The comprehensive answer to this question has been the root-cause of arguments among humans for centuries. Oddly enough, something like 99% of the time, this root-cause was never even suspected, let alone explored and/or understood. As a result of this root-cause, many people have been accused of lying when they were not. In fact, it would be safe to say that the answer to this question has undoubtedly caused more communication difficulties than any other single root-cause! The root-cause to which I refer lies in the deepest definition of the word “reality”. The psychological definition, if you will.
An excellent example is the fact that when there has been a homicide committed with several witnesses present, each witness must be interviewed individually, oftentimes, more than once. For, like it or not, one person’s reality is not the same as reality of the same situation for another individual. The reason for this lies in the fact that while the word “reality” is defined as a “definite” or as an “absolute” (i.e. “That is exactly what happened – I know because I saw it with my own two eyes!”) Homicide investigators understand that as days pass-by, memories (realities) of the tragic event can suddenly be restored to a witness’ conscious mind (as if out-of-nowhere). However, it is not always memory that causes one individual’s sense of reality to differ from that of another witness of the same event. There is another cause of the fact that two witnesses of the same event may experience that event altogether differently.
One cause of this complicated fact is that there are numerous dynamics that play-into each individual’s sense of “reality”. Just to list a few (and I will use myself as the subject here):
- Emotion: What emotional state might I have been in when the event occurred? Emotions are extremely powerful and thus can easily affect our perception of any situation;
- Past Traumas: Do I have a history that includes past trauma/s? Trauma from my past experiences affects my perception of my present day experiences (the source of post-traumatic syndrome which many people believe can result only from war. Not true! PTSD results from any experience that was traumatic for the individual; including beatings and other forms of past physical abuse, childhood sexual abuse, and the list goes on.)
- Psychic Abilities: If one person possesses psychic abilities their perception of what occurred in any given situation is likely to differ considerably from that of another witness to the same event (often missed by people who because of their superstitions that psychic abilities are not valid).
- Social and Relationship History: Whether my past experiences in relationships with other people have been positive or negative, affects my perception of my experiences today!
- Mental Health: Whether or not I am suffering from mental illness such as depression, anxiety, etc. will also have an impact upon my perception of my experiences in my everyday life.
This a list of just some of the psychological baggage that every living person carries with us during our waking hours every single day of our lives. Every one of the above considerations must be figured-into our perceptions of all of our daily life experiences if we are to fully understand our perceptions of “reality”.
Thus, it is easy to see why one individual’s sense of reality might be altogether different from that of another person’s perception of reality! The key to any mystery that lies within the definition of reality is merely that “reality” is one’s perception of an experience! We each have our own “reality”!
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Copyright Nov. 2014 by JC “Jeanie” Cooke-Fredlund, Author. No part or portion of the above is to be copied unless prior, written authorization has been obtained from the author, and full credit is then given to the author. (Excerpt from JC’s upcoming book, “What Treatment Centers May Not Tell You!”)