Defining Reality

A few days ago I came across a long quote from Philip K. Dick. Who if you don’t know is supposedly one of the best sifi writers of all time. I say supposedly because I am currently reading A Scanner Darkly and I am struggling to get through it, but I will tell you all about that in a few days when I finish it.


The long quote talks about a variety of things and includes a definition of Dick’s definition of reality.

Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.”

I don’t disagree with this in any way, but it seems too simple for my liking. I say that but have no idea how to improve on what a sufficient definition of reality would be. I think that a better definition would be something like, reality is perpetually changing, and it is that change that makes it real. Honestly I am not satisfied with that one either and its more of a Buddhist approach to reality.

I think when things stop changing reality could potentially cease to exist. The time from one second to the next and viewing the change that happens in those movements is real and I think it what would define reality. The argument could be made that reality is just chemical responses and electrical impulses in your brain, I would also not disagree with this either. You can see how difficult it is to come up with a working definition of something that everyone experiences every day of their lives.

The reason I say “perpetual change,” is because I have read that toward the end of the universe all the energy will dissipate and even molecules will not be moving, so it will be impossible to tell one second from the next even at a quantum level. Nothing will be moving so every second will look the same, therefore time will cease to have any real meaning. That, I would think would be the end of reality. I think that it is this change that gives life to reality. I am sure I am not even close, but it’s fun to think about at least.

Maybe an even better definition is just your interpretation of the collection of experiences during your life. I don’t think I can argue with that one either. Everyone’s view on reality no matter how similar will be different, it is beyond subjective. So it is near impossible that two individuals will have the same experiences, or experience the same thing in the exact same way.

I pasted the article below, you should give it a read and it’s not too long. He also had some fascinating things to say about the change of life, I found these interesting  and as I mentioned above are mostly Buddhist ideals. I have always found Buddhism fascinating. I am not sure it is classified as a religion because there is no deity being worshiped, still I think the ideals and philosophies brought forth are intriguing. Change is a big one that is discussed and to me this is one of the hardest things to accept in life, that is why I included it in my definition. Change and the ability to let go of things, nothing is permanent, which is also a very hard idea to fathom. But when you start to think about it it is true. It is near impossible to not become attached with all the wonderful things in this life.

Try to think of your own definition and you will see how difficult it is. For something that each of us has plenty of experience in it is very hard to come up with a viable definition, that is very strange.



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