orginally from June 14, 2014

"So we can no longer talk about reality?"
Go ahead, but tell me, what is reality? What is it like?

The word reality (like the words universe, consciousness and self)
is a particularly vague word
that gets filled in with whatever plausibly pops into our heads,
and subsequently confuses us.

Compare: What does America look like?

There are many things that need to be said as we talk about "reality."

Reality is what John Austin called a trouser word.
Where unreal or not real are the words that have a clear use. ("Is this real silk?") It is the home of the language game. (You should read about it.)

Once you make that move, you initiate a dance of status into the discussion.
And you are easily side-tracked.

When we speak of reality we are thrust into a strange mix of connotations, one of which is that this question is strangely important.

I want to let go of the question,
but I can't.

So I cannot ask about the nature of reality?
You cannot answer that question
as though you know what you are talking about.
As though you are actually talking about something.
Not every question makes sense.

What do you mean Not every question makes sense?
I agree that some questions do not make sense (How much does blue weigh?) but why does a question about the nature of reality not make any sense?
It is a traditional question.
Most people can and will take a shot at answering it.

Here are some possible ways the question could be taken:

  • What is most important in life?
  • What endures?
  • What is it we can agree on?
  • What should I pay primary attention to?
  • What exists apart from us?
(I am sure the question can be riffed in other ways as well.)

Take the question and run
with it
in a worthwhile direction.
A direction with a view.

The fact that the path keeps branching is of small concern
though it does make the trip confusing.

We should have a name for these large vague questions that have not found a satisfactory answer over the thousands of ears that they have been asked. Oh yes, "philosophical."

We have a nagging sensation that we know what exists apart from us. And it frightens us.

But what would life be if nothing existed apart from us?
Empty—and even more confusing.

What can we agree on?
Strangely not much
at least in words
as we share a planet and our lives. And it does and does not matter.

This is not a question of logic.
There is no correct answer.
Which should, again, make us question the question.

It is amazing that we cannot agree on what exactly exists apart from us.

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