Yes – I know the above may seem like a strange title for a blog post. However, it is a question I regularly find myself contemplating. (I suppose it is a bit like when a band released an album with the title of “This Is My Truth – Now Tell Me Yours”.)
If anybody tries to tell you there is such a thing as a “fixed” reality which applies to everybody – they are wrong. You and I could both be at the same event – looking at the same objects and speaking to the same people – and we will have two different experiences of it to take away with us.
What happens if the same person can have two totally different realities without having to move very far???
Impossible – or so you might think.
Allow me to attempt to explain how this can (and does) happen.
As you know – I wear glasses. I have stated that I am Registered Partially Sighted (which should give you the idea that my sight isn’t exactly on the 20/20 vision end of the scale). I have also explained a little about the problems I have with light, dark, and angles.
However, you may be surprised to learn that my “normal” reality is fluffy with seemingly very few edges, and it doesn’t appear to have very much in it that could possibly be described as “solid”. This “reality” is the one I am happiest in – it is what you might call pure and unadulterated. It also happens to be the “reality” I am only allowed to live in in the privacy of my own home. (For some strange reason Society has a nasty habit of getting rather scared when I try to let myself loose in public without my glasses on. Something to do with traffic, etc, being dangerous.)
The “reality” which Society finds it more comfortable to deal with as far as I am concerned is an Alien concept. I have to wear my glasses when out in public. This is seen as being both a useful safety precaution (stops me getting run over so easily) and as being useful to me as far as being able to do what I want to without assistence.
Ah – yes – my glasses seem to exist to make everybody else’s lives easier – as well as making me slightly easier to cope with. Whether or not I find some aspects of my life easier with my glasses on is beside the point.
I saw a video somewhere (it might have been on Facebook) where some Deaf people were talking – or should that be signing – about how some of them prefer to use sign language and they don’t like being forced to act like Hearing people (lip-read, wear hearing aids, etc). In a funny way – I could understand exactly where they were coming from.
I am forced to live and operate in a world which is designed (in the most part) for people with 20/20 vision. I have found tricks and ways around most of the challenges I face in my daily life (trust me – in some cases the learning process has been harder than you could possibly imagine). This means that – most of the time – I act like someone who is much closer to the 20/20 vision standard of “acceptability”.
But the most difficult times are when my “reality” and your “reality” collide. This is even more apparent when you decide that my “reality” should be ignored because it doesn’t match up with that of the people you spend the most time around.
We (and I include myself in this) need to be more willing to learn from other people and their version of “reality” – as in the one they feel most comfortable in.
I am sorry but it is just not good enough to say that everybody should be the same and see things in the same way as you or me. We all have our different experiences which we can all learn from when we feel comfortable enough to share them.
To answer the question I posed in the title of this blog post – Reality is different to every individual. What reality is not is a “one size fits all” concept.