sustenance and end, ME. So are you with me or against me? Because I Am Ultimate.”That is, literally, just awesome.

  5. ari says:

    After I read your blog it brought to mind a movie we wanted to buy you and Christina. It changed my perception of Reality. Not my spiritual beliefs but “Reality” as a whole.We looked for the movie to buy but could not find it before Xmas…(Below are reviews I found about the movie, then I said it in my own words.)Mindwalk (1990)Starring Actors: –Liv Ullmann–Sam Waterston–John HeardDirector: Bernt Amadeus Capra (He’s probably a grandson of Frank Capra ~ Lost Horizon 1937)“Mindwalk” is a fictionalized depiction of the ecological and holistic teachings of the philosopher Fritjof Capra filmed by his brother Bernt. Mindwalk consists almost entirely of the verbal interplay between its three archetypal characters, physicist Sonia (Liv Ullmann), conservative politician Jack (Sam Waterston), and poet Thomas (John Heard). The trio meet for the first time at Mont Saint Michel, a medieval French abbey. Each is suffering misgivings about pivotal life choices; Sonia questions the role of ethics in her work, Jack harbors fears over the government’s attitude toward the environment, and Thomas’ wariness over an increasingly conservative society.This movie is a conversation between a poet, politician and physicist talking about quantum physics and worldviews. After seeing this movie, you cannot help but view the world through an entirely different lens regardless of what your religious and spiritual beliefs are.The conversation is incredibly thought provoking about the important issues that face our generation — understanding of the holistic view of nature, man and the universe. Also the challenges of breaking free from or clinging to a Cartesian worldview.Opening the door to an emerging worldview, this film helps us understand the interconnectedness of all living things – and that all of nature is enchanted and alive. I recommend this movie (if you can find it) for every adult – young and old. It is OK for anyone, say over the age of 14, though the dialogue may be too difficult for some young people.This movie is a gift to the soul of others from the soul of the world. Final Comments:“Mindwalk”is entertaining. If you are at all intellectually curious, you should see this movie. It may not be correct in some places, but the stimulation to think is there.

  6. ari says:

    After I read your blog it brought to mind a movie we wanted to buy you and Christina. It changed my perception of Reality. Not my spiritual beliefs but “Reality” as a whole.We looked for the movie to buy but could not find it before Xmas…(Below are reviews I found about the movie, then I said it in my own words.)Mindwalk (1990)Starring Actors: –Liv Ullmann–Sam Waterston–John HeardDirector: Bernt Amadeus Capra (He’s probably a grandson of Frank Capra ~ Lost Horizon 1937)“Mindwalk” is a fictionalized depiction of the ecological and holistic teachings of the philosopher Fritjof Capra filmed by his brother Bernt. Mindwalk consists almost entirely of the verbal interplay between its three archetypal characters, physicist Sonia (Liv Ullmann), conservative politician Jack (Sam Waterston), and poet Thomas (John Heard). The trio meet for the first time at Mont Saint Michel, a medieval French abbey. Each is suffering misgivings about pivotal life choices; Sonia questions the role of ethics in her work, Jack harbors fears over the government’s attitude toward the environment, and Thomas’ wariness over an increasingly conservative society.This movie is a conversation between a poet, politician and physicist talking about quantum physics and worldviews. After seeing this movie, you cannot help but view the world through an entirely different lens regardless of what your religious and spiritual beliefs are.The conversation is incredibly thought provoking about the important issues that face our generation — understanding of the holistic view of nature, man and the universe. Also the challenges of breaking free from or clinging to a Cartesian worldview.Opening the door to an emerging worldview, this film helps us understand the interconnectedness of all living things – and that all of nature is enchanted and alive. I recommend this movie (if you can find it) for every adult – young and old. It is OK for anyone, say over the age of 14, though the dialogue may be too difficult for some young people.This movie is a gift to the soul of others from the soul of the world. Final Comments:“Mindwalk”is entertaining. If you are at all intellectually curious, you should see this movie. It may not be correct in some places, but the stimulation to think is there.

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