The list keeps growing. I have now identified five layers of reality: digital reality, personal reality, group reality, scientific reality and universal reality.
At first, I was reluctant to add digital as a reality. But with the rise of the internet, websites, social media, chats, online games, blockchain, NFT’s and the metaverse, I can no longer deny that for many people the digital world is becoming more and more a reality in itself, a world to live in.
One relevant example, obviously, are the so-called information bubbles, such as Facebook groups where like-minded people confirm their comfortable or suitable beliefs, often without fact checking their theories in the real world.
Note. For the other four realities, you may want to read my earlier story: “Three, no, four realities“.
Personal reality contains all your individual suspicions, thoughts, dreams, wishes about your world, from quite realistic to wishful thinking to outright psychotic diseases. Typically, these realities lack scientific proof. Nevertheless, they are very real for the beholder and the guide for their behavior.
Interesting examples are not the obvious situations of psychiatric diseases, such as psychosis or schizophrenia. Although the ghosts and demans that such people experience are all too real and terrible for those people. No, what I find really interesting are the situations where people are really, really convinced of something, and it is hard to say whether it is total nonsense.
Group realities are convictions, shared by groups such as sport teams, nations or religions. Because group realities are confirmed again and again by the people you are surrounded with, they become very strong convictions. Some may even lead to entire countries going to war for made-up excuses.
This is probably the most impactful reality in the world. In history, and at this very moment, whole wars have been started based on carefully created narratives about enemies, traitors, cowards and deserters, about national pride, honor, disgrace, insults and revenge, mostly for the benefit of one leader.
Scientific reality is the best possible image that we as human beings – and earthlings – can create of the world around us. ‘Best’ meaning: it has the highest level of prediction about the future and the highest level of logical substantiation. Nevertheless, it was Thomas Kuhn who introduced the falsification principle in science: scientific knowledge is true until proven untrue.
Scientific reality is probably the most valuable, and at the same time the most difficult reality, as it takes much more energy for the brain to think rationally than to simply follow your emotions.
Universal reality is the actual reality we live in. Unfortunately, our senses are insufficient to observe it. All we have is sight of visible light, sound, taste, etc. We know that there is much more, eg. infrared and ultraviolet electromagnetic radiation. And who knows what else there is that we cannot even start to imagine! Some people say we live in a simulation, some say we live in a neural network, some have the wildest ideas about universal reality. But nobody really knows.
This is the biggest mystery. Nobody knows really what it is.
That is why ultimately, we are convicted to make the best of our lives in our cosy rabbit hole, purposefully creating our own daily reality.