What is Reality?: A Conversational Precursor for Virtual Reality

Do you believe that what you see, feel, hear and smell is all real? Do you actually think that you are interpreting and understanding everything around you in a complete and wholesome way? Do you believe that you even know what real is?

Well, if by “you”, the association is done towards the person you are and the perceptions that you carry, the answers to the above questions may be a resounding “yes”. 

“But, of course! What you feel, hear, sense and visualize has to be true, right! I mean, for Pete’s sake; how can you feel, touch, hear or smell something that is not real!” 

                                                                                                                                         -Your self-created ego.

Phew, so much for that. At the same time, if by “you”, the association that springs up is the “brain”, the answer from the mushy bag of neurons in your head might be quite different from the above answer. “

Dear Human, I have a confession to make. The amount of information out there is just too much to take at the same time. I mean, if you started using the entire potential of all your five senses, along with the numerous other extra-sensory perception related mechanisms that you have no clue about right now, you will most probably die of complete astonishment overload. You remember that orgasm you had today? Well, that was fun right, hehe. Well, magnify that to the tenth power of a thousand, and you will probably be able to come close to the mathematical estimate of this overwhelming feeling that I am talking about, for the purposes of intellectual masturbation of course.”


What the F***!?

That’s right, my friend. I was as surprised as you are right now, when that happened to me. To be frank, the brain is not working efficiently enough so that we can understand the very nature of reality that we live in. The reason is that reality is infinitely more complex and filled with intricate sensory input to such a degree that if everything was to be taken up by the squishy guy in your head, you’ll be almost electrocuting him to death! Well, not literally of course, but as Terence McKenna used to like saying, “Death by astonishment!”

But, if my brain has been lying to me ever since I was born, does that mean I have not been living my life completely at all, like ever!?!

Well, technically speaking, that is true. But, you also have to understand that the brain has been lying to you for a reason. It’s just that opening yourself up to the sensory catharsis like we like to call it, would essentially be too overwhelming for you. This could cause you to try and run away from it and hide back in your limited perceptual bubble. So, let’s take it slow there, brother; especially if you want to maintain that sense of wonder as well as ensure constant mental expansion.

Okay, cool. But let me get one thing straight. Let me use an analogy here. If my perceptual bubble is a house, and “real” reality is outside this house, then I have been living in my house for my entire life and have been considering it as the only real thing that exists?

That’s true man! No one knows how complex and intricately layered reality actually is. That is the essential reason why we have to keep exploring and expanding our awareness of the same. For instance, there are people who have got out of their house or their perceptual bubble and wandered to different distances of awe-inspiring mental landscapes. There are different degrees of exploration in this case, where someone might have gone to the end of the sidewalk while someone must have reached the edge of their neighborhood, while some brave folks may have even reached different countries and foreign landscapes within the internal mindspace. Yeah, there are numerous tools out there that you can use, different keys, methodologies, practices and so on.


Furthermore, there are some people who have actually peered at the unknown abyss outside the matrix of sanctioned reality but have come back with glimpses of inspiration about what’s out there. These people are the ones who are at the forefront of technology now and are bringing pieces of reality into the houses of people like you and me who have not even ventured outside. Do you realize the implications of the same? These folks are essentially helping us understand the true nature of reality without forcing us to go through the sensory catharsis that marks the breakthrough from our perceptual bubble to the “other side.” That means that technology is essentially preparing us for things that we do not yet realize or are not yet ready for in a very literal sense. What is the phone but a technological expression of telepathy? What is the webcam and face-to-face chat sessions but essential technological expressions of psychic and extra-sensory abilities such as remote viewing? Are we being prepared to exit our comfort zones and expand into the ocean of vast creation?


Let me leave you with this last question. Now that you heard your brain tell you how it is not yet equipped to understand the true nature of reality owing to your preconceived beliefs and a lack of awareness as to the essential existence of something outside this proverbial and perceptual house of yours, would you be open to tricking your brain into creating alternate realities?

I mean, imagine this! Your brain is essentially creating your complete reality for you right now, which is not too bad in itself. I mean, come on dude! It is so convincing as well as beautiful at the same time that many of us don’t even know it’s illusory. So, you have to respect the reality producing engine that is the brain, instead of criticizing it for lying to you. Try to understand my friend, it just cares about you and wants you to avoid a mental breakdown, that’s all. But, now that you know what it is capable of, would you like to play around with it? Imagine, if you could trick your brain in such a way that it creates or simulates a reality or realities that are vastly different from your own preconceived versions of the same. Consider your brain or your mind as an over-protective parent that fears for your survival. Would you not like to escape the clutches of the parent and go get dirty playing in the mud for a while? Would you not like to be free for once?

Well, sounds interesting, but how can I do this?

Just put on these goggles my friend and feel your perceptual bubble dissolve beyond all recognition…

Image Sources: [1], [2], [3]

About Ashwin Ramesh

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  1. I understand the fascination with cognitive science. The study of the brain and augmenting its abilities with technology is important, as our cognitive abilities currently limit the progress of our species since there is simply too much information to process(for an individual) in the world. Which is why many people need to cooperate together and proceed gradually as an entire society. But this article, like many others on the site, is (for the lack of a better phrase) speculative and useless bullshit. It is not actual scientific research which contributes to anything. It is simply (as you mentioned) a “quickie” or “intellectual masturbation”. You use complicated and verbose writing to deliver a false illusion of knowledge and superiority. I’m not sure what you’re trying to achieve here. If you want better journalism, try watching “Last Week Tonight”. This episode in particular. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Rnq1NpHdmw

    No offence intended.

    • This comment is intended for you, Ashwin, you metalhead. 😉

    • Hey man, I completely understand where you coming from. But, I just want to get something clear over here; we think intellectual masturbation is good. We urge people to stimulate themselves through writing and other art forms so that they can vent out through this mediums. As a matter of fact, we think intellectual masturbation is something that is much better than writing a scientific research paper or something. What we are trying to achieve here is to give people a platform to intellectually masturbate and at least enjoy the feeling that they get when they understand that science, cognition and all the other insanely complicated and sophisticated topics out there are something that each one of us can talk about and express our opinions and our own experiences about. On the other hand, if you think this is making us feel “superior” in some way, well you are quite wrong in that sense. Even though we love venting out about some sophisticated topics and trends out there, we also make sure we understand that we do not know shit about what’s happening and of course stay humble about that fact as well. This gives us a lot more freedom to experiment and even get a fresh new perspective on things.

      I urge you to check out the stuff that we will be writing this week regarding the topic of VR. Once again, just want to remind you that these are just normal people trying to opine or create their own versions of what VR would mean to them and how it would affect their lives. If you still find their views and their attempt to use writing as a tool to vent-out about something that they want to explore to be an attempt at creating a “false sense of illusion and superiority” you can definitely move on to more scientific places such as Buzzfeed.

      Thanks for the video! Cheers.

  2. Fair point. Just irks me sometimes since you could cite scientific studies instead of random blogs. People might be able to learn more that way. Anyway, guess who I am. You know me.

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