Thursday, May 8, 2008

Alternate Realities (The Simplified Version)

Java's post about realities, like so many of his very delicious bits of writing, got me both thinking and downright confused.

I'm a simple fellow and many of Java's more complex posts are beyond me. Think Britney Spears and nuclear physics and you'll get the picture. But reality is a topic I find quite interesting. It's all about perspective, judgement and each person's mentality. Over the years I've come to look at the subject with what I consider a pretty all rounded viewpoint, which is my reality and you may disagree with of course.

Up until only relatively recently I had a very different attitude to these things. I say relatively because it's all relative isn't it. I'm talking about a few years' ago, which to me is relatively recently, but for an ant, particularly one of those flying ants that only live for a day, a few years' is a long time. Or to a goldfish, because they have the memory of my Dad.

I used to wonder how on Earth I could look at the bare facts involved in a situation, the plain and objective facts, those that are indisputable, like so and so said "you've got brown hair" and come to a conclusion or view that may be different to that of another person. I'd think that it was so clear that we were both looking at the same data and therefore it was unbelievable that the other fellow could be so wrong.

That's when the alternate reality theory started to apply in my thinking. I realised, after many years of frustration, that it's possible, or actually probable, that two people can look at the same facts, figures and data and come to two very different conclusions. Simply because they have different brains and different ways of thinking. I'm not you, you're not me. Unless I'm reading this back to myself before publishing it.

The brain is a hugely complex piece of kit, like an iPod but one of the larger memory ones with video and all, obviously not as advanced but close. And all of us have different models. We've got different experiences, education and influences. It's rarely the case that I'm right and you're wrong, more that we're both right but we take different views on the same thing.

Confab's post here touches on the subject too. It's all about choices and opinions, the mindset of each individual rather than a collective mindset in which we all agree with each other. There are things that most people agree on, there are certain values that many wouldn't argue with. But outside of those norms it's all down to opinion and differing views.

It's so easy to give someone advice when you're not the person actually experiencing the feelings that the unfortunate recipient of your advice is going through. We (the agony Uncle) can look at things nice and objectively and dispassionately, we can weigh up cold hard facts and nice clear figures and we can tell someone what they should do with a sense of confidence and righteousness.

But we don't have their feelings inside our head. Our brain isn't the one actually going through that situation, our emotions and feelings are all different, except when they're the same.

And, after quite a few years, I've come to realise the massive and ginormous power of acceptance. My Grandmother used to have that old pearl of wisdom framed on her side table:

"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change..."

Isn't that a nice way to look at things?

Acceptance is a wonderful thing.

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