My friend Alice insists we make our own reality. Our wishes really do come true. If we want to be miserable, we will be. If we want to be failures, we will be. If we want to be successful and happy, we will be.
One afternoon, when I was feeling down, I argued with Alice about this. My problem, at the time, was that I wanted to be successful and happy but this depended on getting my friends out of prison where they had been locked up for life. They had not done anything wrong. Nothing at all. They were imprisoned because... Anyway, never mind, it's a long story. I was not having much success and, in fact, they later died in there. One died while I was trying to get them out, which was why I was feeling bad, two others died after I gave up and left. The fourth was moved to a different prison to die.
So I asked Alice if she thought I really invented my own reality in which I desperately wanted to free them but secretly wanted to be opposed by some politically connected people so I would fail. They wanted to keep my friends locked up since they were making money out of them. Our two realities conflicted. They had political clout and money and already had my friends imprisoned and since I was an alien with no resources. Their reality was winning.
"We make our own reality, and although you do not realize it, you needed to suffer because of a special lesson you must learn. You selected this particular way to do it." Alice said she knew this because she was in touch with my personal beings of light who guided me.
"So if my beings of light are guiding me, then these beings of light are making up my reality, not me."
"No, no, no," exasperated, "You selected these beings of light, called them to you from the Constellation Pleiades. Your present reality is one you created and they are simply helping you accomplish this."
"These beings of light got my friends locked up before I even knew about it and are now working with the opposition to torture them to death? Is that how they are helping me? OK, so think of it from my friend's point of view," I tried. She was fixing a banana smoothie using soy milk and a Chinese herbal mix called Sunrider and getting angry at my tone. "Why are they being locked up and tortured and dying to accommodate my reality? It is probably not one they gave much thought to before they were kidnapped. Is my desire for self-punishment messing up their desire for freedom?"
"Uh, they create their own realities, too, perhaps helping their own kind toward a brighter future." I looked at her and rolled my eyes, lips pursed into an oooooo.
I was feeling, and she was feeling, that perhaps neither of us were improving our inner peace with this discussion. We did not agree. The realities we were each creating were not working out.
My friends were getting a bad rap because of somebody else's nasty disposition. They could not do a damned thing about it no matter what they wanted. And I was having a difficult time for trying to bust them out, despite everything I tried and thought I wanted. The bright and wonderful new age philosophy was definitely not connected to my observations.
As far as I was concerned, there was an outer reality, an objective world filled to overflowing with objectionable people. The outer reality would and could and did intrude into whatever glorious dreams I wanted to create. I told Alice this.
"Yeah?" She was too upset to continue making the milkshake, most of the Sunrider herbs were spilled on the counter top. Outside the sun was shining and the spectacular view of the sea glittered brightly. Both of us were dark and cloudy inside.
"Yeah! So if you are right, how come you are screwing up your placid glittery dream world arguing with me."
"I was just wondering about that myself," she said.
It is a good example of a tautology - where you make up a set of somewhat flexible rules and then play the game. Everything fits the hypothesis because the ground rules accept any conditions.
Christianity works this way. Believe in Jesus - that's all you need to do. The rest works because Jesus is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end, the great changer.
The New Age "you make your own reality" does not fit very well with the tautology of Christianity that says God makes your reality and Jesus manages it for you.
Tautologies are those realities we create, usually in concert with others.
Where differing tautologies meet, troubles start.
The interesting part of this story - about deciding about reality - is that the New Age philosophy (if any single one can be said to exist) happens to be correct.
But only if you move the focus of decision making from the individual to the population.
By redefining we to mean a discrete population or society, the concept that we create our own reality makes all the sense in the world. Not just for humans, but for all creatures.
Of course, yes, no doubt, populations of creatures create their own reality, for better or worse. Until a new disease or predator comes along.
But then again, it depends on what level of reality we wish to create. Australia, for example, creates its own national reality, but might have problems extending its dreams and creations into Indonesia.
America creates its own reality and does a fair job of creating a global reality, too.
The important thing to think about is that for societies, our wishes really do come true.
I think this is logically correct, but can't help wondering where on Earth the successful and happy societies are.
So maybe we have to redefine our "we" a notch higher and say this.
Humanity, as a species, defines its own reality. Anyone want to argue that point?
Very democratic, and also autocratic. Democratic for humans, autocratic for the rest of the global ecology. Whatever humanity has dreamed, people have created. Including all the linguistic overlays - myths and sciences alike.
We decide our reality requires an ideal dimension where triangles live with Mandelbrot series? We got it.
Need a particular kind of hair cream? No worries.
Tranquility and peace? More difficult, but not impossible. For the moment, I have it, but I live on the Moira with Freddy and am anchored in a remote bay where there are no other humans around.
Anyway, maybe humanity would find tranquility and peace a bit stupefying. As a species, we prefer a more textured reality.
What Alice didn't think about is this. Despite the word games, the world exists as intercommunications. Our dreams and our conscious world emerge from surprises when our actions fail to achieve the desired reactions from the multitude of other beings that, together with us, create this living planet.
Without interactions, there are no dreams, no thread of awareness in chaos. Humanity's ability to believe, and thus create, is the needle advancing the thread of awareness through chaos. We must be careful what dreams we decide, together, to weave in the fabric of life.
Other species have a more difficult time, these days, deciding on their realities. This world is our tautology. The other creatures have to adapt or vanish from our dream.